Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Rare event, two Alaskan volcanoes simultaneously erupt

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 15th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Two Alaskan volcanoes are erupting simultaneously. Vulcanologists and geophysicists say they have spotted law flows on both the Cleveland Volcano in the Aleutian Islands and now on the flank of the Pavlof Volcano southwest of Anchorage.

ANCOHRAGE, AK (Catholic Online) - The Cleveland Volcano and the Pavlof Volcano, both in Alaska, appear to be erupting simultaneously. Last week, the Cleveland Volcano underwent a low-level eruption event spewing ash into the air. As of this week, that volcano appears to have quieted down.

Meanwhile, researchers are keeping an eye on the Pavlof Volcano, where they say they have detected minor emissions of steam and ash as well as a lava flow.

Neither eruption appears poised to disrupt air travel or daily life in the region.

Still, it is slightly unusual to see two Alaskan volcanoes active at the same time.

There is no evidence that this mutual activity is a sign of something more dangerous.

Volcanoes are notoriously unpredictable and dangerous. Last week, at least five people, mostly German tourists, were killed in the Philippines while hiking on the slopes of a volcano that suddenly became active. In that event, steam -- was hurled miles into the sky along with boulders that were said to be the size of small houses. In addition to the fatalities, several others were injured.

Volcanic activity is always happening somewhere along the "Ring of Fire" which marks the boundary of the vast Pacific plate. Scientists have now known for decades that the Earth's crust is made of dozens of individual plates which literally float atop the denser magma below. As these plates collide, one will often died, or subduct, beneath another. In these subduction zones, volcanoes are common.

The Western United States remains relatively free of volcanic activity from Oregon to California because that region is no longer an active subduction zone. Instead, the massive San Andreas Fault marks the boundary where the North American plate and Pacific plate grind past one another. This is the reason why the Western United States often experiences substantial seismic events.

So far, there is no threat to aviation or inhabited regions from either Alaskan Volcano.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)