High winds kick up volcanic ash

Katmai National Park. (Photo by
Paxson Woelber / Flickr)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kodiak’s west side got some ash fall Friday.

That’s according to Hans Schwaiger with the Alaska Volcano Observatory. He says the ash launched from the Katmai National Park area.

“And then it traveled to the southeast over Shelikof Strait, and then Larsen Bay is where we detected it, and then it continued on across Kodiak Island.”

He says that’s relic ash from the 1912 eruption, and it tends to dislodge during the drier, windier seasons.

“These ash re-suspension events happen a couple of times a year generally in the late spring or early fall when there’s high winds and generally lower precipitation and lower snow cover. So, if you have enough snow cover, there’s not as much ground to expose for ash to be re-suspended.”

The Alaska Volcano Observatory is able to detect events like this one using monitoring equipment. Schwaiger says there’s one station in the City of Kodiak and another in Larsen Bay.

He says, this time around, the ash was pretty sparse.

“The alerts that we have for the ash in the atmosphere events, there’s a way to detect how much ash is actually in the atmosphere, not just the presence of ash, and that detected quite low concentrations. But nevertheless we did see an increase in the background levels of particulates in the atmosphere.”

And he says it stuck relatively close to the earth, about a mile from the ground.

He says Anchorage Aviation Weather Unit sometimes issues advisories for the presence of ash, but decided the event didn’t call for it.

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