ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, December 9, 2022, 12:03 PM AKST (Friday, December 9, 2022, 21:03 UTC)
Pavlof Volcano continues to erupt from a vent just below the summit on the volcano's east flank. Multiple explosions were detected through December 3. These events resulted in a narrow gully being eroded in the ice below the vent, extending ~1.2 miles (2 km) down the flank. Activity since December 3 has been relatively quiet with only a single minor explosion detected on December 7, and occasional small steam and gas plumes visible in webcam images. Low-level tremor was noted on all days, but no elevated surface temperatures or incandescent lava have been observed in satellite and webcam images since December 2.
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.
Lava likely continued to erupt within the summit crater of Great Sitkin Volcano this week, however, cloudy conditions persistently obscured observations from satellites and webcams. Satellite radar data from the Sentinel-1 satellite did show continued slow growth of the lava flow field between November 20 and December 2 which likely continued this week. The active flow is currently advancing primarily to the east into the remaining crater icefield. Seismicity associated with the current lava eruption is low with only a few very small earthquakes noted in seismic data during the week.
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.
No explosions have been observed at Semisopochnoi since November 7th. Over the last week, steam and gas emissions were visible from the north crater of Mount Cerberus in clear webcam images. Intermittent tremor and occasional small earthquakes were observed in seismic data on most days. No elevated surface temperatures or ash deposits were visible in satellite images.
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 (3 km) above sea level.
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.
The ongoing earthquake swarm near Takawangha volcano continued over the last week with 26 small earthquakes (less than magnitude 2) located less than 6 miles (9 km) deep. This activity may be due to the movement of magma beneath the volcano but is greatly diminished from a peak period of earthquake activity that occurred around November 19. Very cloudy conditions obscured all satellite observations over the last week.
Takawangha is monitored with a local seismic network, a single local infrasound sensor, regional infrasound and lightning sensors, and satellite imagery.
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.
Mild volcanic unrest continued this week at Cleveland volcano. Seismic activity remained low with local earthquakes detected December 7 and 9. Steam and gas emissions were seen in clear webcam images throughout the week (http://www.avo.alaska.edu/images/image.php?id=194084).
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 three 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.
OTHER ALASKA VOLCANOES
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