ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, April 2, 2021, 12:05 PM AKDT (Friday, April 2, 2021, 20:05 UTC)
51°55'44" N 179°35'52" E,
Summit Elevation 2625 ft (800 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE
Small explosions continue from North Cerberus crater at Semisopochnoi this week. Explosions were detected in infrasound overnight on March 26-27. Small plumes were captured in high-resolution satellite images on March 30 and April 1. The second of these appeared ash-rich, and an hour later an SO2 gas signature was detected in satellite data associated with this event. Satellite images detected another plume overnight around 10:00 PM AKDT April 1 (06:00 UTC April 2). Both detected plumes appeared to be relatively low altitude below 10,000 feet asl.
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.
56°11'52" N 159°23'35" W,
Summit Elevation 8225 ft (2507 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW
Activity at Veniaminof declined over the course of the last week. Ash emissions were noted in web camera images over the weekend and were associated with weak seismic signals. Cloudy conditions obscured views during much of the week but occasional clear views suggested continuing elevated surface temperatures associated with lava effusion from a flank vent into an ice cauldron. Clear conditions Thursday and Friday, however, showed no sign of ash emissions or steaming, and surface temperatures decreased suggesting active lava effusion had ceased. As a result, the Alaska Volcano Observatory lowered the Aviation Color Code to YELLOW and the Volcano Alert Level to ADVISORY this morning. Pauses in eruptions are common, and lava flows and eruption of minor ash plumes could resume suddenly with little or no warning.
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.
A limited amount of seismic data from the local network that had been offline since December 8, 2020, have been recently restored. While the network has not been fully restored the additional information will aid in the detection of changes in unrest that may lead to a more significant explosive eruption. The Alaska Volcano Observatory continues to monitor Veniaminof with satellite and webcam data and remote infrasound, regional 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).
52°49'20" N 169°56'42" W,
Summit Elevation 5676 ft (1730 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW
Numerous small earthquakes continue to be detected following a M 4.3 earthquake last Friday. The frequency of earthquakes, however, has declined throughout the week. It is unclear whether this earthquake sequence is related to volcanic activity or if it has a non-volcanic (tectonic) origin. Clouds obscured most satellite and web camera images throughout the week, however, early Friday morning slightly elevated surface temperatures were detected at the summit in a satellite image.
Episodes of lava effusion and explosions can occur without advance warning. Explosions from Cleveland 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 are less likely and occur less frequently.
Cleveland volcano is monitored by only two seismic stations, which restricts AVO's ability to precisely locate earthquakes and detect precursory unrest that may lead to an explosive eruption. Rapid detection of an ash-producing eruption may be possible using a combination of seismic, infrasound, lightning, and satellite data.
Cleveland volcano forms the western portion of Chuginadak Island, a remote and uninhabited island in the east central Aleutians. The volcano is located about 45 miles (75 km) west of the community of Nikolski, and 940 miles (1500 km) 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 (11.8 km) 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 (6 km) 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
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Matthew Haney, Acting Scientist-in-Charge, USGS
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David Fee, Coordinating Scientist, UAFGI
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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.