Dear Tom and Ray,

Right after we spoke on Car Talk, Mount Redoubt here in Alaska blew its stack in the largest eruption we have seen thus far with an ash plume that went to 65,000 feet. I just put new panty hose on the Subaru and I sealed the doors and windows of my little log cabin so I am ready for the ash cloud, which is headed this way. It appears as a dark bluish band on the horizon and the radio reports we are on ash alert until late this afternoon. I think this is the 14th eruption to date and the volcanologists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory (check out their website with its cameras and seismometers showing real time images and readings) are fairly confident that the eruptions will continue for some months. This is because magma has reached the surface and the dome-building phase has begun. That cycle works more or less as follows: a magma dome builds up and plugs the vent, the pressure builds within the volcano, the dome collapses and an eruption begins. Then the process keeps repeating until the volcano gets bored or something scientific like that.

Your long time fan,

Bill Vogel

Solitary Confinement, Alaska

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Image on homepage by Game McGimsey, courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory / U.S. Geological Survey.

This is the third eruption today, sixth day in a row for them and this is the largest by far. Took the pictures from my deck.

Just above the trees you can see two different colors in the ash cloud and right in the center is the steam plume. The lower (darker) band is the heavier stuff with the lighter ash floating above.

Here are a couple photos of Tom and Ray's suggestion in action - pantyhose over the air intake.