Alaska Volcano Erupts, Prompting Aviation Red Warning

The Pavlof Volcano is about 4.4 miles in diameter and has active vents on the north and east sides close to the summit. With more than 40 historic eruptions, it is one of the most consistently active volcanoes in the Aleutian chain, with ash plumes as high as 49,000 feet generated by past eruptions.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has an aviation red warning in effect March 28 and continues to monitor an eruption of Pavlof Volcano that began around 4 p.m. Alaska time on Sunday. Seismic activity remains at very high levels and sustained ash emissions are under way, according to the current alert posted by the observatory, which is a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys. The volcano is located about 592 miles southwest of Anchorage.

The volcano's ash plume extends more than 400 miles to the northeast over the interior of Alaska, and SIGMET warning messages issued by the National Weather Service Alaska Aviation Weather Unit indicate the maximum ash cloud altitude is 37,000 feet above sea level; forecasts of ash movement are available at http://aawu.arh.noaa.gov/sigmets.php.

The alert says lava erupting from the summit crater was observed throughout the night by mariners, pilots, and by residents in Cold Bay, which is located 37 miles southwest of the volcano, which is a snow- and ice-covered stratovolcano located on the southwestern end of the Alaska Peninsula. The volcano is about 4.4 miles in diameter and has active vents on the north and east sides close to the summit. With more than 40 historic eruptions, it is one of the most consistently active volcanoes in the Aleutian chain, with ash plumes as high as 49,000 feet generated by past eruptions.

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