ANCHORAGE, Alaska - An Alaska volcano spewing ash and lava for the past six weeks erupted with new intensity early on Tuesday, belching a plume of cinders 5 miles (8 km) into sky and onto a nearby town and disrupting local flights, officials said.
The eruptions from Pavlof Volcano, on the Alaska Peninsula 590 miles (950 km) southwest of Anchorage, were its most powerful since its current eruptive phase began with low-level rumblings in mid-May, according to scientists at the federal-state Alaska Volcano Observatory.
The latest series of more powerful ash-producing blasts from the crater of the 8,261-foot (2,518-meter) volcano started late on Monday and continued overnight into Tuesday, scientists said.
"For some reason we can't explain, it picked up in intensity and vigor," said Tina Neal, an observatory geologist.
While the ash plume has so far remained too low in the sky to affect jetliner traffic, topping out at an altitude of 28,000 feet, smaller planes had to fly around it, officials said. Anchorage-based PenAir canceled one flight and re-routed others, said Missy Roberts, a company vice president.
Ash has dusted King Cove, a town of about 900 people located 30 miles southwest of Pavlof, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported.