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ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, July 16, 2021, 1:41 PM AKDT (Friday, July 16, 2021, 21:41 UTC)


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

The Aviation Color Code and Volcano Alert Level were increased to ORANGE/WATCH on July 12 due to the onset of continuous seismic tremor, the detection of explosive activity on local infrasound sensors, and observations in satellite data of a small volcanic cloud. The cloud likely contained volcanic gas with minor amounts of volcanic ash, rose to an altitude of less than 5,000 ft asl, and quickly dispersed. Seismic and infrasound data show that the main pulse of explosive activity was tens of minutes in duration. Since that small explosive event, seismicity has declined and is now characterized by intermittent and short bursts of tremor. No further explosive events have been detected in infrasound data, but steaming continues to be observed in satellite and web camera images.

Small eruptions producing minor ash deposits within the vicinity of the active north crater of Mount Cerberus and ash clouds under 10,000 ft above sea level are typical of recent activity at Semisopochnoi. New explosions could occur at any time with no warning.

Semisopochnoi is monitored by local seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, web cameras, and distant infrasound and lightning networks.


Remote Semisopochnoi volcano occupies the largest, young volcanic island in the western Aleutians. The volcano is dominated by a 5-mile (8-km) diameter caldera that contains a small lake and several 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 historical 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.

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

Seismicity increased slightly this past week and was most energetic on July 14 when a small swarm of earthquakes was observed. The largest of these events was a magnitude 1.5 quake. Moderately elevated surface temperatures in the vicinity of the most recently active vent were consistently observed in satellite images during periods of clear weather over the past week. No evidence of explosive activity was observed in local and regional infrasound data.

Renewed explosive activity or lava effusion remain possible outcomes of the current period of unrest. This is not certain and a decline in unrest to background levels of activity is also possible.

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 dissected volcano and a younger parasitic cone with a 3-km-diameter summit crater. A steep-sided lava dome, emplaced during the most recent significant eruption in 1974, occupies the center of the crater. That eruption produced 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: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

Moderately elevated surface temperatures were consistently observed in satellite images of the summit crater during periods of clear weather over the past week. A swarm of ~20 earthquakes was detected yesterday. It is not possible to locate these events given the limited number of seismic stations on the island, but they may be related to volcanic activity. Other than this earthquake swarm, seismicity was generally at low levels over the past week. No explosive activity observed in regional infrasound data or satellite images.

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 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.

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

Unrest continued over the past week, but at decreasing intensity compared to the week prior. Intermittent periods of seismic tremor lasting tens of minutes to several hours were observed. There have been no observations of gas jetting or explosive activity detected in infrasound data. Minor steaming and warm temperatures in the summit crater were observed in web camera and satellite images. The volcano remains restless and past eruptions of Pavlof have occurred with little to no warning.

Pavlof is monitored by local seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, web cameras, and distant infrasound and lightning networks.


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, King Cove, is located 48 km (30 miles) to the southwest of Pavlof.

GARELOI VOLCANO (VNUM #311070)
51°47'21" N 178°47'46" W, Summit Elevation 5161 ft (1573 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

Unrest continues. Seismicity was elevated over the previous week, with periods of volcanic tremor and low-frequency seismic events at amplitudes that are above background being observed. No eruptive activity was observed in satellite views of the volcano last week and no activity has been detected by local infrasound sensors.

Gareloi volcano persistently emits magmatic gases from a fumarole field on the south crater and commonly exhibits low-level seismic activity. These observations suggest the presence of shallow magma and potential interaction with a hydrothermal system. The current increase in seismicity likely reflects a change to the magmatic-hydrothermal system, but it is not clear that the likelihood of a volcanic eruption has increased. AVO will continue to monitor activity to determine if the recent changes are related to influx of new magma or other changes to the magma system.

Gareloi is monitored by local seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, a web camera, and distant infrasound and lightning networks.


Mount Gareloi, which makes up all of Gareloi Island, is a stratovolcano located in the Delarof Islands group of the Aleutian Islands, about 2,000 km (1,242 mi) west-southwest of Anchorage and about 150 km (93 mi) west of Adak, the westernmost community in Alaska. This small volcano is 10 × 8 km (6.2 × 5.0 mi) in diameter at its base with two summits, separated by a narrow saddle. The northern, slightly higher peak contains crater about 300 m (1,000 ft) across. The southern summit has a crater open to the south and a persistent degassing vent (fumarole) on its western rim. Gareloi has been one of the most active in the Aleutians since the 1740s, with 16 reports of eruptive activity at Gareloi since 1760. In 1929, its largest historical eruption produced sixteen small south- to southeast-trending craters that extend from the southern summit to the coast, as well as lava flows and pyroclastic deposits on the southeastern flank of the volcano. Eruptions of Gareloi commonly produce ash clouds and lava flows, and the primary hazard is airborne clouds of ash that could affect aircraft. Since seismic instruments were installed in 2003, they have detected small but consistent seismic signals from beneath Mount Gareloi’s edifice.

OTHER ALASKA VOLCANOES

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

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

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CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

David Fee, Coordinating Scientist, UAF 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.