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ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, March 17, 2017, 11:58 AM AKDT (Friday, March 17, 2017, 19:58 UTC)


BOGOSLOF VOLCANO (VNUM #311300)
53°55'38" N 168°2'4" W, Summit Elevation 492 ft (150 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Bogoslof volcano has been relatively quiet this week since a short-duration eruption on Monday, March 13. The roughly 12-minute-long eruption was preceded by swarm of shallow earthquakes and generated a small ash cloud that was detected in satellite data. The volcanic cloud drifted southwest over Umnak Island about 50 miles beyond the volcano before dissipating. Since the eruption, AVO has not detected any significant seismic activity, but occasional slightly elevated surface temperatures at Bogoslof Island have been observed in satellite data throughout the past week. Warm water above active eruption sites or still hot material from recent eruptive events are possible explanations for the elevated surface temperatures.

Seismic network outages from nearby Umnak Island have reduced AVO's seismic monitoring capabilities, limiting our ability to forecast or rapidly characterize Bogoslof activity. AVO continues to use infrasound (pressure) sensors from Umnak Island and will rely on seismic data from Unalaska Island to monitor Bogoslof, which will still allow for timely detection of significant activity. In addition, we use satellite imagery to track ash clouds and information from the Worldwide Lightning Location Network to identify volcanic lightning. 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.

In addition to the significant explosive events we can detect, lower-level eruptive activity may be occurring that is below our ability to detect in seismic, infrasound, and satellite data sources. Low-level activity, if it is occurring, could be explosive and may be generating hazardous phenomena in the immediate vicinity of the volcano.


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.

CLEVELAND VOLCANO (VNUM #311240)
52°49'20" N 169°56'42" W, Summit Elevation 5676 ft (1730 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

Slightly elevated surface temperatures were observed at the summit intermittently throughout the week. Minor steaming from the summit was visible in clear views from the web camera once over the same period. No significant volcanic activity has been detected in seismic or infrasound data over the past week. The slightly elevated temperatures that were observed this week are consistent with cooling of the lava dome that formed in late January 2017.

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.

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.

For definitions of Aviation Color Codes and Volcano Alert Levels, see: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/color_codes.php

SUBSCRIBE TO VOLCANO ALERT MESSAGES by email: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns/

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CONTACT INFORMATION:

Michelle Coombs, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS
mcoombs@usgs.gov (907) 786-7497

Jeff Freymueller, Coordinating Scientist, UAFGI
jfreymueller@alaska.edu (907) 322-4085


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.