Erupting Alaska volcano spews ash, disrupts air travel

By REUTERS
May 21, 2013 08:25

 
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska - One of Alaska's most active volcanoes, which has been belching ash and spewing lava since last week, has forced regional flight cancellations and dusted some nearby communities with ash, scientists and local officials said on Monday.

Pavlof Volcano has sent up ash as high as 22,000 feet (6,700 meters), with the cloud blowing eastward and the eruption showing no signs of abating, according to the federal-state Alaska Volcano Observatory.

The lava from its 8,261-foot (2,518-metre) peak has also created huge steam clouds on meeting the mountain's snow.

While the ash plume was still too low on Monday to affect commercial airliners flying at least 30,000 feet (9,150 meters) above sea level between Asia and North America, it was scrambling schedules for regional carriers serving rural fishing towns and native villages that lack outside road access.

PenAir, an Anchorage-based Alaska company specializing in travel in southwestern Alaska, briefly stopped flights to four destinations to wait for ash to dissipate, said Danny Seybert, the carrier's chief executive. "We've had about a dozen cancellations due to the volcano," he said.

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