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Report on Shishaldin (United States) — September 1986

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 11, no. 9 (September 1986)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Shishaldin (United States) Steam and ash emission

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1986. Report on Shishaldin (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 11:9. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198609-311360.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Shishaldin

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Steam plumes that sometimes contained ash were observed by airplane pilots in early October 1986. [The following reports describing activity at Shishaldin during 2-10 October 1986 were collected by John Reeder. Observers were Capts. Jerry Chisum (JC) and Clint Schoenleber (CS), MarkAir; Stephanie Madsen (SM), Aleutian Air; Capts. Harold Black (HB), Lee Goch (LG), and James Fredenhagen (JF), Reeve Aleutian Airways; and John Reeder, ADDGS (JR).]

2 October (AM and PM): Above-average steam explosions with minor ash. (JC)

2 October (1145): Steam plume with minor ash extending at least 15 km SW. (SM)

3 October (1330-1336): Narrow steam plume to 400 m height; thin steam-and-ash plume drifted more than 40 km ESE; anomalous steam puffs with minor ash noted by JR at 1331-1332 and 1336. (HB, JR)

4 October (1520): Steam explosions sent plume to 800 m above the volcano; plume of vapor and minor ash extended about 50 km SSE; small amounts of black ash coated snow on N and NW flanks. (LG, JF, JR)

8 October: Normal 50-m steam plume. (CS)

10 October: Normal 50-m steam plume. (CS)

Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical volcano of Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The 2857-m-high, glacier-covered volcano is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes along an E-W line in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning "mountain which points the way when I am lost." A steady steam plume rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, it is Holocene in age and largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the west and NE sides at 1500-1800 m elevation. There are over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is blanketed 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.

Information Contacts: J. Reeder, ADGGS.