Three erupting volcanoes in Alaska that spew clouds of lava or ash

Three remote volcanoes in Alaska are in different eruptive states, one producing lava and the other two blowing steam and ash.

So far, none of the small communities near the volcanoes has been affected, said Chris Waythomas, a geologist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, on Thursday.

Webcams on Thursday clearly showed episodic low-level ash emissions from the Pavlof Volcano, prompting the observatory to raise the volcano’s threat level from yellow or with signs of unrest to orange, suggesting an eruption with minor volcanic ash emissions is ongoing .

Ash clouds rose just above the volcano’s 2,518-meter-high summit and drifted about 9.7 kilometers south before dispersing, Waythomas said.

Pavlov is a “very devious volcano,” said Waythomas. “It can start without much warning.”

He described the summit as an open system volcano, which means that its “magmatic piping system is open and magmas can reach the surface very quickly and erupt with almost no warning.”

Pavlov is a snow- and ice-covered stratovolcano on the southwestern end of the Alaska Peninsula, nearly 600 miles (965.6 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage.

The closest community is Cold Bay, about 35 miles southwest of Pavlov, which is considered to be one of the most active volcanoes in Alaska in the arc of active and dormant volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands.

Pavlov last erupted in 2016, dropping some ash on another parish, Nelson Lagoon.

The observatory received reports from people in the Adak community on Thursday of a lava fountain on the summit of Great Sitkin volcano. The reports were later confirmed via webcam.

“The fact that they just go outside and see it was really great,” said Waythomas.

He said if activity picks up, Adak could get ash rain from Great Sitkin, which is on an island about 27.45 kilometers away.

“This lava fountain is a bit unusual for Great Sitkin, but it was quite passive at the time,” he said.

Great Sitkin, a stratovolcano with a caldera and dome, is located approximately 1,851 kilometers southwest of Anchorage.

Semisopochnoi volcano, about 150 miles away on an uninhabited island at the western end of the Aleutian Islands, erupted intermittently and produced an ash cloud on Wednesday that rose about 3,048 meters into the air, Waythomas said.

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