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Alaska's Bogoslof Volcano Erupts, Raising Aviation Alert to Highest Level

May 30, 2017 12:59 PM EDT
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An Alaskan volcano on the Bogoslof Island erupted on Sunday prompting officials to raise the aviation alert to its highest level temporarily.

According to a report from CNN, the cloud from the eruption extended at a range of 35,000 feet to 45,000 feet high. The event lasted around 50 minutes.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) revealed that the eruption led to the code red aviation alert that was eventually reduced to a code orange.

 "We actually went to color code red this afternoon because of numerous lightning detections and increased seismic signals," Jeffrey Freymueller of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks explained in an interview with CNN. "Lightning in the Aleutians is mostly due to volcanic plumes, as the meteorological conditions for lightning are not common. The combination of lightning and seismic data allowed us to go to red within about half an hour of the start of the eruption."

It's important to issue an aviation alert in the event of a volcanic eruption because the ash cloud produced could spell trouble to passing aircraft. Volcanic ash can melt at jet engine temperatures and consequently result in engine failure.

AVO reported that the Bogoslof volcano is at a heightened state of unrest and in an unpredictable condition. Low-level activity of the volcano could be a threat to the immediate vicinity as additional explosions may occur with little warning or precursory activity.

According to a report from RT, this particular volcano has been quiet for 25 years or so before activity ramped up in the past few years. Since December 2016, the current eruption sequence have totalled to about 40 eruptions.

All the activity has even changed the landscape permanently as one eruption early this year altered the shape and coastline of Bogoslof Island, while the recent eruptions tripled the isle's size since 2015.

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