May 19, 2013 in Nation/World

Alaska volcanic eruption seems to be slowing down

Associated Press
 

Alaska’s remote Pavlof Volcano was shooting lava hundreds of feet into the air, but its ash plume was thinning Saturday and no longer making it dangerous for airplanes to fly nearby.

A narrow ash plume extends a couple hundred miles southeast from the volcano, which is 625 miles southwest of Anchorage, said geologist Chris Waythomas of the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

The eruption that began Monday seemed to be slowing Saturday, but Waythomas said that could change at any time.

“Things could ramp up quickly,” he said.

There are no flight restrictions because of the eruption, but pilots are being told to use caution and pay attention, Waythomas said.

Ash plumes would need to rise above 20,000 feet to threaten aviation, he said.

Seismic tremors from the 8,262-foot volcano have varied, but remain at a fairly high level, Waythomas said.

Scientists are not expecting the eruption to end anytime soon but so far it has not been explosive. There are mud flows, but no one lives close enough to be threatened.

Pilots flying by Saturday morning reported lava fountaining, which Waythomas described as rooster tails of incandescent lava shooting up a couple hundred feet above the summit.

Pavlof is among the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian arc, with nearly 40 known eruptions, according to the observatory.

The volcano last erupted in 2007. During the 29-day eruption, Pavlof emitted mud flows and erupting lava, as well as ash clouds up to 18,000 feet high.

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