Alaska Volcano Observatory Expands Eruption Detection Capability in Cook Inlet

Alaska Volcano Observatory staff completed the installation of a new monitoring station on the Kenai Peninsula in early October 2020 that improves our ability to detect, quantify, and study future explosive eruptions from volcanoes along the west side of Cook Inlet and on the Alaska Peninsula. The station is equipped with six sensors spaced 200-300' apart that work together to remotely detect low-frequency sound, or infrasound, from volcanic activity. Infrasound is sound at frequencies below what humans are capable of hearing and is produced when volcanoes erupt gas and ash into the atmosphere ( Infrasound from energetic volcanic eruptions can travel hundreds of miles from the source and still be recorded on sensitive infrasound microphones like the ones installed in the new AVO station. The design and location of this new station will allow AVO to use it to monitor multiple volcanoes because it can determine the direction from which infrasound signals originated. Infrasound is also not affected by darkness, cloud cover or precipitation, making this new station a 24/7 sentinel of volcanic unrest.

Station KENI - a 6 element infrasound array on the Kenai peninsula. The pyramid on the left of the hut is one of the infrasound sensors at the site. Photo by C. Read, USGS/AVO, Oct 1, 2020.