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How far is Mount Redoubt from where you live?

Stay safe!

For the uninformed:

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.

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Redoubt is about 100 miles from Anchorage on the Aleutian Mountain Range. The absolute worst that will happen is Anchorage getting covered in ash and we're ready for it. Thanks for all of your concern guys. If it does erupt, I will keep you posted about what is going on.

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As soon as it's safe to go out, I will take pictures.

I would like to point out though that Alaska volcanoes are not like Hawaii volcanoes that ooze lava. Alaska volcanoes spurt ash and rock. So there is very little danger of me melting.

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As soon as it's safe to go out, I will take pictures.

I would like to point out though that Alaska volcanoes are not like Hawaii volcanoes that ooze lava. Alaska volcanoes spurt ash and rock. So there is very little danger of me melting.

And I am very thankful for this.

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Technically Redoubt is 100 miles from Anchorage by road. It is 60 actual miles from Anchorage. On a clear day I can see it across the inlet. I am looking at it now and it is huffing and puffing. It looks like it is going to erupt any day now. I'll keep you all posted with developments.

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Okay I promised to keep everyone up to date and I have an update. Mt. Redoubt has NOT erupted yet, but the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) has put out an advisory warning on two more volcanoes that are showing signs of unrest: Mt. Cleveland and Mt. Shishaldin. They are not showing signs of erupting very soon like Redoubt, but it is likely they could in the coming weeks and months.

I'll keep you posted.

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It is no longer a question of if Redoubt will erupt, it's a question of when. The other two volcanoes are in the same area as Redoubt, so they're kind of close. I can't see them across the inlet on a clear day, but their still close.

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We are all prepared, so I go about my everyday routine of going to work, going to school, going back to work, then home. I will continue to do so until the eruption at which point schools will be closed and I won't go to work until the ash is done falling and has settled. As a precaution, I carry a dust mask around with me in case the eruption occurs during the day while I am at work or school. My entire family each carries one around, my dad because he has asthma and my mom and I because of the nature of the work we do (health care and environmental sciences respectively).

Of course my fall back plan in case Mt. Redoubt erupts follows this very simple philosophy:

When in danger or in doubt,

Run around in circles and,

Scream and shout.

I happen to like my primary plan the best though. ;)

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Usually no more than a day or so, unless we get a huge gust of wind, then we're in business for ourselves. It all really depends on which way the wind shifts. The latest volcano report is that the steam vent that has been huffing and puffing is now the length of a football field.

For those who what constant updates, here is the link to the Alaska Volcano Observatory: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/

Funny thing is, I know volcanoes have erupt in my lifetime up here, but this is the first one I am well and truly aware of. The other two times were in 1989 with Mt. Redoubt (I was two) and 1992 with Mt. Spurr (I was five). At least those were eruptions that covered Anchorage in ash (I still have ash from Mt. Spurr that I collected out of my backyard stashed somewhere).

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I also live in Anchorage, but I only moved up here in 1999 so I have never experienced an eruption. I hope the wind blows away from Anchorage because I'm definitely not looking forward to the ash. I work at an animal shelter and if ash descends on Anchorage we'll have to close the shelter, keep all the dogs inside and spend all day rotating taking the dogs out to potty and then wiping off their paws and brushing out their fur.

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As soon as it's safe to go out, I will take pictures.

I would like to point out though that Alaska volcanoes are not like Hawaii volcanoes that ooze lava. Alaska volcanoes spurt ash and rock. So there is very little danger of me melting.

Of course, our volcanoes are pretty laid back about it - we've had a pretty much continuous eruption since 1983 on the big island, so I'll take the lava over ash and pyroclastic activity (Pyroclastic is just a neat word - as long as you're not underneath it).

Chris

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  • 3 weeks later...
If Erin and Nicole died in a volcano accident, I think it's safe to say you would never seen the award winning Tranquil Tirades team ever again.

Because James and I would then to have to declare war on Earth.

Two points. First, if the full extent of your war was to stop providing commentary on cult fiction then I think we might find the will to go on (after the extensive therapy and rehab of course). Secondly, accident? No such thing. :devil:

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