Thursday, May 16, 2013

Alaska volcano spews ash 20,000 feet

An Alaska volcano exhibiting "elevated seismic activity" has spewed ash clouds skyward -- as high as 20,000 feet above sea level -- an observatory reported Wednesday.

As was the case a day earlier, the Pavlof Volcano was on "watch" status on Wednesday because of heightened activity, and it was also under an orange code that relates to how its rumblings might affect planes flying over its summit. Both these alert levels are the second most serious out of four options, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

The same alert levels also continue to apply Wednesday to the Cleveland Volcano, which like Pavlof is in the Aleutian Island range southwest of mainland Alaska. Lava was reported flowing Tuesday at Pavlof and Cleveland.

"They are very similar, and both have the ability to erupt," John Power, a scientist from the U.S. Geological Survey, said this week.