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Alaska's Mt. Redoubt volcano continues to erupt

One burst sends an ash plume 50,000 feet into the air. Alaska Airlines cancels some more flights.

March 29, 2009|Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — Alaska's Mt. Redoubt continued to erupt Saturday, sending one ash plume 50,000 feet into the air.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory in Anchorage said Redoubt had a significant eruption at 1:20 a.m. Saturday and two less powerful ones in the afternoon. Ash was reported in Nikiski, a community across Cook Inlet about 50 miles from the volcano.

After the first eruption, the observatory detected strong seismic activity lasting 20 minutes or more followed by an hours-long low-level tremor.

"There are gases and venting occurring. That is likely producing the tremor," said Chris Waythomas, a geologist at the observatory.

"There is likely a lot of water vapor, which turns to ice, which gives the plumes this whitish appearance -- but there is still a lot of ash in there," he said.

Alaska Airlines canceled eight flights early Saturday, but since then operations have been fairly normal, spokesman Paul McElroy said.

The volcano has had about a dozen eruptions in all.

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