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7/16/2008

Alaska volcano spews huge ash plume for 3rd day

Alaska, USA
Image: This image released by Alaska Volcano Observatory on Sunday July 13, 2008 shows the Okmok Caldera in Alaska as viewed from an Alaska Airlines jet in early June, 2007. The 3,500-foot Okmok Caldera, which consists of a 6-mile-wide circular crater about 1,600 feet deep, erupted with little warning Saturday morning July 12, 2008, just hours after seismologists at the Alaska Volcano Center began detecting a series of small tremors. (AP Photo/ Alaska Volcano Observatory)

Story: Volcano spewed huge ash plume for 3rd day - The Okmok Caldera on Umnak Island about 60 miles west of the fishing port of Dutch Harbor erupted Saturday and was still in a near state of continuous eruption on Monday. It's ash plume reached more than 6 1/2 miles high and was moving southeastward over the North Pacific. When the volcano last erupted in 1997, it remained active for eight months, producing a significant amount of lava and ash. This time, the volcano's seismic activity peaked a few hours after the initial explosion Saturday and has been slowly declining since.

Okmok Volcano
RAMPED UP FROM NOTHING TO AN EXPLOSIVE ERUPTION IN RECORD TIME and it is still pulsing with activity. The explosive eruption Saturday and subsequent shock wave jostled the surrounding cloud-cover. Thermal infrared tracking over the first two days showed the ash plume moving southeast. But a wind shift Tuesday pushed the plume northeast, prompting an ash fall advisory for Cold Bay, which ended early Tuesday. The Volcano Observatory suspects more than one vent in the caldera is active. "There appears to be two vents in the caldera, one of which is producing a more steam-rich cloud. The other is more ash-rich. That activity is sort of pulsing, we have tens of minutes where activity is occurring." A code red warning is still in effect for Okmok Volcano.
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