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Winds stir up ash from 1912 eruption

JUNEAU, Alaska – A smoglike haze that hung over part of Alaska’s Kodiak Island this week was courtesy of a volcanic eruption – 100 years ago.

The National Weather Service said strong winds and a lack of snow on Tuesday helped stir up ash from the 1912 eruption of Novarupta, the largest volcanic blast of the 20th century.

This week, ash from the volcano drifted up to about 4,000 feet. It traveled over the Shelikof Strait and across Kodiak Island, prompting an aviation alert. The news was first reported by KMXT radio.

Weather service meteorologist Brian Hagenbuch said it isn’t unheard of for ash from Novarupta to create a haze, but it isn’t very common either.

When Novarupta erupted in June 1912, it spit ash as high as 100,000 feet above the sparsely populated Katmai region, covering the remote area now known as the Valley of 10,000 Smokes to depths of up to 700 feet. The volcanic cloud spread across the U.S. and traveled as far as Algeria in northern Africa in what also was one of the five largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history – 10 times more powerful than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington.


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