Report on Veniaminof (United States) — March 2003

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 28, no. 3 (March 2003)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Veniaminof (United States) Seismicity elevated through February, but drops in late March

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Veniaminof (United States). In: Venzke, E (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 28:3. Smithsonian Institution. http://dx.doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200303-312070.

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Veniaminof

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


An increase in seismicity since mid-December was a constant trend through February 2003 (BGVN 28:01). During the week of 7 March, discrete seismic events occurred at a rate of about 1-2 events per minute. On 11 March, a 4-hour period of continuous seismic tremor was followed by 17 hours of discrete seismic events and 3-4-minute-long tremor bursts. This culminated with another 4-hour period of continuous tremor on 12 March. Seismic activity later that week was characterized by discrete small-amplitude events occurring every 1-2 minutes. Satellite images collected during clear periods on 4, 6, 7, and 12 March did not reveal any elevated surface temperatures, ash emissions, or ash deposits. Observers in Perryville, 35 km S of Veniaminof, reported no significant plume or other signs of volcanic activity on 12 March. Consistent elevated seismicity, with small-amplitude discrete events every 1-2 minutes continued during the week of 21 March.

Seismicity declined during the last week of March, characterized by very low-amplitude tremors. Satellite images collected during numerous clear periods that week did not reveal any elevated surface temperatures, ash emissions, or ash deposits. There was a dramatic decrease in volcanic activity during the week of 4 April. However, short periods of volcanic tremor and low frequency events were still recorded. This continued into the week of 11 April, prompting the lowering of the level of concern. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) announced a code color of green, under which the volcano is classified as dormant with normal seismicity and fumarolic activity occurring.

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 reaches an elevation of 2156 m and 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: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.