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3.05.2005

A restless volcano and another quake swarm

I came across two articles appearing in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that are, in my opinion, connected. First, volcanic rumblings at Mount Spurr are creating hazardous conditions for extreme skiers, snowboarders and pilots landing in the Alaskan area. The article states,

Possible dangers include unstable snow and ice, higher concentrations of potentially lethal gases and acidic water that could be strong enough to burn skin, observatory officials said. Heightened seismic activity has been recorded there for months.

New measurements taken during flights over the volcano this week show the presence of sulfur dioxide, indicating activity stemming from molten lava, not simply heating of ground water, said Tom Murray, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey who works at the observatory's Anchorage office. Carbon dioxide also has been detected.

During the flyovers, researchers also spotted water at a summit lake bubbling up - either from increasing heat or gases floating to the top, Murray said.

"We just want people to know this is not a normal mountain," Murray said. "They need to be thinking beyond the normal rules. Climbing is already inherently risky as it is."


Now take the above with another article in which the headline reads Quake swarm off Ore. coast prompts reseach. I would certainly hope so! It goes on to say,

An earthquake "swarm" that began last weekend has resulted in thousands of small earthquakes off the Oregon coast in recent days but the size of the quakes did not pose any tsunami threat, officials said.

Scientists from Oregon State University said they are joining National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers on Saturday for a cruise to investigate a site on the undersea Juan de Fuca Ridge northwest of Astoria called the Endeavor segment.

"These earthquake swarms are associated with seafloor spreading," said Robert P. Dziak, an Oregon State oceanographer who works with NOAA at the university's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

"We suspect what happened was that magma pushed up into the crust and the lava may have broken the surface," Dziak said.

The quakes are generally small and not a tsunami threat, although a section of the sea floor off the Northwest coast called the Cascadia subduction zone is similar to the Indian Ocean area that produced a magnitude 9 quake and tsunami that devastated southeast Asia last December.


So, no tsunami threat, even though it's entirely plausible that just a situation could occur?!? Is it just me, or is there a concerted effort to calm people to the reality of rapidly accelerating earth changes?