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Redoubt a-rumbling 5 May 2009

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Seismicity at Redoubt is elevated, reports the Alaska Volcano Observatory, with ‘frequent rockfall signals, numerous small earthquakes, and low levels of volcanic tremor’. Even at reduced scale the pattern is clear on the RSO webicorder trace, as is the increasing intensity of the seismic activity:

RSO webicorder trace, 5 May 2009 (Alaska Volcano Observatory)

This type of seismicity is the language spoken by an actively-growing and unstable lava dome under increasing stress. The lava dome may well be headed for a collapse in the near future: it’s worth keeping an eye on the AVO Hut Webcam.

Further information from the AVO is that the volcano is producing a constant steam plume to about 4600 metres (15000 feet), with rockfalls on the dome putting a little diffuse ash into the emissions. Incandescence was visible after dark on the lower portions of the dome yesterday.

UPDATE. The latest Volcanic Activity Notice from the AVO (2009-05-05 06:59 AKDT) reads:

Current activity at Redoubt volcano suggests that a significant explosive event is likely, though not certain, in the coming days. This event could occur at any time with little or no warning. Since about May 2 shallow earthquake activity beneath the actively growing lava dome of Redoubt volcano has been slowly increasing. The growing lava dome is becoming increasingly unstable.

Should a significant explosion occur, the event will likely produce high altitude (>30,000 ft ASL) ash plumes, trace to minor ash fall in parts of south-central Alaska, lahars in the Drift River Valley, and pyroclastic flows in the immediate vicinity of the volcano.

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

Information
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

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Redoubt stirs as lava dome continues to grow 4 May 2009

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Mount Redoubt had a restless Sunday, showing a marked increase in seismicity which included ‘more frequent rockfalls and small LPs [Long Period earthquakes]’, reports the Alaska Volcano Observatory. This kind of seismic pattern is consistent with the lava dome coming under increased structural strain as it grows – the volcano may be moving towards a dome collapse. The presence of ‘a persistent thermal anomaly’ at the dome indicates that fresh magma is still being introduced, feeding active growth.

The latest AVO bulletin for Sunday (2009-05-03 21:08:50) reported that ‘A vigorous steam plume, rising to altitudes up to 18,000′ [5500 metres] above sea level, has been visible in webcam images throughout the day. Currently, this plume contains small amounts of ash based on web camera views, satelite data, and a pilot report. Seismic activity has also increased in the last 24 hours’.

Recommended viewing: Akira Shirakawa has compiled a neat video showing the growth of Redoubt’s lava dome from 16 April to 1 May, which can be seen at YouTube (HD version also available).

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

News
Activity at Redoubt increasing as steam plume grows – KTUU, 3 May 2009
Alaska volcano shows increased unrest – Associated Press, 4 May 2009

Information
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

Redoubt: Drift River oil removal successful 1 May 2009

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The second round of oil removal from the Drift River Oil Terminal beneath currently-erupting Mount Redoubt has been successfully completed. From a U.S. Coast Guard news release:

About 60 percent of the initial 6.2 million gallons (148,000 barrels) of the stored oil in tanks 1 and 2 at the Drift River Terminal was removed in the April 6 draw down. That volume of oil has been further reduced to about 7 percent of the initial 6.2 million gallons. At least 5,040,000 gallons (120,000 barrels) of water was pushed back into the tanks from the Mississippi Voyager to ensure the tanks do not become buoyant in the event of a flood.

The news release begins by saying that ‘The potential threat posed by the stored oil at the Drift River Oil Terminal has been reduced approximately 93 percent’. It seems, however, that those running the terminal regard the current shutdown as temporary and plan to clean it up and reopen it once the present eruptive phase at Redoubt is over, thus getting the potential threat back up to 100 percent again.

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

News
Update: Additional oil successfully removed from Drift River – U.S. Coast Guard news release, 30 April 2009
Additional oil successfully removed from Drift RiverAlaska Reports, 30 April 2009
Drawing downFairbanks Daily News-Miner, 1 May 2009

Information
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

Remaining Drift River oil to be removed 29 April 2009

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The Drift River Oil Terminal, the oil storage facility unwisely situated at the foot of Mount Redoubt, is to be drained of the remainder of its oil.

Around 3.7 million gallons of oil was removed on 7 April, leaving about 2.5 million gallons, mixed with water, still in the tanks. A tanker will arrive at the terminal today to receive the remaining contents of the tanks. The transfer process is expected to take 48 hours. When the transfer is completed, water will be pumped in to stabilize the tanks. There are no plans to clean the tanks, because the site is too dangerous for people to be on site for the length of time the cleaning would take. ‘We are not prepared at this time to put our people on the ground for that duration whilst the volcano remains active’, said Rod Ficken, vice-president of Cook Inlet Pipeline Company, in a sentence impressively packed with redundant phraseology.

The committee overseeing operations at the terminal announced on 21 April that it would not be re-opening any time soon.

For clear evidence from satellite images of just how vulnerable the current location of the Drift River Oil Terminal is, take a look at these images at the Cook Inletkeeper site.

Redoubt itself is still at Orange/Watch status, and is busily building its lava dome which, wreathed in steam, is now very prominent and well-defined (see picture below).

Redoubt lava dome, 28 April 2009 (photographer Game McGimsey, AVO/USGS image)
The lava dome growing in the summit crater of Redoubt volcano since April 4 covers the entire crater floor. Roiling, steaming water is ponded along the south and east margins of the dome. This view is from the south. Photographer Game McGimsey, image courtesy AVO/USGS. [source]

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

News
Oil to be removed from tank farm near volcano – KTUU, 21 April 2009
Oil to be removed from tank farm near volcanoBusiness Week, 21 April 2009
More oil pulled from Drift River tanks – KTVA, 29 April 2009

Information
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

Redoubt: Drift River Terminal to stay shut down 22 April 2009

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Lahar deposits in the lower Drift River valley, north of DROT (photographer Chris Waythomas, image courtesy AVO/USGS)
Lahar deposits in the lower Drift River valley, north of the Drift River Oil Terminal, 4 April 2009 (photographer Chris Waythomas, image courtesy AVO/USGS). [source]

From the Anchorage Daily News comes a report that the Drift River Oil Terminal, shut down on 23 March and partially emptied of oil on 7 April because of the eruption of Mount Redoubt, will not be back on line any time soon.

With Redoubt volcano still active and potentially explosive, officials have given up trying to restart the nearby Drift River oil terminal anytime soon, indefinitely idling about 10 oil platforms in Cook Inlet.

‘It will take as long as Mother Nature decides’, said a Coast Guard spokeswoman, Petty Officer Sara Francis. It’s unlikely Drift River can reopen before early fall, she said.

All this can come as no surprise to anyone who takes a moment to look at a map showing where the terminal is located. What is surely most remarkable is that anyone has been trying to ‘restart’ the terminal with the eruption ongoing, or is now talking about this terminal being re-opened at all.

News
Active volcano may idle Inlet platforms until fallAnchorage Daily News, 21 April 2009

Information
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

Redoubt update, 21 April 2009 21 April 2009

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Crater of Redoubt volcano, 16 April 2009 (photographer Game McGimsey, image courtesy AVO/USGS)
Crater of Redoubt Volcano, showing the lava dome, 16 April 2009 (photographer Game McGimsey, image courtesy AVO/USGS). [source]

Redoubt is still at Orange/Watch. The Alaska Volcano Observatory notes that seismicity remains elevated, and that a plume of water vapour and gas is moving to the south-west. A gas measurement flight was carried out yesterday and the AVO reports that ‘scientists observed little to no evidence of significant lava dome growth since the last observations 4 days ago’.

FLIR image of Redoubt summit showing thermal signature of the lava dome (Rick Wessels/Jonathan Dehn, courtesy AVO/USGS and AVO/UAF-GI)
FLIR image taken by Rick Wessels (USGS) draped on top of a Google Earth representation of Redoubt from April 16 2009. The lava dome is seen at the summit, warmer colors indicate higher temperatures. The location of helicopter is on the left at about 2.25 km from the dome. The dome temperatures recorded today were about 420°C, which match well to derived temperatures from thermal satellite imagery. Extrusion rates were estimated for this image and a NOAA satellite image 30 minutes later to be about 0.8 m^3/s. [source]

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

Information
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

Zooming in on Redoubt 20 April 2009

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A beautiful clear day on Cook Inlet today, and some wonderful views on the various webcams that the Alaska Volcano Observatory has trained on Mount Redoubt. The zooming in of the Hut Webcam on the area of the extruding lava dome is particularly stunning. The dark mass in the upper middle of the image is the lava dome, looking sinister as lava domes always do:

Redoubt - AVO Hut Webcam, 20 April 2009, 07:53

The more conventional Hut Webcam view is also beautiful today:

Redoubt - AVO Hut Webcam, 20 April 2009, 06:50

The DFR Webcam is giving a lovely crystal-clear image:

Redoubt - AVO DFR Webcam, 20 April 2009, 08:19

And finally the Cook Inlet camera gives a nice wide vista of the erupting volcano:

Redoubt - AVO CI Webcam, 20 April 2009, 07:06

The news from Redoubt is not itself dramatic. The eruption is continuing, the lava dome is building, there is a thermal anomaly at the dome and a continuous, low but vigorous steam plume.

[Hat tip to commenter theroachman for drawing my attention to the Redoubt webcams.]

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

Information
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

NASA Earth Observatory – Drift River Oil Terminal 9 April 2009

Posted by admin in Alaska, eruptions, NASA Earth Observatory, natural hazards, Redoubt, United States.
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Lahars near Drift River Oil Terminal, 4 April 2009 (NASA EO-1 image).

At the NASA Earth Observatory, the Image of the Day for 9 April 2009 is very timely: lahars from Mount Redoubt near – or, to be more precise, all around – the Drift River Oil Terminal (small version above). The image was captured on 4 April 2009 by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite. The detail view below, taken from the full-size image (4200 x 6500 pixels, 5MB), shows a close-up of the terminal, surrounded by brown volcanic mudflows that have descended the Drift River valley. The dyke around the storage tanks has largely kept the lahars at bay and the tanks themselves remain secure, but installations beyond the defences such as the airstrip (lower part of the image) have been covered by volcanic deposits.

Lahars near Drift River Oil Terminal, 4 April 2009, detail view (NASA EO-1 image).

The Drift River image comes with a detailed and informative caption by Michon Scott, and the NASA Earth Observatory team have been kind enough to credit this blog as a source of information, which is always appreciated.

NASA Earth Observatory: Lahars near the Drift River Oil Terminal (9 April 2009).

[Image credit: NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 Team.]

The Volcanism Blog

The Big Picture: Redoubt 7 April 2009

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The Boston Globe has some stunning, and varied, images of Redoubt’s current eruptive activity in its ‘Big Picture’ feature. Lots of wonderful volcano pictures to feast your eyes upon: Alaska’s Mount Redoubt – The Big Picture.

Montage of Redoubt volcano 2009 eruption images (all courtesy AVO/USGS)

[Tip of the hat to Dr Erik Klemetti at Eruptions.]

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

The Volcanism Blog

Redoubt: AVO lowers alert levels, Drift River oil removed 7 April 2009

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The Alaska Volcano Observatory reports no change at Redoubt, with the lava dome busily growing, low-level tremor and occasional small earthquakes, and a continuous steam plume to under 4500 metres (15000 feet).

The alert level was lowered yesterday afternoon to Orange/Watch. The AVO’s Volcanic Activity Notice about this change (2009-04-06 14:55:36) reports:

The eruption of Redoubt continues with varying intensity of ash and lava production from the summit crater. Additional significant explosive events with accompanying ash clouds, ash fall, and mudflows are possible and can occur with little or no warning. Visual, satellite, and seismic observations indicate that a lava dome is again forming in the summit crater.

The character of current seismicity suggests that a sudden explosive eruption is not imminent. Present levels of activity are emitting only a very minor amount of ash that poses a hazard of limited aerial extent. Consequently, AVO is lowering the Aviation Color Code to ORANGE and the Alert Level to WATCH. AVO will maintain 24/7 operations in order to quickly detect renewed significant explosive activity and other hazardous phenomena.

It seems that the transfer of some of the oil in the Drift River Oil Terminal tanks has been completed. The Anchorage Daily News (which has provided excellent coverage of this issue) reports that the tanker Seabulk Arctic completed taking on 3.7 million gallons of crude on Monday and has departed for Nikiski terminal where the oil will be delivered. About 2.5 million gallons of oil and sludge remains at Drift River.

The Cook Inletkeeper site has more information about the Drift River Oil Terminal situation here.

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

News
Drift River oil moved: alert level loweredAnchorage Daily News, 6 April 2009

Information
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