Logo link to homepage

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.


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Heard (Australia) Thermal hotspots persist at Mawson Peak, lava flows visible in satellite data November 2017-September 2018

Krakatau (Indonesia) Strombolian, lava flow, and explosive activities resume, June-October 2018

Saunders (United Kingdom) Intermittent thermal pulses and satellite imagery hotspots during September 2016-September 2018

Karymsky (Russia) Thermal anomalies and ash explosions during August-September 2018

Nishinoshima (Japan) Quiescence interrupted by brief lava flow emission and small explosions in July 2018

Mayon (Philippines) Low activity during April-September with some ash plumes and ongoing crater incandescence

Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) Intermittent ash plumes; thermal anomalies in the crater and Coastal Vent through September 2018

Ketoi (Russia) Plume of uncertain composition reported based on satellite data one day in September

Semeru (Indonesia) Small ash plumes in February, April, July, and August 2018; persistent thermal hotspot in the crater

Sinabung (Indonesia) No significant ash plumes seen after 22 June 2018; minor ash in early July

Telica (Nicaragua) Explosions on 21 June and 15 August 2018; local ashfall from June event

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Intermittent weak phreatic explosions during January-March and July-August 2018



Heard (Australia) — October 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

53.106°S, 73.513°E; summit elev. 2745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal hotspots persist at Mawson Peak, lava flows visible in satellite data November 2017-September 2018

Remote Heard Island in the southern Indian Ocean is home to the snow-covered Big Ben stratovolcano, which has had confirmed intermittent activity since 1910. The nearest continental landmass, Antarctica, lies over 1,000 km S. Visual confirmation of lava flows on Heard are rare; thermal anomalies and hotspots detected by satellite-based instruments provide the most reliable information about eruptive activity. Thermal alerts reappeared in September 2012 after a four-year hiatus (BGVN 38:01), and have been intermittent since that time. Information comes from instruments on the European Space Agency's (ESA) Sentinel-2 satellite and MODVOLC and MIROVA thermal anomaly data from other satellite instruments. This report reviews evidence for eruptive activity from November 2017 through September 2018.

Satellite observations indicated intermittent hot spots at the summit through 12 December 2017. A few observations in January and February 2018 suggested steam plumes at the summit, but no significant thermal activity. An infrared pixel indicative of renewed thermal activity appeared again on 7 March, and similar observations were made at least twice each month in April and May. Activity increased significantly during June and remained elevated through September 2018 with multiple days of hotspot observations in satellite data each of those months, including images that indicated lava flowing in different directions from Mawson Peak. MODVOLC and MIROVA data also indicated increased thermal activity during June-September 2018.

Activity during October-December 2017. MIROVA thermal anomalies recorded during October 2017 indicated ongoing thermal activity at Heard (figure 32). This was confirmed by Sentinel-2 satellite imagery that revealed hotpots at the summit on ten different days in October (3, 6, 8, 13, 16, 21, 23, 26, 28, and 31), and included images suggesting lava flows descending from the summit in different directions on different days (figure 33).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. MODVOLC thermal alerts indicated significant thermal activity at Heard during October 2017 that tapered off during November. Intermittent signals appeared in December 2017, March, and April 2018, and a strong signal returned in June 2018 that continued through September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Sentinel-2 images of Heard Island's Big Ben volcano during October 2017 showed strong evidence of active effusive activity. a) 3 October 2017: at least three hot spots were visible through cloud cover at the summit and W of Mawson Peak, suggesting active lava flows. b) 6 October 2017: a small hot spot is visible at the peak with a small steam plume, and a larger hotspot to the NW suggested a still active lava flow. c) 16 October 2017: a small hotspot at the summit and larger hotspots W of the summit were indicative of ongoing flow activity. d) 23 October 2017: a steam plume drifted SE from a small summit hotspot and a larger hotspot to the W suggested a lava lake or active flow. Sentinel-2 images with Atmospheric Penetration view (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The MODVOLC thermal alert data showed no further alerts for the year after 22 October 2017, and the MIROVA system anomalies tapered off in mid-November 2017. The Sentinel-2 satellite imagery, however, continued to record intermittent hotspots at and around Mawson Peak, the summit of Big Ben volcano, into December 2017 (figure 34). Hotspots were visible during six days in November (7, 15, 20, 25, 27, and 30) and three days during December (5, 7, and 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 images of Heard Island's Big Ben volcano showed reduced but ongoing thermal activity during November and December 2017. a) 7 November 2017: a steam plume drifts NE from a hotspot at Mawson Peak. b and c) 15 November and 12 December 2017: a small hotspot is distinct at the summit. d) 20 December 2017: a steam plume drifts east from the peak, but no clear hotspot is visible. Sentinel-2 images with Atmospheric Penetration view (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of ESA Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January-May 2018. The satellite images during January and February 2018 were indicative of steam plumes at the summit, but distinct thermal signals reappeared on 7 and 12 March 2018 (figure 35). In spite of extensive cloud cover, the Sentinel-2 imagery also captured thermal signals twice each month in April (4 and 14) and May (9 and 14) (figure 36).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Sentinel-2 images of Heard Island's Big Ben volcano showed only steam plumes at the summit during January and February, but hotspots reappeared in March 2018. a) 4 January 2018: a steam plume drifts SE from the summit under clear skies. b) 8 February 2018: a steam plume drifts SE from the summit adjacent to a large cloud on the N side of the volcano. c) 7 March 2018: the first hotspot in about three months is visible at the summit. d) 12 March 2018: a distinct hotspot is visible at Mawson Peak. Sentinel-2 images with Atmospheric Penetration view (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of ESA Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Sentinel-2 images of Heard Island's Big Ben volcano showed intermittent low-level thermal activity during April and May 2018. a) 4 April 2018: a small hotspot is visible at the summit through a hazy atmosphere. b) 9 May 2018: a distinct hotspot glows from the summit beneath cloud cover. Sentinel-2 images with Atmospheric Penetration view(bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of ESA Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during June-September 2018. Thermal signals increased significantly in the satellite data during June 2018. The sizes of the thermal anomalies were bigger, and they were visible at least nine days of the month (3, 5, 8, 10, 15, 18, 23, 25, and 30). Five substantial thermal signals appeared during July (3, 10, 15, 18, and 28); images on 23 June and 3 July distinctly show a lava flow trending NE from the summit (figure 37). MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared in June 2018 on three days (2, 26, and 27) and on four days during July (7, 8, 9, 10) indicating increased activity during this time. The MIROVA thermal signals also showed a substantial increase in early June that peaked in mid-July and remained steady through September 2018 (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Sentinel-2 images of Heard Island's Big Ben volcano showed significantly increased thermal activity during June and July 2018. a) 8 June 2018: a substantial hotspot is visible through the cloud cover at the summit of Big Ben. b) 10 June 2018: the darker red hotspot at Mawson Peak was significantly larger than it was earlier in the year. c) 23 June 2018: the first multi-point hotspot since 31 October shows a distinct glow trending NE from the summit. d) 3 July 2018: a trail of hotspots defines a lava flow curving NNE from Mawson Peak. e) 18 July 2018: a second significant hotpot is visible a few hundred meters NE of the summit hotspot indicating a still active flow. f) 28 July 2018: the summit hotspot continued to glow brightly at the end of July, but no second hotspot was visible. Sentinel-2 images with Atmospheric Penetration view (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of ESA Sentinel Hub Playground.

Six images in August (2, 7, 9, 22, 27, 29) showed evidence of active lava at the summit, and suggested flows both NE and SE from the summit that were long enough to cause multiple hotspots (figure 38). During September and early October 2018 the satellite images continued to show multiple hotspots that indicated flow activity tens of meters SE from the summit multiple days of each month (figure 39).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Sentinel-2 images of Heard Island's Big Ben volcano showed lava flow activity in two different directions from the summit during August 2018. a) 2 August 2018: lava flows NE from Mawson Peak while a steam plume drifts E from the summit. b) 9 August 2018: a second hotspot NE of the summit hotspot indicates continued flow activity in the same area observed on 2 August. c and d) 27 and 29 August 2018: a different secondary hotspot appeared SSE from the summit indicating a distinct flow event from the one recorded earlier in August. Sentinel-2 images with Atmospheric Penetration view (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of ESA Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 images of Heard Island's Big Ben volcano in September and October 2018 showed hotspots indicating active flows SE of the summit on multiple days. a) 3 September 2018: a small hotspot at the summit and a larger hotspot SE of the summit indicated continued flow activity. b) 3 October 2018: a small steam plume drifted east from a small hotspot at the summit and a larger pair of hotspots to the SE indicated continued effusive activity. Sentinel-2 images with Atmospheric Penetration view (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of ESA Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Heard Island on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean consists primarily of the emergent portion of two volcanic structures. The large glacier-covered composite basaltic-to-trachytic cone of Big Ben comprises most of the island, and the smaller Mt. Dixon volcano lies at the NW tip of the island across a narrow isthmus. Little is known about the structure of Big Ben volcano because of its extensive ice cover. The historically active Mawson Peak forms the island's 2745-m high point and lies within a 5-6 km wide caldera breached to the SW side of Big Ben. Small satellitic scoria cones are mostly located on the northern coast. Several subglacial eruptions have been reported in historical time at this isolated volcano, but observations are infrequent and additional activity may have occurred.

Information Contacts: Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC 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://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).


Krakatau (Indonesia) — October 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

6.102°S, 105.423°E; summit elev. 813 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian, lava flow, and explosive activities resume, June-October 2018

Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, Indonesia experienced a major caldera collapse, likely in 535 CE, that formed a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands (see inset figure 23, BGVN 36:08). Remnants of this volcano coalesced to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island which collapsed during the 1883 eruption. The post-collapse cone of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau), constructed within the 1883 caldera has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927. The most recent event was a brief episode of Strombolian activity, ash plumes, and a lava flow during the second half of February 2017. Activity resumed in late June 2018 and continued through early October, the period covered in this report. Information is provided primarily by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, referred to as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG). Aviation reports are provided by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and photographs came from several social media sources and professional photographers.

After the brief event during February 2017, Anak Krakatau remained quiet for about 15 months. PVMBG kept the Alert Level at II, noting no significant changes until mid-June 2018. Increased seismicity on 18 June was followed by explosions with ash plumes beginning on 21 June. Intermittent ash emissions were accompanied by Strombolian activity with large blocks of incandescent ejecta that traveled down the flanks to the ocean throughout July. Explosions were reported as short bursts of seismic activity, repeating multiple times in a day, and producing dense black ash plumes that rose a few hundred meters from the summit. Similar activity continued throughout August, with the addition of a lava flow visible on the S flank that reached the ocean during 4-5 August. Generally increased activity in September resulted in the highest ash plumes of the period, up to 4.9 km altitude on 8 September; high-intensity explosions were heard tens of kilometers away during 9-10 September. PVMBG reported significantly increased numbers of daily explosions during the second half of the month. The thermal signature recorded in satellite data also increased during September, and a large SO2 plume was recorded in satellite data on 23 September.

Activity during June-July 2018. PVMBG noted an increase in seismic activity beginning on 18 June 2018. Foggy conditions hampered visual observations during 19-20 June, but on 21 June gray plumes were observed rising 100-200 m above the summit (figure 41). Two ash plumes were reported on 25 June; the first rose to about 1 km altitude and drifted N, and the second rose to 600 m altitude and drifted S (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Anak Krakatau began a new eruptive episode on 21 June 2018 with an ash plume that rose 200 m above the summit. Photo by undisclosed source, courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen‏.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. The first of two ash plumes rose to about 1 km altitude and drifted N from Anak Krakatau on 25 June 2018; the first events after about 18 months of no activity were reported on 21 June. Courtesy of PVMBG (Eruption Information on Mt. Anak Krakatau, June 25, 2018).

Incandescence was observed at the summit during 1-2 July 2018, and two ash emissions were reported in VONA's (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) on 3 July. PVMBG reported that during 4-5 July there were four additional ash-producing events, each lasting between 30 and 41 seconds. The last three of these events produced ash plumes that rose 300-500 m above the crater rim and drifted N and NW. The Darwin VAAC reported essentially continuous ash emissions during 3-9 July drifting generally W and SW at about 1.2 km altitude (figure 43). They were intermittently visible in satellite imagery when not obscured by meteoric clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A dense gray ash plume rose several hundred meters above Anak Krakatau on 7 July 2018 (local time) while large volcanic bombs traveled down the flanks. Photo by Sam Hidayat, courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen‏.

Ash plumes were again observed by the Darwin VAAC in satellite imagery beginning on 13 July 2018 at 1.2 km altitude drifting NW. They were essentially continuous until they gradually decreased and dissipated early on 17 July, rising to 1.2-1.5 km altitude and drifting W, clearly visible in satellite imagery several times during the period. Satellite imagery revealed hotspots several times during July; they ranged from small pixels at the summit (9 July) to clear flow activity down the SE flank on multiple days (12, 19, and 24 July) (figure 44). In the VONA's reported by PVMBG during 15-17 July, they noted intermittent explosions that lasted around 30-90 seconds each. PVMBG reported a black ash plume 500 m above the summit drifting N during the afternoon of 16 July. The Darwin VAAC continued to report ash emission to 1.2-1.5 km altitude during 18-19 July, moving in several different directions; Strombolian activity sent incandescent ejecta in all directions on 19 July (figure 45). During 25-26 July the Darwin VAAC noted continuous minor ash emissions drifting SW at 1.2 km altitude, and a hotspot visible in infrared imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery clearly documented the repeated thermal activity at Anak Krakatau throughout July 2018. a) 9 July 2018: a small hotspot was visible at the summit and an ash plume drifted NW. b) 12 July 2018: a much larger hotspot showed a distinct flow down the SE flank. c) 19 July 2018: even under partly cloudy skies, incandescent ejecta is visible on the S flank. d) 24 July 2018: incandescent lava had almost reached the SE coast. Sentinel-2 images with Atmospheric Penetration view (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Strombolian activity sent incandescent ejecta down all the flanks and into the sea at Anak Krakatau on 19 July 2018, as seen from the island of Rakata (5 km SE). Courtesy of Reuters / Stringer.

Activity during August-early October 2018. A series of at least nine explosions took place on 2 August 2018 between 1333 and 1757 local time. They ranged from 13 to 64 seconds long, and produced ash plumes that drifted N. The Darwin VAAC reported minor ash observed in imagery at around 2 km altitude for much of the day. In a special report, PVMBG noted a black ash plume 500 m above sea level drifting N at 1757 local time. Continued explosive activity was reported by local observers during the early nighttime hours of 3 August (figure 46).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. A dark ash plume rose 100-200 m from Anak Krakatau during the early morning hours of 3 August 2018, and incandescent ejecta rolled down the flanks. Tens of explosions were heard in Serang (80 km E) and Lampung (80 km N). Courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

The Darwin VAAC reported continuous ash emissions rising to 1.8 km altitude and drifting E on 5 August, clearly visible in satellite imagery, along with a strong hotspot. The ash plume drifted SE then S the next day before dissipating. PVMBG reported incandescence visible during the nights of 5-15 August. Photographer Øystein Lund Andersen visited Krakatau during 4-6 August 2018 and recorded Strombolian activity, lava bomb ejecta, and a lava flow entering the ocean (figures 47-50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Strombolian explosions sent incandescent ejecta skyward, and blocks of debris down the flanks of Anak Krakatau on 5 August 2018 as captured in this drone photograph. Copyrighted photo by Øystein Lund Andersen‏, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Large volcanic bombs flew out from the summit vent of Anak Krakatau while a dark gray plume of ash rose a few hundred meters on 5 August 2018 in this drone photograph. Copyrighted photo by Øystein Lund Andersen‏, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. A blocky lava flow traveled down the S flank of Anak Krakatau on 5 August 2018 in this closeup image taken by a drone. Copyrighted photo by Øystein Lund Andersen‏, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Views of Anak Krakatau from the SE showed Strombolian activity and incandescent lava (upper photo) and steam from the lava flowing into the ocean and dark ash emissions from the summit (lower photo) on 5 August 2018. Copyrighted photo by Øystein Lund Andersen‏, used with permission.

Emissions were reported intermittently drifting W on 11, 14, and 16 August at 1.2-1.5 km altitude. Video of explosions on 12 August with large bombs and dark ash plumes were captured by photographer James Reynolds (Earth Uncut TV). PVMBG reported black ash plumes drifting N at 500 m above the summit on 17 and 18 August after explosions that lasted 1-2 minutes each. The Darwin VAAC also reported ash plumes rising to 1.2 km altitude on 17-18 drifting NE. VONA's were issued during 22-23 August reporting at least three explosions that lasted 30-40 seconds and produced ash plumes that drifted N and NE. The Darwin VAAC reported the plume on 22 August as originating from a vent below the summit. PVMBG noted that a dark plume on 23 August drifted NE at about 700 m above the summit. During 27-30 August, the Darwin VAAC reported ash plumes intermittently visible in satellite imagery extending SW at 1.2-1.5 km altitude.

Ash plumes drifting N and NW were visible in satellite imagery during 3-4 September at 1.2-1.5 km altitude. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume moving NW and W at 4.9 km altitude on 8 September, the highest plume noted for the report period. The following day, the plume height had dropped to 1.5 km altitude, and was clearly observed drifting W in satellite imagery. A hotspot was reported on 12 September. During the night of 9-10 September PVMBG reported bursts of incandescent material rising 100-200 m above the peak, with explosions that rattled windows at the Anak Krakatau PGA Post, located 42 km from the volcano. Ash plumes continued to be observed through 13 September. The Darwin VAAC reported continuous ash emissions to 1.8 km altitude drifting W and NW on 16-17 September (figure 51). The ash plume was no longer visible on 18 September, but a hotspot remained discernable in satellite data through 20 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. On 16 September 2018 a dark ash plume rose several hundred meters above Anka Krakatau as incandescent lava flowing down the SE flank to the sea created steam plumes. Courtesy of Thibaud Plaquet.

PVMBG reported incandescence at the summit and gray and black ash plumes on 20 September that rose 500 m above the summit. A low-level ash emission was reported drifting S on 21 September and confirmed in the webcam. Four VONA's were issued that day, reporting explosions at 0221, 0827, 2241, and 2248, lasting from 72-115 seconds each. PVMBG subsequently reported observing 44 explosions with black ash plumes rising 100-600 m above the summit, and incandescence at night on 21 September. Ash emissions continued on 22 September at 1.5 km altitude, with a secondary explosion rising to 2.4 km altitude drifting W. The plume height was based on and infrared temperature measurement of 12 degrees C. Later in the day, an additional plume was observed in satellite imagery at 3.7 km altitude drifting N. PVMBG reported observations of 56 explosions, with 200-300 m high (above the summit) black ash plumes and incandescence at night on 22 September. Observations from nearby Rakata Island on 22 September indicated that tephra from incandescent explosions of the previous night mostly fell on the flanks, but some reached the sea. A lava flow on the SSE flank had also reached the ocean (figure 52).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Activity at Krakatau during 22-23 September 2018 included substantial Strombolian explosions, a dark ash plume, lava flows, and large volcanic bombs traveling nearly to the ocean. Photo courtesy of Malmo Travel.

By 23 September 2018, a single plume was observed at 2.1 km altitude drifting WNW. A glow at the summit was visible in the webcam that day, and a hotspot was seen in satellite imagery the next day as observations of an ash plume drifting W at 2.1 km continued. A significant SO2 plume was captured in satellite data on 23 September (figure 53).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. A significant SO2 plume dispersed NW of Krakatau (lower right corner) on 23 September 2018 after a surge in activity was observed the previous two days. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

On 24 September, PVMBG reported black ash plumes rising 1,000 m above the summit, incandescence at the summit, and lava flowing 300 m down the S flank observed in the webcam during the night. An ash plume was observed by the Darwin VAAC drifting WSW and then W on 25-26 September at 2.1 km altitude, lowering slightly to 1.8 km the following day, and to 1.2 km on 28 September. Continuous ash emissions were observed through 29 September. A new emission was reported on 30 September drifting SW at 1.8 km altitude. Ash emissions were observed daily by the Darwin VAAC from the 1st to at least 5 October at 2.1 km altitude drifting W. A large hotspot near the summit was noted on 3 October. The thermal activity at Anak Krakatau from late June into early October 2018, as recorded in infrared satellite data by the MIROVA project, confirmed the visual observations of increased activity that included Strombolian explosions, lava flows, ash plumes, and incandescent ejecta witnessed by ground observers during the period (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. The MIROVA project graph of thermal activity at Krakatau from 12 February through early October 2018 showed the increasing thermal signature that appeared in late June at the onset of renewed explosive activity, the first since February 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The renowned volcano Krakatau (frequently misstated as Krakatoa) lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. Collapse of the ancestral Krakatau edifice, perhaps in 416 CE, formed a 7-km-wide caldera. Remnants of this ancestral volcano are preserved in Verlaten and Lang Islands; subsequently Rakata, Danan and Perbuwatan volcanoes were formed, coalescing to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island. Caldera collapse during the catastrophic 1883 eruption destroyed Danan and Perbuwatan volcanoes, and left only a remnant of Rakata volcano. This eruption, the 2nd largest in Indonesia during historical time, caused more than 36,000 fatalities, most as a result of devastating tsunamis that swept the adjacent coastlines of Sumatra and Java. Pyroclastic surges traveled 40 km across the Sunda Strait and reached the Sumatra coast. After a quiescence of less than a half century, the post-collapse cone of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) was constructed within the 1883 caldera at a point between the former cones of Danan and Perbuwatan. Anak Krakatau has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: 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/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Reuters Latam (Twitter: @ReutersLatam, URL: http://www.reuters.com/); James Reynolds, Earth Uncut TV (Twitter: @EarthUncutTV, URL: https://www.earthuncut.tv/, Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD3SLWtuPZs); Thibaud Plaquet (Instagram: tibomvm, URL: https://www.instagram.com/tibomvm/); Malmo Travel (Instagram: malmo.travel, URL: https://www.instagram.com/malmo.travel/).


Saunders (United Kingdom) — October 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Saunders

United Kingdom

57.8°S, 26.483°W; summit elev. 843 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal pulses and satellite imagery hotspots during September 2016-September 2018

Historical observations of eruptive activity on ice-covered Mount Michael stratovolcano on Saunders Island in the South Sandwich Islands were not recorded until the early 19th century at this remote site in the southernmost Atlantic Ocean. With the advent of satellite observation technology, indications of more frequent eruptive activity have become apparent. The last confirmed eruption evidenced by MODVOLC thermal alerts was during August-October 2015 (BGVN 41:02). Limited thermal anomaly data and satellite imagery since then have indicated intermittent activity through September 2018. Information for this report comes from MODVOLC and MIROVA thermal anomaly data and Sentinel-2, Landsat, and NASA Terra satellite imagery.

Evidence for thermal activity at Mount Michael tapered off in MIROVA data from October 2015 through January 2016. MODVOLC thermal alerts reappeared on 28 September 2016 and recurred intermittently through 6 January 2017. Low-level MIROVA thermal signals appeared in June and September-November 2017. During January-September 2018, evidence for some type of thermal or eruptive activity was recorded from either MODVOLC, MIROVA, or satellite imagery each month except for May and June.

Although MODVOLC thermal alerts at Mount Michael ended on 8 October 2015, the MIROVA radiative power data showed intermittent pulses of decreasing energy into early January 2016 (figure 10, BGVN 41:02). At a high-latitude, frequently cloud-covered site such as Saunders Island, this could be indicative of continued eruptive activity. A white plume in low resolution NASA's Terra satellite data was spotted drifting away from Saunders in April 2016, but no thermal activity was reported. The only high-confidence data available from April 2016 through May 2017 is from the MODVOLC thermal alert system, which recorded two thermal alerts on 28 September 2016, one the next day, one on 30 October, and eight alerts on four days in November. Activity continued into January 2017 with one alert on 17 December 2016, and six alerts on 2 and 6 January 2017 (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Seventeen MODVOLC thermal alerts between 28 September 2016 and 6 January 2017 were the best evidence available for eruptive activity on Saunders Island from April 2016 through May 2017. Courtesy of MODVOLC.

A low-level log radiative power MIROVA signal appeared in early June 2017; two more signals appeared in September 2017, one in early October and one in late November (figure 12). Additional signals plotted as more than 5 km from the source may or may not reflect activity from the volcano. Steam plumes were visible in NASA Terra satellite images drifting away from the island in August, October, and December 2017, but no thermal signatures were captured.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. The MIROVA log radiative power graph for Mount Michael on Saunders Island from 25 May-30 December 2017 showed intermittent heat sources that indicated possible eruptive activity each month except July and December. Location uncertainty makes the distinction between greater and less than 5 km summit distance unclear.

More sources of evidence for activity became available in 2018 with the addition of the Sentinel-2 satellite data during the months of February-April and September. Multiple thermal signals appeared from MIROVA in January 2018 (figure 13), and the first Sentinel-2 satellite image showed a distinct hotspot at the summit on 10 February (figure 14).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. MIROVA thermal data for January-September 2018 indicated intermittent thermal anomaly signals in January, March, April, and July-September (top). A Sentinel-2 image with a hotspot was captured on 23 September, the same day as the MIROVA thermal signal (bottom). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. A Sentinel-2 image of Saunders Island on 10 February 2018 revealed a distinct hotspot and small steam plume rising from the summit crater of Mount Michael. Sentinel-2 image with Atmospheric Penetration view (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A MODVOLC thermal alert appeared on 26 March 2019 followed by a significant hotspot signal in Sentinel-2 imagery on 29 March (figure 15). The hotspot was still present along with a substantial steam plume on 3 April 2018. Sentinel-2 imagery on 11 April revealed a large steam plume and cloud cover, but no hotspot.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Hotspots in Sentinel-2 imagery on 29 March and 3 April 2018 indicated eruptive activity at Mount Michael on Saunders Island. Sentinel-2 image with Atmospheric Penetration view (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA thermal signals appeared in mid-July and mid-August 2018 (figure 13) but little satellite imagery was available to confirm any thermal activity. The next clear signal of eruptive activity was evident in a Sentinel-2 image as a hotspot at the summit on 23 September. A small MIROVA signal was recorded the same day (figure 13, bottom). A few days later, on 28 September 2018, a Landsat 8 image showed a clear streak of dark-gray ash trending NW from the summit of Mount Michael (figure 16).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Satellite imagery confirmed eruptive activity at Mount Michael on Saunders Island in late September 2018. Top: a hotpot in a Sentinel-2 image on 23 September coincided with a MIROVA thermal signal (see figure 13); Bottom: A Landsat 8 image on 28 September has a distinct dark gray streak trending NW from the summit indicating a fresh ash deposit. The lighter gray area SW of the summit is likely a shadow. Sentinel-2 image with Atmospheric Penetration view, (bands 12, 11, and 8A), Landsat 8 image with pansharpened image processing, both courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Saunders Island is a volcanic structure consisting of a large central edifice intersected by two seamount chains, as shown by bathymetric mapping (Leat et al., 2013). The young constructional Mount Michael stratovolcano dominates the glacier-covered island, while two submarine plateaus, Harpers Bank and Saunders Bank, extend north. The symmetrical Michael has a 500-m-wide summit crater and a remnant of a somma rim to the SE. Tephra layers visible in ice cliffs surrounding the island are evidence of recent eruptions. Ash clouds were reported from the summit crater in 1819, and an effusive eruption was inferred to have occurred from a N-flank fissure around the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. A low ice-free lava platform, Blackstone Plain, is located on the north coast, surrounding a group of former sea stacks. A cluster of parasitic cones on the SE flank, the Ashen Hills, appear to have been modified since 1820 (LeMasurier and Thomson, 1990). Vapor emission is frequently reported from the summit crater. Recent AVHRR and MODIS satellite imagery has revealed evidence for lava lake activity in the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC 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://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground, (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/).


Karymsky (Russia) — October 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

54.049°N, 159.443°E; summit elev. 1513 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies and ash explosions during August-September 2018

The most recent eruptive period at Karymsky, on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia, began on 28 April 2018, with thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and ash plumes observed through July 2018. The current report discusses activity through September 2018 (table 11). This report was compiled using information from the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT).

KVERT reported ongoing thermal anomalies and intermittent ash plumes over Karymsky during August and September 2018 (table 11). Ash plumes drifted 50 km SE on 7 August, and 40 km S on 25 August. Stronger activity during 10-11 September consisted of continuous dense ash emissions along with explosions that sent plumes 5-6 km high which drifted 860 km NE. Incandescence photographed the next night was attributed to fumarolic activity (figure 41). Ash plumes were identified drifting 365 km E on 22-23 September. The last thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images on 28 September, and an ash plume was last visible on 30 September.

Table 11. Ash plumes and thermal anomalies at Karymsky, 1 August-30 September 2018. Clouds often obscured the volcano. Data compiled from KVERT reports.

Date Observations
01-07 Aug 2018 Thermal anomalies; ash plume drifted 50 km SE on 7 Aug.
08-14 Aug 2018 Thermal anomalies.
25-31 Aug 2018 Thermal anomalies; ash plume drifted 40 km S on 25 Aug.
01-07 Sep 2018 Thermal anomalies.
08-15 Sep 2018 Continuous ash emissions on 10 Sep. Explosions during 10-11 Sep with plumes rising 5-6 km that drifted 860 km NE.
16-23 Sep 2018 Thermal anomalies; ash plumes drifted 365 km E on 22-23 Sep.
24-30 Sep 2018 Thermal anomalies; ash plume on 30 Sep.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Incandescence, attributed to fumarolic activity, was visible above the crater of Karymsky on 12 September 2018. Photo by D. Melnikov; courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (IVS FEB RAS, KVERT).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Karymsky on 30 September 2018 showing a diffuse plume and thermal anomaly in the crater. Top: Natural color view (bands 4, 3, 2). Bottom: Short-wave Infrared view (bands 12, 8A, 4). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were last observed on 31 July 2018. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected one hotspot in early August (moderate power), and two hotspots in late September (low power).

Geologic Background. Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, located immediately south. The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the stratovolcano began about 2000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC 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/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Nishinoshima (Japan) — September 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

27.247°N, 140.874°E; summit elev. 25 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Quiescence interrupted by brief lava flow emission and small explosions in July 2018

Nishinoshima is an active volcano in the Ogasawara Arc, about 1,000 km S of Tokyo, Japan. After 40 years of dormancy, activity increased in November 2013 and has since formed an island. The eruption has continued with subaerial activity that largely consists of lava flows and small gas-and-ash plumes. This report covers November 2017 through July 2018, and summarizes activity noted in reports issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency, and images and footage taken by the Japan Coast Guard (JCG).

No eruptive activity at Nishinoshima had been noted since mid-August 2017, when lava was last entering the ocean. Activity recommenced on 12 July and a 200-m-long lava flow was confirmed on 13 July. The lava flow was accompanied by explosive activity that ejected blocks and bombs out to 500 m from the vent, plumes and water discoloration (figures 60, 61, and 62). An aerial survey by the JCG on 30 July showed that activity had ceased and the lava flow had reached 700 m in length, terminating 100 m from the ocean.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Aerial photo of Nishinoshima taken on 18 July 2018. The photo shows the active lava flow emanating from the vent along with a gas plume, and water discoloration. A closer view of the lava flow is given in figure 61. The island is approximately 1.9 x 1.9 km in size. Courtesy of the Japan Coast Guard.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. A view of the active Nishinoshima vent and 200-m-long lava flow on 13 July 2018. The vent is also producing a dilute ash plume from the eastern side of the cone. Courtesy of the Japan Coast Guard.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Screenshot from a thermal infrared video of the active Nishinoshima vent taken on 13 July 2018. The video shows explosions ejecting incandescent material onto the flanks of the cone and the active lava flow. Courtesy of the Japan Coast Guard.

After the July activity, Nishinoshima again entered a phase of quiescence with activity limited to fumaroles around the vent. Himawari-8 satellite observations noted no increased thermal output following the July 2018 eruption. Thermal anomalies detected by satellite-based MODIS instruments were identified by the MODVOLC system from during 12-21 July 2018.

Geologic Background. The small island of Nishinoshima was enlarged when several new islands coalesced during an eruption in 1973-74. Another eruption that began offshore in 2013 completely covered the previous exposed surface and enlarged the island again. Water discoloration has been observed on several occasions since. The island is the summit of a massive submarine volcano that has prominent satellitic peaks to the S, W, and NE. The summit of the southern cone rises to within 214 m of the sea surface 9 km SSE.

Information Contacts: Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Volcano Database, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/info/kouhou/h29/index.html, http://www1.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/GIJUTSUKOKUSAI/kaiikiDB/kaiyo18-e1.htm); Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC 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://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Mayon (Philippines) — October 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

13.257°N, 123.685°E; summit elev. 2462 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low activity during April-September with some ash plumes and ongoing crater incandescence

Mayon is a frequently active volcano in the Philippines that produces ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. In early 2018, eruptive activity included lava fountaining that reached 700 m above the summit, and lava flows that traveled down the flanks and collapsed to produce pyroclastic flows (figure 39). Lava fountaining and lava flows decreased then ceased towards late March. Lava effusion was last detected on 18 March 2018, and the last pyroclastic flow for this eruptive episode occurred on 27 March 2018 (see BVGN 43:04). The hazard status for was lowered from alert level 4 to 3 (on a scale of 0 to 5) on 6 March 2018 due to decreased seismicity and degassing; the level was lowered again to 2 on 29 March. This report summarizes the activity during April through September 2018 and is based on daily bulletins issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing the lava flow activity at Mayon during January through March 2018. Three lava flow lobes flowed down the Mi-isi, Bonga-Buyuan, and Basud channels, and are shown in bright orange/red in these images. These are false color images created using bands 12, 11, 4, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The hazard status remained on Alert level 2 (increasing unrest) throughout the reporting period. Activity was minimal with low seismicity (zero to four per day) and a total of 19 rockfall events throughout the entire period. White to light-brown plumes that reached a maximum of 1 km above the crater were observed almost every day from April through September (figure 40). Two short-lived light brown plumes were noted on 27 and 28 August and both reached 200 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. An emission of white steam-and-gas at Mayon and a dilute brown plume that reached 200 m above the crater was seen on 24 May 2018. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

On the days that sulfur dioxide was measured, the amount ranged from 436 to 2,800 tons per day (figure 41). Mayon remains inflated relative to 2010 baselines but the edifice has experienced deflation since 20 February, a period of inflation from 2-14 April, and slight inflation of the mid-slopes beginning 5 May, which then became more pronounced beginning 25 June. No other notable inflation or deflation was described throughout the reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Measurements of sulfur dioxide output at Mayon during 1 April-30 September 2018. Data courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

Incandescence at the summit was observed almost every night (when weather permitted) from April through to the end of September 2018, and this elevated crater temperature is also seen in satellite thermal imagery (figure 42). Thermal satellite data showed a slight increase in output during April through to June, although not as high as the earlier 2018 activity, with a decline in thermal output starting in July (figure 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image showing an elevated thermal signature in the crater of Mayon and a steam-and-gas plume on 15 May 2018. Similar indications of activity in the crater were frequently imaged on cloud-free days from April through September. This is a false color image created using bands 12, 11, 4, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Log radiative power MIROVA plot of MODIS thermal data for the year ending 11 October 2018 at Mayon. An elevated period of activity reflecting the lava flows in January through March is notable, followed by a second period of lower intensity activity during May into June, then a prolonged period of reduced activity through to the end of the reporting period; the August anomaly was not at the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Beautifully symmetrical Mayon, which rises above the Albay Gulf NW of Legazpi City, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple edifice has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions date back to 1616 and range from Strombolian to basaltic Plinian, with cyclical activity beginning with basaltic eruptions, followed by longer term andesitic lava flows. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas. A violent eruption in 1814 killed more than 1,200 people and devastated several towns.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) — October 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

3.608°S, 144.588°E; summit elev. 365 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes; thermal anomalies in the crater and Coastal Vent through September 2018

The first confirmed eruption of Kadovar began on 5 January 2018 with dense ash plumes and steam and a lava flow. The eruption continued through February and then slowed during March (BGVN 43:04). This report describes notices of ash plumes from the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) and satellite images during April through 1 October 2018.

According to the Darwin VAAC a pilot observed an ash plume rising to an altitude of 1.2 km on 10 June. The ash plume was not identified in satellite data. Another ash plume identified by a pilot and in satellite images rose to an altitude of 1.8 km on 20 June and drifted W. An ash plume was visible in satellite images on 28 September drifting SE at an altitude of 2.1 km. On 1 October an ash plume rose to 2.7 km and drifted W.

Infrared satellite data from Sentinel-2 showed hot spots in the summit crater and at the Coastal Vent along the W shoreline on 10, 15, and 25 April 2018; plumes of brown discolored water were streaming from the western side of the island (figure 18). Similar activity was frequently seen during clear weather in the following months. A steam plume was also often rising from the crater. The Coastal Vent cone was still hot on 8 August, but no infrared anomaly was seen in imagery from 28 August through September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Sentinel-2 natural color satellite image of Kadovar on 10 April 2018. The island is about 1.5 km in diameter. Steam can be seen rising from the summit and the Coastal Vent just off the western shore; both locations show thermal anomalies in infrared imagery. Discolored water plumes extend NE from the island. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The 2-km-wide island of Kadovar is the emergent summit of a Bismarck Sea stratovolcano of Holocene age. Kadovar is part of the Schouten Islands, and lies off the coast of New Guinea, about 25 km N of the mouth of the Sepik River. The village of Gewai is perched on the crater rim. A 365-m-high lava dome forming the high point of the andesitic volcano fills an arcuate landslide scarp that is open to the south, and submarine debris-avalanche deposits occur in that direction. Thick lava flows with columnar jointing forms low cliffs along the coast. The youthful island lacks fringing or offshore reefs. No certain historical eruptions are known; the latest activity was a period of heightened thermal phenomena in 1976.

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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Ketoi (Russia) — October 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Ketoi

Russia

47.35°N, 152.475°E; summit elev. 1172 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Plume of uncertain composition reported based on satellite data one day in September

Gas-and-steam emissions were previously reported at Ketoi (figure 1) in January, July, and August 2013 (BGVN 40:09). Intense fumarolic activity originating from the same area, the N slope of Pallas Peak, was reported in 1981, 1987, and 1989. Based on a report from the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT) using Himawari-8 imagery, the Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume on 21 September 2018 which drifted to the NE; however, evidence of the plume could not be confirmed by the VAAC from satellite imagery. The original VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) issued by SVERT noted a volcanic cloud without a specific mention of ash, but also remarked that thermal anomalies had been observed on 17 and 20 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Natural color Sentinel-2 satellite image of Ketoi on 18 September 2018. A large freshwater lake can be seen SW of the Pallas Peak andesitic cone, which also hosts a crater lake. Lava flows originating from the younger cone extend primarily N to SW, and a white fumarolic area is immediately NE of the crater. The island is approximately 10 km in diameter. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The circular, 10-km-wide Ketoi island, which rises across the 19-km-wide Diana Strait from Simushir Island, hosts of one of the most complex volcanic structures of the Kuril Islands. The rim of a 5-km-wide Pleistocene caldera is exposed only on the NE side. A younger 1172-m-high stratovolcano forming the NW part of the island is cut by a horst-and-graben structure containing two solfatara fields. A 1.5-km-wide freshwater lake fills an explosion crater in the center of the island. Pallas Peak, a large andesitic cone in the NE part of the caldera, is truncated by a 550-m-wide crater containing a brilliantly colored turquoise crater lake. Lava flows from Pallas Peak overtop the caldera rim and descend nearly 5 km to the SE coast. The first historical eruption of Pallas Peak, during 1843-46, was its largest.

Information Contacts: Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science, Nauki st., 1B, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, 693022 (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/en/, http://www.imgg.ru/ru/svert/reports); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Semeru (Indonesia) — September 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

8.108°S, 112.922°E; summit elev. 3657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash plumes in February, April, July, and August 2018; persistent thermal hotspot in the crater

Semeru volcano is the tallest volcano in Java (figure 33) and one of the most active in Indonesia. The Mahameru summit area contains the active Jonggring-Seloko vent where activity consists of dome growth and regular ash plumes, along with pyroclastic flows, avalanches, and lava flows that travel down the SE-flank ravine. The Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) Volcano Alert level for Semeru throughout the report period is II (on a scale of I-IV). The last Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) was issued on 9 January 2017, and the status has not changed during the reporting period. This report summarizes the activity from January to 24 August 2018 and is based on Volcano Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) ash advisories and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. View looking NW at the quiet Mahameru summit area of Semeru on 24 August 2018 taken by a webcam courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia via Ø.L. Andersen's Twitter feed.

While there were no observatory activity reports issued, the Darwin VAAC issued reports for five events that produced ash plumes to altitudes ranging 3.4 to 4.9 km (table 22). MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) thermal data indicate near-consistent low-level thermal activity at Semeru after a period of no detected thermal anomalies in late January through early February. This supports the elevated thermal energy detected by Sentinel-2 satellite data at the Jonggring-Seloko vent and along the SE-flank ravine (figure 34). The MODVOLC algorithm detected 16 high-temperature hotspots through the reporting period, six in January, two in March, three in April, one in July, and two in August through to the 24th.

Table 22. Summary of ash plumes (altitude and drift direction) and pyroclastic flows at Semeru, January to 24 August 2018. The summit is at 3,657 m elevation. Data courtesy of Darwin VAAC report.

Date Altitude (km) Drift direction Other notes
24 Feb 2018 4.6 20 km ESE and WSW --
29 Apr 2018 3.4 NW Short-lived discrete eruption
20 Jul 2018 4.9 SW Minor discrete eruption
30-31 Jul 2018 4.3 W --
23-24 Aug 2018 4.3 W and SW --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. MIROVA plot of Log Radiative Power showing the relative thermal energy at Semeru ending September 2018. The detected thermal activity is more intense before mid-January 2018 when there was a gap in detected data before regular low-level activity resumed. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 false color thermal satellite images showing the persistent elevated thermal anomaly in the Jonggring-Seloko crater of Semeru from January through to 24 August 2018. Hot material can sometimes be identified in the SE-flank ravine. The larger central image is annotated with the major morphological features. False color (urban) images (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Semeru, the highest volcano on Java, and one of its most active, lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises above coastal plains to the south. Gunung Semeru was constructed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek and Jambangan calderas. A line of lake-filled maars was constructed along a N-S trend cutting through the summit, and cinder cones and lava domes occupy the eastern and NE flanks. Summit topography is complicated by the shifting of craters from NW to SE. Frequent 19th and 20th century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.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/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC 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://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com).


Sinabung (Indonesia) — September 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


No significant ash plumes seen after 22 June 2018; minor ash in early July

Sinabung volcano is located in the Karo regency of North Sumatra, Indonesia. The current eruptive episode commenced in late 2013, after phreatic activity in 2010, producing ash plumes, lava domes and flows, and pyroclastic flows that caused evacuation and relocation of nearby communities. This report covers activity from April through early July, and is based on information provided by MAGMA Indonesia, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM, also known as PVMBG), satellite data, and field photographs. Sinabung has been on Alert Level IV, the highest hazard status, since 2 June 2015.

The eruption has built a pyroclastic flow and lava fan to the SE (figure 60). This activity continued into 2018, with the last significant ash plume reported on 22 June (table 8). However, minor ash emissions continued at least through 5 July 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Satellite images showing Sinabung before and after the eruption with the newly-developed fan of pyroclastic flow, volcanic ash, and lava flow deposits. Top: Landsat-8 true color satellite image (pan-sharpened) acquired on 7 June 2013 before the eruption began. Bottom: Sentinel-2 natural color satellite image acquired on 16 July 2018, after the eruption ended. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Table 8. Summary of ash plumes (altitude and drift direction) and pyroclastic flows at Sinabung, April-June 2018. The summit is at 2,460 m elevation. Data courtesy of Darwin VAAC reports, MAGMA Indonesia VAAC reports, and CVGHM volcanic activity reports.

Date Ash plume altitude (km) Ash plume drift direction Pyroclastic flows
06 Apr 2018 7.5 W, S 3.5 km
12 Apr 2018 2.7 WNW Yes
19 Apr 2018 5.5 ESE 1 km
19 May 2018 3.2 NW --
20 May 2018 5.0 WNW --
15 Jun 2018 3.0 ESE --
22 Jun 2018 3.5 SE --

An eruption on 6 April 2018 at 1607 local time produced an ash plume that reached about 7.5 km above the summit. The eruption also produced pyroclastic flows that traveled about 3.5 km from the summit down the SE slope (figure 61). The eruption resulted in the closure of a nearby airport and ashfall affected hundreds of hectares of agricultural land. Two more notable ash plumes were reported on 12 and 19 April, to altitudes of about 2.7 and 5.5 km, respectively. A pyroclastic flow was reported during the 12 April eruption. Smaller ash and gas emissions occurred through the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Eruption of Sinabung on 6 April 2018 at 1600 local time that produced an ash plume that reached over 5 km above the summit, and pyroclastic flows that reached about 3.5 km down the SE flank. Courtesy of Agence France-Presse via Straits Times.

Two ash plumes were recorded on 19 and 20 May, rising to about 3.2 and 5 km altitude, respectively. Throughout June small diffuse gas-and-ash plumes continued (figures 62 and 63). The last activity reported by the agencies was on the 15 and 22 June, when ash plumes reached 3 and 3.5 km altitude (figure 64). Activity after 22 June was limited to seismicity and ash, gas, and steam plumes to several hundred meters above the summit (figure 65). Although an elevated thermal signature was detected in Sentinel-2 satellite data on 30 August 2018, there were no reports of renewed activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. View of the Sinabung summit vent area during ash venting on 20 June 2018. This view from the SW shows the perched remains of the lava dome and collapse scar. Photo courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Relatively consistent ash venting at Sinabung on 20 June 2018. This view shows the pyroclastic flow fan and the 2014 lava flow in the lower center of the photo. Drone photo courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Small ash plume rising from Sinabung at 2106 on 22 June 2018. The ash plume reached about 1 km above the crater. Courtesy of BNPB (color adjusted).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Minor ash venting at Sinabung on 5 July 2018. Photo courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Geologic Background. Gunung Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano with many lava flows on its flanks. The migration of summit vents along a N-S line gives the summit crater complex an elongated form. The youngest crater of this conical andesitic-to-dacitic edifice is at the southern end of the four overlapping summit craters. The youngest deposit is a SE-flank pyroclastic flow 14C dated by Hendrasto et al. (2012) at 740-880 CE. An unconfirmed eruption was noted in 1881, and solfataric activity was seen at the summit and upper flanks in 1912. No confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to explosive eruptions during August-September 2010 that produced ash plumes to 5 km above the summit.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BNPB_Indonesia ); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/id_magma); 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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY (URL: https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/user/bcarr); Agence France-Presse (URL: http://www.afp.com/); Straits Times (URL: https://www.straitstimes.com).


Telica (Nicaragua) — September 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Telica

Nicaragua

12.606°N, 86.84°W; summit elev. 1036 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions on 21 June and 15 August 2018; local ashfall from June event

The Telica volcano complex, which consists of several cones and craters, has had intermittent eruptions since the Spanish conquest, with emissions of gas and ash. According to The Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), the volcano is monitored in real time by a permanent seismic station near the crater. It is also visited several times per year for visual observations, to measure sulfur dioxide emissions, and measure temperatures in the crater and fumaroles near the seismic station. A gas-and-ash explosion occurred in early May 2016 (BGVN 42:01). This report covers activity from September 2016 through June 2018.

INETER reported that local residents heard a small gas explosion on 10 September 2017, and warned the public to stay at least 2 km away from the crater. No ash emissions were reported related to this event.

According to INETER and the Sistema Nacional para la Prevención, Mitigación y Atención de Desastres (SINAPRED), an eruption began at 0708 on 21 June 2018. Explosions produced an ash plume that rose 500 m above the crater and drifted E, S, and SW. Ejected tephra was deposited within a 1-km-radius of the volcano, and ashfall was reported in nearby areas, including La Joya, Las Marías (7 km NNW), Pozo Viejo (10 km NNW), Ojo de Agua, San Lucas (11 km NNW), Las Higueras, Las Grietas (12 km NNW), and Posoltega (16 km WSW).

Another explosion on 15 August 2018 was reported by SINAPRED that generated an ash plume to 200 m above the crater rim.

Seismicity. INETER monthly reports indicated that during September through December 2016, between 3,500 and 3,900 monthly seismic events took place, with the majority having hybrid signatures. During 2017, the monthly number of seismic events ranged from 40,584 (September) to 105,555 (November), of which 50-90% were hybrid events, 9-10% long-period events (but 23 percent in January), and 0-35% multiple events. A few scattered volcanic-tectonic events occurred, and tremor was usually low. Seismic data for January and March consisted of percentages of different earthquake types similar to those during 2017.

About 5% of the monthly seismic signals between April 2017 and January 2018 were doublets, or paired earthquakes with two predominant frequencies. INETER did not mention doublets in their March 2018 report, and did not include seismic data in their February or April 2018 reports.

Sulfur dioxide measurements. According to INETER, during fieldwork on 8 and 11 May 2017 the sulfur dioxide level was measured at 368 ± 194 metric tons/day. This value was lower than those in November 2015 with an average of 765 ± 94 tons/day. On 28 February and 1 March 2018, measurements using the Mobile-DOAS technique found levels greater than 426 tons/day and a minimum value of 152 tons/day, with an average of 260 tons/day, higher than the value measured in September 2017 with 183 tons/day. On 16 and 19 April 2018, the minimum and maximum values were 229 and 567 tons/day, with an average of 353 tons/day.

Geologic Background. Telica, one of Nicaragua's most active volcanoes, has erupted frequently since the beginning of the Spanish era. This volcano group consists of several interlocking cones and vents with a general NW alignment. Sixteenth-century eruptions were reported at symmetrical Santa Clara volcano at the SW end of the group. However, its eroded and breached crater has been covered by forests throughout historical time, and these eruptions may have originated from Telica, whose upper slopes in contrast are unvegetated. The steep-sided cone of Telica is truncated by a 700-m-wide double crater; the southern crater, the source of recent eruptions, is 120 m deep. El Liston, immediately E, has several nested craters. The fumaroles and boiling mudpots of Hervideros de San Jacinto, SE of Telica, form a prominent geothermal area frequented by tourists, and geothermal exploration has occurred nearby.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://webserver2.ineter.gob.ni/vol/dep-vol.html); Sistema Nacional para la Prevencion, Mitigacion y Atencion de Desastres (SINAPRED), Edificio SINAPRED, Rotonda Comandante Hugo Chávez 50 metros al Norte, frente a la Avenida Bolívar, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.sinapred.gob.ni/).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — September 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent weak phreatic explosions during January-March and July-August 2018

The Rincón de la Vieja volcano complex has generated intermittent phreatic explosions since 2011; during 2017, weak phreatic explosions occurred during May, June, July, September, and October (BGVN 42:08 and 43:03). This activity continued through August 2018. The volcano is monitored by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, at 1758 on 9 January 2018, an explosion produced a plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim. On 12 January, OVSICORI-UNA reported some small phreatic explosions. The webcam detected weak explosions again in mid-February. Another weak explosion on 22 February confirmed the presence of a crater lake.

During the first week of March OVSICORI-UNA reported weak phreatic explosions of low amplitude that were only be detected by the webcam (figure 28), and not by seismic instruments. During the week of 5-11 March there were 2-4 weak phreatic explosions occurred per day, along with strong tremor on the 10th. Small eruptions were seen on unspecified days the week of 12-18 March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Webcam image of a phreatic explosion at Rincon de la Vieja on 3 March 2018. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

No phreatic activity was reported during the second half of March through June, though on 20 May a seismic swarm of about 30 earthquakes was recorded. After a tremor on 3 July, a possible weak phreatic explosion occurred on 4 July at 0044, followed by a pulse of tremor. On 28 July, at 1828, a small explosion followed by tremor was recorded.

On 3 August OVSICORI-UNA reported that two weak explosions occurred at dawn. On 14 August, another weak explosion began at 1828 and lasted three minutes. Foggy conditions prevented webcam views and an estimate of a plume height. Other weak explosions were recorded on 17 August at 1407 and 2015.

Geologic Background. Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge that was constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of 1916-m-high Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/).

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 this tab.

   

The default month and year is the latest issue available.

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin - Volume 14, Number 06 (June 1989)

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Aira (Japan)

Ash emission but no recorded explosions

Arenal (Costa Rica)

1987-89 explosive activity described

Asosan (Japan)

Ash ejections continue; new vent on crater floor

Bagana (Papua New Guinea)

Explosions; S-flank lava flow remains active

Campi Flegrei (Italy)

Inflation and seismicity resume after 4-year hiatus

Colima (Mexico)

Summit morphology and seismicity described

Etna (Italy)

Summit explosive activity

Izu-Tobu (Japan)

Brief eruption follows two-week seismic swarm

Kilauea (United States)

Earthquake causes bench collapse; no effect on eruption

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Activity subsides; landslides widen crater

Lascar (Chile)

Continued lava dome growth

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Bubbling lava at one vent

Long Valley (United States)

Earthquake swarm near caldera rim

Lonquimay (Chile)

Strong fluorine emission; one person and many animals killed

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Fewer earthquakes; slow deflation continues

Masaya (Nicaragua)

Lava lake freezes; small explosions

Poas (Costa Rica)

Rains partly refill crater lake; intense gas emission

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Activity remains at background levels

Ruiz, Nevado del (Colombia)

Sharp increase in seismicity precedes ash emission

San Cristobal (Nicaragua)

New fumaroles along fissure on SE spur of Casita

Santa Maria (Guatemala)

Lava production; explosions; hot avalanches

Suwanosejima (Japan)

Frequent explosions; ashfall on inhabited area

Telica (Nicaragua)

Fumaroles emit white plumes

Tokachidake (Japan)

Seismicity increases; no explosions

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

White vapor plume; seismicity decreases

White Island (New Zealand)

Explosions continue; craters enlarge



Aira (Japan) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

31.593°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emission but no recorded explosions

No explosions . . . were recorded in May or June, but plume emission continued. The highest plume in May rose 1800 m on the 19th. Ash accumulation in May was 112 g/m2 at the observatory. No earthquake swarms were recorded by the nearest seismometer, 2.3 km NW of the crater.

Geologic Background. The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Arenal

Costa Rica

10.463°N, 84.703°W; summit elev. 1670 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


1987-89 explosive activity described

A cooperative study of Arenal by the OVSICORI and the SI, assisted by Earthwatch and Smithsonian Research Expedition volunteers, has completed eight periods of continuous day/night monitoring, generally of 10-14 days each, in the past 2 years. Most of the observations were made from the Arenal Volcanological and Biological Observatory, 2.7 km S of the summit, on the Marigold Genis macademia plantation. The following is excerpted from a report by W. Melson. A more detailed version will be published in Boletín de Vulcanología [see Further Reference, below].

"Over the past 2 years, Arenal's eruptions include the infrequent emission of lava flows and a variety of frequent pyroclastic eruptions that can be classified into three overlapping and sometimes sequential event types. Sounds were recorded at the Observatory using a standard cassette recorder and directional microphone. We also used a sound-level meter and a strip recorder to obtain time-sound intensity records of eruptions. Only rarely is Arenal's summit visible. Thus, we normally must classify eruptions by their sound characteristics (figure 20).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Arenal eruption sound sequence at 0407 on 3 April 1989, beginning with an explosion (type 1) and grading through type 2 to type 3. Sound level intensities were made from a tape recording and are thus only relative. The predominance of low-frequency components in the sequence is shown by comparing the unfiltered sequence (solid line) with the low-frequency filtered (<100 Hz) sequence (dotted line).

1. Explosions are intense, brief, energy releases, usually <2 seconds long, accompanied by ballistic ejection of blocks and bombs and rarely by small pyroclastic flows (figure 21). They may initiate a sequence of all three types of pyroclastic events. Typical eruption columns are 300-1,000 m high and tephra volumes are small. Blocks rarely reach ~15 m across and may impact 1.5 km from the active crater, although typical ranges are <800 m. The sound is intense, and sound levels of 125 decibels (dB) have been recorded at the Observatory, but values between 96 and 115 dB are more common. Most but not all explosions are associated with a small, brief, high-frequency seismic signal. Less commonly, they are associated with a long-duration signal that may grade into harmonic tremor. Sound intensity and tephra volume are not clearly related; explosions with relatively low sound levels can involve large volumes of tephra. Intense explosions commonly follow long repose periods and are thus particularly dangerous. One such explosive event killed a tourist who ascended to near the crater on 6 July 1988. On the rare clear nights at Arenal, explosions are the most visually spectacular types of eruptions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Explosion plume and impacting blocks, photographed from the Observatory, 2.7 km S of the new summit crater, on 15 April 1989 about 25 seconds after the onset of the explosion at 0759. Plume drift and tephra fall are to the W, the normal direction of trade winds at Arenal.

2. Long-duration eruptions of blocks, bombs, and tephra may occur singly, or, more typically, in a series of varying loudness and ejecta volume. They are commonly associated with an intense, sometimes harmonic seismic event lasting >30 seconds. Pyroclastic flows associated with this type of eruption are of the fallback type, where tephra of low ejection velocity falls on the crater rim and coalesces into coherent flows. We have observed three pyroclastic flows over the past 2 years that descended >1 km from the crater; all were associated with a low-intensity sound signal but with a strong and sustained seismic signal. The sonic signatures are rich in low-frequency components (<100 Hz) that are not as loud and are of longer duration than for the explosions. Tephra volume is not clearly related to sound level; barely audible events of this type have produced large volumes of tephra. Although they might be termed lava fountaining, they should not be confused with the activity generated by magmas of much lower viscosity that are involved in lava fountaining during basaltic eruptions. Arenal's magmas are now highly viscous basaltic andesites containing >50 volume % crystals with compositionally evolved matrix glasses that are mainly dacitic.

3. A sequence of rhythmic gas emissions with or without ejection of small amounts of tephra. Frequencies are typically about 0.75-1.5 Hz between separate events. Within a given eruptive sequence, these are the highest-frequency, lowest sound-intensity, events.

"The frequency of eruptions varies widely with time. We have found no clear-cut cyclicity nor other obvious patterns in these data (figure 22). Over the past 2 years, the seven periods of close monitoring suggest a decline in the frequency of pyroclastic eruptions followed by a slight increase. During the April 1989 observations, the number of explosions (type 1) particularly increased. Small lava flows moving down the S slope also led to an increase in recorded rockslides. However, during the past 2 years, most of the lava flows have moved down the N slopes, many of them in the headwaters of the Río Tabacón; rockslides associated with their advance are not audible from the Observatory.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Average number of eruptions at Arenal per hour during each 10-14-day period of observation, 28 April 1987-April 1989.

"The number of pyroclastic events decreased dramatically after about 15 April 1989, reaching the lowest level in the past 2 years. Only one explosion occurred during 5 days of close monitoring 30 June-4 July. During that time, intense lava fountaining in the summit crater was visible at night and at least two wide but thin flows were active on the N flank, in the headwaters of the Río Tabacón, with advancing flow fronts ~1,200 m below the new crater, now at ~1,600 m elevation. This is the second period of low pyroclastic activity associated with a high level of lava flow production. The first was recorded 9-19 February 1988, when an active lava flow had reached ~1,200 m elevation in the headwaters of the Río Tabacón. The rate of magma emission is far greater during times of strong lava emission than during even high levels of pyroclastic activity. It is likely that during periods of high rates of lava production, the conduit is essentially open, preventing formation of a plug by cooling and degassing, and hence the buildup of vapor pressure and attendant pyroclastic events.

"We find no consistent relationship between tremor levels and eruption frequency or type during our last two periods of close monitoring, except for Type 2 eruptions, which were most common at high tremor levels during both periods. Notably, explosions (Type 1 eruptions) occurred at minimal levels during tremor-free periods during the February expedition, but at maximum frequency during periods of maximum tremor in February."

The ICE reported that seismicity declined to a moderate level in June, with a mean of only three recorded volcanic earthquakes/day. However, there was an increase in the number of harmonic tremor episodes, related to lava degassing.

Further Reference. Melson, W., 1989, Las erupciones del Volcán Arenal, 1 al 13 de Abril de 1989: Boletín de Vulcanología (Univ Nacional, Costa Rica), no. 20, p. 15-22 (in Spanish).

Geologic Background. Conical Volcán Arenal is the youngest stratovolcano in Costa Rica and one of its most active. The 1670-m-high andesitic volcano towers above the eastern shores of Lake Arenal, which has been enlarged by a hydroelectric project. Arenal lies along a volcanic chain that has migrated to the NW from the late-Pleistocene Los Perdidos lava domes through the Pleistocene-to-Holocene Chato volcano, which contains a 500-m-wide, lake-filled summit crater. The earliest known eruptions of Arenal took place about 7000 years ago, and it was active concurrently with Cerro Chato until the activity of Chato ended about 3500 years ago. Growth of Arenal has been characterized by periodic major explosive eruptions at several-hundred-year intervals and periods of lava effusion that armor the cone. An eruptive period that began with a major explosive eruption in 1968 ended in December 2010; continuous explosive activity accompanied by slow lava effusion and the occasional emission of pyroclastic flows characterized the eruption from vents at the summit and on the upper western flank.

Information Contacts: W. Melson, SI; V. Barboza, J. Barquero, E. Fernández, and R. Saenz, OVSICORI; R. Barquero and G. Alvarado, ICE.


Asosan (Japan) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

32.884°N, 131.104°E; summit elev. 1592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash ejections continue; new vent on crater floor

After a small ash ejection 5 April, tephra emission continued at a relatively high rate in May and June. On 8 May at 1000, a vent (1 m in diameter) on the Naka-dake crater floor ejected ash to ~10 m. At 1132, an M 3.3 shock (3 on the JMA Intensity Scale) occurred beneath the crater and was felt at AWS. Five (felt) aftershocks were recorded on 8 May (at 1120, 1147, 1216, 1417, and 2039), and 1 (not felt) was recorded the next day (at 0057) by a seismograph 0.8 km W of the crater. A 1-km area around the crater was closed to tourists by the Aso Disaster Authority. During a field survey at 1910, no ash ejection was observed.

On 16 May, ash rose ~100 m above the crater rim at 0810, and ~200 m at 1030. About 20% of the crater floor was covered by a rainwater pool, from which mud and water were continuously ejected to 3 m. During a field survey on 20 May at 1150, a strong rumbling noise was audible, but no ash ejection was seen.

Ash rose ~200 m above the crater rim on 22 May from 0740 to 0800, and 20 m above the crater floor at 0820. Activity declined, stopping by 1000. Two days later at 1000, ash was ejected to 200 m above the crater rim, and 5 g/m2 of ash was deposited at AWS. Ash had not fallen there since 28 June 1985. Red glow at the vent and in cracks on the crater floor was observed at night through May. During the night of 27 May, red glow emanated from 40-50% of the crater floor. On 28 May, ash rose about 50 m from the N portion of the vent.

In June, a vent on the NW floor of Crater 1 emitted an ash-laden steam plume a few hundred meters above the crater rim. During a 6 June field survey, the vent had enlarged and was emitting a 300-m ash plume. Flames from burning volcanic gases were occasionally observed rising 3-4 m above the crater floor during night visits. Ash accumulation at AWS was 9 g/m2 on the 7th, and 2 g/m2 on the 8th. The Crater 1 vent was buried by ash during rainfall 8-9 June. A new vent (named "891") about 18 m in diameter opened in the center of the crater floor on 10 June, and was the largest new vent since "853" formed 6 May 1985. The highest plumes of the month reached 1,000 m above the crater rim on 7 and 20 June.

Isolated volcanic tremor remained high (200-400 events/day) in May and June (figure 11) with a total of 5,760 events in May and 6,752 in June (compared to 5,821 in April). The amplitude of continuous tremor was generally unchanged in May but increased slightly in June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Daily number of isolated tremor episodes at Aso, January-June 1989. Courtesy of JMA.

Geologic Background. The 24-km-wide Asosan caldera was formed during four major explosive eruptions from 300,000 to 90,000 years ago. These produced voluminous pyroclastic flows that covered much of Kyushu. The last of these, the Aso-4 eruption, produced more than 600 km3 of airfall tephra and pyroclastic-flow deposits. A group of 17 central cones was constructed in the middle of the caldera, one of which, Nakadake, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It was the location of Japan's first documented historical eruption in 553 CE. The Nakadake complex has remained active throughout the Holocene. Several other cones have been active during the Holocene, including the Kometsuka scoria cone as recently as about 210 CE. Historical eruptions have largely consisted of basaltic to basaltic-andesite ash emission with periodic strombolian and phreatomagmatic activity. The summit crater of Nakadake is accessible by toll road and cable car, and is one of Kyushu's most popular tourist destinations.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

6.137°S, 155.196°E; summit elev. 1855 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions; S-flank lava flow remains active

"Bagana is currently the most active volcano in Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, civil disturbance on Bougainville Island Island prevents proper monitoring. The observer reported fluctuating night glows from the summit and from the new (blocky) lava flow on the S flank. Incandescent rockfalls were frequent on all flanks, accompanied by rumbling sounds. Explosions and incandescent projections over the crater were reported 10 and 12-15 June. The thick, white to brown plume . . . produced occasional light ashfalls downwind."

Geologic Background. Bagana volcano, occupying a remote portion of central Bougainville Island, is one of Melanesia's youngest and most active volcanoes. This massive symmetrical cone was largely constructed by an accumulation of viscous andesitic lava flows. The entire edifice could have been constructed in about 300 years at its present rate of lava production. Eruptive activity is frequent and characterized by non-explosive effusion of viscous lava that maintains a small lava dome in the summit crater, although explosive activity occasionally producing pyroclastic flows also occurs. Lava flows form dramatic, freshly preserved tongue-shaped lobes up to 50 m thick with prominent levees that descend the flanks on all sides.

Information Contacts: P. de Saint-Ours and B. Talai, RVO.


Campi Flegrei (Italy) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Campi Flegrei

Italy

40.827°N, 14.139°E; summit elev. 458 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Inflation and seismicity resume after 4-year hiatus

From the beginning of 1985 until the end of 1988, activity . . . was characterized by a generally deflationary trend, but uplift then resumed and a maximum uplift of 7.2 cm was measured in June.

The surveillance network operated by OV consists of eight seismic stations, five tide gauges (four in the Gulf of Pozzuoli, one in Naples for comparison), and four electronic tiltmeters (figure 16). Periodic levelling measurements are made on an extended line and distance measurements are performed twice a year. Radon content and water temperature are monitored in four water wells. Periodic measurements of S/C ratio and water vapor content of fumarolic emissions are made at Solfatara Crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Levelling network and tide gauges at Campi Flegrei.

Deformation. Vertical motion recorded by the tide gauge in Pozzuoli harbor showed steady deflation until mid-1987 (figure 15). The record then became more oscillatory and some uplift episodes were observed in the general deflationary trend. Figure 15 also shows vertical motion recorded on the levelling line at benchmark 25 (the site of maximum vertical deformation). A steady trend with an average rate of -12.7 mm/month was observed until mid-1987. From then until the beginning of 1989 a decrease in the subsidence rate was observed, and a net uplift of 7.2 cm was measured January-June 1989. Since the end of 1988, four tilt stations have been installed at Campi Flegrei. They are 2-component horizontal pendulum systems with resolutions of 6.9 and 14.5x10-9 rad for the radial and tangential components, respectively. One tiltmeter is in Baia Castle (on the W side of the bay), the other three along an abandoned tunnel roughly 2.5-3.5 km N of Pozzuoli pier. Different trends were observed December 1987-June 1989, showing complex local movement still not fully understood. Two periods of inclination toward the SE were observed, 10 December 1987-12 February 1988 and 22 March-7 April 1988, compatible with deflation of the area of maximum vertical deformation. In other periods the trends were less compatible with this feature, as if the source of deformation had changed its center. Particularly notable was the rotation of the vector after March 1989, indicating an inclination toward the ENE.

Seismicity. No seismic events were observed from 1985 through the beginning of 1987. Since April 1987, several swarms have been observed (figures 17 and 18): 10 April 1987, 50 events, maximum M 2, W sector of Solfatara; 4 November 1987, 26 events, maximum M 1.1, E sector of Solfatara; March 1989, 15 events, Solfatara area; 3 April 1989, 82 events, maximum M 2.2, Solfatara; May 1989, 33 events, maximum M 2.2, Solfatara; 1-13 June 1989, 45 events, maximum M 2.7. Most notable was the occurrence of several low-frequency events, the first time that such events have been observed. They were generally shallow and on the E border of Solfatara crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Seismic stations (large squares) and March-June 1989 earthquake epicenters (diamonds) in the Campi Flegrei area.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Number of local earthquakes recorded in the Campi Flegrei area, January 1987-June 1989.

Chemistry. The Costagliola well near Monte Nuovo has shown a clear increase in average radon content superimposed on annual variations. A similar trend is apparent for radon contents measured in water wells in different parts of Campi Flegrei. Both the S/C ratio and the water vapor content of a fumarole at Solfatara showed a steady increase starting in mid-1986.

Geologists noted that "All of these data seem to indicate a progressive change in the style of activity . . . , and it seems that the steady deflationary trend has come to an end. We still do not know if the picture we have described is the precursor of a new prolonged uplift phase, or if it represents the restoration of a trend similar to that after the 1970-72 uplift episode, characterized by oscillatory activity until 1982. It is notable, however, that Campi Flegrei is displaying in each new episode of unrest a new phenomenon that was not observed in the previous one. In 1970-72 there was a major uplift without significant seismic activity, and in 1982-84 there was uplift accompanied by seismic activity. In this case, although we still do not know if a sustained uplift will occur, there is the occurrence of low-frequency seismic events."

Further Reference. Tedesco, D., Bottiglieri, L., and Pece,R., 1988, 10th of April 1987 seismic swarm; correlation with geochemical parameters in Campi Flegrei Caldera (southern Italy): Geophysical Research Letters, v. 15, p. 661-664.

Geologic Background. Campi Flegrei is a large 13-km-wide caldera on the outskirts of Naples that contains numerous phreatic tuff rings and pyroclastic cones. The caldera margins are poorly defined, and on the south lie beneath the Gulf of Pozzuoli. Episodes of dramatic uplift and subsidence within the dominantly trachytic caldera have occurred since Roman times. The earliest known eruptive products are dated 47,000 yrs BP. The caldera formed following two large explosive eruptions, the massive Campanian ignimbrite about 36,000 BP, and the over 40 km3 Neapolitan Yellow Tuff (NYT) about 15,000 BP. Following eruption of the NYT a large number of eruptions have taken place from widely scattered subaerial and submarine vents. Most activity occurred during three intervals: 15,000-9500, 8600-8200, and 4800-3800 BP. Two eruptions have occurred in historical time, one in 1158 at Solfatara and the other in 1538 that formed the Monte Nuovo cinder cone.

Information Contacts: G. Luongo, C. Del Gaudio, F. Obrizzo, G. Ricciardi, and D. Tedesco, OV; R. Pece and R. Scandone, Univ di Napoli.


Colima (Mexico) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Summit morphology and seismicity described

When Julián Flores Díaz and José Angel Cortés visited Colima 13-14 and 25-26 May, the summit area consisted of a dome on the N side, a semicircular depression on the SE side, and an irregular platform (figure 3). Fumaroles were concentrated in three areas on the dome (figure 4). On 14 May, gas emission, dominated by SO2, had increased and the gas was light-brown in color, but it had substantially diminished by 25-26 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Sketch of Colima's summit, May 1989. Courtesy of J.F. Díaz.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Map (top) and cross-section (bottom) of Colima's summit area, showing positions of the dome, fumarolic activity, and the summit depression. Courtesy of J.F. Díaz.

The depression that formed 2 July [1987] after a phreatic explosion and avalanche from the summit was 100-150 in diameter and 30-40 m deep (from the high point in the middle of the summit area) [but see 15:12]. The area was warm but fumaroles observed during a November 1988 overflight had disappeared. Altered fragmented rocks and sand were present on the depression's floor. The remainder of the summit area, an irregular platform, was composed of blocks of many shapes and sizes. Warm gases containing SO2 were emitted, and blocks were altered and covered with sulfur. On the SW flank, a talus slope of scoria and sand had developed. Thermometric equipment was not available to the team.

A group from CICBAS, Universidad de Colima (Guillermo Castellanos, Carlos Ariel Ramírez-Vázquez, and Juan Reyes-Gómez) visited the volcano 23-25 May. Average temperatures adjacent to fumaroles were 167°C, a decrease from 216°C measured in May 1988. Emissions were dense, dark-gray in color, and had a pH of 2-3. New fractures were observed near the fumaroles. Rockfall avalanches, persisting for much of the past year, were last seen 14-15 April on the W flank (observed 20 km from the volcano). Three avalanche paths were visible, on the W, E, and N flanks.

Two digital high-gain 3-component seismographs and one analog single-component seismic station were installed near the volcano (figure 5). The seismographs collected data continuously for about 40 hours and recorded an average of 30 events/day. Preliminary analysis of the data by Reyes and Ramírez showed that most of the activity was tectonic with long separation between P- and S-wave arrivals. On 1, 14, and 22 June, the operators of the Red Sismologica Telemetrizada de Colima (a network that will consist of eight short-period, vertical seismograph stations; figure 6) installed three telemetric stations. Data are telemetered to CICBAS in the city of Colima. No deformation data are available, but changes in Colima's shape are visible and geodetic studies would be welcomed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Location of digital high-gain 3-component seismographs (SS2, SS3) and an analog single-component (SS1) seismograph installed near Colima. Courtesy of G. Castellanos.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Distribution of instruments for the planned Colima Telemetric Seismological Network (RESCO). Courtesy of G. Castellanos.

Geologic Background. The Colima volcanic complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the 4320 m high point of the complex) on the north and the 3850-m-high historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of cinder cones of late-Pleistocene age is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the Colima complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the south, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, and have produced a thick apron of debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions (most recently in 1913) have destroyed the summit and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.

Information Contacts: Julián Flores-Díaz, Instituto de Geografía y Estadística, Univ de Guadalajara; Guillermo Castellanos, Gilberto Ornelas-Arciniega, C. Ariel Ramírez-Vázquez, G.A. Reyes-Dávila, and Hector Tamez, CICBAS, Universidad de Colima.


Etna (Italy) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Summit explosive activity

The following, from IIV, describes activity May-June 1989.

Summit activity. (S. Calvari, M. Coltelli, and M. Pompilio.) Vigorous activity at the two central crater vents (Bocca Nuova and La Voragine) continued in May. On the 4th, La Voragine ejected bombs and lapilli that fell as far as the rim of Cratere del Piano (roughly 300 m away), choking the crater bottom with tephra. In late May, explosive activity diminished and continued at a normal level throughout June. Discontinuous effusive activity was observed in May within Bocca Nuova, and bombs accumulated in the crater to ~ 100 m from the rim. From late May through most of June, many bombs, some of considerable size, fell outside the crater. This activity suddenly stopped in late June, when the small cone inside the crater collapsed, and was succeeded by sporadic scoria ejection from two vents. Mild Strombolian activity at Southeast Crater in May slightly eroded the scoria cone that had formed in April (14:05). Strombolian activity continued at a medium-low level in June, with occasional pulses ejecting small numbers of bombs over wide areas. The vent on Northeast Crater's floor continued to degas through May and June.

Seismicity. (V. Longo, A. Montaldo, M. Patané, E. Privitera, and S. Spampinato.) The frequency of tectonic seismicity in May and June was generally similar to that of the past year, with occasional seismic swarms. During the last two days in May, low-energy events were detected ~ 10 km below the volcano's central area. A seismic swarm, recorded 19-24 June on the W flank, was 13-15 km deep and included the largest events (M 3.1-3.2) of the month. One of the earthquakes (on the 24th at 0230) was felt by area residents. On 28 June, a small mainshock-aftershock sequence (11 events) was recorded, with the largest earthquake located near the S portion of the Valle del Bove at <5 km depth. From late June to 1 July, events with M 2.5-3.0 occurred 10-15 km beneath the summit. No significant variations in the volcanic tremor pattern were observed during May or June.

Ground deformation. (O. Campisi, G. Falzone, B. Puglisi, G. Puglisi, and R. Velardita.) Ground deformation measured at the Serra Pizzuta Calvarina borehole tilt station showed no significant variation in May or June. Measurements in May using the S trilateration network showed little deformation since l June 1988.

SO2 emissions. (T. Caltabiano and R. Romano.) The average value of SO2 flux in May 1989 was the lowest of the past year, but moderately high values returned in June. SO2 flux was measured 3, ll, 17, and 24 May and 1, 7, 15, 22, and 29 June. Emissions fluctuated in May, with high values on the 3rd and 17th and low values on the 11th and 24th, reaching only 2,500 t/d on the latter date.

Tephra composition. (S. Calvari, M. Coltelli, and M. Pompilio.) January 1989 activity produced hawaiite tephra, with petrography and chemical composition similar to tephra from the previous year. Tephra emitted from Southeast Crater during 1988 had relatively more evolved compositions, but early 1989 tephra was less differentiated than material emitted by the other summit craters.

Geologic Background. Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

Information Contacts: R. Santacroce, IIV.


Izu-Tobu (Japan) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Izu-Tobu

Japan

34.9°N, 139.098°E; summit elev. 1406 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief eruption follows two-week seismic swarm

After a 2-week earthquake swarm, a brief submarine eruption built a small cone on the sea bottom a few kilometers off the coast of the Izu Peninsula. [See 14:7 for a more detailed report from JMA.]

Earthquakes began 30 June, and by 9 July, more than 19,000 had been recorded. Many were at depths of 4-5 km in a zone roughly 3-7 km NE of Ito, a city of 72,000 about 100 km SW of Tokyo and 40 km NW of Oshima volcano. The swarm included a pair of strong events that occurred within a minute of each other on 9 July at 1109; the first was of M 5.5, the second slightly weaker. At least 18 people were injured by these shocks, and landslides were reported at 16 sites. A year earlier, more than 17,000 events centered farther from the coast were recorded during a month of seismicity that began in late July 1988. Previous swarms had occurred SE of the 1989 epicentral area in 1984 and 1985, and numerous other 1984-86 events occurred in a zone separating the 1984 and 1985 swarm epicenters.

The eruption began on 13 July. A JMA seismometer started to record microseismicity at 1829. The captain of the RV Takuyo (Hydrographic Dept, JMSA), carrying out a bathymetric survey in the area, reported hearing an explosion sound from the sea bottom and a 30-second vibration at 1833. One minute later, the JMA seismometer was saturated by seismic events and remained saturated for the next 10 minutes or more. At 1840, the crew of the RV Takuyo saw the sea surface dome upward about 500 m from the vessel, then a gray-black plume rose from the same area. Five more plumes, ~30 m high and 100 m across, were observed in the next 5 minutes. The ejection of each plume was accompanied by violent shaking and vibration of the ship. No more eruptive activity was reported. Seismographs were again saturated at 1902, and another seismic sequence, of different frequency, was recorded at 1907. Another 15 minutes of volcanic microseismicity began at 2130. No detailed reports were available for the next few days, but strong seismicity stopped after 16 July.

After the eruption, a bathymetric survey using an unmanned vessel detected a new cone in about 100 m of water at the eruption site. The cone was about 450 m wide, with a summit crater 200 m in diameter, but rose only ~10 m above the sea bottom. The eruption occurred in a region of Recent monogenetic volcanism that has built numerous subaerial and submarine cones (figure 1). One nearby pyroclastic flow (Kawagodiara) on the Izu Peninsula has been dated at about 3,250 BP. No ages are available for the submarine edifices, although very fresh pillow lavas were found downslope during work in a submersible.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Topographic and bathymetric map of the E-central Izu Peninsula and nearby waters, after Ishii and others (1988). The 13 July eruption site is labeled with a star. Young submarine cones are labeled with letters and open triangles. Pillow lavas were found in the outlined area labeled D173, 174 Tanaka.

Reference. Ishii, T., Watanabe, M., Ishizuka, T., Ohta, S., Sakai, H., Haramura, H., Shikazono, N., Togashi, K., Minai, Y., Tominaga, T., Chinzei, K., Horikoshi, M., and Matsumoto, E., 1988, Geological Study with the "Shinkai 2000" in the West Sagami Bay including Calyptogena Colonies; Technical Reports of the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center, 1988, p. 189-218.

Geologic Background. The Izu-Tobu volcano group (Higashi-Izu volcano group) is scattered over a broad, plateau-like area of more than 400 km2 on the E side of the Izu Peninsula. Construction of several stratovolcanoes continued throughout much of the Pleistocene and overlapped with growth of smaller monogenetic volcanoes beginning about 300,000 years ago. About 70 subaerial monogenetic volcanoes formed during the last 140,000 years, and chemically similar submarine cones are located offshore. These volcanoes are located on a basement of late-Tertiary volcanic rocks and related sediments and on the flanks of three Quaternary stratovolcanoes: Amagi, Tenshi, and Usami. Some eruptive vents are controlled by fissure systems trending NW-SE or NE-SW. Thirteen eruptive episodes have been documented during the past 32,000 years. Kawagodaira maar produced pyroclastic flows during the largest Holocene eruption about 3000 years ago. The latest eruption occurred in 1989, when a small submarine crater was formed NE of Ito City.

Information Contacts: T. Ishii, SI; S. Aramaki, Earthquake Research Institute, Univ of Tokyo; JMA; Hydrographic Dept, JMSA; Asahi Shinbun News, Tokyo.


Kilauea (United States) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquake causes bench collapse; no effect on eruption

A M 6.1 S-flank earthquake on 25 June triggered collapse of the coastal lava bench, but apparently had little effect on the continuing eruption. Lava flows that emerged from the tube system on the lower flanks reached the sea at two new sites, after destroying structures near the coast.

Surface lava flows that broke from the W tube system in April and destroyed houses . . . in May advanced S towards the coast in June. Lower elevation lava breakouts from the W tube, which had moved SW around the Royal Gardens kipuka in May, also continued to advance. Lava flows moving W along the Chain of Craters road destroyed a maintenance area on 21 June. The two flow fronts merged the next day, destroying the National Park Service Wahaula Visitor Center (figure 61). By 25 June, the flow front had advanced another 100 m W along Chain of Craters road. A lava front that had moved to within 30 m of the coast in mid-May, stagnated, reactivated in mid-June, and entered the sea on 22 June in a new area at Kupapau Point. The Kupapau flow (intermittently active) had stagnated by 30 June, but resumed activity in early July. On 23 June, lava began entering the ocean at Poupou (just E of the Wahaula residential area). Lava also continued to enter the ocean E of Kupapau Point.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Map of the coastal area affected by the recent activity of Kupaianaha, as of September 1989. Dashed lines indicate roads buried in June and July; filled squares represent structures destroyed during the same period (VC = Visitor Center). Lava contacts from lower Royal Gardens subdivision to the Wahaula area are preliminary. The four "entries" are places where the lava was entering the ocean in July. Lava contacts from lower Royal Gardens subdivision to the Wahaula area are preliminary. Courtesy of Christina Heliker.

The M 6.1 earthquake on 25 June at 1727 was centered on the SE coast, W of Kalapana, at 19.36°N, 155.08°W, 9 km depth (figure 62). Preliminary assessment of the data suggests that the main shock caused seaward movement of Kilauea's S flank along a subhorizontal plane at the bottom of the volcanic pile near the ocean floor. Aftershock focal depths indicate rupture from near the surface to slightly more than 10 km depth. The motion was similar to the M 7.2 earthquake that struck the same region on 29 November 1975 and most of the strong S flank earthquakes (M>5.5) commonly occur in the mainshock area. Significant earthquakes also were located in this area in March 1954 and September 1979.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Locations of the M 6.1 earthquake and associated aftershocks, 25 June-6 July, 1989. Courtesy of R. Koyanagi.

The earthquake caused almost total collapse of the seacoast lava bench, but apparently did not significantly disrupt the lava tube system. The next morning, geologists noted that the level of the Kupaianaha lava pond had dropped by ~1 m. Lava flow activity at the coast declined 27-28 June, accompanied by a slight decrease in tremor 26-28 June. On the 28th, tremor near the vent gradually rose to normal as the level of Kupaianaha lava pond rose ~1.5 m. By the next day, activity at the coast returned to the pre-earthquake level. An active lava pond in Pu`u `O`o was visible on 28 June.

During the last few days of June, tremor amplitude was relatively steady beneath the East rift zone near Pu`u `O`o and Kupaianaha. Low-amplitude tremor signals associated with ocean front activity near Kupapau Point also resumed. The 25 June earthquake saturated seismographs, masking signals from the associated lava bench collapse. The number of shallow microearthquakes was about average in the summit region and above average in the East rift zone. Intermediate-depth long-period events in the summit region continued at a moderate rate . . . .

Geologic Background. Kilauea, which overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano's surface is younger than 600 years. A long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

Information Contacts: C. Heliker and R. Koyanagi, HVO.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Langila

Papua New Guinea

5.525°S, 148.42°E; summit elev. 1330 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Activity subsides; landslides widen crater

"Langila returned to very subdued activity in June. Crater 2 released moderate white-grey emissions, accompanied by occasional rumbling noises. Explosions were heard on 1, 2, 6, 24, and 30 June, and a weak red glow was seen above this crater on the night of the 14th.

"When the volcano was inspected on 10 June, Crater 2 had enlarged and deepened since the last field inspection in October 1985 (10:10). The flat, [40]-m-wide, annular platform that formerly surrounded the crater had caved in, resulting in an estimated [130]-m wide crater with a narrow ledge. The crater now has a composite funnel shape produced by the sinking of the former magma plug in two successive steps. The top of the active plug (responsible for the occasional night glow) is now at ~1,045 m altitude (the crater rim is at 1,100-1,120 m) and clogged by debris from sub-continuous rocksliding.

"Crater 3 . . . remains inactive. The crater is sealed at ~900 m asl by a flat muddy floor from wash-outs of the walls (the crater rim is at 1,045-1,080 m altitude). The source of white vapour occasionally observed from the observatory is an active fumarole at the base of the sub-vertical S wall."

Geologic Background. Langila, one of the most active volcanoes of New Britain, consists of a group of four small overlapping composite basaltic-andesitic cones on the lower eastern flank of the extinct Talawe volcano. Talawe is the highest volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila volcano was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the north and NE sides of Langila. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded since the 19th century from three active craters at the summit of Langila. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

Information Contacts: P. de Saint-Ours and B. Talai, RVO.


Lascar (Chile) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Lascar

Chile

23.37°S, 67.73°W; summit elev. 5592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued lava dome growth

A lava dome has been growing in the active summit crater, site of occasional tephra emission since 1986. Observations and pictures from Stephen Foot (MINSAL, Ltda.), who climbed the volcano on 18 April 1989, confirm Paul King's February 1989 report of a steaming lava dome (14:3). The photographs clearly show a dome growing in the W crater of the eastern of Lascar's two andesite cones (figure 1). Until early 1986, this crater was empty, with only solfataric and fumarolic activity. Foot's photographs show that by April 1989 the dome had reached an estimated 200 m in diameter and 50 m height. The dome had steep sides and a blocky, steamy, dark brown surface. Steam emissions of different intensities were still being continuously released in late June, and glow was visible from Toconao (~30 km away) on one occasion.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Photograph of the growing lava dome in Lascar's summit crater, 18 April 1989, by Stephen Foot. Courtesy of M. Gardeweg.

Geologic Background. Láscar is the most active volcano of the northern Chilean Andes. The andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcano contains six overlapping summit craters. Prominent lava flows descend its NW flanks. An older, higher stratovolcano 5 km E, Volcán Aguas Calientes, displays a well-developed summit crater and a probable Holocene lava flow near its summit (de Silva and Francis, 1991). Láscar consists of two major edifices; activity began at the eastern volcano and then shifted to the western cone. The largest eruption took place about 26,500 years ago, and following the eruption of the Tumbres scoria flow about 9000 years ago, activity shifted back to the eastern edifice, where three overlapping craters were formed. Frequent small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the mid-19th century, along with periodic larger eruptions that produced ashfall hundreds of kilometers away. The largest historical eruption took place in 1993, producing pyroclastic flows to 8.5 km NW of the summit and ashfall in Buenos Aires.

Information Contacts: M. Gardeweg, SERNAGEOMIN, Santiago; S. Foot, MINSAL Ltda., Santiago.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

2.764°S, 35.914°E; summit elev. 2962 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Bubbling lava at one vent

On 12 January, when Michael Peterson led a field party to the volcano's summit, no liquid lava was visible in the crater. Steam was emitted from vents T4/T7, T8, and T9, as well as from areas along the saddle. Intermittent rumbling sounds originated from near H4 (W of T5). During an overflight in late May, Steve Cunningham witnessed bubbling lava on the SE side of the crater, near T10.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only volcano known to have erupted carbonatite tephras and lavas in historical time. The prominent stratovolcano, known to the Maasai as "The Mountain of God," rises abruptly above the broad plain south of Lake Natron in the Gregory Rift Valley. The cone-building stage ended about 15,000 years ago and was followed by periodic ejection of natrocarbonatitic and nephelinite tephra during the Holocene. Historical eruptions have consisted of smaller tephra ejections and emission of numerous natrocarbonatitic lava flows on the floor of the summit crater and occasionally down the upper flanks. The depth and morphology of the northern crater have changed dramatically during the course of historical eruptions, ranging from steep crater walls about 200 m deep in the mid-20th century to shallow platforms mostly filling the crater. Long-term lava effusion in the summit crater beginning in 1983 had by the turn of the century mostly filled the northern crater; by late 1998 lava had begun overflowing the crater rim.

Information Contacts: C. Nyamweru, Kenyatta Univ; Thad Peterson, Arusha, Tanzania.


Long Valley (United States) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Long Valley

United States

37.7°N, 118.87°W; summit elev. 3390 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquake swarm near caldera rim

An earthquake swarm began 4 May under the SSW flank of Mammoth Mountain, just outside the SW caldera rim (figure 7). The number of events increased through early June, with 44 recorded on the 11th. Seismicity was continuing as of 10 July, and totaled 712 recorded events (magnitude greater than or equal to 0.3) (figure 8). Most were small (M <1); the largest, M 3.1, occurred on 21 June at 0058. As the swarm continued, most of the events remained centered beneath the SW flank of Mammoth Mountain, on strike with the Inyo chain, at depths ranging from 2 to 9 km. Focal depths during previous swarms have generally been around 6 km. Most of the shallower earthquakes showed less high-frequency energy in their spectra, probably because of attenuation effects, but had clear S-waves and were therefore not considered low-frequency events. However, seven low-frequency events were recorded on 11 June. Several mixed-frequency events had high-frequency P and S-waves superimposed on 1-2-Hz waves, suggesting possible resonance of a fluid-filled cavity. Possible spasmodic tremor was recorded for 2-3 minutes on 2 and 26 June, and 6 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Representative epicenters (26-31 May) of the May-July 1989 earthquake swarm at Long Valley. Mammoth Mountain is shown by the solid triangle. Events S of the caldera are in the Sierra Nevada. Courtesy of Stephen McNutt.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Number of local earthquakes per day recorded by the California Division of Mines and Geology NEWT system, 5 May-30 September. Courtesy of Stephen McNutt.

The Devils Postpile dilatometer, near the W foot of Mammoth Mountain, recorded 0.05 microstrain of deformation during the swarm's most active day, 11 June. No significant changes to existing trends were reported from other instruments a few kilometers away.

The May-July swarm is the largest near Mammoth Mountain in 3.5 years; a small swarm occurred there in January 1987. During the past 4 years, virtually all of the other seismic swarms in the Mammoth Lakes area have lasted only a few days. The largest recent swarm, 393 recorded events in the caldera's E moat, began 22 November 1988 and ended after 3 days.

Geologic Background. The large 17 x 32 km Long Valley caldera east of the central Sierra Nevada Range formed as a result of the voluminous Bishop Tuff eruption about 760,000 years ago. Resurgent doming in the central part of the caldera occurred shortly afterwards, followed by rhyolitic eruptions from the caldera moat and the eruption of rhyodacite from outer ring fracture vents, ending about 50,000 years ago. During early resurgent doming the caldera was filled with a large lake that left strandlines on the caldera walls and the resurgent dome island; the lake eventually drained through the Owens River Gorge. The caldera remains thermally active, with many hot springs and fumaroles, and has had significant deformation, seismicity, and other unrest in recent years. The late-Pleistocene to Holocene Inyo Craters cut the NW topographic rim of the caldera, and along with Mammoth Mountain on the SW topographic rim, are west of the structural caldera and are chemically and tectonically distinct from the Long Valley magmatic system.

Information Contacts: S. McNutt, California Division of Mines and Geology, Sacramento.


Lonquimay (Chile) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Lonquimay

Chile

38.379°S, 71.586°W; summit elev. 2832 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong fluorine emission; one person and many animals killed

The eruption was continuing as of late June. Explosive activity remained relatively weak (VEI 1) through much of May, with occasional more violent pulses (VEI 2) as on 1-3 and 16-25 May. Hugo Moreno flew over the area on 30 May. Strong WNW winds carried the plume directly over Lonquimay village (~20 km ESE of Navidad Crater; figure 12). The lava flow continued to advance very slowly at the front in the Lolco River valley (~9.5 km from the crater) and more vigorously at the Laguna Verde front (~4 km from the crater). Lava volume was estimated at 160 x 106 m3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Approximate ashfall thicknesses in the Lonquimay area, as of mid-May 1989, courtesy of O. González-Ferrán. The lava flow is shown in black.

As of mid-June, hundreds of cattle and horses had died of osteofluorosis caused by 300-400 ppm fluorine on grass in an 80,000 hectare (800 km2) area. Some dogs have also recently died after suffering from nervous, renal, digestive, and breathing problems. Concentration of very fine ash has at times been at levels 10 times those considered safe for breathing. Mid-June medical checks of 260 people revealed neurological damage with associated reflex loss in 45 adults and children.

A report (quoted in the 24 June El Mercurio) from Maximino Beltrán, Regional Secretary of Health, to the national Subsecretary of Health, detailed numerous neurological and blood chemistry abnormalities discovered in varying proportions of area residents. An autopsy on a 64-year-old woodcutter, exposed to ashfall for more than 8 hours daily, revealed evidence of acute hemorrhagic colitis and massive bilateral lung hemorrhaging, plus central nervous system lesions. Similar lesions (plus lung, liver, and heart problems) were seen in seven dogs (one sick and six outwardly healthy) studied in the eruption area. The report recommended prompt evacuation of the most affected people, the 800 inhabitants of the Bernardo Nanco area, and the evacuation or relocation of ~3,800 persons judged moderately affected, in the town of Lonquimay. Evacuations had apparently begun by early July.

Geologic Background. Lonquimay is a small, flat-topped, symmetrical stratovolcano of late-Pleistocene to dominantly Holocene age immediately SE of Tolguaca volcano. A glacier fills its summit crater and spills down the S flank. It is dominantly andesitic, but basalt and dacite are also found. There is an E-W fissure, although the prominent NE-SW Cordón Fissural Oriental fissure zone cuts across the entire volcano, that produced a series of NE-flank vents and cinder cones, some of which have been the source of voluminous lava flows, including those during 1887-90 and 1988-90 that traveled up to 10 km.

Information Contacts: H. Moreno, Univ de Chile; O. González-Ferrán, Univ de Chile; Pedro Riffo, Univ de la Frontera; El Mercurio, Santiago.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Manam

Papua New Guinea

4.08°S, 145.037°E; summit elev. 1807 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fewer earthquakes; slow deflation continues

"Activity was at a very low level throughout June. Southern Crater released white to grey vapour [and ash] in weak to moderate amounts. Weak deep rumbling noises were occasionally heard. Main Crater released weak emissions of white vapour. The seismicity fluctuated at a somewhat lower level than 'normal' inter-eruptive rates, between 500 and 1,100 minor events/day. Tilt readings also fluctuated, although continuing on a slow deflationary trend since early March."

Geologic Background. The 10-km-wide island of Manam, lying 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, is one of the country's most active volcanoes. Four large radial valleys extend from the unvegetated summit of the conical 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys" channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five small satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern, and western sides. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.

Information Contacts: P. de Saint-Ours and B. Talai, RVO.


Masaya (Nicaragua) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

11.984°N, 86.161°W; summit elev. 635 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake freezes; small explosions

The February-March lava lake in Santiago Crater (14:02) probably froze over in early March, and degassing from the lake vent had apparently ceased by 12 March. Other vents remained open through April, with occasional strong degassing episodes. Beginning around 11 May, collapses from the W, S, and N sides of the main crater blocked all vents. Little, if any, gas emission was evident until 22 May when park rangers reported more collapses and a plume visible from the Masaya road (6 km from the crater).

On 25 May, geologists found fresh scoria and lithic fragments scattered from Plaza Sapper to the San Pedro crater (figure 7, top). Ten-cm fragments were found to 20 m from the edge of Santiago, 5-cm fragments to 50 m, and fragments

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Sketch of the summit complex at Masaya, May-June 1989 (top) and Santiago Crater, 3 June 1989 (bottom). Courtesy of B. van Wyk de Vries and O. Castellón.

A 3 June visit revealed small amounts of fresh scoria up to 5 cm in diameter as far as 50 m SW of the crater. The tephra was probably erupted on 2 June when inhabitants reported a "brown cloud". Crater geometry was similar to that in February. The lava lake vent and the "cannon" (3rd vent in 14:02) were blocked by collapse debris, but vent No. 2 (glowing vent in 14:02) had enlarged and was thought to be the source of the eruptions. On 25 May the vent was oval and about 4 m across, oriented vertically, rather than horizontally as in February. On the 26th it had enlarged by 1 m, and by 3 June it was 7 x 3 m and rectangular. There appeared to be a considerably larger chamber beneath the vent. The cannon (3rd) deepened slightly between 25 May and 3 June.

Periodic fumarolic activity on the W wall and from a fault on the N side (figure 7, bottom) was also observed. Weak fumaroles along the trend of the fault (on the Nindirí crater floor below La Cruz) had temperatures

Geologic Background. Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. It lies within the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras pyroclastic shield volcano and is a broad, 6 x 11 km basaltic caldera with steep-sided walls up to 300 m high. The caldera is filled on its NW end by more than a dozen vents that erupted along a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. The twin volcanoes of Nindirí and Masaya, the source of historical eruptions, were constructed at the southern end of the fracture system and contain multiple summit craters, including the currently active Santiago crater. A major basaltic Plinian tephra erupted from Masaya about 6500 years ago. Historical lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and have confined a lake to the far eastern end of the caldera. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption overtopped the north caldera rim. Masaya has been frequently active since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold." Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals cause health hazards and crop damage.

Information Contacts: B. van Wyk de Vries and O. Castellón, INETER.


Poas (Costa Rica) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Rains partly refill crater lake; intense gas emission

During the first 12 days of May, activity remained similar to that at the end of April. Gas emission was intense, and ejections of mud and lithic ash fed plumes that reached maximum heights of 1.5-2 km above the crater floor. Individual ash ejections lasted for more than an hour. Trade winds generally carried ash clouds toward the WSW. Various towns reported ashfalls, including Atenas, 32 km SW (on 9 May). Some ashfalls also occurred on the ENE and S flanks. On the rim, roughly 300 m W of the center of the crater (point F on figure 18) 5 mm of new ash was measured on 7 May and 60 mm on the 12th. The ash was composed of hydrothermally altered lithic fragments, soluble mud, and sulfur. The maximum measured grain size was 1.5 mm, and 80% of the ash volume was composed of fragments between 0.075 and 0.25 mm.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Sketch map of Poás showing ash isopachs as of 12 May. Grid spacing is 1 km. Thicknesses of ash at each collection point: A, 3 mm; B, 5 mm; C, 13-20 mm; D, 42 mm; E, 50 mm; F, 60 mm. Courtesy of Gerardo Soto.

Gases were dominated by water vapor from the aquifer beneath the crater, and included SO2, H2S, and (possibly) hydrogen. Sulfur sublimates were deposited around fumarolic vents, and some of the sulfur burned, forming SO2. Flames from the combustion of sulfur (and perhaps hydrogen) were intense above some vents. In the center of the area formerly occupied by the crater lake, two primary pyroclastic mud cones (and various smaller neighboring cones) had been growing since mid-April, reaching maximum heights of 25 m despite frequent collapses. In the SE part of the crater, there was a molten, bubbling, sulfur lake and sulfur had flowed across the muddy crater floor. Fumaroles emitted sulfurous gases and a mud-sulfur cone was growing. The crater's NE quadrant included a vigorous fumarole that emitted sulfur-rich gas with a jet-aircraft sound, and deposited sulfur sublimates.

With the onset of the rainy season in mid-May, water started to accumulate in the former crater lake, reaching a depth of about 2 m by early June. Eruptive activity began to decline noticeably on 13 May. By the last week of May, the central cones had collapsed and been reworked by convective bubbling. Nevertheless, emission of water vapor and sulfur gases, some burning, continued at the end of the month. Bubbling was vigorous in the muddy zones on the crater floor, but no mud columns were ejected nor were there ash eruptions. The former site of the sulfur lake was occupied by a muddy area and a fumarole producing sulfur sublimates that burned with red-orange flames. Bubbling mud and intense evaporation were found in the active zone in the NE part of the crater. A zone of weak fumaroles and sulfur sublimates was present on the wall and NE side of the inner crater. Activity on the remnants of the 1953-55 [dome] remained stable through June, with low-temperature fumaroles depositing sulfur, gypsum, other minerals, and clays.

Intense gas emission (dominated by water vapor, with SO2 and H2S) continued in June from the crater lake. The lake remained about 2 m deep through the month. Its inner zone was muddy and showed continuous convective bubbling, while its periphery was emerald green with a pH <= 0.5, fed by multiple surface springs of about pH 2.0. There were five principal hot areas in the lake's inner zone, three in the N area, one in the center, and one to the SE. The NE site showed intense fumarolic activity and had constructed a small mud-sulfur cone that contained an orange-brown lake of molten sulfur and boiling mud. The central N site included small cones with mud/sulfur spines. Fumarolic activity and a mud rampart had developed at the SE site. At the other hot areas, intense convection of muddy water generated waves. Small emissions of muddy ash occurred within the crater, including one on 23 June at 1845 that produced a column hundreds of meters high. Other explosions occurred between 28 June and 2 July.

Substantial changes have been noted in volcanic seismicity. The characteristic B-type shallow (<500 m depth) signals declined in May but increased again in June.

During the first 30 days of May, 2,247 seismic events were recorded, a daily mean of about 75 (figure 19), down from 141/day in April. June's average was similar (1,904 events in the first 27 days, a mean of 71/day) but the number of earthquakes increased sharply after lower activity during the month's first week. Geologists noted that tremor or volcanic noise has become common at Poás, probably resulting from continuous degassing in a partially open conduit. Origins looked like those of B-type signals and the activity could represent continuous trains of B-type events. A-type shocks, of volcano-tectonic origin, had preliminary locations near the crater, with magnitudes <1.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Number of seismic events/day at Poás, 1-30 May and 1-27 June, 1989. Courtesy of Mario Fernández.

Geologic Background. The broad, well-vegetated edifice of Poás, one of the most active volcanoes of Costa Rica, contains three craters along a N-S line. The frequently visited multi-hued summit crater lakes of the basaltic-to-dacitic volcano, which is one of Costa Rica's most prominent natural landmarks, are easily accessible by vehicle from the nearby capital city of San José. A N-S-trending fissure cutting the 2708-m-high complex stratovolcano extends to the lower northern flank, where it has produced the Congo stratovolcano and several lake-filled maars. The southernmost of the two summit crater lakes, Botos, is cold and clear and last erupted about 7500 years ago. The more prominent geothermally heated northern lake, Laguna Caliente, is one of the world's most acidic natural lakes, with a pH of near zero. It has been the site of frequent phreatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions since the first historical eruption was reported in 1828. Eruptions often include geyser-like ejections of crater-lake water.

Information Contacts: Gerardo J. Soto, Guillermo E. Alvarado, Mario Fernández, and Héctor Flores, UCR.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Activity remains at background levels

"Activity remained at background levels throughout June. There were 152 small earthquakes recorded in the caldera. The daily count fluctuated between 0 and 15. Only two events were large enough to be accurately located, originating 1 km under Greet Harbour. Monthly levelling measurements to Matupit Island show a steady (or slightly subsiding) trend since December 1988. Neither tilt nor EDM data have shown any significant trend."

Geologic Background. The low-lying Rabaul caldera on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain forms a broad sheltered harbor utilized by what was the island's largest city prior to a major eruption in 1994. The outer flanks of the 688-m-high asymmetrical pyroclastic shield volcano are formed by thick pyroclastic-flow deposits. The 8 x 14 km caldera is widely breached on the east, where its floor is flooded by Blanche Bay and was formed about 1400 years ago. An earlier caldera-forming eruption about 7100 years ago is now considered to have originated from Tavui caldera, offshore to the north. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the northern and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and western caldera walls. Several of these, including Vulcan cone, which was formed during a large eruption in 1878, have produced major explosive activity during historical time. A powerful explosive eruption in 1994 occurred simultaneously from Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes and forced the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.

Information Contacts: P. de Saint-Ours and B. Talai, RVO.


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

4.892°N, 75.324°W; summit elev. 5279 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Sharp increase in seismicity precedes ash emission

Seismic energy release has been at increased levels since about February 1988. A sharp increase in seismicity began on 24 June 1989 with a felt earthquake (M 3.1) in Arenas crater. The next day, a shallow swarm of high-frequency events (also in Arenas crater) began at 1130 and continued for 1 hour. From 0100 to 1100 on the 26th, another high-frequency swarm was centered at 4 km depth, 3 km W and SW of Olleta crater (Olleta is roughly 5 km W of Arenas crater). Late that evening, a shallow high-frequency swarm began in Arenas crater, followed by strong tremor associated with a small ash emission that deposited 1 mm of ash, 4 km from the crater. The press reported that the civil aeronautics board issued a warning to airline pilots to avoid a 60-km area around the volcano. Tremor gradually diminished, disappearing on 28 June. SO2 emission was moderate during June. Dry and electronic tilt did not show significant changes. As of 10 July, a yellow alert remained in effect for population within a 10-km radius of the volcano.

Geologic Background. Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers more than 200 km2. Three major edifices, composed of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastics, have been constructed since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The modern cone consists of a broad cluster of lava domes built within the caldera of an older edifice. The 1-km-wide, 240-m-deep Arenas crater occupies the summit. The prominent La Olleta pyroclastic cone located on the SW flank may also have been active in historical time. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut the flanks. Melting of its summit icecap during historical eruptions, which date back to the 16th century, has resulted in devastating lahars, including one in 1985 that was South America's deadliest eruption.

Information Contacts: C. Carvajal, INGEOMINAS, Manizales; Reuters.


San Cristobal (Nicaragua) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

San Cristobal

Nicaragua

12.702°N, 87.004°W; summit elev. 1745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New fumaroles along fissure on SE spur of Casita

Previously unobserved fumarolic activity on the SE spur of Casita (at sites 150 m and 0.5-1 km below the communications complex on the summit) was noticed on 8 June. Area residents report that the activity has been present for some time. Emissions appear to originate from a N-S fissure (figure 1). Casita was last reported active in the l6th century.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Oblique sketch of Casita, its fumaroles, and neighboring volcanic features, 8 June 1989. Courtesy of B. van Wyk de Vries and O. Castellón.

Geologic Background. The San Cristóbal volcanic complex, consisting of five principal volcanic edifices, forms the NW end of the Marrabios Range. The symmetrical 1745-m-high youngest cone, named San Cristóbal (also known as El Viejo), is Nicaragua's highest volcano and is capped by a 500 x 600 m wide crater. El Chonco, with several flank lava domes, is located 4 km W of San Cristóbal; it and the eroded Moyotepe volcano, 4 km NE of San Cristóbal, are of Pleistocene age. Volcán Casita, containing an elongated summit crater, lies immediately east of San Cristóbal and was the site of a catastrophic landslide and lahar in 1998. The Plio-Pleistocene La Pelona caldera is located at the eastern end of the complex. Historical eruptions from San Cristóbal, consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been reported since the 16th century. Some other 16th-century eruptions attributed to Casita volcano are uncertain and may pertain to other Marrabios Range volcanoes.

Information Contacts: B. van Wyk de Vries and O. Castellón, INETER, Managua.


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava production; explosions; hot avalanches

Santiaguito's most recent (7th) period of rapid block lava extrusion began in June 1986 and had declined about February 1988. A small lobe that descended slowly toward the W margin of the lava field was 1.3 km from the dome's Caliente vent in November 1988. Very slow extrusion continued until the onset of a new period of vigorous lava production around 14 February. Observations 23-24 March revealed that the new lava flow, about 70 m wide and 20 m thick, was overriding the June 1986-February 1988 lava (figure 9) and its oversteepened front had reached about 1,470 m altitude. Moderate pyroclastic avalanches generated by collapse of the flow at the altitude of maximum slope (2,000-1,800 m) and at its oversteepened front partially filled canyons in the headwaters of the Río Nimá II and the tributary E of the lava flow. Brief observations 3 May about 1 km from the flow (at El Mirador) showed no substantial changes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Map of Santiaguito Dome, showing the ages of its lobes. Succesive fronts of 1986-89 lava flows are shown. Modified from Rose and others (1987). Courtesy of Otoniel Matías.

During September and October 1988, seismic instruments 2.6 km S and 5 km NNW of Santiaguito recorded 8-28 explosions and 130-330 avalanches/day. After the beginning of November, the number of explosions declined to 4-16 daily and the number of avalanches to 60-120 (figure 10), remaining at similar low to moderate levels through late February. More violent explosions began on 25 February and continued through 13 March, stronger than any since the start of vigorous block lava extrusion in June 1986. Some dense ash columns rose at least 3 km above the crater and were visible from the summit of Fuego, 75 km away. Ash columns during this period easily exceeded the height of Santa María's summit (3,772 m), more than 1,200 m above the vent, forming mushroom-shaped clouds 1 km in diameter. Ash reached parts of Quetzaltenango, 12 km NE, within 15 minutes. During this period, 8-26 explosions were recorded daily. The strongest produced acoustic waves that moved suspended objects 7 km to the S (at Finca El Faro). Sounds similar to a jet turbine continued for up to 4 minutes, alternating with the phreatomagmatic explosions. Winds 24-25 February were dominantly from the N-NE at 20-30 km/hour; fine ashfall was reported to 28 km S-SW (in the El Palmar, San Felipe, and Retalhuleu regions). From 26 February through 13 March, winds were generally from the S-SW, calm in the morning and reaching 18-30 km/hour in the afternoon. Fine ash was carried 7-25 km NW and NE; losses from vegetation damage were reported in Llanos del Pinal, Almolonga, and Quetzaltenango (7, 12, and 14 km N-NE).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Number of daily explosions (bottom) and an extrapolation of the number of daily avalanche events (top) recorded by seismic stations 2.6 km S and 5 km NNW of Santiaguito, November 1988-April 1989. Courtesy of Otoniel Matías.

A brief decline was evident 14-16 March, with only 6-10 small explosions daily generating clouds <=1 km high. Activity increased again 17 March, dominated by degassing that produced dense whitish clouds with little ash and moderate to strong jet turbine sounds. Between 14 and 24 explosions/day were recorded through 31 March. The number of explosions grew gradually in early April, reaching 34 on the 18th (the most recorded in a single day since June 1988) then fell to 14-26/day after the 21st. Avalanches from the dome, the central area of the lava flow (2,000-1,700 m elevation), and its oversteepened front ranged from 150 to 300/day.

Weak to moderate fumarolic emissions persisted from the N and S margins of the Caliente vent area. The E fumarole was more active and acted as a secondary crater during some explosions, feeding columns that were similar to or smaller than those from the main vent. The E fumarole may have been the source of the jet turbine sounds as it underwent high-pressure degassing. After some explosions, its emissions increased, often persisting for several hours as sustained columns rose tens of meters to 1 km. Very weak fumarolic emissions occurred throughout the summit area of the dome complex, frequently linked with increased activity from Caliente vent.

At press time, we learned that Santiaguito erupted an ash column to 4 km above the dome on 19 July at 0915 [see also 14:07]. A pyroclastic flow traveled 5 km down the Río Nimá II, reaching 2 km from Finca La Florida. Ash was 1 cm thick at Finca Monte Bello (6 km WSW) and fell as far as the Mexican border. Thirty two Central American volcanologists, attending a course in El Palmar (12 km SSW of the volcano), witnessed the eruption during good viewing conditions, took photographs, and made a videotape. The eruption was followed by two smaller explosions within 1/2 hour, and another at 1600. Prelimimary observations by volcanologists suggest that the eruption may have been associated with partial collapse around the vent. There were no reports of death or damage.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is one of the most prominent of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit to the lower flank and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned Plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four westward-younging vents, the most recent of which is Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Information Contacts: Otoniel Matías and Jorge Girón, INSIVUMEH; W. Rose, Michigan Technological Univ.


Suwanosejima (Japan) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

29.638°N, 129.714°E; summit elev. 796 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions; ashfall on inhabited area

. . . March-April activity is summarized in table 2. No explosions were observed in May, but several tens of explosions 22-23 June were accompanied by detonations and air shocks. Ash fell on the S part of the small island volcano, in the only inhabited area.

Geologic Background. The 8-km-long, spindle-shaped island of Suwanosejima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. The summit of the volcano is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse. Suwanosejima, one of Japan's most frequently active volcanoes, was in a state of intermittent strombolian activity from Otake, the NE summit crater, that began in 1949 and lasted until 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened. The largest historical eruption took place in 1813-14, when thick scoria deposits blanketed residential areas, and the SW crater produced two lava flows that reached the western coast. At the end of the eruption the summit of Otake collapsed forming a large debris avalanche and creating the horseshoe-shaped Sakuchi caldera, which extends to the eastern coast. The island remained uninhabited for about 70 years after the 1813-1814 eruption. Lava flows reached the eastern coast of the island in 1884. Only about 50 people live on the island.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Telica (Nicaragua) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Telica

Nicaragua

12.606°N, 86.84°W; summit elev. 1036 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles emit white plumes

A visit to the volcano on 5 June revealed two small brown crater lakes, 10 m across (figure 2). A number of large collapses had occurred, covering much of the crater floor with blocks. Fumarolic activity was vigorous (particularly from a vent on the SE side) and produced a continuous plume over the crater. No eruptive activity has been reported since December 1987.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Sketch of the active crater of Telica, 5 June 1989. Courtesy of B. van Wyk de Vries and O. Castellón.

Geologic Background. Telica, one of Nicaragua's most active volcanoes, has erupted frequently since the beginning of the Spanish era. This volcano group consists of several interlocking cones and vents with a general NW alignment. Sixteenth-century eruptions were reported at symmetrical Santa Clara volcano at the SW end of the group. However, its eroded and breached crater has been covered by forests throughout historical time, and these eruptions may have originated from Telica, whose upper slopes in contrast are unvegetated. The steep-sided cone of Telica is truncated by a 700-m-wide double crater; the southern crater, the source of recent eruptions, is 120 m deep. El Liston, immediately E, has several nested craters. The fumaroles and boiling mudpots of Hervideros de San Jacinto, SE of Telica, form a prominent geothermal area frequented by tourists, and geothermal exploration has occurred nearby.

Information Contacts: B. van Wyk de Vries and O. Castellón, INETER, Apartado 1761, Managua, Nicaragua.


Tokachidake (Japan) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Tokachidake

Japan

43.418°N, 142.686°E; summit elev. 2077 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity increases; no explosions

Tephra produced by the phreatomagmatic explosions that began 19 December contained a little fresh magma (scoria and blocks) of basaltic andesite composition similar to that of the 1926 and 1962 ejecta. Some of the pyroclastic flows and surges melted snow and fed small lahars. A detailed description of this eruption can be found in Katsui (1989).

No eruptive activity has occurred since a brief explosion from crater 62-2 on 5 March. A continuous steam plume, which often contained ash in May but was white in June, was observed from Tokachi-dake Observatory. Plume heights reached 800 m above the crater rim in May and 100-600 m in June. A seismograph 4.5 km NNW of the crater recorded only five volcanic earthquakes and no volcanic tremor in May, but seismicity increased in late June (figure 5). A total of 25 volcanic earthquakes was recorded in June, and seismicity remained elevated as of early July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Daily number of local seismic events, 1 January-9 July 1989 (top) and number of small earthquakes recorded by a seismograph ~2 km NW of the volcano, 11 June-9 July 1989 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA.

Reference. Katsui, Y., ed., 1989, The 1988 eruption of Tokachi-dake, its sequence, mechanism, and influence on community: Report of Natural Disaster Scientific Research no. B-63-5, March 1989, 108 pp (8 papers).

Geologic Background. Tokachidake volcano consists of a group of dominantly andesitic stratovolcanoes and lava domes arranged on a NE-SW line above a plateau of welded Pleistocene tuffs in central Hokkaido. Numerous explosion craters and cinder cones are located on the upper flanks of the small stratovolcanoes, with the youngest Holocene centers located at the NW end of the chain. Frequent historical eruptions, consisting mostly of mild-to-moderate phreatic explosions, have been recorded since the mid-19th century. Two larger eruptions occurred in 1926 and 1962. Partial cone collapse of the western flank during the 1926 eruption produced a disastrous debris avalanche and mudflow.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


White vapor plume; seismicity decreases

"The level of activity has shown a continuous decrease since the mild phreatic unrest in March. Throughout the month, the terminal crater was releasing a plume of white vapour, while the seismicity was steadily decreasing . . . "

Geologic Background. The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the north coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

Information Contacts: P. de Saint-Ours and B. Talai, RVO.


White Island (New Zealand) — June 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 321 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions continue; craters enlarge

Eruptions of ash and blocks continued from R.F. Crater and Donald Duck vent in May and June. On 10 May, when R. Fleming visited White Island, R.F. Crater was erupting dark gray coarse ash, most of which fell into the crater. Donald Duck vent was emitting minor amounts of gas. A small (3 m diameter) new vent had opened 20-30 m NNE of Donald Duck, discharging gas and ash. On 1 June, Fleming observed similar conditions.

During geological fieldwork on 23 June, the main crater floor was covered with fine gray ash that thickened toward Donald Duck vent. Block-ejecting explosions (the largest yet from Donald Duck) had apparently also occurred since the 1 June visit. Fresh new impact craters and lithic blocks (up to 1 m in diameter) were abundant to ~200 m SW of Donald Duck, which had enlarged to 100 m in diameter and >200 m in depth. No fresh magma has been detected in the Donald Duck tephra. The new vent NNE of Donald Duck vent was no longer active. The pits that had formed in late January (SEAN 14:01) and the 1980 pits (W of Donald Duck) were quiet, but had recently collapsed (probably due to recent heavy rainfalls) and were deeper, with vertical walls.

Large scoria bombs (1 m) and blocks (>5 m in diameter near the 1978 Crater rim) had been erupted from R.F. Crater, which was emitting a dilute, green-brown ash column and a few small blocks. Coarse ash fell back into the crater. A total of 450 mm of ash had accumulated on the 1978 Crater rim since 26 April. Rare, vesiculated, brown glass was the only indication of fresh magma in the tephra. Hitchhiker vent (in Congress Crater) was slightly enlarged, but had not collapsed, suggesting reinforcement by local intrusions. Recent heavy rainfalls had triggered several debris flows of saturated ash from the 1978 Crater walls. The largest had flowed across the 1978 Crater floor and over the rims of R.F. and Congress Craters.

Fumarole temperatures in the Donald Mound area had dropped since 26 April, and tephra (ejected from Donald Duck) covered the vents. Deflation of the area had accelerated, with the W portion subsiding 21 mm and the NW portion >40 mm since 16 March. The area near the rim of 1978 Crater had subsided 300 mm since the small eruptions in early 1984 (09:02).

Intermittent seismic data after 26 April showed that seismicity had not significantly changed, other than an increase in E-type events (14 in May and 4 in June before transmission ceased). A- and B-type events were recorded most days, with maximum daily totals of 12 and 15 events respectively. Microearthquakes were recorded 26-31 April and 20-21 May, with 10 events/minute on 27 April.

Vegetation studies indicate that the post-l976 eruption is stronger than any in the last several hundred years at White Island (White Island 1976-82 Eruption [appendix by Clarkson and others]: New Zealand Geological Survey Bulletin, in press).

Geologic Background. Uninhabited 2 x 2.4 km White Island, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is the emergent summit of a 16 x 18 km submarine volcano in the Bay of Plenty about 50 km offshore of North Island. The island consists of two overlapping andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcanoes; the summit crater appears to be breached to the SE, because the shoreline corresponds to the level of several notches in the SE crater wall. Volckner Rocks, four sea stacks that are remnants of a lava dome, lie 5 km NNE. Intermittent moderate phreatomagmatic and strombolian eruptions have occurred throughout the short historical period beginning in 1826, but its activity also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. Formation of many new vents during the 19th and 20th centuries has produced rapid changes in crater floor topography. Collapse of the crater wall in 1914 produced a debris avalanche that buried buildings and workers at a sulfur-mining project.

Information Contacts: I. Nairn and B. Scott, NZGS Rotorua; P. Otway, NZGS Wairakei.

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.

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


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


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


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


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


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

08/1997 (SEAN 22:08) False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

False report of volcanism intended to exclude would-be gold miners

12/1997 (SEAN 22:12) False Report of Somalia Eruption

Press reports of Somalia's first historical eruption were likely in error

11/1999 (SEAN 24:11) False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

05/2003 (SEAN 28:05) Har-Togoo

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (SEAN 30:12) Elgon

False report of activity; confusion caused by burning dung in a lava tube



False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption (Philippines) — August 1997

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

7.975°N, 123.23°E; summit elev. 1510 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


False report of volcanism intended to exclude would-be gold miners

In discussing the week ending on 12 September, "Earthweek" (Newman, 1997) incorrectly claimed that a volcano named "Mount Pinukis" had erupted. Widely read in the US, the dramatic Earthweek report described terrified farmers and a black mushroom cloud that resembled a nuclear explosion. The mountain's location was given as "200 km E of Zamboanga City," a spot well into the sea. The purported eruption had received mention in a Manila Bulletin newspaper report nine days earlier, on 4 September. Their comparatively understated report said that a local police director had disclosed that residents had seen a dormant volcano showing signs of activity.

In response to these news reports Emmanuel Ramos of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) sent a reply on 17 September. PHIVOLCS staff had initially heard that there were some 12 alleged families who fled the mountain and sought shelter in the lowlands. A PHIVOLCS investigation team later found that the reported "families" were actually individuals seeking respite from some politically motivated harassment. The story seems to have stemmed from a local gold rush and an influential politician who wanted to use volcanism as a ploy to exclude residents. PHIVOLCS concluded that no volcanic activity had occurred. They also added that this finding disappointed local politicians but was much welcomed by the residents.

PHIVOLCS spelled the mountain's name as "Pinokis" and from their report it seems that it might be an inactive volcano. There is no known Holocene volcano with a similar name (Simkin and Siebert, 1994). No similar names (Pinokis, Pinukis, Pinakis, etc.) were found listed in the National Imagery and Mapping Agency GEOnet Names Server (http://geonames.nga.mil/gns/html/index.html), a searchable database of 3.3 million non-US geographic-feature names.

The Manila Bulletin report suggested that Pinokis resides on the Zamboanga Peninsula. The Peninsula lies on Mindanao Island's extreme W side where it bounds the Moro Gulf, an arm of the Celebes Sea. The mountainous Peninsula trends NNE-SSW and contains peaks with summit elevations near 1,300 m. Zamboanga City sits at the extreme end of the Peninsula and operates both a major seaport and an international airport.

[Later investigation found that Mt. Pinokis is located in the Lison Valley on the Zamboanga Peninsula, about 170 km NE of Zamboanga City and 30 km NW of Pagadian City. It is adjacent to the two peaks of the Susong Dalaga (Maiden's Breast) and near Mt. Sugarloaf.]

References. Newman, S., 1997, Earthweek, a diary of the planet (week ending 12 September): syndicated newspaper column (URL: http://www.earthweek.com/).

Manila Bulletin, 4 Sept. 1997, Dante's Peak (URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/).

Simkin, T., and Siebert, L., 1994, Volcanoes of the world, 2nd edition: Geoscience Press in association with the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, Tucson AZ, 368 p.

Information Contacts: Emmanuel G. Ramos, Deputy Director, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Department of Science and Technology, PHIVOLCS Building, C. P. Garcia Ave., University of the Philippines, Diliman campus, Quezon City, Philippines.


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Press reports of Somalia's first historical eruption were likely in error

Xinhua News Agency filed a news report on 27 February under the headline "Volcano erupts in Somalia" but the veracity of the story now appears doubtful. The report disclosed the volcano's location as on the W side of the Gedo region, an area along the Ethiopian border just NE of Kenya. The report had relied on the commissioner of the town of Bohol Garas (a settlement described as 40 km NE of the main Al-Itihad headquarters of Luq town) and some or all of the information was relayed by journalists through VHF radio. The report claimed the disaster "wounded six herdsmen" and "claimed the lives of 290 goats grazing near the mountain when the incident took place." Further descriptions included such statements as "the volcano which erupted two days ago [25 February] has melted down the rocks and sand and spread . . . ."

Giday WoldeGabriel returned from three weeks of geological fieldwork in SW Ethiopia, near the Kenyan border, on 25 August. During his time there he inquired of many people, including geologists, if they had heard of a Somalian eruption in the Gedo area; no one had heard of the event. WoldeGabriel stated that he felt the news report could have described an old mine or bomb exploding. Heavy fighting took place in the Gedo region during the Ethio-Somalian war of 1977. Somalia lacks an embassy in Washington DC; when asked during late August, Ayalaw Yiman, an Ethiopian embassy staff member in Washington DC also lacked any knowledge of a Somalian eruption.

A Somalian eruption would be significant since the closest known Holocene volcanoes occur in the central Ethiopian segment of the East African rift system S of Addis Ababa, ~500 km NW of the Gedo area. These Ethiopian rift volcanoes include volcanic fields, shield volcanoes, cinder cones, and stratovolcanoes.

Information Contacts: Xinhua News Agency, 5 Sharp Street West, Wanchai, Hong Kong; Giday WoldeGabriel, EES-1/MS D462, Geology-Geochemistry Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545; Ayalaw Yiman, Ethiopian Embassy, 2134 Kalorama Rd. NW, Washington DC 20008.


False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption (Turkey) — November 1999

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

Following the Ms 7.8 earthquake in Turkey on 17 August (BGVN 24:08) an Email message originating in Turkey was circulated, claiming that volcanic activity was observed coincident with the earthquake and suggesting a new (magmatic) volcano in the Sea of Marmara. For reasons outlined below, and in the absence of further evidence, editors of the Bulletin consider this a false report.

The report stated that fishermen near the village of Cinarcik, at the E end of the Sea of Marmara "saw the sea turned red with fireballs" shortly after the onset of the earthquake. They later found dead fish that appeared "fried." Their nets were "burned" while under water and contained samples of rocks alleged to look "magmatic."

No samples of the fish were preserved. A tectonic scientist in Istanbul speculated that hot water released by the earthquake from the many hot springs along the coast in that area may have killed some fish (although they would be boiled rather than fried).

The phenomenon called earthquake lights could explain the "fireballs" reportedly seen by the fishermen. Such effects have been reasonably established associated with large earthquakes, although their origin remains poorly understood. In addition to deformation-triggered piezoelectric effects, earthquake lights have sometimes been explained as due to the release of methane gas in areas of mass wasting (even under water). Omlin and others (1999), for example, found gas hydrate and methane releases associated with mud volcanoes in coastal submarine environments.

The astronomer and author Thomas Gold (Gold, 1998) has a website (Gold, 2000) where he presents a series of alleged quotes from witnesses of earthquakes. We include three such quotes here (along with Gold's dates, attributions, and other comments):

(A) Lima, 30 March 1828. "Water in the bay 'hissed as if hot iron was immersed in it,' bubbles and dead fish rose to the surface, and the anchor chain of HMS Volage was partially fused while lying in the mud on the bottom." (Attributed to Bagnold, 1829; the anchor chain is reported to be on display in the London Navy Museum.)

(B) Romania, 10 November 1940. ". . . a thick layer like a translucid gas above the surface of the soil . . . irregular gas fires . . . flames in rhythm with the movements of the soil . . . flashes like lightning from the floor to the summit of Mt Tampa . . . flames issuing from rocks, which crumbled, with flashes also issuing from non-wooded mountainsides." (Phrases used in eyewitness accounts collected by Demetrescu and Petrescu, 1941).

(C) Sungpan-Pingwu (China), 16, 22, and 23 August 1976. "From March of 1976, various large anomalies were observed over a broad region. . . . At the Wanchia commune of Chungching County, outbursts of natural gas from rock fissures ignited and were difficult to extinguish even by dumping dirt over the fissures. . . . Chu Chieh Cho, of the Provincial Seismological Bureau, related personally seeing a fireball 75 km from the epicenter on the night of 21 July while in the company of three professional seismologists."

Yalciner and others (1999) made a study of coastal areas along the Sea of Marmara after the Izmet earthquake. They found evidence for one or more tsunamis with maximum runups of 2.0-2.5 m. Preliminary modeling of the earthquake's response failed to reproduce the observed runups; the areas of maximum runup instead appeared to correspond most closely with several local mass-failure events. This observation together with the magnitude of the earthquake, and bottom soundings from marine geophysical teams, suggested mass wasting may have been fairly common on the floor of the Sea of Marmara.

Despite a wide range of poorly understood, dramatic processes associated with earthquakes (Izmet 1999 apparently included), there remains little evidence for volcanism around the time of the earthquake. The nearest Holocene volcano lies ~200 km SW of the report location. Neither Turkish geologists nor scientists from other countries in Turkey to study the 17 August earthquake reported any volcanism. The report said the fisherman found "magmatic" rocks; it is unlikely they would be familiar with this term.

The motivation and credibility of the report's originator, Erol Erkmen, are unknown. Certainly, the difficulty in translating from Turkish to English may have caused some problems in understanding. Erkmen is associated with a website devoted to reporting UFO activity in Turkey. Photographs of a "magmatic rock" sample were sent to the Bulletin, but they only showed dark rocks photographed devoid of a scale on a featureless background. The rocks shown did not appear to be vesicular or glassy. What was most significant to Bulletin editors was the report author's progressive reluctance to provide samples or encourage follow-up investigation with local scientists. Without the collaboration of trained scientists on the scene this report cannot be validated.

References. Omlin, A, Damm, E., Mienert, J., and Lukas, D., 1999, In-situ detection of methane releases adjacent to gas hydrate fields on the Norwegian margin: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Yalciner, A.C., Borrero, J., Kukano, U., Watts, P., Synolakis, C. E., and Imamura, F., 1999, Field survey of 1999 Izmit tsunami and modeling effort of new tsunami generation mechanism: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Gold, T., 1998, The deep hot biosphere: Springer Verlag, 256 p., ISBN: 0387985468.

Gold, T., 2000, Eye-witness accounts of several major earthquakes (URL: http://www.people.cornell.edu/ pages/tg21/eyewit.html).

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

48.831°N, 101.626°E; summit elev. 1675 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

In December 2002 information appeared in Mongolian and Russian newspapers and on national TV that a volcano in Central Mongolia, the Har-Togoo volcano, was producing white vapors and constant acoustic noise. Because of the potential hazard posed to two nearby settlements, mainly with regard to potential blocking of rivers, the Director of the Research Center of Astronomy and Geophysics of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Bekhtur, organized a scientific expedition to the volcano on 19-20 March 2003. The scientific team also included M. Ulziibat, seismologist from the same Research Center, M. Ganzorig, the Director of the Institute of Informatics, and A. Ivanov from the Institute of the Earth's Crust, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Geological setting. The Miocene Har-Togoo shield volcano is situated on top of a vast volcanic plateau (figure 1). The 5,000-year-old Khorog (Horog) cone in the Taryatu-Chulutu volcanic field is located 135 km SW and the Quaternary Urun-Dush cone in the Khanuy Gol (Hanuy Gol) volcanic field is 95 km ENE. Pliocene and Quaternary volcanic rocks are also abundant in the vicinity of the Holocene volcanoes (Devyatkin and Smelov, 1979; Logatchev and others, 1982). Analysis of seismic activity recorded by a network of seismic stations across Mongolia shows that earthquakes of magnitude 2-3.5 are scattered around the Har-Togoo volcano at a distance of 10-15 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Photograph of the Har-Togoo volcano viewed from west, March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

Observations during March 2003. The name of the volcano in the Mongolian language means "black-pot" and through questioning of the local inhabitants, it was learned that there is a local myth that a dragon lived in the volcano. The local inhabitants also mentioned that marmots, previously abundant in the area, began to migrate westwards five years ago; they are now practically absent from the area.

Acoustic noise and venting of colorless warm gas from a small hole near the summit were noticed in October 2002 by local residents. In December 2002, while snow lay on the ground, the hole was clearly visible to local visitors, and a second hole could be seen a few meters away; it is unclear whether or not white vapors were noticed on this occasion. During the inspection in March 2003 a third hole was seen. The second hole is located within a 3 x 3 m outcrop of cinder and pumice (figure 2) whereas the first and the third holes are located within massive basalts. When close to the holes, constant noise resembled a rapid river heard from afar. The second hole was covered with plastic sheeting fixed at the margins, but the plastic was blown off within 2-3 seconds. Gas from the second hole was sampled in a mechanically pumped glass sampler. Analysis by gas chromatography, performed a week later at the Institute of the Earth's Crust, showed that nitrogen and atmospheric air were the major constituents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Photograph of the second hole sampled at Har-Togoo, with hammer for scale, March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

The temperature of the gas at the first, second, and third holes was +1.1, +1.4, and +2.7°C, respectively, while air temperature was -4.6 to -4.7°C (measured on 19 March 2003). Repeated measurements of the temperatures on the next day gave values of +1.1, +0.8, and -6.0°C at the first, second, and third holes, respectively. Air temperature was -9.4°C. To avoid bias due to direct heating from sunlight the measurements were performed under shadow. All measurements were done with Chechtemp2 digital thermometer with precision of ± 0.1°C and accuracy ± 0.3°C.

Inside the mouth of the first hole was 4-10-cm-thick ice with suspended gas bubbles (figure 5). The ice and snow were sampled in plastic bottles, melted, and tested for pH and Eh with digital meters. The pH-meter was calibrated by Horiba Ltd (Kyoto, Japan) standard solutions 4 and 7. Water from melted ice appeared to be slightly acidic (pH 6.52) in comparison to water of melted snow (pH 7.04). Both pH values were within neutral solution values. No prominent difference in Eh (108 and 117 for ice and snow, respectively) was revealed.

Two digital short-period three-component stations were installed on top of Har-Togoo, one 50 m from the degassing holes and one in a remote area on basement rocks, for monitoring during 19-20 March 2003. Every hour 1-3 microseismic events with magnitude <2 were recorded. All seismic events were virtually identical and resembled A-type volcano-tectonic earthquakes (figure 6). Arrival difference between S and P waves were around 0.06-0.3 seconds for the Har-Togoo station and 0.1-1.5 seconds for the remote station. Assuming that the Har-Togoo station was located in the epicentral zone, the events were located at ~1-3 km depth. Seismic episodes similar to volcanic tremors were also recorded (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Examples of an A-type volcano-tectonic earthquake and volcanic tremor episodes recorded at the Har-Togoo station on 19 March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

Conclusions. The abnormal thermal and seismic activities could be the result of either hydrothermal or volcanic processes. This activity could have started in the fall of 2002 when they were directly observed for the first time, or possibly up to five years earlier when marmots started migrating from the area. Further studies are planned to investigate the cause of the fumarolic and seismic activities.

At the end of a second visit in early July, gas venting had stopped, but seismicity was continuing. In August there will be a workshop on Russian-Mongolian cooperation between Institutions of the Russian and Mongolian Academies of Sciences (held in Ulan-Bator, Mongolia), where the work being done on this volcano will be presented.

References. Devyatkin, E.V. and Smelov, S.B., 1979, Position of basalts in sequence of Cenozoic sediments of Mongolia: Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences, geological series, no. 1, p. 16-29. (In Russian).

Logatchev, N.A., Devyatkin, E.V., Malaeva, E.M., and others, 1982, Cenozoic deposits of Taryat basin and Chulutu river valley (Central Hangai): Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences, geological series, no. 8, p. 76-86. (In Russian).

Geologic Background. The Miocene Har-Togoo shield volcano, also known as Togoo Tologoy, is situated on top of a vast volcanic plateau. The 5,000-year-old Khorog (Horog) cone in the Taryatu-Chulutu volcanic field is located 135 km SW and the Quaternary Urun-Dush cone in the Khanuy Gol (Hanuy Gol) volcanic field is 95 km ENE. Analysis of seismic activity recorded by a network of seismic stations across Mongolia shows that earthquakes of magnitude 2-3.5 are scattered around the Har-Togoo volcano at a distance of 10-15 km.

Information Contacts: Alexei V. Ivanov, Institute of the Earth Crust SB, Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk, Russia; Bekhtur andM. Ulziibat, Research Center of Astronomy and Geophysics, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia; M. Ganzorig, Institute of Informatics MAS, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia.


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

1.136°N, 34.559°E; summit elev. 3885 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


False report of activity; confusion caused by burning dung in a lava tube

An eruption at Mount Elgon was mistakenly inferred when fumes escaped from this otherwise quiet volcano. The fumes were eventually traced to dung burning in a lava-tube cave. The cave is home to, or visited by, wildlife ranging from bats to elephants. Mt. Elgon (Ol Doinyo Ilgoon) is a stratovolcano on the SW margin of a 13 x 16 km caldera that straddles the Uganda-Kenya border 140 km NE of the N shore of Lake Victoria. No eruptions are known in the historical record or in the Holocene.

On 7 September 2004 the web site of the Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation reported that villagers sighted and smelled noxious fumes from a cave on the flank of Mt. Elgon during August 2005. The villagers' concerns were taken quite seriously by both nations, to the extent that evacuation of nearby villages was considered.

The Daily Nation article added that shortly after the villagers' reports, Moses Masibo, Kenya's Western Province geology officer visited the cave, confirmed the villagers observations, and added that the temperature in the cave was 170°C. He recommended that nearby villagers move to safer locations. Masibo and Silas Simiyu of KenGens geothermal department collected ashes from the cave for testing.

Gerald Ernst reported on 19 September 2004 that he spoke with two local geologists involved with the Elgon crisis from the Geology Department of the University of Nairobi (Jiromo campus): Professor Nyambok and Zacharia Kuria (the former is a senior scientist who was unable to go in the field; the latter is a junior scientist who visited the site). According to Ernst their interpretation is that somebody set fire to bat guano in one of the caves. The fire was intense and probably explains the vigorous fuming, high temperatures, and suffocated animals. The event was also accompanied by emissions of gases with an ammonia odor. Ernst noted that this was not surprising considering the high nitrogen content of guano—ammonia is highly toxic and can also explain the animal deaths. The intense fumes initially caused substantial panic in the area.

It was Ernst's understanding that the authorities ordered evacuations while awaiting a report from local scientists, but that people returned before the report reached the authorities. The fire presumably prompted the response of local authorities who then urged the University geologists to analyze the situation. By the time geologists arrived, the fuming had ceased, or nearly so. The residue left by the fire and other observations led them to conclude that nothing remotely related to a volcanic eruption had occurred.

However, the incident emphasized the problem due to lack of a seismic station to monitor tectonic activity related to a local triple junction associated with the rift valley or volcanic seismicity. In response, one seismic station was moved from S Kenya to the area of Mt. Elgon so that local seismicity can be monitored in the future.

Information Contacts: Gerald Ernst, Univ. of Ghent, Krijgslaan 281/S8, B-9000, Belgium; Chris Newhall, USGS, Univ. of Washington, Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences, Box 351310, Seattle, WA 98195-1310, USA; The Daily Nation (URL: http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/); Uganda Tourist Board (URL: http://www.visituganda.com/).