Redoubt Volcano Ash Cloud 9:28AM 3/26/09

When Redoubt volcano went off a few days ago, I was kind of bummed that it happened during the dark and in bad weather. We can see the volcano from our house! Except for that morning, we couldn’t.

Today, we can.

The biggest blow yet happened at a little before 9:30 this morning, and this time the cloud is headed our way – possibly arriving within the hour or sometime this afternoon. Hig’s trying to set up the camera to get some pics in case we do get ash, and going out to cover our shallow well with a tarp. I see a dark blue-grey cloud in the distance that looks a little suspicious…

Redoubt when it’s not erupting

Hig was snowshoeing around outside our house this morning, talking on the cell phone to a few folks across the country, in the middle of a teleconference…

“Grab the camera, the volcano is erupting!”

Redoubt Volcano Ash Cloud 9:34AM 3/26/09

I quickly glanced out the window to confirm it, ran out to pass him the camera, took a quick glance at the ash cloud, ran back into the house to get the baby, put on the wrap, and rushed back outside with fussing baby strapped on. Hig finished the teleconference while I bounced up and down on the snowy driveway, trying to keep Katmai calm while I took pictures. He may be named after a volcano, but he was not impressed. Maybe if he could see more than a few feet in front of his face…

Redoubt Volcano Ash Cloud 9:35AM 3/26/09

Hig and I (he’s a hazards geologist after all) think the eruption is exciting and cool, even if we do get ash. But of course, we do have to acknowledge that volcanic eruptions aren’t all fun and games. Redoubt’s been monitored pretty closely, and I think anyone who might possibly be flying has heard the news of the eruption and won’t fly into the ash. Most folks in the path have probably also heard, and have been expecting this for awhile. But there’s still the Drift River oil storage facility.

Redoubt Volcano Ash Cloud 9:38AM 3/26/09

Drift River Oil Terminal
When Redoubt erupts, the glaciers melt, sending huge lahars (volcanic mudflows) down the Drift River valley. We hiked through there in 2001, across the remains of the mudflows from the 1989-90 eruption. For some reason, the mouth of this river was chosen as the site for an oil-storage facility (don’t you think that the volcano might have come up as a risk when they were planning this? Probably, since during construction there was an eruption that stranded workers there.), and was nearly wiped out by the lahar. Maps of Drift River Terminal relative to Redoubt. If it is wiped out, we’ll have an oil spill on top of a mudflow headed into Cook Inlet. Crossing my fingers on that one.

Drift River lahar from 1989 eruption (pic 2001)