Another volcano in Alaska erupts?

(h/t to Ron de Haan) This time it appears to be Mount Gareloi, something big is going on there seismically. The webicorder is going nuts.

Update: I double checked the webicorder to see if it was still operating,  and it appears to be. Still no word on the AVO website about the status of Gareloi.

UPDATE2: About an hour after I posted this, seeing nothing from AVO, I decided to call them. They answered right away and were quite surprised that anyone was watching. The scientist there said “we don’t see anything unusual on our trace” but when I pointed out the webicorder trace below, she said “ah yes it’s a noisy signal, I was looking at our internal trace, not the public one”. She also confirmed my initial speculation listed in the CAVEAT below that it was a windstorm, as evidenced by the gradual onset and lack of transients.

Don’t feel bad, even the venerable Volcano blog was initially puzzled.

gareloi_map

Above: NASA picture of Gareloi Island and map of the location from Wikipedia

Seismic station GAEA is 3.3 km (2.0 miles) from the summit of Mount Gareloi. The seismic station is operating since March 26, 2009 as power was restored to the telemetry hub in Adak.

Image last updated: March 28 2009 08:50:30gane24hr_heli

CAVEAT: This may be an eruption, it may be wind noise from a poorly secured recorder, it also may be “business as usual” for this volcano, see this:

Title: High Levels of Non-Eruptive Seismicity at Mount Gareloi Volcano, Alaska
Authors: Caplan-Auerbach, J.; Prejean, S. G.
Affiliation: AA(Alaska Volcano Observatory, USGS Alaska Science Center, 4200 University Dr., Anchorage, AK 99508 United States ; jca@usgs.gov), AB(Alaska Volcano Observatory, USGS Alaska Science Center, 4200 University Dr., Anchorage, AK 99508 United States ; sprejean@usgs.gov)

Abstract
Since 2003 when a seismic network was installed on Mount Gareloi, a remote Aleutian stratovolcano ~150 km west of Adak, AK, hundreds to thousands of earthquakes have been recorded daily. Catalog locations show a wide scatter around the edifice at depths ranging from 0-10 km. Gareloi earthquakes are typically long-period, although volcano-tectonic and hybrid earthquakes also are observed. Unlike earthquakes observed at other volcanoes with high levels of seismicity, such as Shishaldin, AK and Mount St. Helens, WA, the time series of individual events are different at Gareloi and likely do not represent a repeating source. Source processes such as bubble bursts, dome growth or conduit oscillation may thereby be ruled out as the sole seismic source at Gareloi. We present a new velocity model and high-resolution relocations for Gareloi seismicity and discuss the possible source processes responsible for the wide variety of seismic events. Gareloi erupts alkali-rich basalt and basaltic andesite from two active peaks, the southernmost of which contains an active fumarole field. The last large eruption (ash plume > 7 km high) of Gareloi occurred in 1982, but several small tephra plumes were observed in the 1980′s, with one unconfirmed plume described in 1996. Despite the exceptionally high level of seismicity recorded at Gareloi, other indicators of unrest, such as increased steaming or thermal anomalies in satellite data, have not been observed since the seismic network was installed. However, on September 2, 2005 a 70-minute period of volcanic tremor was recorded following a five day period of intense seismicity and could represent a small eruption. The amplitude of earthquakes at Gareloi declined immediately following the tremor, but the rate remained approximately the same, at ~1 earthquake per minute. This seismic sequence provides new insight into the potential source mechanisms associated with Gareloi seismicity and could allow us to better evaluate Gareloi’s eruptive behavior.

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26 Responses to Another volcano in Alaska erupts?

  1. Ed MacAulay says:

    “Gareloi erupts alkali-rich basalt and basaltic andesite from two active peaks”

    Just Mother Earth using the alkali to balance out all that so called acidification of the seas.

  2. bob says:

    Another volcano celebrates Earth Day Eve (EDE) by spewing some of itself skyward. Will this extra ash help cool the climate some more and make some EDE/GWG celebrants eventually feel foolish?

    bob p.

  3. We are living in “interesting times”. It is just a matter of putting together all pieces presented here in WUWT. Great achievement Anthony!

  4. TinyCO2 says:

    There were three earthquakes in the area of 5, 4.2 and 3.0, perhaps it’s picking them up? Still, who know what might be jolted loose.

  5. TinyCO2 says:

    Or perhaps I’m looking at the wrong area?

  6. hotrod says:

    So far I see no new alerts from AVO

    http://volcano.wr.usgs.gov/activity/status.php

    http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/volcano.cfm?vnum=1101-07-

    Larry

    REPLY: Which is why I speculated this might be wind noise. Note the gradual increase and lack of spikes in webicorder trace. – Anthony

  7. hotrod says:

    Checked the weather satellite images and can not see anything on the 17:30 UTC image, which is about sunrise local time at the volcano’s location.

    The King Salmon AK radar does not have enough reach to see out that far to the west.

    I guess it is watch and wait time to see if it checks out or is due to other factors like wind noise.

    Larry

  8. Ron de Haan says:

    What’s going on at Mount Gareloi?
    http://volcanism.wordpress.com/

    In April 2008 the Island was hit by a 6.6 and 6.4 magnitude earthquakes.
    See: http://www.volcanolive.com/gareloi.html

    Let’s hope we get a visual soon.

  9. aurbo says:

    Volcano eruptions at high latitudes apparently, from past correlations, can affect climate, especially at those high latitudes. It’s not so much the particulates that do the damage, they fall out fairly rapidly. It’s the ejection of gases, and principally SO2, into the upper stratosphere that’s important. In the presence of O3<, water vapor and other active ions, it forms sulphuric acid droplets which strongly affect incoming solar radiation. The ultimate result is cooling across the Arctic region.

    So, if the volcano(s) are pumping out SO2, with the summer half of the year just coming on, this combination may have a significant effect on ice-melt which added to all the other factors…negative PDO, an inactive sun, etc…should make for a very interesting few years.

  10. AnonyMoose says:

    Galeroi earthquake graph is not showing any USGS-identified quakes recently and is status green. There is a yellow advisory for Cleveland. a little further along the island chain, but nothing significant yet.

    I hope that the Alaska Volcano Observatory is under 24 hour staffing at the moment and that they examined Galeroi. But for a webicorder they should have updated the webipage so the webireaders would know what was happening.

    REPLY: See my Update2 above, refresh. – Anthony

  11. CodeTech says:

    I noticed this the day Redoubt was first going… I went through all the webicorders too and figured this was clearly an error of some sort… the chances of it not being reported seemed pretty slim.

    Oh well… at least we know.

  12. “It may be wind noise from a poorly secured recorder”

    Even a perfectly secured recorder will pick up wind noise. It might be dead calm at the site of the recorder, but if there’s a storm at sea some within 1000 km, there will be seismic noise created by a million waves.

  13. Edward Morgan says:

    We are nearing Perigee moon, Apr 2nd http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html the tides of the earth, sea and sky pulled by the moon although it coincides this time with half moon so nowhere nearing monster.

  14. Ron de Haan says:

    From the volcanism blog:
    [UPDATE: It seems that 'what is happening at Gareloi' is that it is blowing a gale. The trace below appears to be a particularly dramatic example of what a good strong blow looks like on a seismograph. Further update, this has been confirmed by AVO. Additional update, AVO have added a note to the Gareloi webicorder page explaining that their equipment is being affected by wind. To stop people getting over-excited about eruptions that aren't happening.]

    I wonder what’s the use is of such a sensitive seismic system!
    I also wonder why it takes such a long time for AVO to make a note at the webicorder page.

    We need better monitoring systems which include real time visual observation technology.

  15. Leon Brozyna says:

    From your Update2: “were quite surprised that anyone was watching.”

    I get a kick out of reading things like this. Letting the scientists know that there’s a world out there truly interested in their work; not everyone’s watching to see what some celebrity chick is (or isn’t) wearing.

  16. Ohioholic says:

    O/T:

    I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

  17. Tim L says:

    NOTE…… if there is seismic activity in so. ca. and or no. Mexicana too then it some times leads to a real blow out quake in the faults on the west cost.
    you got to love California!

  18. Lindsay H says:

    Isnt the quiet sun period also linked to increased volcanic activity and earthquakes. If true why?

  19. Ron de Haan says:

    Anthony,

    I wonder what the difference is between the web data and their “internal data”.

    We need more reliable monitoring systems like:
    Immediate Identification of Volcanic Eruption Intensity: Promising Test of a New Monitoring System Based on Short-Term Electrostatic Field Variations at the Active Volcano Popocatepetl, Mexico
    Developed by Physikalisch Vulkanologisches Labor (PVL) in Würzburg
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2006AGUFM.V51A1664B

  20. PFC says:

    A resident of the Redoubt area has put together a video time-lapse of March27 activity – has a good visual on the activity: http://vimeo.com/3892358

    “I wonder what the difference is between the web data and their “internal data”.”

    I understand the webicorder presentations are a “visual throwback” to the old chart pen recorders. I wonder if the modern digital stream from the instruments is filtered for environmental anomalies and only warns office staff for discrete events, whereas the webicorder software gets the raw stream…

  21. PFC says:

    Ron de Haan (14:08:38) :

    “[...]

    I wonder what’s the use is of such a sensitive seismic system!
    I also wonder why it takes such a long time for AVO to make a note at the webicorder page.

    We need better monitoring systems which include real time visual observation technology.”

    Ron, I think you may be being unnecessarily harsh on the AVO – this is very likely a fairly small office of career civil servant technicians and field geologists mandated to keep an observational presence over Alaska’s 130 some volcanos and is typically underbudgeted and understaffed. This certainly appears to be the case based on the image galleries. Also, the field aspects of this work is extremely difficult (think Catlin without the sponsorship, and look for the pictures of the Hut reporting station :) I suspect their wish list is longer than Anthony’s blog….

    Couple that with steady demands made by a dozen federal and state agencies when one of the puffers blows near a major population center, and you’ve got more work than people. I note that 24 hour manning of the AVO is NOT the norm.

    During this sort of event timeline, updating things like websites of inconsequential events is likely the loser choice between sleep, lunch and demands from agencies for info on the stuff close to home.

  22. Phil. says:

    A colleague of mine was installing some sensitive equipment in the lab next to mine and was picking up some strange periodic signals, which turned out to be the waves breaking on the beach 50 miles away! It took over a month to work out what it was, as I recall one of the students who was a wind-surfer noticed the correlation with the surf conditions on a website he used.

  23. Pkatt says:

    Have you folks seen this ??? “The GOME-2 (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment) sensor onboard Europe’s MetOp-A satellite has been tracking Redoubt’s sulfur dioxide clouds, colored red in this 5-day animation”

    http://www.spaceweather.com/swpod2009/30mar09/so2_gome2_anim.gif?PHPSESSID=oe7cnls8v1k5pm4chgv581i2l3

    its in a story from spaceweather.com currently on the main page.. it would seem that the sulfur dioxide dispurses pretty darn nicely….

  24. Ron de Haan says:

    PFC (09:13:17) :

    Ron de Haan (14:08:38) :

    “[...]

    I wonder what’s the use is of such a sensitive seismic system!
    I also wonder why it takes such a long time for AVO to make a note at the webicorder page.

    We need better monitoring systems which include real time visual observation technology.”

    Ron, I think you may be being unnecessarily harsh on the AVO – this is very likely a fairly small office of career civil servant technicians and field geologists mandated to keep an observational presence over Alaska’s 130 some volcanos and is typically underbudgeted and understaffed. This certainly appears to be the case based on the image galleries. Also, the field aspects of this work is extremely difficult (think Catlin without the sponsorship, and look for the pictures of the Hut reporting station :) I suspect their wish list is longer than Anthony’s blog….

    Couple that with steady demands made by a dozen federal and state agencies when one of the puffers blows near a major population center, and you’ve got more work than people. I note that 24 hour manning of the AVO is NOT the norm.

    During this sort of event timeline, updating things like websites of inconsequential events is likely the loser choice between sleep, lunch and demands from agencies for info on the stuff close to home”.

    PFC,

    Thanks for your response.
    It was not my intention to be harsh on AVO.

    I only argue for better real time monitoring systems.
    This technology is available now and should be applied.

    And why not?

    Volcanic eruptions are a serious security issue for air traffic at these locations.

  25. rtgr says:

    vulcanic ash/dust and SO2 arrives (mt rebounbt) in western europe .
    http://www.wetteronline.de/wotexte/redaktion/topthemen/2009/03/31_va.htm

    (in german but some nice pics)

    spring temps are also forecasted for the next few days, i wonder if its going to have some dimming effect, (probably unmeasurable).

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