Fuming Augustine is good news!
The steady eruption of ash and steam from Augustine Volcano may be averting a more powerful eruption, said scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory. The release of gas, rock and ash continued on Tuesday, sending an unbroken plume into the skies of south-central Alaska for the fourth consecutive day.Updated: Feb 02, 2006 12:07 IST
The steady eruption of ash and steam from Augustine Volcano may be averting a more powerful eruption, said scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory. The release of gas, rock and ash continued on Tuesday, sending an unbroken plume into the skies of south-central Alaska for the fourth consecutive day.
“This current material shows the vent is staying open and letting off pressure continuously, which is suggestive that a very large explosion is less likely,” said Michelle Coombs, a geologist with the US Geological Survey.
With winds shifting the ash away from major air routes, airlines cautiously resumed dozens of flights that had been canceled starting this weekend. Officials said the threat to public health is low because the concentrations of ash are minimal near ground level.
Winds are blowing ash at speeds of 10 to 15 10 mph slowly north past the snowy volcanic peaks of the Alaska Range, likely no higher than 10,000 feet, said Sam Albanese, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Anchorage.
Minimal ash fall was expected over Kamishak Bay and northward to the western Cook Inlet, but will likely stay clear of Anchorage, just a few dozen miles (kilometres) to the east. Light ash also was expected to dust the western Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Alaska Airlines on Tuesday resumed all flights to and from Kodiak Island and Anchorage.
The airline had canceled all Anchorage flights Monday night as a precaution because of the ash. A total of 36 flights were affected. After a 10-day lull, Augustine resumed erupting Friday, with blasts of ash reaching heights of almost six miles, said scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.
Scientists believe a new vent opened during or following Augustine’s most recent series of eruptions in mid-January, allowing larger debris to escape. The series of explosions in mid-January had sent light ashfall into communities several dozen miles east and west of the volcano.
No communities reported anything more than a minor dusting of ash during either set of eruptions. Before this month’s emissions, Augustine had last erupted in 1986, dimming the skies over Anchorage with a thick cloud of ash.
First Published: Feb 02, 2006 12:07 IST