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Images fuel reports of larger eruption

Alaska: Satellite images showing lava dome growing inside the volcano’s crater in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands have volcanologists worried that there could be a larger eruption forthcoming, Reuters reports.

The volcano causing concern is Cleveland Volcano (also known as Mount Cleveland), a 5,676-foot peak located less about 940 miles southwest of Anchorage.

An eruption warning was issued by the Alaska Volcano Observatory in late July. At that time, the Daily Mail warned that Cleveland Volcano “could be poised for its first big eruption in ten years,” and that experts believed that it could “erupt at any moment, spewing ash clouds up to 20,000 feet above sea level with little further warning.”

Nearly eight weeks later, such an eruption remains a definite possibility.

“The big thing we’re concerned about is an explosive eruption,” Steve McNutt of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a coordinating scientist for the observatory, told Reuters.

Such an eruption could come with “little warning.” Satellite imagery has reportedly shown a lava dome growing inside the volcano’s crater, and the observatory has reports that Mount Cleveland continues to generate heat. To date, there have been no signs of ash clouds, but those too, could come with little warning.

McNutt told Reuters that they are concerned that the dome could completely seal off the crater vent, thus causing pressure to build until it is released suddenly and violently. Alternatively, the dome could topple, which would trigger “molten flow down the mountain that releases gas and ash into the atmosphere while lava and rocks tumble.”

Cleveland Volcano rests underneath a flight path between North America and Asia that is said to be utilised by several major airlines, which means that an eruption there could create havoc when it comes to airline travel.

Twenty-one confirmed eruptions have taken place at Cleveland Volcano over the past 230 years, with the only fatality coming in 1944, when a US soldier stationed there during World War II went missing and was presumed dead following a VEI 3 level eruption. The mountain erupted twice in 2010 and three times in 2009.

Source: Red orbit