jump to navigation

Drift River Oil Terminal vs. the volcano 26 March 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Alaska, eruptions, natural hazards, Redoubt, United States.
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Drift River Oil Terminal stands on Cook Inlet at the mouth of Drift River, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the vent of Redoubt Volcano. When there is eruptive activity of any magnitude at Redoubt, the melting of ice and snow produces lahars – volcanic mudflows – that descend the valley of the Drift River towards the inlet.

Lahars reached the oil terminal during the eruptions of 22-23 March 2009. These pictures were taken during an Alaska Volcano Observatory overflight on 23 March 2009. The captions are those provided for each image by the AVO. More pictures can be found on the AVO website.

Drift River Oil Terminal, 23 March 2009 (AVO/USGS).
View east of the tank farm at DROT [Drift River Oil Terminal]. Lahar deposits have ramped up to the top of the west (closest in this image) dike and spilled over in one location (left in photo). The south dike (on right) was overtopped in several places (dark deposits/stripes), water entered the service area around the end of the north dike (far left). (Photographer Game McGimsey, image courtesy AVO/USGS.)

Drift River Oil Terminal, 23 March 2009 (AVO/USGS).
View west of the tank farm at DROT. Lahar deposits have ramped up to the top of the west dike and spilled over in a couple of locations. Water entered the compound along an existing roadway (foreground). The north dike (center) ends behind the grove of trees in the right midground. (Photographer Game McGimsey, image courtesy AVO/USGS.)

Drift River Oil Terminal, 23 March 2009 (AVO/USGS).
View west of the runway, helipad, and service buildings at DROT. The lahar deposit is at least half a meter thick at the buildings. (Photographer Cyrus Read, image courtesy AVO/USGS.)

Drift River Oil Terminal, 23 March 2009 (AVO/USGS).
View north up the runway. Lahar deposit covers runway and helipad to a depth at least half a meter. (Photographer Game McGimsey, image courtesy AVO/USGS.)

Since these pictures were taken further eruptions have produced more lahars that have descended the Drift Valley. What effect these have had on the oil terminal is at present unknown.

For all our Redoubt coverage: Redoubt « The Volcanism Blog.

Global Volcanism Program: Redoubt – summary information for Redoubt (1103-03-)
Alaska Volcano Observatory – Redoubt – AVO information and updates for Redoubt
Alaska Volcano Observatory – main page for the AVO

The Volcanism Blog


1. Callan Bentley - 26 March 2009

Awesome. Bill Burton showed these images last night at the Geological Society of Washington; great series. I love how the lahar juuuuuuuuuust dribbles over the edge of the berm!

2. SHIRAKAWA Akira - 26 March 2009

I finally made a video of the eruption with footage from the Hut webcam:

Video clip with audio eruptions/explosion of Redoubt volcano, occurred on 2009/03/26 at 16:24 and 17:24 UTC. Footage is from the official Hut webcam. Playing speed is 80x realtime, sound is obtained from converted digital seismic traces of REF, RDN, RDT, DFR, NCT seismic stations. Lahars, pyroclastic flows and steaming from heated snow can be seen. Towards the end of this video (about minute 3:40) weather conditions start to clear up and the summit of the volcano become partially visible, revealing a column of gray ash.

Sound from RDN and REF stations has been denoised.
For audio spatiality, each station (channel) has been placed respectively, from the left to the right, in this order: NCT, RDN, DFR, REF, RDT. This partially reproduces their actual physical location.

3. SHIRAKAWA Akira - 26 March 2009

Err… sorry for the typos I made :)

4. Les Francis - 27 March 2009

Drift River Oil Terminal vs Volcano

No contest.

Rhetorical question? :)

5. Ross - 27 March 2009

I would be something to see a video of the lahars at their peak. By looking at the pictures on AVO’s website they must have been massive. There’s probably some cameras at the Oil Terminal that would show something.

6. theroachman - 27 March 2009

Right Ross

Did not even think of that. Security Cameras are most likely every where there.

The last readings are pretty interesting in their pattern. Seems there may be another eruption coming

7. Benjamin - 27 March 2009

Don’t know if anyone is checking this at night but those regular earthquakes are peaking at M1.5 every few minutes. That’s a lot of energy. Any ideas? Kind of looks like the dome building quakes on MSH a few years ago but much more energenic.

8. Boris Behncke - 27 March 2009

AVO reports the start of a new eruptive episode … this one’s been pretty well announced by seismicity, I’d say

9. John - 27 March 2009

Great photos – and with 6 million gallons of crude sitting in those tanks, I wonder what yesterday’s eruption produced, given the 65,000′ ash cloud it generated. See links to more photos of yesterday’s eruption, and Google images showing the locations of Redoubt, the Drift River valley and the oil terminal, on the SkyTruth blog: http://blog.skytruth.org/2009/03/mount-redoubt-volcano-and-drift-river.html

10. inletkeeper - 27 March 2009

It’s still not clear that anyone has a response strategy to address a catastrophic spill from the Drift River Terminal. While we all certainly hope for the dikes to withstand any ensuing lahars, seems prudent to have a plan (unless in-situ burning is the end game). See http://www.inletkeeper.org for more info.

11. Redoubt Volcano In Action « Lamentations on Chemistry - 27 March 2009

[…] Posted by gaussling in Geology, Science. trackback The Redoubt volcano has played havoc with some petroleum infrastructure (Drift River Oil Terminal) in Alaska. Lahar activity has flooded the runway. Mud […]

Sorry comments are closed for this entry