Sunday morning volcano: Cleveland

"False-color composite image of Cleveland volcano collected by Landsat-8 on July 26, 2013. This image is a composite of the short-wave infrared data (to show thermal emissions) and high temperatures in the summit crater as shown as a small red region (indicated by the arrow). These hot temperatures are likely due to the extrusion of a small lava dome that occurred during the previous week," per the Alaska Volcano Observatory

“False-color composite image of Cleveland volcano collected by Landsat-8 on July 26, 2013. This image is a composite of the short-wave infrared data (to show thermal emissions) and high temperatures in the summit crater as shown as a small red region (indicated by the arrow). These hot temperatures are likely due to the extrusion of a small lava dome that occurred during the previous week,” per the Alaska Volcano Observatory

 

How do you monitor a dangerous volcano that’s too far out in the boonies to wire with GPS and seismometers or watch close up with a webcam?

You do the best you can.

Cleveland Volcano is way out in the middle of Alaska’s Aleutian Island volcanic arc, and it’s dangerous because nearby Anchorage is a major hub for aircraft following the great-circle routes between North America/Europe and Asia.

As many people know, ash and jet engines don’t mix. When Redoubt Volcano, much closer to Anchorage, erupted in 1989-1990 (VEI 3), five commercial jets were damaged from ash encounters, and flight disruptions cost Anchorage’s airport over $2.5 million (source, PDF file).

Cleveland is also the only Aleutian volcano to kill somebody recently. During its VEI 3 eruption in 1944, per the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program, a US soldier stationed on the island died, probably in a mudslide.

Still, on a quiet day, it is a wild, beautiful place.



Categories: volcanoes

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