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Report on Akutan (United States) — June 1988


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 13, no. 6 (June 1988)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Akutan (United States) Ash and steam emission

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1988. Report on Akutan (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 13:6. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198806-311320


United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Ash and steam have been sporadically ejected from a cinder cone in the summit caldera since 1972. Recent periods of activity include June 1987 and March-June 1988 (table 4). Most of the observed activity is reported by airline pilots. Cloudy weather commonly obscures the view of the summit from the ground.

Table 4. Reports of activity at Akutan, 7 June-2 July 1988, compiled by John Reeder from the following observers: Clint Schoenleber, Terry Reece, Jerry Friz (Mark Air Inc.), Charles Rodehaver, Rick Wilbur, Buddy Burnett, Brian Carricaburu, Nick Sias (Peninsula Airways), Tom Madsen (Aleutian Air Ltd.), Steve Felch (Northern Air Cargo), david and June McGlashan, Charlotte Jones (Akutan village), and a member of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Summit elevation, 1,303 m; all heights reported as meters above the summit. Observers initials in brackets.

Date Time Activity [with observers]
07-10 Jun -- No reports due to cloudy weather.
10 Jun 1988 1237 No activity [CS].
10 Jun 1988 1248 White steam plume (300 m) [CS].
10 Jun 1988 1809 Steam and sulfur plume (1,137 m) [TR].
11 Jun 1988 1210 Dark ash emission (150 m) [CS].
11 Jun 1988 1348 Small transparent ash-and-steam ejection (60 m) [JR, CR].
11 Jun 1988 1353 Second ejection. The first rose 120 m and drifted S [JR, CR].
11 Jun 1988 1404 A third minor ash-and-steam plume began to form [JR, CR].
12 Jun 1988 -- No reports due to rainy, windy weather.
13 Jun 1988 1317 No activity [CS].
14-16 Jun 1988 -- No activity [JR, RW].
17 Jun 1988 1638 Column of dark ash (1,800 m) [JF].
19 Jun 1988 1204 Thin column of dark ash (460 m) drifted 9 km W [CS].
19 Jun 1988 1322 Minor ash [CR].
20 Jun 1988 1324 Three thin columns of dark ash through 1354 (797 m) [BB].
20 Jun 1988 1511 Steady ash emission (2,050 m) drifted NE 4-5.5 km [TM].
21 Jun 1988 1052 Dark ash emission (600 m) [unknown]. Fog at village until 1900.
21 Jun 1988 1900 Two large ash eruptions through 1940 [CJ and villagers].
22 Jun 1988 2351 Thick, black ash plume (200 m) drifted 9-18 km SE [BC].
23-27 Jun 1988 -- Mostly good weather. No activity.
28 Jun 1988 1316 Steam-and-ash plume (1,000-1,500 m) drifted W [SF].
28 Jun 1988 1530 Small ash plume (300-600 m) [USCG].
29 Jun 1988 -- Nearly continuous ash and steam emissions with minor "puffs" throughout the day [DM and villagers].
29 Jun 1988 1430 Large, gray ash emission (400 m) lasted several minutes and drifted SE [JM from village].
30 Jun 1988 1420 Mild ash emissions (450-600 m) [DM].
01 Jul 1988 a.m. Grayish-white cloud ("haze") seen from Akutan Harbor deposited a small amount of ash on the village [DM].
02 Jul 1988 1030 Black ash plume drifted horizontally 8 km NW through 1045 [NS].

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.