Citizen Science – Volcanic Ash Collection Workshop and Public Lecture

Release Date:

Two public events are scheduled next week in the City of Kodiak, Alaska about monitoring old volcanic ash resuspended by high winds. Scientists invite the local community to learn more about the potential impacts of resuspended volcanic ash and how to assist in volcano hazards research by collecting samples of the redistributed volcanic ash and dust.

Two public events are scheduled next week in the City of Kodiak, Alaska about monitoring old volcanic ash resuspended by high winds. Scientists invite the local community to learn more about the potential impacts of resuspended volcanic ash and how to assist in volcano hazards research by collecting samples of the redistributed volcanic ash and dust.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists with the Alaska Volcano Observatory are re-deploying instruments in two locations on Kodiak Island to monitor air quality during strong northwesterly winds. Old loose volcanic ash erupted over 100 years ago and deposited in Katmai’s Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes can be picked up by high winds sweeping through the valley. High winds can carry clouds of resuspended volcanic ash over Shelikof Strait, Kodiak Island and the Gulf of Alaska. These clouds, easily visible on satellite images, contain volcanic ash shards that are a known hazard to aviation. Scientists are studying other effects of the remobilized ash as it falls back to the ground such as whether there is a public health hazard as well.

This phenomenon is not the result of new volcanic activity, but occurs seasonally in the spring and fall during times of high winds and dry snow-free conditions in the Katmai area and in other young volcanic areas of Alaska. USGS works closely with the National Weather Service, which issues forecasts and statements of resuspended volcanic ash.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory is a cooperative program of the USGS, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

What: (Event #1) Public presentation: “Resuspended Volcanic Dust from the Katmai Region to Kodiak Island.”

When: Thursday, April 28, 2016,12:00 p.m. AKDT

Who: Kristi Wallace, USGS/AVO geologist

Where: USFWS Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 402 Center Ave., Kodiak, Alaska

 

What: (Event #2) Citizen Science - Volcanic Ash Collection Workshop:  This workshop is open to the public and will provide training on making and reporting observations of resuspended dust clouds that contain volcanic ash shards, and collecting volcanic ash samples for the Alaska Volcano Observatory. Join us and learn to be a citizen scientist.

When: Saturday, April 30, 2016, 10:30 a.m. to Noon AKDT

Who: Kristi Wallace, USGS/AVO geologist

Where: USFWS Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 402 Center Ave, Kodiak, Alaska

 

Additional Resources:

Report ashfall to AVO - “Is Ash Falling.”

Procedures for Collecting and Returning Ash Samples from Modern Volcanic Eruptions.

Ash sampling tutorial video.

Information on volcanic ash and human health.

Official warnings about ash resuspension events are issued by the National Weather Service.

Forecasts of airborne ash hazard to aircraft.

Volcanic Ash Advisories.

Forecasts of ashfall.

Air quality hazards and guidance from Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Air Quality

 

satellite image of brown resuspended volcanic ash cloud over Kodiak Island, Alaska
MODIS Aqua 1 km true color satellite image showing resuspended volcanic ash cloud (arrow) generated from high winds scouring exposed ash on the Pacific side of the Katmai volcanic range. The cloud stretches across the Shelikof Straight and western Kodiak Island. Image ID 2010333 taken November 29, 2010. Courtesy NASA.
Public domain

 

small layer of volcanic ash fallen on snow, with ruler
Ashfall deposit in Anchor Point, AK from the April 4, 2009 eruption of Redoubt Volcano. This is an example of a well-documented photograph of ashfall by a citizen scientist. The scale is from AVO's Ash Collection Worksheet downloadable from: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/ashfall.php
Image courtesy of the photographer, Lori Blank. AVO has permission to use this photo.
Two men looking at equipment
Alaska Volcano Observatory scientist Mark Hansen working with Larsen Bay Mayor David Harmes on how the AVO-4 particulate monitor operates.
greatly magnified image of volcanic ash
Scanning Electron Microscope image of resuspended volcanic ash from the 1912 Novarupta-Katmai deposits in the Katmai region, picked up during high winds on November 1, 2015 and carried to Larsen Bay on Kodiak Island, AK. Sample collected by Sherry Harmes of Larsen Bay.
Public domain