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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

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies during June-November 2019

Kerinci (Indonesia) Intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes during June-early November 2019

Bezymianny (Russia) Lava dome growth, ongoing thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, June-November 2019

Mayon (Philippines) Gas-and-steam plumes and summit incandescence during May-October 2019

Merapi (Indonesia) Low-volume dome growth continues during April-September 2019 with rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Significant eruption on 28 June produced an ash plume up to 15.2 km and pyroclastic flows

Tangkuban Parahu (Indonesia) Phreatic eruption on 27 July followed by intermittent explosions through to 17 September 2019

Sheveluch (Russia) Frequent ash explosions and lava dome growth continue through October 2019

Piton de la Fournaise (France) Three brief eruptive events in July, August, and October 2019

Agung (Indonesia) Quiet returns after explosions on 10 and 13 June 2019

Copahue (Chile-Argentina) New ash emissions begin in early August; intermittent and ongoing through October 2019

Turrialba (Costa Rica) Activity diminishes during March-October 2019, but small ash emissions continue



Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — December 2019 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)


Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies during June-November 2019

Bagana volcano is found in a remote portion of central Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea. The most recent eruptive phase that began in early 2000 has produced ash plumes and thermal anomalies (BGVN 44:06, 50:01). Activity has remained low between January-July 2019 with rare thermal anomalies and occasional steam plumes. This reporting period updates information for June-November 2019 and includes thermal anomalies and intermittent gas-and-steam emissions. Thermal data and satellite imagery are the primary sources of information for this report.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed an increased number of thermal anomalies within 5 km from the summit beginning in late July-early August (figure 38). Two Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed faint, roughly linear thermal anomalies, indicative of lava flows trending EW and NS on 7 July 2019 and 6 August, respectively (figure 39). Weak thermal hotspots were briefly detected in late September-early October after a short hiatus in September. No thermal anomalies were recorded in Sentinel-2 past August due to cloud cover; however, gas-and-steam emissions were visible on 7 July and in September (figures 39, 40, and 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Thermal anomalies near the crater summit at Bagana during February-November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) increased in frequency and power in early August. A small cluster was detected in early October after a brief pause in activity in early September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing small thermal anomalies at Bagana between July-August 2019. Left: A very faint thermal anomaly and a gas-and-steam plume is seen on 7 July 2019. Right: Two small thermal anomalies are faintly seen on 6 August 2019. Both Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit of Bagana on 18 September 2019. Courtesy of Brendan McCormick Kilbride (University of Manchester).

The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) scientific team partnered with the Rabaul Volcano Observatory and the Bougainville Disaster Office to observe activity at Bagana and collect gas data using drone technology during two weeks of field work in mid-September 2019. For this field work, the major focus was to understand the composition of the volcanic gas emitted at Bagana and measure the concentration of these gases. Since Bagana is remote and difficult to climb, research about its gas emissions has been limited. The recent advancements in drone technology has allowed for new data collection at the summit of Bagana (figure 41). Most of the emissions consisted of water vapor, according to Brendan McCormick Kilbride, one of the volcanologists on this trip. During 14-19 September there was consistently a strong gas-and-steam plume from Bagana (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Degassing plumes seen from drone footage 100 m above the summit of Bagana. Top: Zoomed out view of the summit of Bagana degassing. Bottom: Closer perspective of the gases emitted from Bagana. Courtesy of Kieran Wood (University of Bristol) and the Bristol Flight Laboratory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Photos of gas-and-steam plumes rising from Bagana between 14-19 September 2019. Courtesy of Brendan McCormick Kilbride (University of Manchester).

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: 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); Brendan McCormick Kilbride, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/brendan.mccormickkilbride.html, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrendanVolc); Kieran Wood, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1QU, United Kingdom (URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/engineering/people/kieran-t-wood/index.html, Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrKieranWood, video posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Hx645v0eU); University of Bristol Flight Laboratory, Bristol BS8 1QU, United Kingdom (Twitter: https://twitter.com/UOBFlightLab).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

1.697°S, 101.264°E; summit elev. 3800 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes during June-early November 2019

Kerinci, located in Sumatra, Indonesia, is a highly active volcano characterized by explosive eruptions with ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions. The most recent eruptive episode began in April 2018 and included intermittent explosions with ash plumes. Volcanism continued from June-November 2019 with ongoing intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes. The primary source of information for this report comes from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and MAGMA Indonesia.

Brown- to gray-colored ash clouds drifting in different directions were reported by PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC, and MAGMA Indonesia between June and early November 2019. Ground observations, satellite imagery, and weather models were used to monitor the plume, which ranged from 4.3 to 4.9 km altitude, or about 500-1,100 m above the summit. On 7 June 2019 at 0604 a gray ash emission rose 800 m above the summit, drifting E, according to a ground observer. An ash plume on 12 July rose to 4 km altitude and drifted SW, as determined by satellite imagery and weather models. An eruption produced a gray ash cloud on 31 July that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted NE and E, according to PVMBG and the Darwin VAAC (figure 17). Another ash cloud rose up to 4.3 km altitude on 3 August. On 2 September a possible ash plume rose to a maximum altitude of 4.9 km and drifted WSW, according to the Darwin VAAC advisory.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. A gray ash plume at Kerinci rose roughly 800 m above the summit on 31 July 2019 and drifted NE and E. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Brown ash emissions rose to 4.4 km altitude at 1253 on 6 October, drifting WSW. Similar plumes reached 4.6 km altitude twice on 30 October and moved NE, SE, and E at 0614 and WSW at 1721, based on ground observations. On 1-2 November, ground observers saw brown ash emissions rising up to 4.3 km drifting ESE. Between 3 and 5 November the brown ash plumes rose 100-500 m above the summit, according to PVMBG.

Gas emissions continued to be observed through November, as reported by PVMBG and identified in satellite imagery (figure 18). Seismicity that included volcanic earthquakes also continued between June and early November, when the frequency decreased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing a typical white gas-and-steam plume at Kerinci on 9 August 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite image with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Gunung Kerinci in central Sumatra forms Indonesia's highest volcano and is one of the most active in Sumatra. It is capped by an unvegetated young summit cone that was constructed NE of an older crater remnant. There is a deep 600-m-wide summit crater often partially filled by a small crater lake that lies on the NE crater floor, opposite the SW-rim summit. The massive 13 x 25 km wide volcano towers 2400-3300 m above surrounding plains and is elongated in a N-S direction. Frequently active, Kerinci has been the source of numerous moderate explosive eruptions since its first recorded eruption in 1838.

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/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Bezymianny (Russia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

55.972°N, 160.595°E; summit elev. 2882 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome growth, ongoing thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, June-November 2019

The long-term activity at Bezymianny has been dominated by almost continuous thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, dome growth, lava flows, and an occasional ash explosion (BGVN 44:06). The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT. Throughout the reporting period of June to November 2019, the Aviation Colour Code remained Yellow (second lowest of four levels).

According to KVERT weekly reports, lava dome growth continued in June through mid-July 2019. Thereafter the reports did not mention dome growth, but indicated that moderate gas-and-steam emissions (figure 32) continued through November. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, based on analysis of MODIS data, detected hotspots within 5 km of the summit almost every day. KVERT also reported a thermal anomaly over the volcano almost daily, except when it was obscured by clouds. Infrared satellite imagery often showed thermal anomalies generated by lava flows or dome growth (figure 33).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photo of Bezymianny showing fumarolic activity on 4 July 2019. Photo by O. Girina (IVS FEB RAS, KVERT); courtesy of KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Typical infrared satellite images of Bezymianny showing thermal anomalies in the summit crater, including a lava flow to the WNW. Top: 21 August 2019 with SWIR filter (bands 12, 8A, 4). Bottom: 17 September 2019 with Atmospheric Penetration filter (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Prior to its noted 1955-56 eruption, Bezymianny had been considered extinct. The modern volcano, much smaller in size than its massive neighbors Kamen and Kliuchevskoi, was formed about 4700 years ago over a late-Pleistocene lava-dome complex and an ancestral edifice built about 11,000-7000 years ago. Three periods of intensified activity have occurred during the past 3000 years. The latest period, which was preceded by a 1000-year quiescence, began with the dramatic 1955-56 eruption. This eruption, similar to that of St. Helens in 1980, produced a large horseshoe-shaped crater that was formed by collapse of the summit and an associated lateral blast. Subsequent episodic but ongoing lava-dome growth, accompanied by intermittent explosive activity and pyroclastic flows, has largely filled the 1956 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/); 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).


Mayon (Philippines) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas-and-steam plumes and summit incandescence during May-October 2019

Mayon, located in the Philippines, is a highly active stratovolcano with recorded historical eruptions dating back to 1616. The most recent eruptive episode began in early January 2018 that consisted of phreatic explosions, steam-and-ash plumes, lava fountaining, and pyroclastic flows (BGVN 43:04). The previous report noted small but distinct thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and slight inflation (BGVN 44:05) that continued to occur from May into mid-October 2019. This report includes information based on daily bulletins from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery.

Between May and October 2019, white gas-and-steam plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 800 m on 17 May. PHIVOLCS reported that faint summit incandescence was frequently observed at night from May-July and Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed weaker thermal anomalies in September and October (figure 49); the last anomaly was identified on 12 October. Average SO2 emissions as measured by PHIVOLCS generally varied between 469-774 tons/day; the high value of the period was on 25 July, with 1,171 tons/day. Small SO2 plumes were detected by the TROPOMI satellite instrument a few times during May-September 2019 (figure 50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Mayon between May-October 2019. Small thermal anomalies were recorded in satellite imagery from the summit and some white gas-and-steam plumes are visible. Top left: 30 May 2019. Top right: 9 June 2019. Bottom left: 22 September 2019. Bottom right: 12 October 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Small SO2 plumes rising from Mayon during May-September 2019 recorded in DU (Dobson Units). Top left: 28 May 2019. Top right: 26 July 2019. Bottom left: 16 August 2019. Bottom right: 23 September 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Continuous GPS data has shown slight inflation since June 2018, corroborated by precise leveling data taken on 9-17 April, 16-25 July, and 23-30 October 2019. Elevated seismicity and occasional rockfall events were detected by the seismic monitoring network from PHIVOLCS from May to July; recorded activity decreased in August. Activity reported by PHIVOLCS in September-October 2019 consisted of frequent gas-and-steam emissions, two volcanic earthquakes, and no summit incandescence.

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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

7.54°S, 110.446°E; summit elev. 2910 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low-volume dome growth continues during April-September 2019 with rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows

Merapi is an active volcano north of the city of Yogyakarta (figure 79) that has a recent history of dome growth and collapse, resulting in block-and-ash flows that killed over 400 in 2010, while an estimated 10,000-20,000 lives were saved by evacuations. The edifice contains an active dome at the summit, above the Gendol drainage down the SE flank (figure 80). The current eruption episode began in May 2018 and dome growth was observed from 11 August 2018-onwards. This Bulletin summarizes activity during April through September 2019 and is based on information from Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG, the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG), Sutopo of Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), MAGMA Indonesia, along with observations by Øystein Lund Andersen and Brett Carr of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Merapi volcano is located north of Yogyakarta in Central Java. Photo courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A view of the Gendol drainage where avalanches and block-and-ash flows are channeled from the active Merapi lava dome. The Gendol drainage is approximately 400 m wide at the summit. Courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

At the beginning of April the rate of dome growth was relatively low, with little morphological change since January, but the overall activity of Merapi was considered high. Magma extrusion above the upper Gendol drainage resulted in rockfalls and block-and-ash flows out to 1.5 km from the dome, which were incandescent and visible at night. Five block-and-ash flows were recorded on 24 April, reaching as far as 1.2 km down the Gendol drainage. The volume of the dome was calculated to be 466,000 m3 on 9 April, a slight decrease from the previous week. Weak gas plumes reached a maximum of 500 m above the dome throughout April.

Six block-and-ash flows were generated on 5 May, lasting up to 77 seconds. Throughout May there were no significant changes to the dome morphology but the volume had decreased to 458,000 by 4 May according to drome imagery analysis. Lava extrusion continued above the Gendol drainage, producing rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows out to 1.2 km (figure 81). Gas plumes were observed to reach 400 m above the top of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. An avalanche from the Merapi summit dome on 17 May 2019. The incandescent blocks traveled down to 850 m away from the dome. Courtesy of Sutopo, BNPB.

There were a total of 72 avalanches and block-and-ash flows from 29 January to 1 June, with an average distance of 1 km and a maximum of 2 km down the Gendol drainage. Photographs taken by Øystein Lund Andersen show the morphological change to the lava dome due to the collapse of rock and extruding lava down the Gendol drainage (figures 82 and 83). Block-and-ash flows were recorded on 17 and 20 June to a distance of 1.2 km, and a webcam image showed an incandescent flow on 26 June (figure 84). Throughout June gas plumes reached a maximum of 250 m above the top of the crater

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. The development of the Merapi summit dome from 2 June 2018 to 17 June 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Photos taken of the Merapi summit lava dome in June 2019. Top: This nighttime time-lapse photograph shows incandescence at the south-facing side of the dome on the 16 June. Middle: A closeup of a small rockfall from the dome on 17 June. Bottom: A gas plume accompanying a small rockfall on 17 June. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Blocks from an incandescent rockfall off the Merapi dome reached out to 1 km down the Gendol drainage on 26 June 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Analysis of drone images taken on 4 July gave an updated dome volume of 475,000 m3, a slight increase but with little change in the morphology (figure 85). Block-and-ash flows traveled 1.1 km down the Gendol drainage on 1 July, 1 km on the 13th, and 1.1 km on the 14th, some of which were seen at night as incandescent blocks fell from the dome (figure 86). During the week of 19-25 July there were four recorded block-and-ash flows reaching 1.1 km, and flows traveled out to around 1 km on the 24th, 27th, and 31st. The morphology of the dome continued to be relatively stable due to the extruding lava falling into the Gendol drainage. Gas plumes reached 300 m above the top of the crater during July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. The Merapi dome on 30 July 2019 producing a weak plume. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Incandescent rocks from the hot lava dome at the summit of Merapi form rockfalls down the Gendol drainage on 14 July 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.

During the week of 5-11 August the dome volume was calculated to be 461,000 m3, a slight decrease from the week before with little morphological changes due to the continued lava extrusion collapsing into the Gendol drainage. There were five block-and-ash flows reaching a maximum of 1.2 km during 2-8 August. Two flows were observed on the 13th and 14th reaching 950 m, out to 1.9 km on the 20th and 22nd, and to 550 m on the 24th. There were 16 observed flows that reached 500-1,000 m on 25-27 August, with an additional flow out to 2 km at 1807 on the 27th (figure 87). Gas plumes reached a maximum of 350 m through the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. An incandescent rockfall from the Merapi dome that reached 2 km down the Gendol drainage on 27 August 2019. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Brett Carr was conducting field work at Merapi during 12-26 September. During this time the lava extrusion was low (below 1 m3 per second). He observed small rockfalls with blocks a couple of meters in size, traveling about 50-200 m down the drainage every hour or so, producing small plumes as they descended and resulting in incandescence on the dome at night. Small dome collapse events produced block-and-ash flows down the drainage once or twice per day (figure 88) and slightly larger flows just over 1 km long a couple of times per week.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. A rockfall on the Merapi dome, towards the Gendol drainage at 0551 on 20 September 2019. Courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

The dome volume was 468,000 m3 by 19 September, a slight increase from the previous calculation but again with little morphological change. Two block-and-ash flows were observed out to 600 m on 9 September and seven occurred on the 9th out to 500-1,100 m. Two occurred on the 14th down to 750-900 m, three occurred on 17, 20, and 21 September to a maximum distance of 1.2 km, and three more out to 1.5 km through the 26th. A VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) was issued on the 22nd due to a small explosion producing an ash plume up to approximately 3.8 km altitude (about 800 m above the summit) and minor ashfall to 15 km SW. This was followed by a block-and-ash flow reaching as far as 1.2 km and lasting for 125 seconds (figure 89). Preceding the explosion there was an increase in temperature at several locations on the dome. Weak gas plumes were observed up to 100 m above the crater throughout the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. An explosion at Merapi on 22 September 2019 was followed by a block-and-ash flow that reached 1.2 km down the Gendol drainage. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Geologic Background. Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities during historical time.

Information Contacts: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); 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/); 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); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN); Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY, USA (URL: https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/user/bcarr).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 2019 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)


Significant eruption on 28 June produced an ash plume up to 15.2 km and pyroclastic flows

Manam is a frequently active volcano forming an island approximately 10 km wide, located 13 km north of the main island of Papua New Guinea. At the summit are the Main Crater and South Crater, with four valleys down the NE, SE, SW, and NW flanks (figure 57). Recent activity has occurred at both summit craters and has included gas and ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows. Activity in December 2018 prompted the evacuation of nearby villages and the last reported activity for 2018 was ashfall on 8 December. Activity from January through September 2019 summarized below is based on information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), the University of Hawai'i's MODVOLC thermal alert system, Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI and NASA Aqua/AIRS SO2 data, MIROVA thermal data, Sentinel-2 satellite images, and observations by visiting scientists. A significant eruption in June resulted in evacuations, airport closure, and damage to local crops and infrastructure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. A PlanetScope image of Manam showing the two active craters with a plume emanating from the South Crater and the four valleys at the summit on 29 August 2019. Image copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.

Activity during January-May 2019. Several explosive eruptions occurred during January 2019 according to Darwin VAAC reports, including an ash plume that rose to around 15 km and dispersed to the W on the 7th. RVO reported that an increase in seismic activity triggered the warning system shortly before the eruption commenced (figure 58). Small explosions were observed through to the next day with ongoing activity from the Main Crater and a lava flow in the NE valley observed from around 0400. Intermittent explosions ejected scoria after 0600, depositing ejecta up to 2 cm in diameter in two villages on the SE side of the island. Incandescence at both summit craters and hot deposits at the terminus of the NE valley are visible in Sentinel-2 TIR data acquired on the 10th (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Real-Time Seismic-Amplitude Measurement graph representing seismicity at Manam over 7-9 January 2019, showing the increase during the 7-8 January event. Courtesy of RVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Sentinel-2 thermal infrared (TIR) imagery shows incandescence in the two Manam summit craters and at the terminus of the NE valley near the shoreline on 10 January 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel-Hub Playground.

Another explosion generated an ash plume to around 15 km on the 11th that dispersed to the SW. An explosive eruption occurred around 4 pm on the 23rd with the Darwin VAAC reporting an ash plume to around 16.5 km altitude, dispersing to the E. Activity continued into the following day, with satellites detecting SO2 plumes on both 23 and 24 January (figure 60). Activity declined by February with one ash plume reported up to 4.9 km altitude on 15 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. SO2 plumes originating from Manam detected by NASA Aqua/AIRS (top) on 23 January 2019 and by Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI on 24 January (bottom). Images courtesy of Simon Carn, Michigan Technological University.

Ash plumes rose up to 3 km between 1 and 5 March, and dispersed to the SE, ESE, and E. During 5-6 March the plumes moved E, and the events were accompanied by elevated seismicity and significant thermal anomalies detected in satellite data. During 19-22 March explosions produced ash plumes up to 4.6 km altitude, which dispersed to the E and SE. Simon Carn of the Michigan Technological University noted a plume in Aqua/AIRS data at around 15 km altitude at 0400 UTC on 23 January with approximately 13 kt measured, similar to other recent eruptions. Additional ash plumes were detected on 29 March, reaching 2.4-3 km and drifting to the E, NE, and N. Multiple SO2 plumes were detected throughout April (figure 61).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Examples of elevated SO2 (sulfur dioxide) emissions from Manam during April 2019, on 9 April (top left), 21 April (top right), 22 April (bottom left), 28 April (bottom right). Courtesy of the NASA Space Goddard Flight Center.

During 19-28 May the Deep Carbon Observatory ABOVE (Aerial-based Observations of Volcanic Emissions) scientific team observed activity at Manam and collected gas data using drone technology. They recorded degassing from the South Crater and Main Crater (figure 63 and 64), which was also detected in Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI data (figure 65). Later in the day the plumes rose vertically up to 3-4 km above sea level and appeared stronger due to condensation. Incandescence was observed each night at the South Crater (figure 66). The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume on 10 May, reaching 5.5 km altitude and drifting to the NE. Smaller plumes up to 2.4 km were noted on the 11th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Degassing plumes from the South Crater of Manam, seen from Baliau village on the northern coast on 24 May 2019. Courtesy of Emma Liu, University College London.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. A strong gas-and-steam plume from Manam was observed moving tens of kilometers downwind on 19 May 2019, viewed here form the SSW at dusk. Photo courtesy of Julian Rüdiger, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI SO2 data acquired on 22 May 2019 during the field observations of the Deep Carbon Observatory ABOVE team. Image courtesy of Simon Carn, Michigan Technological University.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Incandescence at the South Crater of Manam was visible during 19-21 May 2019 from the Baliau village on the northern coast of the island. Photos courtesy of Tobias Fischer, University of New Mexico (top) and Matthew Wordell (bottom).

Activity during June 2019. Ash plumes rose to 4.3 km and drifted SW on 7-8 June, and up to 3-3.7 km and towards the E and NE on 18 June. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data show hot material around the Main Crater on 24 June (figure 66). On 27 June RVO reported that RSAM (Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurement, a measure of seismic activity through time) increased from 540 to over 1,400 in 30 minutes. "Thundering noise" was noted by locals at around 0100 on the 28th. An ash plume drifting SW was visible in satellite images acquired after 0620, coinciding with reported sightings by nearby residents (figure 67). The Darwin VAAC noted that by 0910 the ash plume had reached 15.2 km altitude and was drifting SW. When seen in satellite imagery at 1700 that day the large ash plume had detached and remained visible extending SW. There were 267 lightning strokes detected within 75 km during the event (figure 68) and pyroclastic flows were generated down the NE and W flanks. At 0745 on 29 June an ash plume reached up to 4.8 km.

Villages including Dugulava, Yassa, Budua, Madauri, Waia, Dangale, and Bokure were impacted by ashfall and approximately 3,775 people had evacuated to care centers. Homes and crops were reportedly damaged due to falling ash and scoria. Flights through Madang airport were also disrupted due to the ash until they resumed on the 30th. The Office of the Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea reported that as many as 455 homes and gardens were destroyed. Humanitarian resources were strained due to another significant eruption at nearby Ulawun that began on 26 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data show hot material around the Main Crater and a plume dispersing SE through light cloud cover on 24 June 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Himawari-8 satellite image showing the ash plume rising above Manam and drifting SW at 0840 on 28 June. Satellite image courtesy of NCIT ScienceCloud.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. There were 267 lightning strokes detected within 75 km of Manam between 0729 on 27 June and 0100 on 29 June 2019. Sixty of these occurred within the final two hours of this observation period, reflecting increased activity. Red dots are cloud to ground lightning strokes and black dots are in-cloud strokes. Courtesy of Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc.

Activity during July-September 2019. Activity was reduced through July and September. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume to approximately 6 km altitude on 6 July that drifted W and NW, another plume that day to 3.7 km that drifted N, and a plume on the 21st that rose to 4.3 km and drifted SW and W. Diffuse plumes rose to 2.4-2.7 km and drifted towards the W on 29 September. Thermal anomalies in the South Crater persisted through September.

Fresh deposits from recent events are visible in satellite deposits, notably in the NE after the January activity (figure 69). Satellite TIR data reflected elevated activity with increased energy detected in March and June-July in MODVOLC and MIROVA data (figure 70).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Sentinel-2 thermal infrared images acquired on 12 October 2018, 20 May 2019, and 12 September 2019 show the eruption deposits that accumulated during this time. A thermal anomaly is visible in the South Crater in the May and September images. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Manam during February through September 2019. Increases in activity were detected in March and June-July. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/); Office of the Resident Coordinator, United Nations, Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea (URL: https://papuanewguinea.un.org/en/about/about-the-resident-coordinator-office, https://reliefweb.int/report/papua-new-guinea/papua-new-guinea-volcanic-activity-office-resident-coordinator-flash-2); Himawari-8 Real-time Web, developed by the NICT Science Cloud project in NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology), Japan, in collaboration with JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency) and CEReS (Center of Environmental Remote Sensing, Chiba University) (URL: https://himawari8.nict.go.jp/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn); Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado, USA (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/en?type=1, Twitter: @COweatherman, URL: https://twitter.com/COweatherman); Emma Liu, University College London Earth Sciences, London WC1E 6BS (URL: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/earth-sciences/people/academic/dr-emma-liu); Matthew Wordell, Boise, ID, USA (URL: https://www.matthhew.com/biocontact); Julian Rüdiger, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Saarstr. 21, 55122 Mainz, Germany (URL: https://www.uni-mainz.de/).


Tangkuban Parahu (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Tangkuban Parahu

Indonesia

6.77°S, 107.6°E; summit elev. 2084 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic eruption on 27 July followed by intermittent explosions through to 17 September 2019

Tangkuban is located in the West Bandung and Subang Regencies in the West Java Province and has two main summit craters, Ratu and Upas (figure 3). Recent activity has largely consisted of phreatic explosions and gas-and-steam plumes at the Ratu crater. Prior to July 2019, the most recent activity occurred in 2012-2013, ending with a phreatic eruption on 5 October 2013 (BGVN 40:04). Background activity includes geothermal activity in the Ratu crater consisting of gas and steam emission (figure 4). This area is a tourist destination with infrastructure, and often people, overlooking the active crater. This report summarizes activity during 2014 through September 2019 and is based on official agency reports. Monitoring is the responsibility of Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Map of Tangkuban Parahu showing the Sunda Caldera rim and the Ratu, Upas, and Domas craters. Basemap is the August 2019 mosaic, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Background activity at the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu is shown in these images from 1 May 2012. The top image is an overview of the crater and the bottom four images show typical geothermal activity. Copyrighted photos by Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.

The first reported activity in 2014 consisted of gas-and-steam plumes during October-December, prompting PVMBG to increase the alert level from I to II on 31 December 2014. These white plumes reached a maximum of 50 m above the Ratu crater (figure 5) and were accompanied by elevated seismicity and deformation. This prompted the implementation of an exclusion zone with a radius of 1.5 km around the crater. The activity decreased and the alert level was lowered back to I on 8 January 2015. There was no further reported activity from January 2015 through mid-2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Changes at the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu during 25 December 2014 to 8 January 2015. Rain water accumulated in the crater in December and intermittent gas-and-steam plumes were observed. Courtesy of PVMBG (8 January 2015 report).

From 27 June 2019 an increase in activity was recorded in seismicity, deformation, gas chemistry, and visual observations. By 24 July the responsible government agencies had communicated that the volcano could erupt at any time. At 1548 on 26 July a phreatic (steam-driven) explosion ejected an ash plume that reached 200 m; a steam-rich plume rose to 600 m above the Ratu crater (figures 6, and 7). People were on the crater rim at the time and videos show a white plume rising from the crater followed by rapid jets of ash and sediment erupting through the first plume. Deposition of eruption material was 5-7 cm thick and concentrated within a 500 m radius from the point between the Rata and Upas craters, and wider deposition occurred within 2 km of the crater (figures 8 and 9). According to seismic data, the eruption lasted around 5 minutes and 30 seconds (figure 10). Videos show several pulses of ash that fell back into the crater, followed by an ash plume moving laterally towards the viewers.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. These screenshots are from a video taken from the Ratu crater rim at Tangkuban Parahu on 26 July 2019. Initially there is a white gas-and-steam plume rising from the crater, then a high-velocity black jet of ash and sediment rises through the plume. This video was widely shared across multiple social media platforms, but the original source could not be identified.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. The ash plume at Tangkuban Parahu on 26 July 2019. Courtesy of BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Volcanic ash and lapilli was deposited around the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu during a phreatic eruption on 26 July 2019. Note that the deposits have slumped down the window and are thicker than the actual ashfall. Courtesy of BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Ash was deposited on buildings that line the Ratu crater at Tangkuban Parahu during a phreatic eruption on 26 July 2019. Photo courtesy of Novrian Arbi/via Reuters.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. A seismogram showing the onset of the 26 July 2019 eruption of Tangkuban Parahu and the elevated seismicity following the event. Courtesy of PVMBG via Øystein Lund Andersen.

On 27 July, the day after the eruption, Øystein Lund Andersen observed the volcano using a drone camera, operated from outside the restricted zone. Over a period of two hours the crater produced a small steam plume; ashfall and small blocks from the initial eruption are visible in and around the crater (figure 11). The ashfall is also visible in satellite imagery, which shows that deposition was restricted to the immediate vicinity to the SW of the crater (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Photos of the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu on 27 July 2019, the day after a phreatic eruption. A small steam plume continued through the day. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. PlanetScope satellite images showing the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu before (17 July 2019) and after (28 July 2019) the explosion that took place on 26 July 2019. Natural color PlanetScope Imagery, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.

Another eruption occurred at 2046 on 1 August 2019 and lasted around 11 minutes, producing a plume up to 180 m above the vent. Additional explosions occurred at 0043 on 2 August, lasting around 3 minutes according to seismic data, but were not observed. Explosions continued to be recorded at 0145, 0357, and 0406 at the time of the PVMBG report when the last explosion was ongoing, and a photo shows an explosion at 0608 (figure 13). The explosions produced plumes that reached between 20 and 200 m above the vent. Due to elevated activity the Alert Level was increased to II on 2 August. Ash emission continued through the 4th. During 5-11 August events ejecting ash continued to produce plumes up to 80 m, and gas-and-steam plumes up to 200 m above the vent. Ashfall was localized around Ratu crater. The following week, 12-18 August, activity continued with ash and gas-and-steam plumes reaching 100-200 m above the vent. During 19-25 August, similar activity sent ash to 50-180 m, and gas-and-steam plumes to 200 m. A larger phreatic explosion occurred at 0930 on 31 August with an ash plume reaching 300 m, and a gas-and-steam plume reaching 600 m above the vent, depositing ash and sediment around the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. A small ash plume below a white gas-and-steam plume erupting from the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu on 2 August 2019 at 0608. Courtesy of PVBMG (2 August 2019 report).

In early September activity consisted of gas-and-steam plumes up to 100-180 m above the vent with some ash plumes observed (figure 14). Two larger explosions occurred at 1657 and 1709 on 7 September with ash reaching 180 m, and gas-and-steam up to 200 m above the vent. Ash and sediment deposited around the crater. Due to strong winds to the SSW, the smell of sulfur was reported around Cimahi City in West Bandung, although there was no detected increase in sulfur emissions. A phreatic explosion on 17 September produced an ash plume to 40 m and a steam plume to 200 m above the crater. Weak gas-and-steam emissions reaching 200 m above the vent continued through to the end of September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. A phreatic explosion at Tangkuban Parahu in the Ratu crater at 0724 on 4 September 2019, lasting nearly one minute. The darker ash plume reached around 100 m above the vent. Courtesy of PVGHM (4 September 2019 report).

Geologic Background. Gunung Tangkuban Parahu is a broad shield-like stratovolcano overlooking Indonesia's former capital city of Bandung. The volcano was constructed within the 6 x 8 km Pleistocene Sunda caldera, which formed about 190,000 years ago. The volcano's low profile is the subject of legends referring to the mountain of the "upturned boat." The Sunda caldera rim forms a prominent ridge on the western side; elsewhere the rim is largely buried by deposits of the current volcano. The dominantly small phreatic eruptions recorded since the 19th century have originated from several nested craters within an elliptical 1 x 1.5 km summit depression.

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/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://www.oysteinlundandersen.com/tangkuban-prahu/tangkuban-prahu-volcano-west-java-one-day-after-the-26th-july-phreatic-eruption/); Reuters (URL: https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/editors-choice-pictures-idUSRTX71F3E).


Sheveluch (Russia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

56.653°N, 161.36°E; summit elev. 3283 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash explosions and lava dome growth continue through October 2019

After a lull in activity at Sheveluch, levels intensified again in mid-December 2018 and remained high through April 2019, with lava dome growth, strong explosions that produced ash plumes, incandescent lava flows, hot avalanches, numerous thermal anomalies, and strong fumarolic activity (BGVN 44:05). This report summarizes activity between May and October 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT).

According to KVERT, explosive activity continued to generate ash plumes during May-October 2019 (table 13). Strong fumarolic activity, incandescence and growth of the lava dome, and hot avalanches accompanied this process. There were also reports of plumes caused by re-suspended ash rather than new explosions. Plumes frequently extended a few hundred kilometers downwind, with the longest ones remaining visible in imagery as much as 1,000-1,400 km away. One of the larger explosions, on 1 October (figure 52), also generated a pyroclastic flow. Some of the stronger explosions sent the plume to an altitude of 10-11 km, or more than 7 km above the summit. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) throughout the reporting period, except for several hours on 6 October when it was raised to Red (the highest level).

Table 13. Explosions and ash plumes at Sheveluch during May-October 2019. Dates and times are UTC, not local. Data courtesy of KVERT.

Dates Plume altitude (km) Drift Distance and Direction Remarks
30 Apr-02 May 2019 -- 200 km SE Resuspended ash.
03-10 May 2019 -- 50 km SE, SW Gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash.
13 May 2019 -- 16 km SE Resuspended ash.
11-12 Jun 2019 -- 60 km WNW Explosions and hot avalanches seen in video and satellite images.
24, 27 Jun 2019 4.5 E, W Ash plumes.
05 Aug 2019 2.5 40 km NW Diffuse ash plume.
25 Aug 2019 4.5-5 500 km NW Ash plumes.
29 Aug 2019 10 Various; 550 km N Explosions at 1510 produced ash plumes.
30 Aug 2019 7-7.5 50 km SSE Explosions at 1957 produced ash plumes.
03 Sep 2019 5.5 SE --
02-03, 05 Sep 2019 10 660 km SE Ash plumes seen in satellite images.
05 Sep 2019 -- -- Resuspended ash.
11-12 Sep 2019 -- 250 km ESE Resuspended ash plumes. Satellite and webcam data recorded ash emissions and a gas-and-steam plume with some ash drifting 50 km ESE on 12 Sep.
12-15, 17, 19 Sep 2019 -- 200 km SW, SE, NE Ash plumes.
20-21, 23, 26 Sep 2019 7 580 km ESE Explosions produced ash plumes.
29 Sep, 01-02 Oct 2019 9 1,400 km SE, E Explosions produced ash plumes. Notable pyroclastic flow traveled SE on 1 Oct.
04 Oct 2019 -- 170 km E Resuspended ash.
06 Oct 2019 10 430 km NE; 1,080 km ENE Ash plumes. Aviation Color Code raised to Red for several hours.
08 Oct 2019 -- 170 km E Resuspended ash.
06, 09 Oct 2019 6.5-11 1,100 km E --
11-13, 15 Oct 2019 6.5-7 620 km E, SE Explosions produced ash plumes.
16-17 Oct 2019 -- 125 km E Resuspended ash.
19-20 Oct 2019 -- 110 km SE Resuspended ash.
21 Oct 2019 10-11 1,300 km SE Explosions produced ash plumes.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. An explosion of Sheveluch on 1 October 2019. A pyroclastic flow was also reported by KVERT this day. Courtesy of Yu. Demyanchuk, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Numerous thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were observed every month. Consistent with this, the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system recorded thermal anomalies almost daily. According to KVERT, a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during the entire reporting period, although cloudy weather sometimes obscured observations.

Geologic Background. The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 km3 volcano is one of Kamchatka's largest and most active volcanic structures. The summit of roughly 65,000-year-old Stary Shiveluch is truncated by a broad 9-km-wide late-Pleistocene caldera breached to the south. Many lava domes dot its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large horseshoe-shaped caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. At least 60 large eruptions have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Widespread tephra layers from these eruptions have provided valuable time markers for dating volcanic events in Kamchatka. Frequent collapses of dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera.

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://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/).


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

21.244°S, 55.708°E; summit elev. 2632 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Three brief eruptive events in July, August, and October 2019

Short pulses of intermittent eruptive activity have been common at Piton de la Fournaise, the large basaltic shield volcano on La Réunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, for several thousand years. Over the last 20 years effusive basaltic eruptions have occurred on average twice per year. The activity is characterized by lava fountains and lava flows, and occasional explosive eruptions that shower blocks over the summit area and produce ash plumes. Almost all of the recent activity has occurred within the Enclos Fouqué caldera around the flanks of the central cone which has the Dolomieu Crater at its summit, although past eruptions in 1977, 1986, and 1998 have occurred at vents outside the caldera. Two eruptive episodes were reported during January-June 2019; from 18 February to 10 March, and from 11 to 13 June (BGVN 44:07). Three episodes during July-October 2019 are covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) as well as satellite instruments.

Three brief eruptive episodes took place during July-October 2019. In each case, slow ground inflation in the weeks leading up to the eruption was followed by sudden inflation at the time of the fissure opening and lava flow event. This was followed by a resumption of inflation days or weeks later. The first event took place during 29-30 July and consisted of three fissures opening on the N flank of the Dolomieu cone. It lasted for less than 24 hours, and the maximum flow length was about 730 m. The second event began on 11 August with two fissures opening on the S flank of the Dolomieu cone. The flows traveled downhill almost 3 km; activity ended on 15 August. Two new fissures opened during 25-27 October on the SSE flank of the cone; one was active only briefly while the second created a 3.6-km-long flow that stopped a few hundred meters before the major highway. The sudden surges of thermal energy from the eruptions are clearly visible in the MIROVA thermal data (figure 182). Each of the eruptive episodes was also accompanied by SO2 emissions that were detected by satellite instruments (figure 183).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 182. Three eruptive events took place at Piton de la Fournaise during July-October 2019 and appear as spikes in thermal activity during 29-30 July, 11-15 August, and 25-27 October. Additional events in late February-early March and mid-June are also visible in this MIROVA graph of thermal energy from 12 December 2018 through October 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 183. Sulfur dioxide emissions were measured from Piton de la Fournaise during each of the eruptive events that occurred in July (top left), August (top right and bottom left), and October (bottom right) 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Activity during July 2019. The last eruption, a series of flows from several fissures on the SSE flank of Dolomieu Crater near the crater rim (at the center of the Enclos Fouqué caldera), lasted from 11 to 13 June 2019 (figure 184). Ground deformation after the eruption indicated renewed inflation of the edifice which had been ongoing since May. OVPF reported an increase in seismicity beginning on 21 June which continued throughout July; the earthquakes were located near the NW rim of the Dolomieu Crater and on its NW flank. Four centimeters of elongation were recorded between two GNSS stations within the Enclos during late June and July prior to the next eruption. The next short-lived eruption took place during 29-30 July, near the location of the seismicity on the NW flank of the Dolomieu cone about 600 m E of the Formica Leo cone. The onset of the eruption was accompanied by rapid ground deformation of about 12-13 cm, recorded at a station that is located west of the Dolomieu Crater (figure 185).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 184. Location maps of lava flows formed during the 11-13 June 2019 (left) and 29-30 July 2019 (right) eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise. Information derived from satellite data via the OI2 platform and aerial photos. Lava flows from June are shown as red polygons and eruptive fissures are shown as white lines. For the July event, the flows are shown in white. Courtesy of OVPF, OI2 and Université Clermont Auvergne (Monthly bulletins of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, June and July 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 185. Horizontal surface displacements indicating inflation of Piton de la Fournaise of about four centimeters were gradual between 14 June and 28 July 2019 (left). Just prior to and at the onset of the eruption on 29 July, a much greater displacement of about 12 cm occurred, associated with the subsurface ascent of magma (right). Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, July 2019).

The late July eruption began around 1200 local time on 29 July 2019 with the opening of three fissures over a distance of about 450 m on the N flank of Dolomieu cone, close to the tourist trail to the summit (figure 186). Lava fountains 20-30 m high were reported. Thermal measurements indicated flow temperatures of about 1,100°C at the base of the lava fountains; samples were collected for analysis (figure 187). Average discharge rates of 11.6 m3s were estimated for the eruption which ended less than 24 hours later, around 0430 on 30 July. The maximum flow length was about 730 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 186. Three fissures opened at Piton de la Fournaise on 29 July 2019 and flows traveled 730 m downslope before stopping the next day. The fissures were located on the N flank of Dolomieu cone. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP, Imaz PressRéunion, and Réunion La 1ère (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, July 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 187. Samples were collected for analysis by OVPF from the 29 July 2019 flow at Piton de la Fournaise. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, July 2019).

Eruption of 11-15 August 2019. During 1-10 August there were 33 shallow volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes located under the SE flank of Dolomieu cone; a new eruption began over this area on 11 August (figure 188). Two centimeters of inflation were recorded between the 29-30 July eruption and the 11-15 August event; this was followed by a rapid burst of inflation (tens of centimeters) at the onset of the eruption. Inflation resumed shortly after the eruption ended. The eruption began around 1620 local time on 11 August. Two fissures opened, one at 1,700 m elevation, and one at 1,500 m elevation on the SE flank, about 1,400 m apart (figure 189). Due to the steep slopes in the area, the lava flow quickly reached the "Grande Pentes" area before slowing down at the flatter "Piton Tremblet" area. The farthest traveled flow was cooling at an elevation of about 560 m, about 2 km from the National Road (RN2) on 14 August. The maximum effusion rate was measured at 9 m3/s. The eruption stopped on 15 August 2019 at 2200 local time after more than 6 hours of "piston gas" activity, and a brief pause in flow activity earlier in the day. About 3 million m3of lava were emitted, according to OVPF-IPGP. The flows from the 1,700 m and 1500 m altitude fissures reached maximum lengths of 2.9 and 2.7 km, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 188. Locations of eruptive fissures that opened on 11 August 2019 on the SE flank of Dolomieu cone at Piton de la Fournaise, and the approximate locations of the associated flows. Courtesy of IVPF-IPGP / OPGC-LMV (Bulletin d'activité du mercredi 14 août 2019 à 15h30, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 189. Lava flows from the Piton de la Fournaise eruption of 11-15 August 2019 emerged from two fissures on the SE flank of Dolomieu cone. The flows were both active on 13 August (left) at around 0930 local time. Visual and thermal images of the lava flows on 14 August at around 2100 local time (center and right) showed them continuing down the steep slope of the cone and spreading out over the shallower area below. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP, LMV-OPGC (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, August 2019).

Activity during September-October 2019. Very little activity was reported during September 2019. Seismicity remained low with only 32 earthquakes reported during the month, and inflation, which had continued after the 11-15 August eruption, stopped at the beginning of September. Inflation resumed on 11 October. Two seismic swarms were recorded during October 2019. The first, on 21 October (207 events), lasted for about 40 minutes, and did not result in an eruption. The second began on 25 October and consisted of 827 events. It was followed by an eruption during 25-27 October located on the SSE flank of the Dolomieu cone. Deformation followed a similar pattern as it had during and prior to the eruptive events of July and August. Inflation of a few centimeters between 11 and 24 October was followed by rapid inflation of about 10 cm at the onset of the new eruption. Inflation resumed again after this eruption as well.

Two fissures opened during the 25-27 October eruption, one at 1,060 m elevation and one at 990 m. The first fissure was no longer active when viewed during an overflight 2.5 hours after it had opened. The flows moved rapidly until reaching the lower slope areas of the Grand Brule about 1.5-2 km downstream of the "Piton Tremblet" area. On 26 October only one vent was active with fountains 10-20 m high (figure 190). The lava discharge rates during the eruption averaged about 14 m3/s. The eruption ended at 1630 local time on 27 October after one hour of "gas piston" activity (figure 191). A total of about 1.8 million m3 of lava was emitted. The flows from the 990 m elevation site reached a maximum length of 3.6 km, and the lava flow front stopped about 230 m before reaching the RN2 National road (figure 192).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 190. On 25 October 2019 the front of the active flow at Piton de la Fournaise had reached the level of the Piton Tremblet by 1700 local time (left). Image by PGHM (Bulletin d'activité du 25 octobre 2019 à 18h00, Heure locale). The following day, the active vent had lava fountains 10-20 m high (right) (Bulletin d'activité du samedi 26 octobre 2019 à 11h00, Heure locale). Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 191. The eruptive site of the 25-27 October 2019 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise had one flow still active on 27 October with 10-20 m high lava fountains (left). The flow front stopped that day a few hundred meters before the National Road (right). Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du dimanche 27 octobre 2019 à 12h00, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 192. The location of the 25-27 October 2019 lava flow at Piton de la Fournaise started at the very base of the SSE flank of Dolomieu cone and traveled 3.6 km E towards the Highway and the coast. Basemap from Google Earth, fissures (red) and flows (in white) derived from aerial photos. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, October 2019).

Geologic Background. The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Much of its more than 530,000-year history overlapped with eruptions of the deeply dissected Piton des Neiges shield volcano to the NW. Three calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern side. More than 150 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (OVPF-IPGP), 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); 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/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Agung (Indonesia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

8.343°S, 115.508°E; summit elev. 2997 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Quiet returns after explosions on 10 and 13 June 2019

After a large, deadly explosive and effusive eruption during 1963-64, Indonesia's Mount Agung on Bali remained quiet until a new eruption began in November 2017 (BGVN 43:01). Activity continued throughout 2018 with explosions that produced ash plumes rising multiple kilometers above the summit, and the slow effusion of the lava within the summit crater. Increasingly frequent and intense explosions with ash emissions and incandescent ejecta characterized activity during February through May 2019 (BGVN 44:06). Two more explosions in June 2019 produced significant ash plumes; no further explosive activity occurred through October 2019. Information about Agung comes from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and multiple sources of satellite data. This report covers the end of the eruption in June and observations through October 2019.

After a large explosion on 31 May 2019, a smaller event occurred on 10 June. Another large explosion with an ash plume that rose to 9.1 km altitude was recorded on 13 June (local time). It drifted hundreds of kilometers before dissipating. No further explosive activity was reported through October 2019, only diffuse white steam plumes rising at most a few hundred meters above the summit. The Alert Level remained at III (of four levels) throughout the period. The record of thermal activity showed an increase during the explosive events of late May and June, but then decreased significantly (figure 57). There was no obvious thermal signature in satellite images that explained the small increase in thermal energy recorded by the MIROVA data at the end of August 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. The thermal energy at Agung increased significantly during the explosive events of late May and early June 2019, and then decreased substantially as seen in this MIROVA graph from 23 January through October 2019. There was no obvious satellite thermal signature to explain the brief increase in thermal energy in late August. Courtesy of MIROVA.

On 31 May 2019 a large explosion produced an ash plume that rose more than 2 km above the summit (BGVN 44:06, figure 56). The Darwin VAAC reported that it split into two plumes, one drifted E at 8.2 km and the other ESE at 6.1 km altitude, dissipating after about 20 hours early on 1 June. A small eruption with an ash plume that rose to 3.9 km altitude was reported the next day by the Darwin VAAC. It was detected in the webcam and pilot reports confirmed that it drifted E for a few hours before dissipating. PVMBG reported gray emissions to 300 m above the peak on 1 June and 100 m above the summit on 2 June. By 6 June the emissions were white, rising only 50 m above the summit. For several subsequent days, the summit was covered in fog with no observations of emissions.

On 10 June 2019 an explosion lasting 90 seconds was reported at 1212 local time; PVMBG noted a gray ash plume 1,000 m above the summit (figure 58). The Darwin VAAC confirmed the emission in satellite imagery and by pilot report; it was moving SW at 4.3 km altitude and then drifted S before dissipating by the end of the day. Early on 13 June local time (12 June UTC) a new explosion that was clearly visible in the webcam produced a large ash plume that drifted W and SW (figure 59). The explosion was recorded on the seismogram for almost four minutes and sent incandescent ejecta in all directions up to 700 m from the summit. The first satellite imagery of the plume reported by the Darwin VAAC suggested the altitude to be 9.1 km. A secondary plume was drifting W from the summit at 5.5 km altitude a few hours later. By six hours after the eruption, the 9.1 km altitude plume was about 90 km SSW of the Denpassar airport and the 5.5 km altitude plume was about 110 km W of the airport. By the time the higher altitude plume dissipated after about 14 hours, it had reached 300 km S of the airport. For the remainder of June, only diffuse white steam plumes were reported, rising generally 30-50 m above the summit, with brief pulses to 150-200 m during 27-29 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. An ash plume rose 1,000 m above the summit of Agung on 10 June 2019. Top image courtesy of Rita Bauer (Volcano Verse), bottom image courtesy of PVMBG (Information on G. Agung Eruption, 10 June 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. A large eruption at Agung at 0138 local time on 13 June 2019 sent an ash plume to 9.1 km altitude and incandescent ejecta 700 m in all directions. Courtesy of Jaime S. Sincioco, screenshot from volcano YT webcam.

Although no further surface activity was reported at Agung during July through October 2019, PVMBG kept the Alert Level at III throughout the period. Only steam plumes were reported from the summit usually rising 50 m before dissipating. Steam emissions rose to 150 m a few times each month. Plumes were reported at 300 m above the summit on 6 July and 15 August. No thermal anomalies were visible in Sentinel 2 satellite images during the period.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical Agung stratovolcano, Bali's highest and most sacred mountain, towers over the eastern end of the island. The volcano, whose name means "Paramount," rises above the SE caldera rim of neighboring Batur volcano, and the northern and southern flanks extend to the coast. The summit area extends 1.5 km E-W, with the high point on the W and a steep-walled 800-m-wide crater on the E. The Pawon cone is located low on the SE flank. Only a few eruptions dating back to the early 19th century have been recorded in historical time. The 1963-64 eruption, one of the largest in the 20th century, produced voluminous ashfall along with devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused extensive damage and many fatalities.

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/); 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/); Rita Bauer, Volcano Verse (Twitter @wischweg, URL: https://twitter.com/wischweg/status/1137956367258570752); Jamie S. Sincioco, Philippines (Twitter @jaimessincioco, URL: https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco/status/1139109685796020224).


Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

37.856°S, 71.183°W; summit elev. 2953 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New ash emissions begin in early August; intermittent and ongoing through October 2019

Most of the large edifice of Copahue lies high in the central Chilean Andes, but the active, acidic-lake filled El Agrio crater lies on the Argentinian side of the border at the W edge of the Pliocene Caviahue caldera. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. The most recent eruptive episode with ash plumes lasted from early June 2017 to early December 2018. After 8 months of quiet, renewed phreatic explosions and ash emissions began in August 2019 and were ongoing through October 2019. This report summarizes activity from January through October 2019 and is based on reports issued by Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite data, and photographs from nearby residents.

Intermittent steam plumes were reported from the El Agrio crater at the summit during January-July 2019, but no ash emissions were seen. An increase in seismicity and changes in the crater lake level during March led SERNAGEOMIN to increase the Alert Level from Green to Yellow at the beginning of April. Fluctuating tremor signals in the first week of August coincided with satellite imagery that showed the appearance of dark material, possibly ash, on the snow around the summit crater. The first thermal anomaly appeared on 3 September and the first clear ash explosions were recorded on 11 September. Eruptive activity was intermittent through the end of the month; a series of larger explosions beginning on 30 September caused SERNAGEOMIN to raise the Alert Level from Yellow to Orange. A period of more intense explosive activity lasted through the first week of October. The larger explosions then ceased, but during the rest of October there were continuing observations of seismicity, ash emissions, and incandescent ejecta, along with multiple thermal anomalies in the summit area.

Observations during January-April 2019. Copahue remained at Alert Level Yellow with a 1-km exclusion radius during January 2019 after ash emission in December 2018. Ongoing degassing was reported with white plumes from El Agrio crater rising to 355 m (figure 25). The Alert Level was lowered to Green at the end of the month, and the exclusion radius was reduced to 500 m, although intermittent low-level seismicity in the region continued. SERNAGEOMIN reported a M 3.2 earthquake about 10 km NE of the summit, 2 km deep, on 29 January 2019. The acidic lake inside El Agrio crater was quiet at the end of the month (figure 26).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Degassing of steam from Copahue on 10 and 17 (inset) January 2019. Courtesy of OPTIC Neuquén (10 January) and SERNAGEOMIN (17 January).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. El Agrio crater at Copahue on 31 January 2019. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

Steam plumes occasionally rose to 180 m above the crater during February 2019. A swarm of 117 volcano-tectonic (VT) seismic events on 22-23 February 2019 was located about 14 km NE of the volcano, with the largest events around a M 3.5. Steam plumes rose to about 280 m above the crater during March. SERNAGEOMIN noted an increase in seismicity during the month, and a decrease in the lake level within El Agrio crater. This led them to increase the Alert Level to Yellow (second on a four-level scale) at the beginning of April. Emissions remained minimal during April (figure 27); an 80 m high steam plume was reported on 4 April. The lake level continued to fall, based on satellite imagery, and a M 3.1 earthquake was reported on 29 April located about 10 km NE of the summit about 10 km deep.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Clear skies revealed no activity from the summit of Copahue on 7 or April 2019. The volcano was quiet throughout the month, although the Alert Level remained at Yellow. Image taken near Caviahue, 10 km E in Argentina. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

Observations during May-July 2019. Sporadic episodes of low-altitude steam plume degassing were noted during May 2019, but otherwise very little surface activity was reported (figure 28). On 13 May, a steam plume reached 160 m above the crater rim, and on 28 May, the tallest plume rose 200 m above the crater. Hybrid-type earthquakes were recorded early in the month, followed by a slow increase in the amplitude of the tremor signal. Seismicity increased slightly during the second half of the month with activity concentrated closer to the summit crater. A weak SO2 plume was recorded by satellite instruments on 23 May. The level of the lake began increasing during the second half of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. No surface activity was visible at Copahue on 5 May 2019, but seismicity increased slowly during the month. Image taken near Caviahue. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

SERNAGEOMIN reported tremor signals with fluctuating amplitude throughout June 2019. Repeated episodes of low-altitude white degassing occurred around the El Agrio crater. On 7 June, a 300 m plume was observed above the crater; the level of the crater lake was variable. On 17 June a 400-m-tall white plume was observed above the crater. Seismicity, although low, increased during the second half of the month. Multiple episodes of low-altitude white degassing occurred around the active crater all during July 2019 (figure 29). On 9 July a plume rose about 450 m above the crater. On 16 July a white plume rose 250 m above the crater. SENAGEOMIN noted a rise in the rate of seismicity during the first half of the month; the tremor signal continued with fluctuating amplitude. Satellite instruments detected small SO2 plumes on 4 and 9 July (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. A steam plume rose a few hundred meters above the summit of Copahue on 23 July 2019. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite detected small SO2 plumes at Copahue on 4 and 9 July 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Activity during August-October 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery from 2, 4, 7, and 9 August suggested the ejection of particulate material (figure 31), with dark streaks in the snow extending a few hundred meters E and SE from the crater. Images from the community of Caviahue on 3 and 4 August show distinct discoloration of the snow around the E side of the summit crater (figures 32 and 33). Small but discernible SO2 plumes were detected by satellite instruments on 2, 3, 16, 19, 30, and 31 August. Fluctuating tremor signals continued during August with several episodes of low-altitude white degassing from the El Agrio crater; a white plume on 5 August rose 380 m above the crater. The lake level continued to drop and the Alert Level remained at Yellow.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel 2 satellite imagery of Copahue from late July and early August 2019 show fresh dark material deposited over the fresh winter snow, suggesting recent ejecta from the El Agrio crater. Top left: The summit was covered with fresh snow on 25 July 2019. Top right: A dark streak extends E then N from the El Agrio crater on 2 August. Bottom left: A streak of dark material trends SE from the crater over the snow on 4 August. Bottom Right: On 7 August a different streak extends E from the crater while fresh snow has covered the earlier streak. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. At sunset on 3 August 2019, darker material was visible on the snow on the E side of the summit of Copahue; a dense steam plume rose from El Agrio crater. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Particulates covered the fresh snow near the summit of Copahue on 4 August 2019, as seen from the community of Caviahue, about 10 km E. A steam plume rose from El Agrio crater. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

Distinct SO2 plumes were again captured by satellite instruments on 1, 3, and 5-7 September 2019 (figure 34). The first thermal signature in nine months also appeared in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 3 September (figure 35). Midday on 9 September, seismometers recorded an increase in the amplitude of a continuous tremor. High clouds prevented clear views of the crater and no ash emissions were observed. Beginning on 11 September, low-energy long-period (LP) events were associated with infrasound signals and low-energy explosions that produced small ash plumes. The largest explosion produced a plume 250 m above the crater. Incandescence and high-temperature ejecta were observed around the emission point. The ash drifted ESE about 3 km. Ten explosions were reported between 11 and 12 September, associated with low-intensity acoustic signals and ash emissions. Plumes reached 430 m above the crater rim on 12 September. Ash deposits on the snow were visible in in Sentinel-2 images on 11 and 13 September, extending about 6 km E from El Agrio crater (figure 35). Images from the ground on 12 September indicated fresh ash on the E flank (figure 36).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Small but distinct SO2 plumes from Copahue were measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite on 1 and 3 September 2019, and additionally on 5-7 September. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Sentinel-2 satellite images indicated thermal activity and ash emissions at Copahue on 3, 11, and 13 September 2019. Left: The first thermal anomaly in nine months appeared on 3 September. Middle: An ash streak trended E across the snow from El Agrio crater on 11 September. On 13 September, the streak was a wider cone that extended ESE for about 6 km. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Ash deposits coated snow on the E flank of Copahue on 12 September 2019, while a steam plume drifted SE from the crater, as seen from the community of Caviahue about 10 km E in Argentina. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

Although fresh snow had covered any ash deposits by 16 September 2019 (figure 37), small thermal anomalies appeared in Sentinel-2 imagery on 16 and 21 September. SO2 plumes were measured by satellite instruments on 21 and 25 September. Photos from Caviahue on 25 September showed ash on the E flank and a steam-and-ash plume drifting NE (figure 38). Ashfall on the snow was visible in satellite imagery on 26 September, and covered a larger area on 28 September; there was also a substantial thermal anomaly that day (figure 39).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Fresh snow had covered over recent ash emissions at Copahue by 16 September 2019; thermal anomalies were detected in satellite data from the summit crater the same day. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. On a clear 25 September 2019 fresh ash covered snow on the E flank of Copahue, and an ash and steam plume was drifting NE from the El Agrio crater. The mountains are reflected in Lago Caviahue located about 12 km E in Argentina. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 imagery of Copahue on 28 September showed ashfall in a large area around the summit and a small ash plume (left); a substantial thermal anomaly was also visible within the El Agrio crater (right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the late afternoon of 30 September, three high-energy LP earthquakes were reported located 5.8 km NE of the El Agrio crater. They were accompanied by abundant lower energy earthquakes in the same area. The VT earthquakes were equivalent to a M 3.5. Inhabitants of Caviahue (12 km E) reported feeling several of the events; atmospheric conditions prevented observation of the summit. This sudden increase in seismicity prompted SERNGEOMIN to raise the Alert Level to Orange and increase the radius of the area of potential impact to 5 km. Seismicity (VT, LP and tremor earthquakes) continued at a high rate into 1 October. Argentina's geologic hazards and mining agency, Servicio Geologico Minero Argentino (SEGEMAR) also issued a notice of the increased warning level on 30 September (figure 40).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A dense steam plume rises from the active crater at Copahue in this image looking due E towards Caviahue and Lago Caviahue, 12 km E. The rim of the Caviahue caldera is in the distance. Argentina's SEGEMAR posted this photograph (undated) with their notice of the increase in warning level on 30 September 2019. Courtesy of SEGEMAR.

Cameras near the volcano detected ash plumes associated with explosions around the crater at 0945 on 1 October 2019 which continued throughout the first week of the month. Satellite imagery showed streaks of dark ash over snow trending SE and E and from the summit on 1 and 8 October (figure 41). Five separate explosions were recorded during 1-2 October. Persistent degassing was accompanied by episodes of ash emissions and incandescence at night. Seismicity continued during 2-3 October, but poor weather mostly obscured visual evidence of activity; a few pulses of white and gray emissions were observed. Seismic events were located 5-7 km NE at a depths of 0.7-1.7 km, and continued for several days. Clearer skies on 4 October revealed steam plumes and pulses of ash rising from El Agrio crater. Incandescence was visible at night. A ground-based image showed ash covering the E flank and an ash plume drifting NE down the flank (figure 42). The Buenos Aires VAAC reported weak ash emissions on 4 October moving NE at 3.4 km altitude. The webcam showed continuous ash emission from the summit during 4-5 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Copahue showed dark streaks trending SE and E from the summit in early October. On 1 October 2019 (left) there was a narrow streak of ash to the SE and a steam plume drifting the same direction. On 8 Octobe0r (right), a wide cone of ashfall covered the E flank, and a plume of gray ash drifted NE over the edge of the deposit. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Gray ash covered areas of Copahue's E flank on 4 October 2019 and an ash plume drifted NE down the flank. Image from Caviahue, about 10 km E. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue.

White steam plumes with pulses of ash and incandescence at night were observed on 5 and 6 October. Seismic activity decreased on 6 October. The following day, SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level to Yellow and reduced the restricted zone to 1,000 m around the summit crater. While seismicity had decreased, ash emissions continued from low-level pulsating explosions which produced ash plumes that drifted E (figure 43). They observed that the total area to that date affected by ashfall was about 24.5 km2, extending up to 5 km W and 6 km E from the summit. They also noted that a pyroclastic cone about 130 m across had appeared inside the crater. Ash emissions and explosions with incandescent ejecta continued during the second week of October (figure 44). A change in wind direction created a several-kilometer-long streak of ash trending SW from the summit by 13 October; a strong thermal anomaly that day indicated continued activity (figure 45). SO2 plumes were recorded by satellite instruments on 1, 3, 4, and 13 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Ash and steam drifted E from the summit of Copahue on 7 October 2019, the day that SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level from Orange to Yellow. Courtesy of SEGEMAR.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Incandescent ejecta was visible at the summit of Copahue overnight on 11 October 2019 in the image from a local webcam. Courtesy of Culture Volcan.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. A new dark streak of ash on snow trended SW from the El Agrio crater at Cophahue on 13 October 2019. The strong thermal anomaly the same day indicated the level of eruptive activity was still high. Natural color image based on bands 4,3, and 2; Atmospheric penetration rendering based on bands 12, 11, and 8a. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Seismicity continued for the rest of October, but no explosions were recorded. Sulfur dioxide emissions were recorded by satellite instruments on 18, 22, 23, and 30 October (figure 46). When weather permitted, constant degassing with episodes of ash emissions from the crater were visible during the day and incandescence appeared at night. Satellite imagery on 18, 23, and 28 October showed substantial ash plumes drifting in different directions from the summit. A large area around the summit crater was covered with dark ash on 18 and 23 October. Fresh snowfall had covered most of the area by 28 October, and the narrow dark streak trending SE underneath the ongoing ash plume was the only surface covered with material (figure 47). Distinct thermal anomalies appeared in satellite images on 16, 18, 23, and 31 October. A number of thermal alerts were recorded by the MIROVA system as well during the second half of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite recorded SO2 emissions from Copahue on 18, 22, 23, and 30 October 2019. Satellite imagery on also showed ash plumes on 18 and 23 October. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Distinct ash plumes and dark ashfall over snow on 18, 23, and 28 October 2019 at Copahue indicated ongoing eruptive activity (top row) through the end of the month. The large area of ash-covered snow visible on 18 and 23 October was covered with fresh snowfall by 28 October when the dense ash plume drifting SE left only a narrow dark trail of ashfall in the fresh snow underneath (right). Strong thermal anomalies were apparent on 18 and 23 October but obscured by dense ash on 28 October (bottom row). Natural color image based on bands 4, 3, and 2; atmospheric penetration rendering based on bands 12, 11, and 8a. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The highest plume noted by SERNAGEOMIN during the second half of the month rose 1,200 m above the crater on 22 October 2019 (figure 48). The Buenos Aires VAAC reported ash emissions from the summit visible in webcams almost every day in October. On 16 October, an ash plume was seen in satellite imagery moving SE at 3.4 km altitude under mostly clear skies; the webcam showed continuous ash emission. A faint plume was barely seen moving S in satellite imagery at 3.4 km altitude on 18 October; the webcam revealed continuous emission of gases and possible dilute volcanic ash. The VAAC reported ash emissions daily from 18-25 October. Drift directions varied from SE, moving to NE on 21-23 October, and back to E and SE the following days. The altitudes ranged from 3.0 to 4.3 km. On 20 October, the plume extended about 80 km SE. The ash appeared as pulses moving NE on 22 and 23 October at 4.3 km altitude. Emissions reappeared in satellite imagery on 28 and 30-31 October, drifting SE and NE at 3.4-3.7 km altitude; incandescence was visible overnight on 30-31 October from the webcam.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. A plume of ash and steam from Copahue rose 1,200 m above the summit on 22 October 2019 and drifted NE. It was clearly visible from 25 km SW of the volcano in the El Barco Indigenous community of Alto Biobío, Chile, along with ash-covered snow on the SW flank. Courtesy of EveLyN.

Geologic Background. Volcán Copahue is an elongated composite cone constructed along the Chile-Argentina border within the 6.5 x 8.5 km wide Trapa-Trapa caldera that formed between 0.6 and 0.4 million years ago near the NW margin of the 20 x 15 km Pliocene Caviahue (Del Agrio) caldera. The eastern summit crater, part of a 2-km-long, ENE-WSW line of nine craters, contains a briny, acidic 300-m-wide crater lake (also referred to as El Agrio or Del Agrio) and displays intense fumarolic activity. Acidic hot springs occur below the eastern outlet of the crater lake, contributing to the acidity of the Río Agrio, and another geothermal zone is located within Caviahue caldera about 7 km NE of the summit. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions from the crater lake have ejected pyroclastic rocks and chilled liquid sulfur fragments.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); OPTIC Neuquén, Oficina Provincial de Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación- Gobierno de la Provincia del Neuquén, Neuquén, Argentina (URL: https://www.neuqueninforma.gob.ar/tag/optic/, Twitter: @OPTIC_Nqn, https://twitter.com/OPTIC_Nqn); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue, Caviahue, Argentina (URL: https://twitter.com/valecaviahue, Twitter:@valecaviahue); Cultur Volcan, Journal d'un volcanophile, (URL: https://laculturevolcan.blogspot.com, Twitter: @CulturVolcan); EveLyn, Twitter: @EveCaCid (URL: https://twitter.com/EveCaCid/status/1186663015271321601).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

10.025°N, 83.767°W; summit elev. 3340 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Activity diminishes during March-October 2019, but small ash emissions continue

This report summarizes activity at Turrialba during March-October 2019. Typical activity similar to that reported in late 2018 and early 2019 (BGVN 44:04) included periodic weak ash explosions and numerous emissions containing some ash. However, during this period activity appeared to diminish with time. Data were provided by weekly reports by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, only highly diluted ash emissions were recorded from 22 April to 27 May (note that no reports were available online from the last week of March until 22 April). Weak ash explosions were again noted on 28 July, 4 August, and possibly on 20 October. OVSICORI-UNA reported more explosions or emissions containing ash on 25 and 28 October (table 9).

Table 9. Summary of reported activity at Turrialba, March-October 2019. Cloudy weather sometimes obscured observations. Maximum plume height is above the crater rim. Information courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Date Time Max plume height Plume drift Remarks
01 Mar 2019 0444 200 m NE --
02-04 Mar 2019 -- 200-300 m -- Continuous emissions with minor amounts of ash.
09-12 Mar 2019 -- 1,000 m -- Gas plumes containing minor amounts of ash.
16-17 Mar 2019 -- -- -- Frequent and discontinuous emissions, but no visual confirmation due to poor visibility.
20-22 Mar 2019 -- 300 m W, SW Continuous emissions of steam with periodic pulses of diffuse ash; sulfur odor noted in Tierra Blanca de Cartago on 22 March.
23-26 Mar 2019 -- -- -- Steam plumes with low concentration of magmatic gases.
24 Mar 2019 0503 500 m -- Series of four pulses with ash.
31 Mar 2019 0735 -- -- Explosion followed by passive emissions with low concentration of magmatic gases. Seismicity dominated by low-frequency events.
08 Apr 2019 -- -- -- Minor ash emissions.
24 Apr 2019 -- -- -- Diffuse ash emission.
26 Apr 2019 -- -- N Emission with low ash content.
27 Apr 2019 0722 below 100 m -- Weak, brief explosion with ash plume.
04 May 2019 0524 -- -- Emission of very diluted ash.
12-19 May 2019 -- -- -- Passive, short-duration emissions with small amounts of ash occurred sporadically.
19-20 May 2019 -- -- -- Prolonged and intermittent periods of emissions with minor amounts of ash.
28 Jul 2019 1441 -- -- Weak explosion and ash emission after 30 minutes of heavy rain. Inclement weather prevented visual confirmation. Ashfall in La Picada (N) and El Retiro farms.
03-04 Aug 2019 -- -- -- Two small explosions, with some ash in the second.
11 Aug 2019 -- -- -- Weak emission during night, identified by its seismic signal. No ash emission observed.
05 Aug-19 Oct 2019 -- -- -- No ash detected.
20 Oct 2019 2100 -- -- Explosion identified with seismicity; weather conditions prevented visual observation. No ashfall reported.
25 Oct 2019 0400, 0700 -- -- Weak explosion at 0400, with ash. Ash at 0700 not associated with seismic signal, so could be a small intra-crater collapse.
28 Oct 2019 1500 -- -- Weak emission containing ash.

A report from Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN) about the 28 October ash explosion noted that it occurred at 1501 local time and lasted about 5 minutes. There were no reports of ashfall, but the crater webcam captured the small plume rising from the active vent. Incandescence in the active crater continued to be seen on the monitoring cameras.

Geologic Background. Turrialba, the easternmost of Costa Rica's Holocene volcanoes, is a large vegetated basaltic-to-dacitic stratovolcano located across a broad saddle NE of Irazú volcano overlooking the city of Cartago. The massive edifice covers an area of 500 km2. Three well-defined craters occur at the upper SW end of a broad 800 x 2200 m summit depression that is breached to the NE. Most activity originated from the summit vent complex, but two pyroclastic cones are located on the SW flank. Five major explosive eruptions have occurred during the past 3500 years. A series of explosive eruptions during the 19th century were sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows. Fumarolic activity continues at the central and SW summit craters.

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/); Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN) a collaboration between a) the Sección de Sismología, Vulcanología y Exploración Geofísica de la Escuela Centroamericana de Geología de la Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), and b) the Área de Amenazas y Auscultación Sismológica y Volcánica del Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica (URL: https://rsn.ucr.ac.cr/).

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Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin - Volume 14, Number 09 (September 1989)

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Aira (Japan)

Frequent minor ash emission; two larger explosions

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Continued explosions; small block lava flows

Asosan (Japan)

Continued tephra emission

Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989) (Unknown)

Continued minor lower stratospheric aerosol layer

Augustine (United States)

Fumaroles cooler; deformation and magnetics little changed

Bagana (Papua New Guinea)

Frequent rockfalls from active lava flows

Etna (Italy)

Strong tephra emission; lava fountains >1 km; lava flows

Galeras (Colombia)

Frequent seismicity continues

Kilauea (United States)

Coastal lava entries active; breakouts from tube system

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Weak explosive activity; ashfalls

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Lava in several vents but no fresh flows seen

Long Valley (United States)

Frequent seismicity continues

Lonquimay (Chile)

Continued tephra emission and lava flow; fluorine data

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Occasional minor ash emission

Nyamuragira (DR Congo)

Landsat data suggest continuing activity at April vent

Patah (Indonesia)

Photos and more precise location

Poas (Costa Rica)

Continued thermal activity; seismicity increases slightly

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Annual level survey shows changes to 34 mm

Ruiz, Nevado del (Colombia)

Small ash ejections; continued strong seismicity

Stromboli (Italy)

Explosions eject bombs and spatter

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Vapor emission and minor seismicity

Yellowstone (United States)

Shallow steam explosion destroys geyser



Aira (Japan) — September 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent minor ash emission; two larger explosions

Minami-dake summit crater frequently emitted small amounts of ash in September. The only two recorded explosions occurred at 0606 on the 5th and 1329 on the 17th. The latter ejected a 2,500-m ash plume, the highest of the month. The explosions caused no damage.

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) — September 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)


Continued explosions; small block lava flows

The moderate increase in explosions and volcanic seismicity that began in July continued in September. Small block lava flows descended the N and NW flanks. The number of earthquakes averaged 17/day, with a daily maximum of 32.

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: R. Barquero, ICE.


Asosan (Japan) — September 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued tephra emission

A large eruption occurred on 20 April after 2 months of quiet. On 13 February, activity decreased to emission of white vapor and weak mud ejection from a water pool in [Vent 892]. Because of the decreased eruptive activity, the area within 1 km of the crater (closed since 9 August 1989) was reopened by the mayor of Aso town on 23 March.

At 1323 on 20 April, tremor amplitude suddenly increased by about five times. An "Extra Volcanic Information" was issued by the Aso town office and the tourist viewing area was closed by the mayor (both at 1415). Tremor amplitude abruptly decreased at 1644 and remained low until the eruption began, similar to several previous episodes. At the onset of the eruption at 1708, tremor amplitude again suddenly increased. Ash and block ejection was accompanied by a loud rumbling noise which was strongest at around 1730. Blocks 0.5 m across were ejected to 300 m above the crater rim throughout the eruption. The ash cloud rose more than 1 km, and three electrical discharges (lightning) were observed between 1808 and 1815. Tremor amplitude decreased at around 1815 and the eruption is believed to have ended shortly thereafter, although the exact timing is unknown.

Ash from the eruption, wet due to rain, fell mainly N of the volcano where it affected traffic and caused agricultural damage. The towns of Aso and Ichinomiya lost electricity at around 1800, presumably due to a short circuit or leak caused by the wet ash. Service was restored to most homes by midnight, although some had no power until noon the next day.

The eruption deposited 1 m of ash on the crater rim, 0.5 m of ash 1 km N of the crater, and 4 kg/m2 at 6 km N of the crater. Fine ashfall was observed to 35 km W (at Kumamoto) and 35 km E (at Takeda). Blocks, mostly dense and angular, and fresh scoria fell N of the volcano. Lithic clasts 20 cm in diameter were scattered to 1 km N. The total tephra mass from the 20 April activity was estimated to be 1 x 109 kg (the total accumulated tephra mass from July 1989 through 20 April 1990 was 6 x 109 kg; table 4).

Table 4. Number of days/month on which ash was emitted at Aso and monthly ash accumulation measured by JMA at AWS, 1 km W of the crater, July 1989-May 1990. The April 1990 value is low, despite the large emission on 20 April, because of wind direction.

Date Eruption days Ash accumulation (g/m2)
Jul 1989 2 36
Aug 1989 1 579
Sep 1989 5 2,740
Oct 1989 17 29,177
Nov 1989 11 1,509
Dec 1989 3 755
Jan 1990 1 30
Feb 1990 2 3,168
Mar 1990 0 0
Apr 1990 2 95
May 1990 9 12,837

Ash emission was almost continuous from the morning of 21 April through early June. Another vigorous eruptive episode occurred 27 April and such episodes became frequent at the end of May. Tremor remained at low amplitude for a few days following the 20 April eruption then gradually increased to high amplitudes in May.

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.


Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989) (Unknown) — September 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989)

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued minor lower stratospheric aerosol layer

September lidar data from Mauna Loa, Hawaii (figure 70) continued to show minor aerosol enhancement in the lower stratosphere, perhaps from the 19 July explosion of Santiaguito, Guatemala. Lidar at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, West Germany also recorded a small increase near the base of the stratosphere on 16 September.

Figure with caption Figure 70. Lidar data from various locations, showing altitudes of aerosol layers during August-October 1989. Backscattering ratios are all for the ruby wavelength of 0.69 µm. Only bases of higher altitude layers at Mauna Loa are shown. Integrated values show total backscatter, expressed in steradians-1, integrated over 300-m intervals from 16-33 km at Mauna Loa and from the tropopause to 30 km at Hampton.

Inspection of data from NASA's SAGE satellite, which has a precessing orbit that was centered at 7-7.4°N on 19 July and 12.2-12.5°N the next day, revealed cloud layers at about 16 km altitude, near the tropopause. However, the 19 July SAGE data were collected before the explosion, and the layers had characteristics typical of cirrus clouds.

Geologic Background. 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 here.

Information Contacts: Thomas DeFoor, Mauna Loa Observatory, P.O. Box 275, Hilo, HI 96720 USA; Horst Jäger, Fraunhofer-Institut für Atmosphärische Umweltforschung, Kreuzeckbahnstrasse 19, D-8100 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, West Germany; Mary Osborn, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23665 USA.


Augustine (United States) — September 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Augustine

United States

59.363°N, 153.43°W; summit elev. 1252 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles cooler; deformation and magnetics little changed

Geologists returned to Augustine in July 1989 for additional monitoring of magnetic changes, deformation, and fumarolic activity. The following is from the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Magnetic data (Dan Dzurisin). David Schneider and John Power remeasured a 25-point N-S magnetic profile across the 1986 lava dome. Little change had occurred since the previous measurement in June 1988, although similar measurements on the Mt. St. Helens dome indicated that its Curie Point isotherm migrated inward at a rate of 3 ± 1 cm/day from 1984 to 1986. Geologists suggested that the proximity of a relatively active magmatic system at Augustine may retard cooling of the 1986 dome, or that differing rock magnetic properties may account for apparent differences in cooling rates.

Deformation (Gene Iwatsubo and John Power). The deformation network established in June 1988 was reoccupied in early July 1989, and several additional EDM lines were added. Preliminary data showed no significant changes in the lengths of pre-existing lines, indicating that no deformation was occurring to the cone and summit dome complex.

Gas measurements (Robert Symonds and Robert Andres). July 1989 fieldwork indicated that fumarolic activity had decreased significantly since the previous gas measurements in August 1987. Maximum temperatures at a fumarole field on the 1986 lava dome had dropped to 640°C on 6 July 1989 from 870° on 28 August 1987. A condensate sample from the 640° fumarole had a magmatic isotopic signature (delta D = -36, delta 18O = +8.8) and a higher Cl/SO4 weight ratio of 19 (16,000 ppm Cl, 840 ppm SO4) compared to Cl/SO4 ratios of 8.7-9.6 from the same fumarole field in August 1987. Geologists noted that the lower temperatures and higher Cl/SO4 ratio (due mostly to a lower SO4 content) suggest that the magma supply has become more degassed since 1987. Estimated SO2 emission rates of 72 ± 14 metric tons/day (t/d) on 10 July 1989 were slightly higher than 1987 values (45 ± 7 t/d on 24 May, 27 ± 6 t/d on 24 August), but uncertainty in estimated wind speed made comparisons ambiguous.

Geologic Background. Augustine volcano, rising above Kamishak Bay in the southern Cook Inlet about 290 km SW of Anchorage, is the most active volcano of the eastern Aleutian arc. It consists of a complex of overlapping summit lava domes surrounded by an apron of volcaniclastic debris that descends to the sea on all sides. Few lava flows are exposed; the flanks consist mainly of debris-avalanche and pyroclastic-flow deposits formed by repeated collapse and regrowth of the volcano's summit. The latest episode of edifice collapse occurred during Augustine's largest historical eruption in 1883; subsequent dome growth has restored the volcano to a height comparable to that prior to 1883. The oldest dated volcanic rocks on Augustine are more than 40,000 years old. At least 11 large debris avalanches have reached the sea during the past 1800-2000 years, and five major pumiceous tephras have been erupted during this interval. Historical eruptions have typically consisted of explosive activity with emplacement of pumiceous pyroclastic-flow deposits followed by lava dome extrusion with associated block-and-ash flows.

Information Contacts: Daniel Dzurisin and Eugene Iwatsubo, USGS CVO; J. Power, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks; Robert Symonds and Robert Andres, Michigan Technological Univ.


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — September 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)


Frequent rockfalls from active lava flows

"Activity continued at a moderate-strong level in September. Strong emission of thick white vapours continued from the summit area. The emissions were reportedly grey on a few days. Rumbling and explosion noises were heard occasionally at the observation post, ~8 km S of Bagana.

"Rockfalls from active lava flows were observed frequently in a broad area on Bagana's S flank. A visit to the seismic transmitter site (~2 km SW on the summit) by staff of Bougainville Island Copper Limited in late September revealed that rockfalls had occurred nearby.

"Seismic monitoring . . . resumed 28 September. Consistent with visual observations, the seismograms contain a large number of rockfall events, on the order of 100-120/day. A few A- and B-type events were also recorded daily."

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: C. McKee, RVO.


Etna (Italy) — September 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong tephra emission; lava fountains >1 km; lava flows

The following supplements the preliminary report in 14:08.

Through 26 September, the eruption was dominated by vigorous Southeast Crater activity that fed upper-flank lava flows and ejected tephra that reached the coast. Fissures opened on the upper E flank 27 September, producing lava flows that advanced ~ 6 km before activity stopped on 9 October.

[Fourteen] strong eruptive episodes that occurred 11-26 September included vigorous explosive activity from Southeast Crater with lava fountains that rose > 1 km. Violent Strombolian activity alternated with periods limited to ash ejection, particularly during the first days of the eruption. Winds initially carried eruptive clouds E and S, then E and NE, with ashfalls reaching Catania (roughly 30 km SSE of the summit). Very fluid lava flows moved S and SSE (Piano del Lago), SE and E (Valle del Bove), and NE (Valle del Leone). The lava flows reached 2,600 m elevation (~ 2 km from the crater) in the Piano del Lago, and the base of the Valle del Bove's W wall at ~2,000 m (3-4 km from the crater).

A team from the Open Univ (P. Francis, C. Oppenheimer, and D. Rothery), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (L. Glaze and D. Pieri), and IIV (T. Caltabiano) carried out field work 22-29 September. Lava fountaining and Strombolian activity occurred about every 10-12 hours from Southeast Crater. The activity fed many aa flows ~ 100 m long in addition to the more fluid flows that advanced farther downslope. Their detailed chronology of a 24 September Southeast Crater eruptive episode, apparently typical of 23-28 September activity, is shown in table 3.

Table 3. Description of the 24 September 1989 eruptive episode at Etna's Southeast Crater, observed by L. Glaze, C. Oppenheimer, and D. Rothery from 900 m away at the Torre del Filosofo. Temperatures were measured with a Cyclops 33 infrared thermometer (8-14 mm bandpass), but were lower than true values because the 1° field of view always included some air or cold ash.

Time Description of activity
0940-0955 Gray ash clouds rose 50-100 m above the rim every few minutes. The Central Crater was fuming strongly, but produced no ash.
0955-1035 Sustained gray ash eruption to 100 m above the rim.
1038 Ash column production ceased, but explosions were audible. Peak column base temperature, 288°C.
1040 Bombs began to rise above the rim.
1050 Semi-continuous Strombolian ejection with some red incandescence. No distinct tephra column.
1103 50-m lava fountain; maximum temperature of 443°C at its visible base.
1105 Onset of fine ashfall at the Torre del Filosofo (TDF).
1108 Continuous noise; fountain to about 80 m above the rim.
1115-1117 Temperature at the fountain's visible base, 280-882°C. Brown smoke rose E of the crater, probably from lava advancing toward the Valle del Bove.
1120 Lava fountained to 160 m above the rim, surmounted by a convectively rising ash/scoria column.
1124 Maximum temperature of the visible column base 693°C with the Cyclops 33, but 983 with a Cyclops 52 (0.3 field of view, 0.1-1.1 micron bandpass).
1126 Centimeter-size scoria fall began at the TDF.
1129 Incandescent material rose above the rim from a second western source within the crater. The two sources soon joined to feed a single lava fountain with a sustained height of 250 m above the rim.
1136 A clast-fed lava flow began on the crater's SW flank. 2-cm tephra fell at the TDF a minute later.
1145 Brick-size bombs fell 100 m E of the TDF, where 4-cm tephra was falling 2 minutes later.
1200 Lava fountained to more than 300 m above the rim with jet engine roaring. A convective ash/scoria column rose to considerable (but undetermined) altitude.
1205 A fissure developed on the crater's SE flank, and lava fountaining from the fissure fed a flow. The fountain's infrared temperature was 614°C at 1211. By 1224, the fissure had become the source of the main column, with incandescent material rising 200-300 m.
1233 Roaring noise stopped for about 3 seconds, then activity declined and had virtually ceased by 1238.

Geologists from the Ruhr Univ visited Etna 22-30 September. Eruptive episodes that included lava fountains up to 500 m high, ash emission, and lava flows from Southeast Crater and associated fissures, occurred once or twice daily during their first five days. They provided the following chronology of activity observed from Nicolosi, 15 km to the S.

22 September, 2100-2330: Lava fountains to 500 m height, lava flows mainly directed toward the Valle del Bove.

23 September, 2000-2015: Vigorous lava fountains (probably higher than the previous night) and lava flows to the Valle del Bove.

24 September, 0930-1200: Initial small ash puffs from Southeast Crater were followed by high lava fountains. New fissures opened at the base of Southeast Crater, and lava flows moved S, cutting off the road to the Torre del Filosofo (900 m from Southeast Crater).

25 September, 0530-0900: Lava fountains rose 300 m, a 4-km vapor plume was ejected, and lava flowed into the Valle del Bove. Loud rumblings were heard from Nicolosi near the end of the activity. Strong ash emission from Southeast Crater and Bocca Nuova lasted from 0700 to 0900. 1900-2000: Lava fountained to 300 m height from at least four vents in Southeast Crater and a lava flow advanced toward the Valle del Bove.

26 September, 0600-0710: Lava fountains reached 400 m height and powerful ash ejection fed a column that rose 5-6 km above the summit within 30 minutes. Lava flowed into the Valle del Bove. At 0645, a brown, cauliflower-shaped ash cloud rose from the Valle del Bove, suggesting a possible flank outbreak. However, ash emission from that site ceased after a few minutes and no flank eruption was confirmed by other observers. 1210-1215: A series of ash puffs rose from Southeast Crater, but no additional eruption followed. 2000-?: High lava fountains were ejected, lava flowed to the Valle del Bove, and a new vent formed near Southeast Crater.

27 September, about 1200: Ash emission resumed from Southeast Crater. Dark gray ash clouds rose continuously to ~ 100 m above the vent before being carried E by strong winds. Ash emission continued through the evening. After nightfall, a bright glow was visible above the Valle del Bove and small fountains emerged from Southeast Crater once or twice/minute.

R. Romano reports that in the late evening of 27 September (around 2230) two new sub-parallel eruptive fissures opened on the upper E flank at 2,600 and 2,575 m altitude (between Valle del Leone and Valle del Bove, SE of Pizzi Deneri), preceded by a brief seismic crisis. Strombolian activity, violent at times, was initially continuous along the fissures, forming hornitos and scoria ramparts. Lava flows from the upper fissure did not extend beyond (but generally entered) the main lava channel formed by the primary effusive vent at the base of the lower fissure (2575 m altitude). The lava flows, moving generally SE, passed S of Monte Simone, widening at ~ 1,750 m altitude.

During the morning of 28 September an extensive field of NNW-trending non-eruptive fractures formed in the Piano del Lago, propagating in succeeding days to the W and S wall of the Valle del Bove. The fractures also extended downslope, past the edge of Serra del Solfizio, on a NW trend. By the morning of 2 October new fractures had opened to the Zafferana-Rifugio Sapienza road (route 92) ending around 1,500 m elevation, below the effusive vents of 1792. Total length of the fractures was ~6 km.

Ruhr Univ geologists climbed Etna on 28 September. Ash emission from Southeast Crater remained continuous. Around noon, brown ash plumes rose from the vent in pulses every 3-5 seconds, accompanied by block and bomb ejection. No glow was seen. Dense weather clouds obscured visibility during the afternoon, but a distinct increase in noise suggested the onset of Strombolian explosions. As night fell around 1800, weather clouds dissipated and Strombolian bursts were visible every 5-10 seconds, ejecting bombs and spatter to 300 m height. The lava flow in the Valle del Bove apparently emerged from a fissure in its NW part. The non-eruptive fractures that had opened parallel to and ~ 50 m W of the rim of the Valle del Bove during the morning, had vertical displacements that sometimes exceeded 1 m; some were 1.5 m wide and several meters deep. The next day, ash and bomb ejection from Southeast Crater increased considerably at about 0730, with dark gray columns rising 150-200 m despite a very strong W wind. Large bombs often rose higher, falling on the flanks of the cone that was rapidly growing around the vent. Expulsion of ash and blocks occurred every 5-10 seconds, accompanied by hissing and rumbling sounds. No glow was visible. Numerous impact craters as much as 1 m wide and 0.5 m deep, probably produced by the strong 13 September activity (14:08), were found at the site of the 1971 Observatory cone, 500 m SW of the active crater. At 1900, lava fountains were again visible in Southeast Crater, with bombs and spatter sometimes rising 350 m. Lava continued to flow into the Valle del Bove. Similar activity was continuing late 30 September.

R. Romano reports that during the following days a wide lava channel formed, extending E after passing Rocca Musarra to the S. Lava flows branched from this channel, passing a line connecting Monte Calonna and Monte Fontana on 6 October, and reached ~ 1,100 m elevation (~ 6 km from the fissure vents). The lava flows stopped ~ 3 km from the nearest town (Milo). Lava production from the vigorous effusive vent at 2,575 m altitude was very strong during the first days of its activity (30-40 m3/sec), started to diminish beginning 3 October, and stopped completely on 9 October.

Preliminary estimates indicate that a [3] km2 area was covered by lava, and lava volume was [~24] x106 m3 (within the Valle del Bove). No estimates are available for volumes of pyroclastic material and lava ejected by the Southeast Crater. Information remains preliminary and incomplete, and will be revised in coming months with more detailed reports, geophysical and geochemical data, and maps of the lava flows and fractures.

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. Romano, IIV; B. Behncke, Ruhr Univ; D. Rothery, Open Univ.


Galeras (Colombia) — September 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent seismicity continues

Although ash emission declined in May, fumarolic activity and seismicity have generally remained elevated.

In September, energy release and number of volcanic (high- and low-frequency) earthquakes remained stable (figure 9). Energy from long-period events increased slightly early in the month, but rapidly decreased to very low levels. Spasmodic tremor episodes, with periods of 0.25-0.50 seconds, increased slightly from August values. High-frequency events were centered roughly 9 km N of the crater at about 13 km depth until 11 September, when they became concentrated near the crater at 1-5 km depth (figure 10). On 30 September, an M 3 earthquake, 9 km SW of the crater at 8 km depth, was felt in Consacá (~4 km W of the summit). SO2 emissions were moderate, averaging ~800 t/d. Deformation data revealed no significant changes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Daily energy release of high-frequency (upper curve) and low-frequency (lower curve) seismic events at Galeras, 1-30 September 1989. Courtesy of OVP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. E-W cross-section of Galeras showing focal depths of 66 September earthquakes. Courtesy of OVP.

Geologic Background. Galeras, a stratovolcano with a large breached caldera located immediately west of the city of Pasto, is one of Colombia's most frequently active volcanoes. The dominantly andesitic complex has been active for more than 1 million years, and two major caldera collapse eruptions took place during the late Pleistocene. Long-term extensive hydrothermal alteration has contributed to large-scale edifice collapse on at least three occasions, producing debris avalanches that swept to the west and left a large horseshoe-shaped caldera inside which the modern cone has been constructed. Major explosive eruptions since the mid-Holocene have produced widespread tephra deposits and pyroclastic flows that swept all but the southern flanks. A central cone slightly lower than the caldera rim has been the site of numerous small-to-moderate historical eruptions since the time of the Spanish conquistadors.

Information Contacts: INGEOMINAS, Pasto.


Kilauea (United States) — September 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)


Coastal lava entries active; breakouts from tube system

Surface lava breakouts . . . continued to feed flows into the ocean during September. Activity was concentrated in the lower Royal Gardens subdivision (below Orchid street), and in the area between the Royal Gardens kipuka and Kupapau Point (figure 61). Two houses (on Queen St., below Orchid St.) were destroyed on the 28th. Lava emerged from the W tube ~500 m above Chain of Craters Road on the 24th, and reached the road on the 26th. By the end of the month, new lava had covered ~½ km of the road and was entering the ocean near the W portion of the Kailiili bench . . . . On 18 September, lava emerged from the W tube near the remains of the National Park Service residential area, covering the E portion of the Wahaula kipuka. The Heiau . . . was not affected. Within two days, the flow had reached the ocean at the W edge of the Poupou entry . . . where small volumes of lava intermittently entered the ocean throughout the month. The Kupapau Point entry, which had been stagnant since 21 July, was reactivated by a new flow that entered the ocean there on 3 September and remained active throughout the month. The entry E of Kupapau Point remained inactive, but breakouts continued to the E, with one flow (~475 m to the E) reaching the sea on the 14th. By 21 September, all activity E of Kupapau Point had ceased.

Lava in the Kupaianaha pond averaged 25-27 m below the rim through September. No lava was observed in Pu`u `O`o crater during the month.

Low-level tremor continued . . . near Pu`u `O`o and Kupaianaha. Occasional bursts of rockfall signals accompanied the steady background tremor from Pu`u `O`o. Weak signals associated with the submarine component of the oceanfront lava flow activity were detected by the Wahaula seismometer (~2 km NW). Intermediate-depth (6-15 km) long-period events occurred episodically beneath the summit region. The number of shallow (<5 km) microearthquakes was otherwise about average in the summit region and along the East rift zone. Several hundred tectonic events (M 0.5-3.6) located during September were concentrated along the S flank of Kilauea and the SE flank of Mauna Loa at ~5-15 km depth.

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) — September 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)


Weak explosive activity; ashfalls

"Activity intensified somewhat during September. Weak explosive activity took place at Crater 2 on most days. The ash content of emissions was generally low, but ashfalls were recorded [~9] km downwind on the 5th and 16th. Sound effects at the observation post usually consisted of weak rumblings, but one loud explosion was heard on the 16th."

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: C. McKee, RVO.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — September 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)


Lava in several vents but no fresh flows seen

When Alan Fowler climbed the volcano 26 July, he saw no fresh flows but heard lava bubbling in several vents. Both the N and S crater floors were pale, indicating that no flows were younger than several weeks old. A medium-gray blocky flow that covered the SW quadrant of the N crater floor (F13, figure 13) had probably been erupted before the 28 June overflight. Another medium-gray flow (F14) could be seen at the base of the SE wall. There were no changes to the extent of lava that had flowed over the saddle into the S crater in December 1988, or to vents T8, T10, or T11 since November. A feature N of T10 near the E wall (T12) may have been the site of bubbling lava in late May. A higher pinnacle (T13) had developed on the W side of T5/T9. T11 was inactive, and the inner cone . . . was too small to be seen. A dark area to the NW probably marked a line of fumaroles that were clearly visible in June 1988, but covered by lava in late November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. View of Ol Doinyo Lengai's crater from the E rim, 26 July 1989. Traced from a slide taken by Alan Fowler; courtesy of C. Nyamweru.

On a 23 August overflight, Lester Eshelman photographed the crater from the NE. No new flows were visible, but F13 and F14 appeared darker than the surrounding crater. The T13 pinnacle looked dark, but may have been covered by shadows rather than fresh lava. The overflow across the saddle between M1 and M2 had not grown since the June-July 1989 observations.

Further Reference. Nyamweru C., 1989, Report on activity in the northern crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai, July 1988 to August 1989: Journal of the East African Natural History Society and National Museum, v. 79, no. 194, 15 p.

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.


Long Valley (United States) — September 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)


Frequent seismicity continues

Frequent seismicity continued through September beneath the SW flank of Mammoth Mountain (see figure 9). As of 30 September, 1,375 events had been recorded by the California Division of Mines and Geology NEWT system since the swarm began on 4 May. The September total rose slightly to 220 shocks, from 193 in August.

Strong bursts of seismicity occurred on 9 and 19 September (see figure 8). Most of the 42 events recorded on 9 September occurred during several strong bursts of spasmodic tremor and were centered at 4-9 km depth. On 19 September, the bulk of the 35 events were isolated and had focal depths of 2-12 km, nearly the full depth range of the May-September swarm. Other than the several shocks at 11-12 km on 19 September, there was no indication of systematic depth migration during the month. Low-frequency earthquakes were detected on 9, 19, and 21 September. Locations were similar to those of other swarm events, but they had emergent P-waves, lacked clear S-waves, and were of lower overall frequency content than other shocks of the same magnitude. In the epicentral area, the USGS MMP station generally recorded only 10-20 small (M < 0.5) events/day that were not detected by more distant instruments. Previous totals as high as several hundred events/day from this instrument (SEAN 14:07 and 14:08) have been recorded only during periods of high seismic activity. Although precise data from MMP were not available, the typical September daily values represented a severalfold decline from earthquake counts during analagous periods of relative seismic quiet in June and July.

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; D. Hill, USGS Menlo Park.


Lonquimay (Chile) — September 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Lonquimay

Chile

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued tephra emission and lava flow; fluorine data

A public statement issued by geologists on 4 August noted that the plume then being emitted was unlikely to have any direct noxious effects on people or animals. However, they recommended that livestock not be fed forage cut during the more vigorous activity of January-March. Continued sampling of ash, water, and pasture vegetation were also recommended, particularly stream and well water during melting of the snow cover with its load of ash and fluorine.

Inward slumping of part of the wall of Navidad Crater occurred on 10 August [but see 14:11]. There was no immediate change in the relatively low rate of ash emission, but an increase occurred several days later, with winds blowing the plume SE toward Lonquimay village. Ash emission again increased substantially on 10 September, feeding an ash-rich column >3,000 m high. Because of the stronger activity, authorities halted the return of >1,000 students that had begun in July; only 100 had come back to the area.

During a 17 September overflight, Sergio Barrientos and Hugo Moreno (Univ de Chile) and Pedro Riffo, Gustavo Fuentealba, and Mario Villouta (Univ de la Frontera) observed a 1,000-1,200-m-high eruption column feeding a thin but continuous plume that extended >200 km N. Two small vents were active on Navidad Crater. The upper vent emitted a steam jet, volcanic gases, and fine ash, while lava poured from the lower vent, accompanied by spattering up to 50 m high. The lava flow in the Lolco River valley was still advancing; its front was ~10.5 km from the vent and its maximum width was 1.2 km. Damming of streams by the lava flow had formed five small new lakes, the largest in the Holandesa valley, a tributary that enters the Río Lolco ~9.5 km from Navidad Crater. About 200 x 106 m3 of lava have been erupted since activity began and the effusion rate has been around 300,000 m3/day during the last 5 months.

On 19 September at 0025, a M 4.3 earthquake affected the Malalcahuello area, 12 km S of Navidad Crater, (at MM VI-VII) and numerous smaller events (up to MM IV) were felt in the following days. The seismicity broke 92 windows at the Malalcahuello school and caused other structural damage there and in Manzanar, ~10 km to the W. After the main shock, the eruptive activity increased and the ash column rose to 3,500 m height, but the increased eruptive activity lasted for only 3 days, ending shortly after a felt shock at 2115 on 22 September. Three seismographs were installed on 23 September (at Guamachuco, roughly 7 km SW of Navidad Crater; Malalcahuello; and the Cautín River, a few km SE of Navidad) on the first of 4 days of field work by the geologists from the Univ de Chile and the Univ de la Frontera. Between 23 and 26 September, only three small earthquakes were registered. S. Barrientos interpreted the seismic activity as a "roof collapse" in the magma chamber.

Ash thicknesses at six sites previously sampled on 3 February had increased 3- to 4-fold when measured again on 25 September (table 9). Most ash continued to fall roughly to the SE in the Lonquimay valley, but winds occasionally changed, sending the plume to the S, W, or N for a few hours. Fluorine concentration in grass had also increased from 16 July values at the same sites (table 10). Geologists noted that although the plume was weaker in September than in December-March, it was also at a lower altitude that may locally increase fluorine deposition. The snow cap that covered the grass during May-July could have first isolated the grass from fluorine deposition, then concentrated flourine as the snow melted. Previous fluorine analyses by Villa show considerable variations between fluorine contents of different types of vegetation in the same area (table 11). Carlos Ducom (a Lonquimay veterinarian) reported that 4,158 animals have died because of ash and fluorine: 2,040 goats, 1,479 sheep, 371 cattle, and 268 horses.

Table 9. Comparisons of ash thicknesses (in millimeters) at six sites on 3 February and 25 September 1989. Courtesy of H. Moreno.

Location 3 Feb 1989 25 Sep 1989
Cautin River 20 mm 58 mm
Cautin River (bridge) 8 mm 33 mm
Lonquimay ski hut 15 mm 43 mm
Los Condores 10 mm 30 mm
La Plancha (6 km SE) 4 mm 25 mm
La Paloma (14 km SSE) 3.5 mm 12 mm

Table 10. Fluorine concentrations (in ppm) found in grass at several locations, January-September 1989, analyzed by Alberto Villa, INTA, Univ de Chile. Courtesy of H. Moreno.

Location Jan/Mar Jul Sep
Rucamanque (25 km ESE) 105 31 107
Bernardo Nanco 205 30 290
Laguna Jara (25 km ESE) -- 63 143
Lonquimay (20 km ESE) -- 47 179
Sierra Nevada -- 23 65

Table 11. Fluorine concentrations of vegetation (weight/dry weight) from duplicate analyses by Alberto Villa, with coefficients of variation of 3-5%. The Pichipehuenco samples are from different farms. Ranquil is 25 km NE, Mitranquen Bajo is 35 km ESE, Caracoles is 25 km E, and Pichipehuenco is 40 km SE. Courtesy of O. González-Ferrán.

Location Month Vegetation Fluorine (ppm)
Ranquil Feb 1989 Hay 65
Ranquil May 1989 Grass 52
Mitranquen Bajo Feb 1989 Hay 416
Mitranquen Bajo May 1989 Grass 228
Caracoles Feb 1989 Hay 340
Caracoles Feb 1989 Meadow 162
Caracoles Feb 1989 Bamboo 141
Caracoles Feb 1989 Broom sedge 37
Pichipehuenco Feb 1989 Apples 2
Pichipehuenco May 1989 Grass 121

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 flows down the S flank. It is dominantly andesitic, but basalt and dacite are also found. The prominent NE-SW Cordón Fissural Oriental fissure zone cuts across the entire volcano. A series of NE-flank vents and scoria cones were built along an E-W fissure, some of which have been the source of voluminous lava flows, including those during 1887-90 and 1988-90, that extended out to 10 km.

Information Contacts: H. Moreno and S. Barrientos, Univ de Chile; P. Riffo, Univ de la Frontera; O. González-Ferrán, Univ de Chile.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — September 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)


Occasional minor ash emission

"There was little or no change in the (low) level of activity in September. Southern Crater emissions were mostly weak white vapours occasionally containing grey or brown ash in small quantities. Weak deep rumblings were heard at the Observatory on 20, 21, and 23 September. Main Crater released small volumes of white vapour. Seismic activity remained at a low inter-eruptive level with ~900 small B-type events recorded daily. No significant tilt changes were recorded."

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: C. McKee, RVO.


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — September 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Landsat data suggest continuing activity at April vent

Data recorded 4 August at about 0930 by the Landsat TM show a hot area (10 km E of the summit crater, near Kimanura cone) with thermal radiation in TM band 7 (2.08-2.35 µm). The hot area occupied ~5 pixels (each 30 x 30 m), with temperatures averaging ~200°C across each pixel. D. Rothery noted that the thermal sources were probably hotter than 200°, but occupied only a fraction of each pixel. Although no flows were detected leaving Kimanura vent, Rothery suggested that it was probably still active. [Rothery adds "Following this report, personal communications from Henry-Luc Hody and Bernard Louant revealed that the radiant pixels were coincident with a fumarole field that was active between at least August 1989 and April 1990. Thus, the Landsat observation is one of the earliest and clearest demonstrations that high surface temperatures associated with fumaroles can be detected by short-wavelength infrared satellite imaging."] The April-May flows were still warm and showed thermal anomalies in the traditional thermal infrared band 6 (10.5-12.5 µm). No thermal radiance was detected at shorter wavelengths.

Geologic Background. Africa's most active volcano, Nyamuragira, is a massive high-potassium basaltic shield about 25 km N of Lake Kivu. Also known as Nyamulagira, it has generated extensive lava flows that cover 1500 km2 of the western branch of the East African Rift. The broad low-angle shield volcano contrasts dramatically with the adjacent steep-sided Nyiragongo to the SW. The summit is truncated by a small 2 x 2.3 km caldera that has walls up to about 100 m high. Historical eruptions have occurred within the summit caldera, as well as from the numerous fissures and cinder cones on the flanks. A lava lake in the summit crater, active since at least 1921, drained in 1938, at the time of a major flank eruption. Historical lava flows extend down the flanks more than 30 km from the summit, reaching as far as Lake Kivu.

Information Contacts: D. Rothery, Open Univ.


Patah (Indonesia) — September 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Patah

Indonesia

4.257°S, 103.306°E; summit elev. 2836 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Photos and more precise location

Savill's photograph (figure 1) shows a fresh-appearing feature emitting two small gas plumes in an otherwise heavily forested area. Careful comparison of his panoramic view of the region (figure 2) with maps at scales of 1:250,000 (Manna quadrangle, BAKOSURTANAL, 1986) and 1:500,000 (Tactical Pilotage Chart M-10CG, British Military Survey, 1971) places the crater ~8 km WNW of the position given in 14:5. Map data indicate that vent's revised position is at ~2,300 m altitude, roughly 6 km SSE of the summit of Gunung Patah (Zen, 1973). Savill reports that clouds have prevented observations of the vent during subsequent overflights.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Oblique airphoto taken 1 May 1989 showing an apparent new vent in S Sumatra SE of Patah. A pair of gas plumes emerge from the bottom of the feature, which he estimated to be about 150 m across. A light-colored unvegetated zone appears to extend just over the vent rim and a short distance down a narrow valley that drains the lowest portion of the vent. Photograph by Michael Savill.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Panoramic oblique airphoto taken 1 May 1989. Annotations show the photo's orientation, the approximate location of the vent SE of Patah, and Dempo volcano, a prominent cone roughly 40 km to the NW. Photograph by Michael Savill.

Geologic Background. Patah is a heavily forested, dissected Quaternary volcano SE of Dempo volcano. The age of its latest eruptions is not known, although on 1 May 1989 a possible new 150-m-wide crater with active fumaroles was observed by a cargo aircraft pilot in a heavily forested area on the side of a small cone about 3 km SE of Gunung Patah. The exact date of its formation, and its geologic relationship to Patah are uncertain. A crater lake at the summit of another peak, Bukit Belirang (Sulfur Hill), is located 1.5 km S of the fumaroles.

Information Contacts: M. Savill, Worthing, UK.


Poas (Costa Rica) — September 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)


Continued thermal activity; seismicity increases slightly

Gas emission from the hot crater lake continued without major changes. The lake's level rose about 1.5 m after heavy rains. Fields of sulfur cones (with castle-like forms), mud springs, and fumaroles were still present on the N and SE sides of the lake. Sulfur deposition formed a yellow scum on the lake.

Volcanic microseismicity recorded by Red Sismológica station VPS-2 increased to a daily mean of 241 for the first 26 days of September (figure 22). Geologists attributed the seismicity to conversion of water from the aquifer below the volcano to vapor bubbles.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Number of seismic events/day recorded by Red Sismológica station VPS-2, 1-26 September 1989. Courtesy of Mario Fernández A.

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: G. Soto, Mario Fernández, and Héctor Flores, Univ de Costa Rica.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — September 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)


Annual level survey shows changes to 34 mm

"Background-level activity continued in September. The total number of caldera earthquakes was 99, compared with 202 in August and 119 in July. All of the events were small (ML <1.5), and none were large enough to be located.

"The annual survey of the complete Rabaul Caldera level network began in August and was still in progress at the end of September. Compared with the 1988 annual survey, the 1989 results indicate slight subsidence in the N part of the caldera (5 mm) and between Rabaul township and Matupit Island (9 mm). On Matupit Island, uplift has continued, with the S part of the island rising ~34 mm. Around the N and E shores of Greet Harbour, there was subsidence of between 9 and 30 mm."

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: C. McKee, RVO.


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — September 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)


Small ash ejections; continued strong seismicity

Tephra ejections continued in September, with ashfalls reported on the 2nd, 3rd, 11th, 12th, 14th, and 17th. SO2 flux averaged 2,625 t/d, with 14 measurements ranging from 218-6,384 t/d (figure 33). Similar increases have followed previous eruptive episodes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Daily SO2 emissions measured by COSPEC at Ruiz, 1 January-28 September 1989. Courtesy of the Observatorio Vulcanológico de Colombia.

Although the number of A-type events increased in September, the number of B-type shocks decreased from August values. Most September epicenters fell along a roughly NE-SW trend (figure 34). Several events were felt on the volcano. Seismic energy release was highest on 14 September when a swarm of A-type events occurred, centered on the W part of the summit. dry-tilt measurements showed deflation, while electronic tilt measurements showed no significant changes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Epicenters of 97 high-frequency earthquakes near Ruiz in September 1989. Courtesy of the Observatorio Vulcanológico de Colombia.

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.


Stromboli (Italy) — September 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

38.789°N, 15.213°E; summit elev. 924 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions eject bombs and spatter

Geologists from Ruhr Univ . . . visited Stromboli 15-18 September. On 15 September between 1900 and 2100, 10 eruptions occurred from at least 3 vents, ejecting glowing spatter to 50-100 m above the crater terrace. No ash plumes were observed, and only two of the eruptions were audible from . . . Punta Labronzo, at 125 m elevation, ~2 km NNE of the craters near the N tip of the island.

Activity seemed comparatively weak and irregular during observations of the crater terrace from about 1730 on 16 September until 1000 the next day (from Pizzo sopra la Fossa, 918 m elevation). Small Strombolian explosions from at least four vents ejected bombs and spatter to <125 m above the crater rims; no ejecta reached the observation site, roughly 200 m from the vents. Individual bursts were separated by quiet intervals of 2-45 minutes. The SE walls of the active vents seemed to have grown unusually high. The southernmost vent ([1-1] or [1-2] on figure 2) was most active with about 3 explosions/hour, but bombs were rarely ejected significantly higher than the crater rim and were mostly directed obliquely S or SW, preventing close access to the crater terrace. Next to the most active vent was a second ([1-3] on figure 2) which apparently contained a lava lake. Although not visible, the lava lake's presence was suggested by a continuous glow and dull surf-like sounds. Geologists suggested that the two vents probably coalesced sometime after midnight on 17 September, as explosive activity from the first vent was much reduced and glow was also visible above it. Between 0900 and 1000, two brown ash plumes rose from the center of Crater 1 to perhaps 200 m above the vents, dropping some ash on the observation platform. A small ash plume was visible during the evening when the volcano was frequently observed from the E coast.

Craters 3 and 4 were less active, but one or two explosions/hour from Crater 4 produced the highest lava fountains (up to 100 m) and the longest eruptive episodes. Crater 3 erupted only three times during the observation period, but often made loud crashing noises without visible ejections. Two vents erupted simultaneously only once during the observation period ([1-1/1-2] and 4). No earthquakes were felt.

Geologic Background. Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at this volcano have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean." Stromboli, the NE-most of the Aeolian Islands, has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period took place between about 13,000 and 5,000 years ago. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent horseshoe-shaped scarp formed about 5,000 years ago due to a series of slope failures that extend to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild Strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

Information Contacts: B. Behncke, Ruhr Univ, Germany.


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — September 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)


Vapor emission and minor seismicity

"Ulawun remained quiet in September. Emissions from the summit crater were white and in small to moderate volumes. Seismicity remained generally low with ~20 small B-type events recorded daily. On a few days, however, several hundred events were recorded."

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 N coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1,000 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: C. McKee, RVO.


Yellowstone (United States) — September 1989 Citation iconCite this Report

Yellowstone

United States

44.43°N, 110.67°W; summit elev. 2805 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Shallow steam explosion destroys geyser

The following is from Roderick Hutchinson. "At approximately 1440 on 5 September, Porkchop Geyser in the Norris Geyser Basin (roughly 44.7°N, 110.7°W) of Yellowstone National Park was destroyed by a shallow steam explosion. Eight visitors witnessed its water-steam mixture eruption column reach an estimated height of 20-30 m from its normal 6-9 m shortly before the whole siliceous sinter formation suddenly blew up. In 'just a few seconds' it threw sinter blocks out in a fan-like manner, mainly to the N and S, rupturing the geyser's vent, hot water basin, and surrounding sinter sheet platform. Maximum range of ejecta was 66.1 m S, 43.4 m N, 31.5 m W, and only 25.6 m E toward the boardwalk. An ejecta rim 1-1.4 m high, 13.9 m long on a N-S axis, and 11.7 m wide was formed around a newly created boiling spring. Much of its volume consisted of large sheets or plates of moderate to dense siliceous sinter buckled loose from the floor of the thermal basin and thrust vertically or overturned. The largest sinter block cast out had dimensions of 1.88 x 1.23 x 0.75 m. Within the ejecta rim, a new hot spring, supersaturated with silica, has emerged and is currently 5.5 x 4.0 m across and 3.23 m deep.

"Porkchop Geyser was a small unnamed spring, notable at least as early as 1927, because of its exceptionally high contents of Cl and SiO2; it remained unnamed until 1961, when it was informally called Dr. More's Porkchop by Donald E. White of the USGS, and later shortened to Porkchop Geyser. The name was derived from the shape of the geyser's pool. Porkchop normally had a slightly surging non-opalescent discharge; rarely, a geyser eruption 3-5 m high emptied its pool. Beginning in late Mar 1985, it started erupting as a perpetual spouter from an empty crater through its 2'3.5 cm triangular vent. Over the last 4 years, the geyser's eruption column was of sufficient velocity to be atomized into a fine spray that during winter formed ice cones > 7 m high and produced an eruption roar audible up to 2 km away.

"The destruction of Porkchop Geyser coincided with and was probably triggered by an annual widespread thermal disturbance in the Norris Geyser Basin. These hydrothermal events are characterized by briefly increased water and gas discharge, increased turbidity, extreme fluctuations in surface temperatures, alteration of geyser eruptive patterns, and in some years also include the creation of new thermal features. These disturbances have been observed nearly every year since 1971 when more detailed record keeping began."

Further References. Dzurisin, D., and Yamashita, K., 1987, Vertical surface displacements at Yellowstone Caldera, Wyoming, 1976-1986: JGR, v. 92, p. 13,753-13,766.

Smith, R.B., Reilinger, R., Meertens, C., Hollis, J., Holdahl, S., Dzurisin, D., Gross, W., and Klingele, E., 1989, What's moving at Yellowstone?; the 1987 crustal deformation survey from GPS, leveling, precision gravity, and trilateration: EOS, v. 70, p. 113, 119, 123-125.

Geologic Background. The Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field developed through three volcanic cycles spanning two million years that included some of the world's largest known eruptions. Eruption of the over 2450 km3 Huckleberry Ridge Tuff about 2.1 million years ago created the more than 75-km-long Island Park caldera. The second cycle concluded with the eruption of the Mesa Falls Tuff around 1.3 million years ago, forming the 16-km-wide Henrys Fork caldera at the western end of the first caldera. Activity subsequently shifted to the present Yellowstone Plateau and culminated 640,000 years ago with the eruption of the over 1000 km3 Lava Creek Tuff and the formation of the present 45 x 85 km caldera. Resurgent doming subsequently occurred at both the NE and SW sides of the caldera and voluminous (1000 km3) intracaldera rhyolitic lava flows were erupted between 150,000 and 70,000 years ago. No magmatic eruptions have occurred since the late Pleistocene, but large hydrothermal eruptions took place near Yellowstone Lake during the Holocene. Yellowstone is presently the site of one of the world's largest hydrothermal systems including Earth's largest concentration of geysers.

Information Contacts: Roderick A. Hutchinson, Yellowstone National Park.

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.

Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989)  Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001)

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

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/).