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Volcanic seismicity beneath Chuginadak Island, Alaska (Cleveland and Tana volcanoes): Implications for magma dynamics and eruption forecasting

January 30, 2021

Cleveland and Tana are remote volcanoes located in the central Aleutian volcanic arc on the eastern end of the Islands of Four Mountains (IFM). The persistently active Mount Cleveland volcano, on the western side of Chuginadak Island, is surrounded by several closely spaced Quaternary volcanic centers including Carlisle, Herbert, Kagamil, Tana, and Uliaga, and numerous small satellite vents on Chiginadak between Cleveland and Tana. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) installed two permanent broadband seismometers on Chuginadak Island in 2014, and we operated a temporary broadband network focused on the western side of the island in 2015–2016. Collectively, these stations provided the first seismic observations of this frequently active volcano and the surrounding Holocene-aged volcanic vents. During the study period (July 2014–January 2019), eruptive activity at Cleveland was characterized by small explosions separated by periods of lava effusion that formed small domes in the volcano's summit crater. We characterize seismicity beneath Chuginadak Island through automated analysis of event waveform frequency content, development of a one-dimensional P-wave velocity model, calculation of earthquake hypocenters, magnitudes, focal mechanisms, and identification of earthquake families. This analysis reveals the full range of seismic event types expected in a highly active volcanic environment and includes Volcano-Tectonic (VT) earthquakes, Long-Period (LP) events, and explosion signals. LP events appear to cluster at shallow depth beneath the active crater of Mount Cleveland and almost all of the explosions occur without identifiable short-term (hours to days) seismic precursors. VT earthquakes beneath Mount Cleveland occur at depths of 2 to 8 km below sea level (BSL) and range in magnitude from −0.2 to 1.8. VT focal mechanisms have horizontal P-axes that align with the regional axis of maximum stress. These observations, and a relatively slow one-dimensional seismic velocity model, are consistent with a shallow body of magma that is fed through a deeper conduit system. The time-history of VT earthquakes and shallow LP events suggest their occurrence may track the transfer of magma and fluids from the mid-crust to the shallow portions of the conduit system and may provide a means to anticipate future explosions and periods of dome growth. VT hypocenters also extend ~7 km northeast of Cleveland's summit at depths of 5 to 10 km BSL, under a group of Holocene-aged vents between Mount Cleveland and Tana. These earthquakes have vertically-oriented P-axes and a greater percentage occur in families. These observations, combined with observations of vent orientation and morphology and gas flux, suggest the area between Cleveland and Tana represents a zone of complicated volcano-tectonic interaction, similar to calderas elsewhere in the Aleutian arc. The presence of a larger volcanic system in the eastern IFM could influence magmatism and account for the multiple closely spaced volcanic centers in this region.

Publication Year 2021
Title Volcanic seismicity beneath Chuginadak Island, Alaska (Cleveland and Tana volcanoes): Implications for magma dynamics and eruption forecasting
DOI 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2021.107182
Authors John Power, Diana Roman, John J. Lyons, Matthew M. Haney, Daniel J. Rasmussen, Terry Plank, K. P. Nicolaysen, Pavel Izbekov, C. Werner, A Kaufman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Index ID 70249479
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center