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ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, October 22, 2021, 1:13 PM AKDT (Friday, October 22, 2021, 21:13 UTC)


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

The north crater of Mount Cerberus on Semisopochnoi Island remained active, and minor explosions were detected multiple times a day in geophysical and remote sensing data throughout the week. Low-level ash emissions were observed in web camera views regularly during clear weather. Ash plumes up to ~5,000 ft above sea level were observed most days in satellite imagery and typically dissipated within 100 km (62 miles) of the volcano. The longest plume extended up to ~250 km (~155 miles) on October 19.

Small eruptions producing minor ash deposits within the vicinity of the active north crater of Mount Cerberus and ash clouds under 10,000 feet above sea level have characterized the recent activity and show no signs of abating.

Semisopochnoi is monitored by local seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, web cameras, and remote infrasound and lightning networks.


Remote 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 miles (65 km) northeast of Amchitka Island and 130 miles (200 km) west of Adak.

GREAT SITKIN VOLCANO (VNUM #311120)
52°4'35" N 176°6'39" W, Summit Elevation 5709 ft (1740 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Lava effusion continued this week at Great Sitkin, and lava fills more than half of the summit crater. Satellite imagery through October 20 showed that two lobes of lava, flowing over low points on the crater rim, extend downslope ~500 m (1,600 feet) to the south and west. Lava has also reached the crater rim on its northern periphery. In a few areas, the lava has advanced over snow and is advancing into the glacial ice to the east, but no significant steaming or ponding of water has been observed. This indicates that melt rates are probably low and there are no indications of any imminent hydrologic hazards.

The lava lobes that have overtopped the summit crater rim are flowing into small valleys developed on the volcanic edifice. The terrain is steep in these areas, and blocks of lava and lava rubble could detach from the terminus of the flow lobes without warning and form small rock avalanches in these valleys. Such 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. Satellite imagery shows such a blocky deposit extending downslope beyond the terminus of the west flow lobe.

Local geophysical and web camera data have been unavailable since October 16 due to a power outage in Adak, Alaska, that has not yet been resolved. No explosive activity or ash emissions have been detected in regional seismic, infrasound, or satellite data.

There is no indication of how long lava effusion will continue during the current eruption, and it is possible that explosive activity could occur with little or no warning.

Great Sitkin Volcano is monitored by local seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, web cameras, and remote 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 43 km (26 miles) 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 3-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 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.

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

Seismicity was elevated throughout the past week at Pavlof Volcano, and small explosions were detected at least once per day in seismic and infrasound data. Satellite and web camera views were mostly obscured by clouds, but localized, low-level ash emissions up to 10,000 ft above sea level were detected following these explosions in occasional clear web camera views.

The explosions that have occurred during the current period of activity at Pavlof have been short-lived, with ash deposits confined to the flanks of the volcano. Eruptive activity is focused at a vent on the upper southeast flank of the volcano, near the location of the eruptive vent in 2007. The level of unrest at Pavlof 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 remote infrasound and lightning networks.


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, King Cove, is located 48 km (30 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: UNASSIGNED
Current Aviation Color Code: UNASSIGNED

No significant seismic or infrasound activity was detected over the past week. Weakly elevated surface temperatures were observed in rare clear nighttime satellite views on October 16 and 18 this week. Clouds otherwise obscured most satellite and web camera views during the week. A sustained decline in volcanic unrest at Cleveland volcano over the past few months prompted the Alaska Volcano Observatory to downgrade the Aviation Color Code and Volcano Alert Level from YELLOW/ADVISORY to UNASSIGNED/UNASSIGNED on October 20, 2021.

Despite the current pause, the eruptive period at Cleveland, dating back to 2001, remains ongoing and future explosions are likely. These occur without warning and typically generate small clouds of volcanic ash that are a hazard in the immediate vicinity of the volcano, though more significant ash emissions are possible.

Cleveland volcano is currently monitored by only one seismic station, 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, local and regional 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

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

David Fee, Coordinating Scientist, UAF, dfee1@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.