ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, February 3, 2017, 4:54 PM AKST (Saturday, February 4, 2017, 01:54 UTC)
53°55'38" N 168°2'4" W,
Summit Elevation 492 ft (150 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE
Volcanic unrest at Bogoslof continues. Two tremor bursts were detected on nearby seismic stations this morning at 4:57 and 5:33 AKST (13:57 and 14:33 3 February UTC). The second burst of activity was accompanied by an infrasound signal indicating that an explosion had occurred, however no ash cloud has been detected above the meteorological cloud deck in satellite data. No lightning strikes typical of larger explosive events have been detected. No further activity has been observed today.
On Monday night January 30, starting at 20:20 AKST (January 31 at 5:20 UTC) and lasting for about 3 hours after that, an eruption from Bogoslof produced an ash cloud to an altitude of up to 25,000 feet above sea level that extended to the southeast over Unalaska Island. Trace amounts of ash fall and a pronounced sulfur smell were observed by residents of Dutch Harbor/Unalaska Island. This eruption was detected by high amplitude infrasound signals, seismic tremor and lightning strikes.
Satellite images following Monday night’s explosive eruption showed significant changes at Bogoslof Island. Whereas previous explosive events since the start of activity in December 2016 had issued from a vent in shallow seawater, the new image showed that freshly erupted volcanic rock and ash had formed a barrier that separated the vent from the sea for the first time since the eruptive sequence began. As a result, we infer that this change resulted in the more ash-rich emissions that occurred Monday night. Continued volcanic activity, combined with erosion from wave action, likely will modify the island further. In this dynamic environment, the vent may sometimes be above, and sometimes below, sea level. The nature of future volcanic activity may shift accordingly, perhaps switching between short events with ice-rich clouds to longer, more ash-rich events.
Bogoslof is not monitored by a local geophysical network, which limits our ability to forecast and closely track activity at this volcano. AVO is using seismic and infrasound (pressure sensors) on neighboring Umnak and Unalaska Islands to monitor activity. In addition, we are using satellite imagery and information from the Worldwide Lightning Location Network to identify volcanic lightning; lightning strikes in the erupted plume have been detected during the current eruptive sequence.
Some explosions at Bogoslof have been preceded by an increase in earthquake activity, recorded on seismic networks on adjacent volcanoes, which allowed for short-term forecasts of imminent significant explosive activity. It is likely that lower-level explosive activity is occurring that is below our ability to detect in our data sources. These low-level explosions could pose a hazard in the immediate vicinity of the volcano. Although we are able to detect significant explosive activity in real-time, there is typically a lag of tens of minutes until we can characterize the magnitude of the event and the altitude of the volcanic cloud.
For more details about the current eruption, monitoring efforts, and information about the volcano's previous eruptions and possible hazards, please refer to the Information Statement (http://avo.alaska.edu/activity/report.php?need=current&id=350341&type=1&mode=hans ).
Bogoslof Island is the largest of a cluster of small, low-lying islands making up the emergent summit of a large submarine stratovolcano. The highest point above sea level prior to this eruption was about 100 m (300 ft); however, the volcano is frequently altered by both eruptions and wave erosion and has undergone dramatic changes in historical time. The two main islands currently above sea level are Fire Island and Bogoslof Island, both located about 98 km (61 mi) northwest of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, 123 km (76 mi) northeast of Nikolski, and 149 km (93 mi) northeast of Akutan. The volcano is situated slightly north (behind) the main Aleutian volcanic front. Bogoslof volcano is within the USFWS Aleutian Maritime Wildlife Refuge and is habitat for marine mammals and seabirds.
At least 8 historical eruptions have been documented at Bogoslof. The most recent prior to 2016 occurred from July 6-24, 1992, and produced episodic steam and ash emissions including an ash cloud up to 26,000 ft (8 km) asl on July 20, followed the next day by extrusion of a new 150 m (500 ft) by 275 m (900 ft) lava dome on the north end of the island. Previous eruptions of the volcano have lasted weeks to months, and have on occasion produced ash fall on Unalaska. Eruptions of the volcano are often characterized by multiple explosive, ash-producing events such as we have seen in 2016, as well as the growth of lava domes.
52°49'20" N 169°56'42" W,
Summit Elevation 5676 ft (1730 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE
The Aviation Color Code and Volcano Alert Level was changed to ORANGE/WATCH earlier today based on satellite observations of a new lava dome that has formed in the bottom of the summit crater. The new dome is similar in size to previous lava domes (about 70 m, or 230 feet in diameter) that have developed on the floor of the crater. Lava domes that form on the floor of Cleveland's summit crater can block the vent resulting in reduced or restricted gas emissions. This increases the potential for an explosive event sometime in the future. Moderately elevated surface temperatures were observed in satellite data on Tuesday, January 31. Nothing noteworthy was observed in satellite or seismic data during the rest of the past week until today's observations of the lava dome.
Cleveland volcano is not monitored with a real-time seismic network and this inhibits AVO's ability to detect unrest that may lead to an explosive eruption. Rapid detection of an ash-producing eruption may be possible using a combination of satellite, infrasound, lightning data and local observations. AVO is monitoring the unrest at Cleveland volcano as closely as possible and will release additional information if or when it becomes available.
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.
51°52'1" N 178°1'37" W,
Summit Elevation 4754 ft (1449 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW
The seismic swarm that began at Takawangha Volcano on January 23 continues but at a significantly decreased rate of 2 to 8 located earthquakes per day during the past week. Most of the events are located 7-8 km ESE of Takawangha and at shallow depths.
Similar seismic swarms were detected on Tanaga Island in 2005, 2008 and 2009. In 2005, a small phreatic eruption is believed to have occurred from Takawangha Volcano but the activity was only seen in seismic data and not verified by satellite data or visual observations. It is likely that there would be an increase from the current seismic levels prior to a new eruption at Takawangha Volcano. It is also possible that the current activity will cease with no eruption from the volcano.
Takawangha is a remote, 1,449 m (4,754 ft)-high stratovolcano located on the northeast portion of Tanaga Island, roughly 95 km (59 miles) west of Adak in the Andreanof Islands. Takawangha's summit is mostly ice-covered, except for four young craters that have erupted ash and lava flows in the last few thousand years. Parts of Takawangha's edifice are hydrothermally altered and may be unstable, possibly leading to localized debris avalanches from its flanks. Takawangha lies across a saddle from historically active Tanaga volcano to the west. No historical eruptions are known from Takawangha; however, field work shows that recent eruptions have occurred and it is possible that historic eruptions attributed to Tanaga may instead have come from Takawangha.
55°25'2" N 161°53'37" W,
Summit Elevation 8261 ft (2518 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN
The level of unrest at Pavlof volcano has gradually decreased over the past several months. Seismic levels are currently considered to be at background levels and no activity has been observed in satellite data since weakly elevated surface temperatures were seen on January 8. AVO lowered the Aviation Color Code to GREEN and the Alert Level to NORMAL on February 2, 2017.
Vapor emissions, with or without minor amounts of volcanic ash, are common and may occur from the summit vent at any time. Periods of more vigorous ash emission and lava fountaining also are possible and could occur with only subtle changes in the level of seismic activity. Pavlof is one of the most frequently active volcanoes in Alaska, and pauses in eruptive activity followed by renewed unrest and ash emission are common.
Pavlof Volcano is a snow- and ice-covered stratovolcano located on the southwestern end of the Alaska Peninsula about 953 km (592 mi) southwest of Anchorage. The volcano is about 7 km (4.4 mi) in diameter and has active vents on the north and east sides close to the summit. With over 40 historic eruptions, it is one of the most consistently active volcanoes in the Aleutian arc. Eruptive activity is generally characterized by sporadic Strombolian lava fountaining continuing for a several-month period. Ash plumes as high as 49,000 ft ASL have been generated by past eruptions of Pavlof, and during the March 2016 eruption, ash plumes as high as 40,000 feet above sea level were generated and the ash was tracked in satellite data as distant as eastern Canada. The nearest community, Cold Bay, is located 60 km (37 miles) to the southwest of Pavlof.
OTHER ALASKA VOLCANOES
Information on all Alaska volcanoes is available at : http://www.avo.alaska.edu.
AVO scientists conduct daily checks of earthquake activity at all seismically-monitored volcanoes, examine web camera and satellite images for evidence of airborne ash and elevated surface temperatures, and consult other monitoring data as needed.
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Michelle Coombs, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS
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Jeff Freymueller, Coordinating Scientist, UAFGI
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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.