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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Annie Feidt is the Managing Editor for Alaska's Energy Desk, a collaboration between Alaska Public Media in Anchorage, KTOO Public Media in Juneau and KUCB in Unalaska. Her reporting has taken her searching for polar bears on the Chukchi Sea ice, out to remote checkpoints on the Iditarod Trail, and up on the Eklutna Glacier with scientists studying its retreat. Her stories have been heard nationally on NPR and Marketplace. Annie’s career in radio journalism began in 1998 at Minnesota Public Radio, where she produced the regional edition of All Things Considered. She moved to Anchorage in 2004 with her husband, intending to stay in the 49th state just a few years. She has no plans to leave anytime soon. afeidt (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8443 | About Annie

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