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AVO VOLCANO ACTIVITY NOTIFICATION

ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, March 20, 2015, 2:06 PM AKDT (Friday, March 20, 2015, 22:06 UTC)


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

Nothing unusual was observed in mostly cloudy views of the volcano by satellite and web camera this week. Seismicity remains above background levels indicating that eruptive activity may be occurring at a low level within the summit crater of the volcano.

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.

CLEVELAND VOLCANO (VNUM #311240)
52°49'20" N 169°56'42" W, Summit Elevation 5676 ft (1730 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

Nothing unusual was observed in mostly cloudy views of the volcano by satellite and web camera this week. No significant activity was detected in seismic or infrasound (air pressure) data during the past 24 hours.

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.

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

Since January, Semisopochnoi has experienced higher than normal levels of seismic activity, which continue to today. Most of the earthquakes are small, with magnitudes less than 1. The total amount of seismic energy released during this period is approximately the same as the energy released during the seismic swarm in June and July of 2014 which did not result in an eruption. The number of earthquakes is much lower in the current activity than in the 2014 swarm, but there have been several earthquakes with magnitudes between 2 and 2.8. However, we have not observed seismic tremor, which was present in the 2014 swarm and can indicate movement of magma or magmatic gases. AVO has not observed any other signs of volcanic activity in remote sensing or other data. We will continue to monitor the volcano closely.

Remote Semisopochnoi volcano occupies the largest, young volcanic island in the western Aleutians. The volcano is dominated by an 8-km (5-mile) 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. The last 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 65 km (40 mi) northeast of Amchitka Island and 200 km (130 mi) west of Adak.

OTHER ALASKA VOLCANOES

Other Alaska volcanoes show no signs of significant unrest: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/activity/

AVO scientists conduct daily checks of earthquake activity at all seismically-monitored volcanoes, examine web camera and satellite images for evidence of airborne ash and elevated surface temperatures, and consult other monitoring data as needed.

For definitions of Aviation Color Codes and Volcano Alert Levels, see: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/color_codes.php

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ALASKA VOLCANOES: http://www.avo.alaska.edu

SUBSCRIBE TO VOLCANO ALERT MESSAGES by email: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns/

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CONTACT INFORMATION:

John Power, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS
jpower@usgs.gov (907) 786-7497

Jeff Freymueller, Coordinating Scientist, UAFGI
jeff.freymueller@gi.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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