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Alert again raised for Aleutians volcano after new eruption

  • Author: Chris Klint
  • Updated: December 30, 2016
  • Published December 30, 2016

An eruption of Bogoslof volcano, seen Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, from the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alex Haley, shows ash emission, lightning, and the ejection of incandescent lava and fragmental material. (From USCG via AVO)

Bogoslof volcano in the Aleutian Islands experienced another eruption late Thursday, causing an ash cloud that has once more prompted higher alert levels as a string of eruptions that started last week continued.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory issued a Friday update for Bogoslof, about 60 miles west of Unalaska, in response to an ash-producing eruption that began at 11:45 p.m. Thursday. The volcano's aviation color code was placed at red and its alert level at "warning," AVO's highest status for each.

"Cloud-top temperatures from satellite suggest a cloud height of around 20,000 feet (above sea level)," AVO staff wrote. "Regional winds are from the southwest."

Several eruptions at Bogoslof dating back to Dec. 20 have produced ash clouds up to altitudes of 30,000 feet, which have been pushed north over the Bering Sea by prevailing winds. The cumulative eruptions have been accompanied by dozens of lightning strikes and have radically changed the shape of Bogoslof Island, which the observatory said remained in flux last weekend.

Map of Bogoslof Island showing changes in surface configuration as of Dec. 25, 2016. These changes are the result of the December 2016 eruptive activity. The map shows areas where new land area was generated by the emplacement of eruptive products, most likely volcanic ash, and areas of Bogoslof Island removed by the eruption. Worldview 3 satellite images obtained on March 19, 2015, and December 25, 2016 were used to make this map. (From AVO)

No ashfall on Unalaska or other communities has been reported during Bogoslof's recent eruptions. Michael Kutz, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Anchorage, said the agency's Alaska Aviation Weather Unit has been tracking airborne ash and issuing advisories to pilots, but hasn't had any reports of flights being diverted or canceled as a result.