The 1999 Eruption of Shishaldin Volcano, Alaska: Monitoring a Distant Eruption

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Aleutians, eruption chronology, Shishaldin 1999 eruption, volcano monitoring, volcano remote sensing, volcano seismology

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Shishaldin Volcano, in the central Aleutian volcanic arc, became seismically restless during the summer of 1998. Increasing unrest was monitored using a newly installed seismic network, weather satellites, and rare local visual observations. The unrest culminated in large eruptions on 19 April and 22–23 April 1999. The opening phase of the 19 April eruption produced a sub-Plinian column that rose to 16 km before rapidly dissipating. About 80 min into the 19 April event we infer that the eruption style transitioned to vigorous Strombolian fountaining. Exceptionally vigorous seismic tremor heralded the 23 April eruption, which produced a large thermal anomaly observable by satellite, but only a modest, 6-km-high plume. There are no ground-based visual observations of this eruption; however we infer that there was renewed, vigorous Strombolian fountaining. Smaller low-level ash-rich plumes were produced through the end of May 1999. The lava that erupted was evolved basalt with about 49% SiO2. Subsequent field investigations have been unable to find a distinction between deposits from each of the two major eruptive episodes.

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Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 64, issue 8, p. 507-519