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Augustine quiets, UAF scientists travel to volcano

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: (907) 474-7902

01/19/06

Augustine quiets down but steam still rises from the summit.Fairbanks, Alaska--Augustine Volcano in Cook Inlet remained quiet for most of the day Thursday, as UAF scientists visited southcentral Alaska to collect data, capture images and attend public meetings.

Among those on site was University of Alaska Fairbanks Professor John Eichelberger, coordinating scientist for the Alaska Volcano Observatory. After visiting Homer on Thursday to attend community meetings at the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center at 5 and 7 p.m., he will continue to monitor Augustine from the U.S. Geological Survey facility located at 4200 University Ave. in Anchorage.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory is a cooperative program of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

The number of earthquakes at Augustine has been on the rise since early May 2005, according to the observatory. In December, instruments were recording about 15 earthquakes each day, as well as some small steam explosions during the first part of the month. Additional measurements of the volcano early this year showed an increase in volcanic gas output and temperature at the summit.

On Tuesday, Jan. 10, the observatory noted a marked increase in seismic activity and at 4:44 a.m. and 5:13 a.m the following day recorded two eruptions. Since then, scientists have recorded periodic eruptions at Augustine and continue to monitor its activity. The most recent eruption was on Jan. 17, but scientists say more explosive events are likely.

CONTACT: Carla Browning at (907) 474-7778 or Marmian Grimes at (907) 474-7902 for information or to set up interviews or dial the Alaska Volcano Observatory main line at (907) 474-5681 to speak with UAF seismologist Steve McNutt. Additional resources are available at the Alaska Volcano Observatory website at www.avo.alaska.edu

High resolution images are available for download at www.uaf.edu/news/download/releasephotos/06/augustine/ .