Akutan Volcano, Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Update 005

Alaska Volcano Observatory Update
Friday, March 15, 1996 2:00 pm AST (2300 UTC)

Level Of Concern Color Code: ORANGE

Significant seismicity near Akutan volcano continues. The rate and intensity of recorded earthquakes, although currently much lower than that recorded earlier in the week, remain well above background. Last night, AVO's seismologist in Akutan reported 4-5 felt events. Our Level of Concern Color remains ORANGE indicating an eruption is possible at any time within the next few days. Based on the frequency, number and locations of recorded earthquakes, the following scenarios are still considered possible:

  1. Earthquake activity diminishes and no eruption occurs
  2. Eruption of a lava flow from a vent on the flank or within the summit caldera, accompanied by ash plumes and explosions
  3. Significant, explosive eruption producing ash plumes to altitudes of 30,000' ASL or higher.

AVO scientists will attempt to reach Akutan Island again today to install additional seismic instrumentation and make visual observations of the volcano. The weather continues to be poor. There have been few direct observations of Akutan volcano since Sunday. Earthquake activity was first reported by Akutan residents Sunday evening, March 10. Since then, seismicity has continued with large fluctuations in frequency and intensity.

Akutan volcano is located on west central Akutan Island in the eastern Aleutian Islands 185 km southwest of the tip of the Alaska Peninsula and 1225 km southwest of Anchorage. The communities of Unalaska and Dutch Harbor, lie 50 km to the southwest. The city of Akutan (seasonal population of 750) lies 13.5 km east of the volcano. Akutan is a stratovolcano with a 2-km-wide summit crater with an active cinder cone. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian arc with at least 27 separate eruptive episodes documented since 1790. The volcano frequently produces low-level eruptive activity including steam and ash emission. The most recent eruptive activity--localized steam and ash emission--occurred in 1992.

AVO is closely monitoring the situation. Further updates will be issued as information becomes available. Recordings of current information are available by calling 907-786-7478. Additionally, information on the Akutan situation is available on the Internet at: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/


Terry E.C. Keith                                Chris Nye
AVO Scientist-in-Charge                         (Acting) AVO Coordinating
U.S. Geological Survey                          Geophysical Institute
4200 University Drive                           University of Alaska
Anchorage, AK  99508-4667                       Fairbanks, AK  99775
OFF= (907) 786-7443                             OFF=(907) 474-7430
FAX= (907) 786-7425                             FAX=(907) 474-5618