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Earth of fire

Actualité volcanique, Article de fond sur étude de volcan, tectonique, récits et photos de voyage

Publié par Bernard Duyck
Publié dans : #Eruptions historiques

Seven years ago, began a sudden and powerful eruption, described VEI 4 on Okmok volcano's caldera in the center of the Aleutian arc.

On 12 July 2008, the eruptive activity began just a few hours after a subtle increase in seismicity, followed by a short sequence of seismic swarm, noticed retrospectively.

The first explosions took away a part of the cone D, in the central-eastern sector of the caldera wide of 10 km. The most energetic phase takes place during the first ten hours of the event. Data from the GOES satellite and comparison with Puff ash dispersion model indicates a height of the initial eruption column 16 km.

 

Okmok eruption plume and of 12 July 2008 - doc. AVO

Okmok eruption plume and of 12 July 2008 - doc. AVO

Okmok - cumulative emissions of sulfur dioxide from 12 to 20.07.2008 - Doc. NILU / Nasa Earth Observatory

Okmok - cumulative emissions of sulfur dioxide from 12 to 20.07.2008 - Doc. NILU / Nasa Earth Observatory

Localistion of Okmok volcano in the Aleoutian arc - doc. AVO

Localistion of Okmok volcano in the Aleoutian arc - doc. AVO

Over the next five weeks, hundreds of millions of cubic meters of tephra and lahar deposits will cover much of the northeast of the island Umnak. Within the caldera, almost continuous hydrovolcanic explosions will accumulate several tens of meters of tephra, wet and fine grain. Explosive activity will completely disrupt the water table and standing waters in the caldera; a new tephra cone will be built, reaching finally 200 meters height. This eruption is the first volcanic event of phreatomagmatic dominance marking the US since the eruption of the maar Ukinrek (north of the Aleutian arc) in 1977.

On July 23, many lahars are noticed by a farmer; their formation is not identified with certainty: remobilization of ashes by rain, water vapor condensation syn-eruptive, water loss during wet ash falls, snow melts, or combination of factors?

 

The eruptive plume of Okmok seen on August 3, 2008 from a plane of Alaska Airlines flying at an altitude of 10.7 kilometers - photo Burke Mees

The eruptive plume of Okmok seen on August 3, 2008 from a plane of Alaska Airlines flying at an altitude of 10.7 kilometers - photo Burke Mees

On 2 and 3 August, the eruptive plume increases in height, strength and support of ashes; this coincides with an increase in the amplitude of tremor. This enhancement of activity do raise the alert level for aviation in Red by the AVO. During the first two weeks of August, the intensity of the eruption and the plume height decrease, and ash emissions stopped on August 19. A survey reveals a single vent contained in a tephra cone with steep walls.

Field observations in September, combined with the analysis of photographs will however indicate that the eruption occurred at the start of a series of vents, which opened during the first two weeks, and arranged on a 2 km line in the caldera. A tephra cone has been built above the 2008 longer active vent. The explosion and the collapse of craters, to the west of D cone, formed a depression that is filled with water and formed a lake of 0.6 km².

More details on the website of the AVO.

Caldera of Okmok - the newly formed cone and lake - Doc. AVO

Caldera of Okmok - the newly formed cone and lake - Doc. AVO

Sources :

- AVO / Alaska Volcano Observatory - link

- Global Volcanism Program - Okmok

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