The last mini-update for Redoubt … for now?


AVO has officially downgraded the status at Redoubt from “Watch” (orange) to “Advisory” (yellow). The seismicity at the volcano has dropped off for the last couple weeks and signs that an eruption was imminent have waned. This, again, shows the difficulty in trying to predict the behavior of a volcano. All the signs were there at Redoubt – increased seismicity, increased heat flow at the summit (seen as melting ice and increased fumarolic output), increased volcanic gases (CO2 and SO2) – but as of right now, it seems like these signs only pointed to magma moving up the system, but not out of the system (i.e., eruption). Anchorage might call this a “near miss,” but Redoubt will erupt again, more likely sooner rather than later. As AVO puts in in their statement today:

It remains possible for unrest at the volcano to change rapidly, advancing from relatively low levels to eruption in time periods as short as 24 hours or less.

And that is why we need volcano monitoring, especially when volcanoes are so complex.

Concern lingers, angers flare at Chaiten


The people who remain in Chaiten face the potential for a devasting pyroclastic flow, so says Jorge Muñoz of the SERNAGEOMIN in Chile. The volcano is still producing large ash columns on Tuesday and a flyover of the dome forming inside the caldera has lead to the concern that a collapse on a larger scale than those seen last week could wipe out the town for good.
The government hopes news like this from volcanologists might convince the last remaining residents of Chaiten to leave, but no indication of this has come to pass. In fact, things sound like they’re getting heated in the fight over the town of Chaiten. The Minister of Government Affairs had this to say to the lawyers for the remaining residents:

“I think that up until now, we have been quite convincing, but to say that the problem is to unblock the river (…) Why don’t we back up a bit? Why is the river overflowing? Because the volcano is exploding, that’s why!”

It gets even uglier here from the Undersecretary of the Interior. It seems that both sides are digging in the heels, so to speak.