Shishaldin on orange alert

Image Wikimedia Commons

Image Wikimedia Commons

Shishaldn is on alert level orange ( April 16th 2014) and has been since January., which means it is on watch. Some puffs of smoke have been detected and there was a heat signature back in march. So i thought it worth a post so our readers can keep in eye on this beautiful volcano. There seems to be no imminent risk for people because of the remote location of the volcano. Just pilots should watch if there were recent ash emissions. The volcano is one of the more active volcanoes of the Aleutan chain. The following is mostly a quote from Wikipedia:

It is the highest mountain peak of the Aleutian Islands. The most symmetrical cone-shaped glacier-clad large mountain on earth, the volcano’s topographic contour lines are nearly perfect circles above 6,500 feet (2,000 m). The lower north and south slopes are somewhat steeper than the lower eastern and western slopes. The volcano is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes along an east–west line in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning “mountain which points the way when I am lost.” The upper 2,000 meters is almost entirely covered by glacial snow and ice. In all, Shishaldin’s glacial shield covers about 35 square miles (91 km2). It is flanked to the northwest by 24 monogenetic parasitic cones, an area blanketed by massive a lava flows. The Shishaldin cone is less than 10,000 years old and is constructed on a glacially eroded remnant of an ancestral soma and shield. Remnants of the older ancestral volcano are exposed on the west and northeast sides at 1,500–1,800 meters elevation. The Shishaldin edifice contains about 300 cubic kilometers of material. A very steady steam plume rises from its small summit crater which is about 500 feet (150 m) across and slightly breached along the north rim.” Shishaldin Volcano with a typical steam plume, pictured on Sept. 14, 2013. Photo by Joseph Korpiewski, U.S. Coast Guard. Shishaldin Volcano with a typical steam plume, pictured on Sept. 14, 2013. Photo by Joseph Korpiewski, U.S. Coast Guard.

Description available on the AVO page : ”
From Miller and others (1998): “Shishaldin Volcano, located near the center of Unimak Island, is a spectacular symmetrical cone about 16 km in diameter at the base. The mountain, which rises to a summit 2857 m above sea level, is the highest peak in the Aleutian Islands and has a small summit crater from which a steady cloud of steam is emitted. The upper 2000 m is almost entirely covered by perennial snow and ice. It is flanked to the northwest by 24 monogenetic parasitic cones (Fournelle, 1988). The Shishaldin cone is less than 10,000 year old and is constructed on a glacially eroded remnant of an ancestral soma and shield (Fournelle, 1988), which in turn are underlain by volcaniclastic rocks of probable late Tertiary age (McLean and others, 1978). Fournelle (1988) suggests that the basement may consist, at least in part, of plutonic rocks.

Alaska Observatory on Shishaldin

A webcam is pointed at it, though the weather is really bad rather often.

A clear day image of this cam:

and a video of the last 24 hours is also available.
Two webicorders show Shishaldins activity: but the second one seems to be out of order


GVP on Shishaldin

Volcanodiscovery on Shishaldin
“The beautifully symmetrical volcano of Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The 2857-m-high, 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 steady steam plume rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, Shishaldin is Holocene in age and largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the west and NE sides at 1500-1800 m elevation. Shishaldin contains 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.”

Volcano World:

Wikipedia :

Image Wikimedia Commons

Image Wikimedia Commons

Volcano Live ( John Seach)

Really nice summary also available on


Geology links:

Arc Volcanism in a nutshell:

Geology and petrology of ejecta from the 1999 eruption of Shishaldin Volcano, Alaska, Stelling, P.; Beget, J.; Nye, C.; Gardner, J.; Devine, J. D.; George, R. M. M. :…64..548S

Hazrd Assesment : ( Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for Shishaldin Volcano, Alaska )

Acoustic signals of the eruption 1999


Unimak Volcanoes:

Earth from Orbit also has a nice image of the volcanoes of the Unimak Islands

Image taken from the ISS found on Twitter

Image taken from the ISS found on Twitter



67 thoughts on “Shishaldin on orange alert

  1. Beautiful Volcano!

    Shishaldin seems like a good candidate for the list of volcanoes that may be on the geological countdown towards a caldera eruption (likely some time in next 10,000 years).

  2. Been out to Dutch Harbor years ago as a Co-Pilot on a Government Charter.
    VERY nasty weather (this was a King Air 90) Cleared off and flew back up the Aleutian chain in nice weather. Wish I’d been into volcanoes then..

    • Considering the platform, its quite good that you did not wind up into a volcano. An aficionado is one thing, being into them is quite another.

    • As I did some advertisement for this post around Facebook I had one of my rather confused moments, I wrote by accident that it was in Kamchatka. Well, I am fully aware that it is in Alaska. *facepalm*
      I guess I should take a nap…

      • The volcanoes that I am not familiar with always sound like they belong in Japan. The names are so odd. *forehead smack*.
        Very interesting post – thanks. Always such lovely photos and informative links – takes a while to dive deeply into Volcano Cafe posts!!

      • Merged onto the Interstate today. At this location, on-ramp traffic merges from the left. You have to keep a wary eye on the interstate traffic since it is a blind corner on a bridge. Traffic rarely slows to the posted limit. I had a bright yellow corvette behind me being quite courteous since he obviously knew of the danger as well. A little white sporty convertible spotted me and darted to the outside lane, cutting off a rig. It’s a forced merge, you either merge or you eat the concrete barrier. If you stop then everyone behind you eats you. I accelerated up to the speed limit and waited for the little white arsehole to clear, then I moved over to the outside to let the patient yellow vett go by. Turd monkey in the white car cuts him off. Pissed, I held my speed and let another hole open up for the Vette so that he could move over, which he did. Turd monkey got pissed and dropped in behind the Vett’s ass. The Vett signaled and caught the next off-ramp. The white convertible asshole rocketed down the the interstate, dunno if it were him or not, but FHP had snagged someone down the road a bit.

        Overall, I was quite impressed with the yellow vett driver. They were probably acutely aware that the fiberglass body of that model car offers very little protection in traffic. (sheet steel is also very little protection when you’ve got several tons of metal jockeying for a place to be at in heavy, tight traffic at Interstate speed.)

        Yeah, this is OT, but it is here to illustrate that karma can get ya if you’re an ass. That vett could have easily eaten his lunch if it came down to an actual race. As for the rules of the road, the yellow vett was being quite gentlemanly where the white convertible was not. Given the location… that white car is lucky he didn’t wind up being a speed bump for a rig. I’ve worked accidents there in the past, and they are usually not forgiving. It’s very tight. One of the nasties in that area involved a vehicle fire since a Cadillac had driven up under the rear end of a truckload of meat. My stepson wound up on the detail trying to identify what was passenger and what was product.

  3. Along that same line (Aleutians) Okmok is another stunning volcano.
    While in the Coast Guard, the ship I was on, passed Okmok through a pass only half a mile wide! White Water conditions and extreme currents, even though the water was 100 feet deep. The way it was explained to me, (and it definitely makes sense) Part of the time, the Pacific is trying to get to the Bering Sea, the rest of the time, the Bering Sea is trying to get to the Pacific.
    During the entire transit, Okmok had a small plume coming from it. The volcano itself starts about a mile or so, away from the water.

    • This set Okmok on my list of volcanoes to cover. 😉 You don’t happen to have some images we might use?

  4. Good evening all! Thank you Spica! Interesting article on a beautiful volcano! I don’t know if this came up here earlier but I just saw these statements on the AVO website from Jan. 29 and Febr. 10, 2014, about their shortage of equipment, meaning they can’t monitor several volcanoes like Aniakchak or Fourpeaked any longer, or just partially 😦

    “The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) has experienced numerous seismic station failures and our ability to monitor activity at some volcanoes has failed or is heavily impaired. For volcanoes with failed ground instrumentation networks, AVO is unable to (1) assess whether this volcano may be building towards an eruption and/or (2) quickly confirm or dismiss reports of activity. Because these volcanoes are no longer seismically monitored, they will move from volcano alert level Normal and Aviation Color Code Green to “unassigned”. …”

    And a screenshot of Ambrym, Vanuato, from last midnight (l.t.)

  5. This is just a short note that I have updated and somewhat beautified my webcam collection, now with webcams on the Nicaraguan volcanoes, also Mt. Pelee and Piton de la Fournaise, as well as an Iceland page and Mt. Beerenberg among others. Thank you everyone who have posted new links to webcams here! 🙂

    For the record (or the Hoard) these are the Nicaraguan webcams:
    1. Concepción
    2. Masaya 1
    3. Masaya 2

  6. Clear view of Sinabung right now! It looks really strange now with that thick lava tongue… I wonder what the hight of that front scarp might be, 100m ?

  7. Apparently, the mining wars that Carl alluded to previously, are still going on, with corruption and treason acting as stage managers. And, could be behind the flailex in Nevada and why the BLM was provoking a confrontation with the rancher.

    Rare Earth Mineralization of Southern Clark County, Nevada Jessica J. Bruns

    For anyone who doesn’t know… REE are used in cutting edge technology. Lock up that market and you can hold up production of anything using it. They are not only used in ultra strong magnets (which are used in Magnetrons), but they are used in oddball unique components such as YIG oscillators and devices. (YIG → Yttrium Iron Garnet). These things can oscillate and obscenely high frequencies by spinning the magnetic domain of the device.

    Should a politician use his influence to enable a foreign power to gain control of those resources… that would be treason of the highest order.

    • Problem is that it is not really the politician who are to blame here.
      The REE business was not really big on the big mining companies agenda since it was really not that profitable untill mid nineties, and by then China had taken over the shebang. Fastforward ten years.
      Now Russia, EU and the US have discovered that they are collectively caught with their pants down and that China owns the market. So, right now there is a government funded race to open up old mines, or find new mines. This time around it is the politicians who have the heads up on the companies (must be a first really).

      • Well, if there is criminal intent, you can bet a politician is involved. We have a history of political lizards using state and federal assets to line their pockets.

        On 8 June 2010, a federal appeals court overturned the bribery conviction, ruling that Childers’ constitutional right to confront his accuser had been violated, as the defense team was not allowed to question Junior on his change of testimony.

        Considering that Willie Junior wound up dead (via interesting circumstances) that was pretty much a lock. I think that instead of overturning it they should have investigated his connection with Willie Jr’s (assisted?) “suicide.”

  8. El Hierro, a 3.3, but looks only a single event:
    1270024 17/04/2014 02:28:42 27.7412 -18.2918 18 Sentido 3.3 mbLg W FRONTERA.IHI

    • Hi Harrie
      Well observed, there’re on the quakes’ list but not on the histograms. The 3.3 is located near Orchilla rather deep (18 kms). There are at least 3 quakes in all since this morning including the one you speak about. I’ll do a plot later today.

  9. Nice to see that Google updated the imagery for Mount Sinabung. You can see the lava tounge and pyroclastic flow deposits.

  10. HI

    I got some Digital elevation data for Nishino Shima, So I made a little video. First a 360 ° rotation with some tilt added then a vertical rotation with a final top view. The colorbar gives the corresponding terrain elevation value. The terrain is a bit exagerated vertically.

    The data used dates back to 16 February 2014.
    data from
    Initial link from Avcan FB (but not directly to the DEM)
    Made on Gnu Octave 3.2.4 – Linux (Ubuntu) version

      • Not so odd really. First of all there we have the last eruption site of Campi Flegrei. And, we also have Ischia close by and that is gargling up loads of magma and is rather hot.

      • Didn’t say it was odd, just that it was “interesting.” To me, that supports the region as being more likely than other sites in the area to show activity.

        Likewise, I didn’t say that Childers had Willie Jr. taken out, only that Willie’s method of suicide is interesting.

        Odd would be if Vesuvius were seismically active (very active) and the heat flux were stronger elsewhere. To me, “odd” would be conflicting indicators, like being familiar with human anatomy and drinking antifreeze, knowing that it would be a drawn out, painful death. A bizarre thing for someone in the mortuary business to do.

        • Sorry, sloppy phrasing on my part.
          Hm… So, I guess that the best place for a graveyard would be somewhere on the western side. Would most likely solve the problem quickest.

        • Well, it would certainly be better having flaming corpses than lapilli laced with garbage…

          As for phrasing… it’s not as bad as my misinterpreting of “schlampe.”

  11. And the latest Nishino Shima pictures (15/4/14) from Japan Coast Guard

    look at the crater, you can see some lava

      • I have other data sets, I’ll try to produce something nice for the week end.
        and yes if you look at the pictures, this sturdy little island is going the hawaïi way. There’s still some millions years though to get there….too bad we do not have a seismo meter over there….

        • DFM, you have a ultra-secret message in the Dragons Den about Nishinoshima…

          If you are not a Dragon: This is a hidden message, now try to forget that name of Nishinoshima, really really try to forget Nishinoshima, sit and think hard about forgetting Nishinoshima. Remember, there is no such thing as Nishinoshima…

  12. And about El Hierro, here is the update since the beginning of April

    This include this morning 3.3 (west at sea).

    The sequences are the following :

    – event by event with view from the South
    – the same with view from the East
    – the same viewed form the top
    – horizontal rotation
    – vertical rotation and back
    – zoom on the last event

    The title bar shows the event number vs total, date, hour, magnitude
    The color bar gives the age of the the event relative to date (on the left) and the terrain elevation range (on the right)

    Made on Gnu octave 3.2.4 Linux version
    Data from IGN and NOAA

      • Hi
        I agree with you. The 3.3 is in the area of the 5.1 (I think). But the depth is very different so….
        However there is a small cluster right under the island’s top. And all located between 15 and 10 km depth.
        But, the deformation data was stable up to the 15th (no new graph since then), so if it were a small intrusion, it is indeed small. The seismicity frequency is too low for something happening in fact.

  13. “The mountain that points the way when you are lost!” Hell, don’t we all need one of those? Gotta love it. That and the beautiful symmetry of it.

    Wish I had more time to hang around in here. Just been too busy lately (a good thing btw!!) Those latest pics of Sinabung are also really juicy. Kind of like the Haroharo domes on Tarawera. Amazing the different topography you can get from volcanoes all depending on the viscosity and gas content of what’s coming out.

    Nice stuff all round everyone.

  14. Has Volcano of the month been decided?

    Tungurahua is still rockin and a rollin if not. The eruption shall be continuing w/ magma from even farther down entering the volcano.

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