Alaska volcano, volcanoes, volcano, redoubt volcano
Al Grillo/AP
John Power, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory
shows on a satellite image the eruption of Mount Redoubt.

Alaska’s Mount Redoubt Volcano Erupts

March 24, 2009 03:22 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
After nearly 20 years, Mt. Redoubt has erupted again. So far, five eruptions have been recorded since Sunday night.

Redoubt Reawakens

Mt. Redoubt started erupting at 10:38 p.m. in Alaska Sunday. More eruptions followed at 11:02 p.m., 12:14 a.m., 1:39 a.m. and then around 5 a.m., the Anchorage Daily News reported. So far, no injuries have been reported.

The volcano threw ash thousands of feet into the air, and advisories were issued for parts of the state. Alaska Air has canceled some of its flights as a precuation, the newspaper said.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory is tracking the Redoubt eruptions, and has photos from the weekend, when steam was coming from the mountain. The site also has a webcam focused on Mt. Redoubt, though as of Monday morning not much was visible.

Mt. Redoubt started warning of its impending eruptions nearly two months ago. On Jan. 25, the volcano began showing signs of activity before easing again several hours later, Fox News reported.

Geologists have been watching the volcano full-time, and had said an eruption could occur within days or weeks. The Anchorage Daily News quoted a report from the Alaska Volcano Observatory, which stated that even though later activity wasn’t as busy as Sunday’s, seismicity was “still well above background (levels).”

Alaska’s Red Cross has posted directions on its Web site to help residents learn what they should do to be ready if and when the eruption happens.

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake was reported by the Cook Inlet before activity was detected at Mount Redoubt in January, but vulcanologist Dave Schneider said the distance between the volcano and the earthquake meant the two incidents were probably not related.

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Background: The last eruption

Mount Redoubt last erupted in 1989 and 1990, coating the Anchorage area with “fairly minor amounts of ash,” according to the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska, Environmental Services Web site. The city is actually located near several volcanoes that have deposited ash in years past, including Mount St. Augustine and Mount Spurr.

Related Topic: Other volcanic eruptions in the United States

Mount St. Helens
On May 18, 1980, a massive volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state killed 57 people and devastated a 200-square mile area. The eruption began when an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale triggered a massive landslide, shearing away the mountain’s north side. Then, exploding with the power of 500 atom bombs, ash shot into the sky and pieces of the mountain blasted sideways, laying waste to everything in their path.

Mount St. Helens was declared officially dormant in 2008, after about three and a half years of minor eruptions. Although scientists are unsure of when Mount St. Helens will resume activity, they know that it will happen eventually. Close monitoring of the volcano appears to have quelled scientists’ fears of a sneak attack.
Hawaiian Crater Erupts, Spews Hazardous Ash
In May 2008, Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii began emitting dangerous ash in addition to the toxic gas it had been releasing for two months. The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) reported that the Halema’uma’u Crater emitted the plume. The 2008 activity marked the first time Halema’uma’u had erupted since 1968, though other parts of Kilauea have been active recently. The Puuoo crater in the east rift has had small eruption activity since 1983.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park recently attracted considerable attention when a series of hundreds of small earthquakes began rattling the area at the end of December 2008. Yellowstone’s many attractions include geysers, such as Old Faithful, and hot springs. These are believed to be a result of the giant pool of magma that Yellowstone sits on.

Some call the enormous underground caldera, which measures approximately 28 by 47 miles, a “supervolcano.” The earthquakes raised concerns about the dangers of the caldera, with some wondering whether the volcano could erupt.

Reference: Following the Redoubt volcano


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