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Report on Semisopochnoi (United States) — April 1987

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 12, no. 4 (April 1987)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Semisopochnoi (United States) Plume; possible ash deposits

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1987. Report on Semisopochnoi (United States). In: McClelland, L. (ed.), Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 12:4. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198704-311060.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Semisopochnoi

United States

51.93°N, 179.58°E; summit elev. 1221 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


A plume originating at about 52°N, 180° and extending 90 km ENE was noted by Steven Shivers from a NOAA 9 satellite image returned 13 April at 1731. On an image at 2135 the same day, the plume extended only 15 km ENE. On 24 April, pilot Harold Wilson (Peninsula Airways), flying 50 km SE of Semisopochnoi, noted a very dark-colored peak (perhaps Sugarloaf) among other snow-covered mountains on the island. Plumes from Semisopochnoi were reported several times in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Geologic Background. Semisopochnoi, the largest subaerial volcano of the western Aleutians, is 20 km wide at sea level and contains an 8-km-wide caldera. It formed as a result of collapse of a low-angle, dominantly basaltic volcano following the eruption of a large volume of dacitic pumice. The high point of the island is 1221-m-high Anvil Peak, a double-peaked late-Pleistocene cone that forms much of the island's northern part. The three-peaked 774-m-high Mount Cerberus volcano was constructed during the Holocene within the caldera. Each of the peaks contains a summit crater; lava flows on the northern flank of Cerberus appear younger than those on the southern side. Other post-caldera volcanoes include the symmetrical 855-m-high Sugarloaf Peak SSE of the caldera and Lakeshore Cone, a small cinder cone at the edge of Fenner Lake in the NE part of the caldera. Most documented historical eruptions have originated from Cerberus, although Coats (1950) considered that both Sugarloaf and Lakeshore Cone within the caldera could have been active during historical time.

Information Contacts: J. Reeder, ADGGS; T. Miller, USGS, Anchorage; W. Gould, NOAA/NESDIS.