A series of small earthquakes near a long-dormant volcanic peak in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands has prompted researchers to raise the alert level for the Little Sitkin volcano. Swarm of high-frequency earthquakes began on night of August 29 night at approximately 19:15 AKDT (04:15 UTC), August 29.
This anomalous seismic activity continued into Thursday, prompting the alert level at the volcano being raised at yellow aviation color code. Yellow alert means that the volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level. Additionally, aircraft traveling in the area are advised to exercise caution.
Little Sitkin volcano occupies Little Sitkin Island in the western Aleutian Islands, and is within the Aleutian Island National Wildlife Refuge. The active stratovolcano rises 1188 m (3898 ft) in the center-northeastern part of the island. The island is 330 km (200 mi) northwest of the community of Adak, 377 km (234 mi) southeast of Attu, and 2173 km (1350 mi) southwest of Anchorage, Alaska.. The volcano is located in a remote part of the Aleutians, about 35 miles northwest of the World War II outpost of Amchitka and 200 miles west of Adak.
Little Sitkin joins two other Alaska volcanoes, Iliamna and Cleveland, currently at elevated alert levels. Cleveland is still at Orange code, and Iliamna is at Yellow code alert.
The most recent eruption may have come in 1900, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory. Smithsonian Global Volcanism program documents the last eruption as 1830. There may have been a “cataclysmic eruption” on the island sometime after the last ice age, which ended more than 11,000 years ago.
All Little Sitkin Reports (Alaska Volcano Observatory)
Featured image: Little Sitkin volcano on September 28, 2005 (Credit: C.A. Neal/Image courtesy of AVO / U.S. Geological Survey)