A cold front has moved into Interior Alaska, bringing a full day of rain on Sunday and cool temps on Monday. The soggy Sunday even drove me to light a fire in the wood stove. At 41F degrees, Fairbanks won’t even hit half of where San Antonio will be.
I’m not complaining, but I’m also not ready for that four letter word that starts with an ‘s’.
Since 2011, outburst floods from the glacial-dammed lake at Suicide Basin have been released into Mendenhall Lake and subsequently the Mendenhall River. The record setting flood of 2016 was at 11.99 feet. Flood stage is at 9′.
That record was broken this weekend, when the flood waters burst from Suicide Basin. The water level crested at 14.97 feet. Several homes along the river had the bank cut out from under them, with at least one collapsing into the rushing current.
It was estimated that water was flowing at 20,900 cubic feet per second down the Mendenhall River.
Otis returned to Brooks Falls in Katmai on Wednesday. It was the first time he had been seen since last autumn. Otis, the Bear Cam favorite, is believed to be 27 years old. A winner of 4 Fat Bear titles, Otis last won two seasons ago.
Otis is arguably the most skilled fisher-bear in Katmai. His technique is effortless, and he wastes no energy as the old bruin fattens up for another hibernation.
Welcome back Otis. Your fan club has been waiting for you.
We have had a lot of volcanic activity in Alaska this year. We currently have six volcanos at an elevated alert level of either Code Yellow or Code Orange.
None are more intriguing to me than the newest member of Code Yellow: Trident Volcano in Katmai National Park. Trident is a member of what is known as The Katmai Cluster. In addition to Trident, the cluster includes Mount Katmai, Mount Mageik, Mount Martin and Novarupta.
Trident has seen an increase in activity the past year, but since May, the earthquake frequency underneath the volcano has gone up considerably. Add that to the ground uptick at Trident, and you have the signs of moving magma. Katmai, Mageik and Martin have all seen an increase in seismic activity recently, as well.
Trident was last active between 1953-1974, when it went quiet. The eruptions of ’53 and ’74 formed new vents, which means it could be difficult to pinpoint exactly where an eruption could come from.
On June 6, 1912, the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th Century exploded out of the Katmai Cluster. For years, it was assumed that Mount Katmai was the culprit. It wasn’t until 1953 that Novarupta was determined to be the source. The majority of the magma was lying beneath Mount Katmai, but when the cluster erupted, the explosion came out of Novarupta, which is 6.5 miles away. Mount Katmai then collapsed into itself. Trident Volcano stands just 3 miles from Novarupta.
The amount of magma expelled from Novarupta was 30 times that of Mount St Helens. The devastation of the eruption formed the valley we now know as The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.