Volcano Mount St Helens erupts in US
Restive US volcano Mount St Helens erupted on Tuesday, sending a plume of smoke and ash nearly 12,000 meters (40,000 feet) into the air, officials said.
But the eruption of the volcano, which killed 57 people when it erupted dramatically almost 25 years ago, did not appear to pose an immediate danger to people as the area is sparsely inhabited, they said.
"There was an eruption at 5:30 pm local time (0130 GMT) and the cloud of ash is estimated at 36,000 feet (10,800 feet)," Rob Harper of the Washington State Emergency Management service said. "We are monitoring the situation."
KOMO television in the Oregon city of Portland showed the giant plume hanging over the crater of the volcano, which rumbled back to life last October after years of silence.
The plume prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to order air traffic to avoid the area.
"Air traffic control will not allow any aircraft in the area of the plume," Mike Fergus of the FAA said, adding that the column of smoke and ash topped out at 40,000 feet.
"All the airlines and the airports know what's happening but it's the companies, who will make the decision to cancel or delay any flights."
It was unclear whether the volcano had spewed any lava, with officials confirming only that the mountain had belched smoke an ash over a largely uninhabited area of the states of Oregon and Washington.
The eruption came five month after the most active in North America volcano began belching smoke and ash, as pressure grew under its cone.
The latest eruption just ahead of the 25th anniversary of the deadly May 18, 1980 eruption that came after weeks of quakes, slides and tremors, of belching smoke, steam and ash.
Mount St Helens erupted again in 1986, but with nowhere near the same intensity.