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Mount Pavlof in Alaska Erupts, Spews Ash

Mount Pavlof, a volcano that is part of Alaska's Aleutian Arc, is currently erupting and sending ash 20,000 feet into the sky.

The volcano became active on Monday and since that time, gas and ash emissions have been increasing.

According to John Power Scientist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the biggest threat from the eruption is to air traffic in the area.

"The volcano is in a rather remote spot, and the biggest price will be to airlines caused by the ash," Power said. The ash plume is being carried by winds into the path of busy North America to Asia air routes.

Ash is the biggest threat to any populated areas near the volcano. Most of the populated areas are far enough away from the volcano to suffer any damage from volcanic lava flow.

While the volcano is currently showing increased volcanic tremor activity, it is currently experiencing only a small eruption, according to Power.

Another volcano in the Aleutian Arc, the Cleveland Volcano, is also erupting. Unlike Mount Pavlof, ash has not been a major concern.

Both volcanoes are being monitored and have been ranked as an Aviation Color Code of orange by the USGS. The orange code means the volcano is "exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption, time frame uncertain, or eruption is underway with no or minor volcanic ash emissions.

The good news is the winds are currently carrying the ash away from the heavily populated areas.

"Winds are carrying the ash to the southeast, away from the cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks," said AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Meghan Evans.