The Sciences

More on Okmok

Rocky Planet iconRocky PlanetBy Erik KlemettiJul 14, 2008 6:39 AM

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Sorry about the brevity of this update, but I'm exhausted.

From the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO):

At this time, based on AVO analysis of satellite data, ash is continuing to erupt from a composite cinder and spatter cone called Cone D in the eastern portion of the 6-mile wide caldera or crater of Okmok. It appears that the eruption is very water-rich due to interaction of rising magma with very shallow groundwater and surficial water inside the caldera. We have few direct observations into the caldera and details of the current event remain unknown.

The current activity differs in character from the past three significant eruptions at Okmok in 1945, 1958, and 1997. All of these eruptions occurred at a cinder and spatter cone on the far western portion of the caldera floor, Cone A. In general, each eruption was mildly to moderately explosive with most ash clouds produced rising less than 30,000 ft above sea level. Each eruption also produced a lava flow that traveled about 5 miles across the caldera floor.

Based on past eruptions at Okmok and our analysis of the current episode of activity, we would expect this event to continue for several weeks and possibly longer. The position of the vent in the eastern caldera adjacent to a shallow lake suggests that water will continue to play a role in increasing the explosivity of the eruption resulting in significant ash and steam production. If the eruption follows patterns of previous Okmok events, lava will eventually reach the surface to form lava fountains, spatter accumulations, and possibly a lava flow. It is also possible that explosivity could intensify at any time.

Sounds like a good one underway!

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