Mount Redoubt steams, seismic activity eases

Posted: Monday, September 21, 2009

KENAI - Clouds lifted to allow weekend viewing of Mount Redoubt as scientists said seismic activity at the volcano kept declining.

After weeks behind clouds, Redoubt made an appearance Friday and Saturday, and the volcano about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage showed a plume of steam.

That did not mean an eruption was pending, said U.S. Geological Survey geologist Chris Waythomas.

"Seismic activity has been the same for weeks - gradually declining," he said.

The cause of the steam was a thick blanket of snow.

"There's snowfall at 8,000 feet and above, and the lava dome is still really hot," he said. "As snow comes into contact with it, the snow and water is just boiling off, and the calm, clear conditions allowed it to be visible."

The mountain was obscured again early Sunday.

Waythomas could not say how hot the dome was.

"We're hoping to be over there next week with an infrared camera, which can be used to determine the surface temps," he said.

Redoubt began a series of eruptions March 22. In early April, a dome formed in the volcano's summit crater.

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