A September 2008 photo of Mount Shishaldin on a clear day. (Courtesy photo | Alaska Volcano Observatory)

A September 2008 photo of Mount Shishaldin on a clear day. (Courtesy photo | Alaska Volcano Observatory)

Volcano briefly erupts on Alaska island, sends up ash cloud

Mount Shishaldin is more than 600 miles from Anchorage

ANCHORAGE — A volcano in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands erupted Friday and sent up an ash cloud, prompting a warning for planes.

Shishaldin Volcano shot ash to more than 20,000 feet and possibly 24,000 feet, the Alaska Volcano Observatory said.

The volcano is 679 miles southwest of Anchorage near the center of Unimak Island, the largest in the Aleutians and home to False Pass, a village of 40 people on the island’s east side.

David Fee, coordinating scientist for the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute, said the ash cloud was not a threat to the village.

The cloud drifted southeast over the ocean.

The volcano is a symmetrical cone that is 10 miles in diameter at its base. It rises to 9,373 feet and is the highest peak in the Aleutians.

Several pilots and satellite imagery saw the cloud after the eruption at 11:38 a.m., the observatory said.

The National Weather Service issued an ash cloud warning for aircraft to 24,000 feet.

Shishaldin is at a heightened level of seismic unrest, and explosions could occur with little warning, the observatory said. The volcano is monitored with seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, a web camera and and distant infrasound and lightning networks.


• This is an Associated Press report.


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