Alaska Volcano Observatory repairs seismic monitors

ANCHORAGE — Alaska Volcano Observatory scientists have repaired several seismic monitoring stations at active volcanoes throughout southwest Alaska.

A lack of funding and delayed maintenance caused several of the stations to malfunction over the years, The Alaska Public Radio Network reports. The scientists began making repairs on the seismic monitoring equipment this summer with the help of funding from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program.

Now, 176 of the observatory’s 216 seismic stations in southwest Alaska are back in working order.

“We were able to visit, importantly, Aniakchak Volcano on the Alaska Peninsula, restored some ground-based monitoring at the volcano there,” Janet Schaefer, with the Alaska Volcano Observatory State Geological Survey, said. “And we also did seismic repairs at Gareloi, Tanaga and Westdahl Volcanoes — those are in the Aleutian Islands.”

Schaefer said AVO was also able to fix stations at Shishaldin Volcano, which has recently been active. The goal is to get more stations up and running, she said.

A volcanic eruption is often preceded by hours, or even moths, of seismic activity. As more stations get fixed, AVO will be able to “detect those very small, small magnitude earthquakes that indicate fluid movement, either from an active hydrothermal system, or gas, or magma beneath the surface,” Schaefer said.

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