Augustine Volcano

Augustine Volcano is located on Augustine Island, an uninhabited island located in Cook Inlet approxamitely 172 miles southeast of Anchorage. It had erupted 5 times yesterday (Friday 1/13) spewing ash up to 52,000 feet in the air canceling airline flights into Anchorage. It has also sparked a buying frenzy of dust mask, tarps, visqueen and vehicle air filters.

Scientists say it is likely the start of a prolonged series of eruptions building toward an even bigger climax. At some point, these throat-clearing eruptions are going to open a route for magma to reach the surface in what would probably be a bigger explosive eruption releasing far more ash, said Game McGimsey, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Three eruptions over an 8-hour period Friday sprinkled a light dusting of ash over communities on the lower Kenai Peninsula, where schools were closed as a precaution. A fourth eruption, just before 5 p.m., missed the peninsula when its ash plume sailed southeast past the Barren Islands into the Gulf of Alaska. A fifth blasted off just before 7 p.m., with ash headed the same direction. As of this post no ash has reached Anchorage.

A Web camera on the island showed spectacular views of the volcano between eruptions Friday. The island mountain, most of which had been snow-white Thursday, was now thickly caked in brown ash. I've placed a link at right to the Alaska Volcano Observatory's excellent web site.

I'll keep you updated. You can also check out the Anchorage Daily News or KTVA Channel 11 in Anchorage.

Map and pictures courtesy of the Alaska Volcano Observatory.