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ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, November 9, 2018, 1:01 PM AKST (Friday, November 9, 2018, 22:01 UTC)


VENIAMINOF VOLCANO (VNUM #312070)
56°11'52" N 159°23'35" W, Summit Elevation 8225 ft (2507 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Low-level eruptive activity occurred at the intracaldera cone of Veniaminof volcano throughout the past week, indicated by relatively continuous seismic tremor, as well as by elevated surface temperatures and an eruption plume observed in satellite and web camera images. The eruption is characterized by low-level lava spattering, a lava flow, and variable emissions of steam and volcanic ash up to altitudes of 14,000 ft. Recent satellite observations show that the lava flow extends about 1.2 km (0.75 miles) from the vent. Fractures in the summit ice sheet adjacent to the lava flow are caused by melting. The production of volcanic ash varies over time and is rarely accompanied by a discernible change in seismic activity. Trace ash fallout in local communities is possible under strong wind conditions and increased ash emissions.

Mount Veniaminof volcano is an andesitic stratovolcano with an ice-filled 10-km diameter summit caldera located on the Alaska Peninsula, 775 km (480 mi) southwest of Anchorage and 35 km (22 mi) north of Perryville. Veniaminof is one of the largest (~300 cubic km; 77 cubic mi) and most active volcanic centers in the Aleutian Arc and has erupted at least 13 times in the past 200 years. Recent significant eruptions of the volcano occurred in 1993-95, 2005, and 2013. These were Strombolian eruptions that produced lava fountains and minor emissions of ash and gas from the main intracaldera cone. During the 1993-95 activity, a small lava flow was extruded, and in 2013, five small lava flows effused from the intracaldera cone over about five months. Minor ash-producing explosions occurred nearly annually between 2002 and 2010. Previous historical eruptions have produced ash plumes that reached 20,000 ft above sea level (1939 and 1956) and ash fallout that blanketed areas within about 40 km (25 mi) of the volcano (1939).

SEMISOPOCHNOI VOLCANO (VNUM #311060)
51°55'44" N 179°35'52" E, Summit Elevation 2625 ft (800 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

No eruptive activity was observed in satellite imagery or regional infrasound over the past week. The satellite link that transmits seismic data from Semisopochnoi failed on November 1, but an infrasound array on Adak Island should still detect significant explosive emissions from Semisopochnoi (with a 13-minute delay) if atmospheric conditions permit.

A return to eruptive activity remains a possibility at Semisopochnoi and it could occur with little or no warning. AVO will continue to monitor the volcano closely. Semisopochnoi is normally monitored with an on-island seismic network, the infrasound array on Adak Island, and remotely by satellite and lightning sensors.


Remote Semisopochnoi volcano occupies the largest, young volcanic island in the western Aleutians. The volcano is dominated by an 8-km (5-mile) diameter caldera that contains a small lake and a number of post-caldera cones and craters. The age of the caldera is not known with certainty but is likely early Holocene. The last known eruption of Semisopochnoi occurred in 1987, probably from Sugarloaf Peak on the south coast of the island, but details are lacking. Another prominent, young post-caldera landform is Mount Cerberus, a three-peaked cone cluster in the southwest part of the caldera. The island is uninhabited and part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. It is located 65 km (40 mi) northeast of Amchitka Island and 200 km (130 mi) west of Adak.

CLEVELAND VOLCANO (VNUM #311240)
52°49'20" N 169°56'42" W, Summit Elevation 5676 ft (1730 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

Nothing significant was detected in seismic or infrasound (pressure) sensor data this week. Elevated surface temperatures were observed in satellite data a few times, but most satellite views were obscured by clouds throughout the week.

Future explosive activity is likely and is expected to occur without warning. Previous explosions have produced hazardous conditions primarily near the volcano, but occasionally they have been large enough to produce a drifting ash cloud.

Cleveland volcano is monitored by only two seismic stations, which restricts AVO's ability to detect precursory unrest that may lead to an explosive eruption. Rapid detection of an ash-producing eruption may be possible using a combination of seismic, infrasound, lightning, and satellite data. The local web camera, one seismic station, and the local infrasound array are offline due to an equipment failure on September 23rd. This hampers efforts to rapidly detect explosive activity; however, Cleveland remains monitored with a single seismic station and regional instruments.


Cleveland volcano forms the western portion of Chuginadak Island, a remote and uninhabited island in the east central Aleutians. The volcano is located about 75 km (45 mi) west of the community of Nikolski, and 1500 km (940 mi) southwest of Anchorage. The most recent significant period of eruption began in February, 2001 and produced 3 explosive events that generated ash clouds as high as 39,000 ft above sea level. The 2001 eruption also produced a lava flow and hot avalanche that reached the sea. Since then, Cleveland has been intermittently active producing small lava flows, often followed by explosions that generate small ash clouds generally below 20,000 ft above sea level. These explosions also launch debris onto the slopes of the cone producing hot pyroclastic avalanches and lahars that sometimes reach the coastline.

GREAT SITKIN VOLCANO (VNUM #311120)
52°4'35" N 176°6'39" W, Summit Elevation 5709 ft (1740 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

Low-level unrest continues at Great Sitkin Volcano. Seismicity remains elevated with small earthquakes occurring at rates above background levels. In addition, a small explosion was detected seismically on Monday afternoon (16:58 AKST), though it was not seen in regional infrasound data and no ash cloud was observed in satellite data. No other activity was observed in partly cloudy to mostly cloudy satellite images or regional infrasound data over the past week.

Great Sitkin Volcano is monitored with a local real-time seismic network, which will typically allow AVO to detect changes in unrest that may lead to an explosive eruption. Rapid detection of an ash-producing eruption would be accomplished using a combination of seismic, infrasound, lightning, and satellite data.


Great Sitkin Volcano is a basaltic andesite volcano that occupies most of the northern half of Great Sitkin Island, a member of the Andreanof Islands group in the central Aleutian Islands. It is located 43 km (26 miles) east of the community of Adak. The volcano is a composite structure consisting of an older decapitated volcano and a younger parasitic cone with a 2-3 km diameter summit crater. A steep-sided lava dome, emplaced during an eruption in 1974, occupies the center of the crater. Great Sitkin erupted at least three times in the 20th century, most recently in 1974. That eruption produced a lava dome and at least one ash cloud that likely exceeded an altitude of 25,000 ft above sea level. A poorly documented eruption occurred in 1945, also producing a lava dome that was partially destroyed in the 1974 eruption. Within the past 280 years a large explosive eruption produced pyroclastic flows that partially filled the Glacier Creek valley on the southwest flank.

OTHER ALASKA VOLCANOES

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

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CONTACT INFORMATION:

Michelle Coombs, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS
mcoombs@usgs.gov (907) 786-7497

Pavel Izbekov, Acting Coordinating Scientist, UAFGI
peizbekov@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.
VOLCANO ALERT LEVELS
NORMAL
Volcano is in typical background, noneruptive state or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has ceased and volcano has returned to noneruptive background state.
ADVISORY
Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has decreased significantly but continues to be closely monitored for possible renewed increase.
WATCH
Volcano is exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption, timeframe uncertain, OR eruption is underway but poses limited hazards.
WARNING
Hazardous eruption is imminent, underway, or suspected.
AVIATION COLOR CODES
GREEN
Volcano is in typical background, noneruptive state or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has ceased and volcano has returned to noneruptive background state.
YELLOW
Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has decreased significantly but continues to be closely monitored for possible renewed increase.
ORANGE
Volcano is exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption, timeframe uncertain, OR eruption is underway with no or minor volcanic-ash emissions [ash-plume height specified, if possible].
RED
Eruption is imminent with significant emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere likely OR eruption is underway or suspected with significant emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere [ash-plume height specified, if possible].
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Page modified: February 17, 2017 10:11
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