Alaskans brace for Redoubt Volcano eruption

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Principessa

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    Alaskans brace for Redoubt Volcano eruption

    By DAN JOLING
    Associated Press Writer

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Hardware stores and auto parts shops scored a post-holiday run of business this week as Anchorage-area residents stocked up on protective eyewear and masks ahead of a possible eruption of Mount Redoubt.

    Monitoring earthquakes underneath the 10,200-foot Redoubt Volcano about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, scientists from the Alaska Volcano Observatory warned that an eruption was imminent, sending experienced Alaskans shopping for protection against a dusty shower of volcanic ash that could descend on south-central Alaska.


    "Every time this happens we do get a run on dust masks and goggles," said Phil Robinson, manager of an Alaska Industrial Hardware store in Anchorage. "That's the two main things for eye and respiratory protection."

    Customer Ron Cowan picked up gear at the store Thursday before heading off to an auto parts store for a spare air filter. "I'm older now and I'm being a little more proactive than I was the last time," Cowan said.

    When another Alaska volcano, Mount Spurr, blew in 1992, he waited too long.

    "The shelves were cleared, so I thought I wouldn't wait until the last minute," Cowan said.

    Unlike earthquakes, volcanoes often give off warning signs that usually give people time to prepare.

    The observatory, a joint program between the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute and the state Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, was formed in response to the 1986 eruption of Mount Augustine.

    It has a variety of tools to predict eruptions. As magma moves beneath a volcano before an eruption, it often generates earthquakes, swells the surface of a mountain and increases the gases emitted. The observatory samples gases, measures earthquake activity with seismometers and watches for deformities in the landscape.

    On Nov. 5, geologists noted changed emissions and minor melting near the Redoubt summit and raised the threat level from green to yellow. It jumped to orange — the stage just before eruption — on Sunday in response to a sharp increase in earthquake activity below the volcano.

    Alaska's volcanoes are not like Hawaii's. "Most of them don't put out the red river of lava," said the observatory's John Power.
    Instead, they typically explode and shoot ash 30,000 to 50,000 feet high — more than nine miles — into the jet stream.

    "It's a very abrasive kind of rock fragment," Power said. "It's not the kind of ash that you find at the base of your wood stove."
    The particulate has jagged edges and has been used as an industrial abrasive. "They use this to polish all kinds of metals," he said.

    Particulate can injure skin, eyes and breathing passages. The young, the elderly and people with respiratory problems are especially susceptible. Put enough ash under a windshield wiper and it will scratch glass.

    It's also potentially deadly for anyone flying in a jet. "Think of flying an airliner into a sandblaster," Power said.

    Redoubt blew on Dec. 15, 1989, and sent ash 150 miles away into the path of a KLM jet carrying 231 passengers. Its four engines flamed out.

    As the crew tried to restart the engines, "smoke" and a strong odor of sulfur filled the cockpit and cabin, according to a USGS account. The jet dropped more than 2 miles, from 27,900 feet to 13,300 feet, before the crew was able to restart all engines and land the plane safely at Anchorage. The plane required $80 million in repairs.

    The observatory's first call after an eruption is now to the Federal Aviation Administration. The observatory's data collection has become far more advanced in 19 years, as has the alert system.

    "Pilots are routinely trained to avoid ash and in what to do if they encounter an ash cloud," Power said. "That kind of thing was not routinely done in the 1980s."

    The jet stream can carry ash for hundreds of miles. Ash from Kasatochi Volcano in the Aleutians last August blew all the way to Montana and threatened aircraft, Power said.

    Particulate is mildly corrosive but can be blocked with masks and filters.

    Power advises Alaskans to prepare as they would for a bad snowstorm: Keep flashlights, batteries and several days' worth of food in the house, limit driving and prepare to hunker down if the worst of an ash cloud hits.

    Merely going indoors is a defense against ash. The American Red Cross recommends wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants outside, plus goggles and glasses instead of contact lenses. If no dust mask is available, an effective respiratory filter is a damp cloth over nose and mouth.

    But potential danger all depends on the wind. Mount Spurr erupted three times in 1992. When it blew that June, only climbers on Mount McKinley — about 150 miles north of Anchorage — were affected, Power said. An August eruption dumped significant ash on Anchorage and a September blow sent ash about 40 miles north of Anchorage to Wasilla.

    Dust mask customer Elizabeth Keating said Thursday that if the volcano erupts, she expects to stay inside. She bought masks for her school-age grandchildren to carry in their backpacks.
    "I want to make sure they're carrying these in case they're en route," she said.
     
  2. HazelGod

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    OK, was it really necessary to post the full text of this article?

    Particularly in light of the fact that you offered no commentary on it whatsoever?
     
  3. Principessa

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    Jeez Louise could you be more picky and trite? Why does that bother you? I'm not hurting anybody and to the best of my knowledge posting an entire article does not violate the TOS. I'm sure if it were a real problem one of the Mods would have told me by now. :irked:

    Besides many people don't like to click links within a thread for various security reasons or perhaps just laziness. I don't know for certain.:confused: This way they know what the thread is about. :cool:

    There wasn't room, that's why I posted it in such a small font. Not for nothing but you tend to snipe at most of my commentary any way.:mad:
     
    #3 Principessa, Jan 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2009
  4. HazelGod

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    Font size has nothing to do with it...posts here are limited to a number of characters, irrespective of how small or cartoonishly large you elect to present them.

    But you know the easiest way to eliminate any concerns about not having room to comment? Just LINK the friggin' article in your post! That leaves all the room you could need to say whatever you like about the subject!




    Hardly an excuse for having nothing at all to say. :rolleyes:
     
  5. Skull Mason

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    I usually don't click links
     
  6. HazelGod

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  7. B_ClydeS

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    I don't like to be rude and make someone eat his/her own words, but you were the person in the thread about starting the Fetish Forum who said "we already have a bandwidth issue." Yet you post entire articles using up 100 or more times the bandwidth than if you had just posted the link. So, which is it? Is there a bandwidth issue or only with regard to adding the Fetish Forum in case it cuts into your ability to post whole articles that most of us already see on the ISP start-up/MOTD page every day?

    I know this sounds snarky or smarmy but inconsistencies make me loopier than normal. :smile:
     
  8. kalipygian

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    This story, from the local paper is written better, I think. These are nearly always only of concern to aircraft, the '92 Mt. Spur eruption was the only one in which the ash was significant on the ground. I still have a container of it I collected, it is magnetic.

    The part of the article on the '89 eruption that says silicon melted, the author probably probably means silica, and it probably mechanically adhered to the turbine rotor blades, the melting points of both are considerably higher.



    Redoubt's past points to likely eruption soon: Alaska News | adn.com
     
    #8 kalipygian, Jan 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2009
  9. Deno

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    no wonder Palin is in DC
     
  10. ZOS23xy

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    I can see the lava from here!
     
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