The Latest: Alaska volcano calming after eruption

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Posted: Mar 29, 2016 3:14 AM
The Latest: Alaska volcano calming after eruption

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the eruption of Alaska's Pavlof Volcano (all times local):

9 p.m.

The activity level of an Alaska volcano has declined after it prompted the cancellation of flights because of a massive ash cloud.

The U.S. Geological Survey said in a news release late Monday night that the intensity of the eruption from Pavlof Volcano on the Alaska Peninsula has "declined significantly."

The volcano erupted Sunday afternoon, and by Monday morning an ash cloud had stretched northeast more than 400 miles into interior Alaska.

The agency says that the activity decline began around noon and that by late at night a continuous emission was no longer being observed by satellite.

Consequently, the volcano alert level was downgraded from warning to watch, though the agency says a significant eruption is still possible.

Earlier in the day, Alaska Airlines canceled 41 flights involving six Alaska cities until the airline can evaluate weather reports after daylight Tuesday. The cancellations include all flights to and from Fairbanks.

4 p.m.

Alaska Airlines says it has cancelled more flights because of a massive cloud of volcanic ash from Alaska's Pavlof Volcano that spewed into the air.

The Seattle-based airliner said Monday afternoon it has canceled 41 flights involving six Alaska cities until the airline can evaluate weather reports after daylight Tuesday. The cancellations include all flights to and from Fairbanks.

The airline says the canceled flights affected 3,300 passengers.

Flights to Barrow, Bethel, Kotzebue, Nome and Deadhorse also are cancelled.

The airline says it will resume its 54 regularly scheduled flights on Tuesday if conditions improve.

Pavlof Volcano, one of Alaska's most active, is 625 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula.

The volcano erupted Sunday afternoon, and by Monday morning an ash cloud had stretched northeast more than 400 miles into interior Alaska.

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3 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a weather bulletin warning Alaska residents who live in the region of the Pavlof Volcano that ash may fall on their communities if the wind direction shifts as expected.

The bullet was in effect through early Monday night for Cold Bay, Sand Point and Nelson Lagoon.

The communities are north and east of Pavlof Volcano, which erupted Sunday and continued sending ash into the air Monday.

The weather service says the communities could see an accumulation of less than one-tenth of an inch of ash.

Volcanic ash is angular and sharp and can injure skin, eyes and breathing passages. The ash also can damage electronic devices and vehicle engines.

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12 p.m.

Alaska Airlines says it has cancelled 20 flights because of volcanic ash put in the air by Alaska's Pavlof Volcano.

Spokeswoman Bobbie Egan says the canceled flights affected about 1,300 customers heading to rural Alaska communities including Bethel, Kotzebue, Nome, Barrow and Deadhorse.

No flights to Anchorage or Fairbanks have been canceled so far, but Egan says the company is closely monitoring the Fairbanks route.

Pavlof Volcano, one of Alaska's most active, is 625 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula.

It erupted Sunday afternoon, and by Monday morning an ash cloud had stretched northeast more than 400 miles into interior Alaska.

Ash can cause jet engines to shut down.

More flights could be affected.

Egan says Alaska Airlines simply doesn't fly when ash is present and will continue to monitor the trajectory of the ash cloud.

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11:30 a.m.

An ash cloud from an Alaska volcano rose to 37,000 feet and stretched Monday more than 400 miles into interior Alaska.

Pavlof Volcano, one of Alaska's most active volcanoes, erupted Sunday afternoon.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says activity continued Monday.

Pavlof Volcano is 625 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula, the finger of land that sticks out from mainland Alaska toward the Aleutian Islands.

Lighting was detected over the volcano, and pressure-sensor data indicated sustained ash emissions.

Satellite date indicates the size of the ash cloud and its northeast flow.

Geologist Chris Waythomas of the U.S. Geological Survey says Pavlof can erupt for hours to days or erupt intermittently for longer periods of time.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a notice to pilots on the ash threat.

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7:20 p.m.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a volcano on the Alaska Peninsula erupted Sunday afternoon and sent ash 20,000 feet into the air.

The agency says the Pavlof Volcano, which is 625 miles southwest of Anchorage, erupted at 4:18 p.m. local time. The agency says the eruption also led to tremors on the ground.

The USGS has raised the volcano alert level to "Warning."

The agency says the volcano, which is about 4.4 miles in diameter, has had 40 known eruptions and "is one of the most consistently active volcanoes in the Aleutian arc."

The USGS says that during a previous eruption in 2013, ash plumes rose 27,000 feet. Other eruptions have generated ash plumes as high as 49,000 feet.

The community closest to the volcano is Cold Bay, which is about 37 miles southwest of it.

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This story has been corrected to indicate Pavlof Volcano is on the Alaska Peninsula, not in the Aleutian Islands.