February 6, 2006
Remote Alaska Volcano Blows 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 (1,730-meter) 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 (1,260 meter) peak about 175 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Augustine has had several explosive eruptions since January 11 but scientists warned against drawing conclusions about a trend.
"We have 42 active volcanoes in Alaska," Waythomas said. "It shouldn't be a surprise that two are active at the same time."
Cleveland, on an uninhabited island in the rugged Aleutian chain, is a highly active volcano, according to the observatory.