Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: I see your tornados and floods and I raise you earthquakes and erupting volcanos...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I see your tornados and floods and I raise you earthquakes and erupting volcanos...

(Picture courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory. Click to see a larger view)

From the Anchorage Daily News:
The Okmok Caldera erupted at 11:43 a.m., just hours after seismologists at the Alaska Volcano Center began detecting a series of small tremors.

The explosion flung an ash cloud at least 50,000 feet high, said geophysicist Steve McNutt.

Okmok is 60 miles west of the busy fishing port of Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island. Ash was reported falling in the region, McNutt said.

Ten people, including three children, were at Fort Glenn, a private cattle ranch six miles south of the volcano on Umnak Island, located in the western Aleutians. They were later picked up by a vessel responding to a Coast Guard request for emergency assistance.
(Satellite picture of ash cloud courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory.
Click to see a larger view)

As someone who has lived up here through 3 major ash falls, it's bad for everything/everyone. It sucks for normal people, it REALLY sucks for folks with heart or lung conditions and it's fatal for any car who doesn't have an owner astute enough to 1) not drive it while the ash is falling 2) continuously change the air/oil filters when there's ash on the ground. It can also be bad for any delicate instruments that suck air in to keep cool or running (i.e. anything electronic).

However, it's really, REALLY bad for any airplanes that might fly through it. We had a Korean jet whose pilot didn't speak English very well (contrary to the requirement to speak and understand English in order to fly over U.S. Airspace). He flew directly through an ash cloud. His fourth and final engine coughed and died as he had just finished his taxi on the Anchorage Airport runway during his emergency landing.

Talk about insanely lucky...

I'm as obsessive about volcanos and earthquakes as I am about tornados. I'll be posting more as I know, but you don't have to wait for me. Keep track on AVO's Okmok Volcano Page.

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Blogger Gigi said...

Hi there, I'm a part of the AK delegation and enjoying checking out your blog. I live in Dutch Harbor and my hubby and I were out on a 4.4 mile hike yesterday right as the eruption took place, unbeknownst to us. The day started out sunny but on the return, it was suddenly hazy, misty, and the air was full of tiny particles. Yep, we managed to get pretty covered in ash by the time we got back to the starting point. It's still very hazy today and there's still an advisory going on. Thanks for reporting on it! Jane B.

7/13/2008 11:12 AM  
Blogger Ishmael said...

There was another 747 that had all four of its engines conk out while in flight through an ash cloud. The pilots finally got them going after descending from 35+K ft.to 10K or so. Needless to say, an emergency landing in ANC was required. I think that was during the Redoubt eruption back in the 90s. Too damn scary for me.

But, on the upside of volcanoes, when I was a kid we'd walk the beaches and grab handfuls of rock to toss in the water to find pumice (that floats), which my mom told us was from the Katmai eruption. That was cool.

7/13/2008 12:28 PM  

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