03 April 2009

Don't doubt Mt. Redoubt

As many of you may or may not know, Mt. Redoubt has undergone a series of erruptions as of late. (I'm not sure how much coverage the news in the "Lower 48" has covered it.) While this has been exciting at times, I would like to point out that the Volcano is about 90 miles North West of Anchorage in a remote part of the state so there is not a huge threat from the erruptions themselves. The main concerns stem from flooding caused by ice melt from the volcano as well as ash fall which can be carried hundreds of miles by the wind and pose significant danger to aircraft flying through the affected area and if falling in sufficient quantities can lead to structure colapse, breathing problems, and eye irratation.

Part of my current assignment is to work these very issues from the Garrison Crisis Action Center (GCAC). In the GCAC we have software to conduct our own plume modeling in order to help predict the area at risk for ashfall, resources to mobilize in the event some disaster does occur, and plenty of coffee to help sustain the 24 hour operations pulled as neccesary. In reality, after the initial erruption, Mt. Redoubt faded to background noise as we returned to regular operations, even though it is still errupting regularly. The Alaska Volcano Observatory has the lead in any case and we support as necessary. The only ill effects I felt from Redoubt to date have been a couple days of sleep deprivation and some slight ash fall in Eagle River on Saturday. (Above pic: Ash fall on the hood of my car) You can click on the AVO link to get more info about Volcanoes and Mt. Redoubt in particular, as well as check out some great photos of recent as well as past explosions of Redoubt.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that plume modeling sounds so cool! I'm really jealous that you get to do that; I would love to be a part of that type of science. I think this is the first time EVER that I have been jealous of your job. (Probably the last time too.) So now that this is part of what you do, does this make you a Vulcan? Just a little Star Trek humor to lighten your day.

Your Sister
(The cool one)

cptjosh said...

I actually have no idea how to use the plume modeling stuff, we have a DA Civilian who sits hunched over in front of the machine like Quasi Modo all day. We feed him coffee and doughnuts to keep him alive and never let him out into the daylight.