ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, September 30, 2022, 1:27 PM AKDT (Friday, September 30, 2022, 21:27 UTC)
Pavlof Volcano continues to erupt from the active vent just below the summit on its east flank. Nearly continuous seismic tremor was recorded throughout the week. Clouds frequently obscured satellite and webcam observations, but no ash emissions were observed during periods of clear weather. Elevated surface temperatures in the region of the active vent were seen sporadically in satellite and webcam views consistent with minor eruption of lava.
Periods of lava spatter and fountaining from the vent on the volcano’s upper east flank have been occurring since mid-November 2021. This activity has built a small cone and sent lava flows down the flank that melt the snow and ice and produce variable amounts of meltwater. The meltwater typically incorporates loose debris on the flank of the volcano and forms thin (less than 2 m thick) lahars. The lahar deposits extend down the east-southeast flank for several kilometers, not quite to the base of the volcano.
Previous eruptions of Pavlof indicate that the level of unrest can change quickly and the progression to more significant eruptive activity can occur with little or no warning.
Pavlof is monitored by local seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, web cameras, and regional infrasound and lightning networks.
Pavlof Volcano is a snow- and ice-covered stratovolcano located on the southwestern end of the Alaska Peninsula about 592 mi (953 km) southwest of Anchorage. The volcano is about 4.4 mi (7 km) in diameter and currently has an active vent on the east side 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 (15 km) above sea level have been generated by past eruptions of Pavlof, and during the March 2016 eruption, ash plumes as high as 40,000 ft (12.2 km) above sea level were generated and the ash was tracked in satellite data as distant as eastern Canada. The nearest community, King Cove, is located 30 mi (48 km) to the southwest of Pavlof.
Slow eruption of lava from the summit crater of Great Sitkin Volcano likely continued this week. Clear satellite views showed elevated surface temperatures in the vicinity of the vent within the summit crater. The lava flows on the flanks of the volcano are not currently advancing. Seismic activity remains very low with occasional small local earthquakes being observed this past week.
The terrain is steep near the terminus of the lava flow lobes, and blocks of lava could detach without warning and form small rock avalanches in these valleys. These avalanches may liberate ash and gas and could travel several hundred meters beyond the lava flows; they would be hazardous to anyone in those areas.
Great Sitkin is monitored by local seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, web cameras, and regional infrasound and lightning networks.
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 26 mi (43 km) east of the community of Adak. The volcano is a composite structure consisting of an older dissected volcano and a younger parasitic cone with a 1.5 km-diameter summit crater. A steep-sided lava dome, emplaced during the most recent significant eruption in 1974, occupies the center of the crater. That eruption produced at least one ash cloud that likely exceeded an altitude of 25,000 ft (7.6 km) 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.
Activity remained low over the past week at Semisopochnoi volcano. Seismicity was elevated with intermittent periods of low-amplitude tremor and a few local seismic events being observed. No explosions or ash emissions were detected. When not obscured by clouds, steam emissions from the north crater of Mount Cerberus were observed in webcam images throughout the week. The last ash emissions were observed on September 14. Yesterday, AVO lowered the Aviation Color Code to YELLOW and the Volcano Alert Level to ADVISORY.
The volcano has been erupting sporadically since 2018 and activity has been characterized by eruption of ash to levels usually less than 10,000 ft above sea level. Such activity could begin again with little warning.
Semisopochnoi is monitored by local seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, web cameras, and regional infrasound and lightning networks.
Semisopochnoi volcano occupies the largest, young volcanic island in the western Aleutians. The volcano is dominated by a 5-mile (8 km) diameter caldera that contains a small lake and several post-caldera cones and craters. The age of the caldera is not known with certainty but is likely early Holocene. Prior to 2018, the previous known historical 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 40 mi (65 km) northeast of Amchitka Island and 130 mi (200 km) west of Adak.
Unrest continues at Cleveland volcano. Satellite views were mostly obscured by clouds over the past week, but elevated surface temperatures were observed during a brief period of clear weather. Small, local seismic events were observed occasionally last weekend, before an ongoing network outage interrupted data flow.
Episodes of lava eruption and explosions can occur at Cleveland without advance warning. Explosions are normally short duration and only present a hazard to aviation in the immediate vicinity of the volcano. Larger explosions that present a more widespread hazard to aviation are possible but are less likely and occur less frequently.
When operational, Cleveland volcano is monitored by only two seismic stations, which restricts AVO's ability to precisely locate earthquakes and 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 45 miles (75 km) west of the community of Nikolski, and 940 miles (1500 km) 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 (11.8 km) 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 (6 km) 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.
The swarm of earthquakes that began on August 24, 2022, beneath Trident volcano continues. In addition, episodes of weak seismic tremor and occasional low frequency earthquakes also continue to occur. No eruptive activity has been observed in satellite and webcam data. The Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert level were raised to YELLOW/ADVISORY on September 29.
The increase in seismic activity is likely caused by movement of magma or magmatic fluids. Increases in seismic activity have been detected previously at Trident and other similar volcanoes, with no subsequent eruptions. We expect additional shallow seismicity and other signs of unrest, such as gas emissions, elevated surface temperatures, and surface deformation to precede any future eruption, if one were to occur.
AVO monitors Trident with a local network of seismometers, a webcam, remote sensing data, and regional infrasound and lightning networks.
Trident is one of the Katmai group of volcanoes located within Katmai National Park and Preserve on the Alaska Peninsula. Trident consists of a complex of four cones and numerous lava domes, all andesite and dacite in composition, that reach as high as 6,115 ft above sea level. An eruption beginning in 1953 constructed the newest cone, Southwest Trident, and four lava flows on the flank of the older complex. This eruption continued through 1974 and produced ash (an initial plume rose to 30,000 ft asl), bombs, and lava at various times. Fumaroles remain active on the summit of Southwest Trident and on the southeast flank of the oldest, central cone. Trident is located 148 km (92 miles) southeast of King Salmon and 440 km (273 miles) southwest of Anchorage.
OTHER ALASKA VOLCANOES
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Michelle Coombs, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS, firstname.lastname@example.org, (907) 786-7497
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