Alaska volcano lava dome forms, alert level raised

Associated PressJanuary 31, 2012 

The warning level for a remote Alaska volcano has been raised after a new lava dome began forming, indicating the mountain could explode and send up an ash cloud that could threaten aircraft.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory on Tuesday elevated the alert status for Cleveland Volcano.

Officials say the new lava dome was spotted in the summit crater. The observatory says as of Monday, the dome was about 130 feet in diameter.

There have been no eruptions since those on Dec. 25 and Dec. 29, which destroyed the earlier lava dome built up over the fall.

Cleveland is a 5,675-foot peak on an uninhabited island 940 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Authorities say sudden eruptions could occur at any time, and ash clouds 20,000 feet above sea level are possible.

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