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Alaska's Bogoslof Volcano Unexpectedly Erupts, Sparks Aviation Alert

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A sudden eruption of an isolated volcano in Alaska has led to a series of warnings and alerts in the region. Although the event seems to be a rather isolated one, the area continues to be closely monitored to avoid any problems a new eruption might create.

On Dec. 20, several airplane pilots reported an eruption on the small island called Bogoslof, which is along the Aleutian Islands chain. The event surprised everyone, as there was no indication that a new eruption was about to take place.

A Lucky Circumstance

Luckily, the island is quite isolated and the eruption itself had no effect on the lives of the local population, as only around 4,300 people live within 62 miles (100 kilometers) from the volcano.

Nevertheless, the eruption should not be treated lightly. The ashes of the short-lived event reached up 6 miles (10 kilometers) in the sky. The volcano itself is not exactly a small one, as it rises 4,900 feet (about 1,500 meters) above the seabed, more than 900 feet (about 300 meters) of which are above the water.

Even if no inhabitant of the area is directly jeopardized by such an eruption, not the same could be said about those flying above the Aleutians.

In fact, the area is rather well-known for the intense air traffic, especially when it comes to routes that tie America to Asia. Acknowledging these risks, the Alaska Volcano Observatory announced a red alert in the region and was further passed on to air traffic controllers and airlines.

The observatory does not have equipment on the island, but that did not prevent it from closely monitoring the activity of the volcano. The lack of activity observed after the eruption led to the decision of reducing the level of the alert to orange. The area continues to be monitored by the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

"We will monitor satellite images and data from distant seismic and infrasound instruments for indications of significant explosive activity," noted the observatory.

An Expected Eruption

The Bogoslof Volcano has erupted several times in the past, about six times since the end of the 18th century. The last known eruption took place in 1992. Some of these phenomena were quite impressive, the lava from the eruption led to the creation of several small islands, which were later covered by the sea.

The visible top of the volcano was also created through the same phenomenon, and scientists wonder whether the process is about the start again. However, according to the data covered so far, it seems unlikely for another eruption to happen very soon.

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