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Report on Okmok (United States) — March 1997


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 22, no. 3 (March 1997)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Okmok (United States) Emission of steam, ash, and lava continues

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1997. Report on Okmok (United States) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 22:3. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199703-311290


United States

53.43°N, 168.13°W; summit elev. 1073 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Reports on 27 March, and 4, 11, 18, and 25 April, confirmed that the eruption which began on 13 February was continuing at relatively low levels. Satellite images examined by AVO indicated the presence of hot lava flows in the caldera, and occasional thin, low-level plumes drifting downwind from the volcano. NOAA/NESDIS also reported that on 4 April an aircraft pilot saw lava flows and [observed] an ash column at ~3,500 m, drifting slowly SE. On 12 April another ash plume was reported by a pilot at 2.4 km; this same plume was detected in visible and infrared satellite imagery.

Okmok volcano is not monitored seismically and is not assigned a color code. Based on past eruptive history, lava flows and low--level ash emission could continue for weeks to months. Eruptive activity could intensify at any time.

Geological Summary. The broad, basaltic Okmok shield volcano, which forms the NE end of Umnak Island, has a dramatically different profile than most other Aleutian volcanoes. The summit of the low, 35-km-wide volcano is cut by two overlapping 10-km-wide calderas formed during eruptions about 12,000 and 2050 years ago that produced dacitic pyroclastic flows that reached the coast. More than 60 tephra layers from Okmok have been found overlying the 12,000-year-old caldera-forming tephra layer. Numerous satellitic cones and lava domes dot the flanks of the volcano down to the coast, including 1253-m Mount Tulik on the SE flank, which is almost 200 m higher than the caldera rim. Some of the post-caldera cones show evidence of wave-cut lake terraces; the more recent cones, some of which have been active historically, were formed after the caldera lake, once 150 m deep, disappeared. Hot springs and fumaroles are found within the caldera. Historical eruptions have occurred since 1805 from cinder cones within the caldera.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO); NOAA/NESDIS Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB).