Lava effusion detected at Cleveland volcano, Aviation Color Code raised to Orange, Alaska

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Satellite data from the past day suggest that slow effusion of lava may have begun in the summit crater. Thus, the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is increasing the Aviation Color Code to ORANGE and the Volcano Alert Level to WATCH on November 8, 2019.

Highly elevated surface temperatures consistent with lava at the surface have been observed over the past day and robust steaming was seen in web camera and satellite data yesterday, AVO added.

However, there is no evidence of explosive, ash-producing activity observed. 

Future explosions at Cleveland are likely and the presence of a lava dome in the summit crater may increase the possibility of this type of activity. They occur without warning and typically produce relatively small volcanic ash clouds that dissipate within hours; however, more significant ash emissions are possible.

Photo taken on April 27, 2019. Looking south at some of the Islands of Four Mountains volcanoes. Volcanoes from left to right: Kagamil, Cleveland, Carlile, Herbert. Photo courtesy of Dave Clum

Geological summary

Beautifully symmetrical Mount Cleveland stratovolcano is situated at the western end of the uninhabited, dumbbell-shaped Chuginadak Island. It lies SE across Carlisle Pass strait from Carlisle volcano and NE across Chuginadak Pass strait from Herbert volcano.

Cleveland is joined to the rest of Chuginadak Island by a low isthmus. The 1730-m-high (5 675 feet) Mount Cleveland is the highest of the Islands of the Four Mountains group and is one of the most active of the Aleutian Islands. The native name for Mount Cleveland, Chuginadak, refers to the Aleut goddess of fire, who was thought to reside on the volcano.

Numerous large lava flows descend the steep-sided flanks. It is possible that some 18th to 19th century eruptions attributed to Carlisle should be ascribed to Cleveland (Miller et al., 1998).

In 1944 Cleveland produced the only known fatality from an Aleutian eruption. Recent eruptions have been characterized by short-lived explosive ash emissions, at times accompanied by lava fountaining and lava flows down the flanks. (GVP)

Featured image credit: Dave Clum

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