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ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, October 8, 2021, 1:17 PM AKDT (Friday, October 8, 2021, 21:17 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 north crater of Mount Cerberus on Semisopochnoi Island remained active with numerous explosions detected throughout the week. Low-level ash emissions were observed in web camera views a few times this week during periods of limited cloud cover. Small ash clouds were observed in satellite imagery on October 1, 2 and 3 that were all below 10,000 ft above sea level and dissipated within 100 km of the volcano. Minor sulfur dioxide emissions were observed in satellite data on October 2 and 3.

Small eruptions producing minor ash deposits within the vicinity of the active north crater of Mount Cerberus and ash clouds under 10,000 feet above sea level have characterized the recent activity and show no signs of abating.

Semisopochnoi is monitored by local seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, web cameras, and remote 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.

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

No significant seismic or infrasound activity was detected over the past week. Elevated surface temperatures were observed in satellite images on October 3-6 but no ash emissions or other signs of unrest were observed in satellite or web camera data.

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 currently monitored by only one seismic station, 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, local and regional 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.

GREAT SITKIN VOLCANO (VNUM #311120)
52°4'35" N 176°6'39" W, Summit Elevation 5709 ft (1740 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Lava effusion in the summit crater of Great Sitkin continued this week. A clear, high-resolution satellite image of the volcano summit from October 2, 2021 showed an active lava flow field with an area of about 970,000 square meters (240 acres) and an estimated volume of about 24 million cubic meters (32 million cubic yards). Two lobes of lava have flowed nearly 300 m (985 feet) beyond the crater rim on the west and southwest sides of the crater and lava has reached the crater rim on its northern periphery. The total area of the summit crater is about 1.7 million square meters (433 acres) and the extent of the lava flows as of October 2 indicates that lava now fills more than half of the summit crater. In a few areas, the lava has advanced over snow and ice but we have not observed any anomalous melting, steaming, or ponding of water indicating that melt rates are probably low and there are no indications of any imminent hydrologic hazards.

The lava lobes that have breached the summit crater are flowing into small valleys developed on the volcanic edifice. The terrain is steep in these areas and it may be possible for blocks of lava and lava rubble to detach from the terminus of the lava flows and form small rock avalanches in these valleys. Such avalanches may liberate ash and gas and could travel several hundred meters beyond the lava flows; they would be hazardous to anyone in those areas.

The level of seismicity was slightly elevated throughout the past week and there were persistent small earthquakes likely associated with the ongoing lava effusion. Elevated surface temperatures were observed in satellite data over the past week when views of the volcano were not obscured by clouds. No explosive activity or ash emissions have been detected in seismic, infrasound, satellite, or web camera data.

There is no indication of how long lava effusion will continue during the current eruption, and it is possible that explosive activity could occur with little or no warning.

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.

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

Small explosions and episodic volcanic tremor were detected in seismic and infrasound data intermittently throughout the past week. Slightly elevated surface temperatures at the summit of the volcano were observed on October 4 and 5, but for most of the week the volcano was obscured by clouds in satellite and web camera views. Localized, low-level ash emissions likely occurred at times when explosions were detected but no ash emissions were observed in satellite or web camera data due to the persistent cloud cover.

The explosions that have occurred during the current period of activity at Pavlof volcano have been short-lived, with ash deposits confined to the flanks of the volcano. Eruptive activity is focused at a vent on the upper southeast flank of the volcano, near the location of the eruptive vent in 2007. The level of unrest at Pavlof can change quickly and the progression to more significant eruptive activity can occur with little or no warning.

Pavlof Volcano is monitored by local seismic and infrasound sensors, satellite data, web cameras, and remote 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.

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.