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AVO VOLCANO ACTIVITY NOTIFICATION

ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, May 15, 2020, 12:28 PM AKDT (Friday, May 15, 2020, 20:28 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. Seismicity also remains elevated with near-continuous, weak tremor and occasional low-frequency earthquakes over the past week. There has been no evidence of eruptive activity over the past week, and activity remains confined within 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

Unrest continues at Semisopochnoi. Seismicity remains elevated. The local seismic network recorded numerous small, low-frequency earthquakes and occasional periods of continuous seismic tremor over the past week. No eruptive activity was observed in local seismic or regional infrasound array data. Clouds obscured satellite views of the volcano throughout the week. 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 continued at Great Sitkin over the past week above the background rate. Satellite and web camera images were obscured by clouds for most of the week, but a clear satellite view on May 14 showed signs of a small steam plume in the summit crater. 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 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 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.

OTHER ALASKA VOLCANOES

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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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