Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
Photograph by Gary Braasch/Corbis
I recently watched a couple of YouTube time-lapse videos about the eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano. From space or from ground level, you see a verdant landscape that suddenly fills with ash. When the smoke clears, whoosh, you see devastation. The time-lapse film renders this change in a mere couple of minutes, but in reality this change occurred over 24 years, from the initial 1980 eruption to the renewed activity in 2004. On the surface, environmental conditions eroded over a few days or weeks—a geologic blink of an eye. Under the surface, shifts in dirt and magma had been going on for two decades; we simply did not see it take place.