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Report on Okmok (United States) — December 1987


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

Okmok (United States) Ash emission continues

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1987. Report on Okmok (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 12:12. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198712-311290


United States

53.43°N, 168.13°W; summit elev. 1073 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Minor eruptive activity continued . . . through December. Above-average, fairly continuous steaming was noted (by Milton Holmes and others) from 41 km E between 12 and 17 December. On 30 December at 1320 pilot T. Madsen observed constant brown-black ash emission drifting 80 km horizontally at 900 m altitude. Snow on the flanks was mostly covered with ash. He noted similar activity on 5 January, when an opaque plume was drifting NW at 1.2 km altitude for 30 km. A trapper, who has been on Umnak Island at the SE base of Okmok for the past several months, has reported several strong earthquakes followed by ash eruptions, but gave no dates.

Geological Summary. The broad, basaltic Okmok shield volcano, which forms the NE end of Umnak Island, has a dramatically different profile than most other Aleutian volcanoes. The summit of the low, 35-km-wide volcano is cut by two overlapping 10-km-wide calderas formed during eruptions about 12,000 and 2050 years ago that produced dacitic pyroclastic flows that reached the coast. More than 60 tephra layers from Okmok have been found overlying the 12,000-year-old caldera-forming tephra layer. Numerous satellitic cones and lava domes dot the flanks of the volcano down to the coast, including 1253-m Mount Tulik on the SE flank, which is almost 200 m higher than the caldera rim. Some of the post-caldera cones show evidence of wave-cut lake terraces; the more recent cones, some of which have been active historically, were formed after the caldera lake, once 150 m deep, disappeared. Hot springs and fumaroles are found within the caldera. Historical eruptions have occurred since 1805 from cinder cones within the caldera.

Information Contacts: J. Reeder, Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (ADGGS).