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Three Simultaneous Volcanic Eruptions in Alaska

Three Simultaneous Volcanic Eruptions in Alaska

Pavlof

Three volcanoes in Alaska are erupting at the same time.

The Pavlof volcano got an orange threat level on Friday evening. The volcano is located near the Aleutian Islands and has been under close watch by experts. According to experts, the eruption isn’t a major threat to people living on nearby islands, but it could cause ash clouds and low-lying clouds that will disrupt air traffic.

The United States Geological Survey said the Pavlof volcano has been erupting for about six hours now, with peak outbursts lasting no more than 10 minutes. The steam explosions are being produced by the interaction of lava and water at high temperatures.

The Great Sitki volcano in Alaska has also erupted at the same time. It is about 600 miles from Anchorage and has been spewing ash, which may cause an intermittent but localized impact on the island’s air space.

Semisopochnoi Volcano, meanwhile, also erupted along with the previous two volcanoes. It is on an uninhabited island that forms the easternmost land located in the United States. Though the island is part of the western Aleutian chain, it lies in the Eastern Hemisphere, “well on its way to Russia,” Loewen said.

These eruptions are rare to occur at the same time and there is no immediate danger to anyone in Alaska. However, it is believed that these volcanoes could produce ash clouds that can be potentially hazardous for air travel.

“Alaska has a lot of volcanoes, and we typically see maybe one eruption every year, on average,” Matthew Loewen, a research geologist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, told NBC News. “To have three erupting at once is less common, but it does happen.”

“The Aleutian Arc sits between North America and Asia, so we have a lot of air travel going over and ash is very dangerous for airplanes,” Loewen said. “We’re always paying attention to ash with our volcanoes in Alaska.”

Loewen said it’s been at least seven years since three volcanoes erupt simultaneously in Alaska, and the recent unrest has kept monitoring campaigns lively at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

“It’s keeping us on our toes,” he said. “It’s definitely exciting and a busy time for us up here.”

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