Virtual Volcano Vacation challenge #62 WINNER! – Cleveland

cleveland landscape

A faint plume from the fuming Mt. Cleveland testifies to the volcano’s activity while a skiff transports members of the science team back to the Maritime Maid. Carlisle volcano can be seen in the distance beyond the clouds. Photo credit: Anne Fulton. – Original image and caption from Whitman College’s page at

For some reason, they say that when you lose something, it will always be in the last place you look. But it seems funny to me that somebody would find that they are hunting and then look in a few more places just to be certain. It’s a good thing that Cleveland Volcano is the last place Jesper looked, or I would still be waiting here. 😀

Cleveland Volcano is an almost perfectly shaped andesitic stratovolcano. It more or less comprises the western end of the barbell-shaped Chuginadak Island in the Fox Islands of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Cleveland itself is also sometimes called Chuginadak after the Aleut peoples’ fire goddess who they believed resided inside the volcano. Much later in 1894, a U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey expedition renamed it after contemporary U.S. President Grover Cleveland. It is this writer’s opinion that the former name should be restored.

Cleveland ….or shall I say one of the most active volcanoes of the around 75 volcanoes that make up the Aleutian volcanic arc. Unlike its frosty white neighbors, Cleveland’s near constant thermal activity keeps the snow from accumulating at the top. The lower flanks are covered in lava flows overlying debris flows which come down ahead of the lava as the increasing heat melts what snow has managed to accumulate on the upper slopes. The lower flanks also feature several andesite to dacite lava domes. Sometimes, and also currently, there is a summit lava dome.

cleveland dome

Cleveland volcano’s summit lava dome – Image taken 4 Aug 2015 by John Lyons AVO/USGS – Original image found at Flickr.

The volcano’s remote location makes fieldwork there far more challenging, so little is known about its earlier eruptive history, and it has many more recent unconfirmed eruptions in its dossier. In modern times, it is monitored by satelite by Alaska Volcano Observatory. Cleveland’s eruptions are most often strombolian or vulcanian, producing ‘a’a flows, lava fountains, ash clouds and lava bombs. It also exhibits almost continuous thermal activity. Fortunately, the volcano is in a completely unoccupied area. However, its activity seems to be on the increase, and it lies in a popular path for air traffic. As we learned in 2010 with Eyjafjallajökull, volcanic ash can prove disastrous for a plane’s electronic equipment as well as for its jet engines.

cleveland satellite

Ash plume arising from Mount Cleveland on May 23, 2006, as seen from the International Space Station. Astronauts were the first to observe the eruption, and alerted the Alaska Volcano Observatory. Image courtesy NASA – Original image and caption found at

Incidentally, and somewhat ironically, Cleveland was responsible for Alaska’s only fatality directly related to a volcano. During World War 2, a detachment of the Eleventh Air Force was stationed on Cleveland. At the start of one two-day VIE 3 eruption in 1944, Sgt Purchase had left his post to go for a walk and was never seen again. It is presumed he was killed by a lahar. The island was abandoned for the duration of the war.

Cleveland has one camera watching it, but at present that camera is “frozen” on a date in December.

Congratulations Jesper for finding me amid all these Aleution volcanoes. You pick up six points and have pushed well ahead of the pack on the scoreboard. (You other folks better get moving LOL) This coming Sunday (Easter for many of you) check back here for a special virtual Etna Easter Egg hunt beginning the moment the sun rises on Sicily. Then Monday come find me again as I run off seeking new adventure at a new volcano. Also…there miiiight just be a special something planned for later in the week that you all might enjoy. Details on those events and more coming tomorrow evening.


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