Volcano Update from Archive

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 8:47 AM PST (Wednesday, March 7, 2012 1647 UTC)

Newberry Volcano
43°43'19" N 121°13'44" W, Summit Elevation 7986 ft (2434 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN


During August 2011, scientists and volunteers from the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) installed eight new real-time seismic and deformation (GPS) volcano monitoring stations around Newberry Volcano. By November 2011, scientists had linked all sites into a telemetry system that sends real-time field data to the USGS-CVO in Vancouver and the University of Washington Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) in Seattle. With several months of careful study of background seismicity and deformation levels, the new Newberry Volcano monitoring network is now fully operational.

Over the last several months scientists at USGS-CVO and PNSN have been studying data from these new stations. They now have an adequate baseline understanding of activity at Newberry Volcano against which to compare future signs of unrest. Scientists have identified several small earthquakes in the vicinity of Newberry that would not have been detected without the network upgrade, including seismic signatures that are interpreted to be fracturing of lake ice within Newberry Volcano's caldera. The eight new GPS receivers indicate that the volcano is not deforming at present.

In 2005 Newberry volcano was ranked by the USGS as a very high threat volcano because of its potentially explosive nature, frequency of eruptions, and proximity to people and infrastructure. As part of the USGS National Volcano Early Warning System, Newberry Volcano was chosen for a monitoring system upgrade to provide early notification of unusual volcanic activity. Prior to 2011, only a single seismometer operated by the PNSN was in place on the flanks of the volcano. The network upgrade was made possible through the cooperation of the Deschutes National Forest.

Background: Newberry Volcano, situated east of the Cascade Range, south of nearby Bend, Oreg., is one of the largest volcanoes in the conterminous United States. The shield-shaped volcano and its extensive apron of lava flows cover almost 1200 square miles, extending approximately 75 miles north to south and 27 miles east to west. The most recent eruptive activity from Newberry was approximately 1300 years ago when an explosive eruption from the summit caldera area occurred, followed by extrusion of the Big Obsidian Flow, a popular visitor attraction. The volcano has been active for about 400,000 years and exhibits diverse volcanism ranging from basalt lava flows to huge caldera-forming explosive eruptions.

VOLCANO INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov

John Ewert, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS

jwewert@usgs.gov (360) 993-8912

John Vidale, Director, PNSN, University of Washington http://www.pnsn.org

Vidale@uw.edu (206) 543-6790