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Atka volcano briefly erupts, raises alert levels

The Atka volcanic complex includes Korovin Volcano, Mount Kliuchef and Sarichef Volcano.
Taryn Lopez
Alaska Volcano Observatory
The Atka volcanic complex includes Korovin Volcano, Mount Kliuchef and Sarichef Volcano.

A small volcanic eruption occurred on Atka Island Wednesday night. But it was short-lived and no significant ash emissions were observed in satellite images, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO).

The eruption happened at Korovin Volcano, one of several volcanoes in the Atka volcanic complex, located about 10 miles north of the community of Atka. Since noon Thursday, the AVO hadn't received any reports from locals who noticed the small explosion. The eruption was detected from local infrasound and seismic data, followed by a few minutes of seismic shaking.

The quick detection came because of AVO’s updated monitoring equipment on the volcano. Michelle Coombs, a geologist with the AVO, said the organization updated the volcano's monitoring network in 2019. Coombs also said that the eruption was likely hot gasses breaking free from the summit of Korovin Volcano, and chances are the volcano will return to its sleep state soon, something it typically does based on past similar eruptions.

However, the AVO raised the aviation and alert levels for the Atka volcanic complex due to the recent unrest and continued seismic activity. Coombs said small explosions don't happen often there. The last time the volcanic activity at the complex increased its advisory level was in August 2021. The AVO will continue to closely monitor the volcanic activity.

Sofia was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She’s reported around the U.S. for local public radio stations, NPR and National Native News. Sofia has a Master of Arts in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana, a graduate certificate in Documentary Studies from the Salt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder. In between her studies, Sofia was a ski bum in Telluride, Colorado for a few years.
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