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60 pct Chance Redoubt May Erupt

Posted by feww on March 18, 2009

Redoubt Activity – Color Code ORANGE : Alert Level WATCH

Redoubt Volcano Latest Observations

Local time: March 17, 2009 1705 AKDT (March 18, 2009 0105 UTC)
At 2009-03-17 16:30:56 AKDT AVO Reported:

Seismic activity low and marked by small discrete earthquakes. Partly cloudy satellite and HutCam views show no sign of activity.

View of Redoubt steaming on March 15, 2009, taken by David Wartinbee, from Soldotna, AK.
via AVO. Image courtesy of the photographer.

Current Status and Observations [Mirrored from AVO]

Seismic activity at Mount Redoubt increased at about 1:05 AKDT Sunday afternoon (March 15, 2009) and approximately 4 hours of continuous volcanic tremor ensued. The onset of the tremor was associated with a small explosion that produced a plume of gas and ash that rose to about 15,000 feet above sea level and deposited a trace amount of ash over the summit-crater floor and down the south flank of the volcano to about 3,000 feet. AVO responded to this increase in activity by raising the color code and alert level to ORANGE/WATCH at 2:50 PM AKDT. At this time it does not appear that the increase in activity heralds a significant eruption in the short term, but conditions may evolve rapidly.

An AVO overflight Sunday witnessed activity from 11:30 AM until about 3:00 PM and was able to document ash emission from a new vent, just south of the 1990 lava dome and west of the prominent ice collapse feature near the north edge of the summit crater. Although ash emission was short lived, it represents the first documented ash fall during the current episode of unrest at Mount Redoubt.

About twenty minutes after the initial steam and ash burst, a sediment-laden flow occurred from a small area in the ice at about 7000 feet on upper Drift glacier. This flow descended about 1500 feet and produced a distinctive seismic signature seen across the Redoubt network.

Although the intent of the overflight was make airborne gas measurements, only a few such measurements were possible due to the uncertain nature of the activity and potential for further ash emission. The measurements that were made indicated at least a qualitative increase in SO2 emission relative to levels measured previously. The gas data are currently being processed and will be available soon.

Photograph taken during observation / gas data collection flight to Redoubt Volcano on March 15, 2009 [
13:10:28 AKDT] Image Creator: Bill Burton; courtesy of AVO/USGS.

Interpretation of New Activity and Possible Outcomes
Although preliminary, it is likely that the plume observed just after 1:00 PM AKDT on Sunday, March 15, 2009 was produced by a steam explosion in the shallow hydrothermal system of the volcano. Without examination of the ash we cannot say with certainty if the ash represents new magma or if it is merely pulverized old material from the surface of the volcano.

Steam-driven explosions are not unexpected events at Redoubt given the amount of heat that is being released at the surface. It is possible that more such explosions can occur with little or no warning. It is possible that these plumes can reach above 20,000 feet, and may contain minor amounts of fine ash.

Relatively rapid increases in seismic activity, and an overall waxing and waning pattern to the seismicity at Redoubt may persist for weeks to months. Increases in seismicity may or may not be associated with other volcanic phenomena, such as minor ash emission, and vigorous steaming. The burst of activity at Redoubt on March 15, 2009 indicates that the volcano is still in a restless condition.

AVO plans to visit Redoubt later this week to attempt collection of ash samples, retrieve GPS data and do some routine maintenance of seismic and other equipment.

AVO has resumed 24 hour per day staffing of the AVO operations center in Anchorage.

Ascending eruption cloud from Redoubt Volcano and its reflection in the waters of Cook Inlet. View is to the west from the Kenai Peninsula. Photograph by J. Warren, April 21, 1990. Source: AVO

FEWW believes there’s a 60 percent probability Redoubt Volcano may erupt violently this year, possibly by July 2009.

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One Response to “60 pct Chance Redoubt May Erupt”

  1. feww said

    Redoubt Update:
    From: AVO
    Redoubt Activity – Color Code ORANGE : Alert Level WATCH

    2009-03-22 19:45:39 (2009-03-23 04:45:30 UTC)
    Over the last hour, the rate of seismic events has increased to the highest levels seen within the last 48 hours. We are watching the events closely and continue to staff the observatory 24 hours per day. The webcam view is still obscured by clouds.

    Redoubt Volcano Activity Notifications
    ORANGE/WATCH 2009-03-22 12:49:06 – Status Report

    AVO raised the aviation color code to Orange and the alert level to Watch last night at 10:09PM AKDT (March 21) based on an increase in the rate of discrete seismic events. Shallow earthquake activity under the volcano has been as high as 26 events per 10-minute period. Activity is primarily seen on the stations nearest the summit, though some events are also recorded at farther-out stations. This activity likely represents either the upward movement of magma or pressurization of the system. No eruption has occurred.

    It is possible for unrest at the volcano to change rapidly, and seismic activity or other signs of unrest could escalate culminating in an eruption within days to weeks. [!]

    Complete report text:

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