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ALASKA VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEEKLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, November 19, 2021, 2:35 PM AKST (Friday, November 19, 2021, 23:35 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 eruption at Semisopochnoi continues. Small explosions producing low-level ash clouds from the north crater of Mount Cerberus on Semisopochnoi Island occurred multiple times per day throughout the last week. These explosions were detected by local seismic sensors, local and regional infrasound sensors, and, when weather conditions allowed, webcam and satellite images. Most ash emissions rose to ~1.5 to 3.0 km (5,000 to 10,000 ft) above sea level and typically dissipated within 50 km (30 mi) of the volcano.

Small explosions that result in minor ash deposits within the vicinity of the active north crater of Mount Cerberus, and ash clouds typically under 10,000 ft 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.

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 has slowed or paused at Great Sitkin. Satellite data from Wednesday, November 17, shows that the extent of the dome and lava flows had not changed since November 10. Seismicity is slightly above background levels. Elevated surface temperatures were detected through light cloud cover most days this week. Steam emissions were occasionally observed in clear web camera views.

Erupted lava has overtopped the summit crater rim and is flowing into small valleys on the south, west, and north flank of the volcano. The terrain is steep in these areas, and blocks of lava and lava rubble could detach from the terminus of the flow lobes without warning 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.

Great Sitkin 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

The eruption at Pavlov continues. Tremor and explosions were detected throughout the week in seismic and infrasound data. Ballistic blocks on the volcano's upper flanks were observed in satellite data, but explosions during the week resulted in limited ash emissions.

Starting Sunday, November 14, low-level lava fountaining from the vent on the upper southeast flank has built a small cone of hot unstable debris. Debris from the cone has formed hot flows that extend a few hundred meters below the vent. These flows melt snow and ice, and the meltwater combines with debris to form thin, watery lahars that extend down the flank for several kilometers. Elevated surface temperatures have been observed in satellite data since Sunday, suggesting that this activity continues.

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 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 above sea level have been generated by past eruptions of Pavlof, and during the March 2016 eruption, ash plumes as high as 40,000 ft 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.

KATMAI VOLCANO (VNUM #312170)
58°16'44" N 154°57'12" W, Summit Elevation 6716 ft (2047 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN

On November 17-18 strong winds in the vicinity of Katmai and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes picked up loose volcanic ash erupted during the 1912 Novarupta-Katmai eruption. The resulting resuspended ash cloud extended over Shelikof Strait and Kodiak Island.

This phenomenon is not the result of recent volcanic activity and occurs seasonally in the spring and fall during times of high winds and dry snow-free conditions in the Katmai area and other young volcanic areas of Alaska. All of the volcanoes of the Katmai area (Snowy, Griggs, Katmai, Novarupta, Trident, Mageik, Martin) remain at color code GREEN.

Resuspended volcanic ash should be considered hazardous and could be damaging to aircraft and health. For more information on volcanic ash and human health, visit the following website: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/ash/. Official warnings about these ash resuspension events are issued by the National Weather Service: http://www.weather.gov/afc. Forecasts of airborne ash hazard to aircraft: http://www.weather.gov/aawu . Volcanic Ash Advisories: http://vaac.arh.noaa.gov/ . Forecasts of ash fall: http://www.weather.gov/afc. Air quality hazards and guidance from Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Air Quality: http://dec.alaska.gov/Applications/Air/airtoolsweb/Advisories/Index


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

SUBSCRIBE TO VOLCANO ALERT MESSAGES by email: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns/

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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.