Alaskans brace for Redoubt Volcano eruption

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Labbie
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Alaskans brace for Redoubt Volcano eruption

Post by Labbie » Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:55 am

Alaskans brace for Redoubt Volcano eruption

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Hardware stores and auto parts shops scored a post-holiday run of business this week as Anchorage-area residents stocked up on protective eyewear and masks ahead of a possible eruption of Mount Redoubt.

Monitoring earthquakes underneath the 10,200-foot Redoubt Volcano about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, scientists from the Alaska Volcano Observatory warned that an eruption was imminent, sending experienced Alaskans shopping for protection against a dusty shower of volcanic ash that could descend on south-central Alaska.

"Every time this happens we do get a run on dust masks and goggles," said Phil Robinson, manager of an Alaska Industrial Hardware store in Anchorage. "That's the two main things for eye and respiratory protection."

Customer Ron Cowan picked up gear at the store Thursday before heading off to an auto parts store for a spare air filter.

"I'm older now and I'm being a little more proactive than I was the last time," Cowan said.

When another Alaska volcano, Mount Spurr, blew in 1992, he waited too long.

"The shelves were cleared, so I thought I wouldn't wait until the last minute," Cowan said.

Unlike earthquakes, volcanoes often give off warning signs that usually give people time to prepare.

The observatory, a joint program between the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute and the state Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, was formed in response to the 1986 eruption of Mount Augustine.

It has a variety of tools to predict eruptions. As magma moves beneath a volcano before an eruption, it often generates earthquakes, swells the surface of a mountain and increases the gases emitted. The observatory samples gases, measures earthquake activity with seismometers and watches for deformities in the landscape.

On Nov. 5, geologists noted changed emissions and minor melting near the Redoubt summit and raised the threat level from green to yellow. It jumped to orange — the stage just before eruption — on Sunday in response to a sharp increase in earthquake activity below the volcano.

Alaska's volcanoes are not like Hawaii's. "Most of them don't put out the red river of lava," said the observatory's John Power.

Instead, they typically explode and shoot ash 30,000 to 50,000 feet high — more than nine miles — into the jet stream.

"It's a very abrasive kind of rock fragment," Power said. "It's not the kind of ash that you find at the base of your wood stove."

The particulate has jagged edges and has been used as an industrial abrasive. "They use this to polish all kinds of metals," he said.

Particulate can injure skin, eyes and breathing passages. The young, the elderly and people with respiratory problems are especially susceptible. Put enough ash under a windshield wiper and it will scratch glass.

It's also potentially deadly for anyone flying in a jet. "Think of flying an airliner into a sandblaster," Power said.

Redoubt blew on Dec. 15, 1989, and sent ash 150 miles away into the path of a KLM jet carrying 231 passengers. Its four engines flamed out.

As the crew tried to restart the engines, "smoke" and a strong odor of sulfur filled the cockpit and cabin, according to a USGS account. The jet dropped more than 2 miles, from 27,900 feet to 13,300 feet, before the crew was able to restart all engines and land the plane safely at Anchorage. The plane required $80 million in repairs.

The observatory's first call after an eruption is now to the Federal Aviation Administration. The observatory's data collection has become far more advanced in 19 years, as has the alert system.

"Pilots are routinely trained to avoid ash and in what to do if they encounter an ash cloud," Power said. "That kind of thing was not routinely done in the 1980s."

The jet stream can carry ash for hundreds of miles. Ash from Kasatochi Volcano in the Aleutians last August blew all the way to Montana and threatened aircraft, Power said.

Particulate is mildly corrosive but can be blocked with masks and filters.

Power advises Alaskans to prepare as they would for a bad snowstorm: Keep flashlights, batteries and several days' worth of food in the house, limit driving and prepare to hunker down if the worst of an ash cloud hits.

Merely going indoors is a defense against ash. The American Red Cross recommends wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants outside, plus goggles and glasses instead of contact lenses. If no dust mask is available, an effective respiratory filter is a damp cloth over nose and mouth.

But potential danger all depends on the wind. Mount Spurr erupted three times in 1992. When it blew that June, only climbers on Mount McKinley — about 150 miles north of Anchorage — were affected, Power said. An August eruption dumped significant ash on Anchorage and a September blow sent ash about 40 miles north of Anchorage to Wasilla.

Dust mask customer Elizabeth Keating said Thursday that if the volcano erupts, she expects to stay inside. She bought masks for her school-age grandchildren to carry in their backpacks.

"I want to make sure they're carrying these in case they're en route," she said.
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Re: Alaskans brace for Redoubt Volcano eruption

Post by Dark Angel » Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:11 am

Labbie wrote:On Nov. 5, geologists noted changed emissions and minor melting near the Redoubt summit and raised the threat level from green to yellow. It jumped to orange — the stage just before eruption — on Sunday in response to a sharp increase in earthquake activity below the volcano.
Word quickly spread that Governor Sarah Palin declared the Volcano an enemy combatant in response them raising the terrorist threat level to Orange. :smt005
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because I'm the meanest M***** F***** in the whole valley."
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Post by Labbie » Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:12 am

Webcams of Mt, Redoubt available here, but it's dark right now. :smt023
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Post by Labbie » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:33 am

Scientist see holes in glacier at Alaska volcano
By DAN JOLING

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Geologists monitoring Mount Redoubt for signs of a possible eruption noticed that a hole in the glacier clinging to the north side of the volcano had doubled in size overnight — and now spans the length of two football fields.

Scientists with the Alaska Volcano Observatory on Friday flew close to Drift Glacier and spotted vigorous steam emitted from a hole on the mountain. By Saturday, they had confirmed the area was a fumarole, an opening in the earth that emits gases and steam, that was increasing in size at an alarming rate.

They also saw water streaming down the glacier, indicating heat from magma is reaching higher elevations of the mountain.

"The glacier is sort of falling apart in the upper part," research geologist Kristi Wallace said.

The signs of heat add to concerns that an eruption is near, which could send an ash cloud about 100 miles northeast toward Anchorage, the state's largest city, or onto communities on the Kenai Peninsula, which is even closer to the mountain on the west side of Cook Inlet. It would be the first eruption since 1990.

Particulate released during an eruption has jagged edges and can injure skin, eyes and breathing passages, especially in young children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems.

It can also foul engines. An eruption in December 1989 sent out an ash cloud 150 miles that flamed out the jet engines of a KLM flight carrying 231 passengers on its way to Anchorage. The jet dropped more than two miles before pilots were able to restart the engines and land safely.

A week ago, the observatory detected a sharp increase in earthquake activity below the volcano and upgraded its alert level to orange, the stage just before full eruption. The warning that an eruption was imminent caused a rush on dust masks and car air filters in Anchorage.

Alaska's volcanoes typically start with an explosion that can shoot ash 50,000 feet high and into the jet stream, but there are warning signs because magma causes small earthquakes as it moves.

Geologist Jennifer Adleman said the observatory has been recording quakes up to magnitude 2.1 but not at the frequency that preceded the last two eruptions in 1989 and 1990.

"We're looking for an increase of seismicity to match the precursor activity," Wallace said. "We haven't seen that yet."

By DAN JOLING – 20 hours ago

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Geologists monitoring Mount Redoubt for signs of a possible eruption noticed that a hole in the glacier clinging to the north side of the volcano had doubled in size overnight — and now spans the length of two football fields.

Scientists with the Alaska Volcano Observatory on Friday flew close to Drift Glacier and spotted vigorous steam emitted from a hole on the mountain. By Saturday, they had confirmed the area was a fumarole, an opening in the earth that emits gases and steam, that was increasing in size at an alarming rate.

They also saw water streaming down the glacier, indicating heat from magma is reaching higher elevations of the mountain.

"The glacier is sort of falling apart in the upper part," research geologist Kristi Wallace said.

The signs of heat add to concerns that an eruption is near, which could send an ash cloud about 100 miles northeast toward Anchorage, the state's largest city, or onto communities on the Kenai Peninsula, which is even closer to the mountain on the west side of Cook Inlet. It would be the first eruption since 1990.

Particulate released during an eruption has jagged edges and can injure skin, eyes and breathing passages, especially in young children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems.

It can also foul engines. An eruption in December 1989 sent out an ash cloud 150 miles that flamed out the jet engines of a KLM flight carrying 231 passengers on its way to Anchorage. The jet dropped more than two miles before pilots were able to restart the engines and land safely.

A week ago, the observatory detected a sharp increase in earthquake activity below the volcano and upgraded its alert level to orange, the stage just before full eruption. The warning that an eruption was imminent caused a rush on dust masks and car air filters in Anchorage.

Alaska's volcanoes typically start with an explosion that can shoot ash 50,000 feet high and into the jet stream, but there are warning signs because magma causes small earthquakes as it moves.

Geologist Jennifer Adleman said the observatory has been recording quakes up to magnitude 2.1 but not at the frequency that preceded the last two eruptions in 1989 and 1990.

"We're looking for an increase of seismicity to match the precursor activity," Wallace said. "We haven't seen that yet."
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Post by Labbie » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:43 pm

Alaska volcano Mount Redoubt erupts 4 times
By MARK THIESSEN – 1 hour ago

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's Mount Redoubt volcano erupted four times overnight, sending an ash plume more than 9 miles high into the air, but the state's largest city has likely been spared from any ashfall.

"The ash cloud went to 50,000 feet, and it's currently drifting toward the north, northeast," said Janet Schaefer, a geologist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

The first eruption, in a sparsely area across Cook Inlet from the Kenai Peninsula, occurred at 10:38 p.m. Sunday and the fourth happened at 1:39 a.m. Monday, according to the observatory.

The wind patterns were taking the ash cloud away from Anchorage, toward Willow and Talkneetna, near Mount McKinley, North America's largest mountain in Denali National Park.

Geophysicist John Power said no cities have yet reported any ash fall from the volcano, but noted that it was still early.

Using radar and satellite technology, the National Weather Service is predicting ash to start falling later Monday morning.

Dave Stricklan, a hydrometeorogical technician with the National Weather Service, expected very fine ash.

"Just kind of a light dusting," he said. He said the significant amount of ash probably dropped immediately, right down the side of the volcano.

"The heavier stuff drops out very quickly, and then the other stuff filters out. There's going to be a very fine amount of it that's going to be suspended in the atmosphere for quite some time, but nothing to really affect anything such as aviation travel. The heavier stuff will filter out," he said.

Still, Alaska Airlines on Monday canceled 19 flights in and out of the Anchorage international airport because of the ash.

Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage told only essential personnel to report to work. The Air Force says 60 planes, including fighter jets, cargo aircraft and a 747 commercial plane, are being sheltered.

The 10,200-foot Redoubt Volcano, roughly 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, last erupted during a four-month period from 1989-90.

But the volcano became restless earlier this year. The observatory had warned in late January that an eruption could occur at any time.

Increased earthquake activity over the past 48 hours prompted scientists to raise the alert level for Mount Redoubt on Sunday.

On Sunday morning, 40 to 50 earthquakes were being recorded every hour.

A steam plume rising about 1,000 feet above the mountain peak was observed Saturday.

On the Net:
Alaska Volcano Observatory: http://www.avo.alaska.edu
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Post by Sarge_II » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:58 pm

Thanks goodness this didn't start any Mrs. Redoubtfires.
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Post by Labbie » Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:31 pm

New eruptions at Alaska's Mount Redoubt volcano

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alaska's Mount Redoubt is continuing its volcanic explosions, the latest sending an ash cloud 32,000 feet above sea level.

The two new eruptions occurred less than an hour apart late Thursday and early Friday.

The National Weather Service is warning about possible light ash falls in Anchorage, 100 miles to the northeast.

Alaska Airlines has said it would assess the ash situation Friday morning before deciding whether to resume flights at Anchorage. The ash can damage airplane engines.

Since the series of eruptions began Sunday night, the volcano has had several bursts. One earlier in the day Thursday sent ash 65,000 feet high. The last time the volcano had erupted was during a four-month period in 1989-90.
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