Alaska volcano erupts again, sends ash cloud over Aleutians

ANCHORAGE — An Alaska volcano that has erupted periodically since mid-December sent up its biggest cloud to date late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, prompting warnings to airliners and a major U.S. fishing port in the Aleutian Islands.

Bogoslof Volcano erupted at 10:36 p.m. Tuesday, spewing ash for three hours and sending a cloud of it to 35,000 feet, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported.

The National Weather Service warned that trace amounts — less than 1 millimeter — of ash could settle on Dutch Harbor, a major port for Bering Sea crab and pollock.

It was the 36th eruption for Bogoslof over the last three months, and the first since Feb. 19.

“It was the most significant event for the entire eruption,” said U.S. Geological Survey geologist Kristi Wallace.

The eruption was marked by 200 lighting strikes, Wallace said, and elevated seismic activity that lasted until 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“And then it just shut off,” Wallace said.

The Aleutians Island volcano is 850 miles southwest of Anchorage. The volcano remains in a heightened state of unrest and could erupt again at any time.

Ash clouds rising above 20,000 feet are a threat to jets flying between Asia and North America. Air traffic controllers receive an advisory after eruptions and warn jets to fly around or above ash clouds, which can drift for hundreds of miles.

Volcanic ash can erode jet engine turbine blades. Ash melted by high temperatures in the engines adheres to critical parts and can cause engine failure, according to the observatory. Ash can also scrape cockpit windows and interfere with electronics of navigation systems.

Fine ash drifting to cities can cause respiratory problems for people and animals, interfere with electrical equipment and damage air filters and gasoline engines.

Bogoslof Island is the tip of an underwater volcano that extends down 5,500 feet in a cone shape to the floor of the Bering Sea. The island first appeared after an underwater eruption in 1796. Subsequent explosions and eruptions have caused the island to grow and shrink.

The current eruptions are from a shallow, underwater vent on the island’s southeast side.

The city of Unalaska and Dutch Harbor are about 63 miles southeast of the volcano. Donnie Lane, communication officer for the Unalaska Department of Public Safety, said police had not received any reports of ash falling on the community as of 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Wallace said the observatory had received reports of light dustings of ash in the community of about 4,500 people but that winds may have blown the ash cloud away from the island.

More in News

Alaska governor vows to fix ‘loophole’ in sex crime laws

Gov. Bill Walker is responding to public outrage over the recent sentencing… Continue reading

Lola Brown, 10, watches closely as a siphon pump and length of hose empties one jug of water into a jug sitting on the floor. Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day included time at six different stations, and each station introduced science and engineering principles with experiments. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)
Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day causes smiles, messes

Balloon shreds and balls of masking tape littered the floor at Centennial… Continue reading

A damaged vehicle is pulled away by a tow truck after an afternoon car crash at the Fred Meyer intersection on Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Car crash injures two at Fred Meyer intersection

A car crash at Fred Meyer intersection sent a woman to the… Continue reading

Feds sentence Southeast drug conspirators

Co-conspirators in multiple drug cases were sentenced in federal court this week.

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew medevacs a patient from Wrangell to Sitka, Alaska, July 17, 2018. (Courtesy photo | Stephen Prysunka)
Coast Guard suspends search for missing Kake man

The U.S. Coast Guard announced that it has suspended search efforts for a 55-year-old Kake man who might have fallen off a pier.

Issues of affordability, public safety prominent in candidates’ minds

A busy week of candidate forums culminated in the annual League of Women Voters candidate forum on Thursday.

Allison Holtkamp and Donnie Gott smile as a storyteller arrives to rehearsal for “Same: Local Stories of Gender-Based Violence.” Holtkamp, director and producer of the show, and Holtkamp, storyteller and sound designer, said despite the show’s heavy topic, the experience of sharing stories is empowering and every story contains some levity.	(Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)
New show brings gender-based violence stories to the stage

“Same” will be different. The show, which is subtitled “Local stories of… Continue reading

Juneau Assembly candidates for the Areawide and District 2 seats are asked to raise their hand if they support the Juneau Access Project during a forum at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce during its weekly luncheon at the Moose Lodge on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. District 2 candidate Emil Mackey did not attend the event because of work travel. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Economic-minded candidates talk future of business in Juneau

At Thursday’s Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Assembly candidates were probed about… Continue reading

Ron Flint takes a ride on the completed lower section of a mountain bike trail at the Eaglecrest Ski Area August 2015. Volunteers with the Juneau Freewheelers Cycle Club and Eaglecrest staff worked on the downhill trail. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Eaglecrest to explore mountain bike course, install new snowmaking

A mountain bike course might be in the works for Eaglecrest Ski… Continue reading

Most Read