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Alaska Volcano may Blow Top

Pavlof Volcano
Pavlof Volcano
AP/Mike Tingle

Scientists say small lava flows have been detected on two restless volcanoes in Alaska.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says satellite images Tuesday show the lava partly down a flank of Pavlof Volcano in a low-level eruption 625 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Geophysicist Dave Schneider says minor steam and ash emissions are visible from the community of Cold Bay 37 miles away.

Pavlof is the second Alaska volcano to erupt this month.

Cleveland Volcano, on an uninhabited island in the Aleutian Islands, experienced a low-level eruption in early May. The observatory says analysis of satellite imagery shows a lava flow partly down a flank of the volcano.

Ash plumes can be an aviation hazard, but no ash clouds have been detected from Cleveland Volcano in the past week. Most of us remember the volcano in Iceland that erupted about three years ago and resulted in the grounding of thousands of flights. Most volcanic eruptions, contrary to popular belief, don't cause extensive damage, but there are always exceptions like the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in Italy that buried the city of Pompeii nearly two thousand years ago, and the eruption of the volcano on the island of Krakatoa in the 1800s that resulted in a 100-foot high tidal wave that downed thousands.

Monitoring lava flows and ash emmisions can often tell researchers when a larger volcanic eruption may be about to occur, but none such erruptions are currently anticipated for either volcano.


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