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Tuesday, August 3, 2004 2:00 PM ADT
Current Level of Concern Color Code: YELLOW
An overflight of Mount Spurr by AVO scientists yesterday afternoon revealed a circular depression in the icecap just northeast of the summit. The depression is approximately 50 meters (165 feet) in diameter and about 25 meters (82 feet) deep. The floor of the depression contains an icy pond, with small areas of open water. No steam or volcanic emissions were observed. Depressions of this sort may have existed on Spurr before, but AVO is not aware of any in recent decades. The depression may have formed by heat from the volcano melting the ice, or, the release of stored water, which might account for the minor mudflows observed several weeks ago on the upper flanks. If due to heat, it is not known if the flow of heat to the surface has increased and is related to the recent increase in earthquake activity.
There is no evidence or suggestion of any explosive activity; no fresh ash was observed anywhere on the mountain. Crater Peak, the vent responsible for the eruptions in 1953 and in the early 1990s, showed no signof any unusual activity.
Earthquake activity continues beneath Mt. Spurr with no significant change over the past week.