TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore
Dave Ross
As the pressure of the Redoubt Volcano builds, the quakes get smaller and happen in such rapid succession that they blend into a continuous harmonic tremor. (AP Photo/Chris Waythomas, Alaska Volcano Observatory)

UW scientist captures 'scream' of Alaskan volcano as it erupts

It sounds like a joke: what did the volcano say just before it blew its top?

As it turns out, it didn't actually say anything, but instead screamed like a banshee.

University of Washington scientist Alicia Hotovec-Ellis, a doctoral student in Earth and Space Sciences, recorded audio of Alaska's Redoubt Volcano during a 2009 eruption.

She wanted to know what happens moments before a volcano erupts.

As it turns out, a number of small earthquakes, ranging in magnitude from about 0.5 to 1.5. As the pressure builds, the quakes get smaller and happen in such rapid succession that they blend into a continuous harmonic tremor.

"After the frequency glides up to a ridiculously high frequency, it pauses and then it explodes," she explained.

And it sounds like a really intense drum first.

So what's the point of all of this? Possibly a precursor to creating devices that warn people of a pending eruption, thus saving lives.

Or just take notice when all the animals scurry away.

Dave Ross, KIRO Radio Morning News Anchor
Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.
Top Stories

  • More Marches
    Demonstrations following the grand jury's decision in Ferguson aren't over in Seattle

  • Ferguson Torched
    Smoke billowed from burned-out buildings after Ferguson erupted in flames overnight

  • The Scene In Seattle
    Photos of protesters in Seattle holding 'die-ins' following the Ferguson decision
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.