Scientists of the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Alaska are observing closely the increasingly high amounts of steam being emitted from the summit crater of 14,163-ft (4.3169 km) Mount Wrangell, part of the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska. Although Mount Wrangell has been a special site of observations for the past 10 years, the monitoring of observations has been intensified because of the greatly increased heat flow, the amount of steam emitted, and the number of fumaroles this year. These are possible indications of an increasingly ‘restless’ volcanic mountain.
The heat flow from and the number of fumaroles in Mount Wrangell have been increasing slowly for the past 10 years. Because of the ‘picked-up tempo’ of volcanic activity the three scientists who have been making periodic observations of the mountain during the last decade have begun an intensified monitoring program. Carl Benson, a professor at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska, has made at least one field trip each year to the top of the mountain to conduct experiments. Tom Miller, an igneous petrologist, and Larry Mayo, a glaciologist, both with the U.S. Geological Survey, have supported Benson's ground observations with aircraft observations. Their attention has been focused on the summit caldera.