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Report on Shishaldin (United States) — August 2000


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 25, no. 8 (August 2000)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Shishaldin (United States) Thermal anomaly and small explosions on 11 August

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2000. Report on Shishaldin (United States) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 25:8. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200008-311360


United States

54.756°N, 163.97°W; summit elev. 2857 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reported on 11 August that recent satellite data indicated a weak thermal anomaly at Shishaldin's summit, although no known seismic activity occurred above background levels in the area. Pilot reports did not disclose any noticeable change in steam emission from the summit crater. Accordingly, the AVO decided to keep the Level of Concern Color Code for Shishaldin at Green.

After 11 August, clear days allowed unobstructed remote sensing, and satellite observations, which suggested no further thermal anomaly. On 18 August, AVO issued an update stating that new seismic data analysis showed several small explosions occurring coeval with the thermal anomaly reported on 11 August. These explosions were similar to those observed throughout 1999 and in early 2000 (BGVN 24:02-24:04, 24:08, and 25:02). The thermal anomaly and seismic disturbances did not recur in the remainder of August, however, so the hazard status remained Green.

Geological Summary. The symmetrical glacier-covered Shishaldin in the Aleutian Islands is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning "mountain which points the way when I am lost." Constructed atop an older glacially dissected edifice, it is largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older edifice are exposed on the W and NE sides at 1,500-1,800 m elevation. There are over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is covered by massive aa lava flows. Frequent explosive activity, primarily consisting of Strombolian ash eruptions from the small summit crater, but sometimes producing lava flows, has been recorded since the 18th century. A steam plume often rises from the summit crater.

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.