Alaska's Great Sitkin volcano erupts, aviation alert issued

May 26 (Reuters) - Alaska's Great Sitkin volcano erupted on Thursday, sparking a red warning, the United States Geological Survey said.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) issued a red aviation alert level warning for Great Sitkin, meaning significant emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere is likely.

It said a "short-duration" explosive eruption of 1-2 minutes occurred at 5:04 GMT on Thursday, resulting in an ash cloud up to 15,000 feet above sea level.

"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 AVO said.

Additional explosions were possible, the AVO added. The volcano is about 26 miles (42 km) east of the community of Adak.

Alaska accounts for more than three-quarters of all U.S. volcanoes that have erupted during the past 200 years, according to the observatory website.

Last year in January, an Alaska volcano shot an ash cloud about 5 miles (8 km) into the sky, prompting flight delays and cancellations and raining volcanic particles onto at least one nearby community. Back then, there was an ash-producing explosion at Shishaldin Volcano. (

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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