Drifting ash from Russian volcano prompts Alaska Airlines flight cancellations

Alaska Airlines canceled more than two dozen flights on Thursday because of an ash cloud from a volcano in Russia.

The cloud is from Shiveluch Volcano. About 28 flights to, from and within Alaska were canceled as of early Thursday, the Seattle-based airline said.

“We continue to monitor the ash cloud, and depending on its location, movement and timing, we might need to cancel additional flights,” the statement said. It encouraged travelers to check the status of their flights online.

Among those affected was U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, whose overnight flight from Honolulu to Anchorage was canceled, Dillingham, Alaska, radio station KDLG reported.

Shiveluch, one of Kamchatka Peninsula’s most active volcanoes, started erupting early Tuesday, spewing ash more than 300 miles northwest. Several Russian villages were covered in grey volcanic dust in the largest fallout in nearly 60 years.

On Wednesday, the eruption sent an ash cloud more than 6 miles into the air. The volcano is about 1,770 miles west of Anchorage.

Volcanic ash is angular and sharp and has been used as an industrial abrasive. The powdered rock can cause a jet engine to shut down.