Lava builds in Alaska volcano, may threaten planes

October 7, 2011 - 8:10 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Lava has reached the edge of a crater in a volcano in Alaska's remote Aleutian Islands, indicating the mountain could explode and send up an ash cloud that could threaten aircraft.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says satellite images show lava at the edge of the crater rim of 5,675-foot Cleveland Mountain on uninhabited on Chuginadak Island, about 940 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Volcano monitors say if the dome continues to grow, it could overflow the rim and increase the possibility of an explosion.

The observatory says an eruption could send up an ash cloud 20,000 feet or more.

The nearest village, Nikolski, is on another island about 50 miles east and has 18 permanent residents. The village was not considered in harm's way in previous eruptions of the volcano.