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Shishaldin reported activity





Event Name : Shishaldin 1826/10

Start:October 1826 Observed
Stop:March 1831 Observed

"Smoke": BibCard BibCard BibCard BibCard
Lava flow: BibCard BibCard BibCard
Tephrafall: BibCard BibCard BibCard
Flank eruption: BibCard BibCard BibCard
Tephra plume: BibCard BibCard BibCard BibCard BibCard BibCard
"Fire", "Glowing", or incandescence: BibCard BibCard BibCard BibCard
Eruption Type:Explosive
MaxVEI: 3 BibCard
Duration: Intermittently for about 4.5 years BibCard

Description: Shishaldin Volcano appears to have been in intermittent eruption from October, 1826, until 1831.

This description by Litke (translated in 1987 by R.A. Pierce) perhaps refers to Shishaldin: "From October 1826 until January 1827 there had been almost uninterrupted eruptions of ash of almost unparalleled violence at a location where no one had seen a crater before. The ash, pushed first one way and then another by the wind, had covered all the surrounding countryside and even the quite distant islands of Unalaska and Unga with ash, thus causing considerable damage. Similar movement, although not as widespread, had occurred before the eruption and had been going on since. Not long before our arrival at Unalashka a thunder like roar, a well known signal, announced that Unimak was by no means sleeping."

Litke (translated in 1987 by R.A. Pierce) also writes: "On September 1st [1827], a superb morning revealed to us the magnificent panorama which surrounded us on all sides. East northeast, at a distance of sixty-five miles, we could see the Island of Unimak, with its enormous volcanoes. One of these, Shishaldin, whose form resembles that of a regular cone, appeared at this distance to be completely isolated. A whitish smoke rose up from its summit."

Veniaminov (1840, translated by Lydia T. Black and R.H. Geoghegan, 1984) writes about Shishaldin: "Later, and until March 1827, it was only smoking. Afterwards, again up to 1829, it threw out strong flame then, from that time, until the fall of 1830, it changed in an extraordinary way. In November and December, while enveloped in fog, it thundered violently and, when the fog lifted, the appearance of the mountain had been wholly altered. On the north side, from the very crater downward, three clefts of relatively large size had formed, looking as if filled with red-hot iron. Appalling flames were emitted from its crater, subterranean thunder was heard from time to time, and there were perceptible tremors. The eternal snow and ice, lying on its summit on the N, W, and S sides of its tip and from the peak to about the midheight, melted completely. This appearance it retained until March, when the clefts one after another closed and in the fall it was covered with new snow. Since then it has merely smoked. During all this period, there were scarcely any eruptions, except that on the 20th of April some volcanic ash fell on the snow. The foot of this volcano toward the NE was rather hot and, it was said, trembled perceptibly."

Khlebnikov (translated in 1994 by Marina Ramsay) writes that in November and December 1830, "Shishaldin rumbled violently, and after the mist cleared they saw that almost all the snow which had covered it for many years had melted and it appeared black. At the same time to the north, south and west three enormous openings appeared from top to bottom and began to disgorge terrible flames into the air. These flames, which were always visible from the north on a clear night, three times in a minute broke out in explosions, and after three or four such eruptions only sparks were seen. They say that at its foot to the northeast it was hot. Then, in March 1831 all the openings closed except one remaining to the north-northeast, going from the crater itself no less than a fifth of the entire mountain in length, and in width about a seventh part long. It was like hot iron and never changed its appearance. However, no eruptions from the mountains were observed. These remarks Khlebnikov took from a letter to him from I.E. Veniaminov dated 13 August 1831."

In a footnote, Veniaminov (1840, translated by Lydia T. Black and R.H. Geoghegan, 1984) further writes: "During my [visit] on March 6 and 7, 1831, the volcano was fully visible twice. From its crater lying to the NE, every ten or fifteen issued fire and sparks, not every time with the same force but sometimes more flames and less sparks or vice versa. Downward and to the NE from the crater one could see a crevice, in length exceeding more than 1/5 of the mountain's height, its width was about 1/8 of its length. At night the crevice seemed like red hot iron, not changing in the least. So it must be considered that this crevice was not the continuation of the crater but a crust or wall at which the flame was active. Bridging this crevice, several dark, narrow necks were visible. The appearance of the whole volcano was most sad and horrifying - black, snowless, pitted to mid-height with deep longitudinal ravines and covered with protruding rocks, it stood [like] a frightful bonfire, surrounded by glistening white mountains. Only on its E side was there snow, extending almost to its very summit. This signified that the crust on this side was thicker than on the other sides."

Grewingk (1850, translated 2003 by Fritz Jaensch) summarizes the November and December 1830 activity as follows: "Shishaldin roared terribly out of the fog which enveloped it. After the fog had lifted, everyone was surprised about the black color which the mountain had taken on. The snow, which had always covered it, had disappeared; and long fissures, which expelled frightful flames, appeared on three sides simultaneously: on the north, west, and south side. The northern side was constantly aflame. The fire erupted in spurts three times per minute and after every third or fourth normal emission there comes a stronger flame accompanied by sparks. In March of 1831, two fissures closed up. Only the northern one remained, which from base to top extended no less than one-fifth of the way up the entire elevation of the mountain. Its width is about one-seventh of its length. It looks like glowing iron, and it never changes its appearance. On the northeastern base, too, the mountain is supposed to be on fire. After these eruptions, the natives believed they noticed a diminishing of the earthquakes. It is reported that blueberry bushes did appear in the aftermath of the falling of the fertile ashes near Pogromnoi village. Formerly they had not been there. In the aftermath of the eruption of 1827, the fish and shellfish near the same village became more rare. The former drifted about, dead on the ocean, and were washed ashore."

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