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Things settling down at Redoubt

The eruption at Redoubt might have not seemed that destructive, but the economic effects might be more significant than expected on Alaska’s economy.

Redoubt from Ninilchik, AK. Image courtesy of Calvin Hall.

It has been a few days since we’ve talked about Redoubt. Well, it might be because the volcano has settled down for the past week, to the point that AVO put the volcano back to Orange/Watch status last week and hasn’t had to go back to Red/Warning since. This is not to say the Redoubt is quiet, on the contrary, there is still elevated seismicity, an almost-constant steam/ash plume up to 15,000 feet / 5,000 meters and most importantly, the new dome (below) is still growing near the summit. The system has been actively degassing carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide at much as 10,000 tons/day and the USGS is quoted as saying that

“…these volcanic gas emission rates are among the largest ever measured in Alaska, though such high values are consistent with an openly degassing volcanic system that is actively extruding lava.”

The area of active dome growth on Mt. Redoubt. Image courtesy of AVO/USGS by Heather Bleick. Taken on April 5th, 2009.

Right now, the big concern with residents around the volcano will be how Redoubt might impact the upcoming tourist season in the Cook Inlet area. New explosions and eruptions might disrupt air travel to the area enough to affect the salmon fishing season in Alaska negatively. And, of course, we have the ongoing saga of the Drift River Oil Terminal. The shutdown of the terminal has derailed oil production in the Inlet and there is even talk of a permanent shutdown of the terminal. These two major economic resources for Alaska – tourism and oil – will be the stories to follow as Redoubt continues to rumble.


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