Sunday 15 December 2019

Alaskan volcano starts erupting

The 8,262ft Pavlof Volcano in Alaska started erupting this week. (AP)
The 8,262ft Pavlof Volcano in Alaska started erupting this week. (AP)

Alaska's most active volcano is spitting lava into the air and producing an ash cloud at low elevations.

The 8,262ft Pavlof volcano started erupting this week in a relatively uninhabited area of the Alaska peninsula, about 625 miles south west of Anchorage. The closest community is about 40 miles away.

Observers from that community, Cold Bay, reported seeing dark snow on the surface of the volcano, indicating an eruption had started. The eruption intensified that afternoon and has continued.

An ash cloud from the volcano extends about 125 miles, but at a relatively low altitude of about 16,000ft.

Alaska Volcano Observatory said the eruption could continue for days, weeks or even months.

The volcano has had more than 40 eruptions, including earlier this year and last year.

David Schneider, a geophysicist with the US Geological Survey and Alaska Volcano Observatory, said even though there is seismic monitoring on the volcano, Pavlof is considered the most subtle of Alaska's volcanos.

Magma can make its way up the volcano without producing any earthquakes.

Meanwhile, lava from a volcano in Hawaii which was filling the driveway of a waste transfer station has stopped.

Hawaii County Civil Defence officials said a breakout of the lava flow near the transfer station was not active yesterday and is no longer burning asphalt.

Officials continue to monitor that breakout, along with two others near the small town of Pahoa.

Civil Defence director Darryl Oliveira said lava near a cemetery which burned down a house earlier this week has not advanced significantly. Lava is also oozing out at another spot about 300 yards up a slope near a rural road.

The breakouts do not pose an immediate threat to residents, officials said.

The Kilauea volcano has been erupting continuously for more than 31 years.

PA Media

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