A restless volcano near Alaska's most populated region is being watched by scientist and officials, who warned on Thursday of the risk of clouds of ash and a tsunami from a possible eruption.
The intensifying rumblings in the past few weeks at Augustine Volcano, an island peak 175 miles southwest of Anchorage in Cook Inlet, have produced a series of steam explosions, releases of sulfur gas and signs that there may be an eruption similar to events in 1986 and 1976 which sent ash clouds as high as 40,000 feet, scientists said.
There has even been an increase of 1 inch at the top of the 4,134-foot (1,260-m) volcano, a sign that seismic activity is causing the summit to bulge slightly, said John Power, a seismologist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, a joint office run by the U.S. Geological Survey and state agencies.
"All of these things are very typical of what you would expect to see in a volcano that is reawakening," Power said.
Although there are no specific signs that an eruption is imminent, flight restrictions are already in place and there are plans to expand those if activity increases at the volcano.
If Augustine does erupt, that could result in grounded flights, school closures and even evacuations, officials said. It is also possible that there will be a landslide from the volcano into the waters of Cook Inlet, causing a tsunami, they said.
Such an event occurred in 1883, when a wave believed to be 20 feet high hit the Native Alutiiq village of Nanwalek, 50 miles east of Augustine.
Tag : volcano, alaska, tsunami, earthquake.