Monday, February 2, 2009

Mt. Redoubt and Mt. Spurr


I went through a couple of Mt. Redoubt's eruptions. Nothing spectacular, but there are issues that one must be aware of.
Pumice ash is very corrosive, being jagged and very sharp. Not good for the lungs or the intake for any engine. Aircraft windshields and cabin windows are easily scored by pumice ash. It is a good idea to wear a mask when outdoors when the stuff is falling. Changing the air filter in the car or truck is something one should do at least once a week, more often, depending upon the mileage one is accruing.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory has a web cam on an oil rig in Cook Inlet, courtesy of UNOCAL.
I can't see Mt. Redoubt from my house, but we can see Spurr on a very clear day. The Alaska Volcano Observatory has a webcam for Mt. Spurr:
Mt. Spurr is another volcano in the Alaska Range that has recent activity and is always one to be aware of.
A volcano eruption is a pretty impressive event. The last time Redoubt blew, it spewed ash all over the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and down the Kenai, covering the Anchorage bowl. Pretty impressive. Blocked the sun for a couple of days and stopped air traffic into and out of Anchorage and Elmendorf AFB.
The last eruption of Redoubt was in the Spring and there was snow on the ground. Snow, soon covered by ash.
My wife teaches third grade for Anchorage School District and she is looking forward to the event so that she can acquire more ash for science exhibits and examination by the kids.
Interestingly enough, given the non stop press on the potential for an eruption by Redoubt, some of the kids are pretty concerned and very afraid. I think the press can knock off the gloom and doom and report the event when it happens, and otherwise, inform, but do not over sensationalize. There is no excuse for making more out of something than what it actually is.
There is a definite difference between reporting the news and sensationalizing to no good purpose, other than ratings.
The eruption of Redoubt is not something that is life threatening for anyone in my area. Were the mountain to do a "Krakatoa", then Kenai might suffer the blast shock, but is still far enough away that the damage would be minimal. The biggest danger is visibility when the ash comes down and any potential damage from sucking the ash into one's lungs or the intake of an aircraft or vehicle engine.
Use common sense about all of this, and everything will be fine.

Volcanoes are a fact of life in Alaska.
Learn to live with the beast and one is fine. Worrying about something that may or may not happen is foolish. Sooner or later a volcano someplace in Alaska poofs some ash. Some are doing so continually. Mountain ranges in Alaska have many volcanoes. Alaska is on the "ring of fire" and tectonically active.
Volcanoes do not worry me. Another 9.2 earthquake does. We are way overdue for a major earthquake event in the Anchorage bowl and my area.
When Redoubt blows, it will be something to remark upon, put up with and nothing more. A unique event for the kids to understand.
Once one has been through a 9.2 earthquake and volcanic events, one appreciates just how insignificant the human race is and how little impact we have on this ball of dirt.
How arrogant are those who believe that we are the causation of "global warming". Given that it is now -15F at my place right now, I am very much looking forward to the impact of global warming!

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