Wind stirs up volcanic ash from the 1912 eruption of a volcano in Alaska

Wind stirs up volcanic ash from the 1912 eruption of a volcano in Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska Volcanologists issued an alert Wednesday, warning that an ash cloud – from a volcanic eruption more than a century ago – was headed toward Kodiak Island in Alaska.

The ash came from the powerful 1912 eruption of Novarupta, a volcano on the Alaskan Peninsula that dropped volcanic ash that is still visible today.

Strong northwesterly winds near Katmai National Park and Reserve and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smoke on Wednesday caused loose volcanic ash to rise.

“Generally, at this time of year, we get some of these northwesterly winds that can come down from Katmai and really clean up some of the free ash that was deposited from the 1912 eruption and then bring it up higher,” Hans Schweiger, a research geophysicist said US Geological Survey at Alaska Volcano Observatory, Associated Press.

Winds were expected to carry ash about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Kodiak Island, and an air alert was issued to aircraft for the low-down event. Scientists estimated that the cloud would not exceed 7,000 feet (2,133.6 metres).

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Some of these events can cause light dusting of ash to scatter into nearby communities.

“It looks like this particular one isn’t as ash-rich as some of the other species, so there’s likely to be little ash fallout from it,” Schweiger said.

The three-day eruption of Novarupta, one of the world’s largest, began on June 6, 1912, and sent ash up to 100,000 feet (30,480 meters) over the Katmai region, located about 250 miles (402 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage. The USGS estimates that 3.6 cubic miles (15 cubic kilometers) of magma erupted, about 30 times what erupted from Mount St. Helens in Washington state 40 years ago.

The eruption of Novarupta was the most powerful of the 20th century and was among the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history.

The ash was deposited in what is now the Valley of the Ten Thousand Smoke, depositing about 600 feet (183 m) of ash in some places.

The observatory said in a statement that high winds and dry, snow-free conditions will produce ash clouds intermittently, adding that there was no eruption in its place.

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The statement said that all seven volcanoes in the Katmai region, including Novarupta, are still at either the lowest green or normal level.

Kodiak Island has a population of about 13,000 and is home to a large US Coast Guard base. It can only be reached by plane and boat. The fishing industry is the predominant business in the mountainous island.

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