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The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is a joint program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAFGI), and the State of Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (ADGGS).
Color Code YELLOW / Alert Level ADVISORYvolcano image
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AVO assists in multi-agency effort to monitor the Barry Arm Landslide in Prince William Sound
Posted: February 22, 2021
On February 9, under gray winter skies, AVO field technicians installed a 6-microphone infrasound array in Whittier, Alaska. While there are no volcanoes in Prince William Sound to worry about, AVO is using its expertise and experience with infrasound science to help with another hazard in Alaska: landslides.
You may be familiar with the large, intermittently-creeping landslide in Barry Arm, 30 miles northeast of Whittier, discovered in late spring 2020. There is concern that should this landslide rapidly fail into open water in front of the rapidly retreating Barry Glacier, a tsunami could threaten western Prince William Sound. A team of scientists and emergency managers from federal, state, and local agencies, in cooperation with academic scientists and community leaders, has been studying the situation and developing a monitoring system to aid in tsunami warning.

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AVO's 2020 Field Season
Posted: February 03, 2021
Despite the many difficulties encountered due to the COVID-19 pandemic this summer the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) successfully completed work critical to the continued operation of our real-time volcano monitoring network and made significant progress toward converting our network from analog to digital telemetry. As a result of the pandemic our original plans had to be completely changed and many modifications were made in the months leading up to the field season. Due to the severity of the pandemic our primary goal for this year was to complete our work in a way that would ensure the health and safety of our field crews, contractors, and those that we interacted with in local communities. We developed and implemented a COVID-19 operational safety to mitigate the risks of fieldwork in remote locations.

Key components of our operations plan were:

  • Reduced field team size and scope of operations

  • A 14 day pre-embarkation quarantine for all team members, including AVO field staff, boat and helicopter crews

  • All field team members were tested for COVID-19, and were required to produce a negative test result prior to embarkation

  • Isolation of our field teams from community interaction to mitigate the risk of potential virus transmission as much as possible.

We were able to complete the majority of our planned work, and all tasks critical to the continued operation of the network without further delay and with no known cases of COVID-19, thanks to the effort of all involved and the strict adherence to the COVID-19 safety plan.

Highlights of fieldwork from this year included major efforts on Unimak and Akutan islands to incorporate the GPS stations previously installed and operated by UNAVCO into AVO’s monitoring networks. During this campaign, field crews made repairs and upgrades to power systems and data telemetry critical to the continued operation of stations in these networks. As a result of this work, we were able to reestablish monitoring of Westdahl volcano, which had been downgraded to unmonitored due to lack of real-time seismic data. Other highlights from the 2020 field season included work in the Katmai area, and on Augustine Volcano to improve our real-time monitoring capabilities in both of those locations. We were also able to complete the installation of an infrasound array on the Kenai Peninsula to allow for better monitoring of volcanic unrest in the Cook Inlet area. In total, during 2020 we completed work at 110 stations at 12 volcano networks.

None of this would have been possible without the close collaboration and cooperation of all our partners. AVO would like to thank U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Maritime, Izembek and Kenai National Wildlife Refuges, Katmai National Park & Preserve, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, the NOAA National Tsunami Warning Center, Egli Air Haul, Pathfinder Aviation, Northwind Aviation, the crew of the R/V Steadfast, Snug Harbor Outpost, the City of Atka, the City of False Pass, the City of Akutan, the City of Cold Bay, the Aleutian Region School District, the King Cove Harbormaster's Office, UNAVCO, the Alaska Earthquake Center, and IRIS.

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Get these reports emailed to you: USGS VNS

U.S. Geological Survey
Saturday, February 27, 2021, 12:56 PM AKST (Saturday, February 27, 2021, 21:56 UTC)

51°55'44" N 179°35'52" E, Summit Elevation 2625 ft (800 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

No volcanic activity was observed at Semisopochnoi over the past day in mostly cloudy satellite views. No activity was detected in regional infrasound data.

Semisopochnoi is monitored by satellite data, regional infrasound, and lightning detection instruments. An infrasound array on Adak Island may detect explosive emissions from Semisopochnoi with a slight delay (approximately 13 minutes) if atmospheric conditions permit.


Information on all Alaska volcanoes is available at : http://www.avo.alaska.edu.

For definitions of Aviation Color Codes and Volcano Alert Levels, see: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/color_codes.php

SUBSCRIBE TO VOLCANO ALERT MESSAGES by email: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns/

FOLLOW AVO ON FACEBOOK: https://facebook.com/alaska.avo

FOLLOW AVO ON TWITTER: https://twitter.com/alaska_avo


Matt Haney, Acting Scientist-in-Charge, USGS
mhaney@usgs.gov (907) 786-7497

David Fee, Coordinating Scientist, UAFGI
dfee1@alaska.edu (907) 322-4085

The Alaska Volcano Observatory is a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.
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Page modified: January 5, 2021 12:44
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