Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thar She Blows!

Or rather, belches a few times unattractively.

Yes, ReDoubt has turned active.

Yesterday morning the power went out so I took myself down to maintenance to check the situation out.

"Any news on the power outage?"

"Nope, nope. Apparently it's out all over except Anchorage."

"Yeah, of course they keep Anchorage safe. Can't afford to let her go down."

"Last time it was out for three days. Good thing we installed that generator at the pump house last week."

"Yeah, just in time. This power stays out for long the thing will have paid for itself in no time."

"Well, I can't do any work without power. I might as well go home and put steaks on the grill."

"Heck, I'm coming to your place. Better call your wife and tell her to put on a steak for me. A big one."

...and so on. Maintenance guys shooting the shit.

After half an hour of this, Ryan came in. "So is this power outage because of the volcano eruption?"

"What!!?? The volcano erupted?" I couldn't believe that I'd stood there for half an hour and heard not a peep after so many weeks of edge-of-my-seat anticipation.

"Yup. Blew last night. Several belches of ash starting at ten-thirty until four this morning."

"I was sitting in my living room looking out the window at it and I didn't even see a thing. They say there was a big rumble and shaking and all that, but I don't even believe it."

"It's the piretic, bombastic-- what is that?"


"Yup, it's the pyroclastic blast you have to really look out for. 10,000 degree wind that comes at you. Burning gasses and all that. Melts everything in its path - trees, buildings, people. One minute you're standing there, the next you've been liquidated like an atom bomb hit."

I went back outside and looked around. There was nothing to see. It was overcast, but the forecast had called for that. No ash, no clouds. If I inhaled deeply, I could just make out a charred, ozone scent in the air.

Altogether anticlimactic.

I talked to Shane on the phone, who's up in Anchorage and has been on-call to zip down here in the event of a picturesque or adventure-worthy eruption. He says that all the ash is landing in Talkeetna, several hundred miles north. The wind changed at just the right moment - usually prevailing winds would have blown the ash fallout right onto the peninsula. Talkeetna must be pissed. They don't even get to see ReDoubt from up there, but they get the ash dump anyway. Neener neener.

Shane also says that we can expect continued activity over the next indeterminate period of time. He remains on call in case something happens that can be seen. My boss says that what really turned pretty during the last eruption in 1990 was after two big ash belches, there were steam clouds that hung out about the mountain and caught the morning alpenglow and ended up in everybody's photo albums.

If I get pictures, I'll post them, I promise. That's assuming the pyroclastic blast doesn't get me first. Stand by.


1 comment:

I am write. said...

glad to hear your face isnt melted quite yet.