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Alaska’s Pavlof Volcano Belches Out Ash as Satellite Watches

Image: Pavlof eruption
This natural-color satellite image, acquired by the Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite, shows Pavlof’s volcanic plume well above the cloud deck on Nov. 15, 2014. Jesse Allen / NASA / USGS

One of Alaska's most active volcanoes spewed ash 35,000 feet (10,600 meters) above sea level over the weekend, prompting a warning for pilots flying near the Alaska Peninsula peak.

Winds blew the ash from Pavlof volcano to the northwest, across the waters of Bristol Bay and away from the nearby communities of Cold Bay and King Cove, according to the National Weather Service's Anchorage office. This is the second eruption this year for Pavlof volcano.

The volcanic activity died down about 7 p.m. local time (11 p.m. ET) on Sunday, the Alaska Volcano Observatory said in a statement. Pauses of days to weeks are common during Pavlof's outbursts, and the eruption could revive with little warning, the observatory said. No canceled flights were reported, and the aviation warning was lowered from red to orange on Sunday.

Alaska volcano erupts with lava, ash

Pavlof's eruption began on Nov. 12 when a glowing lava fountain burst from a vent just north of the summit. Pilots reported avalanches of ash and rock cascading down the volcano's northern slope, and occasional outbursts of ash reaching 16,000 feet (4,900 meters). A seismic monitoring network picked up underground tremors that signal molten rock pushing toward the surface. Satellites also detected a thermal hotspot at the volcano's summit.

Located more than 600 miles (965 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage, Pavlof has erupted nearly 50 times since the mid-18th century. The most recent eruption preceding this month's activity started on May 31 and ended by late June, the observatory said.

— Becky Oskin, LiveScience

This is a condensed version of a report from LiveScience. Read the full report. Follow Becky Oskin on Twitter. Follow LiveScience on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.