Report on Shishaldin (United States) — 11 March-17 March 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 March-17 March 2020
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2020. Report on Shishaldin (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 March-17 March 2020. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
54.756°N, 163.97°W; summit elev. 2857 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Lava and a possible new cone in Shishaldin’s summit crater were visible in a satellite image on 14 March prompting AVO to raise the Volcano Alert Level to Watch and the Aviation Color Code to Orange. Weak but elevated seismicity was also recorded along with small explosion signals during 14-17 March. Elevated surface temperatures, consistent with lava in the summit crater, were identified in satellite images during 15-17 March. A small steam plume rising from the summit crater was visible in a webcam image on 17 March.
Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The glacier-covered volcano is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes along an E-W line in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning "mountain which points the way when I am lost." A steam plume often rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, it is largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the W and NE sides at 1,500-1,800 m elevation. There are over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is blanketed by massive aa lava flows. Frequent explosive activity, primarily consisting of Strombolian ash eruptions from the small summit crater, but sometimes producing lava flows, has been recorded since the 18th century.