Mount Veniaminof, an Alaskan volcano which has been experiencing low level activity since June, erupted suddenly on Friday 30 August, sending a column of ash 4.8 km into the air, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory. There is no direct danger to anybody on the ground, but a column of this size is likely to cause problems for air traffic (aircraft need to avoid volcanic ash as it melts in their engines, forming a glassy substance), and ash has fallen on the fishing settlement of Perryville, 30 km to the southeast, and is expected in other communities.
An aerial view of an eruption at Mount Veniaminof's intracaldera cone on the Alaska Peninsula on 18 August 2013, taken during a flight over the volcano co-sponsored by the National Geographic Society. Game McGimsey/Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey.
Mount Veniaminof is a 2500 m high, glacier covered, stratovolcano (cone-shaped volcano) located on the Alaskan Peninsula 775 km southwest of Anchorage. It is one of Alaska's more active volcanoes, having undergone 13 major eruptions in the last 200 years, and is actively monitored by the Alaska Volcano Observatory. The volcano is far from any inhabited area and presents little danger to people on the ground, but has the potential to become a hazard to aviation.
The volcanoes of the Alaskan Peninsula and Aleutian Islands are fed by magma rising from the Pacific Plate, which is being subducted beneath the North American Plate to the south. As the subducting plate sinks into the Earth it is subjected to enormous heat and pressure, causing more volatile minerals to melt. These then rise through the overlying North American plate as magma, fueling the Alaskan volcanoes.
The approximate location of Mount Veniaminof. Google Maps.
See also Further eruptions on Mount Pavlof, Volcanic activity on Mount Veniaminof, Eruption on Mount Pavlof, Eruption on Mount Cleveland and Earthquake off the coast of Alaska.
Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.