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article imageAlaska's Cleveland Volcano shoots up ash cloud 35,000 feet

By Leigh Goessl     Jun 20, 2012 in Environment
One of Alaska's remote volcanoes, Cleveland Volcano, awoke from slumber earlier this week, shooting an ash cloud into the air.
Alaska's Cleveland Volcano has been on volcanologists' radar for months now, but recently was downgraded at the end of May. However, the volcano erupted on Tuesday shooting up ash 35,000 feet into the air.
Cleveland volcano is located on the uninhabited Chuginadak Island, 940 miles south of Anchorage. Being so remote, it is a difficult volcano to monitor.
According to Anchorage Daily News, Cleveland Volcano, has been "restless" for months, causing some concern for trans-oceanic travel. The volcanic explosion occurred around 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory currently has Cleveland Volcano listed as an "Orange" alert level watch, upgrading it on Tues. from its previous designation of "Yellow". AVO stated that the cloud height suggests the ash cloud shot up about 35,000 (10 km) feet above sea level. The data was obtained through a pilot's fly-by report, infrared data and web camera images.
Stephanie Prejean, a U.S. Geological Survey seismologist at the observatory in Anchorage, told Reuters (courtesy of Chicago Tribune), "It was just one explosion, which was very typical of the thing Cleveland has been doing in the last year," Prejean said. It is possible that the cloud rose to less than 35,000 feet, as the height was just one pilot's estimate."
The eruptions appear to be short in duration.
The organization warns, "Additional sudden explosions of blocks and ash are still possible with little warning. It is possible for associated ash clouds to exceed 20,000 feet above sea level. If a large ash-producing event occurs, seismic, infrasound, or volcanic lightning networks should detect the event and alert AVO staff. There is no real-time seismic monitoring network on Mount Cleveland so AVO is unable to track activity in real time."
Digital Journal reported on two earlier eruptions from the Alaskan volcano that occurred in March of this year.
Cleveland has been a fairly active volcano over the past decade, and KTUU reported it shot an ash cloud up 39,000 feet in 2001. The nearest community in the remote location is in Nikolaski, approximately 45 miles east of Cleveland Volcano.
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