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.

IRIS Seismic Monitor


Alaska Volcano Observatory – About Alaska’s Volcanoes

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).

Figure 1.

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.


Alaska Volcano Observatory – Webicorder Map


Map of volcanoes with webicorders

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:

#3 Redoubt


Mt. Spurr is the nearest to the east and it has only a very few shudders, otherwise, it is totally asleep.


#2 Spurr


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.


#4 Iliamna


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.  


#5 Augustine


Further west, Mt. Katmai is as silent and still as Mt. Spurr.

#6 Katmai


Mt. Aniakchak is totally silent, the raging and roaring around Mt. Redoubt barely causes this one to snore.

#7 Aniakchak



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.  

AVO Logo


AVO Image

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.

AVO 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.



Alaska Volcano Observatory – Redoubt – Images

ORANGE/WATCH 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.


novarupta – Historic eruptions

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?


Jet Stream Position


Continuing Activity at Chaiten Volcano : Image of the Day

Continuing Activity at Chaiten VolcanoContinuing Activity at Chaiten Volcano  Posted January 24, 200


Chile’s Chaitén Volcano had been dormant for more than 9,000 years when it erupted in May 2008. In the months that followed, the volcano remained active, releasing plumes of steam and volcanic ash, coating local vegetation, clogging waterways, and inundating the nearby town of the same name. On January 19, 2009, an explosive dome collapse occurred at the volcano, according to a bulletin from the Volcanism Blog. A thick plume of ash and steam blew from the volcano’s summit approximately 70 kilometers (38 nautical miles) to the north-northeast, according to the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency.

On January 19, 2009, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured an image of Chaitén Volcano. Two versions of the image appear here: a close-up view of the caldera (top) and a view of the surrounding area (bottom). These false-color images include visible and infrared light. Vegetation is red, bare (possibly ash-covered) ground is brown, and water is deep blue. The plume from the volcano appears off-white, and it is thick enough to completely hide the land surface below.



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.

ESRL : PSD : SST Animation Page

SST Animation


On top of this, the volcano, the sun, we are just beginning to exit a major NAO cold cycle:


Climate Prediction Center – NAO: Plotted Historical Time Series

NAO Historical Time Series

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.


The Associated Press: Thaw comes slowly to storm-ravaged Kentucky


Thousands of National Guard troops swinging chainsaws cut their way into remote communities Sunday to reach residents stranded by a deadly ice storm, freeing some to get out of their driveways for the first time in nearly a week.

The soldiers went door-to-door handing out chili and beef stew rations to people cooped up in their powerless homes as authorities ratcheted up the relief effort for what Gov. Steve Beshear called the biggest natural disaster ever to hit the state.

“It’s going to be a long haul for us,” Gov. Steve Beshear said Sunday as he toured hard-hit areas in and around Elizabethtown. “We’ve thrown everything we have at it. We’re going to continue to do that until everyone is back in their homes and back on their feet.”


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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Filed under Geology, weather news

16 responses to “5.9 QUAKE NEAR MT. REDOUBT AREA

  1. I went out last night in Western Mass., and the stars were very dim. Even though the sky was dark. They were still there. Takes a little longer to get over our valley, I guess.
    I have been watching he global climate situation. The information is complex. Something odd is going on.

  2. notgonnatellya

    IRIS doesn’t show any 4.9 in the area…it shows a 5.9 from over a week ago, out in the bay at least 75 miles as the crow flies away from Redoubt, actutally almost on top of Augustine.

    Volcanoes affect the climate, true…but this current situation has far far more to do with the sun than anything on earth.

    Now, combine the low solar output with a series of volcanic aerosols, then you might have something…

  3. nah

    you know that it would be untru you know that i would be a liar if i were to say to you
    volcanos are cool

  4. notgonnatellya

    You missed correcting one of the 4.9s you had posted , changing them to 5.9

    Meanwhile, a volcano erupts and drops ash on Tokyo…

  5. Bear of Little Brain

    Burn the witch! Burn the witch!
    It snowed here, on the English south coast, yesterday. Thanks, Elaine. 😉 Forecast is for more, later. Then it may become warmer. However, weather forecasting here is, statistically, less accurate than simply assuming that the weather tomorrow will be the same as today’s.
    Listened to Don Coxe’s webcast yesterday. He’s been watching the sunspots, too. Being a financial/speculating bod, he’s looking for grain prices to take off if there is a late spring. I think he also said that two more months or so without sunspot activity will be the longest period since records began. (He’s also recommending gold and gold mining stocks, BTW.)
    [audio src="http://idorfman.com/COXE2009/Coxe20090130.mp3" /]
    if anyone’s interested (lasts about 45 mins.)
    Would I be panicking or prudent to plan for the onset of a prolonged cold period of many years?
    “The Maunder Minimum
    Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century.…… This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the “Little Ice Age” when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past. The connection between solar activity and terrestrial climate is an area of on-going research.”
    Loads of stuff on this via Google, of course, so I’ll leave it at that, other than to say that I wonder if the volcanoes, the sunspots, the solar wind (or lack of), the (heresy of?) an electromagnetic theory of the universe, the (heresy of?) the possibility of an expanding planet rather than tectonic plates wandering about, are all connected. Just musing on that, you’ll be thankful to know. 🙂

  6. emsnews

    We know so little about our own planet. Many years ago, I did this dance with 100 yards of silk and the stage was utterly black except for a projector which took pictures from our space explorations and lit them on the white silk. It started with pictures of the distant stars and galaxies and then moved towards the sun. To the music of Debussy’s Au Claire de la Lune. The end of the dance and the part where the audience begins applauding was when the earth appears just beyond the horizon of the moon and the last is of the whole earth.

  7. Bear of Little Brain

    If there is one image that changed our perceptions at a fundamental level, surely it must be that “Earthrise” photo (although, apparently, three were taken):
    On global warming 🙄
    Headline: “Mature Arctic Ivory Gull Seen in Massachusetts – first time in over a century”
    “Until this year, the last report of a fully mature ivory gull in Massachusetts was in the 1800s. Three immature birds were seen in the 1940s. In 1976, another immature bird had been spotted in Rockport.”
    “Ivory gulls normally stay well above Newfoundland, living on Arctic ice where they follow whales and polar bears to feed on the scraps and carcasses they leave behind after making a kill.”
    [Dated Jan 28, 2009]
    Don’t panic. Maybe the whales and polar bears have all died from heat exhaustion, forcing the gull to head south for food.

  8. Ray Mears

    What did that hunting land with the huge barbecue and the wooden folly on it sell for on 15 Jan?

  9. dgh

    After the “No Name” storm in the early 90’s (The Perfect Storm) we found an exhausted Northern Fulmar resting in our front yard (northwest of Boston). We had never seen one before so we did not know what to make of it. My mom helped us identify it. It wasn’t afraid of the dog. It finally tired of the dog’s attention and flew into a tree. It rested there for three days before it left.

    One can end up in the strangest places if one can fly.

    The pesky geese don’t go south for the winter anymore.

  10. paul

    “The Maunder Minimum
    Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century.…… This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the “Little Ice Age” when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past. The connection between solar activity and terrestrial climate is an area of on-going research.”

    Martin Armstrong mentions 300 year solar activity cycle too. I recommend his works


    http://www.contrahour.com/ItsJustTimeMartinArmstrong.pdf – very good lecture about current times

  11. emsnews

    My father predicted this ‘no sunspot’ activity in a paper he wrote 5 years ago.

  12. DeVaul

    Wow, thanks for the info on the night sky, Elaine. I was wondering why we could only see the moon and a large star (Venus?) underneath it every night despite the cloudless skies and frigid weather.
    This is the third ice storm to hit my home here in Kentucky in ten years. The first was in 1998 and again in 2003. Each time I lost power, but I have a fireplace to help me keep warm. One huge difference this time: no one helped anyone on the street, unlike in 1998. People with power simply ignored those without it. My new next door neighbor and his girlfriend had their weekly poker and beer drinking party on Friday night while my family froze in our house. They knew we had no heat and never asked us if we could let our daughter stay inside their home for even a few hours.
    It took me two days to realize that only half the people on my street lost power. I saw a teenage boy I used to care for at home with my son many years ago standing outside with a t-shirt and shorts while his dog peed. I had tried to help that family back in 1998 when they lost power. They just ignored us as well. I felt kind of angry.
    I learned a really important lesson on Imbolc. All this talk about people helping each other and coming together for the common good is bullshit. The same scenes played out all over town, with only relatives offering help or the Red Cross. So much has changed in ten years that I can hardly believe it. I was really disappointed. I gradually realized that in a real emergency, I was on my own. It will be “every man for himself”.
    I was evacuating my wife and three year old daughter on Sunday when a private contractor showed up and turned on the electricity in under ten minutes. I thanked him, but wondered where the utility trucks were. Last time, they were everywhere. We never saw one this time. We never saw any National Guard units or trucks or anything.
    I think some lies were told. This is what happens when the entire army is sent to the other side of the world.

  13. DeVaul

    Oh, I forgot to mention something. Before 1998, I have no recollection of these “ice storms”. It snowed a lot, and then the snow melted and froze again, creating ice, but I never saw an “ice storm” until 1998.
    I now expect them every 4-5 years. Most of our oldest trees are gone now and those that are left are badly damaged. I hope this is not the future, because most trees will not make it if they are hit like this every 5 years.

  14. kenogami

    Elaine wrote:
    ” To the music of Debussy’s Au Claire de la Lune. The end of the dance and the part where the audience begins applauding ”
    A small correction if I may. “Au Clair de la Lune” is a children song that is very old and all French children know: it is not known who composed it.


    Debussy’s piece is “Clair de lune”, part of Suite bergamasque. It is quite original and pleasant to the ear as you said.

  15. emsnews

    Yes, you are right, Kenogami. I was tired when I wrote that comment.

  16. valcanos really burst piss

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