The Sciences

Northern Pacific Update: Bezymianny Put on Red Alert for Eruption, Seismicity Noted at Iliamna in Alaska

Rocky Planet iconRocky PlanetBy Erik KlemettiMar 8, 2012 3:04 PM

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A few volcanoes along the northern Pacific rim are showing varying signs of potential eruptive activity: Bezymianny: KVERT placed this active Kamchatka volcano (right) on Red Alert status over the last few days after a sharp and sustained increase in seismic activity. They also noted a sizable increase in size and temperature of the thermal anomaly seen at the summit of the volcano (observed by satellite), suggesting that new, hot magma is very close/at the surface. Put these two things together and KVERT suggests that "strong ash explosions up to 43,000 ft (13 km) a.s.l. possible at any time during the next 24 hours." It has been about 11 months since the last explosive eruption at Bezymianny - and if anything does occur, you can see if the Bezymianny webcam is operating to catch a glimpse.Iliamna: Over in the lower Cook Inlet of Alaska, seismicity has increased at Iliamna, but not enough to raise the alert status at the volcano above Green. However, the Alaska Volcano Observatory did mention that they will be watching the volcano closely as it has experienced a few small earthquake swarms over the past three months. This seismicity is similar to what was observed in 1996-97, but that did not lead to an eruption and the last confirmed eruption of the volcano was back in 1876 (although there may have been smaller explosions as recently as 1952). If you like watching webicorders trace the seismicity, Iliamna does have real-time monitoring. In a related note, the state and local officials are resisting a plan to consolidate all its fighter aircraft in Alaska to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage from Eielson AFB near Fairbanks. Opponents of the move point out that this would put all these aircraft in danger if one of the volcanoes near Anchorage were to erupt.

Image: Bezymianny in Kamchatka by Yu. Demyanchuk/KVERT

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