New Tool Allows Citizens to Send in Reports of Volcanic Ash Fall

Jul 17, 2013

Redoubt volcano ash from on April 4, 2009
Credit Kristi Wallace / Alaska Volcano Observatory/USGS

All of Alaska’s currently active volcanoes are hundreds of miles from the scientists responsible for warningus of potentially hazardous activity or the likelihood of ash clouds that disrupt air traffic.  Satellite imagery and seismic sensors give researchers a look into what’s going on, but they depend heavily on citizen scientists for eyes and ears on the ground.  The Alaska Volcano Observatory aims to improve the quality of ash forecasts through a new online tool.

The Pavlof volcano shot ash clouds to 28 thousand feet this year, shutting down flights and dropping ash on Cold Bay and Nelson Lagoon. That eruption was the first time that the Alaska Volcano Observatory received reports from its new online tool, known as “Is Ash Falling?”