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.