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The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is a joint program of the U.S. 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 ORANGE / Alert Level WATCHvolcano image
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Pavlof
Color Code ORANGE / Alert Level WATCHvolcano image
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Semisopochnoi
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ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, December 3, 2021, 12:56 PM AKST (Friday, December 3, 2021, 21:56 UTC)


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 within the summit crater of Great Sitkin Volcano continues at a slow rate according to observations made throughout the week. The overall level of seismicity is low. Elevated surface temperatures consistent with lava effusion were detected in satellite data all week when the volcano was not obscured by cloud cover. No ash emissions were observed and no local observations have been reported to AVO this week.

Erupted lava has overtopped the summit crater rim and is flowing into small valleys on the south, west, and north flank of the volcano. 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.

Great Sitkin 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.

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 eruption at Semisopochnoi volcano continues. Small explosions producing low-level ash clouds from the north crater of Mount Cerberus on Semisopochnoi Island occurred multiple times per day throughout the last week. These explosions were detected by local seismic sensors, local and regional infrasound sensors, and, when weather conditions allowed, in webcam and satellite images. Clouds obscured the volcano most of the past week, although a small ash cloud was detected in satellite data on November 30 but was likely only a few thousand feet above sea level and drifted about 20 mi (31 km) northeast of Semisopochnoi Island before it was no longer visible in satellite data.

Small explosions that result in minor ash deposits within the vicinity of the active north crater of Mount Cerberus, and ash clouds typically under 10,000 ft 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.

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

Eruptive activity at Pavlof Volcano continues. Elevated seismicity, consisting of periods of sustained tremor and discrete low-frequency events, was detected throughout the past week. Numerous explosions were detected in infrasound data and these may have produced localized fallout of ballistic ejecta around the active vent observed in satellite data acquired on December 1, 2021. No ash emissions were detected in mostly cloudy satellite and web camera views this week. Strong to moderately elevated surface temperatures at the summit of the volcano were observed in satellite data this week when the volcano was not obscured by clouds. This indicates that lava fountaining at the vent is likely continuing although it may have become more episodic based on the fluctuating levels of seismic tremor observed this week.

Occasional periods of lava fountaining from a vent on the upper southeast flank has been occurring since mid-November. This activity has built a small cone of hot unstable spatter and rock debris. Occasionally, gravitational collapse of parts of the cone results in the development of hot granular flows of rock debris that flow down the flank, erode snow and ice, and can produce variable amounts of meltwater. The meltwater typically incorporates loose debris on the flank of the volcano and forms lahars. The lahar deposits observed so far appear relatively thin (<2 m thick) and were likely emplaced by water-rich flows. The lahar deposits extend down the east-southeast flank for several kilometers, not quite to the base of the volcano.

Previous eruptions of Pavlof indicate that the level of unrest 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 above sea level have been generated by past eruptions of Pavlof, and during the March 2016 eruption, ash plumes as high as 40,000 ft 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.

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.
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