* Volcano spews ash cloud 13.5 km high - VAAC
* Forces Hillary Clinton to curtail Africa visit
* Volcano dormant since 1861
(Recasts with Clinton, details, previous KAMPALA)
By Aaron Maasho
ADDIS ABABA, June 13 A long-dormant volcano has
erupted in Eritrea, monitors said on Monday, spewing a huge ash
cloud across the Horn of Africa, threatening air travel and
curtailing a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Dubbi volcano began belching plumes of ash at about
midnight on Sunday following a string of earthquakes in the
remote, arid region close to the border with Ethiopia, where
Clinton wrapped up regional talks to depart early. [nLDE75C184]
Dubbi is thought to have last erupted in 1861.
The U.S. Geographical Survey said the biggest quake had
measured 5.7. Charts on the website of the France-based Volcanic
Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) showed the eruption throwing an ash
cloud 13.5 km (8.4 miles) up -- a potential blight on airlines.
"It hasn't affected our operations yet, but we are observing
the situation closely with experts at Addis Ababa University
observatory," Ethiopian Airlines spokesman Getachew Tesfa said.
Germany's Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) said on its website that it
had cancelled a flight out of the Eritrean capital Asmara on
Monday and another flight into Addis Ababa. It gave no reason
for the cancellations.
U.S. officials said they had been told Ethiopia was
considering shutting down Addis Ababa's main international
airport as the ash cloud headed toward the capital. There was no
immediate comment from Ethiopia's Civil Aviation Authority.
Satellite images suggested Sudanese airspace could also be
Dubbi is located 350 km (219 miles) north of Asmara and 233
km (146 miles) east of the Ethiopian city of Mekelle.
The independent earthquake monitoring website
earthquake-report.com said it might be another nearby volcano
nearby known as Nabro that was erupting and carried testimonies
from residents in the region confirming the ash cloud.
(Additional reporting and writing by Barry Malone in Kampala;
Editing by Richard Lough and Dan Williams)