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Pavlof eruption: Will Alaskans see lava soon?

Alaska's Pavlof Volcano is getting more active, say observers, with ash clouds rising to 22,000 feet and molten rock appearing on the surface.

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    In this file photo provided by the Alaskan Volcano Observatory, the Pavlof volcano erupts Thursday, May 16, 2013, as seen from the air from the southwest in Cold Bay, Alaska. The eruption last year disrupted air travel for regional airlines.
    Theo Chesley/Alaskan Volcano Observatory/AP/File
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Alaska Volcano Observatory spokesmen say a low-level eruption of a volcano about 625 miles southwest of Anchorage is escalating, with pilots reporting that ash clouds are getting bigger.

US Geological Survey scientist John Power said Monday in a statement that pilots have recently reported ash clouds from the Pavlof Volcano rising to 22,000 feet above sea level.

Scientist Robert McGinsey says the current eruption began Saturday and lava has reached the surface. Asked how long the eruption might last, he replied, "hours, days or weeks." On Saturday, a pilot reported a gas and ash plume about 8,000 feet above sea level.

McGinsey says aircraft flying below 25,000 feet should avoid the area. He says the ash cloud is currently a narrow plume streaming about 50 miles to the east.

The 8,262-foot volcano is one of the state's most active.

An eruption last year prompted regional airlines to cancel flights to nearby communities.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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