Alaska’s Elmendorf Air Force Readies for Earthquake

March 6, 2009

Airplanes and crews from Alaska’s Elmendorf Air Force have temporarily moved to southern New Mexico’s Holloman Air Force Base after warnings of a possible eruption of a volcano.

The 3rd Wing from Elmendorf, near Anchorage, arrived at Holloman last month, bringing 14 F-22s and a C-17, said Arlan Ponder of Holloman’s public affairs office.

Capt. Candace Miller of Elmendorf public affairs said the head of the Alaskan Command took steps to remove the aircraft as a precaution when Mount Redoubt, about 100 miles from the Alaska base, started showing a lot of activity.

The aircraft are expected to return to Elmendorf soon, she said.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory Web site said that as of this week, Redoubt had not erupted and seismic activity was low.

The volcano has been assessed by the U.S. Geological Survey as one of the nation’s highest-threat volcanoes. The Alaska Volcano Observatory has monitored it around the clock since late January when the level of seismic activity increased and scientists warned an eruption was possible within days to weeks.

Redoubt last erupted explosively nearly 20 years ago, sending ash plumes 40,000 feet into the air and interrupting commercial air traffic in and out of Anchorage.

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