Friday, November 11, 2005

Some volcanoes in Alaska may be affecting air traffic

Some of Alaska's volcanoes have been rumbling over the last year, only to go quiet again.
Keeping an eye on the many active volcanoes in the Aleutian Chains and along the Alaska Peninsula is a big job, but the Alaska Volcano Observatory does just that, eyeing the small day to day changes that indicated a quiet volcano is beginning to stir.

The level of seismic activity at Mount Spurr remains slightly elevated. Steaming was observed most of last week and could even be seen from town thanks to clear skies. AVO scientists conducted a flyover last Thursday just to check on things. While nothing indicates an impending eruption, after the 1992, blast that covered Anchorage in ash, scientists take note of all activity.
“Because it's at color code yellow, we keep an eye on it. But things would really start to happen in addition to what we're seeing now before we would expect an eruption,” said Michelle Coombs, USGS-AVO geologist.

Mount Veniaminof is also at color code yellow thanks to a minor ash emission, rising only a couple hundred feet, that occurred Friday. AVO scientists expect steam and ash emissions to continue on and off and that could threaten people and low-flying aircraft near the volcano.

“We always keep the FAA and Airlines in tune with what the volcanoes are doing. And Veni is one that can push ash up that might impact small aircraft or larger aircraft during bigger eruptions. So we'll definitely keep them informed. But right now, the puffs are really, really small,” said Coombs.

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