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Report on Redoubt (United States) — October 1990


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 15, no. 10 (October 1990)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Redoubt (United States) Minor gas/ash emissions and tremor

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1990. Report on Redoubt (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 15:10. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199010-313030


United States

60.485°N, 152.742°W; summit elev. 3108 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The following report covers the period 1 August-12 November. "The last explosive event at Redoubt, on 21 April, generated an ash plume to 7.5-9 km and a small N flank pyroclastic flow. A portion of the existing lava dome was destroyed during this event. Dome growth continued until approximately mid-June, punctuated only by occasional small rockfalls off the dome's N face. The estimated volume of the current lava dome is 10-15 x 106 m3. Field crews have observed consistent fumarolic activity from the dome's S side, summit, and E and W margins. An early September search for high-temperature fumaroles on the dome's accessible N face was unsuccessful. COSPEC measurements documented a steady decline in SO2 emission from an average of 1,000-2,400 t/d in early August to 160-590 t/d in October and early November.

"Seismicity beneath Redoubt diminished over the summer and into the fall, but remained elevated relative to pre-eruption levels. In early November, low-level tremor was observed for the first time since April, associated with increased steaming on the lava dome and occasional minor steam and ash emissions.

October steam and ash emissions. "Beginning in late August, AVO seismologists noted intermittent bursts of seismicity containing multiple phases and extended codas on flank stations. These bursts occurred at rates of one to several/day, but no relationship between them and eruptive activity was established until 29 October, when AVO received a pilot report of ash on the snow-covered flanks of Redoubt. The ash deposit was thin (< 0.5 mm) and did not extend beyond the base of the volcano (a lateral distance of about 5 km). The deposit must have been emplaced since 27 October, the date of last overflight prior to the pilot report. On 30 October at 1637, a small seismic event lasting 7-8 minutes was recorded on flank stations. Within 30 minutes, personnel at the Drift River oil terminal and an AVO crew in a helicopter reported a small, diffuse ash cloud drifting E of the summit. The cumulative tephra deposit from the late October events is very fine-grained, consisting primarily of plagioclase and a minor amount of altered and unaltered mafic crystals.

"The steam and ash emissions have thus far produced plumes that rise at most 300-600 m above the summit, and only minor amounts of ash have been deposited outside the summit crater. They are reminiscent of the 'gas and ash emissions' documented at Mt. St. Helens between 1981 and 1986, and are interpreted to reflect increasing access of meltwater to hot interior dome rocks. Their onset in late summer approximately coincided with the beginning of snowfall high on the volcano and may reflect some seasonal control related to the increasing availability of snowmelt. Alternatively, the quiescent dome may have cooled and fractured sufficiently to allow ingress of greater amounts of water to its hot interior.

Early November seismo-phreatic crisis. "On 5 November, AVO seismologists noted low-amplitude tremor on flank stations. During the next week, tremor fluctuated in intensity several times. More intense periods appeared to follow the 'emissions' described above. No concurrent change was observed in the occurrence of long-period events or volcano-tectonic earthquakes.

"Observations of the dome from fixed wing aircraft 6-8 November revealed no sign of avalanching or large-scale changes in dome morphology. Fumarolic activity appeared heightened compared to the previous week and new steaming was observed on the dome's N flank.

"An 8 November COSPEC flight measured SO2 emission of 580 t/d, consistent with results of the past few weeks. Continuing phreatic activity, in the form of steam emissions that occasionally contain ash, is expected."

Further Reference. Brantley, S., ed., 1990, The eruption of Redoubt volcano, Alaska, December 14, 1989-August 31, 1990: USGS Circular 1061, 33 p.

Geological Summary. Redoubt is a glacier-covered stratovolcano with a breached summit crater in Lake Clark National Park about 170 km SW of Anchorage. Next to Mount Spurr, Redoubt has been the most active Holocene volcano in the upper Cook Inlet. The volcano was constructed beginning about 890,000 years ago over Mesozoic granitic rocks of the Alaska-Aleutian Range batholith. Collapse of the summit 13,000-10,500 years ago produced a major debris avalanche that reached Cook Inlet. Holocene activity has included the emplacement of a large debris avalanche and clay-rich lahars that dammed Lake Crescent on the south side and reached Cook Inlet about 3,500 years ago. Eruptions during the past few centuries have affected only the Drift River drainage on the north. Historical eruptions have originated from a vent at the north end of the 1.8-km-wide breached summit crater. The 1989-90 eruption had severe economic impact on the Cook Inlet region and affected air traffic far beyond the volcano.

Information Contacts: AVO Staff.