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AVO VOLCANO ACTIVITY NOTIFICATION

ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, May 8, 2020, 12:20 PM AKDT (Friday, May 8, 2020, 20:20 UTC)


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

Satellite observations of elevated surface temperatures and occasional sulfur dioxide emissions over the past week indicated continued unrest at Shishaldin. In addition, occasional periods of weak seismic tremor (continuous movement detected by local seismic instruments) and low frequency earthquakes were detected. High-resolution satellite imagery collected over the past week showed thin ash deposits extending a short distance southeast and southwest from the summit. There is no evidence that these deposits are related to explosive activity, and they may, instead, be from small collapses with the summit crater.

Eruptive activity at Shishaldin has been episodic. It remains possible for unrest to escalate at any time with little warning, and additional lava flows, lahars, and ash-producing eruptions may occur. 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.

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

No eruptive activity was detected this week at Semisopochnoi. Weak seismic tremor was intermittently observed during the week along with one possible satellite detection of sulfur dioxide emissions yesterday (May 7). There have been no detections of explosive activity coming from the direction of the volcano on a regional infrasound array. Although there is no indication that activity is increasing towards an eruption in the short-term, explosive activity could resume with little to no 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.

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

Small earthquakes have continued to occur at Great Sitkin over the last week at a rate above the background level. Satellite and web camera views were obscured by clouds for most of the week. AVO is closely monitoring the volcano for other signs of unrest that may indicate increased activity or likelihood of an eruption.

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.

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

No significant seismic or infrasound signals were observed from Cleveland over the past week. This continues the pattern of sustained decline in volcanic unrest over the last several months and has prompted the Alaska Volcano Observatory to downgrade the Aviation Color Code and Volcano Alert Level from YELLOW/ADVISORY to UNASSIGNED/UNASSIGNED on May 7.

The last explosive eruption at Cleveland occurred on January 9, 2019, and was followed by the extrusion of a small mound of lava in the summit crater. Since then, there has been an overall decrease in detected surface temperature and no observed changes in the summit crater. Cleveland is one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Arc, and the latest eruptive phase has waxed and waned almost annually since 2001. Local seismic, infrasound, and web camera data have been mostly unavailable for several weeks due to an equipment failure in a remote facility. Nonetheless, monitoring of Cleveland continues with regional seismic and infrasound stations on nearby islands. These, along with lightning and satellite data, should allow AVO to detect an ash-producing eruption, if one were to occur.

Additional episodes of lava effusion and explosions could occur without advance warning. Explosions that have occurred over the last few years 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.

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

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.
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