Volcano near Anchorage, Alaska erupts, airport closed

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

The volcano when it erupted in 1990

Mount Redoubt, a volcano in Alaska, erupted on Saturday, sending out clouds of ash thousands of feet high. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport was shut down after ash reached the airport.

Jeremy Lindseth, a spokesman for the airport, said that only small amount of ash reached the airport, but was significant enough to disrupt operations, as ash can cause engine problems for aircraft. He said that he was uncertain of how many flights were affected due to the eruption.

The eruption happened at around 1:30 PM local time, the United States Geological Survey reported. The volcano had erupted four times on Friday, billowing ash up to 51,000 feet up into the air. These are the latest in a series of eruptions from Mount Redoubt, which started on March 22. The volcano had not erupted since a four-month period in 1989-90.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory set its alert level at red, the highest possible level, meaning that an eruption is imminent, and that it would send a "significant emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere."