Redoubt watch: Shaking it up

Posted: Monday, March 30, 2009

Mount Redoubt is dancing to a different beat these days, and it's hard for scientists to tell when it will bust another move.

"Seismicity remains elevated but we can't predict beyond that. It's not following an absolute pattern," said Kate Bull, a volcanologist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

"We're seeing something that's a little bit of a different beast," she said, comparing Redoubt's latest bout of eruptions to those seen in its series between December, 1989 and April, 1990.

"In '89-90, there was a large explosion at the beginning that cleared the vent followed by several episodes of eruptions. There were 14 domes that grew and were blown apart. This time we're not seeing that," Bull said.

Scientists have actually been able to see very little of the volcano so far, at least in terms of visual observations.

Stormy weather has kept the mountain's crater out of sight, so Bull said she and her colleagues weren't sure what exactly was going on.

Though Redoubt has been blowing out ash for a week now, Bull said the AVO is still analyzing data gathered from the mountain's activities.

The mountain has erupted eighteen times as of Sunday evening, the most recent occurring at 7:23 p.m. Saturday, and earthquake activity has continued to be classified as elevated.

Bull said she was unaware if any of Saturday's eruptions had sent more lahars down the Drift River Valley.

Dante Petri can be reached at

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