Bulletin of Volcanology

, 81:62 | Cite as

Overview, chronology, and impacts of the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska

  • Michelle CoombsEmail author
  • Kristi Wallace
  • Cheryl Cameron
  • John Lyons
  • Aaron Wech
  • Kim Angeli
  • Peter Cervelli
Research Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. The 2016-17 shallow submarine eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska


The 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, a back-arc shallow submarine volcano in Alaska’s Aleutian arc, began in December 2016 and included 70 explosive events and at least two episodes of subaerial dome building. Because the volcano had no local monitoring stations during the eruption, a combination of distant seismic stations, regional infrasound sensors, lightning detection, a variety of satellite data and observer reports, and a field visit in 2018, were used to recreate the events that occurred during the nine-month eruption. Following precursory seismicity that started in September 2016, the eruption began in December 2016 with a series of explosive events that persisted through mid-March 2017. After a 6-week hiatus, activity resumed on May 17 and lasted through the end of August 2017 and consisted of additional explosions and two short-lived subaerial lava domes that formed in June and August. For most of the eruption, Bogoslof’s vent was submerged in shallow seawater, though during several of the longer events a subaerial edifice grew, and the vent migrated above sea level resulting in more ash-rich volcanic clouds. Eruptive products, geophysical signals, and eruptive style are all broadly consistent with vulcanian activity where slow magma ascent led to repetitive dome or plug formation, overpressurization in the upper conduit, and sudden release during short-lived explosions. Infiltration of seawater may have prohibited large domes from forming especially in the first half of the eruption when explosions were closely spaced in time. The largest four explosions in the sequence occurred after inter-event times of 10 days or more. Three events produced ashfall on nearby communities and mariners east and south of Bogoslof and the eruption resulted in dozens of flight cancelations and flight diversions around the volcano and its ash clouds.


Surtseyan Eruption response Island volcano Lava dome 



Initial observations and data gathering during the eruption response were performed by a large team at AVO, which is a cooperative program of the US Geological Survey, the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. In particular, we thank Gabrielle Tepp, Matt Haney, and Dave Schneider for providing input that improved the chronology, though responsibility for any remaining inaccuracies remains with the authors. We thank Evan Thoms for assistance with map-based figures. Remote sensing data and observations from the National Civil Applications Center in Reston, Virginia was a valuable resource. The authors thank Sarah Ogburn, an anonymous reviewer, and editor Andy Harris for constructive reviews.

Funding information

Funding for this study was provided by the USGS Volcano Hazards Program, including funds provided through USGS Cooperative Agreement No. G19AC00165.

Supplementary material

445_2019_1322_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (37 kb)
ESM 1 Spreadsheet with detailed chronological information about the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. (XLSX 37.3kb)
445_2019_1322_MOESM2_ESM.docx (44 kb)
ESM 2 Text document with additional chronological details of the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. (DOCX 38 kb)
445_2019_1322_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (19 kb)
ESM 3 Table of thermal observations from daily routine checks of low-resolution satellite data during the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof. (XLSX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Volcano ObservatoryVolcano Science CenterAnchorageUSA
  2. 2.Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical SurveysAlaska Volcano ObservatoryFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.U.S. Geological SurveyNational Civil Applications CenterRestonUSA
  4. 4.U.S. Geological SurveyVolcano Science CenterAnchorageUSA

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