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Veniaminof reported activity




Event Name : Veniaminof 2004/2

Start:February 19, 2004 Observed
Stop:September 2004 Observed

Tephrafall: BibCard BibCard BibCard
Tephra plume: BibCard BibCard BibCard
Central eruption: BibCard
Phreatic: BibCard
Eruption Type:Explosive
ColHeight: 3500 m BibCard
MaxVEI: 2 BibCard

Description: From Neal and others (2005): "In mid-February, residents of Perryville, located 35 km (22 mi) south of Veniaminof, reported small ash clouds rising several hundred feet above the intracaldera cinder cone of the volcano. At other times, vigorous, ash-free steam plumes were reported. On February 19, AVO received a pilot report of a small black ash cloud rising approximately 300 ft (90 m) above the cone and fresh ash on the snowfield east of the cone [see fig. 13 in original text]. A satellite image from the same day showed a dark deposit within the Veniaminof summit caldera. Seismic activity coincident with these reports was insignificant and AVO considered these small explosions to be typical of background activity at Veniaminof where ground water within the active cone occasionally flashes to steam producing a small explosion. The volcano had last produced such activity over a several month-period in late 2002 and early 2003 (Neal and others, 2005; McGimsey and others, 2005). On February 23, AVO described this activity in a special Information Release but remained at Level of Concern Color Code GREEN. AVO received no reports of activity over the next two weeks. Satellite imagery did not indicate increased surface temperatures or further ash deposits and seismicity remained low. AVO ceased special mention of Veniaminof in its weekly updates on March 5.

"In mid-April, seismicity beneath Veniaminof began to increase and several episodes of volcanic tremor and isolated volcano-tectonic earthquakes were recorded. Tremor pulses were several minutes in duration and the largest were recorded on most stations in the network. On April 19, residents of Perryville reported a steam emission from the intracaldera cone that had occurred on April 18, possibly containing a small amount of ash. This burst rose an estimated 2,000 ft (610 m) above the intracaldera cone. Based on this renewed activity and elevated seismicity, AVO elevated the Level of Concern Color Code for Mount Veniaminof to YELLOW. NWS issued a VAA and the FAA issued a temporary flight restriction from the surface to 14,000 ft ASL (4,270 m) within a 10 nautical mile (18.5 km) radius of the center of the volcano.

"Over the next few weeks, Perryville residents reported vigorous steam plumes (often described as mushroom-shaped clouds) over the intracaldera cone. AVO received few reports of small ash emissions until April 25 when, using a newly installed remote video camera, as many as 25 small steam and ash emissions were observed over an 8-hour period, most rising about 2,000 ft (610 m) above the active cone [see fig. 14 in original text].

"Through the remainder of spring and into summer, passing pilots, Perryville residents, personnel at Wildman Lake Lodge, and the AVO internet camera continued to record occasional steam plumes and steam and ash bursts, at times reaching as much as 915 m (3,000 ft) above the intracaldera cone and drifting as far as 16-32 km (10-20 mi). Poor weather obscured views of the volcano on many days, however bursts of tremor recorded on the seismic network likely reflected the continuation of small ash emissions, or 'puffs'. On May 5, a pilot spotted ash to 610 m (2,000 ft) above the cone and drifting east-southeast; on May 18, a pilot reported ash up to 3,000 ft (915 m) above the cone and drifting 32 km (20 mi) downwind. On May 26, satellite images of the volcano showed ash deposits on the north and southeast caldera floor.

"Aerial views on June 27 revealed that much of the caldera floor was covered by a thin, dark layer of ash. On July 10, an AVO crew flying inside the caldera on a clear, calm day witnessed one of these ash bursts and captured it on video. As the helicopter approached the cone, only a faint wisp of steam and volcanic gas emerged from the summit of the intracaldera cone that consists of a series of coalescing craters each several 10s to 100 m wide. Suddenly, two closely spaced (20-30 seconds apart) vigorous explosions of gray-tan ash emerged from one of the central craters. The discrete puffs were followed by at least 2.5 minutes of continuous roiling of ash from the crater. Ash rose several hundred m (700-1,000 ft) above the cone and drifted downwind; ballistics and incandescence are not visible in this video clip. On July 22, an AVO field crew within the Veniaminof caldera witnessed another typical ash burst rising a few hundred ms (less than 1,000 ft) above the summit of the cone (fig. 15). Fallout was largely confined to the area around the base of the cone.

"AVO geologists visited the ice field by helicopter in late July and reported a discontinuous, 1- to 2-mm thick ash blanket. They observed no large bombs or ballistics beyond the base of the cone, suggesting that recent ash emissions had not been accompanied by energetic explosions of large rock fragments. Further, they reported no changes in the ice field that would indicate subglacial melting. Additional observations of the cone were made in early August and photographs capture ash-poor puffs rising from one of several summit craters on the cone [see figs. 16, 17 in original text]. On August 7, geologists recorded 6-10 puffs over the course of about 10 minutes of focused observation. They reached about 150 m (500 ft) above the summit of the cone in fairly calm wind conditions.

"Steam and ash emissions and correlative tremor bursts continued sporadically through the summer of 2004 but with decreasing frequency and intensity. Cloudy weather precluded any visual observations for much of September and October, however seismic signals continued to record small tremor bursts similar to those correlated with confirmed ash emissions earlier in the year. At times, only weak steaming was visible above the intracaldera cone. The last ash emission with localized ash fall was noted on the web camera images in early September. The pilot of a small aircraft reported 'light to moderate smoke' from Veniaminof on September 13. On October 26, AVO lowered the level of concern color code to GREEN based on a decline in the level of activity and an accompanying decrease in seismicity.

"In response to the 2004 unrest at Veniaminof, AVO staff conducted outreach to communities in the vicinity of the volcano and revised existing contact phone lists of observers and others in the area. To track and document activity, a web-camera system was installed in Perryville in April (with assistance from the Perryville School and Perryville Village Council, gratefully acknowledged.) These images along with other graphical and text information were made available to the public via the AVO web site. AVO issued seven special Information Releases on the activity at Veniaminof."

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URL: avo.alaska.edu/volcanoes/activity.php
Page modified: March 30, 2017 14:36
Contact Information: AVO Web Team

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