February 6, 2006

Remote Alaska volcano erupts, spews ash

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A volcano on an uninhabited
island in Alaska erupted on Monday, sending a cloud of ash
22,000 feet into the air and triggering an elevation of the
mountain's threat level.

Scientists detected the morning eruption at Cleveland
Volcano, a 5,676-foot peak, on satellite imagery, officials at
the Alaska Volcano Observatory said.

The observatory issued a Code Red warning, the highest
level of alert, for the volcano, because the ash cloud was near
a level where it could interfere with jet traffic, said Chris
Waythomas, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist.

There were no reports of falling ash from the highly active
volcano located in the rugged chain of Aleutian Islands. The
nearest community is Nikolski, a tiny Aleut village of 31
people that is 45 miles to the east of the volcano.

Its last eruptive period was in 2001 when three explosions
occurred, according to the observatory.

Cleveland Volcano rumbled to life as officials continued to
monitor the restless Augustine Volcano, a 4,134-foot peak about
175 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Augustine has had several explosive eruptions since January
11 but scientists warned against drawing conclusions about a

"We have 42 active volcanoes in Alaska," Waythomas said.
"It shouldn't be a surprise that two are active at the same

Cleveland, on an uninhabited island in the rugged Aleutian
chain, is a highly active volcano, according to the