Augustine Volcano Erupts Yet Again

Augustine Volcano erupted Tuesday morning, sending an ash plume 8½ miles into the air, officials at the Alaska Volcano Observatory said.

Because winds are moving in different directions at different elevations, an ash fall advisory was issued for communities along the southwest portion of the Kenai Peninsula and east of the volcano, in the Kamishak and Iliamna bays.

"Light ash can be expected, nothing that would accumulate in any thickness," said Michelle Coombs, a geologist at the observatory.

The eruption lasted for five minutes, and started just before 8 a.m.

Tuesday's eruption was likely similar in style to the six significant eruptions last week, "but a little more energetic," Coombs said.

Most of last week's eruptions reached 30,000 feet, or about 5½ miles. However, a pilot reported one plume at the 10-mile level.

Tuesday's eruption was preceded by increased seismic activity at the volcano, located on an uninhabited island about 180 miles southwest of Anchorage. That prompted observatory officials to raise the volcano's threat level to red, meaning an eruption was imminent.

Last week's blasts sent plumes of ash drifting northeast across Cook Inlet into several Kenai Peninsula communities, where a fine layer of ash fell.

The most recent explosion occurred just after midnight on Saturday. It was followed by a lull lasting into Sunday afternoon, when officials had lowered the earlier red warning level to orange.