Eruptions occurred at several volcanoes during the first week of May, 2013. Volcanoes with heightened activity include Mount Cleveland in Alaska, the Mayon Volcano in the Philippines and Popocatépetl in Mexico.
Mayon Volcano. The Mayon Volcano is a 2,642-meter (8,077 feet) high stratovolcano located in the Philippines. On the morning of May 7, 2013, a steam-driven explosion sent a plume of ash 500 meters (1,640 feet) into the air. Tragically, 21 climbers were on the volcano when it exploded, and 5 people were killed by the falling rocks. Nine others were injured and are in the process of being evacuated. The volcano was not under an alert when it exploded, and no magmatic eruptions are currently expected. However, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology is requesting that the public avoid a 6-kilometer (3.7 mile) danger zone surrounding the summit due to the ongoing threat of stream-driven eruptions and rockfalls.
Popocatépetl. Popocatépetl is a towering 5,426-meter (17,802 feet) high stratovolcano located in Mexico. On May 7, 2013, the volcano erupted sending a plume of ash 3,200 meters (10,500 feet) into the air. The ash blanketed several nearby towns, and officials are requesting that the public avoid a 12-kilometer (7.5 miles) radius around the volcano. According to the Eruptions Science Blog, the volcano has produced a few intermittent steam and ash plumes over the past year.
Mount Cleveland. Mount Cleveland is a 1,730-meter (5,676 feet) high stratovolcano located in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, USA. Stratovolcanoes are steep-sided volcanoes that are built of many alternating layers of hardened lava and ash. On May 4, 2013, the Alaska Volcano Observatory detected three short explosions at Mount Cleveland that were accompanied by a small cloud of ash that reached an altitude of approximately 4,600 meters (15,000 feet). The ash cloud was not high enough to pose a serious threat to aircraft, although some planes were diverted as a precaution according to a report from Reuters. Additional explosions at Mount Cleveland were detected on May 5 and 6. The volcano is currently under a watch alert level, which applies mainly to aircraft flying over this sparsely populated region. The Alaska Volcano Observatory issues watches when volcanoes exhibit heightened activity. Mount Cleveland has been under continued watch status for some time now due in part to four minor ash explosions during 2012.
Other volcanoes that have experience heightened activity in early May include Tungurahua in Ecuador, Papandayan in Indonesia and Heard Island in the southern Indian Ocean.
Bottom line: Several volcanoes have erupted during the first week of May, 2013. These volcanoes include Mount Cleveland in Alaska, the Mayon Volcano in the Philippines and Popocatépetl in Mexico.
Deanna Conners is an Environmental Scientist who holds a Ph.D. in Toxicology and an M.S. in Environmental Studies. Her interest in toxicology stems from having grown up near the Love Canal Superfund Site in New York. Her current work is to provide high-quality scientific information to the public and decision-makers and to help build cross-disciplinary partnerships that help solve environmental problems. She writes about Earth science and nature conservation for EarthSky.