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Alaska volcano erupts with new intensity, prompting 'red alert'

(Reuters) - An Alaska volcano that has been spewing ash and lava for years began erupting with new intensity this week, pushing a plume of smoke and ash as high as 24,000 feet (7,315 meters) and prompting scientists to issue their highest volcanic alert in five years, authorities said on Tuesday.

But the intense action at the Pavlof Volcano, located in an uninhabited region nearly 600 miles (966 km) southwest of Anchorage, has so far not disrupted any regional air traffic, thanks to favorable weather that has made it easier for flights to navigate around the affected area.

Still, the eruption was intense enough for Alaska Volcano Observatory scientists to issue their first red alert warning since 2009, when the state's Mount Redoubt had a series of eruptions that spewed ash 50,000 feet (15,240 meters).

"This means it can erupt for weeks or even months," observatory research geologist Michelle Coombs said of the warning. "I don't think we will be at red for that long, but we are expecting it to go for a while based on its past."

Coombs said affected areas are uninhabited except for some hunting destinations.

Geologists first issued the alert late on Monday. Since then plumes reached as high as 24,000 feet (7,315 meters) on Tuesday morning.

Plumes are created when lava bursts from the crater of the 8,261-foot (2,517-meter) volcano, then falls back on glacier ice, Coombs said.

"Right now, with the weather clear, it's just putting on a good show," Coombs said. "We're getting a lot of pilot reports and a lot of good photos, so we're able to keep a good eye on it."

Pavlof lies below a route frequently used by jetliners flying between North America and Asia, but those planes generally fly at elevations of 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) and likely would be unaffected by ash at lower elevations, observatory scientists have said.

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gildersleeve9 June 04 2014 at 7:15 PM

Did our current Pontus revise his list of sanctions against the volcano? Or the substantial fees he will authorize to be levied against this volcano? No he'll just order the federal gas tax raised furthur because us americans caused climate change as he proclaims. Bad times man, bad times

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7 replies
pftpres June 04 2014 at 3:51 PM

It could be the result of lava, or some source of hot air, heating the ice enough to cause a steam plume. Either that or Sarah Palin is in the vicinity talking politics.

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2 replies
bennett975 pftpres June 04 2014 at 5:44 PM

Or it could just be the Village Idiot Obama trying to figure out how to tax us for the resultant "climate change", it's obviously mankinds fault.

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10 replies
bobjimflys pftpres June 04 2014 at 9:11 PM

Actually it was Obama working out at the gym, girlie...

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1 reply
ssf1183 bobjimflys June 04 2014 at 11:26 PM

With what ... 2llb weights? LOL

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CathedralCityTed June 04 2014 at 8:11 PM

I, too have been ambivilent about global warming until I saw an episode of Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson. He explained the difference between weather and global warming. It should be called " Global Warming For Dummies". You should watch it if you really want an education and not just getting your info from Fox News.

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15 replies
billcdaly June 04 2014 at 7:15 PM

We are only 1 large volcano away from global cooling.
Remember in the 70's scientists were warning us about earth cooling.

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6 replies
larry June 04 2014 at 10:09 PM

This is a great medafor to represent how the American people and many soldiers feel with regards to Barack Obama's decision to trade 5 Taliban leaders for Bergdahl, a soldier that was considered to be a deserter and possibly a traiter. Obama has put every American and soldier in danger. As far as Susan Rice------she is a JOKE. This administration is an embarrassment to the American people.

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6 replies
runswthscisors40 June 04 2014 at 7:40 PM

Ban all volcanoes...................

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2 replies
vtmilitia runswthscisors40 June 04 2014 at 8:35 PM

Maybe they should be charged with an emission tax.

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1 reply
przinck vtmilitia June 05 2014 at 12:57 AM

The geothermal activity should be concentrating metals into mineable ore.
And it certainly can be tapped into for electric generation.

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cherylhaass runswthscisors40 June 05 2014 at 11:03 AM

Let's devote billions of dollars to developing large, fire-proof corks that can be jammed into the tops of all the volcanoes, and stop them spewing those horrible greenhouse gases!

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myshatto June 04 2014 at 7:55 PM

I was in Alaska in 1951/1952 when Pavlof erupted. It was my first experience seeing a mountain blow it's top. I remember ash fell for many days. We didn't go out without an umbrella and masks. We also had to cover our plants and flowers.

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2 replies
Where Am I myshatto June 04 2014 at 10:49 PM

myshatto...thanks for at least responding about something constructive and "non-victimizing or political" when talking about a great scientific/geologic event. You actually are using this space for something constructive...bravo

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suzze4630 myshatto June 05 2014 at 12:49 AM

I was in Anchorage 40 years later, for Mt. Spur. Same thing: black horrible dust all over everything, coming inside the cars, accumulating on the rooftops. It is something one doesn't soon forget. It's awful.

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hatpillbill June 04 2014 at 6:36 PM

Sarah Palin's fault. Her God was angry with her for being so stupid

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2 replies
HIGHPOWER hatpillbill June 04 2014 at 11:05 PM

It's Obama's fault. His God is angry with him for LYING.

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4 replies
MIKEY'S SCREEN hatpillbill June 05 2014 at 1:48 AM

Your "god" of stupidity tells you to say stupid things, huh?

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envoyltd June 04 2014 at 9:16 PM

Obama did not do it I saw Bush throw a match down there !!!!!!!!

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1 reply
slackwarerobert envoyltd June 05 2014 at 11:33 AM

Actually, it is being caused by 30 million fat illegals. They are squeezing the stuffing out of the earth.
I can prove it, the debate is over, send them back to mexico where the ground is solid and it will stop. kommifornia is one big unstable fault.

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timkinetron June 04 2014 at 1:49 PM

so is that causing global warming...or global cooling...i'm too confused.... lets ban automobiles.....ahhh i feel better

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2 replies
filliperogers timkinetron June 04 2014 at 3:22 PM

the location of Alaska as the location of the eruption narrows it down a little bit, like about what continent its on.

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1 reply
paxrail filliperogers June 05 2014 at 3:19 AM

HUH? Look on a map and find it yourself! The article says "600 miles SW of Anchorage." Just follow the Aleutian Arch, duh!

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pftpres timkinetron June 04 2014 at 3:48 PM

You got the "confused" part right.

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