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Alaska Volcano Eruptions Keep Observatory Busy

December 17, 2008

Three Alaska volcanoes erupted in midsummer 2008. Cleveland, Okmok and Kasatochi volcanoes, all located in Alaska’s Aleutian Chain, made for a hectic 20th anniversary for the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Scientists from AVO and the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will share details of their research on North Pacific volcanoes, highlighting some of the recent volcanic eruptions in Alaska, at a variety of presentations at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco, Dec. 15-19, 2008.

Geophysical Institute director Roger Smith will present on the history and achievements of the Alaska Volcano Observatory on Thursday, Dec. 18. Smith’s talk will cover the observatory’s first test that occurred with the 1989 eruption of Redoubt Volcano. The eruption spewed ash to a height of 45,000 feet, jeopardizing a Boeing 747 aircraft that was in range and covering Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula with ash. Smith’s talk begins at 3:25 p.m. in Moscone Center West, Room 3003.

Jessica Larsen, a research assistant professor with the Geophysical Institute and the UAF College of Natural Science and Mathematics, will talk on the eruption of Okmok Volcano, located near Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Okmok erupted explosively July 12, 2008 considerably changing the surrounding landscape Larsen had worked on for years. Larsen will share images from her pre- and post-eruption visits to Okmok during her presentation on Friday, Dec. 19 at 8:30 a.m. in Moscone Center West, Room 2011.

Smith and Larsen are just two of many presenters from the University of Alaska Fairbanks who will focus on the advances of the Alaska Volcano Observatory and the 2008 eruptions of Cleveland, Okmok and Kasatochi volcanoes. Other talks and poster sessions will focus on AVO instrumentation, volcano seismology, volcanic infrasound, computer simulations of volcanic ash, and more.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory is a joint program between the Geophysical Institute at UAF, the United States Geological Survey, and the State of Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

Image Caption: Eruption cloud from Redoubt Volcano as viewed to the west from the Kenai Peninsula (USGS).

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