ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, July 28, 2017, 1:17 PM AKDT (Friday, July 28, 2017, 21:17 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
No significant activity has been detected in seismic, infrasound, lightning, or satellite data since the last explosion on Monday, July 10 (July 11 UTC). Although the volcano is currently quiet, renewed activity could occur at any time and may include additional explosive events and/or effusion of a lava dome. Volcanic explosions producing high-altitude (>15,000 ft asl) volcanic clouds with little or no warning remain possible. Some previous explosions have been preceded by an increase in earthquake activity that allowed for short-term forecasts of imminent significant explosive activity. Although we are able to detect energetic explosive activity in real-time, there can be a lag of tens of minutes until we can characterize the magnitude of the event and the altitude of the volcanic cloud.
With existing data sources, AVO may not detect low-level unrest, including minor explosive activity. Such low-level periods of unrest and possible explosions could pose hazards near the volcano. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) remains in effect over the volcano. Please see http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html for the status of the TFR.
AVO has no ground-based volcano monitoring equipment on Bogoslof volcano. We continue to monitor volcanic activity with satellite images, seismic and infrasound instruments on nearby islands, and lightning data from the Worldwide Lightning Location Network.
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 2016-17, 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
Elevated surface temperatures were observed on three days over the past week. Satellite observations show that the lava dome in the summit crater has grown during the week from about 30 m to 42 m in diameter, with a slight inflation of its approximate height of 10 m. No activity has been observed in seismic, infrasound, or web-camera data over the past week.
Cleveland volcano is monitored with a limited real-time seismic network, which inhibits 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.
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.
55°25'2" N 161°53'37" W,
Summit Elevation 8261 ft (2518 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW
Elevated surface temperatures were observed in satellite images on July 24 and 27 at Pavlof during the past week. Minor vapor plumes have been observed extending from the summit on a few days this week. Nothing significant was observed in seismic or infrasound data.
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.
GREAT SITKIN VOLCANO
52°4'35" N 176°6'39" W,
Summit Elevation 5709 ft (1740 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN
Earlier this week, AVO released an Information Statement describing an increase in seismic activity at Great Sitkin Volcano in the central Aleutian Islands, possibly starting as early as 30 July 2016. Along with the year-long increase in shallow earthquakes, there have been two events on January 10 (January 11 UTC) and July 21 (July 22 UTC) of this year that may represent small explosions near the summit of the volcano. Deeper earthquakes, in the 18-32 km depth range, have also occurred more frequently at Great Sitkin over the past year. Taken together, these observations suggest that there has likely been an intrusion of new magma beneath the volcano, which would increase the possibility of a volcanic eruption.
During the past week, over 80 earthquakes have been located at Great Sitkin, including one earthquake at 30 km depth. Most of the earthquakes occurred in the hours following the July 21 (July 22 UTC) event and have magnitudes less than 1.0. We expect to observe a greater increase in seismicity prior to a significant eruption as magma rises to shallower depths.
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
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Michelle Coombs, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS
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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.