Virtual Volcano Vacation #71 WINNERS! – Shishaldin

shishaldin cover

Shishaldin volcano – Photograph by C. Nye, Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, May 10, 1994. –, Public Domain,

Volcanoes tend to be imperfect things. They often blast away parts of their crater rims, erupt from their flanks, have one side slip away in an edifice collapse, or just sink into a haphazard caldera. Every once in a while though a volcano stands out as a finely sculpted conical and symmetrical work of art. I would not personally know how that feels, but that does not mean I do not appreciate rare beauty. That’s why I chose Shishaldin as this week’s virtual getaway.

Shishaldin is a 2,857 m tall stratovolcano on Unimak Island in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The Aleut natives named her Sisquk, a word that means “mountain which points the way when I am lost.”. Above 2,000 m, her glacier-clad peak forms a near-perfect cone with a single small but well defined summit crater and vent, which is almost always steaming.

shishaldin steam

Shishaldin’s summit activity – photo by J. Baylor Roberts – Original image found at

She is monitored by the Alaska Volcano Observatory, who has recorded 35 confirmed eruptions since 1824. The volcano is largely basaltic in composition, and her eruptions are usually strombolian but there have also been lava flows. Eruptions are most often detected by seismic data or satellite images due to her remoteness and poor visibility in the area. There is a webcam operated by AVO located on the south flank of neighboring volcano Isanotski and facing west-northwest to Shishaldin. When the view is good it is spectacular, but more than often, the view is of ice, fog or both.

shishaldin webcam view

Shishaldin webcam view on a good clear day – Webcam operated by AVO

But let us once more admire her shape, this time in comparison to neighboring Isanotski. One almost feels sympathy and perhaps even empathy for the more eroded and less active other volcano. I am picking him for our next Random Volcano Fandom subject..but more on that later. This here is Shishaldin’s moment in the spotlight.

shishaldin isanotski

Shishaldin (left) and Isanotski (right) – Image courtesy of AVO / U.S. Geological Survey – photo by Cyrus Read

Congratulations, Jesper, for finding me very quickly. It is easy to see now that she is one your favourites too. Also congratulations to Leslie, who found me next. I hope you have enjoyed the chase as much as I enjoy leading you on it. Be sure to check this space tomorrow afternoon for a new RVF challenge post and again this coming Monday (Memorial Day for us Americans) for a new adventure at a new volcano.

Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Shishaldin (311360) in Volcanoes of the World, v. 4.4.3. Venzke, E (ed.). Smithsonian Institution. Downloaded 27 May 2016 (


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