EASY READING CULTURE OF LIFE NEWS: 4.9 QUAKE AT MT. REDOUBT AREA « Culture of Life News 2
Good news! The Alaska volcano website has been boosted! So we get all the information there, at last. Too many of us piled in there on Friday, crashing the system. The picture above is from their webcam of this particular volcano, Redoubt. It doesn’t look too active, does it? But then, these volcanoes in particular, are known for blowing up rather suddenly, with a loud bang. The earthquake activity was sufficient to show up on the global maps run by IRIS Geological Survey people. Also, I went to Chile to visit the Chaiten volcano. It is still pouring out massive amounts of dirt into the stratosphere which is why the sun is dim, the stars barely shine and a fine, very thin but significant white veil covers the planet, making it colder and wetter. Kentucky is the latest victim of vicious ice storms.
First, I looked at the IRIS world map to see what is going on. The Aleutian Island volcanic chain is being rattled by a series of fairly large earthquakes including one big shaker of 4.9 right where the awakening volcano is located. Since the web page run by the State of Alaska is up, I decided to get lots of great information from it and was pleased to see, it is a very deep, well run and informative web site well worth visiting.
Alaska contains over 130 volcanoes and volcanic fields which have been active within the last two million years.These volcanoes are catalogued on our website: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/volcanoes/.
Of these volcanoes, about 90 have been active within the last 10,000 years (and might be expected to erupt again), and more than 50 have been active within historical time (since about 1760, for Alaska).
The volcanoes in Alaska make up well over three-quarters of U.S. volcanoes that have erupted in the last two hundred years.Alaska’s volcanoes are potentially hazardous to passenger and freight aircraft as jet engines sometimes fail after ingesting volcanic ash. On December 15, 1989, a Boeing 747 flying 240 kilometers (150 miles) northeast of Anchorage encountered an ash cloud erupted from Redoubt Volcano and lost power in all four jet engines. The plane, with 231 passengers aboard, lost more than 3,000 meters (~9,800 feet) of elevation before the flight crew was able to restart the engines (Casadevall, 1994). After landing, it was determined the airplane had suffered about $80 million in damage (Brantley, 1990).
Many people are unaware that not only does Alaska have the most volcanoes, it has the most active ones. By far and away. None of these are as catastrophically huge as Yellowstone. But they are all quite dangerous. The Hawaiian hot spot, for example, produces big, big volcanoes in the center of the Pacific Ocean but these are not ‘dirty’ volcanos. Along continental submergence zones where plates plummet below continents, we get very nasty and very dirty volcanoes. These are mostly responsible for periods of cold and wet that can last for several years.
When Napoleon foolishly decided to invade Russia, he didn’t know that one of the volcanoes in Alaska blew its stack and was nearly as dirty and dangerous as the Mount Tambora caldera collapse one year later. Due to both of these eruptions, the northern tiers of Europe and America had a pre-taste of what an ice age is like when it begins. No summer. We have to watch the volcanic chain in Alaska for the simple reason, our crops, our expectations of weather hinge on what is happening there. Of course, if nothing is happening, we don’t worry about it, of course. But looking at the data, despite there being barely a wisp of steam or smoke, the dragon below is definitely moving around and wakening up.
Here is a map with numbers that show various volcanoes, moving from east to west. Mt. Redoubt is #4. Below are the seismographs for several volcanoes surrounding Mt. Redoubt. The graphs are from the last 24 hours:
Mt. Spurr is the nearest to the east and it has only a very few shudders, otherwise, it is totally asleep.
Mt. Iliamna is in the same National Monument Park as Mt. Redoubt and is very close, to the west. It has experienced major quakes which are incidentally, the ones at the top of the story, the 4.9 quake.
Mt.Augustine is in the middle of Cook Inlet Bay. It is shaking nearly as hard as Mt. Redoubt even though it is further away than the other two volcanoes. This is rather interesting, actually. There must be some sort of anomaly that connects these two volcanoes, running under the Inlet.
Further west, Mt. Katmai is as silent and still as Mt. Spurr.
Mt. Aniakchak is totally silent, the raging and roaring around Mt. Redoubt barely causes this one to snore.
The picture below is a shot, from a plane, of the two fumaroles that have melted all the heavy ice of the glacier. Obviously, something below is very hot and these are widening by the hour and have doubled in size in just two days. Ominously, these are both on the flank of the mountain, like with St. Helen’s seeing its action to the east side of the mountain.
Close up view of fumaroles below the 1989-90 dome. These were the most vigorously steaming fumaroles observed on 1/31/09.
Picture Date: January 31, 2009
Image Creator: Waythomas, Chris
Image courtesy of AVO/USGS.
Please cite the photographer and the Alaska Volcano Observatory / U.S. Geological Survey when using this image.
Vertical aerial photograph of Drift Glacier piedmont lobe. This part of the glacier was virtually all that remained after the 1989-90 eruption. Figure from: Waythomas, C. F., Dorava, J. M., Miller, T. P., Neal, C. A., and McGimsey, R. G., 1998, Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for Redoubt Volcano, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 98-0857, 40 p.
The above picture is from a previous eruption which melted some of the glacier. If the volcano does what Mt. St. Helen’s did, which is to blow up, all the glaciers can melt in a flash, a minute. These cause huge floods. The floods from the earlier event nearly wiped out some oil storage facilities which are regrettably very nearby.
2009-02-01 12:45:28 – Status Report
Unrest at Redoubt Volcano continues. Seismicity has remained relatively constant over the last 24 hours and is still well above background. A vapor plume is intermittently visible in the AVO web camera. It appears to rise no higher than the volcano’s summit.
An observation and gas-measurement flight to the volcano yesterday noted continued vigorous fumarolic activity and runoff of muddy water down the north flank of the volcano. Volcanic gas was detected; data analysis is ongoing to compare these measurements with previously measured gas output.
The picture above is a cam shot from this afternoon.
Description: Fierstein and Hildreth (2001) provide information about the magitude of the 1912 eruption at Novarupta and Katmai: “The world’s largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century broke out at Novarupta [see fig. 1 in original text] in June 1912, filling with hot ash what came to be called the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and spreading downwind more fallout than all other historical Alaskan eruptions combined. Although almost all the magma vented at Novarupta, most of it had been stored beneath Mount Katmai 10 km away, which collapsed during the eruption. Airborne ash from the 3-day event blanketed all of southern Alaska, and its gritty fallout was reported as far away as Dawson, Ketchikan, and Puget Sound [see fig. 21 in original text]. Volcanic dust and sulfurous aerosol were detected within days over Wisconsin and Virginia; within 2 weeks over California, Europe, and North Africa; and in latter-day ice cores recently drilled on the Greenland ice cap.”
One hundred years after the Napoleonic eruptions, we had the biggest eruptions of the 20th century. Since these happen on sparsely populated areas, unlike any volcano in the Pacific, few people think about this as being dangerous or difficult. Odd, isn’t it, how these huge eruptions happen right when great wars are being cooked or fought?
Below is today’s jet stream forecast. Anything blowing in Alaska will blow over to here, big time. On Friday, I noticed how the moon was yellow and aside from Venus and the biggest stars in the biggest constellations, virtually no stars were shining on a clear, cold, north wind night when it was below zero. Normally, the snow shines and glitters in just starlight! The stars glitter brilliantly. But I could barely see them. What is going on here?
Continuing Activity at Chaiten Volcano Posted January 24, 200
The volcano in Chile is still pumping out epic amounts of fine dust and chemicals. On top of this, the sun decided to go ‘cold’ and there are no sunspots at all. Click on the page below to see the ENSO satellite pictures showing how a La Nino tried to form but gave up as much colder water welled up due to colder than normal temperatures.
On top of this, the volcano, the sun, we are just beginning to exit a major NAO cold cycle:
The standardized 3-month running mean value of the NAO index. The departures are standardized using the 1950-2000 base period statistics.
One of the most prominent teleconnection patterns in all seasons is the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) (Barnston and Livezey 1987). The NOA combines parts of the East-Atlantic and West Atlantic patterns originally identified byWallace and Gutzler (1981) for the winter season. The NAO consists of a north-south dipole of anomalies, with one center located over Greenland and the other center of opposite sign spanning the central latitudes of the North Atlantic between 35°N and 40°N. The positive phase of the NAO reflects below-normal heights and pressure across the high latitudes of the North Atlantic and above-normal heights and pressure over the central North Atlantic, the eastern United States and western Europe. The negative phase reflects an opposite pattern of height and pressure anomalies over these regions. Both phases of the NAO are associated with basin-wide changes in the intensity and location of the North Atlantic jet stream and storm track, and in large-scale modulations of the normal patterns of zonal and meridional heat and moisture transport (Hurrell 1995), which in turn results in changes in temperature and precipitation patterns often extending from eastern North America to western and central Europe (Walker and Bliss 1932, van Loon and Rogers 1978, Rogers and van Loon 1979).
Strong positive phases of the NAO tend to be associated with above-averagel temperatures in the eastern United States and across northern Europe and below-average temperatures in Greenland and oftentimes across southern Europe and the Middle East. They are also associated with above-average precipitation over northern Europe and Scandinavia in winter, and below-average precipitation over southern and central Europe. Opposite patterns of temperature and precipitation anomalies are typically observed during strong negative phases of the NAO. During particularly prolonged periods dominated by one particular phase of the NAO, anomalous height and temperature patterns are also often seen extending well into central Russia and north-central Siberia.
I remember the 1969 cycle: it was very cold. It snowed in Tucson! I was living in a very poorly insulated house [zero insulation] and I bought several old mink fur coats and cut them up and sewed them into a huge blanket and slept under that. And I took another one and sewed it into the lining of a leather jacket. Boy, was it cold! In 1998, I remember that one well: we were still living in a tent on a mountain and all the firewood I gathered froze together and we couldn’t hammer it apart. So I had to take the dogsled, Duke and the chainsaws up into the woods and then sled the wood down, my son riding the sled loads for me. He went flying down the mountain!
This time around, our mountain is again, covered in ice. Today, it finally went above freezing and some of the snow melted! And it will melt tomorrow, too! About time, I say.
We went through the same thing, here. It is terrible. I saw the pictures of the destroyed trees. Once, I was driving cross-country during the smaller NAO winter of 1989 and my daughter and I stayed at a hotel in Rochester, NY, due to an ice storm. When we came outside, we were shocked to see most of the branches stripped off of all the trees around the hotel. Even 3/4″ of ice on trees can wreck terrible damage. And due to the volcanoes, I am expecting another year of this. Even if the one in Alaska doesn’t activate, the one in Chile is still hard at work. With no sign of stopping.
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