Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

All reports of volcanic activity published by the Smithsonian since 1968 are available through a monthly table of contents or by searching for a specific volcano. Until 1975, reports were issued for individual volcanoes as information became available; these have been organized by month for convenience. Later publications were done in a monthly newsletter format. Links go to the profile page for each volcano with the Bulletin tab open.

Information is preliminary at time of publication and subject to change.

 Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 40, Number 05 (May 2015)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Iliwerung (Indonesia)

Submarine flank eruption during August 2013 accompanied by crater fumarolic emissions

Karkar (Papua New Guinea)

Ash plumes observed by satellites during 2012-2014

Lopevi (Vanuatu)

Increased volcanic unrest in December 2014

Marapi (Indonesia)

Ash plumes in August and October 2011, March 2012, and February 2014

Iliwerung (Indonesia) — May 2015 Citation iconCite this Report



8.53°S, 123.57°E; summit elev. 1018 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Submarine flank eruption during August 2013 accompanied by crater fumarolic emissions

A submarine vent SE of Iliwerung, named Hobal, erupted in December 1973-August 1974, August 1983 (SEAN 08:08), September 1993 (BGVN 28:06), and May-September 1999. No further activity was reported from this volcano until August 2013 when Hobal had another short eruption on the 20th.

The Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) reported that observers at the observation post 6 km from Iliwerung saw diffuse fumarolic emissions from the crater during the mornings from 1 to 19 August 2013. The various seismic signals fluctuated during the month, but 81 shallow volcanic earthquakes were detected between 1606 and 1741 on 19 August. The Alert Level was raised to 2 (on a scale of 0-4).

At 0714 on 20 August 2013 an eruption from the submarine Hobal vent ejected dense white plumes to 2 km altitude that drifted S. Incandescence at sea level was observed at 0746, and the water around the eruption site turned yellow. Fishermen and tourists were not permitted within a 2-km-radius of the activity.

Although seismicity had decreased on 19 August, the observers reported that the diffuse morning fumarolic crater emissions had continued through 1 September. On 2 September the Alert Level was lowered to 1 (on a scale of 0-4).

Geologic Background. Constructed on the southern rim of the Lerek caldera, Iliwerung forms a prominent south-facing peninsula on Lembata (formerly Lomblen) Island. Craters and lava domes have formed along N-S and NW-SE lines on the complex volcano; during historical time vents from the summit to the submarine SE flank have been active. The summit lava dome was formed during an eruption in 1870. In 1948 the Iligripe lava dome grew on the E flank at 120 m elevation. Beginning in 1973-74, when three ephemeral islands were formed, submarine eruptions began on the lower SE flank at a vent named Hobal; several other eruptions took place from this vent before the end of the century.

Information Contacts: Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).

Karkar (Papua New Guinea) — May 2015 Citation iconCite this Report


Papua New Guinea

4.649°S, 145.964°E; summit elev. 1839 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Ash plumes observed by satellites during 2012-2014

Plumes were recognized from Karkar volcano in early December 2009 and during February 2010, but it was ambiguous whether these were ash-bearing plumes (BGVN 35:05). Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported at least three periods with ash plumes during February 2012, January-March 2013, and March 2014 (table 1).

The 2012 plume noted during the early morning of 1 February (31 January UTC) was described as a "possible" ash plume as high as 10.7 km altitude by the VAAC, but was still seen in imagery about 6 hours later before being obscured by meteorological clouds. The 2013 activity consisted of plumes on three days across about six weeks, with the highest reaching 9.1 km altitude in late February. A low-level plume erupted mid-day on 26 March 2014 was also noted in imagery the following day. No other activity had been reported through May 2015.

Table 1. Volcanic plumes at Karkar observed in satellite imagery by Darwin VAAC, 2012-2015.

Date Event Altitude (km) Height (km) Drift
1 Feb 2012 Ash plume (possible) 7.6-10.7 5.8-8.9 NE, E
29 Jan 2013 Ash plume 4.3 2.5 40 km NE
26 Feb 2013 Ash plume 9.1 7.3 Not reported
15-16 Mar 2013 Ash plume 8.5 6.7 75 km N, 130 km E
26-27 Mar 2014 Ash plumes 2.4 0.6 ~50 km ENE to NW

Geologic Background. Karkar is a 19 x 25 km wide, forest-covered island that is truncated by two nested summit calderas. The 5.5-km-wide outer caldera was formed during one or more eruptions, the last of which occurred 9000 years ago. The eccentric 3.2-km-wide inner caldera was formed sometime between 1500 and 800 years ago. Parasitic cones are present on the N and S flanks of this basaltic-to-andesitic volcano; a linear array of small cones extends from the northern rim of the outer caldera nearly to the coast. Most historical eruptions, which date back to 1643, have originated from Bagiai cone, a pyroclastic cone constructed within the steep-walled, 300-m-deep inner caldera. The floor of the caldera is covered by young, mostly unvegetated andesitic lava flows.

Information Contacts: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/).

Lopevi (Vanuatu) — May 2015 Citation iconCite this Report



16.507°S, 168.346°E; summit elev. 1413 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Increased volcanic unrest in December 2014

Following the eruptive activity in April-May 2007, Lopevi remained quiet through May 2015 except for the sighting of a gray plume on 24 February 2008 (BGVN 34:08) and an increase in volcanic activity in December 2014. No thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellites data, have bene observed since the 2007 eruption.

On 15 December 2014, the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) reported that, based on observations and analyses in early December, volcanic activity had increased dramatically over a short time period. No additional details about the type of activity were available. The Alert Level was raised to 1 (on a scale of 0-4), and access to the island was prohibited.

Geologic Background. The small 7-km-wide conical island of Lopevi, known locally as Vanei Vollohulu, is one of Vanuatu's most active volcanoes. A small summit crater containing a cinder cone is breached to the NW and tops an older cone that is rimmed by the remnant of a larger crater. The basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has been active during historical time at both summit and flank vents, primarily along a NW-SE-trending fissure that cuts across the island, producing moderate explosive eruptions and lava flows that reached the coast. Historical eruptions at the 1413-m-high volcano date back to the mid-19th century. The island was evacuated following major eruptions in 1939 and 1960. The latter eruption, from a NW-flank fissure vent, produced a pyroclastic flow that swept to the sea and a lava flow that formed a new peninsula on the western coast.

Information Contacts: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (URL: http://www.geohazards.gov.vu/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/).

Marapi (Indonesia) — May 2015 Citation iconCite this Report



0.381°S, 100.473°E; summit elev. 2891 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Ash plumes in August and October 2011, March 2012, and February 2014

Eruptive activity at Marapi was absent for seven years following a short ash explosion in August 2004 (BGVN 30:01). Intermittent activity began again with eruptions in August and October 2011, followed by ash plumes during February-March 2012 and February 2014. The only additional information after the February 2014 activity was a Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) report that during February-25 May 2015 diffuse white plumes rose as high as 300 m and seismicity fluctuated. The CVGHM kept the Alert Level at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), a status where residents and visitors are advised not to enter an area within 3 km of the summit.

Activity during 2011. Ash eruptions on 3 August 2011 had been preceded by increased seismicity and white plumes since 21 June (BGVN 36:07). Dense gray plumes rose 300-1,000 m above the crater on eight occasions that day; two more eruptions occurred on 9 August. No further activity was noted until the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that a pilot on 11 October saw a plume rising to an altitude of 3.7 km, though ash was not identified in satellite imagery. However, based on information from CVGHM, the VAAC reported that on 12 October 2011 an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3 km and drifted E.

Activity during 2012. According to a BNO News article from 5 March 2012, several eruptions had produced ash plumes during the previous week (approximately 27 February-4 March), with one that rose 1 km above the crater on 4 March and drifted 10 km S. An approximately 10-minute-long eruption produced an ash plume that rose 600 m on 18 May which was described in an MI News article. Media reports (Big Pond News) noted another eruption on 26 September with an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater.

Activity during 2014. According to a news article from 5 February 2014 (Metro TV), four explosions occurred in early February. One was followed by ashfall in the Tarab River area and Batu Sangkar (17 km SE). News media reported an explosion on 26 February that caused ashfall in areas as far as 10 km S.

Geologic Background. Gunung Marapi, not to be confused with the better-known Merapi volcano on Java, is Sumatra's most active volcano. This massive complex stratovolcano rises 2000 m above the Bukittinggi plain in the Padang Highlands. A broad summit contains multiple partially overlapping summit craters constructed within the small 1.4-km-wide Bancah caldera. The summit craters are located along an ENE-WSW line, with volcanism migrating to the west. More than 50 eruptions, typically consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been recorded since the end of the 18th century; no lava flows outside the summit craters have been reported in historical time.

Information Contacts: Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Metro TV News (URL: http://www.metrotvnews.com/read/newsvideo/2011/08/10/133771/Gunung-Marapi-Masih-Waspada); BNO News (URL: http://channel6newsonline.com/2012/03/indonesias-mount-marapi-still-highly-active/); MI News 26 (URL: http://www.minews26.com/content/?p=16895); Big Pond News (URL: http://bigpondnews.com/articles/World/2012/09/27/Volcano_erupts_with_smoke_on_Sumatra_799600.html); Metro TV (URL: http://www.metrotvnews.com/); The Free Press Journal (URL: http://freepressjournal.in/volcano-erupts-in-indonesia-2/).

Search Bulletin Archive by Publication Date

Select a month and year from the drop-downs and click "Show Issue" to have that issue displayed in the Selected Bulletin tab.

Dropdowns to choose month and year for archived Bulletins.    

The default month and year is the latest issue available.

 Atmospheric Effects

The enormous aerosol cloud from the March-April 1982 eruption of Mexico's El Chichón persisted for years in the stratosphere, and led to the Atmospheric Effects section becoming a regular feature of the Bulletin. Descriptions of the initial dispersal of major eruption clouds remain with the individual eruption reports, but observations of long-term stratospheric aerosol loading will be found in this section.

View Atmospheric Effects Reports

 Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

View Special Announcements Reports

 Additional Reports

Reports are sometimes published that are not related to a Holocene volcano. These might include observations of a Pleistocene volcano, earthquake swarms, or floating pumice. Reports are also sometimes published in which the source of the activity is unknown or the report is determined to be false. All of these types of additional reports are listed below by subregion and subject.


False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Africa (northeastern) and Red Sea

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Africa (eastern)

False Report of Elgon Eruption

Kermadec Islands

Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion

Tonga Islands

Floating Pumice (Tonga)

Fiji Islands

Floating Pumice (Fiji)

New Britain


Andaman Islands

False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions

Sangihe Islands

1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake

Kawio Barat


False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Southeast Asia

Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong

Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu

Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)

Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands

Mikura Seamount

Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source

Kuril Islands

Possible 1988 Eruption Plume



Aleutian Islands

Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


False Report of New Volcano




La Lorenza Mud Volcano



Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)

False Report of Submarine Volcanism

Central Chile and Argentina

Estero de Parraguirre

West Indies

Mid-Cayman Spreading Center

Atlantic Ocean (northern)

Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone

Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands

Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge

 Special Announcements

Special Announcement Reports