Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Alaska's Cleveland Volcano Back To Alert Level "Orange"

AVO has again raised the alert level at Cleveland volcano due to the resurgence of yet another lava dome at the summit. Two have been emplaced slowly, and each time the dome has either exploded or collapsed in two very minor eruptions. The slowly erupting volcano has been going back and forth between "Yellow" and "Orange" aviation codes during the recent months. Typically after the dome collapses, AVO has lowered the alert level thinking that the volcano may have stopped erupting, but this has turned out not to be the case.

Cleveland volcano has been erupting for around a year, with an initial lava dome emplaced at the summit crater that reached a diameter of approximately 160M. This dome was destroyed when the volcano had an ash producing eruption. A smaller dome was extruded into the crater, and also subsequently destroyed. The current situation is another lava dome is now being built, however the current dome has not been measured.

This slowly erupting volcano can escalate the eruptive activity with little to no warning, and Cleveland was actually responsible for the only death ever from an Aleutian volcano. The "Orange" alert does not reflect the slow eruption, but its potential to enter into explosive phases at a moment's notice. The Aleutian arc is a very popular sky route for many airlines going to and from Asia to North America, and given an incident with Redoubt volcano in which a plane nearly crashed due to ash being sucked into its engines, AVO takes no chances with the safety of travelers.

For now the volcano continues to slowly seethe and push out the viscous lava into the crater, repeatedly making and destroying its lava dome. It is possible that new magma is pushing up older, cooler magma to the surface, and this is just the "cork in the bottle" so-to-speak. As AVO states, it is certainly possible for this volcano to change eruption characteristics at any moment. Good thing that this volcano is in an area of the world that is nearly uninhabited!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. See the comment policy for details.