Mount Spurr – the closest volcano to Anchorage

Steam plume emanating from the summit ice cauldron of Mt. Spurr. Photograph by James Copen, the Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey

Steam plume emanating from the summit ice cauldron of Mt. Spurr. Photograph by James Copen, the Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey

Mount Spurr lies some 80 nm (150 km) due west from Anchorage.  It is a stratovolcano that is visible on most days across Cook Inlet and lies on the Alaska Range.  The mountain is 9,800’ (3,000 m) high and is topped with a 3 by 4 nm (5 by 6 km) caldera.  The active vent is on the south end of the caldera and called crater peak.  The mountain suffered a crater collapse around 10,000 years ago that created Chakachamna Lake.  There is an active ice field in the caldera and multiple glaciers.  Crater Peak last erupted in 1992, putting around a half inch (1 cm) of ash on Anchorage.  http://www.avo.alaska.edu/volcanoes/volcinfo.php?volcname=Spurr

FedEx Jumbo jet landing at Ted Stevens International Airport.  Mount Spurr in the distance. Photographer Game McGimsey, the Alaska Volcano Observatory/US Geological Survey

FedEx Jumbo jet landing at Ted Stevens International Airport. Mount Spurr in the distance. Photographer Game McGimsey, the Alaska Volcano Observatory/US Geological Survey

Perhaps the most interesting things about Mount Spurr are the location and the flank collapse debris flows of the south side of the volcano.   The volcano sits at the south edge of a break in the Alaska Range.  From the volcano northward are relatively high mountains, glaciers and active ice caps.  There is also another volcano that was only recognized as a volcano in the mid 1970s, Hayes volcano.  And for skiers, there are nearly 10,000’ (3,000 m) of vertical snow for the extreme skiers to play on.

Topographic map of Mount Spurr (1:250,000 scale) from USGS Tyonek

Topographic map of Mount Spurr (1:250,000 scale) from USGS Tyonek

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has several seismic monitors on the mountain and a webcam located on an oil and natural gas production platform in Cook Inlet looking north to the volcano.

There is a river valley and lake that sits in the notch between the southern flank of Spurr and the southern mountains of the Alaska Range.  It is into this valley that the southern portion of the flank collapses and refills on occasion.  I have not found any evidence that historic flank collapses have opened up the vent for a lateral blast like Mount St.Helens.

Additionally, the valley periodically gets pyroclastic flows, lahars, and other volcanic discharges that periodically dam the Chakachatna River flowing out of the lake.  There is even a glacier that occasionally creates an ice dam that lake outflow gets to deal with.  Lake water is very cold and supports a run of sockeye (red) salmon.  There is geologic evidence of multiple floods in the flood plains below the lake as flowing water wins the argument with dams made of material that be easily eroded.

The caldera was thought to be formed some 4,000 – 10,000 ago.  The volcano is primarily constructed out of andesitic lava and pyroclastic deposits.  The current active vent, Crater Peak sits on the southern edge of the caldera.  There is a dome in the main crater.  It is also covered with an ice cap and anchors several valley glaciers down the mountain in all directions.

At the time of the caldera formation, the river valley to the south of the volcano and the entire Cook Inlet to the east were full of ice – as much as half a mile (one kilometer) deep.  The ice started retreating in this part of the world about 5,000 years ago.

Crater Peak, a satellite vent of Mount Spurr volcano, and the snow- and ice-covered summit lava dome complex of Mount Spurr beyond. View is to the north. Photograph by R. McGimsey (U.S. Geological Survey)

Crater Peak, a satellite vent of Mount Spurr volcano, and the snow- and ice-covered summit lava dome complex of Mount Spurr beyond. View is to the north. Photograph by R. McGimsey (U.S. Geological Survey)

The Crater Peak vent formed some 6,000 years ago and has for the most part been the center of eruptive activity since then.  The USFS Hazard assessment of Mount Spurr suggests that there have been more than 30 ash producing euptions out of Crater Peak since it was formed.  http://geopubs.wr.usgs.gov/open-file/of01-482/of01-482.pdf

The two most recent eruptions were 1953 and 1992.  Both produced significant ash fall, sub-Plinian plumes, lahars and small pyroclastic flows.  The 1953 eruption consisted of a single blast which dusted Anchorage and Cordova.  The 1992 eruption was marked by three eruptions over the course of three months, two of which deposited ash on Anchorage.  The eruption plume topped out around 8 nm (14 km) and was tracked all the way to the Atlantic coast of the US.  Both eruptions were marked with steam emissions before and after the blasts.  They were visible from Anchorage.  http://geopubs.wr.usgs.gov/open-file/of01-370/

Roiling eruption column rising from Crater Peak vent of Mt. Spurr volcano. View from the south. Color adjusted via Photoshop. Photograph by Game McGrimsey, the Alaska Volcano Observatory / U.S. Geological Survey

Roiling eruption column rising from Crater Peak vent of Mt. Spurr volcano. View from the south. Color adjusted via Photoshop. Photograph by Game McGrimsey, the Alaska Volcano Observatory / U.S. Geological Survey

In 1994, the Robotics Institute of Carnegie – Mellon University out of Pittsburgh brought a semi-autonomous robot to Alaska to climb down the Crater Peak crater.  The project was a joint project with NASA.  It operated for a week and was controlled from Anchorage.  The robot was named Dante II and made it to the crater floor.  It was tethered at the top of the crater and the tether allowed it to traverse steep slopes of the crater.  The tether also supplied power and (I think) transmitted telemetry.  The robot fell over on its side on the way out of the crater which ended the test.  Helicopter retrieval was unsuccessful and only dropped it deeper into the crater where it was abandoned.  This test was briefly characterized in the (awful) 1997 Dante’s Peak.  http://www.ri.cmu.edu/pub_files/pub2/bares_john_1999_1/bares_john_1999_1.pdf

 Description:  Dante sitting on the rim of the volcano, set and ready to go. In the background, the north wall of the crater rises above the robot's initial position, with steam and gases from the volcano plume visible in between. In both images, Dante will walk off the pallet and to the left of the frame. The generator station and tether anchor are located off frame about 50 feet to the right, and the rim station and rim camera position are located about 100 feet down slope to the left. Source:  The Field Robotics Center at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute


Description: Dante sitting on the rim of the volcano, set and ready to go. In the background, the north wall of the crater rises above the robot’s initial position, with steam and gases from the volcano plume visible in between. In both images, Dante will walk off the pallet and to the left of the frame. The generator station and tether anchor are located off frame about 50 feet to the right, and the rim station and rim camera position are located about 100 feet down slope to the left. Source: The Field Robotics Center at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute

In 2004, the monitoring stations picked up an increase in earthquakes indicating that magma was moving in the mountain.  Warnings were made and the mountain was closely watched.  No change in Crater Peak was noted.

However, the summit of Mount Spurr itself developed a hole in the ice cap – not unlike that seen on Mount St. Helens as it woke up.  The hole in the ice turned into an ice filled crater lake that grew from August through October 2004.

The seismic activity continued through the next year and the lake now renamed as the “cauldron” continued to grow on the peak of Mount Spurr.  There were over a dozen debris flows from the summit in the summer of 2004.  Most of the flows traveled for some distance under the ice cap before surfacing.  There was a smaller flow in 2005.

Seismic activity decreased in 2005 and into 2006 and 2007.  No eruption was observed.  Eventually the cauldron iced over as the heat flow beneath the ice decreased.  http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/pp1732/pp1732b/index.html

Local power companies have looked into a pair of power generation proposals associated with Mount Spurr.  The first one proposes to tap Lake Chakachamna and route water through a 10 – 12 nm (18 – 20 km) tunnel through the mountains to the south to a power plant and would empty water into the river south of the lake.  This project would not be subject to the flank collapse, debris flow, pyroclastic flow, glacier problems of the Chakachatna River valley and the south flank of Spurr.  Cost would be in the neighborhood of a couple billion dollars and produce about a quarter of electricity for SouthCentral Alaska.  http://www.petroleumnews.com/pntruncate/839208091.shtml

Photos of Spurr summit from helicopter overflight. Photograph by Donna Eberhart-Phillips, the Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey

Photos of Spurr summit from helicopter overflight. Photograph by Donna Eberhart-Phillips, the Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey

The second one is a proposed geothermal power plant tapping into the magma chamber of Spurr.  A geothermal company named Ormat Technologies with worldwide operations has been drilling test wells on the southern flanks of Spurr since 2011.  Most of the operation was funded by the State of Alaska which was pursuing renewable energy at the time.  They were looking at a geothermal power plant in the 50 MegaWatt (MW) range.  To date, they have not found enough heat or the right rock to allow them to proceed.  The drilling has found a lot of gravel and little solid rock, making it difficult and much more expensive install a pressurized system needed for their particular flavor of geothermal generation.  http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/AJOC-November-6-2011/Ormat-says-it-isnt-giving-up-on-Mount-Spurr-geothermal/

Conclusions

July 15, 2004 overflight to Spurr Volcano.  Images of Crater Peak, debris flows from Spurr summit cone, surrounding glaciers. Photograph by Christina Neal, the Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey

July 15, 2004 overflight to Spurr Volcano. Images of Crater Peak, debris flows from Spurr summit cone, surrounding glaciers. Photograph by Christina Neal, the Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey

Being as close to over half the population of the State of Alaska (Anchorage and the MatSu Valley) and its major port and international airport, eruptions of Mount Spurr are an important part of our daily life.  We watch the mountain closely and pay close attention when it is active.  It has demonstrated the ability to drop ash across Cook Inlet and central Alaska.  Fortunately, it has not recently been significantly violent, though with any active volcano that is operating out of the remains of a caldera, this may be more wishful thinking than anything else.

AGIMARC

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144 thoughts on “Mount Spurr – the closest volcano to Anchorage

  1. People are stupid. Nasa and CMU included.

    Since the robot is pretty much expendable (though unintentional) the problem they seem to have the greatest issue with, is getting the robot down intact. Moving aorund is cool, but climbing out would be problematic at best.

    So.. why don’t they just use the same solution as done with the Mars Opportunity rover? Wrap the sucker in a dimensioned balloon structure and kick it off the rim.

    The US military has been doing experiments with highly accurate parachute drops that use GPS guidance.

    Any of these could help solve getting the robot down into the crater intact.

    • Something tells me that if you keep at it we will have a completely new level of equipment for volcanoes on our hands 🙂

    • The robotics team at Carnegie-Mellon is more interested in space than in volcanoes, and chose the recently active crater as a testing ground for a concept. It was steep, unweathered and remote. Controllers were in Anchorage and in Pittsburgh, simulating an on-planet team for an off planet probe. They could do the same control team setup for a lunar robot, though Mars would present more problems.

      We were here during the test and local media portrayed it as a complete cluster ____. But it wasn’t.

      They did get to the bottom of the crater and did do what they intended to do. It all fell apart when they tried to get it out, slipping on the poorly packed regolith and giving them a lesson in center of gravity considerations. I think the extraction failure was driven more by budget available and the 160 mile helo round trip from Anchorage than anything else. Not a lot of play time when you are that far out in a helo.

      I met one of the head guys nearly 30 years ago at a long forgotten space conference – Red Whittaker – and figured he was one of the smartest guys I ever met. Nice fellow, too.

      Best to you and yours and best wishes to all for a very happy Thanksgiving –

      • I’m sure that they are among the best at what they do. That DARPA Grand Challenge thing took a lot of insight and work, and came off as totally astounding in the field of autonomous systems.

        My field of training has nothing to do with building or operating systems such as this, but I had to study similar systems… specifically getting a missile onto a target, so I am familiar with the wide array of data that has to be digested and acted upon in order to pull it off. Missiles are much simpler, all they have to do is stay in the air and steer to an aim point. Then maybe pull off some radical final run-in maneuvers in order to minimize the probability of getting shot down. That is the reason that I am so impressed by any successful autonomous system.

        My point is that someone should have stepped back and took a look at the best way to get the bot down the crater wall. NASA’s bouncy bouncy thing worked pretty good for the Mars Rovers. Your note about them using it as an opportunity to build the technology for a Mars rover is fully valid. You can’t get a much more rugged terrain than inside a volcanic crater.

        • Geo – we were in similar businesses and have somewhat parallel experiences. I was in the Close Air Support business for a long while, both flying and other things, and understand the considerations and tools.

          Don’t substantially disagree with your points. Best to you and yours. Cheers –

  2. Thank you Agimarc. That was a very readable post full of excellent info. Poor little Volcano Spider. 😦
    I saw a programme recently about the salmon who were trying to return up a Volcano debris polluted river. It was fascinating. They had to turn back and find another clean river.
    I love this web cam of Spur. It shows the dome nicely….When it isn’t covered in Blzzard Snow!!!
    http://www.avo.alaska.edu/webcam/SpurrCKT.php

    A very Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends in the USA. Be peaceful and relax. Enjoy. I am just so happy not to be a North American Turkey today 🙂 ….BUT…..beware…..
    ……………They will have their revenge!!!!

  3. FYI
    28.11.2013 08:59:59 63,600 -19,198 28,5 km 0,8 99,0 5,2 km SSA of Goðabungu
    Note its 28,5 km deep so kind of interesting. Also there were other deep quakes, near Vatnajökull (storm has died down and they can now be seen)

    • An ongoing swarm in Esufjoll volcano (the forgotten volcano), and a deep quake where it should not be, west of Skaftafell. If a volcano would appear there it would be new.

      Also a quake north of Askja, in a “dead zone” but where eruptions do happen.

      Plus the deep quakes south of Katla, that have been happening once in a while.

  4. OMG, I’ve been trying to watch Comet ISON on the SOHO website but everyone in the world is watching too and I can’t get through to the website. We can put a car sized robot on Mars that can take “selfies”, but cant have a server big enough for me to see a 512x512px image? sorry for the rant.

  5. Where are the lava flows?
    Either somethings changed in the system, or we can’t see the flows, or this will be a long one.

  6. Of course I did read Agimarc’s article but then Etna took over so quickly… I was again reminded of how lucky I am to live in the middle of Germany. Even if I miss some interesting volcanoes and exciting earthquakes… I do feel safer here. 🙂 So far I had always thought that those northern volcanoes are very remote and would be no danger to people, but Agimarc shows in his articles how wrong that can be, regarding both the remoteness and the power of them. Thank you Agimarc!

    • I think I understood that one… But it took me a while…
      For the rest of the europeans… What Gina meant is that if you have a ginormous fryer you can deep fry the bird in one pieace. If there is still ice in the turkey the temperature differential will be to large, and it will explode creating a fire furnace. Like when you pour water into burning oil.

      Might have gotten my observation wrong though… The Turkey Rites are rather hard to fathoom for us non natives 😉
      (Carl doing anthropological studies into Homo Americanus Thanksgivingianus)

      • you got it right as I am in new england that ritual is not popular due to the cold however it is rather liked in the southern states particularly if one has a wooden deck attached to the house and a severe lack of functional brains

        • It though tastes very good as long as you don’t blast the house to smitherenes.
          I had deep fried turkey out in Nowhere Blue Bayou, but that one had never seen a freezer… And when the turkey was gone I got deep fried thanksgiving gator…

        • A wooden deck is asking for trouble. A flat slab away from the house or any building is preferable. Drizzling ice cold rain and wind can be accounted for if you are fleet of foot. Also, don’t let the kids anywhere near it. I don’t even let them play ball in the same lot as I am. An errant shot can cause a disaster.

      • You got right. Putting a partly frozen turkey into the frier also puts you into contention for the Darwin Awards. To say nothing of the fact that it can destroy the deep frier and create a fire…..

        • Dead on accurate about the still frozen bird. Remember, I did the Fire fighter thing for a bit. Oil splashed/sprayed onto a propane flame will reach the flammable point quite rapidly.

          I have about 20 years of experience doing turkeys this way. I was introduced to it by my aunt who learned if from the locals that worked with her down in Avondale Shipyards.

          The bigest error that people make, other than the frozen bird, is having too much oil in the tank. All you need is just enough to cover the bird… but remember, it will float around a bit. The lid is very crucial in maintaining a steady temp. A slight breeze can suck the heat right off of the tank and drop the temperature of the oil.

          Personally, I use an infrared thermometer to track the temp, I find it far less cumbersome than the stick thermometer. Lift the lid, shoot the laser in a couple of times and do a quick average to find the temp.

          Here is a fire demonstration vid. One atrificiality that usually shows up in these videos, is that they will plop the turkey into the tank like a dumpling. That is just asking for trouble, and is probably why they do it… for the dramatic effect of a fryer gone wrong.

  7. if the weather was clear this i think would be among the best shows etna has put on over the past year will be interesting to see Borises views

  8. I think all of us in the volcano community should be praying for the next eruption to be at the Senkaku Islands. Preferably some kind of caldera forming event whereupon the islands slip under the surface of the ocean.

  9. Comet ISON just survived its first (extremely close) passage to the Sun but seriously faded in brightness. The question is now, what will happen, could be comet brighten again? Hopes are dim. But I would pretty much enjoy a surprise.

  10. I fear that my pie may or may not be made.

    → Run up to the grocery store to find that it is closed. (Thanksgiving)
    → Top off my gas tank since my idiot light came on. (Check your gauges dumbass, rare for me, but it happens)
    → Gird my loins for the dive into the morass that is Walmart.
    → After 30 minutes of cruising the parking lot, trying to find a space, give up in exasperation and head home, spotting a space over at the auto parts house (which is closed, I was going to walk in and buy something to cover that I was using their parking lot, maybe a set of plug wires.)
    → Walk across the street and enter the fray.
    → With no buggy availible, I am relegated to carrying eggs milk and coffee as I nudge my way through the crowd that is trying to scarf up the specials… such as flat screen TVs.
    → While in line for self checkout, lock eyes with some “I’m special” cretin that ducked under the crowd control ribbons so that he could cut in line. He says “hows it going!” I don’t answer and keep the poker faced “you are a f-tard” gaze going. He walks by and mutters “or not” to which I don’t give a shit. His follow on comment did not mesh at all with his earlier statement, so there for is is the full on idiot that I presumed him to be.
    → Overheard a deputy at the door chewing the fat with someone else, commenting that they had a dozen people there, but they were all inside watching the clientèle. Given the neighborhood, makes sense. They have a substation next door to the auto parts place that I mentioned earlier… and it was chilly outside. The fact that they are there is fully advertised by the large number of patrol cars along the sidewalk out front.

    Made it home after picking up the makings for White Russians for my wife. I still have my Whiskey, but opted to do Bloody Marys again.

    • Family wants to do the sit down and eat thing on Saturday. I’ll have to do the cauldron of boiling oil thing since my stepson has obviously been bragging to his girl friend. In a way, that’s good, but on the flip side… I have to mind the cook pot. The downside is that since deep fried turkey has become so popular, they milk you for the peanut oil, extracting as much cash as they can get away with. Peanut oil is THE oil that you used, it has a higher smoke point (232°C) than normal vegetable oils and doesn’t break down as easily. Following that logic, Olive Oil should also be suitable, but when you are using 4 gallons of it at a time, it can get pricey.

  11. Nice vid for anyone interested in what goes on inside a house fire. I only did one two story house. We thought we had it knocked down but it went through the walls and floor and got behind us. They called all out and we quickly made our way back down the stairs and exited. The guy in front of me impressed me by how nimble he was since he was down the stairs and out by the time I reached the top of the stairs. Turned out he wasn’t so nimble and the railing broke… he had tumbled all the way down and hurt his back. As you can tell from the vid, you can’t really see shit.

    As we were shedding our bottles out by a tree, a can of gunpowder went off inside, (reloading station). They gave up on the interior attack and switched to Master Stream. That’s essentially where you just drown the place with water and protect the exposures. You never go Master Stream with people inside. Beulah turned their monitor on a hole in the roof of one structure I was in, and the carport ceiling fell on me. They had jumped the gun on switching to that tactic.

    On an interior attack, you try to get in front of the fire and push it back towards the already burned area.

    In this vid, the presence of LP bottles would have bothered me. The incident commander probably should have tried to locate and cool them off just to protect the crews. Dunno, not my fire. That’s just my opinion.

    • Thank you GL! I have never seen something like that, it was a chilling experience. Of course one knows that fire men put their lives on risk but how exactly, and what they do in a house – I guess normally in a fire nobody thinks of making video reports, and once it’s over it’s over. I have a huge respect for fire men!

  12. And the tremor at Etna is still above normal, and the lava seems to be flowing still. Hard though to tell if there was so much lava erupted during the paroxysm that it would remain flowing, or if there is still lava pouring out on its own. I leave that to Boris to ponder… 🙂
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  13. Well my volcanic friends l now have an artificial hip.
    so,l will be laid up 6 weeks or so . My ortho Doc says
    Should be as good as new.. My dear auntie Arlene was
    The first person in Oregon to get a hip. She wore out two
    and was working on the third when she died at 85…

    • I guess this was (and is) not as easy as you make it sound TG. I wish you speedy recovery and that you may be able to run and jump like a young donkey after all has mended. Good luck!

    • Best of luck! Speedy recovery to you BUT words of wisdom-do exactly as the Dr. orders, which translates to ‘don’t push it’.

  14. Wow! Etna and deep fried Turkeys…..both spectacular! 😀 Lurking I laughed so much at your account of your supermarket visit. I think we can all identify with that one 😀 😀
    Well! I managed to miss all the action ….again. 😦
    Just getting the kitchen sorted and now I am trying to get myself organised for my trip to Brighton on Tuesday.
    Son has just moved there and this is the first time for staying there, previously just passed through. Is it Talla who lives near there?
    Husband is lending me his Tablet so I will be able to access VC 🙂
    Thank you Irpsit for your comment about the “Forgotten” Volcano. It certainly seems to be grumbling in it’s sleep.
    On Coffee # 2 and getting into mind set of unpacking the last of the Banana Boxes full of kitchen cupboard contents. Amazing how much stuff is collected over the years. I am well into downsizing and if I haven’t used it for 12 months…it’s OUT!
    Had a really good dream last night too……..The sinking Kitchen floor was apparently caused by rifting……I walked in to find a really nice rip through the newly laid concrete and floor covering…… The lava flowing below the concrete was rather like that seen on Kilauea below the cooling lava. I was concerned that as it was a rift the lava should be fountaining and should we try to get the living room furniture out before it did fountain 😀 😀 I was strangely fascinated and had a total lack of panic…..It just seemed rather natural 😀

      • I was strangely calm….As if it was the most natural thing in the world to have a rift across the kitchen floor :D…..I was actually rather fascinated. Had there REALLY been a rift when I woke up, I would have felt incredibly pe;;;;;;;d Off 😀 After all that money and hard work to get my kitchen back

        • Did you ever find out what caused the rifting kitchen in the first place?
          We do not want any old permian rift to swallow you whilst making morning coffee! :mrgreen:

  15. Good morning everyone,

    Following with excitement the comet ISON trip to the surface of the Sun and back. Well, something unexpected happened, the comet survived as a small piece that is brightening again, after a while. This seems to go against conventional theory. Such a rebel! And same for the tail, as it is pointing partly towards the Sun instead of the other way. Is it because of its speed or some other unknown mechanism? ISON you are funny.

    I think ISON is going to change some important bits in the way we understand comets to be. Plenty of astronomers are probably excited today. Lots of questions and data to study.

    Concerning the expected astronomical show in our morning skies in December: IS it ON or OFF?

    Offtopic: I have been in a quite low in my health, I guess it was linked to some stress a few weeks before in my life as it decrease my immune system, a few problems piled up on top of each other; so far nothing serious, but obviously makes me rethink the way I live. So advice for all of you, keep the moods up and don’t let much stress get you, life is to be lived!

    • To relieve those poor servers you better use this one from on youtube.
      It’s an overlay of Lasco c2,c3 and SDO AI 171

      • Thanks Arjannemm for the image. Please continue to send more as they are released.
        Here in the U.S., SOHO remains virtually useless as a data source, same as it has been for the entirety of this perhelion/post perihelion “main event”. Part of the problem seems to be an internal problem with images on a sever at NRL, but mostly they just weren’t ready for the internet traffic. Why in the world would SOHO not set up a series of mirror sites is anybody’s guess. 10+ MONTHS of advertising the “comet of the century” and billions of dollars invested in satelites and telescopes, and when the critical moment arrives, “clunk”. What a travesty. Even third party websites such as Spaceweather.com are now difficult to access at the moment. i guess all the penny-pinchers must be satisfied now that the lowest possible level of performance has been determined. (and don’t anyone expound on “waste” as an excuse for this piss-poor example of techincal competance…when you pay the lowest possible price, expect the lowest possible performance). The connection between science and the public at the moment is a tenuous one at best, and I suspect the millions of us who were looking forward to “obersving” what may be a once-in-a-lifetime event will do little to improve NASA or any other science sites’ image(s).
        Anyway, from what data I’ve been able to recover, ISON’s remants continue to brighten as it (*they) retreats after perhelion. The fan shaped tail/debris seems to show two very different areas of hightened activity. To my untrained eye, I’d say both debris and gasseous effluents are involved in the re-growth of the new fan-shaped tail and what appears to be a central emmision source near where the nucleous would be.

  16. Hello everyone!
    Riddles are on the way as fast as I can make them!
    Overslept due to among other things Etna… Now for coffee and riddling!

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