In 1980 Mount St. Helens erupted causing a cataclysmic flank collapse, avalanche, and explosion on May 18. Continental USA experienced its first major eruption during the era of modern scientific observation and the largest landslide in recorded history. The eruption caused tremendous destruction.
On Friday, 13 September 2013, the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" was activated for the ongoing heavy floods in the US state of Colorado. The mechanism to provide up to date satellite imagery was activated by USGS on behalf of National Guard Bureau/State of Colorado. USGS will also do the project management for this activation.
Data provided by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite has helped experts to analyze the unusual flash floods that affected territories from Oklahoma to Tennessee during the first two weeks of August 2013 causing at least two deaths and damages in hundreds of homes and other structures.
For more than a decade Earth-observing satellites have been scanning the surface of our planet searching for fires while scientists combine their space-based data to predict crucial fire behavior and therefore try to mitigate potential damages. In the western United States, California and Colorado, the 2013 wildfire season has started earlier than normal due to the favorable conditions for fire present in this area.
On July 8, 2013, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) aboard Landsat 8 captured impressive images of Elephant Butte Reservoir, when was only filled to 3% of its capacity, highlighting the impact that the drought has had on New Mexico.