Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ashes, Ashes

Photo by Heather Bleick


Photo by Neil Sutton

So, you might have heard: one of our volcanos has been VERY active these past few weeks. Mt. Redoubt, just about 100 miles away from Anchorage, has been huffing and puffing and spewing ash all over Alaska. Depending on the wind and the height of the ash cloud, it hits various sections of Alaska each time it blows. At first, there was mild seismic activity each time it was about to blow and scientists had some warning, but once the volcano "cleared its nose" (the scientists term not mine), it could "sneeze" at anytime without warning. So it has "sneezed" over 20 times in the past two weeks!

Saturday was the most dramatic for us as the ash hit Anchorage in the afternoon (as many of our youth and members were attending a youth forum there) and drifted up the road to the Valley during the night. On Sunday morning, our cars were covered with a fine layer of grit. Dad Kuenning said that he went outside while the ash was falling and immediately got grit in his teeth. Isaac said it made his throat hurt. The stores are stocked with face masks and special tarps for vehicles. The ash is made of fine glass-like particles which are dangerous to breath in, especially for the young, old, and frail. It can also cause havoc on engines. In 1990, the last time this volcano was active, a plume of ash caused all the engines of a plane flying by to shut down and forced the plane to an emergency landing! No one was hurt, but the plane was toast! Airlines have been canceling flights right and left and even the entire airport shut down once!

It certainly makes life more interesting. The last time Redoubt was active, it blew over a period of 4 months. It's a little frustrating thinking of being wary of ash fall for 3 more months--covering computers, carrying masks with us, having emergency back up plans, etc. But as it hasn't complicated our lives as much as made them more interesting, we can't complain much. Scientists say that it looks like Redoubt is building a new lava dome (http://www.adn.com/volcano/story/745033.html). Feel free to check out some pretty interesting photos and updates at http://www.adn.com/.

For now, we're being careful and protecting our sweet darling from any possible harm.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:47 AM

    I am so amazed at how much I don't pay attention to in the world around me! I had NO idea this was going on in Alaska! Thank you so much for keeping us informed. You guys stay safe and hopefully ash free! Love you all tons! Melissa Smith

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