VIDEO: Alaska volcano sends ash, lava and prompts a first red alert in 5 years

A volcano is Alaska is erupting with new strength this week, sending smoke and ash 24,000 feet into the air. (Via Flickr / NASA)

This video, taken by Chris Owens of Conundrum Ventures via helicopter, shows the Pavlof Volcano just as it began more severely erupting over the weekend. (Via Alaska Dispatch)

The volcano has actually been erupting for years but not this intensely. It's in a very remote region of Alaska, some 600 miles southwest of Anchorage in a totally uninhabited part of the state. (Via Google)

Still, scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory have issued a red alert notice. That really just means the volcano could be erupting for weeks or months to come. With no people in danger, geologists say it just makes for a good show.

And it is putting on quite a show, as you can tell in these NASA images. See that dark trail? That's the Pavlof eruption — from space. That's a lot of ash and smoke.

Last May, a smaller eruption from the same volcano forced regional airlines to cancel flights to local communities. That could be a problem this time around as well. (Via International Business Times)

This is the first red alert warning issued by Alaskan scientists since Mount Redoubt erupted in 2009, sending ash up to 50,000 feet — about twice as high as Pavlof is doing now. (Via YouTube / riverwildlodge)

It's not all ash and smoke on Mount Pavlof. A group of campers tell local media they spotted lava running down the volcano on its northwest side.

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