The Answer My Friend is Blowing in the Wind

As much as I enjoy my job, if I would have to choose another, it would be in special effects. These guys get to play with some neat stuff and on occasion they call us for help.  A special effects artist contacted me wanting to show how a third of the Mount St Helen’s mountain top blew away. He needed to create an explosion followed by dust and lava.

The lava part was easy, backlit orange mylar. The eruption took a little more thought. We came up with making the top half of his scale model from a layer of thin paper mache with a layer of sand an drywall dust underneath. To effect the first explosion, a simple firecracker breached the paper mache. Then an EXAIR Air Amplifier was turned on  sending the dust followed by the orange mylar into the air. Really Awesome!

In real life, the Mt St. Helen’s decapitation demonstrates earth’s ever-changing landscape and that nothing is permanent. In a split moment tons of mountain blew away in the wind.

 Takes me to mind Bob Dylan’s lyrics:
     “How many years can a mountain exist
      Before it’s washed to the sea?
     The answer my friend is blowing in the wind”

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer


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