Category Archives: Mount Redoubt

Science of the Seasons: River of fire, and a whole lot of mud

By David Wartinbee, for the Redoubt Reporter

Photos courtesy of David Wartinbee. Above is a photo of Mount Redoubt covered in ash, taken last week. Below is snow-capped Mount Redoubt, as it usually appears, taken in July 2008.

Photos courtesy of David Wartinbee. Above is a photo of Mount Redoubt covered in ash, taken last week. Below is snow-capped Mount Redoubt, as it usually appears, taken in July 2008.

On a clear day from just about anywhere on the Kenai Peninsula, we can see two of the dominant peaks across the inlet, Mount Redoubt and Mount Iliamna. I don’t mean to ignore the more northerly Mount Spurr, especially since it is about 1,000 feet taller than either of the other two. However, Mount Spurr just doesn’t stand out so starkly against much lower background mountains the way Iliamna and Redoubt do.
Tuxidni Bay 2 July 08 004 Web
If you have lived here or visited the peninsula in the past, I’ll bet you have a couple photos of these two picturesque mountains. I have a collection of Mount Redoubt and Mount Iliamna pictures that number in the hundreds and date all the way back to 1977.

When I look back at these pictures, no matter what time of the year they were taken and no matter how close I was when I tripped the shutter, they all show a 10,000-foot white mountain. But not today. If you take out your binoculars on a clear day this summer you will find that Iliamna is still snow-covered and white but Redoubt is dark with only a hint of white in selected spots. Redoubt has belched ash all over its normally pure-white bib.
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Volcanic verse

Mount Redoubt inspires
eruptive show of local
creativity

Editor’s note: The Redoubt Reporter invited readers to submit photos and haiku poems of and inspired by Mount Redoubt’s eruptions. One photo and one poem were chosen as winners, and those submitters receive a T-shirt, a year’s subscription to the paper and are mentioned below. The Redoubt Reporter thanks everyone who participated. Photo prints are available for purchase from the photographers, or contact redoubtreporter@alaska.net to get in touch with the photographers listed here.

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

As Joe Kashi, of Soldotna, jokingly wrote in response to The Redoubt Reporter’s contest of poetry inspired by Mount Redoubt’s eruptions (with due credit given to John Donne and John Kennedy): “Ash not for whom it blows, it blows for thee.”

In a sense, he’s right (albeit a little corny). The volcano’s unrest has inspired curiosity and creativity in onlookers on the central Kenai Peninsula, and around the world, for that matter. It’s provided excitement, a topic of conversation, some celebrity status among friends and relatives down south, a reason for volcano-watching outings with the family, and motivation to pick up a camera or put pen to paper.

The Redoubt Reporter invited readers to share the results of their creativity with the paper, and is pleased to publish those submissions here.

While Kashi’s whimsical haiku poetry submission:
Redoubt volcano
Boom boom boom boom boom boom boom
Twenty times to date
— didn’t rank tops in The Redoubt Reporter’s haiku contest, one of his photos of the smoldering mountain got top mention in the photo division. The shot was taken at sunset March 31 at the top of the hill on Robinson Loop Road.

At left is the winning photo, taken by Joe Kashi, of Soldotna, showing Mount Redoubt at sunset from Robinson Loop Road on March 31.

Above is the winning photo, taken by Joe Kashi, of Soldotna, showing Mount Redoubt at sunset from Robinson Loop Road on March 31.

“I live at the base of the hill. I heard the volcano was simmering so I went up to take a look with my kid and took my camera,” he said.

He used a Kodak z1012 long zoom camera, which he has been keeping with him in his car, in case Redoubt erupted while he was driving somewhere, he said.

“I had that happen during the iconic April 1990 (Redoubt) eruption, which I saw that morning from start to finish, without a camera,” Kashi said.
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Big shots — Eruption photographers find their work appearing far and wide

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

Just like any good news photographer, David Wartinbee didn’t waste time celebrating the good luck that put him in the right place at the right time with a camera in his hand as a spectacular mushroom cloud bloomed over Mount Redoubt on Saturday afternoon. He lifted his camera to his eye and started shooting, and didn’t stop until the eruption subsided.

Then he went straight to his computer and filed his images. Later that evening they started showing up in media venues across the state, and soon, the nation and world.

All in a day’s work for an intrepid roving news photographer.

Except Wartinbee isn’t a news photographer. He doesn’t work for a media company or wire service; doesn’t have a press pass or journalism credentials. He’s a biology professor at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus with a recreational interest in photography whose front porch in Soldotna faces out across Cook Inlet, and who happened to be pulling into his driveway just when the mountain started to go off.

But through the power of digital cameras and the Internet, and a world that’s becoming insatiable for instantaneous imagery, Wartinbee and other central peninsula residents were deputized as newshounds that day, by virtue of having cameras, having something spectacular to point them at, and being willing to share. Continue reading

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Environmental concern over Drift River spill potential grows

By Naomi Klouda
Homer Tribune

A tank farm at the base of Mount Redoubt containing 6.2 million gallons of crude continued to raise concerns this week, while officials formed a unified command to react if volcanoic ash and melting glacial ice sent floods down the Drift River plain.

Fearing risk of an oil spill in Cook Inlet during this period of eruptions, Cook Inletkeeper Director Bob Shavelson went to the Coast Guard’s boss at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Shavelson’s letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urged her to order Cook Inlet Pipeline Co., to remove the 6.2 million gallons of oil at the Drift River Terminal at the base of the erupting Mt. Redoubt volcano until conditions improve.

“We are writing to ask you to take swift action to protect Alaska fisheries and the countless people they support from the threat of a major oil spill in Cook Inlet, Alaska,” Shavelson wrote. He described the precarious situation of the terminal’s location at the base of Mount Redoubt with the volcano erupting, sending mud, water and debris flowing down the Drift River. Continue reading

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Plugged In: Don’t let Redoubt’s ash be downfall of electronics

Before concluding our series about cost-effective computer upgrades, here’s a brief word about dealing with the byproducts of our namesake across Cook Inlet, whose unpredictable geological mutterings are likewise kicking up some dust on the central Kenai Peninsula.

Volcanic emissions are potentially damaging to almost any mechanical or electrical device. Damage can occur in several ways. Although light traces of ash are not a problem, it’s wise to remember that local volcanic ash is an industrial-grade abrasive, which, in sufficient quantities, can abrade and mechanically damage engines, bearings, fans or any other rotating or mechanically actuated devices.

This can quickly cause major computer failures. For example, if the bearings on your CPU’s cooling fan fail, either your computer will shut down almost immediately or your CPU will basically suffer catastrophic heat stroke within a few seconds. Modern processors really do put out enough heat to cook themselves unless constantly and efficiently cooled. In addition to general abrasion of moving parts, other electronic devices like printers, scanners and photocopiers are highly vulnerable to mechanical scratching of interior parts and can become quickly and permanently unusable unless covered and cleaned with compressed air. Don’t try to wipe the dust off such parts and surfaces — blow it off.

Volcanic ash can also damage electronics because it’s electrically conductive, which can cause short circuits. It’s also chemically corrosive due to sulfur oxides which, when combined with atmospheric water, hydrolyze into sulfuric acid, among other noxious chemicals. That’s the same process that results in long-term toxic acid drainage from open-pit mines and mine tailings exposed to oxygen. Continue reading

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Borough is ready for rumbles — Emergency management team keeps tabs on Redoubt eruption

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

Scott Walden usually gets up at 4:30 a.m. He was about ready to head to bed around 10 p.m. Sunday night. But when you’re the coordinator of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management and a volcano starts erupting across Cook Inlet, sleep can be hard to come by.

After three months of on-and-off rumbling, Mount Redoubt finally made good on its threats. The volcano began a series of eruptions at 10:38 p.m. Sunday night, followed by others at 11:02 p.m., 12:14 a.m. and 1:39 a.m., according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory. The largest blast of the morning occurred at 4:03 a.m. Monday, sending an ash cloud more than 60,000 feet — 12 miles — into the air. Another large eruption occurred at 7:41 p.m. Monday, sending another ash plume 60,000 feet into the air.

Walden’s work cell phone, a 24-hour necessity for occasions such as these, started ringing between 10 and 10:20 p.m. Sunday, he said, when it became clear Redoubt was ready to do more than just rumble. Continue reading

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Editorial: Peninsula scores passing marks for Redoubt round 1

OK, be honest now:

Who went to bed Sunday or woke up Monday thinking: “Gee, I really should have stocked up on water/air filters/flashlights/etc.” by now?

Consider this your warning.

Attention to Mount Redoubt wound down after months of activity without an eruption. Then, within a day, Redoubt decided to no longer be ignored.

The great news for the Kenai Peninsula is the ash plumes spurted out in the series of eruptions have missed us so far, and weather forecasts predict continued favorable wind patterns through Friday.

The good news is it appears as though, even if we had gotten some ash, the peninsula would have been more or less ready for it. Continue reading

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