Update, November 22, 2018, 12:51 p.m., Pacific: Happy Thanksgiving! Also, AVO has decreased the alert level back to Orange, as Veniaminof’s ash emissions have decreased in intensity, though they continue (along with the flowing red lava.
AVO Veniaminof RED/WARNING – Increased continuous ash emissions to 15,000 ft and extending over 150 miles to the SE https://t.co/LgtWa8nR0k
— Alaska AVO (@alaska_avo) November 21, 2018
This was a Sunday Morning Volcano back in October, with a beautiful video of a molten flow down the volcano’s steep flank. Some volcanoes are capable of both Hawaiian-style “red lava” and explosive “gray lava” activity.
Veniaminof is way out in the Aleutian chain, though close to some small communities. The major problem with this and any Alaskan volcano’s typical eruptive activity–not talking extreme stuff like Novarupta/Katmai last century–is that aviation great-circle routes pass overhead and carry lots of traffic.
Here is the VAAC list of advisories, with Veniaminof currently at the top.
It’s difficult for volcanologists to image Aleutian volcanoes with webcams, let alone the rest of us, but I did find this video just now–can’t vouch for it, but it does show Veniaminof (upper left) from, I think, the FAA camera in Perryville, and you can see the ash cloud.
Here’s the current still image from Perryville (you’ll have to hunt for the webcam here; I can’t find a link). Yes, this is a volcanic ash cloud, on a heavily traveled air route:
Here’s a screencap to show you roughly where the Perryville cam is located on this FAA map.
Addendum: I finally found the NOAA/NWS Alaska SIGMETS page. Here is the graphic for Veniaminof:
Update, 4:01 p.m., Pacific: Things have quieted down a bit, but AVO is maintaining the red aviation code:
VENIAMINOF VOLCANO (VNUM #312070)
56°11’52” N 159°23’35” W, Summit Elevation 8225 ft (2507 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: RED
Seismic activity has remained elevated in the past 24 hours, and ramped up around 08:00 UTC before falling slightly throughout the day today. By 11:43 UTC an ash plume was observed in satellite data extending 80 miles to the SE, with maximum height estimated at 13,000 ft asl. This plume continued to develop throughout the night extending to over 150 miles. In response, the national weather service issued a SIGMET. Clear webcam views in the morning indicated continued ash emission to the SE, and a second plume developed extending over 120 miles to the SE. A pilot report from the morning indicated that the ash cloud was below 10,000 ft.
In response to this increase of activity, the color code and alert level was raised to Red/Warning. Ash3d forecasts suggest a possible shift to northerly winds overnight tonight that may result in ash impacts on the community of Perryville, and the National Weather Service has issued an advisory for trace to minor ash fall.
No satellite observations of thermal anomalies associated with the continued lava flow were observed in the last 24 hours, but such signatures could be obscured by increased ash emissions and/or cloud cover.
Veniaminof volcano is monitored with a local real-time seismic network, which will typically allow AVO to detect changes in unrest that may lead to a more significant explosive eruption. Rapid detection of such an event would be accomplished using a combination of seismic, infrasound, lightning, and satellite data.
Featured image: Current Veniaminoff webicorder from Alaska Volcano Observatory