Alaska volcano monitors say budget cuts hurt watch

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Scientists who monitor Alaska’s volcanoes say ongoing federal budget cuts have severely hampered the maintenance of an aging seismic network, including the shutdown announced Friday of even more equipment.

Geophysicist Jeff Freymueller at the University of Alaska Fairbanks says only 120 seismic stations out of almost 200 in the state are in working condition after several years of budget cuts through the U.S. Geophysical Survey, a partner with UAF and the state in the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Freymueller says the recent budget cuts further curtail the ability to maintain equipment.

The observatory announced Friday that it will no longer seismically monitor Little Sitkin, Ukinrek Maars and Ugashik-Peulik volcanoes with real-time equipment. The observatory will still use satellite data, infrasound and reports from pilots and others to detect eruptions.

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