Logo link to homepage

Report on Atka Volcanic Complex (United States) — November 2006

Atka Volcanic Complex

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 31, no. 11 (November 2006)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Atka Volcanic Complex (United States) Minor plumes bearing steam and ash throughout November-December 2006

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Atka Volcanic Complex (United States) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 31:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200611-311160

Atka Volcanic Complex

United States

52.331°N, 174.139°W; summit elev. 1518 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

[What follows is a corrected report taking advantage of new information.]

2005 activity. Korovin... has been relatively quiet since 23 February [2005], when it emitted minor though abruptly discharged steam and ash (BGVN 31:02). At that time, an initial ash burst rose to an altitude of ~ 2.4 km and was followed by several smaller ash-and-steam bursts, but no ashfall was reported in Atka village (figure 2). There were no reports of accompanying volcanic odors, earthquakes, or larger volcanic explosions.

Early 2006 activity. Earlier this year, seismicity indicating unrest was noted in January and February (BGVN 31:02). From 24 February-3 March 2006, seismicity at Korovin was slightly above background levels. During that time frame, the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) raised the concern color code at Korovin from Green to Yellow. The concern color code was then but reduced it to Green on 8 March 2006 .

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Sketch map of the central Aleutian Islands including Atka Island and the city of Atka (population 27, according to 1999 US Census estimate). Courtesy of USGS/AVO.

Late 2006 activity. An increase in seismicity during July 2006 represented a transition from prior low activity, meanwhile volcanic activity remained mild during that time (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. The Korovin cone (lower left) in the Atka volcanic center was puffing steam to ~ 300 m above the summit on 30 July 2006 when seen from an Alaska Airlines jet. The Kliuchef cone (upper right, with two snow-clad craters) is one of multiple satellite cones. Photo credit to Cyrus Read; image courtesy of AVO/USGS.

This report also covers further minor events during September through December. During September and October, episodes of volcanic tremor increased in number, strength, and duration. On 28 October, residents of Atka village observed and photographed steam emissions to several hundred meters above the volcano.

For the duration of November and December, seismic levels remained above background levels. In late November satellite information showed a light dusting of ash on the E flank of the main crater along with several plumes and/or their shadows visible along the N side of the crater. Satellite radar images indicated uplift of the volcano; the area of uplift was consistent with locations of earthquake activity and the effects were interpreted as the result of magma injection. Cloud cover permitted only erratic satellite observation during November and December. On 11 and 21 December 2006, Atka residents again witnessed steam plumes, on the latter date possibly containing ash.

Geological Summary. The Atka Volcanic Complex consists of a central shield and Pleistocene caldera with several post-caldera volcanoes. A major dacitic explosive eruption accompanied formation of the caldera about 500,000 to 300,000 years ago. The most prominent of the post-caldera stratovolcanoes are Kliuchef and Sarichef, both of which may have been active in historical time. Sarichef has a symmetrical profile, but the less eroded Kliuchef is the source of most if not all historical eruptions. Kliuchef may have been active on occasion simultaneously with Korovin volcano to the north. Hot springs and fumaroles are located on the flanks of Mount Kliuchef and in a glacial valley SW of Kliuchef. Korovin, at the NE tip of Atka Island, is the most frequently active volcano of the complex, and contains a double summit with two craters. The NW summit has a small crater, but the 1-km-wide crater of the SE cone has an open cylindrical vent of widely variable depth that sometimes contains a crater lake or a high magma column. A fresh-looking cinder cone lies on the flank of the partially dissected Konia volcano, located on the SE flank of the dominantly basaltic Korovin. Some late-stage dacitic lava flows are present on both Korovin and Konia.

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