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More information from NOAA on volcanoes...

USGS Volcano Status Messages:
Kilauea VAN/VONA issued Oct 20, 2014 19:45 Volcano Alert Level WARNING - Aviation Color Code ORANGE

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The word volcano comes from the island of Vulcano in the Mediterranean Sea. Long ago people thought this island mountain was the chimney of the blacksmith forge of the Roman God Vulcan. The steam and ash that came out of the vent was a sign that Vulcan was working at his forge making weapons for Jupiter and Mars. In Hawaii and other Polynesian islands, local people once attributed volcanic eruptions to the Goddess Pele. They believed Pele was moving from island to island as she sought to escape her evil sister, Na Maka O Kaha'i, the goddess of the sea. Today, scientists understand that volcanic eruptions are surface reminders of Earth's still hot interior.

The ash cloud formed by the May 18, 1980, eruption at Mount Saint Helens, WA
The ash cloud formed by the May 18, 1980, eruption at Mount Saint Helens, WA. More images...
Sixty percent of all active volcanoes are found at crustal plate boundaries such as the Pacific Plate. Earth's crust, like the cracked shell of a hard-boiled egg, is broken into a number of "plates". These floating pieces of crust are moving about very slowly on the hotter interior. Where the plates are moving apart or colliding with one another, volcanoes may form. Volcanoes also form oceanic islands in the Pacific Ocean or Mediterranean Sea where "hot spots" occur in the crust and mantle.

Many kinds of volcanic activity can endanger the lives of people and property. Most of the activity involves the explosive ejection or flowage of rock fragments and molten rock. Volcanoes that erupt explosively can send particles as far as 20 miles high and many miles away from the volcano. The volcanic ash from these types of eruptions is a significant hazard to aviation. If an airplane flies into a volcanic cloud, it can lead to engine damage and malfunction and to many other kinds of aircraft damage. Volcanic eruptions near coastlines can generate damaging tsunami waves that can cause death and destruction among coastal communities. To ensure safe navigation and monitor possible climatic impact, NOAA records global historic volcanic eruptions, tracks volcanic ash eruptions affecting the United States, issues volcanic ash advisories and provides ash cloud forecasts. For more information on volcanoes, visit NOAA's Volcano website.

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Recent Volcano Observatory Activity Reports from USGS

Kilauea VAN/VONA issued Oct 20, 2014 19:45 Volcano Alert Level WARNING - Aviation Color Code ORANGE
The June 27th flow remains active. The flow front has not advanced downslope since October 17, but there are several breakouts within about 1.3 km (0.8 mi) upslope of the front. Along the south side of the flow, a narrow breakout has moved about 80 m/day in the past week, and could overtake the distal tip of the flow in the next couple of days. The flow front remains about 1.4 km (0.9 mi) upslope from Apa`a St. along the steepest descent path and 1.1 km (0.7 mi) upslope from Apa`a St. along a straight line. Lava discharge from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō into the June 27th lava tube ... Details...

Cleveland Daily Update issued Oct 20, 2014 12:33 Volcano Alert Level ADVISORY - Aviation Color Code YELLOW
No activity was detected in partly cloudy satellite images from today. Seismicity remains at low levels. Details...

Shishaldin Daily Update issued Oct 20, 2014 12:33 Volcano Alert Level WATCH - Aviation Color Code ORANGE
Elevated surface temperatures were detected in satellite images from today. Elevated seismic activity, including small explosions, continues to be observed in local seismic data. Details...

Kilauea Daily Update issued Oct 20, 2014 08:57 Volcano Alert Level WARNING - Aviation Color Code ORANGE
Activity Summary: Kīlauea continued to erupt at its summit and within the East Rift Zone, and gas emissions remained elevated. There was a small amount of net deflation at the summit, and the lava lake fell slightly before leveling off. At the middle East Rift Zone, the June 27th flow remains active but moved no closer to Pāhoa. Active breakouts are scattered across the flow near its front and about mid-way along its length. June 27th Lava Flow Observations: A Civil Defense overflight this morning found no advancement at the front of the flow, though breakouts ... Details...

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