The 2005–6 eruption of Augustine Volcano produced tephra-fall deposits during each of four eruptive phases. Late in the precursory phase (December 2005), small phreatic explosions produced small-volume, localized, mostly nonjuvenile tephra. The greatest volume of tephra was produced during the explosive phase (January 11–28, 2006) when 13 discrete Vulcanian explosions generated ash plumes between 4 and 14 km above mean sea level (asl). A succession of juvenile tephra with compositions from low-silica to high-silica andesite is consistent with the eruption of two distinct magmas, represented also by a low-silica andesite lava dome (January 13–16) followed by a high-silica andesite lave dome (January 17–27). On-island deposits of lapilli to coarse ash originated from discrete vent explosions, whereas fine-grained, massive deposits were elutriated from pyroclastic flows and rock falls. During the continuous phase (January 28–February 10, 2006), steady growth and subsequent collapses of a high-silica andesite lava dome caused continuous low-level ash emissions and resulting fine elutriate ash deposits. The emplacement of a summit lava dome and lava flows of low-silica andesite during the effusive phase (March 3–16, 2006) resulted in localized, fine-grained elutriated ash deposits from small block-and-ash flows off the steep-sided lava flows.
Mixing of two end-member magmas (low-silica and highsilica andesite) is evidenced by the overall similarities between tephra-fall and contemporaneous lava-dome and flow lithologies and by the chemical heterogeneity of matrix glass compositions of coarse lapilli and glass shards in the ash-size fraction throughout the 2005–6 eruption. A total mass of 2.2×1010 kg of tephra fell (bulk volume of 2.2×107 m3 and DRE volume of 8.5×106 m3) during the explosive phase, as calculated by extrapolation of mass data from a single Vulcanian blast on January 17. Total tephra-fall volume for the 2005–6 eruption is about an order of magnitude smaller than other historical eruptions from Augustine Volcano. Ash plumes of short duration and small volume caused no more than minor amounts (≤1 mm) of ash to fall on villages and towns in the lower Cook Inlet region, and thus little hazard was posed to local communities. The bulk of the ash fell into Cook Inlet. Monitoring by the Alaska Volcano Observatory during the eruption helped to prevent hazardous encounters of ash and aircraft.
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