Published January 14, 2015
Clouds lifted to allow weekend viewing of Mount Redoubt as scientists said seismic activity at the volcano kept declining.
After weeks behind clouds, Redoubt made an appearance Friday and Saturday, and the volcano about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage showed a plume of steam.
That did not mean an eruption was pending, said U.S. Geological Survey geologist Chris Waythomas.
"Seismic activity has been the same for weeks — gradually declining," he said.
The cause of the steam was a thick blanket of snow.
"There's snowfall at 8,000 feet and above, and the lava dome is still really hot," he said. "As snow comes into contact with it, the snow and water is just boiling off, and the calm, clear conditions allowed it to be visible."
The mountain was obscured again early Sunday.
Waythomas could not say how hot the dome was.
"We're hoping to be over there next week with an infrared camera, which can be used to determine the surface temps," he said.
Redoubt began a series of eruptions March 22. In early April, a dome formed in the volcano's summit crater.
The volcano's last episode in 1989 and '90 built up a dome that would collapse and rebuild almost weekly. Researchers looked for the same thing this year but now say that might not happen.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory on June 30 downgraded the volcano to "code yellow" status.
"I wouldn't be surprised if it was downgraded to green next month," Waythomas said.