One of Alaska's most active volcanoes continued vigorously erupting into its second week, with larger explosive eruptions still expected, officials said Thursday.

"Earthquake activity remains steady and well above normal" at Pavlof Volcano on the Aleutian arc, and vigorous lava flow is continuing, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory.


Volcano seismologist Steve McNutt said the volcano, located about 600 miles southwest of Anchorage, could be building toward a major, more explosive eruption.

"We've had quite a few explosions over the past few days," McNutt said.

He said technical issues are still being worked out with a Webcam that was installed at the volcano over the weekend, but that it will hopefully be running soon.

Currently, images are coming from Cold Bay, 37 miles away, he said.

"I'm sad to say people are going to find out that weather in that part of the world is pretty nasty most days," he said.

He said a team of scientists from New Mexico Tech was on the ground Thursday installing some lighting sensor equipment. Lightning can be generated in a rising ash plume, but scientists still don't fully understand the phenomenon of how erupting volcanoes produce lighting, McNutt said.

By studying it at Pavlof, McNutt said scientists hope to better understand its cause, which could help them confirm when there are rising ash plumes that are a threat to aviation.

In the past, the volcano has maintained low-level eruptions for several months, broken up by a few large-scale, explosive eruptions.

Scientists said the primary hazard of this eruption is airborne ash, which could disrupt air traffic in the event of a major explosion at the volcano. So far, ash from the eruption has stayed below 15,000 feet above sea level, the observatory reported.

When Pavlof erupted in 1996, the ash cloud reached up to 30,000 feet above sea level, and in 1986 it reached up to 49,000 feet.

The observatory is maintaining aviation color code "orange" and volcanic activity alert level "watch."

The eruption continues to be monitored by satellite and seismograph.