AVO: Eruption likely under way at Alaska volcano

Veniaminof intracaldera cinder cone. Ash plume drifting to NE. Photo taken from a Navajo (Security Aviation) during an observational overflight when the volcano was last active on January 11, 2005. (Photo courtesy of K. L. Wallace and AVO / U.S. Geological Survey)

The Veniaminof Volcano on the Alaska Peninsula is apparently erupting.

Thursday morning the Alaska Volcano Observatory upgraded the volcano alert level for the Veniaminof Volcano to “Watch” due to satellite images that indicate an ongoing eruption.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has been closely monitoring the Veniaminof Volcano since Saturday when they noticed elevated levels of seismic activity. Chris Waythomas, a geologist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, confirms that AVO has a seismic network on the volcano but it’s not functioning at 100-percent.

The seismic network is solar powered and some of the stations have apparently not yet come back online due to snow and ice cover. However, Waythomas says that doesn’t account for all the stations.

Mount Veniaminof is an active stratovolcano and it was named after Ivan Popov Veniaminov. He lived from 1797 to 1879 and was a Russian Orthodox missionary priest who is now a saint of the Orthodox Church. He was well known for his writings on the Alaska Native languages. The last time the volcano showed more energetic activity was in 1993 to 1994.

AVO notes that seismic activity similar to the ongoing activity last occurred back in 2005.

Veniaminof has erupted at least 12 times in the past 200 years.

Veniaminof is not the only volcano on the Alaska Peninsula that’s currently in an eruptive state. The Pavlof Volcano to the southwest of Mount Veniaminof is currently at Volcano Alert Level “Watch.”

Waythomas confirms that AVO is still detected elevated seismic activity at Pavlof.

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