Report on Veniaminof (United States) — November 1984
Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 9, no. 11 (November 1984)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.
Veniaminof (United States) Activity resumes; ash plumes to about 5 km altitude
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 1984. Report on Veniaminof (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 9:11. Smithsonian Institution.
56.17°N, 159.38°W; summit elev. 2507 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Eruptive activity resumed on 29 November. At about 0400, Perryville residents were awakened by rumbling noises from the volcano. By 0800, a black ash cloud was rising to about 3.5-4 km altitude. At 1000, a second plume rose to about 4 km, followed by smaller bursts that were occurring at approximately 5-minute intervals as of about 1020. Pilots reported an ash plume to about 4.5 km altitude at 1045, very little activity at 1100, and another ash plume to about 5.4 km at 1115. No incandescent material was observed from Perryville or by the pilots.
A pilot who flew over the volcano on the morning of 5 December reported a white vapor plume, containing only a small amount of ash, rising from two small pits on the E side of the previously active cone. One of the pits was steaming more vigorously than the other, and a brownish haze drifted downwind from the volcano. He observed no incandescent material or recent lava extrusions. On 6 December, Perryville residents observed large vapor plumes of varying intensity that contained very minor amounts of ash. They saw no incandescent material, and had heard no rumbling noises during the previous several days. On 7-8 December the volcano was obscured by weather clouds; however, small intermittent vapor plumes with no ash were observed from Perryville on the 9th. No incandescent material was seen. On the 10th and 11th, the volcano was not visible from Perryville.
Before the eruption, on 25 November, a Lamont-Doherty seismic monitoring station about 30 km from the volcano recorded 3 events (either low frequency volcanic events or tremor). However, other stations of the Lamont-Doherty network are triggered by earthquakes greater than about magnitude 2.5-3, and no such events had been recorded as of 0200 on 29 November.
Geologic Background. Veniaminof, on the Alaska Peninsula, is truncated by a steep-walled, 8 x 11 km, glacier-filled caldera that formed around 3,700 years ago. The caldera rim is up to 520 m high on the north, is deeply notched on the west by Cone Glacier, and is covered by an ice sheet on the south. Post-caldera vents are located along a NW-SE zone bisecting the caldera that extends 55 km from near the Bering Sea coast, across the caldera, and down the Pacific flank. Historical eruptions probably all originated from the westernmost and most prominent of two intra-caldera cones, which rises about 300 m above the surrounding icefield. The other cone is larger, and has a summit crater or caldera that may reach 2.5 km in diameter, but is more subdued and barely rises above the glacier surface.
Information Contacts: M. E. Yount and T. Miller, USGS, Anchorage; J. Taber, LDGO.