Mar 23, 2009

Mount Redoubt erupts

Mount Redoubt in Alaska has erupted 6 times in 20 hours!
This is getting freaky.

Here's the latest news from http://www.ktuu.com/
I really hope we don't get any ash fall in Anchorage.
Pretty though, right?





ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A new explosive eruption occured at 8 p.m. Monday at
Mount Redoubt. Radar indicates a cloud height of at least 60,000 feet above sea
level. The Alaska Volcano Observatory says ash emmission ended around 9
p.m.
Mount Redoubt ended weeks of seismic unrest and suspense with a series
of five powerful eruptions late Sunday night and early Monday morning,
depositing ash in the Susitna and Kuskokwim valleys.

The eruptions, which began at 10:38 p.m. Sunday, also
disrupted air traffic
into and out of
Ted Stevens
Anchorage International Airport
.

"These events were very large, explosive eruptions of Redoubt Volcano,"
geophysicist John Power with the U.S. Geological Survey and
Alaska Volcano
Observatory
said at an early morning press conference.

Reports of ash
fall
came in from Skwentna, Talkeetna, Wasilla and Trapper Creek throughout
Monday morning, ranging from one-eighth to one-quarter of an inch.
Monday
afternoon the
National Weather
Service
reported ash fall at Denali National Park headquarters along the
eastern Alaska Range, as well as farther south in Cantwell.

Views of the
volcano from Kenai
, just 50 miles away, were obscured by clouds.
The
state Department of Environmental Conservation issued an air quality advisory
for the Susitna and Kuskokwim valleys effective until 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Acting
Anchorage Mayor Matt Claman's office issued a release around 9:30 a.m. stating
ash fall in Anchorage was not expected. Schools in Anchorage and the Mat-Su
remained open Monday and were expected to remain so barring significant changes
in ash fall projections.
A flash flood warning was issued for the Drift River
near Mount Redoubt immediately after the first eruption, but it has since
expired.

A Chevron oil terminal at Drift River just 27 miles from the volcano
initiated shutdown procedures early Monday to "both protect the health and
safety of its employees and contractors and to safeguard the environment against
a possible spill from its crude storage operations at its facility," Cook Inlet
Pipe Line Co. said in a press release.
AVO reports that ash plumes were sent
as high as 60,000 feet above sea level, but the bulk of the ash volume was
between 25,000 and 30,000 feet.

After the conclusion of the most recent explosion at 5 a.m., no additional
ash emissions have been detected. If the volcano is continuing to spew ash, it
is either below approximately 13,000 feet or too fine to be detected.

In addition to the initial eruption, the Alaska Volcano Observatory
reported large explosions at 11:02 p.m., 12:14 a.m., 1:39 a.m., and the most
recent event at 4:31 a.m. Each eruption lasted anywhere from four to 30
minutes.

"There's still a great deal of unrest," Power said Monday afternoon. "We
are, based on what we know about Redoubt, expecting that we will see perhaps
additional ash-producing eruptions over the next 24 to 48 hours."

And this could just be the beginning of a prolonged period of
eruptions.
"The eruption we are most familiar with -- which occurred in 1989,
1990 -- explosive activity got going, went on for a period of about a week and
then sort of quieted down," Power said. "We had some dome growth occurring, that
then proceed to alternate between dome growth and explosive activity for about
five months."

Gov. Sarah Palin encouraged Alaskans to follow safety procedures.
Government agencies have been formulating response plans over the last several
weeks.

"We are working closely with other state and federal agencies to help
mitigate the hazards this eruption is currently posing," Power said. "We have
been personally assured by Secretary (Ken) Salazar that the safety of people in
Alaska is the highest concern of the Department of the Interior."

Local hardware stories are operating with extended hours for the time being
and are well-stocked with emergency supplies.

Field crews are scheduled to visit Redoubt, located 106 miles southwest of
Anchorage, sometime Monday to conduct observation and repairs.

"The eruption itself has damaged or destroyed some of our sensors," Power
said. "We've lost, so far, three seismometers that were operating on the
volcano. We're still in a good position, we have seven operating instruments on
the volcano.

"We are planning to have a field crew access the volcano via helicopter.
Their mission is to perhaps repair some of our instrumentation that is down --
in addition to the seismic stations, we've also lost the feed from our Web cam
that is north of the volcano."
The eruption of Redoubt concluded a six-week
period of intense, elevated unrest at the volcano, and an even longer period of
suspect behavior.

"This activity is something we've been expecting to see at Redoubt," Power
said. "We first began tracking unrest at Redoubt in July of 2008."
Seismicity
decreased over the last 10 days or so, until Redoubt began rumbling again on
Friday.
"What we've seen at Redoubt over the last two days is a very marked
buildup in earthquake activity, earthquakes centered directly beneath the summit
of the volcano," Power said.
Those earthquakes in the 60 hours preceding
Sunday night's eruption likely signaled the upward movement of magma toward the
surface.

Channel 2 News and KTUU.com continue to monitor events at the volcano. We
will break into programming on TV and send e-mail and text message bulletins as
warranted. Be sure to watch the Channel 2 News Late Edition for reports from
throughout Southcentral Alaska.


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