Alaska's Great Sitkin volcano erupted on Wednesday, prompting the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to issue a "red alert" for the surrounding area as a column of ash spewed thousands of feet into the atmosphere.
AVO Great Sitkin RED/WARNING - Explosive eruption began at 21:04 AKDT (5:04 UTC 26 May) and is continuing. https://t.co/8gDGARtWVM— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) May 26, 2021
The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) said the volcano erupted around 21:04 AKDT (5:04 UTC 26 May), 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. Additional explosions are possible and the Aviation Color Code remains at RED and the Volcano Alert Level at WARNING," AVO said.
Great Sitkin Volcano is a basaltic andesite volcano that resides on the most northern half of Great Sitkin Island and is a part of the Andreanof Islands group in the central Aleutian Islands.
It's unclear how the eruption may affect or has affected flights around Alaska. Volcanic ash can damage an aircraft's turbine blades. Planes usually steer clear of ash clouds.
... and the question remains: What is driving increasing volcanic activity?