Eruptions

Kasatochi now an island of ash

The eruption of Kasatochi was a bit of a surprise to volcanologists who study the Aleutians, to say the least. The volcano itself has been quiet for likely over 100 years, but with relatively little warning, the volcano erupted over the summer, blasting ash (and a large amount of sulfur dioxide) into the atmosphere. We finally have some images of the destruction wreaked upon the island, and from the looks of it, the island is blanketed in grey ash from the eruption(s). Biologist who have worked on the island prior to the eruption think a significant number of auklets may be buried in the ash, but they say it will be interesting to see how the island recovered from the eruption.

In a related note, there was an interesting article before the weekend discussing the likelihood that three volcanoes that are close to each other along the Aleutian arc would all erupt this summer – namely Kasatochi, Okmok and Cleveland. Peter Cervelli from the USGS doesn’t really give much away on what he has found, but he does note that three eruptions along the arc within 300 miles of each other is exceeding rare and now geologists are trying to determine whether this was just a coincidence or possible related to some broader event in the Aleutians.

Comments

  1. #1 yellow bird
    October 19, 2008

    Are the seeds from any plants there in a seed bank so the island can be replanted & is the Auklet bird in a breeding program? Why weren’t they airlifted to safety? Many birds cant fly far.

  2. #2 George
    August 23, 2009

    I for one would not favor intervention and reseeding by people. It would be better to let nature take its own course and reseed this island just as has happened countless numbers of times in the future. As for “rescuing” the birds, same thing. Better to let nature take its course. If the birds got there after the last eruption, they will get there after this one, too.

    This is one of the ways plants evolve. Maybe some plants will sprout from root stock. Maybe there is some advantage with plants with just the right genes that allow them to recover quicker and dominate over less hardy samples of the same species. Better, in my opinion, to late nature do the selecting than to have people introducing genetic material that may prove to be inferior after the next eruption.

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