Saturday, January 14, 2006

Augustine Volcano

Augustine Volcano is located on Augustine Island, an uninhabited island located in Cook Inlet approxamitely 172 miles southeast of Anchorage. It had erupted 5 times yesterday (Friday 1/13) spewing ash up to 52,000 feet in the air canceling airline flights into Anchorage. It has also sparked a buying frenzy of dust mask, tarps, visqueen and vehicle air filters.

Scientists say it is likely the start of a prolonged series of eruptions building toward an even bigger climax. At some point, these throat-clearing eruptions are going to open a route for magma to reach the surface in what would probably be a bigger explosive eruption releasing far more ash, said Game McGimsey, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Three eruptions over an 8-hour period Friday sprinkled a light dusting of ash over communities on the lower Kenai Peninsula, where schools were closed as a precaution. A fourth eruption, just before 5 p.m., missed the peninsula when its ash plume sailed southeast past the Barren Islands into the Gulf of Alaska. A fifth blasted off just before 7 p.m., with ash headed the same direction. As of this post no ash has reached Anchorage.

A Web camera on the island showed spectacular views of the volcano between eruptions Friday. The island mountain, most of which had been snow-white Thursday, was now thickly caked in brown ash. I've placed a link at right to the Alaska Volcano Observatory's excellent web site.

I'll keep you updated. You can also check out the Anchorage Daily News or KTVA Channel 11 in Anchorage.

Map and pictures courtesy of the Alaska Volcano Observatory.


Rexroth's Daughter said...

Thanks for the links, I'll definitely take a look. I was living in Eugene, Oregon when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980. We were about 125 miles south of the mountain, and still we had ash rain down on us. Later, we drove up to the Toutle River to see the aftermath. Quite an amazing look at volcanic devastation. I hope, if Augustine does have a magma eruption, that the direction spares populated places. That ash can be pretty intense.

John said...

So are population centers under much threat from this, aside from the inconvenience of cancelled flights and cleaning up ash?

BTW, that volcano picture is very dramatic. But I don't think I would want to be there to witness it.

Dave said...

The last eruption I was here for was in the early '90s and it was Mt Redoubt then. It was basically a major inconvienence with a 1/4 inch layer of ash everywheres.

Right now Augustine has quieted down for now. So no heavy populated areas are threatened. If and when she errupts again the local areas of Homer and the Kenai Penninsula will be effected the most. Anchorage will be depending on erruption height and wind dirrection.

TroutGrrrl said...

Hey Dave,
The threat is sounding a little more serious this morning. I hope Augustine amounts to nothing more than an inconvenience this time too. Our fingers are crossed...

Dave said...

Thanks TG. Right now it is just being a major inconvenience. See above post.

Pamela Martin said...

It's events like this one that remind us just how small we are on this earth--for all our bluster. I'll be thinking of you up there--hope things settle down.