Friday, January 30, 2009

Redoubt Ready to Blow

Alaska is once again making the national news, and not, this time, because we are the "Coldest State with the Hottest Governor", as the bumper stickers say. This lovely mountain, which I am so fond of posting photos of, may be getting ready to explode. In the last week, Mt. Redoubt has moved from green to yellow to orange on the volcano alert scale; the only thing past orange is an actual eruption. That would be red, I guess.

The last time Redoubt erupted was almost twenty years ago. I was living in Seattle, working at Harborview Medical Center, and several of the physicians I worked with were avid mountain climbers. For several days there was little talk of anything else. That 1989 eruption was nowhere near as devastating as the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980, but it did blanket the town of Kenai in a thick layer of ash. Dutch's admin assistant, who has lived here all her life, remembers it well. She says it was like driving through a black cloud, the ash was so dense, and it lasted for days.

The volcano has been burping gases at an increased rate since sometime after Christmas, and there has been a lot of small earthquake activity around Cook Inlet in that time. Last Saturday we had a 6.1 magnitude quake, which is a lot stronger than the 1- and 2-magnitude shakers that have been occurring daily, but nothing like the famous Good Friday Earthquake of 1964, which was a 9.2.

If she blows, I'll do my best to get photos.



Blogger yasmara said...

I was in high school when Redoubt erupted & I vividly remember the blanket of ash over Anchorage. Can't believe it was so long ago!

Monday, February 02, 2009 6:47:00 AM  

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