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7/13/2008

Volcano Eruption in Alaska

Alaska, USA
A volcano erupted Saturday with little warning on a remote island in Alaska, sending residents of a nearby ranch fleeing from falling ash and volcanic rock. The Okmok Caldera erupted late Saturday morning, just hours after seismologists at the Alaska Volcano Center began detecting a series of small tremors. The explosion flung an ash cloud at least 50,000 feet high. Ten people, including three children, were at Fort Glenn, a private cattle ranch six miles south of the
volcano on Umnak Island, located in the western Aleutians about 860 miles southwest of Anchorage. They were later picked up by a fishing boat which responded to a Coast Guard request for emergency assistance. The ranch residents had managed to call military police on Kodiak Island on a satellite phone before losing their connection. A rescue helicopter responded but had to land in Dutch Harbor after flying through some volcanic ash, causing some damage to the aircraft. Those at the ranch reported rock and ash falling around them. Okmok is 60 miles west of the busy fishing port of Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island. Ash was reported falling in the region. The volcano last erupted in 1997. The volcano has shown signs of increased activity during the last few months. Previous eruptions have typically produced lava flows, but the volcano center could not immediately determine if that had occurred in Saturday's explosion.

RELATED NEWS
MANAGUA, July 11 (Reuters) - Nicaragua's San Cristobal volcano rumbled with a series of small explosions on Friday and spewed gases and ash that reached a small town in the northwest of the country, but authorities said no one was hurt. San Cristobal, which stands 5,725 feet (1,745 meters) above sea level, is Nicaragua's highest volcano and one of eight active volcanoes in the small Central American nation, according to the U.S. Geological Survey Web site.
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