Volcano Red Alert

red/warning 2008-07-28 16:51:58 – VAN/VONA Satelliteimages indicate ash may have reached 35,000 ft in a plume heading E to SE from the volcano. The intensity and duration of seismicity from the eruption at Okmok has changed from continuous tremor to a pulsating signal over the past 7.0 hours. These pulses are strong enough to be easily identified on seismometers on Makushin Volcano on Unalaska Island.

Stronger explosive activity could resume at any time with little or no warning.


Two weeks ago we were all excited to discover that the Okmok Volcano had erupted on the Alaska Peninsula. Tom came home and told us that flights were canceled to Anchorage because the ash cloud reached 20,000 feet. We jumped on the Alaska Volcano Observatory site to find out more about this eruption. This eruption is as big as Mt. St. Helens. 30 people where evacuated from the village near the volcano this morning.

This week I am taking earth science classes at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.The Alaska Volcano Observatory is housed at UAF. Today we are learning to use the computer imaging tools and data to study volcanos. One of our instructors is going to be late because seismic activity has doubled on Okmok and he has to man the observatory. In the meantime we are learning to read satellite image data to identify ash clouds. The scientist who is working with us authored a modeling system to predict ash clouds. This is extremely important to airplane travel. Ash will gum up in an airplane engine.

Map of Volcano

Therapod track

Therapod track

Originally uploaded by Andrea Pokrzywinski

Here’s Andrea Chin measuring a Therapod cast. You can just make out the three toes. This are is called the dinosoar dance floor. You can often see small track inside of large ones. All of the tracks we found are casts. We found plant and invertebrate life from the cretaceous period. Meta sequoias, horsetails, beetles, bivalves and snails. There was a lot of diversity in the rock layers too. Some of the rhyolite was green from copper and some was red from iron oxidation. There were faults and folding. I took lots of pictures for Earth Science class.

Oh, and here’s a picture of me trying to look cool in front of a Hadarosaurus track. Can you see the 3 toes? I am clinging onto the rock face or would have put my hand next to the track.IMG_2028.JPG


My Big Fish


The summer is flying by and I have a lot of blogging to catch up on. First, let me share the big rainbow trout I caught on the Kasiglik this summer. We went camping with at least 4 other couples and as many dogs as you could throw a stick for. Everyone who wet their fly caught a fish. I caught this fish on a 5 weight flyrod. Lot’s of fun. It was worth braving the bugs