Alaska Airlines canceled more than two dozen flights in its namesake state on Thursday as ash from a Russian volcano drifted into Alaska, the Seattle-based carrier said.
The airline said the ash cloud came from the Shifluchi Volcano. As of noon Thursday, 28 flights to, from and within Alaska had been canceled.
“We will continue to monitor the ash cloud and depending on its location, movement and timing, we may need to cancel additional flights,” the airline said in a statement, encouraging travelers to check flight status online.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory said in a statement that a cloud of ash had drifted over Alaska airspace over the past few days. “Despite the cloud’s potential hazard to the aviation industry and disrupted some flights, no ash is expected in Alaskan communities,” it said.
Shivluch, one of Kamchatka’s most active volcanoes, began erupting early Tuesday, spewing ash more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) northwest. Several Russian villages were covered in gray ash in the biggest dust fall in nearly 60 years.
The eruption sent a cloud of ash more than 6 miles (10 kilometers) into the air on Wednesday. The volcano is about 1,772 miles (2,772 kilometers) west of Anchorage.
Planes have been banned from the area since the eruption began, and residents are advised to stay indoors.
Villages about 50 kilometers (about 30 miles) from the volcano were covered in 20 centimeters (nearly 8 inches) of ash. Video posted by residents showed the ash cloud plunging the area into darkness.
Shiveluch has two parts – the 3,283-meter (10,771-foot) Old Shiveluch and the smaller, highly active Young Shiveluch.
Angular and sharp, volcanic ash has been used as an industrial abrasive. Powdered rocks can cause jet engines to shut down.
Stretching into the Pacific Ocean about 6,600 kilometers (4,000 miles) east of Moscow, Kamchatka is one of the most geothermally active regions in the world, with some 30 active volcanoes.