February 1, 2009 in City

Scientists monitor signs of activity at Alaska volcano

By DAN JOLING Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Geologists on Saturday spotted expanded holes in the glacier that clings to the north side of Alaska’s Mount Redoubt, and rivulets of water streaming down its side, as they closely monitored the volcano for a new eruption.

Scientists with the Alaska Volcano Observatory on Friday flew close to Drift Glacier and saw vigorous steaming emitted from a football field-size area on the north side of the mountain. By Saturday, they had confirmed the area was a fumarole, an opening in the earth that emits gases and steam, and that it had doubled in size overnight.

The area is at 7,100 feet, just below a dome that formed the last time Redoubt blew in 1990, said geologist Kristi Wallace.

The volcano observatory a week ago detected a sharp increase in earthquake activity below the volcano and upgraded its alert level to orange.

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