December 14, 2005
A MODIS satellite image, captured by the Geographic Information Network of Alaska, confirms pilots' sightings of a steam plume emerging from Augustine Volcano. The plume appears to be primarily steam, but reports of a sulfurous smell have been reported by surrounding communities to the Alaska Volcano Observatory. The plume extends an estimated 50 miles from the volcano.
"It's had a steady increase in earthquake activity and there's deformation," Steve McNutt, a research professor of seismology at the Geophysical Institute, said of the Augustine Volcano. "We've detected two centimeters of inflation, and, for the last few days, steaming."
McNutt and colleagues working at the Geophysical Institute (GI) and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO)-a joint program of the GI, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the State Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys - believe these characteristics are signs of volcanic unrest, but do not consider them indicative that an eruption is imminent in the next few days, or weeks. The volcano's current level of concern color code is Yellow, declared Nov. 29th, and AVO will continue to monitor Augustine's activity closely.
Wind direction and the amount of gas emitted from the volcano may cause sulfurous odors to continue, but are not expected to be a health concern for people in the area.
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