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Volcano likely erupting on Alaska Peninsula

Posted: June 13, 2013 - 10:03pm

ANCHORAGE — Scientists have raised the alert level for a volcano in the Alaska Peninsula.

The Alaska Earthquake Observatory said in a release that elevated surface temperatures recorded Thursday morning at Veniaminof Volcano indicate an eruption is likely underway at the intracaldera cone.

No ash plumes were observed Thursday, but clouds have obscured views from a Web camera aimed at the summit. However, scientists said seismic tremors continue, which is an indication of low-level effusive activity and small explosions.

The volcano has had elevated levels of seismic activity since Saturday, along with steam emissions.

It’s located in the Aleutian Islands, about 480 miles southwest of Anchorage. Scientists said minor emissions of steam and ash may last for months.

Veniaminof, which is pronounced ven-ee-ah-mean-off, has erupted at least 12 times in the past 200 years. The most significant eruptions occurred between 1993 and 1995 when the volcano produced steam and ash and a small lava flow was extruded from a vent. The lava flow melted snow and ice, producing an oval-shaped ice pit.

Recent eruptions have been characterized by small explosions and brief bursts of ash, but the latter don’t reach more than 20,000 feet.

Minor ash-producing explosions occurred in 2002, 2004 and 2005. An eruption in 1983 and 1984 produced an ash plume that went up 25,000 feet.

In 1939 following an eruption, several centimeters of fine ash fell on Perryville, about 22 miles away

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