Environment
4:23 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

AVO Says Shishaldin No Cause For Concern

The summit of Mt. Shishaldin
Credit photovolcancica.com

Despite continued eruptive activity, experts say there isn’t cause for concern at Mount Shishaldin.  KDLG’s Chase Cavanaugh has more.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has released its weekly update on the state’s active peaks.  According to acting scientist-in-charge Jessica Larsen, Mount Shishaldin, a peak in the eastern Aleutians, has been undergoing a mild eruption for several weeks.

“Shishaldin still has some low level eruptive activity and we can see that in both in some elevated surface temperatures at the summit region which we can measure with sattelites and then we also can see there’s a pretty persistant steam and gas plume that we can see in the web camera and satellite images occasionally when weather permits our viewing opportuinity there, and we have some infrasound and seismic data that indicate this low level eruptive activity is continuing.”

Because of this activity, Shishaldin’s aviation color code has been raised to orange.  However, Larsen says this is no cause for immediate concern.

“It’s a color code that we apply to a situation where we know a volcano is erupting and the hazards are pretty limited and local.  On the other hand, at times, this is not the case for Shishaldin right now, but at times, we use color code orange if we have a volcano that’s really ramping up and escalating in activity and we think it might start erupting in a more violent eruption soon.”

She adds that Mount Semisopochnoi, located in the western Aleutians, is at code yellow.

“In the case of Semisopochnoi, we’ve had, over the past several weeks, elevated earthquake activity that we’ve measured.  Semisopochnoi is not currently erupting, but it’s just, there’s some unrest. Right now, at Semisopochnoi, the earthquake activity has been decreasing significantly.  It’s been doing this over the past couple weeks and it’s approaching background levels, so really the color code yellow there just means that we’re watching the volcano more frequently.  We do see signs of unrest, but right now it’s not erupting and actually the activity there is starting to decline.”

The only other significant activity is at central Aleutian volcano Mount Cleveland, which is experiencing elevated temperatures.  More details on these mountains and other active sites can be found at the website of the Alaska Volcano Observatory.