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Report on Akutan (United States) — June 1987


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 12, no. 6 (June 1987)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Akutan (United States) Summit incandescence; ash and steam emission

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1987. Report on Akutan (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 12:6. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198706-311320


United States

54.134°N, 165.986°W; summit elev. 1303 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

On about 22 June (± 1 day), a bright red glow from the summit was seen by a fisherman a considerable distance from the volcano in the Bering Sea. On 24 June a pilot reported that the large cinder cone within the summit caldera was sending ash SW at 1,300 m altitude. Two days later pilot H. Wilson (Peninsula Airways) observed a 300-m-high steam plume from the cinder cone and fresh-looking gray-black ash that extended below the snow line on the W flank. No significant eruptive activity was occurring during several sightings from March to early June.

Geological Summary. One of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian arc, Akutan contains 2-km-wide caldera with an active intracaldera cone. An older, largely buried caldera was formed during the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Two volcanic centers are located on the NW flank. Lava Peak is of Pleistocene age, and a cinder cone lower on the flank produced a lava flow in 1852 that extended the shoreline of the island and forms Lava Point. The 60-365 m deep younger caldera was formed during a major explosive eruption about 1600 years ago and contains at least three lakes. The currently active large cinder cone in the NE part of the caldera has been the source of frequent explosive eruptions with occasional lava effusion that blankets the caldera floor. A lava flow in 1978 traveled through a narrow breach in the north caldera rim almost to the coast. Fumaroles occur at the base of the caldera cinder cone, and hot springs are located NE of the caldera at the head of Hot Springs Bay valley and along the shores of Hot Springs Bay.

Information Contacts: J. Reeder, ADGGS.