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Explosion detected at Alaska's Cleveland volcano

Alaska Dispatch

Mount Cleveland, the volcano located out in the Aleutians that's been playing a will-it-or-won't-it game with observers for the past 6 months, burped out another small emission on Wednesday night, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory

The latest update on Cleveland, which comes more than a month after the alert level at the volcano was raised to "Orange" -- warning of the potential for eruptive activity -- said that "a small, short duration explosion" was detected by seismic measuring equipment, but the AVO was unable to determine the severity of the explosion or determine if it emitted any ash. A lava dome continued to slowly swell inside of the volcano throughout February.

Mount Cleveland, located about 45 miles from the community of Nikolski, is isolated on an uninhabited island and -- despite the volcano's regular eruption pattern -- has no real-time monitoring equipment, which means satellite images often provide evidence of eruption. Cleveland last erupted in December of 2011, and the AVO said that this event appears to be similar to that eruption, which produced only slight ash clouds and didn't represent any danger to aircraft.

Last weekend, another Aleutian volcano called Kanaga was downgraded after experiencing a one-time hiccup of its own following a period of increased seismicity and a small ash emission. On Wednesday, vulcanologists said that they were keeping an eye on Mount Iliamna, located on the lower west side of Cook Inlet, after that volcano has seen increasing seismic activity.