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Alaska's Mt. Redoubt volcano erupts with five major explosions; ash cloud ascends 50,000 feet

Mt. Redoubt's north flank, as photographed from the south.

*UPDATE: Includes new comment from Skwentna resident regarding ash fall.

**UPDATE: Travelers asked to check flight status as some flights have been canceled.

Alaska's Mt. Redoubt Volcano, which had been in a tempestuous mood for two months, erupted Sunday night at 10:38 p.m., sending an ash cloud 50,000 feet above sea level and prompting several flight cancelations.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory recorded four more large explosions during the night. Tina Neal, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, said that "so far the major population centers in south-central Alaska have been spared any kind of dusting of ash."

The enormous plume was drifting to the north over an expansive wilderness parcel and so far only the small town of Skwentna, 100 miles north of Redoubt, had reported experiencing ash fall, mixed with snow.

In an interview, Eric Johnson, who runs Northwoods Lodge in Skwentna, said he did not hear the eruptions. "I did not know it erupted till daylight when I could see the funny-looking color on the snow," he said. Johnson, whose lodge specializes in snowmobiling in the winter and fishing in late spring and summer, said he's canceling reservations for the next couple of weeks because the coarse ash can damage snowmobiles.

Alaska Airlines was forced to cancel at least 19 flights and is asking travelers to check their flight status on its website.

Neal said the duration of eruptions varied from 10 to 20 minutes. Redoubt is located 110 miles southwest of Anchorage, due west of the Kenai Peninsula across the Cook Inlet.

Scientists will perform a fly-over today and attempt to take photographs.

The volcano last erupted in 1989-90, periodically over a period of six months, and scientists anticipate another lengthy episode.

Updates and fresh photos will be posted here as more information becomes available. Good luck to those living nearby. You might wish to study the AVO's ashfall preparedness link.

--Pete Thomas and Kelly Burgess

Photo: Mt. Redoubt's north flank, as photographed from the south last week, before the full eruption. Credit: Heather Bleick for Alaska Volcano Observatory / U.S. Geological Survey. Photo below shows ascending ash cloud during an eruption in April, 1990. Credit: J. Warren/AVO/USGS.


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Comments (38)

It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant people can be and unconserned for humanity. I'm no rocket scientist or volcanist for that matter but when human beings live so closely to volcanoes such as Mt Rainier, St Helens Mona Kea or McKinnely etc. etc. I think it's good to have warning of when or if they might errupt.


i hope this thing blows like no volcano has blown since krakatoa! keep the cameras rollin cause people are gonna be burned alive!!

Bobby was busy performing an exorcism when they were covering volcanoes during his intro to geology class back in his college days....really.....well, the exorcism part anyway...

In the face of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, don't human squabbles seem petty?

:] me too, though if the wind shifts the ash might cover the city i live in.
it is a matter of life and death, i hope they send supplies to the people caught up in it. we don't want another accident like what happend with Mt. Mickinley

Maybe they'll cancel school for me. :]
People who don't think it's important for volcano observation are stupid.
It's a matter of life or death.
Just as a hurricane is.

Now maybe someone can explain to Bobby Jindal why we need to study volcanoes even though there are none in Louisiana!

Why would u say that? Don't u know that some geological activity can spure other elsewhere. Maybe u should spend more time hoping it doesn't come your way.

See? Volcano monitoring is such a waste of tax dollars when they are just going to blow up anyway... - Gooper Booby Jingal

I used to fish salmon commercially in the Cook Inlet. Mt. Redoubt was my view every day as I pushed off shore in my skiff to go pick the nets.

Hey meanbastard! Make sure you drive your car real close.

i hope it erupts and burns everything and everyone in its path to a crisp



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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.