Report on Veniaminof (United States) — October 1993

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 18, no. 10 (October 1993)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke.

Veniaminof (United States) Large pit forms in ice above a new lava flow on the E flank of the cone

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1993. Report on Veniaminof (United States). In: Venzke, E (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 18:10. Smithsonian Institution.

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United States

56.17°N, 159.38°W; summit elev. 2507 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The eruption . . . continued intermittently in October and early November. Heavy cloud cover prevented observations from 13 August to the end of September. During a few periods of good visibility on 31 August, an observer in Port Heiden . . . saw no eruptive activity at the summit. No ashfall has been reported since a very light dusting of fine ash in Port Heiden on 4 August.

On 1-2 October, residents of Port Heiden observed steam and ash emissions. An AVHRR image from the late morning of 2 October, the first clear satellite image in almost two months, showed a faint NE-directed plume and a hot area at the summit cinder cone. During the night of 7 October, residents of Perryville . . . observed bursts of incandescent material rising approximately 300 m above the summit. These bursts occurred about once every 10 minutes, were accompanied by loud rumbling sounds, and appeared to be similar in size to the eruptions in July and August. On 14 October residents of Perryville observed continued emission of a gray steam-and-ash plume to about 1 km above the summit. Though the summit was obscured by haze on 22 October, visual observations from Perryville indicated a decrease from earlier activity.

U.S. Coast Guard pilots filmed eruptive activity at the intracaldera cinder cone on 6 November. A new pit (2.0 x 0.75 km) that had formed in the ice adjacent to the cone on the E flank contained lava. Steam plumes rose from the outer margin of the lava where it contacted the ice walls of the pit. An ash-and-steam plume rose up to 2 km above the cinder cone (elevation 2,120 m), and a thin ash layer covered the ice-filled E floor of the caldera. The activity was similar to the 1983-84 eruption, which produced a lava-floored ice pit at the base of the cinder cone's S flank.

Geologic Background. Massive Veniaminof volcano, one of the highest and largest volcanoes on the Alaska Peninsula, is truncated by a steep-walled, 8 x 11 km, glacier-filled caldera that formed around 3700 years ago. The caldera rim is up to 520 m high on the north, is deeply notched on the west by Cone Glacier, and is covered by an ice sheet on the south. Post-caldera vents are located along a NW-SE zone bisecting the caldera that extends 55 km from near the Bering Sea coast, across the caldera, and down the Pacific flank. Historical eruptions probably all originated from the westernmost and most prominent of two intra-caldera cones, which rises about 300 m above the surrounding icefield. The other cone is larger, and has a summit crater or caldera that may reach 2.5 km in diameter, but is more subdued and barely rises above the glacier surface.

Information Contacts: AVO.