The so-called ring of fire edging the Pacific is known to be highly active. So it's no surprise that said ring is jolting Seattle residents awake and putting denizens of Anchorage on notice of an imminent eruption from the redoubtable Mount Redoubt.
What felt like a "huge gust of wind," according to Luann Lee of Puyallup (via Twitter) struck Indianola, Wash., this morning, right in the heart of the Seattle-Tacoma urban agglomeration. The quake measured just 4.5 on the Richter Scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and no damage has been reported.
The residents of Anchorage may not be so lucky, as the USGS also issued a warning that Mount Redoubt, roughly 106 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of that city, is rumbling and "an eruption is possible within days to weeks."
Redoubt last blew its top 20 years ago, knocking out a jet's engines with an ash plume that shot some 40,000 feet into the air. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks is now monitoring the 10,000-plus foot tall volcano and issued the alert because of a strong increase in rumbles and quakes over the past week.
Since November, Redoubt has been releasing more gases and the snow has melted that typically coats its summit; AVO raised the threat level from yellow to orange—the last stage before an actual eruption—this week.
The move prompted Anchorage residents to stock up on goggles, masks, canned food and flashlight batteries in preparation, according to FOXNews.
"Every time this happens we do get a run on dust masks and goggles," Phil Robinson, manager of an Alaskan hardware store told the Associated Press today. "That's the two main things for eye and respiratory protection."
Credit: Courtesy of AVO