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Redoubt volcano in Alaska still rumbling as eruption watch continues

February 17, 2009 |  1:57 pm

Mount Redoubt after an eruption on April 21, 1990. Note the ash cloud mirrored on the glassy surface of the Cook Inlet.

If Alaska's Mount Redoubt is going to blow its top, will it hurry up already?

For weeks, the volcano has rumbled and grumbled and scientists remain reasonably sure an eruption -- the first since a long series of them in 1989-90 (see photo) -- will occur.

But the tempestuous 10,200-foot peak 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, towering above the Cook Inlet across from the Kenai Peninsula, is keeping scientists and Alaskans guessing.

On Monday, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory, there was "elevated seismicity dominated by ongoing volcanic tremor and occasional small earthquakes."

A 3.6-magnitude earthquake 45 miles northwest of Anchorage was "clearly seen on Redoubt webicorders."

AVO geologist Cheryl Cameron said of the 1989 eruption: "There was an intense swarm of repeating long-period earthquakes for about 24 hours prior to the first explosion" on Dec. 14.

Volcano31

Three more ash-rich explosions occurred the following day, with the last blast generating a flow of hot gas and rock down the Drift Glacier.

So far at Redoubt, there has not been the long series of earthquakes. The latest AVO update: "Unrest at Redoubt Volcano continues. Volcanic tremor is ongoing and remains elevated since yesterday morning."

Stay tuned. The big bang could happen later today ... next week ... or perhaps not at all.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Mount Redoubt after an eruption on April 21, 1990. Note the ash cloud mirrored on the glassy surface of the Cook Inlet. Credit: J. Warren/Alaska Volcano Observatory-U.S. Geological Survey

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