Kenai awoke this morning to bright blue skies and temperature almost 20 degrees below zero. The entire range of mountains to the west, including Mt. Redoubt and Mt. Illiamna, were stunningly clear and looked amazingly close. To an untrained observer like myself, Redoubt looks just as it always has. But volcanologists are watching it closely, and continue to believe that an eruption is imminent. One of the glaciers on the north face shows signs of increased heat nearer the surface, with an expanding hole emitting steam and gases. So far, the expected increase in frequency and magnitude of earthquakes beneath the volcano has not happened, according to the experts.
Redoubt is about 50 miles west southwest of Kenai, so our view of it is of the east northeast face. In real life it seems much closer than this photo suggests. Even with binoculars, Dutch and I are not able to see any plumes of steam rising into the air. Kenai is the closest town of any size to the mountain, and experts are gathering here to watch the mountain. Last week, Dutch and other city officials were approached with the request to set up monitoring equipment at some of the city's buildings which are located on a high bluff at the edge of Cook Inlet, and have a gorgeous unobstructed view of the mountain. They were happy to comply with the request. The volcanologists are working to establish a ring of observation points around the mountain so that they can monitor its activity from all directions.
The air around town is one of watchful waiting for the shoe to drop. There is nothing to do about it except wait, and hope that, like a watched pot, if we watch hard enough it will never boil.
Photos by The Tundra PA
Labels: Life in Kenai