Mount Redoubt may have sat dormant for nearly 20 years, but it more than made up for lost time over the weekend.
The recent bout of activity began at 8:40 a.m. early Friday morning, sending a cloud 50,000 feet into the atmosphere, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported. Things quieted down for a few hours, until the volcano blew again at 5:35 p.m., followed by two more eruptions at 7:25 p.m. and 11:20 p.m.
The last of these eruptions brought with it an intense light show, as lighting illuminated entire clouds in a strobe-like manner, for more than an hour, and was visible from several locations around the central Kenai Peninsula.
"It's not unusual," said Stephanie Prejean of the AVO. "Lightning is fairly typical of large volcanic eruptions. We've even experimentally used lightning detectors to determine eruptions and we have lightning detectors on Redoubt."
Following the late Friday evening eruption, Mount Redoubt rested for 12 hours, then began blowing again.
It erupted four times Saturday, at 1:20 a.m., 1:40 p.m. 3:29 p.m. and 7:23 p.m., sending clouds of ash and steam anywhere from 35,000 to 45,000 feet.
The ash cloud following the 3:29 p.m. eruption bore a strong resemblance to an atom bomb cloud, and could be seen in several locations. Ash from the eruption was reported landing in Nikiski within an hour of the event.
Following the eruptions, the U.S. Weather Service issued an ash fall advisory in effect until 10 p.m. Saturday evening, from Kenai northward. People in areas of ash fall were advised to seal windows and doors, protect electronics, cover air intakes and cover open water.
Driving should be avoided or kept to a minimum during ash fall events. Pets and livestock should also be kept indoors as much as possible.
For more information on Mount Redoubt, visit the AVO Web site at http://www.avo.alaska.edu/activity/Redoubt.php.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at email@example.com.
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