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Federal Spending Cuts Curb Alaska Volcano Monitoring

Little Sitkin Volcano/AVO

Little Sitkin Volcano/AVO

The Alaska Volcano Observatory is joining the list of agencies that have announced cutbacks in response to the massive federal spending cuts known as sequestration. AVO will stop maintaining its seismic networks on some remote volcanoes.

Late last year, scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory picked up a swarm of small earthquakes at Little Sitkin volcano, in the far western Aleutians. They would have been undetectable to humans, but were picked up by AVO’s seismic network on the volcano, and alerted scientists to the possibility of an eruption. While the closest community is 200 miles to the east and wouldn’t have been affected, an eruption could have caused problems for international flight traffic.

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