Pilot Advisory: Volcanic Ash Over Kodiak, Alaska, But It’s 100 Years Old

Photo credit: National Park ServiceAlaska Public Radio reported last night that

There was volcanic ash in the air over the Shelikof Straight and parts of Kodiak Island yesterday. A person in Port Lions called KMXT to ask if a volcano had erupted, but the Alaska Volcano Observatory showed all was normal. However, it turned out that a volcano had erupted, though it wasn’t yesterday – it was almost exactly 100 years ago.

The National Weather Service office in Anchorage reported that ash from the Novarupta explosion in 1912 was being whipped up by strong northerly winds because of a lack of snow cover in the Valley of 10,000 Smokes and Katmai National Park on the Alaska Peninsula.

Fox News added that

The ash drifted up to about 4,000 feet and traveled over the Shelikof Strait and across Kodiak Island, prompting an aviation alert. The news was first reported by KMXT radio.

Weather service meteorologist Brian Hagenbuch said it isn’t unheard of for ash from Novarupta to create a haze, but it isn’t very common either. Winds in the area were blowing about 35 to 40 mph, with gusts of more than 52 mph.

Officials first picked up the haze on a weather camera Tuesday when the sun was rising. “It looked very foggy. … It was kind of a curious thing,” Hagenbuch said. “We didn’t expect fog there.”

As the day got lighter, the haze took on a “brownish, smog-type look,” he said.

A satellite image showed a “milky white plume” spreading out from the northern Alaska peninsula, and authorities later confirmed the existence of ash particles, he said.

The Katmai National Park website describes the “famed Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes,” the area from where the ash was blown, as

a spectacular forty square mile, 100 to 700 foot deep ash flow deposited by Novarupta Volcano in 1912. A National Park & Preserve since 1980, today Katmai is still famous for volcanoes, but also for brown bears, pristine waterways with abundant fish, remote wilderness, and a rugged coastline.