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December 1989: Mt. Redoubt erupts

Mount Redoubt erupts, April 1990
Alaska’s Mount Redoubt began erupting in late 1989 and continued to erupt for months afterward; this photo was taken in April 1990.

December 15, 1989

489 miles southeast of Nome, the Mount Redoubt volcano erupts, spewing great clouds of sulfurous volcanic sand and dust into the air.

While the debris drifts away from Nome, the corrosive billows of grit ground airplanes in Anchorage, western Alaska’s supply hub. Grocery shelves grow bare, holiday presents are missing, and Nome’s mailboxes lay empty for a week. For the next four months, Redoubt’s periodic ash clouds disrupt flights to and from Nome.

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