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Akutan reported activity





Event Name : Akutan 1946/12

Start:December 1946 Observed
Stop:January 1947 Observed

Lava flow: BibCard BibCard BibCard BibCard
Central eruption: BibCard BibCard BibCard BibCard
"Fire", "Glowing", or incandescence: BibCard BibCard
Eruption Type:Explosive
Duration: About 1 month BibCard
Eruption Product: basalt BibCard
MaxVEI: 2 BibCard

Description: From Byers and Barth (1953): "The most recent lava eruption of Akutan volcano was first seen on January 4, 1947, at 4 pm. An Associated Press article dated January 8 quoted a Navy report that the lava had flowed down the sides of the volcano threatening Akutan village. * * * Actually, inasmuch as the lava of the January, 1947, eruption did not flow out of the crater, the village was never threatened by flowing lava. The small lava tongue that extends through the crater gap and down the crater gorge is part of the December, 1929 lava flow, according to a local resident, Axel Swenson (Finch, 1935, p. 159)." Specimens of the lava flow were collected and analyzed by thin section and found to be saturated calcic basalt.

Seventy-five residents were evacuated from Akutan Island in January, 1947.

A January 11, 1947 Associated Press article describes the lava flow: "A half-mile stream of red-hot lava was described today in the first eye witness account of this week's eruptions of Akutan and Shishaldin volcanoes. * * * Lt. P.T. Kissling, * * * piloted a long range patrol plane * * * from which J.C. Betterton, chief photographer's mate * * * photographed the spectacles.

"Flight conditions were bad, but Lieutenant Kissling reported:

"'Arriving over Akutan peak at dawn, the mountain presented a rare sight, in that visiblity was unlimited in the area, permitting eruptions to be observed in detail. They (eruptions) were confined to newly-formed cone about 300 feet high within the larger crater of Akutan Peak which is three miles in diameter.

"'A red stream of molten lava was flowing down the peak for a distance of about half mile, ending in a lake of greenish brown water formed in melted ice of the glacier.

"'An unforgettable sight of colors was noted -- the red-orange lava and the bright orange flames from lava-flow contrasting with dirty-gray ash on the snow -- the ice in the crater -- and the pure white snow untouched by the ashes.'

"On one flight above the cone, the plane flew through the smoke, and the cabin filled with acrid fumes."

And from Unknown (1949): "* * * Akutan volcano erupted during January 1947, and a thick flood of lava covering an area one half mile square was poured out into the crater. Very little ash fell on Akutan village then, because fortunately the wind remained in the right direction to blow the erupting ash out to sea. At the onset of the 1947 eruption, the commandant of the Seventeenth Naval District at Kodiak ordered a Navy auxiliary tug to evacuate the villagers if necessary."

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