Scientists Keeping an Eye on Cleveland Volcano

Photo by Rick Wessels. Courtesy of the Alaska Volcano Observatory

Scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory are keeping an eye on Cleveland volcano. The Aleutian Chain volcano started showing increased thermal activity last month. Tuesday, AVO raised the alert level after identifying a new lava dome on the volcano. Dave Schneider is a geophysicist with AVO.

Schneider says as eruptions go, this one is a bit of a yawner, but that could change quickly. AVO scientists are studying satellite images in case Cleveland starts spewing ash that could be hazardous to airplane traffic in the area. Schneider says the lava dome forming now on the volcano could be leading up to a bigger eruption.

Cleveland is one of about 20 historically active volcanoes in Alaska that don’t have seismic monitors. Schneider says that’s because it’s located in a remote part of the central Aleutians. He says getting instruments there would be tricky.

Several years ago, during another Cleveland eruption one of the best views of the volcano was from space. AVO took a call from an astronaut who watched the eruption and was able to e-mail pictures from orbit.

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