Report on Great Sitkin (United States) — 19 May-25 May 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
19 May-25 May 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Great Sitkin (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 19 May-25 May 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
52.076°N, 176.13°W; summit elev. 1740 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
An increase in local earthquake activity at Great Sitkin during 24-25 May prompted AVO to raise the Aviation Color Code to Orange and the Volcano Alert Level to Watch on 25 May. An explosive eruption began later that day at 2104; the Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level were raised to Red/Warning, respectively. The explosions lasted for 1-2 minutes and produced an ash plume rising to 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. that was observed by local mariners. Witnesses 42 km away heard “a very loud explosion.” After the explosive period seismicity decreased and satellite image images showed a detached plume drifting E. Around mid-morning on 26 May AVO lowered the Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level to Orange/ Watch, respectively.
Geological Summary. The Great Sitkin volcano forms much of the northern side of Great Sitkin Island. A younger parasitic volcano capped by a small, 0.8 x 1.2 km ice-filled summit caldera was constructed within a large late-Pleistocene or early Holocene scarp formed by massive edifice failure that truncated an ancestral volcano and produced a submarine debris avalanche. Deposits from this and an older debris avalanche from a source to the south cover a broad area of the ocean floor north of the volcano. The summit lies along the eastern rim of the younger collapse scarp. Deposits from an earlier caldera-forming eruption of unknown age cover the flanks of the island to a depth up to 6 m. The small younger caldera was partially filled by lava domes emplaced in 1945 and 1974, and five small older flank lava domes, two of which lie on the coastline, were constructed along northwest- and NNW-trending lines. Hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles occur near the head of Big Fox Creek, south of the volcano. Historical eruptions have been recorded since the late-19th century.