October 11, 2005

Three Alaska volcanoes showing signs of unrest

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Anchorage residents could see
a cloud of steam over the weekend from a volcano 75 miles away
-- one of three Alaska volcanoes showing signs of unrest.

The three volcanoes, including two located on remote
Aleutian islands distant from any population centers, are
setting off frequent tremors and minor bursts of ash or steam,
seismologists said on Tuesday.

Cleveland Volcano, 900 miles southwest of Anchorage, had a
small eruption on Friday, said the Alaska Volcano Observatory,
which monitors Alaska's more than 40 active volcanoes.

Its ash plume rose to a height of nearly 15,000 feet (4.6
km) above sea level, observatory scientists said.

A cloud of steam from the 11,070-foot (3,400-m) Mount Spurr
was visible from Anchorage over the weekend.

The volcano has had periodic but minor ash emissions and
some debris flow caused by melted snow, said Dave Schneider, a
U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist and acting
scientist-in-charge at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Ash emissions "are a lot easier to see now than they were
in the summer because you have fresh snow," Schneider said.

Cleveland Volcano, which comprises the western half of
uninhabited Chuginadak Island, last erupted in 2001. The
closest community, 45 miles to the east, is Nikolski, an Aleut
village of 36 people.

The other volcano showing unrest is 5,925-foot (1,800-m)
Tanaga Volcano.

A series of eruptions in 1992 showered Anchorage and the
surrounding region with ash, forcing a brief closure of
Anchorage International Airport.