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Murkowski Praises Placement of Volcano Monitoring Equipment in Dillingham

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today praised the decision to place an acoustical array in Dillingham for use in the monitoring of volcanoes. 

The array placed in Dillingham will be part of a joint program of the U.S. Geographical Survey (USGS), the United States Geologic Service, the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and the State of Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

"I am pleased to see more attention going to monitoring volcanoes in Alaska, especially given last year's eruptions from Mt. Redoubt," Murkowski said. "This new array will work with the existing array in Fairbanks and other monitoring devices associated with the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) to help determine the location of volcanic activity and eruptions in Alaska."

The AVO is one of five volcano observatories in the United States. Established in 1988 after an eruption of Mt. Augustine, the AVO uses federal, state and university resources to monitor and study Alaska's hazardous volcanoes, predict and provide early warnings of volcanic activity, record eruptions and mitigate volcanic hazards to life and property.

Alaska has more than 30 active volcanoes that are currently being monitored by the AVO. There is no other observatory in the world that even comes close to that. The AVO also analyzes available satellite data twice daily from thermal anomalies and ash plumes at about 80 volcanoes in the North Pacific. The AVO is unique in the United States in that it is a thoroughly collaborative undertaking of federal scientists, state scientists, university faculty and students.

Murkowski has introduced legislation that would establish a national volcano early warning and monitoring system within the USGS to monitor, warn and protect citizens from undue and avoidable harm from volcanic activity. Under the legislation, USGS would coordinate a management plan with other relevant federal departments, including the Departments of Homeland Security and Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The legislation would also authorize appropriations annually to the Department of Interior to carry out the act.

Murkowski's legislation, S.782, is pending in the Senate.

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