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ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, November 8, 2019, 3:40 PM AKST (Saturday, November 9, 2019, 00:40 UTC)


SHISHALDIN VOLCANO (VNUM #311360)
54°45'19" N 163°58'16" W, Summit Elevation 9373 ft (2857 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Low-level eruptive activity continues at Shishaldin Volcano. Satellite and web camera images of the the volcano were mostly obscured by clouds over the past week, but occasional satellite radar images (which can see through clouds) show intermittent advance of the active lava flow on the north flank as well as volcanic debris flow (lahar) deposits in river drainages on the north side of the volcano. As of November 7, the lava flow extended for about 1.3 km (0.8 miles) from the summit and debris flow runout was at least 5 km (3.1 miles). Seismicity was variable throughout the week, with periods of high amplitude tremor related to lava effusion interspersed with periods of no tremor and occasional discrete seismic events. Although no ash emissions were observed this week, intermittent explosions can generate small amounts of ash in the immediate vicinity of the summit crater.

Shishaldin is monitored by local seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, a web camera, a telemetered geodetic and tilt network, and distant infrasound and lightning networks.


Shishaldin Volcano, located near the center of Unimak Island in the eastern Aleutian Islands, is a spectacular symmetric cone with a base diameter of approximately 16 km (10 mi). A 200-m-wide (660 ft) funnel-shaped summit crater typically emits a steam plume and occasional small amounts of ash. Shishaldin is one of the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian volcanic arc, with at least 54 episodes of unrest including over 24 confirmed eruptions since 1775. Most eruptions are relatively small, although the April-May 1999 event generated an ash column that reached 45,000 ft above sea level.

PAVLOF VOLCANO (VNUM #312030)
55°25'2" N 161°53'37" W, Summit Elevation 8261 ft (2518 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN

Aviation Color Code reduced to GREEN and the Volcano Alert Level to NORMAL this week and Pavlof is at background levels of activity.

The level of unrest at Pavlof can change quickly and the progression to eruptive activity can occur with little or no warning. We continue to monitor Pavlof closely and will provide any new information about the status of the volcano when or if it becomes available.


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.

CLEVELAND VOLCANO (VNUM #311240)
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 Aviation Color Code was increased to ORANGE and the Volcano Alert Level to WATCH earlier today on satellite evidence that slow effusion of lava in the summit crater had likely begun. Elevated surface temperature were observed throughout the week and greatly increased in intensity over the past day. We interpret this activity as being due to resumption of lava effusion. Vigorous steaming was observed in web camera data over the past several days, which also supports the interpretation that lava has been erupted. The presence of a lava dome in the summit crater may serve to pressurize the system, which could lead to a small explosive event and associated minor ash emissions.

Additional episodes of lava effusion and explosions are likely and will occur without advance warning. The most recent explosion of Cleveland occurred on January 9, 2019. These 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 less likely and/or frequent.


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.

SEMISOPOCHNOI VOLCANO (VNUM #311060)
51°55'44" N 179°35'52" E, Summit Elevation 2625 ft (800 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

Seismicity at Semisopochnoi was variable over the past week, with times of near-continuous tremor interspersed with periods of very little seismicity. No significant activity was observed in regional infrasound data. No eruptive activity was observed in satellite images, although clouds mostly obscured views of the island most of the week.

Semisopochnoi is monitored with an on-island seismic network and remotely by satellite and lightning sensors. Furthermore, an infrasound array on Adak Island may detect explosive emissions from Semisopochnoi with a 13 minute delay if atmospheric conditions permit.


Remote Semisopochnoi volcano occupies the largest, young volcanic island in the western Aleutians. The volcano is dominated by an 8-km (5-mile) diameter caldera that contains a small lake and a number of post-caldera cones and craters. The age of the caldera is not known with certainty but is likely early Holocene. The last known 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 65 km (40 mi) northeast of Amchitka Island and 200 km (130 mi) west of Adak.

OTHER ALASKA VOLCANOES

Information on all Alaska volcanoes is available at : http://www.avo.alaska.edu.

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

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CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

Pavel Izbekov, Acting Coordinating Scientist, UAFGI
peizbekov@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.