March 23 2009

Mt. Redoubt Erupting

mt redoubtMt. Redoubt, near Anchorage, AK, is erupting.

Beginning around 10:38 PM local time on Sunday night, Mt. Redoubt, which has been under watch for quite some time, finally blew its top.  The mountain, which stands 10,200 feet tall, threw ash as high as 60,000 feet, causing some sir traffic to be rerouted or turned back.

If history tells us anything about this volcano, when it last blew in 1989, it continued to spew ash for four months.  Scientists have no clue how long it will continue to emit ash this time, but it could be for a similar amount of time again.  Ash is a known abrasive that can eat away at exposed mechanical parts, cause asthma attacks or any other host of health problems.  Luckily the winds are blowing it away from Anchorage, but other smaller towns are expecting to get a good coating of the stuff.

What concerns me, and prompts me to write this, was the news last week of undersea volcano off the coast of Tonga erupting.  While these volcanos are seperated by great distances, they are both part of the Pacific Ring of Fire: a series of volcanic trenches, arcs and belts that encircles the Pacific rim.  When one area of the Ring starts to have major activity, it is usually a good indicator that other parts of it will react with its own eruptions and earthquakes.

In short, don’t be surprised if there is news of other things happening in this region sometime soon.

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