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Report on Augustine (United States) — December 2006


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 31, no. 12 (December 2006)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Augustine (United States) Low activity remains the trend during April 2006-January 2007

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Augustine (United States) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 31:12. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200612-313010


United States

59.3626°N, 153.435°W; summit elev. 1218 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During the latter half of 2006 and through January 2007, Augustine experienced low-level activity, in stark contrast to the energetic eruptions of January and February 2006 (BGVN 31:04). Five ocean-bottom seismometers were deployed on 8 February 2006 around Augustine Island in Cook Inlet to assist the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) in monitoring activity on the island. Figure 31 shows new deposits as of April 2006. This report covers the declining volcanism from April 2006 through January 2007.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. New deposits from the current Augustine eruption, as of mid-April 2006. This map was created using aerial observations, photos, satellite images, and limited field work. Courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Activity during mid-2006. The frequency of rock falls, avalanche events, and hot block-and-ash flows consistently decreased during April to August 2006. One exception was a minor spike consisting of 17-18 April avalanche signals that were larger relative to those seen in previous weeks. Based on aerial observations on 19 April, an active rock fall and avalanche chute developed near the margin of the new lava flow/dome complex in the NW summit area. Associated rockfalls contributed to an ash blanket visible on the SW flank.

Steaming was consistently seen during periods of visibility (figure 32). Visible growth of the lava dome continued, and the new dome and lava flows remained highly unstable through June 2006. Web camera views showed a low-level steam plume during the first two weeks of June 2006. According to the Anchorage VAAC, on 27 July 2006 around midnight, a pilot reported an ash emission that reached ~ 1.5 km altitude and drifted SSE. There was no seismic evidence for the event.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photograph taken on the afternoon of 12 July 2006 from the E, showing the upper NE flank of Augustine volcano and the new lava dome. Courtesy of AVO and Game McGimsey.

On 28 April, AVO lowered the Concern Code level from orange to yellow where it remained until August. Satellite images indicated declining thermal output consistent with the decrease in activity during April 2006. Airborne sulfur dioxide gas measurements showed continued high levels of magmatic gas emission that could be associated with degassing of lava at the summit in April 2006. Weak thermal anomalies persisted in satellite data through August 2006, and seismic levels decreased to background by this time. On 9 August 2006, it lowered the level of Concern Color Code from yellow to green (the lowest level).

Activity during late 2006-early 2007. Since 9 August 2006, seismicity remained at or near background and AVO did not detect ash plumes or significant temperature fluctuations.

Brief seismic activity occurred during 11 September-4 October 2006. During that time period, the number of earthquakes rose from zero to seven, followed by a plunge of activity that persisted through January 2007. AVO web camera views showed typically light steaming from the summit from September 2006 to January 2007.

Geological Summary. Augustine volcano, rising above Kamishak Bay in the southern Cook Inlet about 290 km SW of Anchorage, is the most active volcano of the eastern Aleutian arc. It consists of a complex of overlapping summit lava domes surrounded by an apron of volcaniclastic debris that descends to the sea on all sides. Few lava flows are exposed; the flanks consist mainly of debris-avalanche and pyroclastic-flow deposits formed by repeated collapse and regrowth of the summit. The latest episode of edifice collapse occurred during Augustine's large 1883 eruption; subsequent dome growth has restored the edifice to a height comparable to that prior to 1883. The oldest dated volcanic rocks on Augustine are more than 40,000 years old. At least 11 large debris avalanches have reached the sea during the past 1,800-2,000 years, and five major pumiceous tephras have been erupted during this interval. Recorded eruptions have typically consisted of explosive activity with emplacement of pumiceous pyroclastic-flow deposits followed by lava dome extrusion with associated block-and-ash flows.

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.