Great Sitkin Volcano briefly under warning after Tuesday night eruption

The eruption plume of Great Sitkin volcano was captured as it erupted Tuesday, May 25, 2021 in...
The eruption plume of Great Sitkin volcano was captured as it erupted Tuesday, May 25, 2021 in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.(Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Published: May. 25, 2021 at 10:53 PM AKDT|Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 1:52 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A volcano in the Aleutian Chain erupted Tuesday night, resulting in an ash cloud of up to 15,000 feet rising into the air.

According to a notice from the Alaska Volcano Observatory, the Great Sitkin Volcano, located about 26 miles east of Adak in the central Aleutian Islands, experienced an explosive eruption shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday. The eruption was short in duration, lasting only 1-2 minutes, according to the notice.

“Since that explosion, seismicity has decreased and satellite images show that the ash cloud has detached from the vent and is moving towards the east,” the notice states.

The eruption was confirmed by geophysical data and mariner observations, according to the observatory notice. Its ash cloud was reported to be up to 15,000 feet above sea level.

The observatory initially raised the volcano’s alert level to a warning. Additional explosions from Great Sitkin are possible, according to the observatory.

As of Wednesday morning, the alert had been downgraded back to a watch.

“The prognosis for renewed eruptive activity is uncertain,” the observatory wrote in a Wednesday afternoon notice. “Additional explosive events, the eruption of lava, or a return to non-eruptive behaviors are all possible.”

The Great Sitkin is a basaltic andesite volcano, according to the observatory, and is part of the Andreanof Islands group in the Aleutian Chain. It erupted at least three times in the 20th century, the observatory wrote, and its most recent eruption was in 1974.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include new information from the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

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