Scientists have raised an aviation alert level around a remote Alaskan volcano after a small eruption produced an ash cloud several miles high.
Cleveland Volcano, on the Aleutian Islands southwest of mainland Alaska, erupted briefly Tuesday afternoon, creating an ash cloud at an estimated height of 23,000 feet above sea level, said Steve McNutt, a volcano seismologist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The observatory on Tuesday raised its color-coded alert for aviators to orange, the second most serious of four levels, and warned on its website that "additional sudden explosions of blocks and ash are possible with little or no warning."
No activity was detected Wednesday, but the alert remained at orange, the observatory said.
A more serious eruption, especially one that spews ash above 30,000 feet, could affect air travel. McNutt said the vast majority of air freight between Asia and North America and between Asia and Europe flies over Alaskan airspace. Also, passenger flights take about 20,000 passengers over Alaskan airspace daily, he said.
Tuesday's cloud appeared to dissipate after about two hours, McNutt said, citing satellite images.
The volcano makes up the western half of uninhabited Chuginadak Island, part of the Aleutian Island chain in the Bering Sea. It is about 45 miles west of Nikolski and 940 miles southwest of Anchorage.
The alert level has bounced between orange and the lower step, yellow, several times in the past year. The observatory last issued an orange alert in late March, when satellite images showed a lava dome had formed in the summit crater.
The volcano's most recent significant eruption happened in February 2001, with three explosions that led to ash clouds as high as 7.5 miles above sea level, according to the observatory. The volcano's elevation is 5,676 feet.
Last year, volcanic ash from Iceland's Grimsvotn Volcano forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights across Europe.
The Grimsvotn eruption came about 13 months after Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull Volcano put ash and smoke into the sky, forcing the cancellation of thousands of flights per day during the peak of the problem.
See observatory's Cleveland Volcano webcam
– CNN's Jason Hanna and Darrell Calhoun contributed to this report.
Oh hey people it's just me having a dust bath! Can't a giant radioactive lizard get any privacy around here?
You can almost see my *ahem* in the picture!!! 8O
2 ways to deal with Alaskan volcanoes: either Sarah Palin could open her big, fat mouth and cover the volcano up or they could use Bristol's big, fat behind to plug it.
(Mostly joking about Bristol: she's a cute kid but does need to lay off the donuts. Her mom, however, turns my Conservative stomach almost as much as Obama does!)
Jerry, you make my Liberal heart feel good. Thank you.
Palin is one of yours – remember?
@jerry,can Palins family see it from her backyard,I hope so for everyone's sake.Maybe it erupting will get her to leave sunny Alaska,no no,we don't want that ,God no!!Stay there,dye there,do us all a favor ,for all of humanity,please stay!!!
I wonder if they can see it from their porch...
I'd like to gnaw on Bristol's big fat ass like a black zombie gnaws on white's faces! I would plunge my meatwhistle into Sarah's box very easily...all 9 inches of it!
That's right, you're also dissing Neiman Marcus's or possibly Martha Stewart Living's next CEO. Shame on you.
To all the haters (including Alaskans) out there...you can all go to Hades...and take your old, tired jokes with you !!
Palin already knows about this. She can see it from her house.
yeah, no kidding. A story about a volcano and the lefty troll #$#'s bring up politics...
Sure, we like to bring up politics and you rightwing trailer trash like to bring up racism! Go jump off a bridge or move to some distant place where you can see Russia from your bathroom window while you take a dump!
All you democrats want is for someone to give you something for free. Give me, give me, give me. What a sorry group of people.
Give me, give me, give me sounds like Wall Street and Exxon Mobil and the rich with their tax cuts and deductions for Horse Dancing Therapy. As far as Alaska's volcano, interesting. Hope I can fly there come August with no problems. Looking forwarded to seeing a beautiful state with interesting people.
Yes KooKoo. That what all democrats want, me included. Just give me, give me, give me. What a simplistic moron you are. You don't have any facts, no brain, just emotion. That's why I hate Republicans. They are ALL stupid, brain dead, puppets. See how it works?
The last time I checked, a whole lot of you rightwing trailer trash were living off the stimulus aid and holding up the grocery line with your food stamps while we hard working liberals were paying cash! Rightwing welfare foodstamp thugs!
This volcano needs to seriously consider its carbon footprint before erupting...
This is not a volcano erupting. It's Sarah Palin warning the Russians that they can't take her guns, Can't you hear the Bells?
Bristol has good puntong!!!
Sounds like Alaska is experiencing a Cleveland steamer.
One wouldn't think that Alaska land of the SNOW would have a 100 volcanos. That's just amazing!
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