Thursday, January 29, 2009

Volcano Cooling

Is Sarah Palin behind the latest threat to global warming? Of course not. An Alaskan volcano is.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Mount Redoubt continues to rumble and simmer, prompting geologists to say this Alaska volcano could erupt "within days."

Scientists from the Alaska Volcano Observatory have been monitoring activity round-the-clock since the weekend.

If Mount Redoubt does erupt, it would be the first time this occurred in nearly 20 years. And if won't likely be pretty.

History shows that volcanoes in Alaska, including Redoubt, typically erupt explosively, shooting ash almost eight miles high.

This differs from volcanoes in Hawaii, which usually have slow rolling lava ooze out.

The difference is gas trying to escape gets blocked, possibly by a lava dome or a viscous magma that increases the power from beneath, said observatory geologist Jennifer Adleman.

"Its pressure keeps building and building. . . .," she said.

Depending on the winds, the ash plume could be pushed straight at Anchorage, the state's largest city. This has prompted state and city officials to post bulletins on how to deal with the ash.
But maybe there isn't going to be an eruption after all.
Recent seismic activity could be a prelude to an eruption, "perhaps within hours to days," said geologists from the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

The 10,197-foot peak sits about 50 miles west of Kenai and 100 miles southwest of Anchorage. It last erupted during a five-month stretch beginning December, 1989.

Recent activity began around 1 a.m. Sunday, then it eased about five hours later.

• Click here to visit's Natural Science Center.

It was still well above normal "background" tremor levels, said Dave Schneider, a volcanologist from the observatory.

An observatory crew flew over Redoubt, and it ruled there had been no eruption.

"There was steaming through pre-existing holes, but there were no new holes. ... and there was no ash on the snow cover," he said.

But during the flyover, crew members smelled sulfur, so observatory staff will be monitoring activity and satellite images that identify temperature changes round the clock, Schneider said.

Observers will also look to weather radar scanners near the Kenai airport for help. Those scanners send data in six-minute intervals.

These scanners will be able to detect an ash plume should one appear, Schneider said.
Me? I'm sure hoping the volcano doesn't blow. This winter is cold enough already.

H/T Thomas


rumcrook said...

cool.. my first hat tip

Susan said...

Volcanic smoke and gas from two new holes eat through snow and ice high on Alaska's Redoubt Volcano on Saturday—one of them (left) about the size of a football field.

M. Simon said...

Susan's long url

M. Simon said...

but this url will get you to the story.