PEEC Presentation Applies Lessons from Mount St. Helens to the Valles Caldera

The Valles Caledera. Photo by Josip Loncaric

PEEC News:

What lessons can we learn from activity of the Mount St. Helens volcano from 1980 to the present, that would apply to the Valles Caldera? Bob Parmenter, chief scientist at the Valles Caldera National Preserve, will address this topic in a presentation at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb.18 at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC).

In his talk, Parmenter will paint a picture of the Valles Caldera ecosystem recovery during the early years after it erupted 1.25 million years ago, and he will tie it to what we can learn from recent activity at Mount St. Helens. 

Given more than a dozen eruptions over the past million years, how have the Valles Caldera ecosystems responded? What did the post-eruption landscape look like, and how quickly did plants and animals return? Which species arrived first, setting the stage for the succession of other plants and animals? Parmenter will answer all of these questions and more in his talk.

Parmenter and his colleagues have worked on the Mount St. Helens volcano in the state of Washington for more than 30 years, recording the changes in flora and fauna following the explosive eruption in 1980.

Based on these studies, Parmenter will re-create the early post-eruption Jemez Mountains ecosystems, describing the types of wildlife and vegetation that comprised the initial colonists, leading to the ecosystems we see today.

No advance registration is required to attend this presentation. The cost is $8, or $6 for PEEC members. There is no charge for students.

For more information about this and other programs offered by PEEC, visit, email or call 505.662.0460.