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Report on Augustine (United States) — July 1988


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 13, no. 7 (July 1988)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Augustine (United States) Increased steam emission follows earthquake

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1988. Report on Augustine (United States) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 13:7. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198807-313010


United States

59.3626°N, 153.435°W; summit elev. 1218 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

At 1405 on 30 July, MarkAir pilots Kriss Paull and Bruce Gorham observed larger than normal steam emission from Augustine. When first observed, the plume was described as dirty steam with dark streaks at 1600 to 1800 m altitude, but it rose to about 2,700-3,000 m altitude within several minutes. At 1530, on their return from Kodiak to Anchorage, the pilots observed the plume spreading E and topping out slightly higher than 3600 m altitude. The volcano has emitted steam continuously since its 1986 eruption. Less than 4 minutes before the plume was first observed, an earthquake with an epicenter of 60.0°N, 153.5°W (about 75 km NW of the volcano) was felt in the lower Cook inlet region. The event occurred at 1401:29 and was located by the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center at a depth of 169 km with a local magnitude of 4.1. The University of Alaska Geophysical Institute seismic network detected two Augustine earthquakes at about 1603 and 1621 with above-normal magnitudes (about 1).

Geological Summary. Augustine volcano, rising above Kamishak Bay in the southern Cook Inlet about 290 km SW of Anchorage, is the most active volcano of the eastern Aleutian arc. It consists of a complex of overlapping summit lava domes surrounded by an apron of volcaniclastic debris that descends to the sea on all sides. Few lava flows are exposed; the flanks consist mainly of debris-avalanche and pyroclastic-flow deposits formed by repeated collapse and regrowth of the summit. The latest episode of edifice collapse occurred during Augustine's large 1883 eruption; subsequent dome growth has restored the edifice to a height comparable to that prior to 1883. The oldest dated volcanic rocks on Augustine are more than 40,000 years old. At least 11 large debris avalanches have reached the sea during the past 1,800-2,000 years, and five major pumiceous tephras have been erupted during this interval. Recorded eruptions have typically consisted of explosive activity with emplacement of pumiceous pyroclastic-flow deposits followed by lava dome extrusion with associated block-and-ash flows.

Information Contacts: J. Reeder, ADGGS.