On March 27, 1980, a series of volcanic explosions and pyroclastic flows began at Mount St. Helens in Skamania County, Washington, United States. A series of phreatic blasts occurred from the summit and escalated until a major explosive eruption took place on May 18, 1980, at 8:32 am. The eruption, which had a volcanic explosivity index of 5, was the first to occur in the contiguous United States since the much smaller 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak in California.[2] It has often been declared the most disastrous volcanic eruption in U.S. history.