by David Kindy/Smithsonianmag.com
Things are heating up in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Four remote volcanoes are active in the archipelago jutting from the 49th state, which is part of the “ring of fire” where the Pacific tectonic plate meets several others.
Three of the volcanoes are erupting or spewing steam and ash while the fourth is exhibiting elevated surface temperatures, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a joint program by the United States Geological Survey, Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.
Scientists set the threat level to “orange,” indicating eruptions are underway, for the Great Sitkin, Pavlof and Semisopochnoi volcanoes, reports Mark Thiessen of the Associated Press. Currently, Cleveland is “yellow” because of signs of unrest. All four are located in remote sections of the Aleutians.
The Pavlof volcano, located on the peninsula, is the most active. Episodic low-level ash emissions and minor explosions have been detected by a webcam set up on the summit of the 8,261-foot stratovolcano, which is usually covered in snow and ice.
Pavlof, which last erupted in 2016, is about 35 miles northeast of Cold Bay, a city of 108 people. The community is not considered at risk at this time.