An erupting volcano in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands sent a towering cloud of ash into the air Friday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue an inflight warning to pilots.
The Shishaldin Volcano began erupting July 11, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory. A U.S. Coast Guard overflight confirmed lava erupted the same day within the summit crater.
A significant explosion at 1:09 a.m. Friday produced an ash cloud that reached up to 40,000 feet and drifted south over the Pacific Ocean. A second smaller explosion at 7:10 a.m. Friday reached about 15,000 feet.
The volcano is a symmetrical cone that is 10 miles in diameter at its base. It rises to 9,373 feet and is the highest peak in the Aleutians.
Shishaldin is one of the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian volcanic arc. Most eruptions are small. An event in 1999 spewed an ash column that reached 45,000 feet.