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The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is a joint program of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAFGI), and the State of Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (ADGGS).
RESTLESS VOLCANOES
Great Sitkin
Color Code YELLOW / Alert Level ADVISORYvolcano image
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Cleveland
Color Code ORANGE / Alert Level WATCHvolcano image
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Shishaldin
Color Code YELLOW / Alert Level ADVISORYvolcano image
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ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, December 15, 2017, 11:58 AM AKST (Friday, December 15, 2017, 20:58 UTC)


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

Low-level unrest at Cleveland volcano continues. The Aviation Color Code and Alert Level for Cleveland Volcano were briefly lowered to Yellow/Advisory on Tuesday, December 12 following a period of no detected activity at the volcano and observations that the dome in the crater had been reduced to rubble by a series of very small explosions in the previous weeks. A moderately sized explosion was detected from Cleveland on the morning of Wednesday, December 13 that produced an eruption cloud up to 20,000 ft above sea level that tracked to the east before dissipating a few hours later. The Aviation Color Code and Alert Level were raised to Orange/Watch following the explosion. The current status of lava effusion in the crater is unknown. No elevated surface temperatures or eruption plumes were observed in cloudy and partly cloudy satellite data over the past 24 hours and no eruptive activity was seen in satellite or infrasound data since the explosion on Wednesday. The Aviation Color Code/Alert Level for Cleveland remains at Orange/Watch.

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.

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

Low-level unrest at Great Sitkin volcano continued. An increased number of small earthquakes was evident as early as late July 2016, and since then the level of seismic activity has fluctuated at low levels but exhibited a gradual overall increase most notable since June 2017. Seismic activity decreased over the past month, and continued at a low rate over the past week. These types of fluctuations in the number and size of volcanic earthquakes are typical during periods of unrest, and do not mean that unrest has ended. There have been no additional reports of anomalous steaming from the summit and no activity has been observed in satellite data over the past week, though many images were obscured by weather clouds.

Great Sitkin volcano is monitored with a local real-time seismic network, which will typically allow AVO to detect changes in unrest that may lead to an explosive eruption. Rapid detection of an ash-producing eruption would be accomplished using a combination of seismic, infrasound, lightning, and satellite data.


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 decapitated volcano and a younger parasitic cone with a 2-3 km diameter summit crater. A steep-sided lava dome, emplaced during an eruption in 1974, occupies the center of the crater. Great Sitkin erupted at least three times in the 20th century, most recently in 1974. That eruption produced a lava dome and 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.

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

The status of Shishaldin Volcano was increased to Aviation Color Code YELLOW and Volcano Alert Level ADVISORY on December 6 following an increase in seismic and infrasound (atmospheric pressure waves) activity. The uptick in seismic and infrasound amplitudes is likely the result of more energetic degassing at this open vent volcano and may indicate that the magma level has risen closer to the surface in the summit crater. Vigorous degassing was observed from the volcano in web camera images over the past week. While visible degassing from Shishaldin is not uncommon, the level of degassing appears to be elevated from background levels.

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

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

Jessica Larsen, Acting Coordinating Scientist, UAF
jflarsen@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.
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