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AVO VOLCANO ACTIVITY NOTIFICATION

ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, January 17, 2020, 12:16 PM AKST (Friday, January 17, 2020, 21:16 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

No notable eruptive activity occurred at Shishaldin Volcano over the past week, though a weak steam plume was occasionally visible in web camera views. The last significant eruptive activity occurred on Tuesday, January 7, when sustained explosive activity generated an ash plume that drifted over 200 km to the east-northeast, depositing trace ash fall on Cold Bay and King Cove and causing several flight cancellations. AVO raised the Aviation Color Code to RED and Alert Level to WARNING in response to that activity and lowering it back to ORANGE/WATCH that evening after the activity stopped. The volcano has remained relatively quiet since then and seismicity was low for most of the week. The level of seismicity has begun to climb over the past day, however, suggesting that the volcano could be building toward another episode of eruptive activity. Elevated surface temperatures were seen in satellite images over the past week, but also seemed slightly higher over the past day.

Thus far, the 2019 eruption has produced lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars (mudflows). There has also been minor ash fallout on nearby communities, though ash emissions for most of the current eruption have been restricted to the flanks of the volcano and altitudes of less than 15,000 ft asl. As shown by the January 7 event, more powerful explosions could occur with little warning and produce higher ash clouds that may pose a hazard to aircraft.

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

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

Slightly elevated surface temperatures were observed in satellite data over the past week, and minor steam emissions were occasionally seen in web camera views. Seismicity remains low and no significant eruptive activity was observed in local or regional infrasound data during the week.

Additional episodes of lava effusion and explosions are likely and will occur without advance warning. The most recent explosion of Cleveland occurred on January 9, 2019. These explosions are normally short duration and only present a hazard to aviation in the immediate vicinity of the volcano. Larger explosions that present a more widespread hazard to aviation are possible, but less likely and/or frequent.


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.

PAVLOF VOLCANO (VNUM #312030)
55°25'2" N 161°53'37" W, Summit Elevation 8261 ft (2518 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

Low levels of seismicity continue at Pavlof Volcano. Occasional small earthquakes continue to be detected but have not increased in size or frequency this week. No unusual activity was observed in satellite or web camera views over the past week.

The level of unrest at Pavlof can change quickly and the progression to eruptive activity can occur with little or no warning.


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 ASL have been generated by past eruptions of Pavlof, and during the March 2016 eruption, ash plumes as high as 40,000 feet above sea level were generated and the ash was tracked in satellite data as distant as eastern Canada. The nearest community, Cold Bay, is located 60 km (37 miles) to the southwest of Pavlof.

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

Seismicity has remained low over the past week. No unusual activity was observed in satellite views, although conditions were predominantly cloudy. Explosive activity has occurred intermittently at Semisopochnoi over the last year and could resume without advance warning.

Semisopochnoi is monitored with an on-island seismic network and remotely by satellite and lightning sensors. Furthermore, an infrasound array on Adak Island may 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 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

Information on all Alaska volcanoes is available at : http://www.avo.alaska.edu.

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CONTACT INFORMATION:

Michelle Coombs, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS
mcoombs@usgs.gov (907) 786-7497

Taryn Lopez, Acting Coordinating Scientist, UAF
tmlopez@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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