A steam plume extending from Augustine for about 50 miles (75 km) towards the SE was noted in a MODIS satellite image from 2040 UTC today (Dec. 12, 2005). This image comes from the Geographic Information Network of Alaska (GINA) web site.
Picture courtesy the Alaska Volcano Observatory
It appears that Mount Augustine, roughly 175 miles southwest of Anchorage, is becoming active again. While the Alaska Volcano Observatory does not believe an eruption is imminent, they do believe magma is moving closer to the surface, which could eventually lead to an eruption. A large steam plume (seen in the satellite photo above) has appeared over the mountain, and contains high concentrations of sulfur and sulfur oxides, characteristic of fresh magma. The gas concentrations have been strong enough that they can be smelled on the Kenai Peninsula, almost fifty miles away across the Cook Inlet.
While not presenting a direct danger to humans, so far as anyone can tell, the volcano does have the potential to disrupt intercontinental and local air traffic, and disrupt travel and communications with the many small villages that dot the Cook Inlet side of the Kenai Peninsula. The AVO will be watching.
For the latest, go to:
Alaska Volcano Observatory
AVO's Mount Augustine page
Anchorage Daily News