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Archive for the ‘hydrothermal system’ Category

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.

Related Links:

Posted in eismicity at Redoubt, hydrothermal system, Mount Redoubt, SO2 emission, steam explosion | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Magnitude 4.2 Quake Strikes W. Montana

Posted by feww on March 6, 2009

A Magnitude 4.2 Quake Strikes Western  Montana Northwest of Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field

A Magnitude 4.2 earthquake struck western  Montana Friday about 193 km (120 miles) northwest of Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field. A 2.2 Mw aftershock followed about 4 minutes later.

Additional seismicity of comparable magnitude may prove  significant for Yellowstone volcano.

10-degree Map Centered at 45°N,110°W

Source: USGS

This Quake: Magnitude 4.2 – WESTERN MONTANA


  • Friday, March 06, 2009 at 11:29:55 UTC
  • Friday, March 06, 2009 at 04:29:55 AM at epicenter

Location:  45.843°N, 112.132°W
Depth:  5 km (3.1 miles) set by location program

  • 4 km (2 miles) SW (221°) from Whitehall, MT
  • 14 km (8 miles) W (260°) from Cardwell, MT
  • 31 km (19 miles) WNW (300°) from Harrison, MT
  • 408 km (254 miles) NE (51°) from Boise, ID
  • 566 km (352 miles) N (358°) from Salt Lake City, UT

Location Uncertainty:  horizontal +/- 4.2 km (2.6 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters NST= 52, Nph= 52, Dmin=24.5 km, Rmss=1.53 sec, Gp= 47°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=6

Event ID: us2009dwa1

Information from Yellowstone Volcano Observatory


  • 44.43°N 110.67°W,
  • Summit Elevation 9203 ft (2805 m)
  • Volcanic Alert Level: NORMAL
  • Aviation Color Code: GREEN

An eruption of Old Faithful, perhaps the world’s best known geyser, rises above Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin. Old Faithful is a periodic geyser, with eruptions to heights of about 40 m at intervals of 30 to 100 minutes. Old Faithful Lodge to the right provides a rustic backdrop to the Upper Geyser Basin, which contains more geysers than are known altogether in the rest of the world. The forested ridge in the background is underlain by massive post-caldera rhyolitic lava flows of the Madison Plateau. Photo by Lee Siebert, 1968 (Smithsonian Institution). Caption: GVP

Current Update, last updated Mar 3, 2009 05:33 MST:

February 2009 Yellowstone Seismicity Summary (Source: YVO)
During the month of February 2009, 51 earthquakes were located in the Yellowstone region. The largest event was a magnitude 2.1 on February 19 at 5:02 PM MST, located about 2 miles north of Fishing Bridge, YNP. There were no swarms during the month of February. Earthquake activity in the Yellowstone region is at relatively normal background levels.

An article on the recent earthquake swarm during December 2008 and January 2009 can be found at:
Scientists continue to look at data collected during the swarm and will publish their results over the coming months and years. However, if any findings have direct implications for public safety, they will be released to the public immediately.

Ground Deformation Summary: Through January 2009, continuous GPS data show that much of the Yellowstone caldera continued moving upward, though at a lower rate than the past several years. The WLWY station, located in the northeastern part of the caldera has undergone ~22 cm of uplift over this time period. The general uplift of the Yellowstone caldera is of scientific importance and will continue to be monitored closely by YVO staff.

An article on the current uplift episode at Yellowstone and discussion of long-term ground deformation at Yellowstone and elsewhere can be found at:

Recent Earthquakes in the Intermountain West:

Yellowstone National Park Special Map

Source: University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Volcanic History Overview (Source: YVO)
The Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field developed through three volcanic cycles spanning two million years that included some of the world’s largest known eruptions. Eruption of the >2450 cu km Huckleberry Ridge Tuff about 2.1 million years ago created the more than 75-km-long Island Park caldera. The second cycle concluded with the eruption of the Mesa Falls Tuff around 1.3 million years ago, forming the 16-km-wide Henrys Fork caldera at the western end of the first caldera. Activity subsequently shifted to the present Yellowstone Plateau and culminated 640,000 years ago with the eruption of the >1000 cu km Lava Creek Tuff and the formation of the present 45 x 85 km caldera. Resurgent doming subsequently occurred at both the NE and SW sides of the caldera and voluminous (1000 cu km) intracaldera rhyolitic lava flows were erupted between 150,000 and 70,000 years ago. No magmatic eruptions have occurred since the late Pleistocene, but large phreatic eruptions took place near Yellowstone Lake during the Holocene. Yellowstone is presently the site of one of the world’s largest hydrothermal systems including Earth’s largest concentration of geysers. (Source: YVO)

Posted in Ground Deformation, hydrothermal system, Madison Plateau, Old Faithful, Yellowstone volcano | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »