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Report on Augustine (United States) — 8 March-14 March 2006


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
8 March-14 March 2006
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Augustine (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 March-14 March 2006. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (8 March-14 March 2006)


United States

59.363°N, 153.43°W; summit elev. 1252 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Low-level eruptive activity continued at Augustine during 3-10 March. The overall level of seismicity increased, with periods of prolonged volcanic tremor and an increase in the frequency of small volcano-tectonic earthquakes. The seismic network, particularly on the E flank, continued to record block-and-ash-flows, rock avalanches, and rockfalls that originated from the summit lava dome. Vigorous steaming was seen on 9 March, mostly from fumaroles on the S and W sides of the dome. Observations on 8 and 9 March revealed that small-scale collapses of the summit lava dome occurred regularly, usually producing block-and-ash-flows and small diffuse ash clouds. The block-and-ash-flows occurred on the E to NE sector of the volcano and extended to within ~1 km of the coastline. Airborne measurements of gas emissions on 9 March indicated both SO2 and CO2 gas in the plume. This was the first time since the fall of 2005 that CO2 had been a component of the gas plume, and likely indicated the presence of new magma entering the volcanic system. All available information indicated that the lava dome at the volcano's summit continued to grow. According to AVO, over several days before 10 March the rate of dome growth increased relative to the past several weeks, probably reflecting the influx of new magma. Augustine remained at Concern Color Code Orange.

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 largest historical eruption in 1883; subsequent dome growth has restored the volcano 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. Historical 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.

Sources: Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), US Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO)