ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, October 20, 2017, 10:48 AM AKDT (Friday, October 20, 2017, 18:48 UTC)
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 eruption of Cleveland volcano continues. Lava effusion within the summit crater continued over the past week. Satellite data from October 15 show that the lava dome covers an area of about 9,500 square meters (11,362 square yards) with dimensions of 125 by 100 meters (410 by 328 feet). There has been no significant change in the size of the lava dome between October 15 and 19 based on satellite image analysis. On October 16, moderately elevated surface temperatures were observed in satellite imagery and a small steam plume was seen in web camera views. These observations are consistent with the existence of a hot lava dome.
Lava effusion is typically confined to the summit crater at Cleveland, with the last significant lava flow (that extended to the ocean) occurring in 2001. The lava domes that have been erupted since 2001 have all been destroyed by explosive activity within weeks to months after lava effusion. These explosions typically produce relatively small volcanic ash clouds that dissipate within hours, however more significant ash emissions have occurred. There is no way to predict how long this lava dome will grow, or when it might be destroyed by an explosion. No significant activity related to lava effusion was observed in seismic data and no explosive activity was detected in infrasound 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.
53°55'38" N 168°2'4" W,
Summit Elevation 492 ft (150 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW
Low-level unrest likely continues at Bogoslof volcano. No significant activity was detected in seismic or infrasound data obtained from our networks on neighboring islands over the past week. Clouds obscured views of the volcano by satellite most of the past week and no signs of eruptive activity were observed in partly clear view. The last explosive eruption from Bogoslof occurred on August 30th.
Volcanic explosions producing high-altitude (>15,000 ft asl) volcanic clouds remain possible with little or no warning. 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.
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 prior to the current unrest, most recently in July 1992. Previous eruptions of the volcano have lasted weeks to months, and have on occasion produced ash fall on Unalaska. These eruptions are often characterized by multiple explosive, ash-producing events as well as the growth of lava domes, such as we have seen in the ongoing 2016-2017 eruption.
OTHER ALASKA VOLCANOES
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Michelle Coombs, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS
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Jessica Larsen, Acting Coordinating Scientist, UAF
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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.