Report on Okmok (United States) — 16 July-22 July 2008
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 July-22 July 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Okmok (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 July-22 July 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
53.43°N, 168.13°W; summit elev. 1073 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
AVO reported that during 15-16 July seismicity from Okmok changed from nearly continuous to episodic volcanic tremor, and the overall seismic intensity declined. Satellite imagery indicated elevated surface temperatures in the NE sector of the caldera; meteorological clouds obscured views. On 16 July, the Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Watch and the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Orange. On 17 July, a pilot reported that an ash plume rose to altitudes of 4.6-6.1 km (15,000-20,000) a.s.l. and drifted E and NE. On 18 July, AVO indicated that the eruption was episodic, with occasional ash-producing explosions occurring every 15 to 30 minutes. The plumes from these explosions were limited to about 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l.
On 19 July seismicity increased markedly, interpreted as possibly indicating that ash plumes rose to altitudes of 7.6-9.1 km (25,000-30,000 ft) a.s.l. The Volcano Alert Level was raised to Warning and the Aviation Color Code was raised to Red. The next day, seismicity declined again and the Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Watch and the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Orange. Satellite imagery revealed that an ash plume about 20 km from Okmok drifted SE at an altitude of 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. Additional ash plumes observed on satellite imagery and spotted by pilots rose to altitudes of 4.6-6.1 km (15,000-20,000 ft) a.s.l. During 21-22 July, ash plumes rose to altitudes of 6.1-9.1 km (20,000-30,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE.
Geologic Background. 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.