Aleutian volcano shoots ash and steam

Posted: Tuesday, May 04, 2004

ANCHORAGE - Mount Veniaminof has been restless over the past week, spitting up ash and steam and lightly shaking the ground, said the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

A major eruption is not expected, but scientists say there could be additional low-level action at the 7,073-foot Aleutian arc volcano, about 480 miles southwest of Anchorage near the village of Perryville.

"We expect that steam and ash emissions similar to those observed this week may continue intermittently and could pose a hazard to people and low-flying aircraft in the vicinity of the active cone," the observatory reported in its Friday update.

Ash and steam spotted during clear weather last Wednesday and Thursday rose to 8,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level. The clouds then drifted 10 miles on strong winds, while seismic tremors continued above background levels.

Veniaminof is one of the largest and most active volcanoes in Alaska, with a 6-mile-wide caldera and 12 eruptions over the past 200 years. The most recent occurred in 1993-95.

The observatory constantly monitors seismic activity at 25 volcanoes and posts updates of active volcanoes on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.

Veniaminof, which has been restless for weeks, was listed as "yellow," meaning that an eruption could occur.

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