Report on Okmok (United States) — 6 August-12 August 2008
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 August-12 August 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, 6 August-12 August 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 scientists observed the eruption of Okmok during a visit to Umnak Island on 2 and 3 August. They saw significant ashfall that had accumulated in the caldera and on the upper flanks, lahars and lahar deltas that formed in drainages from the SE to the NE flank, and continuous ash jets being emitted from three or more vents in the vicinity of Cone D in the NE sector of the caldera. Elevated seismicity was detected during 6-8 August, and declined on 9 August. According to observations of satellite imagery, steam plumes possibly containing ash rose to altitudes below 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. during 9-10 August. On 11 August, steam plumes rose to altitudes of less than 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE. Ash plumes that rose to around a hundred meters above the crater were reported by an observer in Nikolski (80 km SW). These plumes were not detected on satellite imagery due to cloud cover. On 12 August, a pilot reported an ash plume at an altitude of 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch and the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.
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.