are volcanoes in Alaska, hundreds of them. About
forty of them are active and several of those are in
sight of Anchorage. These volcanoes can ruin your
Two or three
times in typical year, one or more volcanoes near
Anchorage will erupt. The four volcanoes nearest to
Anchorage are known as Cook Inlet Volcanoes.
and Aleutian Islands set on the Pacific Rim Ring of
Fire which extends down the chain all the way to
Kamchatka Island and the mainland of Russia. Four of
the most active local volcanoes, Mt. Spurr, Redoubt,
Iliamna and St. Augustine, are on the north side of
Cook Inlet and clearly visible from Anchorage and the
Mount Spurr last erupted in 1992 and spills it's
smoke and gray, gritty ash from a vent on the
southern side of the 11,070-foot peak. It's about 80
miles west of Anchorage.
Redoubt is a 10, 197 ft. high cone-shaped volcano
directly across the inlet from Kenai and about 60
miles from Anchorage. It last erupted in December
1989. It's plume of gritty ash nearly downed a 747
passenger jet that accidentally flew through the
cloud of ash. The airliner lost lift and it's jet
turbines being damaged by the carborundum like
abrasive ash nearly pancaked into the inlet, but
gained enough altitude to make it to the runway at
the Anchorage International Airport.
See: Kenai and Soldotna.
Iliamna is 10,016 feet high and last erupted in 1978,
sending steam nearly two miles high. It sits directly
west of the Aleut village Ninilchik.
Augustine is only 4,025 feet high. It at 15,000 years
old is the youngest volcano on Cook Inlet. It sets on
an island in Cook Inlet west of Seldovia and south of
Homer. Known for it's explosive
eruptions, a violent one in 1976. In 1986, air
transportation was shut down for several days the
lingering ash clouds. Augustine is just 4,025 feet
high and about a two hour summer hike if you feel
When one of
these volcanoes erupt, if accompanied by winds that
blow toward Anchorage, most commercial activity
grinds to a halt ; all jet aircraft are grounded and
covered with tarps; non-essential employees are told
to stay home and stay inside. The ash can continue to
fall three or four days.
generators at Beluga power generation plant are shut
down because the grit destroys turbine or jet
engines in a matter of minutes. Automobile air
filters are quickly plugged by the ash, so fine it
ends up in the oil pan and destroys gasoline engines.
While that is going on there is little one can do but
stay inside, watch TV and wait. Those who have to
leave home do so wearing a medical mask.
after an eruption is interesting. Residents hose the
ash off the roof and collect it at the bottom of the
downspouts. If summer they rinse the ash from their
plants and flowers. The ash has fertilizer uses so it
is usually left in the flower beds and lawns and just
watered into the ground.
is very heavy and it takes a strong person to lift a
five gallon can full of it. The local fire
departments loan out fire hoses to residents with
permission to connect to fire hydrants and clean the
roads. The hoses are passed from resident to resident
until the whole road through their sub-division is