Volcano briefly erupts on Alaska island, sends up ash cloud

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says a volcano in the Aleutian Islands erupted and sent an ash cloud high into the air

ANCHORAGE, Alaska —
A volcano in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands erupted Friday and sent up an ash cloud, prompting a warning for planes.

Shishaldin Volcano shot ash to more than 20,000 feet (6,096 meters) and possibly 24,000 feet (7,315 meters), the Alaska Volcano Observatory said.

The volcano is 679 miles (1,093 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage near the center of Unimak Island, the largest in the Aleutians and home to False Pass, a village of 40 people on the island’s east side.

David Fee, coordinating scientist for the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute, said the ash cloud was not a threat to the village.

The cloud drifted southeast over the ocean.

The volcano is a symmetrical cone that is 10 miles (16 kilometers) in diameter at its base. It rises to 9,373 feet (2,857 meters) and is the highest peak in the Aleutians.

Several pilots and satellite imagery saw the cloud after the eruption at 11:38 a.m., the observatory said.

The National Weather Service issued an ash cloud warning for aircraft to 24,000 feet (7,315 meters).

Shishaldin is at a heightened level of seismic unrest, and explosions could occur with little warning, the observatory said. The volcano is monitored with seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, a web camera and and distant infrasound and lightning networks.

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