The Alaska Volcano Observatory has issued its highest level of alert for aviation after what it says was a brief eruption of a volcano on the Aleutian Islands.
The observatory said pilots reported that the Bogoslof volcano on Bogoslof Island erupted 4 PM Alaska Time. The Aleutian Islands are a chain of volcanic islands in the Bering Sea belonging to both the United States and Russia. The pilots told the observatory that a volcanic ash cloud rose to 34,000 feet.
A red alert was issued, which the observatory defined as a hazardous eruption being imminent, underway or suspected. The observatory said that satellite data showed a short-lived explosion just before 4 PM local time Tuesday, December 20, 2016 that drifted to the South about 15 minutes later. The observatory also stated that a subsequent pilot reported at 4:50 PM local time that the volcanic activity had decreased.