MOUNT ILIAMNA - Mount Iliamna is showing more seismic activity than normal, so scientists from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) are keeping an eye on it.
AVO upgraded Iliamna to a code yellow at the beginning of March after an increase in earthquakes and gas emissions.
It's been about 16 years since Mount Iliamna has shown this kind of activity.
The fumaroles, or gas vents, near the summit usually produce about 100 tons of carbon dioxide per day. Now that's up to 1,000 tons per day.
“This level of activity we're seeing right now is very similar to what we saw at the beginning of that period in heightened activity in 1996, so right now we don't know what's going to happen,” said Cindy Werner, a research geologist with AVO.
Volcanologists call the activity in 1996 a "failed eruption." They say that's likely what will happen this time as well.
But there's not a lot of history to predict what the volcano will do.
Researchers say the last time it likely erupted was more than 300 years ago.
“Worldwide when volcanoes become restless, or unrest develops, 50 percent of the time it culminates in some kind of eruptive activity and 50 percent of the time, it goes back to sleep. In 1996 it went back to sleep and we don't have and indication it's going to do anything different but you never know,” said Game McGimsey, a volcanologist with AVO.
Iliamna is 130 miles from Anchorage, but volcanologists say residents here won't be affected unless something drastic happens.
“We'll continue to watch the volcano both seismically and with gas emissions very carefully and the people of Anchorage will continue to see a fairly substantial steam plume,” said McGimsey.
In 1996, the increased seismic activity and gas emissions continued for about a year, so researchers say it could be a while before Iliamna cools down.