The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) monitors over 40 historically active volcanoes along the Aleutian Arc. Twenty are seismically monitored and for the rest, the AVO monitoring program relies mainly on pilot reports, observations of local residents and ship crews, and daily analysis of satellite images. In 1997, AVO responded to eruptive activity or suspect volcanic activity at 11 volcanic centers: Wrangell, Sanford, Shrub mud volcano, Iliamna, the Katmai group (Martin, Mageik, Snowy, and Kukak volcanoes), Chiginagak, Pavlof, Shishaldin, Okmok, Cleveland, and Amukta. Of these, AVO has real-time, continuously recording seismic networks at Iliamna, the Katmai group, and Pavlof. The phrase “suspect volcanic activity” (SVA), used to characterize several responses, is an eruption report or report of unusual activity that is subsequently determined to be normal or enhanced fumarolic activity, weather-related phenomena, or a non-volcanic event.
In addition to responding to eruptive activity at Alaska volcanoes, AVO also disseminated information for the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) about the 1997 activity of 5 Russian volcanoes--Sheveluch, Klyuchevskoy, Bezymianny, Karymsky, and Alaid (SVA).
This report summarizes volcanic activity and SVA in Alaska during 1997 and the AVO response, as well as information on the reported activity at the Russian volcanoes. Only those reports or inquiries that resulted in a “significant” investment of staff time and energy (here defined as several hours or more for reaction, tracking, and follow-up) are included. AVO typically receives dozens of reports throughout the year of steaming, unusual cloud sightings, or eruption rumors. Most of these are resolved quickly and are not tabulated here as part of the 1997 response record.