Spurr rumor erupts

Observatory denies report of eruption

Posted: Friday, August 13, 2004

Contrary to rumors circulating around town, Mount Spurr is still sleeping. But not entirely soundly.

The Clarion received several calls from concerned citizens Thursday who had heard the volcano, located approximately 80 miles west of Anchorage across Cook Inlet, had erupted. However, those reports were only rumors, according to Chris Waythomas of the Alaska Volcano Observatory in Anchorage.

"None of the data we have our hands on shows anything took place," Waythomas said.

However, there was a report from a pilot who was on the ground near the mountain and said his plane had been covered with a light dusting of ash. Waythomas said it's not uncommon for ash to be spread around in areas near active volcanoes, and speculated that the ash covering the pilot's plane did not come from a recent eruption.

"Ash will get recirculated," he said.

However, the pilot's observation coupled with recent news reports indicating an increased level of seismic activity below the mountain led people to think that an eruption had taken place.

According to Waythomas, although Spurr has been showing some activity, there is no information to indicate that an eruption has occurred recently or is imminent.

"It has been active," he said. "But it's still not doing anything that looks particularly ominous."

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