Reawakening Redoubt?

The steam plume from the new dome on Redoubt, taken in January 2010. Image courtesy of USGS/AVO, taken by Dennis Anderson.

News comes out of Alaska that a small earthquake swarm has begun under Redoubt. This is the second such swarm since the volcano's 2009 activity ceased. Most of the seismicity appears to be near the summit of the volcano, which would suggest that magma might be moving underneath the new dome that is still steaming.

AVO describes the unrest:
"This morning, at roughly 01:44 AKDT (0944 UTC) a series of small repetitive earthquakes began occurring in the vicinity of the volcano's summit."

If new magma is rising, we might expect to see some phreatic explosions, following by ash plumes and/or a collapse of the new dome producing pyroclastic flows. AVO has returned Redoubt to "Yellow" status, meaning the volcano is showing signs of unrest. I'll post more details when they come.

{Hat tip to Randall Nix for bringing the swarm to my attention.}

More like this

Redoubt webcam but it has the same problem right now as the Iceland

The Redoubt trace on RSO_EHZ_AV looks very much like St Helens when it reawakened a few years ago.

So the dome from last year is still hot enough to produce pyroclastic flows?

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 05 Apr 2010 #permalink

Tick, tick, tick . . . .

The absence of deeper quakes makes me think that even though things could get dramatic (dome collapse, ash cloud, pyroclastic surge, and lahar) no new material is presently in transit to the surface from the chamber(s) below. A "pop" with no staying power.

@Volcanophile, yes I think the dome is still hot enough. It has been steaming very slightly since last year. I am not sure if it stopped or not, but I don't think it did completely.

@Mots? Any input?

Yea, another web cam to monitor.

By Dasnowskier (not verified) on 05 Apr 2010 #permalink

Diane, volcanoes can steam for years up here because our
temps are so low........ steaming not much help for precursers.
And if it's not up for a big eruption/ well that would be fine for me.


Diane, volcanoes can steam for years up here because our
temps are so low........ steaming not much help for precursers.
And if it's not up for a big eruption/ well that would be fine with me.


Thanks Mots. I figured the steaming was bcause of the cold. Anyway, I hope you don't get any ash your way any time soon. :-)

FYI the swarm continues:

2010 April 06 03:32:10 UTC

* Details
* Maps

Earthquake Details

* Tuesday, April 06, 2010 at 03:32:10 UTC
* Monday, April 05, 2010 at 09:32:10 PM at epicenter

Location44.599°N, 111.004°W
Depth5 km (3.1 miles)

* 11 km (7 miles) SE (132°) from West Yellowstone, MT
* 29 km (18 miles) ENE (67°) from Island Park, ID
* 54 km (34 miles) SSW (205°) from Gardiner, MT
* 432 km (268 miles) ENE (74°) from Boise, ID
* 434 km (269 miles) N (9°) from Salt Lake City, UT

Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 0.4 km (0.2 miles); depth +/- 2.9 km (1.8 miles)
ParametersNST= 29, Nph= 29, Dmin=8 km, Rmss=0.22 sec, Gp= 76°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=2

* University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Event IDuu00002622

* This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

Iceland, Alaska, Wyoming......that is a direct route to Oklahoma, Austin Texas as the Escarpment, on south to Old Mexico....possibly telling New Madrid hello in passing.....

If Wyoming really blows, there will be so much ash that will cover the southern half of US...most in the watch zone will die...

Is this truly ::: 2012.....the movie ??

By LuRose Williams (not verified) on 06 Apr 2010 #permalink

@LuRose No, it is just living in the age where the general public can follow all this in real time.

LuRose, I definitely confirm what Gordys said before. The 2012 movie has great animations but no whatsoever scientific value. It's a sci-fi movie. Plus, we're in 2010 not in 2012 ;-D

But seriously. Yellowstone is a volcano that could potentially generate a very large explosive eruption, like it has done in its past. Three of its eruptions in the past little more than 2 million years have been cataclysmic and their repetition today would severely affect a good portion of the U.S. and also have global (economic and possibly climatic) repercussions. The last such enormous eruption - unfortunately often called "supereruption", which is not a very adequate term - occurred about 650,000 years ago.

But Yellowstone has had hundreds of eruptions that nobody talks about because they've been much smaller, and many have occurred since the last great cataclysm, most recently 70,000 years ago. Chances that the next eruption of Yellowstone will be such a modest-sized event are about a thousand times greater than the next eruption will be another gigantic one. And chances that any one of us will see a new eruption in Yellowstone are millions of times inferior to the probability of getting killed in a car crash.

We should then also remember that Yellowstone is only one of a vast number of potentially active huge volcanic systems on this planet. It is the most famous and it lies in the heart of the U.S. which makes it more of a myth than any one of its companion volcanoes. But some of those other volcanoes are far more dangerous in my opinion because (a) they have erupted historically, sometimes repeatedly, and therefore seem to receive higher rates of magma supply than Yellowstone; (b) they are much more densely populated than Yellowstone and thus they will be a threat for millions of human lives even if they produce only relatively small eruptions. One of these lies in the country where I live, Italy; it's called Campi Flegrei, it has one-third of the city of Naples lying WITHIN its caldera, and it has produced two very massive explosive eruptions in the past 40,000 years.

So it's all a question of perspective, and if we want to understand how dangerous and how active Yellowstone really is, we must also understand what other volcanoes of the same type are there. This is not necessarily encouraging, but I would bet my whole stock of fine Etna red wines that we'll see many other volcanoes, even of those larger ones, erupt before something serious happens at Yellowstone.

To underscore Boris' sensible explanation, please see Smithsonian's Global Volcano Program (GVP) Yellowstone volcano summary page

There have been no magmetic Yellowstone eruptions since the late Pleistocene. Subsequent eruptions in the early Holocene have been hydrothermal. It is also the reason why the USGS was said repeatedly that these swarms are hydrothermal in nature and that there is little reason to fear a cataclysmic magmetic eruption.

Yellowstone has the distinction of being one the worlds largest hydrothermal geyser systems.

The pattern on the RSO Webicorder is similar to one seen occasionally during last year's eruption - sort of a stuttering. A couple times early in the eruption, it was followed by an explosion, but sometimes it wasn't. Just now, the frequency has really dropped, but that could have dual meanings, too. It can't be easy, having to monitor volcanoes and issue hazard warnings on them!

Also, AVO is the only volcano observatory to tweet updates (AFAIK). They started doing this last year. If you're on Twitter, just follow them: In between eruptions, there are occasional treats, like this:

Maybe this Joker is going to live up to his rep sometime soon, once again.

âThe thing that a lot of people cannot comprehend is that Mother Nature doesn't have a bullet with your name on it, she has millions of bullets inscribed with 'to whom it may concernâ

I'm looking forward to seeing the dislocation map for the upper baja region. guessing that it must be up to a meter in some places. Has anyone seen this posted yet?

The latest statement from AVO is up.

"The rate of shallow, small earthquakes at Redoubt Volcano has decreased markedly since yesterday. The Aviation Color Code remains YELLOW and the Volcano Alert Level remains ADVISORY.

Satellite and webcam views of Redoubt have been obscured by clouds.

AVO continues to monitor the volcano closely and will attempt to overfly the volcano and measure gases later this week if the weather improves"

By Brian in Bellingham (not verified) on 06 Apr 2010 #permalink

2010 April 06 22:15:02 UTC

* Details
* Maps
* Tsunami

Earthquake Details

* Tuesday, April 06, 2010 at 22:15:02 UTC
* Wednesday, April 07, 2010 at 05:15:02 AM at epicenter

Location2.236°N, 97.046°E
Depth46 km (28.6 miles)

* 204 km (127 miles) WNW (287°) from Sibolga, Sumatra, Indonesia
* 233 km (145 miles) SW (230°) from Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia
* 410 km (255 miles) SSE (152°) from Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
* 526 km (327 miles) W (259°) from KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia

Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 7.4 km (4.6 miles); depth +/- 11.6 km (7.2 miles)
ParametersNST= 58, Nph= 63, Dmin=330.6 km, Rmss=0.81 sec, Gp= 58°,
M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=6

* U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center:
World Data Center for Seismology, Denver

Event IDus2010utc5

* This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

@ doug mcl-

The SCSN said, "Overall, the location and focal-mechanism of the earthquake are consistent with the shock having occurred on this fault system. We have received initial measurements from field geologists from the Centro de Investigación CientÃfica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, BC. (CICESE) who have observed surface rupture associated with the 2010 event at 32.578621° ; -115.725814°. Highway 2 was offset at this location by a total of about 1.2 meters across a zone of fractures that offset the road towards the right, and with the east side also dropping downwards. Aftershocks appear to extend in both directions along this fault system from the epicenter of the 4 April 2010 event."

Further on down in the article, it discusses the same surface ruptures in more detail:

"There have been reports that ground deformation due to the earthquake has occurred, with displacement observed on Highway 2 at 32°34'43.04"N, 115°43'24.19"W. The offset had 12 breaks total, each measuring between 10-20cm, with a cummulative offset of 1.2 meters, with some east-down, but mostly right-lateral strike-slip."

no pics yet :-(

@Doug C., thank you for the info and the link. That would have produced quite a lot of damage and injury in a more densely populated area. I'm curious how much offset is produced in the initial quake and how much additional offset result, if any, from the after shocks.

And Redoubt seem to be going all harmonicy in the last few minutes too! I wish the weather was clearer.

Almost 900 shakes on the USGS Global EQ Map. The Mag5+ list is impressive. Large MAR quake north of Jan Mayen.

Just checked the CA quake map for S CA and they had 1111 aftershocks from the Baja quake. Quite a few.

Does anyone know what happened to the geothermal plant there? I have no news about it, but I bet the is some serious damage there.

Wondering if the 5.3 EQ in the Aleutian chain yesterday was Cleveland coming into another eruptive activity period.

@Passerby, check with AVO, though they don't monitor Cleveland, they will report something if they can see what is going on.

AVO is the only US volcano observatory that's on Twitter; they started in last year during Redoubt's eruption: (AVO has this up on their Redoubt page now, too.) It's nice because not only do you get updates immediately if you're following them, you also get occasional extras, like links to some pictures and, my favorite thus far this year, playing cards:

Looks like the Joker is in play again.

On RSO, at , the stuttering small-quake activity is still down, but more quakes are "red-lining," i.e., stronger. Pressure building, perhaps?

This from todays AVO update on Redoubt volcano. Appears to be quieting down.

60°29'7" N 152°44'38" W, Summit Elevation 10197 ft (3108 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

The swarm of small, shallow earthquakes that began Monday, April 5 at Redoubt Volcano has greatly decreased over the past several days, and is approaching background levels of activity. A gas measurement and observation flight on Thursday, April 8 showed no disruption of the lava dome and measured gas levels were consistent with a passively degassing and cooling dome. It appears less likely that this current episode of unrest will lead to resumed eruptive activity. Although the volcano remains somewhat restless, we would expect a greater degree of seismic activity, significantly elevated gas emissions, and melting of snow and ice on the lava dome if conditions were escalating toward eruption.

The Aviation Color Code remains YELLOW and the Volcano Alert Level remains ADVISORY. AVO will continue to issue daily status reports as long as the Aviation Color Code and Alert Level are elevated.

Heavily ice-mantled Redoubt volcano is located on the western side of Cook Inlet, 170 km (106 mi) southwest of Anchorage and 82 km (51 mi) west of Kenai, within Lake Clark National Park. Redoubt is a stratovolcano which rises to 10,197 feet above sea level. Recent eruptions occurred in 1902, 1966-68, 1989-90, and 2009. The 1989-90 and 2009 eruptions produced mudflows, or lahars, that traveled down the Drift River and partially flooded the Drift River Oil Terminal facility. The ash plumes produced by the 1989-90 and 2009 eruptions significantly disrupted air traffic and resulted in minor or trace amounts of ash in the city of Anchorage and other communities in south-central and interior Alaska.

By Doug Merson (not verified) on 09 Apr 2010 #permalink

My my my, I can feel the nostalgia. Those Golden days are still worth remembering. You presented a true picture of Alfred Rugby and i hope they will keep our heads high

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