ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a volcano on Alaska’s Aleutian Islands erupted suddenly Sunday afternoon and sent ash 20,000 feet into the air.
The agency says the Pavlof Volcano, which is about 600 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 ash plume is now 37,000 feet high and trails some 400 miles to the northeast over the Alaskan interior, the observatory said. Aviation alerts were up in the region.
The USGS has raised the volcano alert level to “Warning” and the aviation warning to “Red.”
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 National Atmospheric and Oceanic Association tweeted this graphic, taken from Suomi NPP, a weather satellite.
The community closest to the volcano is Cold Bay, which is about 37 miles southwest of it.
Mariners, pilots and residents in nearby Cold Bay saw lava flowing from the top of the volcano throughout the night, the observatory said.
Pavlof, which is located 592 miles southeast of Anchorage, is described by the center as “one of the most consistently active volcanoes in the Aleutian Arc.”
The volcano last erupted in 2014.