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NICK: Today our programme is coming from the USA. Good morning, Doctor Brosnan. Welcome to our series on world disasters.

DR BROSNAN: Good morning, Nick.

NICK: Now, today's programme is about volcanoes. Which volcano are you going to tell us about first?

DR BROSNAN: Well, today I'm going to tell you about Mount Saint Helens here in the USA.

NICK: Was that the worst volcano eruption ever?

DR BROSNAN: No, it wasn't. The worst eruption was in Tambora in Indonesia in 1815. It was 100 times worse than the eruption at Mount Saint Helens.

NICK: So, why is Mount Saint Helens important?

DR BROSNAN: Well, it wasn't the worst eruption in the world but it was the worst eruption in the USA.

NICK: When was it?

DR BROSNAN: On 18 May, 1980.

NICK: How did it start?

DR BROSNAN: Well, scientists were watching the mountain because one side of it was growing by two metres a day. At half past eight in the morning, it erupted. There was no noise, so it was a big surprise for all the people there.

NICK: What happened?

DR BROSNAN: The sky turned black and there was lightning. A big cloud of hot gas went 19 km into the sky.

NICK: Did you say 19 km?

DR BROSNAN: That's right and in two days the cloud of gas arrived in New York.

NICK: Was that the last time Mount Saint Helens erupted?

DR BROSNAN: No, but 1980 was by far the worst eruption …

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