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ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, March 12, 2021, 12:26 PM AKST (Friday, March 12, 2021, 21:26 UTC)


VENIAMINOF VOLCANO (VNUM #312070)
56°11'52" N 159°23'35" W, Summit Elevation 8225 ft (2507 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Low-level eruptive activity continues at Veniaminof. The eruption has produced ash emissions from the small cone in the summit caldera, in addition to lava effusion from a vent on the flank of this cone ~1 km (0.6 miles) east of the cone summit within the intracaldera glacier. Low-level plumes of volcanic ash have been observed at ~7,000–10,000 ft asl extending as far as 200 km (124 miles) downwind, leaving trace ash deposits within ~20 km (12.4 miles) of the vent to the northeast and southeast. Explosions corresponding to this activity have been detected on regional geophysical networks over the past week. Explosive activity has declined over the past two days, with minor ash emissions only observed near the vent and no activity detected in regional geophysical data. Lava effusion from the flank vent within the intracaldera glacier has produced elevated surface temperatures, steam plumes, and a broadening collapse pit in the ice from melting around the eruption site. No ashfall from this eruption has been reported in nearby communities. Retrospective analysis of satellite, web camera, and regional infrasound data has shown evidence that eruptive activity began by February 28, 2021, with minor ash emissions and a small melt pit forming in the glacier above the flank vent.

Eruptive activity at Veniaminof usually consists of minor ash emissions, lava fountaining and lava flows from the small cone in the summit caldera. Ash emissions are typically confined to the summit crater, but larger events can result in ash fall in nearby communities and drifting airborne ash.

Efforts are underway to restore the local seismic data flow that has been offline since December 8, 2020 due to an outage of a satellite link at Port Heiden. However, the Alaska Volcano Observatory continues to monitor Veniaminof with satellite and webcam data and remote infrasound, seismic and lightning networks.


Mount Veniaminof volcano is an andesitic stratovolcano with an ice-filled 10-km diameter summit caldera located on the Alaska Peninsula, 775 km (480 mi) southwest of Anchorage and 35 km (22 mi) north of Perryville. Veniaminof is one of the largest (~300 cubic km; 77 cubic mi) and most active volcanic centers in the Aleutian Arc and has erupted at least 14 times in the past 200 years. Recent eruptions in 1993-95, 2005, 2013, and 2018 all occurred at the intracaldera cone and lasted for several months. These eruptions produced lava spattering and fountaining, minor emissions of ash and gas, and small lava flows into intracaldera icefield. Minor ash-producing explosions occurred nearly annually between 2002 and 2010. Previous historical eruptions have produced ash plumes that reached 15,000 to 20,000 ft above sea level (1939, 1956, and 2018) and ash fallout that blanketed areas within about 40 km (25 mi) of the volcano (1939, 2018).

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

A steam plume and minor ash deposits extending <1.5 km (1 mile) were observed within and on the flank of the north crater of Mount Cerberus over the past week, consistent with very-low-level eruptive activity at Semisopochnoi. No ash plumes were observed and nothing was detected in regional infrasound data this week.

Small eruptions producing minor ash deposits within the vicinity of the volcano are typical of activity during unrest at Semisopochnoi since September 2018. Local seismic stations have been offline since November 11, 2020. New explosions could occur at any time with no warning.

Semisopochnoi is monitored remotely by satellite and lightning sensors. An infrasound array on Adak Island could detect explosive emissions from Semisopochnoi with a 13 minute delay if atmospheric conditions permit.


Remote Semisopochnoi volcano occupies the largest, young volcanic island in the western Aleutians. The volcano is dominated by an 5-mile (8-km) diameter caldera that contains a small lake and a number of 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 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.

OTHER ALASKA VOLCANOES

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CONTACT INFORMATION:

Matthew Haney, Acting Scientist-in-Charge, USGS
mhaney@usgs.gov (907) 786-7497

David Fee, Coordinating Scientist, UAFGI
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.
VOLCANO ALERT LEVELS
NORMAL
Volcano is in typical background, noneruptive state or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has ceased and volcano has returned to noneruptive background state.
ADVISORY
Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has decreased significantly but continues to be closely monitored for possible renewed increase.
WATCH
Volcano is exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption, timeframe uncertain, OR eruption is underway but poses limited hazards.
WARNING
Hazardous eruption is imminent, underway, or suspected.
AVIATION COLOR CODES
GREEN
Volcano is in typical background, noneruptive state or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has ceased and volcano has returned to noneruptive background state.
YELLOW
Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level or, after a change from a higher level, volcanic activity has decreased significantly but continues to be closely monitored for possible renewed increase.
ORANGE
Volcano is exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption, timeframe uncertain, OR eruption is underway with no or minor volcanic-ash emissions [ash-plume height specified, if possible].
RED
Eruption is imminent with significant emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere likely OR eruption is underway or suspected with significant emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere [ash-plume height specified, if possible].
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Page modified: January 4, 2021 11:16
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