Alaska has 31% of all Active Volcanoes in the United States
Alaska’s volcanoes make up about 31% of all active volcanoes in the United States. There are 52 that have been active within the last 10,000 years and can be expected to erupt again. At present, 28 are monitored with ground-based instrumentation, and all are monitored daily using satellite remote sensing.See a full list (http://www.avo.alaska.edu/volcanoes/) of all volcanoes in Alaska and view an interactive map (http://www.avo.alaska.edu/map/index.php?monvolcs=on&othervolcs=on) of their location.Although most of the volcanoes in Alaska are remote and not close to populated areas, millions of dollars of air freight and 20,000-30,000 people fly over active Alaskan volcanoes daily traveling between North America and Asia. In fact, the Anchorage International Airport is ranked the fifth busiest air cargo hub in the world based on tonnage. In addition to the threat that volcanic ash poses for aviation safety, the economic impacts due to disruption of air traffic can be substantial. One study estimated costs of five billion dollars from the week-long closure of European airspace caused by the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010.
USGS Science for Volcano Hazards
USGS science is helping keep what are natural events from turning into major disasters.The United States has approximately 169 active volcanoes, and more than half of them could erupt explosively. When the violent energy of a volcano is unleashed, the results can be catastrophic. Lava flows, debris avalanches, and explosive blasts have devastated communities. Noxious volcanic gas emissions have caused widespread lung problems. Airborne ash clouds from explosive eruptions have caused millions of dollars damage, including causing engines to shut down in flight. To keep communities safe, it is essential to monitor volcanoes so that the public knows when unrest begins and what hazards can be expected. USGS efforts have improved global understanding of how volcanoes work and how to live safely with volcanic eruptions.The USGS Volcano Hazards Program (http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/) operates a total of five volcano observatories in cooperation with universities and state agencies. They are the Cascades Volcano Observatory, Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, California Volcano Observatory, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, and Alaska Volcano Observatory. USGS also monitors and reports on volcanoes in the northern Marianas Islands.In April, 2013, AVO celebrated 25 years of monitoring and studying Alaska volcanoes.