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NHNE News Brief 34
Friday, November 1, 1996

"A thought-provoking exploration
of the extraordinary times in which we live."


Heaven & Hell

Email For God
NHNE & Scallion Interview Update
Virtual Video Screen
Pope Accepts Theory of Evolution
Scientists Find Oxygen on Ganymede
U.S. Bird Species Decline
Deformed Frog Debate
More Info on Sudbury Meteorite
Alaska Rocket Base Under Fire
Solar Power Heats Up
Is Fiberglass a Health Hazard?
Grapefruit Juice & Drugs
Home Testing Popular


Online 0, Offline 0, Total List 728

Experience of a Lifetime

At Peace in Northridge Once Again
The Land Sits Still
NHNE Tops the List
Forum for Analysis
Murphy & Andrews Revisited
Two Other Crop Circle Theories

A.R.E. Sets Record Straight
Search for Atlantis Update

Global Earthquake Update
Will Japan be Submerged?
Volcanic Ash Hazard



The tree that would grow to heaven
must send its roots to hell.



(Source: REUTERS, 10/29/96)

Want to email God? An Israeli Internet company will place your cyberspace message in Jerusalem's Wailing Wall, where Jewish tradition says He picks up His mail. "Once a month, we take all the prayers we receive and deliver them to the Wall," says Avi Moskowitz, President of VIRTUAL JERUSALEM. His company does not read the email. A computer program prints all the messages on sheets of paper that are stuffed in the Wall's crevices along with hand-written messages traditionally left there. "(People) look for a way of communicating with God and the outer Wall of the Temple is as close as you can get to Him." The service is free and available on VIRTUAL JERUSALEM's homepage at: Moskowitz asks that petitioners keep their "kvitel" (written prayer) brief, and reserve it for special occasions. (JG)



By now, everyone on the NHNE Mailing List knows that NHNE founder and publisher, David Sunfellow, was interviewed as part of a television report on Gordon-Michael Scallion. This report began broadcasting on KHOU-TV, Channel 11, a CBS affiliate in Houston, Texas, on October 30, and we've been informed that KHOU-TV phones have been ringing constantly ever since. In earlier updates, we indicated that this news story was going to be aired in two parts. We learned from Jim Moore, the reporter who put the story together, that executives in his broadcasting company were so intrigued with the story that they asked Moore to expand the report from two parts, to three. According to Moore, "[This is] a remarkable amount of time this is for a television station, particularly in a major market, to devote to any subject matter." Saying that a fair-handed approach allows viewers to reach their own conclusions, Moore also indicated that he felt Sunfellow and Scallion came across "as thoughtful and intelligent individuals." After the report finishes airing in Houston, it will be fed out to other BELO stations (the company that owns KHOU-TV and about 19 other television stations) and, from there, on to CBS. We will keep you informed as to viewing dates in other parts of the country and also make a copy of the report available to those of you who are interested as soon as possible. (DS)


(Source: REUTERS, 10/24/96 )

A soldier scans the surroundings with his naked eye and immediately sees buried land mines, artillery and even troops behind walls. A doctor looks down at a patient and sees not only the body but a detailed outline of the organs and vessels beneath the skin. This Superman-like vision, which does away with video monitors by beaming information directly from a transmitting device onto the eye, could soon become a reality. Developed by the UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON's Human Interface Technology Laboratory and funded by MICROVISION, Virtual Retinal Display (VRD) rapidly scans an image directly onto the retina with a pinpoint laser beam of light. The viewer sees the virtual image as a full-color screen hanging in the air a few feet away. "It's obviously a stunning development in display technology, something that seems like science fiction but is actually here today," said analyst Jackie Fenn. Fenn, however, wondered if people would not fear doing damage to their eyesight with such revolutionary technology. According to MICROVISION, the amount of photon energy coming out of the system is 10,000 times less light than what is considered a safe limit by the AMERICAN NATIONAL STANDARDS INSTITUTE. The company is currently testing working prototypes and commercial products are expected in 1998. (JG)


(Source: REUTERS, 10/24/96)

In a step welcomed by scientists but likely to raise howls from the religious right, Pope John Paul II has lent his support to the theory of evolution, proclaiming it compatible with Christian faith. The Pope's recognition that evolution is "more than just a theory" came in a written message he sent to the PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, the body of experts that advises THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH on scientific issues. The Popes's message broke new ground by acknowledging that the theory of the physical evolution of man and other species through natural selection and hereditary adaptation appeared to be valid, although he made it clear that the human soul is of divine creation, and not subject to the process. Darwin's theories about man's origins had long been an anathema to theologians, who saw a conflict with the biblical account of creation in the Book of Genesis. Most theologians no longer believe that the creation doctrine and the theory of evolution stand in each other's way. But fundamentalist Christians known as "creationists" have recently re-opened the controversy, especially in the southern USA. In Tennessee, a bill that would have banned teaching evolution as fact was only narrowly voted down in the state legislature earlier this year. (JG)


(Source: REUTERS via CNN ONLINE, 10/23/96)

Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede, has a thin oxygen atmosphere but there is no sign that Ganymede supports life, according to Doyle Hall, a JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY astronomer and leader of the research team, in a report at a meeting of the AMERICAN ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY'S DIVISION OF PLANETARY SCIENCES in October. The scientists had previously reported the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere of another of Jupiter's moons, Europa. "The surfaces of these moons, as far as we can tell, are completely inhospitable to any life form that we can imagine," Hall said. The astronomers made their Ganymede discovery using the Hubble space telescope. (JG)


(Source: REUTERS via CNN ONLINE, 10/21/96)

About 90 American bird species -- 14 percent of all U.S. breeding species -- are in decline or danger, according to the NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY's latest Watch List. "This is nothing less than a warning cry," said John Flicker, President of the environmental organization. "Birds are an indicator group and many on the Watch List show abnormal declines. We hope this accounting serves as a wake-up call to all people who are concerned about the health of the environment, not only for birds, but for themselves and their children." Loss of habitat is probably the single greatest danger to wildlife. One dramatic example is the yellow-headed blackbird population, which has declined 33 percent in the Northwest since the early 1980s, largely as a result of draining wetlands. (JG)



Charles Dailey, a biologist at SIERRA COMMUNITY COLLEGE east of Sacramento, has claimed a snake parasite may be responsible for the recently discovered deformations of frogs in Minnesota and Wisconsin. His data ruled out chemical toxic causes. However, scientists studying malformed frogs in Minnesota are skeptical of the report. "Parasites might be one of the contributors (to the malformations)," said Mark Gernes, a biologist with the MINNESOTA POLLUTION CONTROL AGENCY, "but I think there might be more than one cause." Frogs, with their permeable skin and a life cycle that is both aquatic and land-based, perform a function in the environment that is similar to what canaries once did for coal miners. "They are fairly significant indicators of health in our environment," Gernes said, which is why he wants to know what in the past two years caused frog populations throughout Minnesota and 11 or 12 other states to suddenly go from next-to-zero malformations to rates as high as 67 percent. The Minnesota scientists working on the mystery are looking at chemical contamination as the most likely cause, but they are also doing research on the parasite idea and are aware of a less likely theory that increased ultraviolet radiation from thinning of the ozone might be playing a role. (JG)


(Source: CNN ONLINE, 10/17/96)

Wilfred Meyer, a geologist with the Ontario Provincial Government, says reading rocks is helping scientists piece together information on the meteor that hit Sudbury 1.8 billion years ago originally reported in NHNE NEWS BRIEF 19. Scientists who have developed computer models to analyze the power of meteor impacts, believe the Sudbury meteor, 6 to 12 miles in diameter, exploded on impact with the blast of 10 billion Hiroshima bombs. "We believe that the meteor impact fractured the crust of the Earth to great depths and then molten rocks from deep down in the Earth came up and spread between these younger rocks and the crater wall," Meyer said. Scientists had long maintained that a volcano could have created the mineral deposits and conglomerate rocks of Sudbury, but when unusual features called shatter cones were discovered in the area 30 years ago, they all but destroyed the volcano theory. "To the best of my knowledge, they've never been found associated with any volcanic explosion. So this is very strong piece of evidence of a meteor impact," Meyer said. If a large meteor hit the Earth today, the results could be devastating. Scientists figure the odds of a meteor with the explosive energy of 300 Hiroshima bombs hitting the Earth are one percent every year. So, according to LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORIES senior scientist Greg Canavan, "It's not a matter of IF they'll hit Earth, it's WHEN." (JG)


(Source: Jennifer Skiff, CNN ONLINE, 10/14/96)

Alaska is planning the first state-run space rocket launch facility for Kodiak Island. The site was chosen by the ALASKA AEROSPACE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION because it meets all the criteria: the location is secluded, can launch year round, and has a flight safety pattern directly over the Pacific. The corporation says this is the best location in Alaska to launch everything from satellites to technology experiments. Conservationists are worried about the potential impact on the area's abundant wildlife. Kodiak Island is home to the Kodiak Bear -- the largest bear in the world. In addition, threatened bird species nest in the area, and sea lions hang out on an island that would be under the flight path. Mike Sirofchuck, who heads the KODIAK ROCKET LAUNCH INFORMATION GROUP, says each launch will release 23,500 pounds of hydrochloric acid into the atmosphere and a substance into the ocean which he says can cause liver damage. "Here's an area that's had no pollution that's going to be drastically affected," said Sirofchuck. "There are no studies for this climate that can really tell us what will happen when those launches take place." (JG)


(Source: NEW SCIENTIST via SPECTRUM, Sept-Oct/96)

A typical power plant requires more heat and pressure to generate electricity than can be provided by solar power. Now however, a recent prototype solar collector has been successfully tested by Israeli scientists that is capable of generating sufficient hot air to power a 50-kilowatt power station. New collector technology is capable of focusing the sun's rays to an incredible 10,000 watts per square meter -- making it the hottest thing in the solar system other than the sun. To meet Israel's demand for electricity, 2,000 hectares would be need to be set aside for the collection of sunlight -- less than what is already being used by fossil-fuel power stations. The cost of generating electricity by solar power is comparable to that of fossil fuels and is expected to become cheaper over time. (JG)


(Source: Michael Okwu, CNN ONLINE, 9/19/96)

Fiberglass, the insulation of choice in more than 90 percent of US homes, is also a potential cause of cancer, claims a recent report from the NATIONAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL (NRDC). The report is based on tests conducted on humans and animals in the 1970s and 1980s by the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) and THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE. But the findings are questioned by the fiberglass industry. "Those tests involved animals that were surgically implanted or injected with massive doses of fiberglass. That is not the way people would be exposed to fibers," said Cathy Imus of the NORTH AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION. The NRDC counters with a study that showed Canadian fiberglass workers developed lung cancer at twice the national rate. The danger is most severe among workers who install "loose-fill" fiberglass. The NRDC is asking the federal government's OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION (OSHA) to establish specific guidelines to protect workers who install loose-fill fiberglass and other kind of fiberglass. For time being, the best thing for concerned homeowners to do, according to Dr. Phillip Landrigan of MOUNT SINAI MEDICAL CENTER in New York City, is to leave their existing insulation intact, and not tear out their fiberglass. (JG)


(Sources: ASSOCIATED PRESS via CNN ONLINE, 9/1/96)

Researchers have found that a number of drugs are absorbed into the body more easily when taken with grapefruit juice. For example, patients who take calcium channel blockers for high blood pressure can triple their blood levels of the drug by taking their pills with grapefruit juice. Other drugs react similarly, including the antihistamine terfenidine, known commercially as Seldane, and the sleeping pill Halcion. This discovery comes with a warning: grapefruit juice may cause people to overdose inadvertently. David Bailey, who discovered the phenomenon five years ago in his laboratory at the LONDON HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER in Canada, suspects some people who have fallen ill or died after taking Seldane for hay fever and other allergies may have done so because they took the drug with grapefruit juice. (JG)


(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS via CNN ONLINE, 10/15/96)

Home-testing is big business these days, with tests that let Americans check for high cholesterol, colon cancer, even the AIDS virus in the privacy of their bathrooms. These tests earned more than $1 billion last year, a 13 percent jump from 1994. The FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) regulates the effectiveness of home tests and makes sure laymen can use them and understand the results. Some decisions about some tests are straightforward, like pregnancy tests where chemically treated strips simply change color in urine samples. Others pose more complicated challenges. For example, the FDA wrangled for almost six years over whether Americans should be allowed to mail their blood samples to a laboratory to test for the AIDS virus and learn the results over the telephone. The FDA finally approved a home HIV test this year only after phone counseling was added. But what about the ethical issues of home tests? Will patients be hurt if tests are wrong? When do they see a doctor? Could they force a test on a family member? Are there some tests -- like those that detect genetic flaws that might cause incurable diseases -- that laymen should never use? And to complicate the issue are two home tests currently in development: a test to track cancer growth and a kit to make on-the-spot checks of cocaine use. (JG)


This issue sponsored by:


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Last week, we mentioned we were working on some new ideas to keep NHNE flourishing. We are quite excited to share with you SPIRIT OF SEDONA: EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME. If you saw the movie, "Spitfire Grill" you will have an idea how it works. NHNE is planning to offer a deluxe one-week all-expense paid trip for two to Sedona from anywhere in North America. Airfare, rental car, accommodations at a luxurious bed-and-breakfast in the heart of red rock country, meals, and $300 spending money will be included. This is more than a simple trip to mystical, magical Sedona. Whoever wins this experience of a lifetime will be offered a myriad of experiences ranging from hikes to ancient Indian ruins in secret canyons and exploring power vortexes, to personal transformation -- and much, much more. We will be announcing details next week!

James Gregory



"Thank you for your Web site. I have been a bit blue lately thinking about California falling apart (we live in Northridge, California). But several of your articles there really put things in perspective, especially the realities of Gordon-Michael Scallion. I really enjoyed "12 Tips For Survival" by David Sunfellow (News Brief 5). It made me feel better about everything. I think I can stop worrying so much now and just focus on the here and now. I will be calling to sign up for a subscription."

---Tracy Frank, Northridge, California



"This is a note to thank you for all NHNE does to aid clarity and honesty. As one of the psychics who has "clearly, oh so clearly" seen rather severe weather, strong earthquakes and volcanic activity speeding up for this period, I must admit I am baffled. The earth has been rather quiet. In the last few weeks I have been feeling very strident, discordant energies under Southern California. (The last time I felt these, Stan Deyo was noticing significant sea temperature differentials and predicting bad quakes.) Yet the land sits still. Annie Kirkwood of "Mary's Messages to the World" lives just across the border into Oklahoma. I finally made the trip over and met her. She says Mother Mary has now told her that we have 5, 10, maybe 15 years of grace based on more people praying for the common good. While this does not particularly resonate for me, there does seem to be some mitigating force in play here, though I am not at all sure what it is. Perhaps this mitigating factor is prayer, or consciousness upgrades, or extraterrestrials holding tectonic plates in place. Or, as some Californians are claiming, all the people with earthquake fears have now left that state. What would feel like an earth-calming factor to me would be people taking much more conscious care of the planet, handling population and technology issues, and perhaps even getting bored with our environment-gobbling materialism. I am appreciative of what light you can bring to this subject."

---Joya Pope, Fayetteville, Arkansas

[Joya Pope is the author of "Upcoming Changes: Prophecy and Pragmatism for the Late Nineties."]



"I found the two Gordon-Michael Scallion reports on your Web site while searching the whole Web for 'Scallion.' I love the fact that they came up at the very top of the list, ahead of his own site! By the way, when I checked out his site, there was nothing but an 'Under Construction' graphic, which may represent a hard-working prophet shovelling earth changes 'material' out to the expectant masses."

---Charley Sweet, Peardale, California



"NHNE provides a forum for analysis which is desperately needed. I thought the Global Transformation Letters were excellent and interesting. They confirmed my feeling that many modern-day prophets/psychics who receive visions or feel earthquakes, may in fact, be sensing something, but after it passes through their filter, the end product is rather fuzzy. The human brain is boundless, but unless you know how to use it, it's like navigating an unexplored river without a map. It was also good to hear that I wasn't the only one storing dehydrated food. And concerning the letter from Bill Dewey referring to scientists suppressing information for their own gain, I have seen this over an over again in forest ecology and I have no reason to believe that it doesn't exist in all fields of science. One of the most crushing realizations I encountered in forestry school and the forest service was that most people were not working toward a common goal -- they were entrenched in mini-agendas and the environment and endangered species could go to hell as long as they were paid and recognized."

---Sherry, Walla Walla, Washington



"Concerning your profile of Joyce Murphy in NHNE 30 and Colin Andrews in NHNE 32, they might sound authoritative and knowledgeable, but they don't speak for all croppies in the field. I have three comments on their statements about crop circles:

-- 1. The formations are by no means past their peak. Numbers have declined, but sophistication, beauty and message intensity have increased.

-- 2. The Oliver's Castle video footage should not be so easily dismissed as a hoax. I and many others can see no logical reason not to take the video for real. Just watch the video with a skilled UFOlogist's or parapsychologist's eye -- the trajectories of the lights are too organic and aesthetic to be hoaxed, and the rapid circle-formation sequence taking place is too close-to-the-bone. This is dynamite stuff! Many people assume these lights or craft were busy building the formation which is probably not true -- they were more likely monitoring it. If you watch their antics, there's no noticeable relation between their flight-patterns and the formation of the patterns underneath.

-- 3. Of Murphy's three possible explanations as to who is forming them, forget the last -- these are not human-made by any means, apart from the ragged, energy-less 10 percent which are clearly hoaxed. The truth might be a combination of the two first possibilities (Gaia crying/ETs) but these symbols are so different from any symbols previously known to humanity that it suggests off-earth origins.

"Michael Hesemann's book "Cosmic Connections" is probably the most balanced all-round book available on the subject. It explores all the known options, describes the phenomenon as an unfolding process, and doesn't reach narrow conclusions."

---Palden Jenkins, Glastonbury, Somerset, England



"Concerning Joyce Murphy's theory that crop circles are a manifestation of Gaia "crying" (NHNE NEWS BRIEF 30), one possibility could be that Gaia is evolving and is beginning to develop a consciousness of her own -- the circles, and possibly other phenomena, being a physical expression of her thought. This theory flies in the face of Christian beliefs, but who knows what God's plan is? Another idea that struck me is that perhaps crop circles are metaphors of our own collective unconscious. If that is the case, then in order to figure them out, we ought to look at what a particular pattern "means" in popular thought and not concentrate on the circle pattern at a literal level. I think the sacred geometry folks might be going down the right path."

---Chris Czech, Moose Meadow, Alberta


(Source: VENTURE INWARD, Nov-Dec/96)

The A.R.E. (the caretaker of Edgar Cayce's Readings and work) has taken exception to an article printed in the most recent ATLANTIS RISING. John Van Auken says that the claim that the A.R.E has taken the side of the Joseph Schor against authors Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, and John Anthony West in a controversy over uncovering hidden chambers under the Sphinx is in error. (Schor is an A.R.E. member who has been financing exploratory work on the Giza plateau for years.)

"The A.R.E is not taking sides," claims Van Auken. "We even had Hancock and Bauval speaking at Virginia Beach this year. Our objective is to get to the truth, no matter who gets the credit."

And as to the allegation in the article that Zahi Hawass, General Director of the Sphinx and pyramids at Giza, was playing favorites in granting permission to explore for hidden chambers, Van Auken says, "Hawass assured me that it was not true." Hawass himself adds, "I am not stopping anyone from investigating in Egypt. They simply must meet [the condition] that requires that anyone wanting to do research in Egypt be connected with a recognized university or museum."

Another story that gets supermarket tabloids in a lather is Edgar Cayce's secret diary that allegedly contains seven dire predictions such as:

-- A deadly plague will kill 100 million people.

-- Pollution will turn the Atlantic Ocean into the Dead Sea.

-- Iraq will drop nuclear warheads on Israel triggering World War III.

The truth, according to VENTURE INWARD, the official publication of the A.R.E., is that Cayce only kept a diary for a few weeks. The contents have already been made public and contain no predictions. (JG)


By James Gregory

The A.R.E. expedition to Bimini last summer to search for the lost continent of Atlantis located "numerous circular and rectangular anomalies" that "may be evidence of an ancient civilization," according to Douglas G. Richards, Co-Director of the search. This is only the most recent of many expeditions that have ventured to the Bahama islands off the coast of Florida to verify Edgar Cayce's predictions that evidence of the long-lost continent would be found there.

The 19-day expedition of the area consisted of side-scan sonar probes, aerial photo reconnaissance, and dives on selected sites. Water samples were taken from a "healing spring" to determine an explanation for the claims of its healing properties. Preliminary studies do indicate that there is an underground source of fresh water feeding the spring.

Work that still needs to be done includes exploration of the edge of the Bahamas Bank and a geological analysis of the Bimini Road where it is suspected there are blocks of granite, a stone not native to the area. Funding of the project is provided by the LAW OF ONE RESEARCH GROUP.

As one who has spent considerable time in Bimini conducting research on my own and also with David Zink (author of, "Stones of Atlantis"), it appears to this reporter that nothing new has been discovered in the Bimini area to verify the existence of Atlantis. Richards plans to spend his off season giving lectures and showing slides about his expedition. For more information on the Bimini research you can call: (757) 428-3588, ext. 7548. (Source: VENTURE INWARD, Nov-Dec/96)



In NEWS BRIEF 31, we listed the UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY'S (USGS) global statistics for earthquakes for the years 1980 thru 1994. The statistics for 1995 were not posted on the USGS server, so we contacted Glen Reagor of the USGS and he was able to give us the figures for 1995. According to Reagor, there were a total of 22 earthquakes 7.0 - 7.9, and 3 earthquakes 8.0 - 8.9, for a total of 25 earthquakes worldwide 7.0 and greater. The annual average is 19. While the figures for 1995 are 32 percent above average, they have a long way to go before they approach the most active earthquake years of this century. The most active earthquake years this century were between 1943 and 1950. The average rate of earthquakes greater than 7.0 for these years was nearly 38! The most active year of this century was 1943 with 41. (DS)


By James Gregory

In 1934 Edgar Cayce predicted that, "The greater portion of Japan must go into the sea." (Reading 3976-15) How likely is this to happen? In the most recent issue of VENTURE INWARD, the official publication of Edgar Cayce's organization, William Hutton, a geologist and author of "Coming Earth Changes" explores the possibility from a scientific point of view.

Japan is a country the size of California and home to 120 million people. Four crustal plates meet in the area. The Philippine Plate alone shoves northward at the geologically rapid rate of 1.5 inches a year.

The Tokyo region has experienced a major quake on average every 69 years. 142 years ago, neighboring Tokai was hit by an 8.4 shock that killed 3,000 people. It was sparsely populated at the time; now 7.5 million people live in the area. 73 years ago an earthquake in the Kanto district 70 miles south of Tokyo killed 140,000 people.

In 1993, a magnitude 7.8 quake along a fault along the western side of the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido resulted one of the largest tsunamis in Japanese history that devastated the island of Okushiri in the Sea of Japan.

In 1995, the city of Kobe was struck by the most powerful quake to strike an urban area of Japan since the Tokai quake in 1923. According to Hutton, the tremblor was the most costly natural disaster in history -- killing 5,000, toppling the elevated highway that was the main link between Kobe and Osaka, damaging 46,000 buildings, and leaving 300,000 of the population homeless.

These are all impressive statistics, but do they indicate that Japan is doomed to total destruction? Other than the fact that Tokyo is overdue for a major earthquake, the best that Hutton can come up with is research indicating that the Pacific Plate, one of the plates colliding at Japan, seems to have accelerated its motion. He also postulates that a pole shift could possibly trigger an "avalanche" of destructive events such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis that could destroy the entire country.

Japan has always been seismically active. 15 percent of all seismic energy released on the planet each year occurs in Japan. Throughout recorded history, parts of the island archipelago such as Tokyo have been destroyed only to rebuild and be destroyed again. (Source: William Hutton, VENTURE INWARD, Nov-Dec/96)


(Source: Press release from the office of Alaska Governor Tony Knowles,10/22/96)

Volcanic ash poses a serious hazard to jet aircraft. Hazardous concentrations of volcanic ash, undetectable by present-day radar systems, can drift at high altitudes for hundreds of miles following an eruption. The busy air routes of the northern Pacific are especially vulnerable to such hazards in Alaska, one of the most geologically active regions of the globe with dozens of active volcanoes. A cooperative effort of the UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA, the state's DIVISION OF GEOLOGICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL SURVEYS, the U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY (USGS), and the ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY (AVO) monitors Alaskan volcanoes and provides warnings of eruptions and forecasts of likely volcanic activity to the FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA) and the NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE (NWS). The two agencies then use the information to alert pilots and air-traffic controllers so planes can be safely routed around volcanic ash clouds.

Before the agencies started cooperating, the 1989 eruption of the Redoubt Volcano damaged five jets which flew into its ash cloud. One jetliner with 243 passengers aboard temporarily lost power to all four engines and nearly crashed before safely landing in Anchorage. Damage to the Boeing 747 totaled nearly $100 million.

By the time of the 1992 eruption of the Spurr Volcano, the availability of an effective warning system and an enhanced awareness of the ash-cloud hazard within the aviation community minimized economic loss to air carriers and reduced risks to passengers.

Earlier this year, the group closely monitored the Akutan Volcano which was rattled by more than 3,000 earthquakes in three days. Accurate evaluation on the level of hazard posed by the activity averted wide-scale evacuation of the island and its seafood processing plant. AVO is currently monitoring the eruptive activity taking place at the Pavlof Volcano and a strong cluster of shallow earthquakes beneath Ilimana Volcano. (JG)


David Sunfellow (DS)

James Gregory (JG)

SwiftWing Reporters:
Gail Rossi (GR)
Lea Harwood (LH)
Sandy Ezrine (SE)
Cynthia Stringer (CS)
Vincent Vanderbent (VB)
Kathleen-Blake Frankel (KBF)
Karol Ann Barnett (KAB)

NHNE Web Page Programming:
David Sunfellow


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