Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Natural Science and Mathematics, Geography and the Environment

First Advisor

Steven Hick

Second Advisor

Kristopher Kuzera


Mount St. Helens, Vegetation index, Blast zone, Linear regression model, Empirical data model


The eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 devastated the landscape and obliterated all ground vegetation within a 620 km2 blast zone radius. The destructive forces of the lateral blast, debris avalanche, tephra plume, and lahar flow created a complex mosaic of disturbance zones, that subsequently yielded various rates of landscape recovery. Remote sensing is an efficient method for monitoring landscape-scale changes by recording the distinct spectral reflectance of vegetation. Based on statistically significant correlations between Vegetation Indices and vegetation parameters, an empirical model can be developed for vegetation cover predictions. This capstone analysis found that NDVI holds the strongest relationship to vegetation cover when compared to other indices. Linear regression found that NDVI can account for 97.8% of vegetation cover variability when using a quadratic model (VegCover = 136.21(NDVI2) - 20.255(NDVI) - 0.1962).

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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