Major explosion at Mt. Redoubt volcano in Alaska

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Redoubt the morning on April 4.
Image: AVO.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reported today a "significant explosive event" had occurred at Mount Redoubt in Alaska. Lightning was observed within an ash cloud that formed over the volcano. As a result the AVO raised the alert level to 'warning' and level 'red' for aviation. The event occurred at 6:00 a.m. (AKDT).

According to the Observatory, seismic activity caused a major lahar, similar to a mudslide or landslide, to occur in the Drift River Valley. Inhabitants of the Valley were advised to seek high ground and take immediate precautions against flooding. So far there are no reports of injuries or evacuations. Wikinews has e-mailed the AVO for a statement regarding the event, but has yet to receive a reply.

"Strong, but diminishing seismic activity is continuing as of 07:35 AKDT," said the AVO on its website. At 9:18 a.m., the AVO reported that the event had ended. "Continuing seismic activity and web camera images indicate that low level emissions of steam, gas, and some volcanic ash are continuing to be emitted at the volcano at altitudes of [20,000 feet]." The AVO is sending a team to investigate the latest eruption which will include a fly-over to take readings on the gases being emitted.

The explosion sent volcanic ash which spread to "Homer, Anchor Point, and Seldovia" to an altitude of over 50,000 feet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued an advisory stating that ash fall can be expected from "Ninilchik Southward through mid morning." The advisory is scheduled to end at 10:00 a.m. (AKDT).

As a result of recent eruptions at Redoubt, half of the 6 million gallons of crude oil stored in the Drift Valley will be removed to a safer location. There is no word on when the move will take place. The storage facility is located just 22 miles from Redoubt.