ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The Alaska Volcano Observatory is getting $12 million in additional federal funding to update equipment and hire more staff.

KTVA-TV reports the budget increase will replace the aging and outdated equipment used by the observatory, which is a joint program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the state Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

The observatory monitors 33 of the 52 historically active volcanoes in the state, but nearly half of its networks are either impaired or inoperable because of past funding cuts.

Jeff Freymueller, coordinating scientist for the observatory, says the new equipment will be “like trading in your ratty old pair of glasses, where you can’t see very well, for a new pair.”

Information from: KTVA-TV,

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