Report on Veniaminof (United States) — 3 March-9 March 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
3 March-9 March 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Veniaminof (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 3 March-9 March 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
56.17°N, 159.38°W; summit elev. 2507 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
AVO reported that elevated sulfur dioxide gas emissions at Veniaminof were first detected on 1 March and elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images sometime during 2-3 March. At 0513 on 4 March infrasound sensors recorded a small explosion, prompting AVO to raise the Volcano Alert Level to Watch and the Aviation Color Code to Orange. A low-level ash plume, to less than 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l., was visible in satellite and webcam images drifting SSE and minor ash deposits around the volcano were visible. Small emissions continued at least through 1048 that day. Sulfur dioxide emissions were visible in a webcam image on 5 March. Numerous small explosions were recorded during 6-7 March; some of them were heard and felt by residents in Perryville (35 km SE). Elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images, suggesting lava near or at the surface. During times of clear weather low-level gas-and-ash plumes were visible in satellite and webcam data and observed by pilots. The plumes mainly stayed below 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l., but at times went as high as 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l., and drifted 150 km NE.
On 7 March satellite images revealed that the emissions originated from a small cone in the summit caldera. Additionally, lava was likely effusing under the intra-caldera glacier in an area on the flank about 1 km E of the cone’s summit. This area produced incandescence and strongly elevated surface temperatures, as well as a small steam plume and meltwater. During 8-9 March satellite images showed a small, steam-rich plume drifting about 10 km NE at 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l.
Geological Summary. Veniaminof, on the Alaska Peninsula, is truncated by a steep-walled, 8 x 11 km, glacier-filled caldera that formed around 3,700 years ago. The caldera rim is up to 520 m high on the north, is deeply notched on the west by Cone Glacier, and is covered by an ice sheet on the south. Post-caldera vents are located along a NW-SE zone bisecting the caldera that extends 55 km from near the Bering Sea coast, across the caldera, and down the Pacific flank. Historical eruptions probably all originated from the westernmost and most prominent of two intra-caldera cones, which rises about 300 m above the surrounding icefield. The other cone is larger, and has a summit crater or caldera that may reach 2.5 km in diameter, but is more subdued and barely rises above the glacier surface.