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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

Piton de la Fournaise (France) Eruptive episodes in February-March and June 2019; multiple fissures and lava flows

Semeru (Indonesia) Decreased activity after October 2018

Heard (Australia) Thermal hotspots continue during October 2018-March 2019 at the summit and on the upper flanks

Dukono (Indonesia) Numerous ash explosions from October 2018 through March 2019

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Occasional weak phreatic explosions continue through February 2019

Turrialba (Costa Rica) Frequent passive ash emissions continue through February 2019

San Cristobal (Nicaragua) Weak ash explosions in January and March 2019

Semisopochnoi (United States) Minor ash explosions during September and October 2018

Asosan (Japan) Multiple brief ash emission events during April and May 2019; minor ashfall in adjacent villages

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Lava lake reappears in central crater in April 2018; activity tapers off during April 2019

Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) New explosions with ash plumes from Bromo Cone mid-February-April 2019

Karangetang (Indonesia) Activity at two craters with the N crater producing ash plumes, avalanches, pyroclastic flows, and lava flows that reached the ocean in February 2019



Piton de la Fournaise (France) — July 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)


Eruptive episodes in February-March and June 2019; multiple fissures and lava flows

Short pulses of intermittent eruptive activity have characterized Piton de la Fournaise, the large basaltic shield volcano on La Réunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, for several thousand years. For the last 20 years, frequent 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, although past eruptions in 1977, 1986, and 1998 have occurred at vents outside of the caldera. Four separate eruptive episodes were reported during 2018; from 3-4 April, 27 April-1 June, 13 July, and 15 September-1 November (BGVN 43:12, 43:09). Two episodes from 2019 during February-March and June are covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) as well as satellite instruments.

Piton de la Fournaise experienced two eruptions during November 2018-June 2019. The first lasted from 18 February to 10 March 2019, and the second episode was 11-13 June. The episode in February-March started consisted of multiple fissures opening on the E flank of the Dolomieu crater on 18 February with lava flows that traveled several hundred meters. After a brief pause, one new fissure opened nearby on 19 February and produced up to 3 million m3 of lava in a little over four days. Although the flow rate then declined, the eruption continued until 10 March. During the last three days, 7-10 March, two new fissures opened nearby and produced large volumes of lava, bringing the total eruptive volume to about 14.5 million m3. After little activity during April and May, a small eruption occurred on the SSE outer slope of Dolomieu crater that lasted for about 48 hours on 11-13 June; multiple small flows traveled about 1,000 m down the steep flank before ceasing. The MIROVA thermal anomaly graph of log radiative power clearly showed the abruptness of the beginning and ends of the last three eruptive episodes at Piton de la Fournaise from August 2018 through June 2019 (figure 165).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 165. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy from Piton de la Fournaise from 30 July 2018 through June 2019 shows the last three eruptive episodes at the volcano. From 15 September through 1 November 2018 fissures and flows were active on the SW flank of Dolomieu crater near Rivals crater (BGVN 43:12). Fissures opened on the E flank of the crater on 18 February 2019, and after a brief pause resumed on 19 February at the foot of Piton Madoré. Lava flows remained active until 10 March 2019. A short episode of lava effusion occurred on 11-12 June 2019 on the SSE outer slope of Dolomieu crater. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during November 2018-March 2019. Following the end of the 15 September-1 November 2018 eruption, seismic activity immediately below the summit remained low (with only 20 shallow and two deep earthquakes during November). The inflationary signal recorded since the beginning of September stopped, and the OVPF deformation networks did not record any significant deformation. There were 35 shallow earthquakes (0-2 km depth) below the summit crater during December, and one deep earthquake. Only 12 shallow earthquakes and one deep earthquake (greater than 2 km below the surface) were reported in January.

OVPF reported an increase in CO2 concentrations beginning in December 2018, and noted the beginning of inflation on 13 February 2019. A seismic swarm of 379 earthquakes accompanied by minor but rapid deformation (less than 1 cm) was reported on 16 February 2019. A new seismic swarm of 208 earthquakes began early on 18 February with a much larger ground deformation (10 cm of elongation of the summit zone). A volcanic tremor indicative of the arrival of magma near the surface began at 0948 that morning. Webcams indicated that eruptive fissures had opened in the NE part of the Enclos Fouqué caldera. The onset of the eruption was marked by a sudden drop in CO2 flux which then stabilized. The eruptive sites were confirmed visually around 1130. Three fissures with actively flowing lava opened on the E flank of Dolomieu Crater; the fountains of lava were less than 30 m high. The front of the longest flow had reached 1,900 m elevation after one hour. The eruption lasted a little over 12 hours and was over by 2200 that evening; it covered about 150-200 m of the hiking trail to the summit.

Seismicity remained high after the event ended, and at 1500 on 19 February 2019 another seismic swarm of 511 deep earthquakes located under the E flank at about 2.5 km depth occurred. It was not accompanied by a significant amount of deformation. At 1710 tremor signals appeared on the observatory seismographs and the first gas plumes and lava ejection were observed at 1750 and 1912, respectively. During an overflight the next day (20 February), OVPF team members observed the new eruptive site at an elevation of 1,800 m at the foot of Piton Madoré. One fissure and one fountain were active at 0620 on 20 February and the flow front was at 1,300 m elevation (figure 166). During the night of 20-21 February the flow front crossed over the "Grandes Pentes" area in the eastern half of the Enclos Fouque (figure 167).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 166. The eruption which began on 19 February 2019 on the E flank of Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise produced a lava fountain and flow which traveled down at least 500 m of elevation by the next morning when this photo was taken at 0620 local time. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du mercredi 20 février 2019 à 11h00, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 167. The active fissure at Piton de la Fournaise was producing lava fountains and an active flow during the evening of 20 February 2019. Overnight the flow crossed over the "Grandes Pentes" area of the caldera. Photo courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 21 février 2019 à 14H00, Heure locale).

OVPF reported on 22 February 2019 that 22 shallow earthquakes had been reported since the eruption began on 19 February. Surface flow rates estimated from satellite data, via the HOTVOLC system (OPGC - University of Auvergne), were between 2.5 and 15 m3/s. The quantity of lava emitted between 19 and 22 February was between 1 and 3 million m3. OVPF observed the growth of an eruptive cone that was filled with a small lava lake producing ejecta during a morning overflight on 22 February. A channelized flow moved downstream from the cone and split into two lobes about 1 km from (and 200 m below) the cone (figure 168). The split in the flow occurred near the Guyanin crater. The N flowing lobe, about 50 m wide, had an actively flowing front located at 1,320 m elevation; the incandescent flow was travelling over a recent flow (likely from the previous night). The S-flowing lobe spread to 200 m wide and split into two tongues 300 m SE of Guyanin crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. During an overflight on the morning of 22 February 2019 scientists from OVPF observed a growing spatter cone with a small lava lake at Piton de la Fournaise. A channelized flow moved downstream from the fissure and split into two flows. Photo courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 22 février 2019 à 13h30, Heure locale).

Incandescent ejecta from the cone was captured in a webcam image overnight on 22-23 February 2019 (figure 169). The rate of advance of the flow slowed significantly by 24 February, but the intensity of the eruptive tremor remained relatively constant. Mapping of the lava flow on 28 February carried out by the OI2 platform (OPGC - University Clermont Auvergne) from satellite data confirmed the slow progress of the flow after 24 February (300 m in 5 days) (figure 170). The flow front was located at 1,200 m elevation, and only the N arm was active; the lava had traveled about 2.2 km from the vent by 28 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 169. Incandescent ejecta from the eruptive cone at Piton de la Fournaise was captured in the webcam in the early hours of 23 February 2019. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du samedi 23 février 2019 à 13h30, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 170. Contours of the lava flows at Piton de la Fournaise from 18-28 February 2019 were determined from satellite data by the OI2 platform (Université Clermont Auvergne), dated 18 (red) and 19 (blue) February (top image); 20 (green), 21 (red), 22 (blue), 27 (turquoise), and 28 (pink) February (bottom image). Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP. Top: Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 22 février 2019 à 13h30 (Heure locale); bottom: Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 28 février 2019 à 16h30 (Heure locale).

Between 28 February and 1 March 2019 a third lobe of lava appeared flowing NE from the vent on the N side of the new flow area; it split into two lobes sometime on 1 March. Very little new lava was recorded on the other lobes. By 4 March the flow rate estimated by satellite data was about 7.5 m3/s. During a site visit on the morning of 5 March OVPF scientists sampled the N lobe of the flow and bombs and tephra near the cone, and acquired infrared and visible images. They noted the continued growth of the cone which still had an open vent at the summit and a base 100 m in diameter. It was 25 m high with a 50-m-wide eruptive vent at the top (figure 171). High-temperature gas emissions and strong Strombolian activity issued from the vent. Steam emissions were present around the base of the cone, suggesting the presence of lava tunnels. A single lobe of lava flowed N from the cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 171. The eruptive cone at Piton de la Fournaise on 5 March 2019 had a 100-m-diameter base, 25 m of vertical height, and 50-m-wide vent at the summit. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP, (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 5 mars 2019 à 17h30, Heure locale).

A new fissure that opened about 150 m from the main vent on the NW flank of Piton Madoré was first observed on the morning of 6 March (figure 172); OVPF concluded that it had opened late on 5 March. A small cone was forming and a new flow traveled N from the main eruptive site. At least six new emission points were noted the following morning (7 March) around the Piton Madoré. Poor weather prevented confirmation by aerial reconnaissance that day, but in a site visit on 8 March OVPF scientists determined that the new fissure from 5 March remained active; a small cone about 10 m high had two flow lobes on the W and N sides (figure 173). A fissure that opened on 7 March was located 300 m S of the 19 February vent and oriented E-W. It was very active on the morning of 8 March with two 50-m-high lava fountains (figure 174). Samples collected by OVPF indicated that the vents of 5 and 7 March produced lava of different compositions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 172. A new fissure that opened about 150 m from the main vent on the NW flank of Piton Madoré at Piton de la Fournaise was first observed on the morning of 6 March 2019; OVPF concluded that it had opened late on 5 March. A small cone was forming on the flank of an old one and a new flow traveled N from the main eruptive site. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP, copyright by Helicopter Coral (Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 7 mars 2019 à 15h00 Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. The 5 March 2019 fissure at Piton de la Fournaise on the NW flank of Piton Madoré still had two active flow lobes emerging from it and heading N and W on 8 March 2019. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, March 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. A fissure that opened on 7 March 2019 at Piton de la Fournaise was located 300 m S of the 19 February vent and oriented E-W. It was very active on the morning of 8 March 2019 with two 50-m-high lava fountains. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, March 2019).

There was a strong increase in the eruptive tremor intensity on 7 March, related to the opening of the two new fissures on 5 and 7 March (figure 175). As a result, the surface flow estimates made from satellite data increased significantly to high values greater than 50 m3/s, with the average values on 7-8 March of around 20-25 m3/s. The increased flow rates resulted in the flows traveling much greater distances. By the morning of 9 March the active flow had reached 650-700 m above sea level. The flow front had traveled about 1 km in 24 hours. Strong seismicity had been increasing under the summit zone for the previous 48 hours. After a phase of very strong surface activity observed overnight on 9-10 March that included lava fountains 50-100 m high (figure 176), surface activity ceased around 0630 on 10 March, and seismic activity decreased significantly. OVPF noted that sudden increases in seismicity and flow rates near the end of an eruption have occurred at about half of the eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise in recent years. Lava volumes emitted on the surface between 18 February and 10 March 2019 were estimated at about 14.5 million m3 (figure 177).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. An infrared view of the eruptive site on the E flank of Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise on 8 March 2019 clearly showed the original fissure from 19 February (bottom right of center), the fissure on Piton Madore that opened on 5 March (right) and the fissures that opened on 7 March (upper, right of center). The combined activity produced significant thermal and seismic activity at the volcano. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 8 mars 2019 à 17h00, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 176. Lava fountains 50-100 m high were the result of very strong surface activity observed overnight on 9-10 March 2019 at Piton de la Fournaise. Surface activity ceased around 0630 on 10 March, and seismic activity decreased significantly. Photo taken on 9 March 2019 around midnight from the RN2. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP, copyright by A. Finizola LGSR/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du dimanche 10 mars 2019 à 19h30 Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 177. A sudden increase in the flow rate at the end of the 18 February-10 March 2019 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise was recorded by researchers at the Université Clermont Auvergne. OVPF noted this was typical of about half of the eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP, copyright by HOTVOLC, Université Clermont Auvergne (OVPF Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, March 2019).

Significant SO2 plumes were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite throughout the 18 February-10 March eruption (figure 178). After the surface eruption ceased, shallow seismicity continued at a lower rate of about 12 earthquakes per day. The end of the eruption (7-10 March) was accompanied by a marked deflation, interpreted by OVPF as the rapid emptying of the magma reservoir. Following the end of the eruption, inflation resumed for the rest of March but then ceased. Seismicity continued at a lower level during April with an average of six shallow earthquakes per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 178. Multiple days of high DU value SO2 plumes were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite during the 18 February-10 March 2019 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise. Top row: during 18, 21, and 22 February SO2 plumes drifted SE. Middle row: during 23, 24, and 25 February the wind direction changed from SE through S to SW and left a curling trail of SO2. Bottom row: 5, 7, and 8 March showed an increase in SO2 emissions that corresponded with increased seismicity and lava flow output before the eruption ceased.

Activity during May-June 2019. OVPF reported slight inflation near the summit beginning in early May, and an increase in CO2 concentration in the soil near Plaine des Cafres and Plaine des Palmistes. Strong shallow seismicity reappeared on 27 May 2019 and recurred on 30 and 31 May. Two small seismic swarms were measured on 31 May in the early morning. A new seismic swarm beginning at 0603 on 11 June accompanied by rapid deformation suggested a new eruption was imminent. A tremor near the summit area was first noted at 0635 local time; the webcams indicated a plume of gas, but poor visibility prevented evidence of fresh lava. Around 0930 that morning OVPF confirmed that five fissures had opened on the outer SSE slope of Dolomieu crater at elevations ranging from 2480 to 2025 m (figure 179). The flow fronts were not visible due to weather. Lava fountains under 30 m in height and lava flows were present in the three lowest fissures. The flows traveled rapidly down the steep flank of the crater (figure 180).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 179. Around 0930 on the morning of 11 June 2019 OVPF confirmed that five fissures had opened on the outer SSE slope of Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise at elevations ranging from 2480 to 2025 m. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF-IPGP and Imazpress (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 11 juin 2019 à 11h00).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 180. Thermal imaging of the 11-12 June 2019 eruptive site at Piton de la Fournaise showed multiple streams of lava traveling rapidly down the steep flank from several fissures on 11 June 2019. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF-IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 11 juin 2019 à 11h00).

The intensity of the eruptive tremor decreased throughout the day, and by 1530 only the lowest elevation fissure was still active (figure 181). The next afternoon (12 June) images in the OVPF webcam located in Piton des Cascades indicated the flow front was at about 1,200-1,300 m elevation. Seismographs indicated that the eruption stopped around 1200 on 13 June. Poor weather obscured visibility of the flow activity. Seismic activity decreased following the eruption, but appeared to increase again beginning on 21 June, with 10 events detected on 30 June. SO2 plumes were recorded in satellite data on 11 and 12 June 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 181. The intensity of the eruptive activity at Piton de la Fournaise on 11 June 2019 decreased throughout the day, and by 1530 only the lowest elevation fissure was still active. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF-IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 11 juin 2019 à 17h45 Heure locale).

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, 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/).


Semeru (Indonesia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Decreased activity after October 2018

The ongoing eruption at Semeru has been characterized by numerous ash explosions and thermal anomalies, but activity apparently diminished in 2018 (BGVN 43:01 and 43:09); this decreased activity continued through at least February 2019. The current report summarizes activity from 24 August 2018 to 28 February 2019.

The Indonesian volcano monitoring agency, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), reported ongoing daily seismicity, dominated by explosion earthquakes and emission-related events from late November through February (figure 35). Ash plumes resulting in aviation advisories by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) were reported on 4, 6-7, and 19 September, and 12 October 2018. The next significant ash plume reported by the VAAC wasn't until 24 February 2019 (table 23).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Seismicity recorded at Semeru during 28 November 2018-26 February 2019. Plot shows explosion earthquakes ('Letusan'), emission-related events ('Hembusan'), felt earthquakes ('Gempa Terasa'), local tectonic events ('Tektonic Lokal'), and distant tectonic events ('Tektonic Jauh'). Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.

Table 23. Summary of ash plumes at Semeru during 25 August 2018 through February 2019. The summit is at 3,657 m elevation. Data courtesy of Darwin VAAC.

Date Plume altitude (km) Plume drift Remarks
04 Sep 2018 4.3 W --
06-07 Sep 2018 4.3 SW --
19 Sep 2018 4 SSW Possible ash-and-steam plume.
12 Oct 2018 4.5 W Discrete eruption.
24 Feb 2019 4.3 W Discrete volcanic ash eruption.

Thermal anomalies using MODIS satellite instruments processed by the MODVOLC algorithm were only recorded on 26, 28, and 30 August 2018, and 22 and 31 October 2018. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected numerous hotspots within 5 km of the volcano during August and early September, with a significant decrease in frequency through October (figure 36); only a few scattered hotspots were recorded from November 2018 through February 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. MIROVA plot of thermal anomalies (Log Radiative Power) at Semeru during July 2018-February 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Heard (Australia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal hotspots continue during October 2018-March 2019 at the summit and on the upper flanks

Heard Island, in the Southern Indian Ocean, includes the large Big Ben stratovolcano and the smaller, apparently inactive, Mt. Dixon. Because of the island's remoteness, satellites are the primary monitoring tool. Big Ben has been active intermittently since 1910, and was active during October 2017-September 2018 (BGVN 43:10). Activity continued during October 2018-March 2019.

Satellite photos using Sentinel Hub showed hotspots every month between October 2018 and March 2019. Because the area was frequently covered by a heavy cloud layer, most of the hotspot signals were partially obscured. Though thermal anomalies are usually seen at summit vents, on 18 October 2018 an anomaly was present about 300 m down the E flank. Similarly, on 1 January 2019, a weak anomaly beginning about 200 m down the NW flank was about 300 m long (figure 40).

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected three hotspots, two in October and one in early November 2018, all of low radiative power. There were no MODVOLC alert pixels during this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sentinel-2 L1C image of Heard Island's Big Ben volcano on 1 January 2019 one summit hotspot and an elongated thermal anomaly to the NW. Scale bar (bottom right) is 200 m. The photo was taken in atmospheric penetration view (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).


Dukono (Indonesia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

1.693°N, 127.894°E; summit elev. 1229 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous ash explosions from October 2018 through March 2019

The eruption at Dukono that began in 1933 has showered the area with ash from frequent explosions (BGVN 43:04, 43:12). The Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), is responsible for monitoring this volcano.

This long-term pattern of intermittent ash explosions continued during October 2018-March 2019, with ash plumes rising to between 1.5 and 2.7 km altitude, or about 300-1,500 m above the summit (table 19). Although meteorological clouds often obscured views, satellite imagery captured typical ash plumes on 28 September 2018 (figure 10) and 5 February 2019 (figure 11). Instruments aboard NASA satellites (TROPOMI and OMPS) detected high levels of sulfur dioxide near or directly above the volcano on multiple days during January-March 2019. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and visitors were warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Table 19. Monthly summary of reported ash plumes from Dukono for October 2018-March 2019. The direction of drift for the ash plume through each month was highly variable. Data courtesy of the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG.

Month Plume Altitude (km) Notable Plume Drift
Oct 2018 1.5-2.1 --
Nov 2018 1.5-2.1 --
Dec 2018 1.5-2.4 --
Jan 2019 1.8-2.1 --
Feb 2019 1.8-2.7 --
Mar 2019 1.5-2.4 --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Satellite image from Sentinel-2 (LC1 natural color) of an ash plume at Dukono on 28 September 2018 with the plume blowing towards the NE. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Satellite image from Sentinel-2 (LC1 natural color) of an ash plume at Dukono on 5 February 2019, with the plume blowing SW. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Reports from this remote volcano in northernmost Halmahera are rare, but Dukono has been one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. More-or-less continuous explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, occurred from 1933 until at least the mid-1990s, when routine observations were curtailed. During a major eruption in 1550, a lava flow filled in the strait between Halmahera and the north-flank cone of Gunung Mamuya. This complex volcano presents a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of the summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during historical time.

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/); 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).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional weak phreatic explosions continue through February 2019

Intermittent small phreatic explosions from the acid lake of Rincón de la Vieja's active crater has most recently occurred since 2011 (BGVN 42:08, 43:03, and 43:09). This activity continued through at least February 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), and the information below comes from its weekly bulletins between 18 August 2018 and 28 February 2019. Weather conditions often prevented webcam views and estimates of plume heights. The volcano was in Activity Level 3 throughout the reporting period (volcano erupting, steady state).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, two distinct, 2-minute-long explosions occurred on 31 August 2018 beginning at 0434 and 1305. Several hours after the eruption tremor became continuous but low-frequency long-period (LP) earthquakes ceased. OVSICORI-UNA reported a gas emission late on 7 September. An unconfirmed small phreatic explosion occurred on 11 September at 0634, and another on 17 September at 1014. The seismic record showed continuous background tremor and very sporadic LP earthquakes.

Intermittent background tremor was recorded during the first half of October, along with a few emissions and phreatic explosions. Deformation measurements during October showed a contraction between the N and S of the volcano, with subsidence. On 17 October there was another phreatic explosion, and thereafter tremor disappeared and seismicity decreased. On 23 and 27 October seismic stations signaled additional possible phreatic explosions.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that a series of explosions began at 1945 on 4 November and consisted of at least three 2-minute-long episodes. The next day at 1511 a plume of water vapor and diffuse gas, recorded by a webcam and visible to residents to the N, rose about 100 m above the crater rim and drifted W. On 9 November a 2-minute-long explosion began at 1703. Another explosion on 27 November at 0237 produced a plume of water vapor and gas that rose 600 m above the crater rim and drifted SW. A short 1-minute explosion began at 1054 on 3 December.

Based on OVSICORI-UNA weekly bulletins, activity remained stable in January 2019 with small-amplitude phreatic explosions on 11, 12, and 14 January. More energetic phreatomagmatic explosions on 17 and 20 January produced lahars. Several small-amplitude explosions were detected at the end of the month. During January, a few LPs, no VTs, and intermittent tremor were recorded.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that two small-scale explosions occurred on 1 February, along with possible events at 1906 and 1950 on 5 February and at 0120 on 6 February. An event at 0000 on 6 February was also recorded; the report noted that poor weather conditions prevented visual observations of the crater. On 16 and 17 February strong degassing was observed. No LPs were recorded, but two significant VTs were detected on 17 and 22 February near or under the crater.

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

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


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — April 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)


Frequent passive ash emissions continue through February 2019

This report summarizes activity at Turrialba during September 2018-February 2019. During this period there was similar activity as described earlier in 2018 (BGVN 43:09), with occasional ash explosions and numerous, sometimes continuous, periods of gas-and-ash emissions (table 8). Data were provided by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA).

Table 8. Ash emissions at Turrialba, September 2018-February 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
27 Aug-05 Sep 2018 -- 100 m SW, W Continuous gas-and-ash emissions.
06 Sep 2018 -- -- -- Mostly gas, punctuated by small sporadic ash plumes.
10 Sep 2018 1210 300 m NW --
01-13 Sep 2018 -- -- -- Continuous gas-and-ash emissions.
17-18 Sep 2018 -- 300 m SW, NW --
27 Sep 2018 0915 200 m NW --
30 Sep-01 Oct 2018 -- 500 m NW, NE --
03 Oct 2018 -- -- -- Incandescence.
08 Oct 2018 0800 500 m N --
10-16 Oct 2018 -- 1,000 m Various Intermittent emissions; some explosions, including an energetic one on 14 Oct at 1712. Clouds prevented estimate of plume height.
17-23 Oct 2018 -- 200-500 m E, NW, SW Periodic gas-and-ash emissions. Frequent Strombolian events since 5 Oct.
25-30 Oct 2018 -- -- -- Periodic ash emissions when weather conditions allowed observations.
26 Oct 2018 0134 500 m NE Ashfall in neighborhoods of Coronado (San José, 35 km WSW) and San Isidro de Heredia (Heredia, 38 km W).
29 Oct 2018 0231 500 m NW --
30 Oct 2018 1406 500 m W --
24 Oct-01 Nov 2018 -- 500 m -- Continuous emissions.
01-06 Nov 2018 0530-0640 500 m SW --
02 Nov 2018 1523, 1703 500 m -- --
03 Nov 2018 0109 500 m -- Short (2-3 minutes) duration events. Ashfall reported in Coronado.
05 Nov 2018 0620 600 m NW --
06-11 Nov 2018 -- 500 m -- Low-level, continuous gas-and-ash emissions occasionally punctuated by energetic explosions that sent plumes as high as 500 m and caused ashfall in several areas downwind, including Cascajal de Coronado, Desamparados (35 km WSW), San Antonio, Guadalupe (32 km WSW), Sabanilla, San Pedro Montes de Oca, Moravia (31 km WSW), Heredia, and Coronado (San José, 35 km WSW). Weather prevented observations on 12 Nov.
13-19 Nov 2018 -- -- -- Periodic, passive ash emissions visible in webcam images or during cloudy conditions inferred from the seismic data.
22 Nov 2018 0710 100 m W --
23 Nov 2018 -- -- -- Frequent pulses of ash.
23-25 Nov 2018 -- 500 m -- Occasional Strombolian explosions ejected lava bombs deposited near the crater; residents of Cascajal de Coronado reported hearing several booming sounds.
26-27 Nov 2018 -- -- -- Passive emissions with small quantities of ash visible. Minor ashfall in San Jose (Cascajal de Coronado and Dulce Nombre), San Pedro Montes de Oca, and neighborhoods of Heredia.
28 Nov-03 Dec 2018 -- 500 m N, NW, SW Ashfall in Santo Domingo (36 km WSW) on 2 Dec.
05 Dec 2018 -- -- -- Minor emission.
06 Dec 2018 -- -- S Emission.
08 Dec 2018 0749 500 m NW --
09 Dec 2018 -- 1,000 m -- Ashfall in areas of Valle Central.
10 Dec 2018 -- -- -- Emissions periodically observed during periods of clear viewing. Ashfall in Moravia (31 km WSW) and Santa Ana, and residents of Heredia noted a sulfur odor.
11-12 Dec 2018 -- 500 m NW, SW The Tico Times stated some flights were delayed at San Jose airport, 67 km away.
13 Dec 2018 -- -- -- Pulsing ash emissions; ashfall in Guadalupe (32 km WSW) and Valle Central.
14-16 Dec 2018 -- -- W, SW Emissions with diffuse amounts of ash.
05-06 Jan 2019 0815 -- -- Increased after midnight on 6 Jan.
28 Jan-04 Feb 2019 -- -- -- Minor, sporadic ash emissions rose to low heights during most days.
01 Feb 2019 0640 1,500 m NW --
08 Feb 2019 0540 200 m -- Sporadic ash emissions for more than one hour.
11 Feb 2019 -- -- -- Very small ash emission.
13-15 Feb 2019 200-300 m NW, W, SW Almost continuous gas emissions with minor ash content.
15 Feb 2019 1330 1,000 m W --
18 Feb 2019 1310 500 m W --
21 Feb 2019 -- 300 m NW Frequent ash pulses.
22-24 Feb 2019 -- 300 m NW, SW Frequent ash emissions of variable intensity and duration. On 22 Feb ash fell in Santa Cruz (31 km WSW) and Santa Ana, and a sulfur odor was evident in Moravia.
28 Feb 2019 1050 500 m SW Ash pulses.

According to OVSICORI-UNA's annual summary for 2018, a slow decline in activity occurred after the volcano reached its highest emission rate during 2016. Activity during 2018 was consistent with an open system, generating frequent passive ash emissions. The volcano emitted ash on 58% of the days during the year. Some explosions were large enough to eject ballistics more than 400 m around the crater. Typical activity can be seen in a photo from 11 September 2018 (figure 50) and satellite imagery on 7 November 2018 (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Photo of an ash explosion at Turrialba taken on 11 September 2018. Courtesy of Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN: UCR-ICE), Universidad de Costa Rica.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Sentinel-2 satellite image of an ash emission from Turrialba on 7 November 2018, taken in natural color (gamma adjusted). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During January into early February 2019, passive ash emissions continued irregularly and with less intensity and duration. Emissions sometimes lacked ash. In their report of 4 February 2019, OVSICORI-UNA indicated that passive ash emissions were weak and slow. For the rest of February, they characterized ash emissions as frequent, but of low intensity.

Seismic activity. On 1 November 2018 OVSICORI-UNA reported that seismicity remained high, and involved low-amplitude banded volcanic tremor along with long-period (LP) and volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes. In late January-early February 2019, OVSICORI-UNA reported that seismicity remained relatively stable, although a small increase was associated with the hydrothermal system. VT earthquakes were absent, and tremors had decreased in both energy and duration. The number of low-frequency LP volcanic earthquakes remained stable, although they had decreasing amplitudes. No explosions were documented, and emissions were weak and had short durations and very dilute ash content.

Thermal anomalies. No thermal anomalies were recorded during the reporting period using MODIS satellite instruments processed by MODVOLC algorithm. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected five scattered hotspots during September-October 2018, none during November-December 2018, and two during January-February 2019. All were within 2 km of the volcano and of low radiative power.

Gas measurements. Significant sulfur dioxide levels near the volcano were recorded by NASA's satellite-borne ozone instruments only on 29 September 2018 (both NPP/OMPS and Aura/OMI instruments) and on 11 February 2019 (Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument). OVSICORI-UNA's gas measuring instruments were compromised in September 2018 through January 2019 due to vandalism. In early February, however, they detected hydrogen sulfide for the first time since 2016.

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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/); Costa Rica Star (URL: https://news.co.cr); The Tico Times (URL: https://ticotimes.net).


San Cristobal (Nicaragua) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

San Cristobal

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak ash explosions in January and March 2019

San Cristóbal has produced occasional weak explosions since 1999, with intermittent gas-and-ash emissions. The only reported explosion during the first half of 2018 was on 22 April, the first since November 2017 (BGVN 43:03). The current report covers activity between 1 August 2018 and 1 May 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER).

According to INETER, a series of explosions occurred on 9 January 2019 that lasted several hours. INETER stated that one explosion occurred at 1643; the Washington VAAC's first advisory stated that an explosion occurred at 1145 (local time). The weak explosions, which occurred after a period of heightened seismic activity, generated an ash plume that reached 200 m above the edge of the crater and drifted W. The Washington VAAC reported volcanic ash plumes on 10-11 January extending about 92 km SW, and on 24-25 January extending about 185 km WSW. A low-energy explosion was detected by the seismic network at 1550 on 4 March 2019. The event produced a gas-and-ash plume that rose 400 m above the crater rim and drifted SW.

Monitoring data reported by INETER (table 6) showed elevated levels of seismicity during October 2018 through January 2019. Sulfur dioxide was also measured at higher levels in January 2019.

Table 6. Monthly sulfur dioxide measurements and seismicity reported at San Cristóbal during August 2018-March 2019. "Most" indicates that type of seismicity was dominant that month. Data courtesy of INETER.

Month Average SO2 Total earthquakes Degassing-type earthquakes Volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes
Aug 2018 461 t/d 6,464 6,147 251
Sep 2018 893 t/d 9,659 9,586 73
Oct 2018 269 t/d 11,698 3,509 8,189
Nov 2018 -- 19,593 19,586 7
Dec 2018 -- 30,901 -- Most
Jan 2019 1,286 t/d 11,504 Most Very few
Feb 2019 695 t/d 3,470 Most Very few
Mar 2019 -- 3,882 Most Very few

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://webserver2.ineter.gob.ni/vol/dep-vol.html); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html).


Semisopochnoi (United States) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Semisopochnoi

United States

51.93°N, 179.58°E; summit elev. 1221 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash explosions during September and October 2018

The remote Semisopochnoi comprises the uninhabited volcanic island of the same name, ~20 km in diameter, in the Rat Islands group of the western Aleutians (figure 1). Plumes had been reported several times in the 18th and 19th centuries, and most recently observed in April 1987 from Sugarloaf Peak (SEAN 12:04). The volcano is dominated by an 8-km diameter caldera that contains a small lake (Fenner Lake) and a number of post-caldera cones and craters. Monitoring is done by the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) using an on-island seismic network along with satellite observations and lightning sensors. An infrasound array on Adak Island, about 200 km E, may detect explosive emissions with a 13 minute delay if atmospheric conditions permit.

On 16 September 2018 increased seismicity was detected at 0831, prompting AVO to raise the Aviation Color Code (ACC) to Yellow and Volcano Alert Level (VAL) to Advisory. Retrospective analysis of satellite data acquired on 10 September revealed small ash deposits on the N flank of Mount Cerberus, possibly associated with two bursts of tremor recorded on 8 September (figure 5). This new information, coupled with intensifying seismicity and a strong tremor signal recorded at 1249 on 17 September, resulted in AVO raising the ACC to Orange and the VAL to Watch. Seismicity remained elevated on 18 September with nearly constant tremor recorded by local sensors. At the same time, no ash emissions were observed in cloudy satellite images and no eruptive activity was recorded on regional pressure sensors at Adak.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Minor ash deposits can be seen on the south and west flanks of the N cone of Mount Cerberus, Semisopochnoi Island, in this ESA Sentinel-2 image from 1200 on 10 September 2018. Also note probable minor steam emissions obscuring the crater of the N cone. Image courtesy of AVO.

During 19-25 September 2018 seismicity remained elevated, alternating between periods of continuous and intermittent bursts of tremor. Tremor bursts at 1319 on 21 September and at 1034 on 22 September produced airwaves detected on a regional infrasound array on Adak Island; no ash emissions were identified above the low cloud deck in satellite data, and the infrasound detections likely reflected an atmospheric change instead of volcanic activity.

Seismicity remained elevated during 3-9 October 2018, with intermittent bursts of tremor. No volcanic activity was detected in infrasound or satellite data. On 11 October satellite data indicated partial erosion of a tephra cone in the crater of Cerberus's N cone. A crater lake about 90 m in diameter filled the vent. The data also suggested that the vent had not erupted since 1 October. Seismicity remained elevated and above background levels. The next day AVO lowered the Aviation Color Code to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory, noting the recent satellite data results and lack of tremor recorded during the previous week. AVO reported that unrest continued during 11-24 October.

An eruptive event began at 2047 on 25 October 2018, identified based on seismic data; strong volcanic tremor lasted about 20 minutes and was followed by 40 minutes of weak tremor pulses. A weak infrasound signal was detected by instruments on Adak Island. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) and Volcano Alert Level was raised to Watch (the second highest level on a four-level scale). A dense meteorological cloud deck prevented observations below 3 km, but a diffuse cloud was observed in satellite data rising briefly above the cloud deck, though it was unclear if it was related to eruptive activity. Tremor ended after the event, and seismicity returned to low levels.

Small explosions were detected by the seismic network at 2110 and 2246 on 26 October 2018, and 0057 and 0603 on 27 October. No ash clouds were identified in satellite data, but the volcano was obscured by high meteorological clouds. Additional small explosions were detected in seismic and infrasound data during 28-29 October; no ash clouds were observed in partly-cloudy-to-cloudy satellite images.

AVO reported on 31 October 2018 that unrest continued. Two small explosions were detected, one just before 0400 and the other around 1000. Satellite views were obscured by clouds at the time, and no ash clouds were observed. Unrest continued through 1 November, at which time the satellite link and the seismic line failed. On 21 November the ACC was lowered to Yellow and the VAL was lowered to Advisory.

Geologic Background. Semisopochnoi, the largest subaerial volcano of the western Aleutians, is 20 km wide at sea level and contains an 8-km-wide caldera. It formed as a result of collapse of a low-angle, dominantly basaltic volcano following the eruption of a large volume of dacitic pumice. The high point of the island is 1221-m-high Anvil Peak, a double-peaked late-Pleistocene cone that forms much of the island's northern part. The three-peaked 774-m-high Mount Cerberus volcano was constructed during the Holocene within the caldera. Each of the peaks contains a summit crater; lava flows on the northern flank of Cerberus appear younger than those on the southern side. Other post-caldera volcanoes include the symmetrical 855-m-high Sugarloaf Peak SSE of the caldera and Lakeshore Cone, a small cinder cone at the edge of Fenner Lake in the NE part of the caldera. Most documented historical eruptions have originated from Cerberus, although Coats (1950) considered that both Sugarloaf and Lakeshore Cone within the caldera could have been active during historical time.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667 USA (URL: https://avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA (URL: http://dggs.alaska.gov/).


Asosan (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple brief ash emission events during April and May 2019; minor ashfall in adjacent villages

Japan's 24-km-wide Asosan caldera on the island of Kyushu has been active throughout the Holocene. Nakadake has been the most active of 17 central cones within the caldera for 2,000 years. Historical eruptions have been primarily basaltic to basaltic-andesitic ash eruptions, with periodic Strombolian activity, all from Nakadake Crater 1. The most recent major eruptive episode began in late November 2014 and continued through 1 May 2016. Another eruption, with the largest ash plume in 20 years, occurred on 8 October 2016. Asosan remained quiet until renewed activity from Crater 1 began in mid-April 2019; it is covered in this report, through the end of June 2019. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides monthly reports of activity; the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issues aviation alerts reporting on possible ash plumes.

Asosan remained quiet during 2017 and 2018 with steam plumes rising a few hundred meters from Crater 1 and low levels of SO2 emissions; a warm acidic lake was present within the crater. Fumarolic activity from two areas on the S and SW wall of the crater rim generated occasional thermal anomalies in satellite data and incandescence at night. A brief period of increased seismicity was reported in mid-March 2019. An increase in seismic amplitude on 14 April 2019 preceded a small explosion on 16 April; it produced an ash plume which rose 200 m above the crater rim and drifted NW. It was followed by additional small explosions on 19 April. A new explosion on 3 May produced minor ashfall in adjacent communities; ash emissions were reported multiple times during May with plumes reaching 1,400 m above the crater rim. No additional ash emissions were reported in June.

Activity during 2017 and 2018. JMA reported that no eruptions occurred during 2017. Amplitudes of volcanic tremor increased somewhat during March but were generally low for the rest of the year. The earthquake hypocenters were mostly located near the active crater at around sea level. SO2 emissions were slightly less than 1,000 tons per day (t/d) from January through April; for the rest of the year they ranged from 600 to 2,500 t/d. The Alert Level had been lowered from 2 to 1 on 7 February 2017 where it remained throughout the year. Steam plumes generally rose no more than 600 m above the active crater rim (figure 42). JMA noted that from January to June they often observed crater incandescence at night with a high-sensitivity surveillance camera; Sentinel-2 satellite images also captured thermal anomalies a few times (figure 43). The green lake inside the crater persisted throughout the year with water temperatures of 50-60°C. Two fumaroles were present with high-temperature gas emissions on the SW and S crater walls. Temperatures at the S crater wall were over 600°C from February to May; they decreased to 320-560°C during the rest of the year (figure 44). Sulfur deposits were visible around the SW crater wall fumarole during July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Steam plumes that rose around 600 m above Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan were typical activity throughout 2017. Images taken with JMA webcam on 9 June (top left), 22 August (top right), 12 November (bottom left), and 20 December (bottom right) 2017. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 images captured thermal anomalies at the S rim of the green lake at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 16 February (left) and 27 May 2017 (right). JMA reported that incandescence was occasionally visible during the night from January-June from the same area. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. High-temperature gas and steam from fumaroles on the S wall of the Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan on 24 August (top) and 17 November 2017 (bottom) were persistent all year, with temperatures ranging from 300 to over 600°C. The green lake inside the crater persisted throughout the year as well with water temperatures of 50-60°C. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

The Alert Level did not change at Asosan during 2018, and no eruptions were reported. Sulfur dioxide emissions fluctuated between 400 and 1,800 t/d throughout the year. Steam plumes generally rose less than 500 m above the active crater (figure 45); incandescence was observed at night during May-October and sometimes observed in satellite imagery as thermal anomalies (figure 46). The temperature of the green lake inside the crater ranged from 58 to 75°C throughout the year. The thermal anomaly on the S wall of the crater was consistently in the 300-500°C range, and had a high temperature in April of 580°C; in December the high temperature had risen to 738°C (figure 47). A brief increase in the number of isolated tremors occurred during March, with 1,044 reported on 4 March, exceeding the previous maximum of 1,000 on 27 October 2014. Seismicity also increased briefly during June, with more than 400 events reported each day on 8, 18, and 20 June. The Minami Aso village Yoshioka fumarole zone, located about 5 km W of Nakadake Crater 1, continued to produce modest steam plumes throughout 2017 and 2018 (figure 48).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Typical steam plumes at Asosan during 2018 rose around 500 m above the Nakadake Crater 1. Images are from 4 March (top left), 22 July (top right), 17 August (lower left), and 13 September 2018 (lower right). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Nighttime incandescence was reported by JMA during May-October 2018 from the S rim of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan; Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 4, 2) captured thermal anomalies from the same area numerous times during 2018 including on 16 June (top left), 26 July and 19 September (middle row), and 18 and 23 November (bottom row). JMA photographed incandescence at night on 17 July 2018 at the S fumarole area (top right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground and JMA (Aso volcano Monthly Report for July 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. The "Green Tea Pond" inside Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan had temperatures that ranged from 58 to 75°C during 2018 (top row, 26 March 2018); the thermal anomaly on the S wall of the crater consistently had temperatures measured in the 300-500°C range and the SW fumarole area had somewhat lower temperatures (bottom row, 22 June 2018). Courtesy of JMA (monthly Asosan reports for March, May, and June 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. The Minami Aso village Yoshioka fumarole zone, located about 5 km W of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan, continued to produce modest steam plumes throughout 2017 and 2018. It is shown here on 20 December 2017 (top) and 12 March 2018 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (December 2017 and March 2018 monthly volcano reports).

Activity during 2019. Steam plumes rose to 800 m above the crater rim during January 2019. Overall activity increased slightly during February; SO2 emissions peaked at 2,200 t/d early in the month; they ranged from 800 to 1,800 t/d for most of the month. The amplitude of volcanic tremor also increased slightly during February. A further increase in tremor amplitude on 11 March 2019 prompted JMA to raise the Alert Level from 1 to 2 the following morning. Volcanic tremor amplitude decreased on 15 March; JMA determined that activity had decreased, and the Alert Level was lowered back to 1 on 29 March 2019. The amount of water in the crater decreased significantly between 27 February and 20 March, exposing part of the crater floor.

The surface temperature of the lake rose during the first part of 2019; it was 78°C in February and 84°C in March. Steam plumes rose to 1,200 m above the crater rim during March and April. SO2 emissions rose to 4,500 t/d on 12 March but dropped to a lower range of 1,300-2,400 for the rest of the month. Another surge in SO2 emissions on 12 April 2019 to 3,600 t/d prompted a special report from JMA the following day. SO2 emissions varied from about 1,700 to 4,100 t/d during the month; values remained high during the second half of the month. JMA noted that the color of the water in the lake inside Nakadake Crater 1 changed from green to gray after 4 April. Fountains of muddy water were periodically observed; they reached 15 m high on 9 April. The temperatures of both the lake (82°C) and around the two fumarole areas (S area about 530°C, SW area about 310°C) remained constant during April and similar to March.

A large increase in the amplitude of volcanic tremor early on 14 April 2019 prompted JMA to raise the Alert Level from 1 to 2 later in the day. The epicenters of the earthquakes were very shallow, located within 1 km beneath the crater. A small eruption occurred at 1828 on 16 April at Nakadake Crater 1; it produced a gray and white plume that rose 200 m above the crater rim and was the first eruption since 8 October 2016 (figure 49). Incandescence was observed inside the crater on 3 and 17 April. The amplitude of seismic tremors decreased on 18 April. Three very small eruptions on 19 April produced ash and steam plumes that rose 500 m above the crater rim. During a site visit that day JMA measured a high-temperature area that produced incandescence from the bottom of the crater at night (figure 50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. The first eruption since October 2016 at Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan on 16 April 2019 sent an ash plume 200 m above the crater rim (top). Incandescent gas appeared on the crater floor the next day (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, April 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Three small explosions on 19 April 2019 at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 produced small ash emissions that rose 500 m above the crater rim (top). A strong thermal signal also appeared from the bottom of the crater. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, April 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

A new eruption began at 1540 on 3 May that lasted until 0620 on 5 May (figure 51). Initially the ash plume rose 600 m above the crater rim, but a few hours later the volume of ash increased, and the plume reached 2 km above the crater rim for a brief period. Incandescence was visible from the webcam. The Tokyo VAAC reported the ash plume at 3 km altitude drifting SE on 3 May. Later in the day it rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted SW. During a field survey the following day (4 May) JMA reported a steam and ash plume rising from the center of the active crater. The infrared thermal imaging camera recorded the temperature of the plume at about 500°C (figure 52).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. An explosion at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 3 May 2019 produced an ash plume that reached 2 km above the crater rim (top) and incandescence visible from the webcam (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, April 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. During a site visit on 4 May 2019, staff from JMA witnessed an ash and steam plume rising from the bottom of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan (top). The infrared thermal imaging camera recorded the temperature of the plume at about 500°C (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, May 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

Ash fell on the S flank, and a small amount of ashfall on 4 May was confirmed by evidence on a car windshield in Takamori Town (6 km S), Kumamoto Prefecture (figure 53). Ashfall was also reported in Takamori-machi, Minami Aso village (9 km SW), and part of Yamato-cho (25 km SW), also in the Kumamoto Prefecture. SO2 emissions were measured as high as 4,000 t/d on 4 May. Additional explosions with ash plumes were reported from Asosan on 9, 12-16, 29, and 31 May; the plumes rose from 200 to 1,400 m above the crater rim but were not visible in satellite imagery. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5 satellite captured SO2 plumes on 3 and 26 May 2019 (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Ashfall was reported on 4 May 2019 in Takamori Town, Kumamoto Prefecture, from the eruption at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 3 May 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, May 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Plumes of SO2 from Asosan were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 3 (left) and 26 (right) May 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Steam plumes rose to 1,700 m above the crater rim during June 2019 (figure 55). During field visits on 6 and 25 June diffuse ash emissions were observed rising from the center of the active crater, but they did not extend significantly above the crater rim (figure 56). The maximum temperature of the plume was measured at about 340°C with a thermal imaging camera. Almost all of the water in the crater bottom had evaporated since early May; incandescence continued to be observed within the crater at night with the high-resolution webcam (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Steam plumes rose to 1,700 m above the crater rim at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 10 June 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, June 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Plumes of gas and minor ash were visible at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 during site visits by JMA on 6 (left) and 25 (right) June 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, June 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Incandescent gas was visible from the vent at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 18 (left) and 25 (right) June 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, June 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

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: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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/).


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake reappears in central crater in April 2018; activity tapers off during April 2019

The Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is part of the western branch of the East African Rift System. Nyamuragira (or Nyamulagira), a high-potassium basaltic shield volcano on the W edge of VVP, includes a lava field that covers over 1,100 km2 and contains more than 100 flank cones in addition to a large central crater (see figure 63, BGVN 42:06). A lava lake that had been active for many years emptied from the central crater in 1938. Numerous flank eruptions were observed after that time, the most recent during November 2011-March 2012 on the NE flank. This was followed by a period of degassing with unusually SO2-rich plumes from April 2012 through April 2014 (BGVN 42:06). The lava lake reappeared during July 2014-April 2016 and November 2016-May 2017, producing a strong thermal signature. After a year of quiet, a new lava lake appeared in April 2018, reported below (through May 2019) with information provided by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), MONUSCO (the United Nations Organization working in the area), and satellite data and imagery from multiple sources.

Fresh lava reappeared inside the summit crater in mid-April 2018 from a lava lake and adjacent spatter cone. Satellite imagery and very limited ground-based observations suggested that intermittent pulses of activity from both sources produced significant lava flows within the summit crater through April 2019 when the strength of the thermal signal declined significantly. Images from May 2019 showed a smaller but persistent thermal anomaly within the crater.

Activity from October 2017-May 2019. Indications of thermal activity tapered off in May 2017 (BGVN 42:11). On 20 October 2017 OVG released a communication stating that a brief episode of unspecified activity occurred on 17 and 18 October, but the volcano returned to lower activity levels on 20 October. There was no evidence of thermal activity during the month. The volcano remained quiet with no reports of thermal activity until April 2018 (figure 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 4, 2) indicated no thermal activity at Nyamuragira on 19 November (top left), 14 December 2017 (top right) and 18 January 2018 (bottom). However, Nyiragongo (about 13 km SE) had an active lava lake with a gas plume drifting SW on 18 January 2018 (bottom right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

OVG reported the new lava emissions beginning on 14 April 2018 as appearing from both the lava lake and a small adjacent spatter cone (figure 74). The first satellite image showing thermal activity at the summit appeared on 18 April 2018 (figure 75) and coincided with the abrupt beginning of strong MIROVA thermal signals (figure 76). MODVOLC thermal alerts also first appeared on 18 April 2018. An image of the active crater taken on 9 May 2018 showed the lake filled with fresh lava and two adjacent incandescent spatter cones (figure 77).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Fresh lava reappeared at Nyamuragira's crater during April 2018 from the lava lake (left) and the adjacent small spatter cone (right). Courtesy of OVG (Republique Democratique du Congo, Ministere de la Recherche Scientifique, Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Direction Generale Goma, Rapport Avril 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. The first satellite image (bands 12, 4, 2) indicating renewed thermal activity at the Nyamuragira crater appeared on 18 April 2018; the signal remained strong a few weeks later on 3 May 2018. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. A strong thermal signal appeared in the MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power on 18 April 2018 for Nyamuragira, indicating a return of the lava lake at the summit crater. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Fresh lava filled the lake inside the crater at Nyamuragira on 9 May 2018. Two spatter cones were incandescent with gas emissions. Courtesy of OVG (Republique Democratique du Congo, Ministere de la Recherche Scientifique, Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Direction Generale Goma, Rapport Mai 2018).

Satellite images confirmed that ongoing activity from the lava lake remained strong during June -September 2018 (figure 78). A mission to Nyamuragira was carried out by helicopter provided by MONUSCO on 20 July 2018; lava lake activity was observed along with gas emissions from the small spatter cone (figure 79). OVG reported increased volcanic seismicity during 1-3 and 10-17 September 2018, and also during October, located in the crater area, mostly at depths of 0-5 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 4, 2) confirmed that ongoing activity from the lava lake at Nyamuragira remained strong during June-September 2018, likely covering the crater floor with a significant amount of fresh lava. Image are from 12 June (top left), 7 July (top right), 17 July (middle left), 22 July (middle right), 11 August (bottom left), and 20 September (bottom right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. The crater at Nyamuragira on 20 July 2018 had an active lava lake and adjacent incandescent spatter cone with gas emissions. Courtesy of OVG (Republique Democratique du Congo, Ministere de la Recherche Scientifique, Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Direction Generale Goma, Rapport Juillet 2018).

Personnel from OVG and MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DR Congo) made site visits on 11 October and 2 November 2018 and concluded that the level of the active lava lake had increased during that time (figure 80). On 2 November OVG measured the height from the base of the active cone to the W rim of the crater as 58 m (figure 81).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. OVG scientists reported a rise in the lake level between site visits to the Nyamuragira crater on 11 October (top) and 2 November 2018 (bottom). Top image courtesy of MONUSCO and Culture Vulcan, bottom image courtesy of OVG (Republique Democratique du Congo, Ministere de la Recherche Scientifique, Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Direction Generale Goma, Rapport Octobre 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. On 2 November 2018 scientists from OVG measured the height from the base of the active cone to the W rim of the crater as 58 m. Courtesy of OVG (Republique Democratique du Congo, Ministere de la Recherche Scientifique, Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Direction Generale Goma, Rapport Octobre 2018).

Seismicity remained high during November 2018 but decreased significantly during December. Instrument and access issues in January 2019 prevented accurate assessment of seismicity for the month. The lava lake remained active with periodic surges of thermal activity during November 2018-March 2019 (figure 82). Multiple images show incandescence in multiple places within the crater, suggesting significant fresh overflowing lava.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. The active lava lake at Nyamuragira produced strong thermal signals from November 2018 through March 2019 that were recorded in Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 4, 2). Several images suggest fresh lava cooling around the rim of the crater in addition to the active lake. A relatively cloud-free day on 19 November 2018 (top left) revealed no clear thermal signal, but a strong signal was recorded on 29 November (top right) despite significant cloud cover. Images from 13 and 28 January 2019 (second row) both showed evidence of incandescent lava in multiple places within the crater. The thermal signal was smaller and focused on the center of the crater on 12 and 27 February 2019 (third row). Images taken on 9 and 19 March 2019 clearly showed incandescent material at the center of the crater and around the rim (bottom row). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 12 April 2019 a Ukrainian Aviation Unit supported by MONUSCO provided support for scientists visiting the crater for observations and seismic analysis. Satellite data confirmed ongoing thermal activity into May, although the strength of the signal appeared to decrease (figure 83). MODVOLC thermal alerts ceased after 8 April, and the MIROVA thermal data also confirmed a decrease in the strength of the thermal signal during April 2019 (figure 84).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Sentinel-2 satellite data (bands 12, 4, 2) confirmed ongoing thermal activity at Nyamuragira into May 2019. The thermal anomalies on 18 April (left) and 3 May (right) 2019 were smaller than those recorded during previous months. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira from 16 July 2018 through April 2019 showed near-constant levels of high activity through April 2019 when it declined. This corresponded well with satellite and ground-based observations. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; Katcho Karume, Director; 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/); MONUSCO, United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (URL: https://monusco.unmissions.org/en/, Twitter: @MONUSCO); Cultur Volcan, Journal d'un volcanophile (URL: https://laculturevolcan.blogspot.com), Twitter: @CultureVolcan).


Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Tengger Caldera

Indonesia

7.942°S, 112.95°E; summit elev. 2329 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New explosions with ash plumes from Bromo Cone mid-February-April 2019

The 16-km-wide Tengger Caldera in East Java, Indonesia is a massive volcanic complex with numerous overlapping stratovolcanos (figure 11). Mount Bromo is a pyroclastic cone that lies within the large Sandsea Caldera at the northern end of the complex (figure 12) and has erupted more than 20 times during each of the last two centuries. It is part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park (also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve) and is frequently visited by tourists. The last eruption from November 2015 to November 2016 produced hundreds of ash plumes that rose as high as 4 km altitude; some of them drifted for hundreds of kilometers before dissipating and briefly disrupted air traffic. Only steam and gas plumes were observed at Mount Bromo from December 2016 to February 2018 when a new series of explosions with ash plumes began; they are covered in this report with information provided by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). Copyrighted ground and drone-based images from Øystein Lund Andersen have been used with permission of the photographer.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. The Tengger Caldera viewed from the north Mount Bromo issuing steam in the foreground and Semeru volcano in the background on 30 September 2018. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Aerial view of the Bromo Cone in Tengger Caldera seen from the west on 30 September 2018. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.

PVMBG lowered the Alert Level at Bromo on 21 October 2016 from III to II near the end of an eruptive episode lasting nearly a year. The last VAAC report was issued on 12 November 2016 (BGVN 41:12) noting that the last ash emission had been observed the previous day drifting NW at 3 km altitude. Throughout 2017 and 2018 Bromo remained at Alert Level II, with no unusual activity described by PVMBG. During 1-2 September 2018, a wildfire in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park burned 65 hectares of savannah (figure 13); the fire produced 12 MODVOLC thermal alerts around the Tengger Caldera rim. No reports of increased volcanic activity were issued by PVMBG during the period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. A wall of fire in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park savanna during 1-2 September 2018 produced thermal alerts that were not related to volcanic activity at the Bromo Cone in Tengger Caldera. Image courtesy of the park authority, reported by Mongabay. MODVOLC thermal alerts courtesy of Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP).

After slightly more than two years of little activity other than gas and steam plumes, ash emissions resumed from the Bromo Cone on 18 February 2019. After a brief pause, a new explosion on 10 March marked the beginning of a series of near-daily ash emissions that lasted for the rest of March, producing ash plumes that rose to altitudes ranging from 3.0 to 5.2 km and drifted in many different directions. A new series of ash emissions began on 6 April, rising to 3 km and also drifting in multiple directions. Ash emission density decreased during the month; plumes were only rising a few hundred meters above the summit by the end of April and consisted of mostly steam and moderate amounts of ash.

Activity during February-April 2019. PVMBG reported that at 0600 on 18 February 2019 an eruption at Tengger Caldera's Bromo Cone generated a dense white-and-brown ash plume that rose 600 m and drifted WSW. The plume was not visible in satellite imagery, according to the Darwin VAAC. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4). After a few weeks of quiet a new explosion on 10 March (local time) produced a white, brown, and gray ash plume that rose 600 m above the summit; the plume was visible in satellite imagery extending SW. Increased tremor amplitude was also reported on 10 March. A new emission the next morning produced similar ash plumes that drifted S, SW, and W at 3 km altitude. On the morning of 12 March (local time) a continuous ash plume was observed in satellite imagery at 3.4 km altitude drifting SW. The plume drifted counterclockwise towards the S, E, and NE throughout the day and continued to drift NE and SE on 13 March. The altitude of the plume was reported at 4.3 km later that day based on a pilot report.

Continuous brown, gray, and black ash emissions were reported by PVMBG during 14-19 March at altitudes ranging from 3 to 3.9 km; they drifted generally NE to NW. Ashfall was noted around the crater and downwind a short distance. The Darwin VAAC reported continuous ash emissions to 5.2 km altitude drifting SE on 20 March. It was initially reported by a pilot and partially discernable in satellite imagery before dissipating. Ongoing ash emissions of variable densities and colors ranging from white to black were intermittently visible in satellite imagery and confirmed in webcam and ground reports at around 3.0 km altitude during 21-25 March (figures 14-17). Ashfall impacted the closest villages to Bromo, including Cemara Lawang (30 km NW), which was covered by a thin layer of ash. A few trees in the area were toppled over by the weight of the ash. The plume altitude increased slightly on 26 March to 3.7-3.9 km, drifting N and NE. The higher altitude plume dissipated early on 28 March, but ash emissions continued at 3.0 km for the rest of the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Ash drifted NNE from the Bromo Cone in Tengger Caldera on 23 March 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen (drone image), used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Ash drifted N from the Bromo Cone in Tengger Caldera on 23 March 2019. The Batok Cone is on the right, Segera Wedi is behind Bromo, and Semeru is in the far background. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. A few trees toppled from ashfall in the vicinity of the Bromo Cone in Tengger Caldera on 24 March 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Ash plumes from the Bromo Cone in Tengger Caldera on 24 March 2019 caused ashfall in communities as far as 30 km away. View is from the floor of the Sandsea Caldera. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.

After just a few days of quiet, new ash emissions rising to 3.0 km altitude and drifting SE were reported by both PVMBG (from the webcam) and the Darwin VAAC on 6 April 2019. By the next day the continuous ash emissions were drifting N, then E during 8-10 April, and S during 11 and 12 April. A new emission seen in the webcam was reported by the Darwin VAAC on 15 April (UTC) that rose to 3.0 km and drifted W. Ash plumes were intermittently visible in either webcam or satellite imagery until 17 April rising 500-1,000 m above the crater; from 19-25 April only steam plumes were reported rising 300-500 m above the summit. A minor ash emission was reported from the webcam on 26 April that rose to 3.0 km altitude and drifted NE for a few hours before dissipating. PVMBG reported medium density white to gray ash plumes that rose 400-600 m above the crater for the remainder of the month.

Geologic Background. The 16-km-wide Tengger caldera is located at the northern end of a volcanic massif extending from Semeru volcano. The massive volcanic complex dates back to about 820,000 years ago and consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes, each truncated by a caldera. Lava domes, pyroclastic cones, and a maar occupy the flanks of the massif. The Ngadisari caldera at the NE end of the complex formed about 150,000 years ago and is now drained through the Sapikerep valley. The most recent of the calderas is the 9 x 10 km wide Sandsea caldera at the SW end of the complex, which formed incrementally during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. An overlapping cluster of post-caldera cones was constructed on the floor of the Sandsea caldera within the past several thousand years. The youngest of these is Bromo, one of Java's most active and most frequently visited volcanoes.

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/); 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/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Mongabay, URL: https://news.mongabay.com/2018/09/fires-tear-through-east-java-park-threatening-leopard-habitat/.


Karangetang (Indonesia) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

2.781°N, 125.407°E; summit elev. 1797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Activity at two craters with the N crater producing ash plumes, avalanches, pyroclastic flows, and lava flows that reached the ocean in February 2019

Karangetang (also referred to as Api Siau) is an active volcano on the island of Siau in the Sitaro Regency, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. It produces frequent small eruptions that include gas-and-steam plumes, ash plumes, avalanches, lava flows, incandescent ballistic ejecta, and pyroclastic flows. This report covers May 2018-May 2019 and summarizes reports by Indonesia's Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), and the Darwin VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center), and satellite data. During this time, increased activity resulted in a lava flow that reached the ocean and cut road access to communities.

No activity was reported during May through October 2018. During this time, Sentinel-2 thermal images showed elevated temperatures in the main active crater and gas-and-steam plumes dispersing in different directions (figure 17). On 4 July, the Darwin VAAC reported a "weak" ash plume to an altitude of 3 km that drifted NE, only based on satellite imagery. There were few thermal signatures detected by the MIROVA algorithm from May through November (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Incandescence and weak steam-and-gas plumes at the southern crater of Karangetang on 9 May and 17 August 2018. This was common in cloud-free images acquired during this time. Sentinel-2 false color (bands 12, 11, 4) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS infrared data for June 2018 through April 2019. There was little thermal energy detected before December, after which levels remained high until they began declining in March 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Steam plumes were observed from two craters during November 2018 (figures 19 and 20). There was a significant increase in seismicity on 22 to 23 November, followed by a sharp decline on the 24th. The first MODVOLC thermal alert was issued on 25 November. At 1314 on 25 November an ash plume rose to at least 500 m above the N crater and the Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange. A Sentinel-2 thermal image acquired on this day showed elevated temperatures at both south and north craters, with accompanying gas-and-steam plumes. After the increase in seismicity and detected thermal energy, activity progressed to lava flow extrusion, avalanches, and pyroclastic flows triggered from the lava flow. The lava flow originated from the north crater (Kawah Dua) and moved towards the NNW. Avalanches accompanied the flow from the crater and down the lava flow surface. The Volcano Alert level was increased from II to III on 20 December at 1800 (on a scale of I to IV).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. White gas-and-steam plumes emanating from two craters at Karangetang at 0630 on 16 November 2018. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia via Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. An ash plume from the N crater (left) and a gas-and-steam plume from the S crater (right) of Karangetang at 0703 on 26 November 2018. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia via Øystein Lund Andersen.

Throughout January 2019 activity consisted of small ash plumes up to 600 m above the N crater (figure 21) and continued lava flow activity. On 17 January Kompas TV reported that heavy ashfall impacted several villages. Lava and avalanches traveled as far as 0.7-1 km W towards the Sumpihi River and 1-2 km NE down the Kali Batuare throughout the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. A small ash plume on 31 January 2019 at Karangetang. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia via Øystein Lund Andersen.

Video taken on 3 February 2019 shows the lava flow covering the road and continuing down the steep slope with multi-meter-scale incandescent blocky lava fragments on the surface dislodging and triggering small avalanches. By 5 February the lava flow reached over 3.5 km down the Malebuhe River drainage on the NW flank and into the ocean where a lava delta was growing with dense steam plume rising above by the 11th (figures 22-26). Drone footage from 9 February shows the lava flow across the section of road had a width of about 160 m and a width of about 140 m at the coast. Gas-and-steam and ash plumes were noted most days, reaching up to 600 m above the crater and dominantly dispersing to the E (figure 27). By 11 February there had been 190 people evacuated.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. The lava flow front at Karangetang nearing the ocean on 5 February 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. The lava flow entering the ocean at Karangetang in early February 2019. Photos posted on 11 February; courtesy of BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Locations of activity observations at Karangetang in November 2018 and February 2019. 27 November 2018: the descent of lava from the Kawah Dua crater (N crater) to about 700-1000 m away, towards the Sumpihi River and Kinali Village. 2 February 2019: the descent of lava 2.5 km NW, 500 m from the highway. 5 February 2019: the lava flow reached the sea. Courtesy of BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Karangetang during November 2018 through February 2019 showing elevated temperatures at two craters, gas-and-steam plumes, and a lava flow moving to the NW (bright yellow-orange). Sentinel-2 false color (bands 12, 11, 4) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. View of the active lava flow on Karangetang at the ocean entry in early February 2019. Photo posted on 12 February; taken by Ungke Pepotoh, courtesy of Agence France-Presse.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Ashfall from Karangetang on Siau Island as seen from Pehe port on 7 February 2019. Photo courtesy of The New Indian Express, AFP / Ungke Pepotoh.

On 13 February 2019 avalanches continued from the northern crater to 700-1000 m W towards the Sumpihi River and 1-2 km NE towards Kali Batuare. KOMPAS TV reported a statement by PVMBG describing a decrease in activity, including lava avalanches, but with elevated seismicity on the 12 February. Throughout this period of elevated activity both seismicity (figure 28), along with plume heights and directions (figure 29), were variable. On 22 February the Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume, due to a pyroclastic flow, rising to an altitude of 3.7 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Graph showing the variable seismicity at Karangetang during 1 November 2018 to 8 February 2019. Courtesy of PVMBG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Graph showing gas-and-steam plume heights in meters above the crater from 1 November 2018 to 8 February 2019, with the plume dispersal directions indicated in the box. Modified from data courtesy of PVMBG.

Throughout March 2019 PVMBG reported the continuation of a low rate of lava effusion at the north crater, avalanches, and gas-and-steam plumes rising up to 500 m above the crater. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume on 7 March that rose to an altitude of 2.7 km that dispersed to the SW. Minor ash emissions were reported by the Darwin VAAC on 6 April that rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted SE. In mid-April, activity increased in the southern crater and on 15 April a pyroclastic flow traveled 2 km towards the Kahetang and Batuawang rivers. Another ash advisory was issued for an ash plume up to 2.4 km altitude on 16 April. Small gas-and-steam plumes continued through the month.

Geologic Background. Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, about 125 km NNE of the NE-most point of Sulawesi island. The stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line. It is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts have produced pyroclastic flows.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/); Agence France-Presse (URL: http://www.afp.com/); Kompas TV, Menara Kompas Lt. 6, Jl. Palmerah Selatan No.21, Jakarta Pusat 10270 Indonesia (URL: https://www.kompas.tv/article/39190/abu-gunung-karangetang-tutup-permukiman-warga); The New Indian Express (URL: http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2019/feb/08/emergency-declared-on-indonesian-island-after-volcanic-eruption-1936173.html); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://www.oysteinlundandersen.com).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 15, Number 03 (March 1990)

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Anatahan (United States)

Felt earthquakes and increased thermal activity

Bamus (Papua New Guinea)

Strong earthquake swarm, then somewhat decreased seismicity

Callaqui (Chile)

Steam jetting from fumaroles

Colima (Mexico)

Fumarolic activity and SW flank rockfall avalanches; Seismic net expanded

Deception Island (Antarctica)

More than 1,000 seismic events recorded in one month

Erebus (Antarctica)

Occasional Strombolian explosions from two small lava lakes; stronger SO2emission

Etna (Italy)

Lava fountains and flow then strong block ejection from Southeast Crater

Fuego (Guatemala)

Continuous gas emission; summit morphology appears unchanged since 1980

Galeras (Colombia)

Small phreatic ash emissions with spasmodic tremor and long-period seismicity

Guagua Pichincha (Ecuador)

Phreatic explosions and tremor after 10 days of A-type shocks

Irruputuncu (Chile-Bolivia)

Eruption reported by press but geologist observes only fumarolic activity

Karymsky (Russia)

Slight thermal activity

Kick 'em Jenny (Grenada)

Strong T-phase signals suggest submarine eruption, but no activity detected at the surface

Kilauea (United States)

Eruption stops briefly then resumes after seismic swarm; lava destroys house

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Strong summit tephra eruption; basaltic lava from SE flank vent

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Glow; gas emission; rumbling

Lascar (Chile)

20 February eruption ejected about 10-30% of the lava dome in crystal-rich fragments

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Airphotos suggest continued production of small lava flows on crater floor

Llaima (Chile)

Small explosion ejects incandescent column; strong seismicity

Loihi (United States)

Strong earthquake swarm, suggesting magma movement

Long Valley (United States)

Continued earthquake swarm in caldera's S moat

Lonquimay (Chile)

Eruption ends after 13 months; continued fumarolic activity and small-scale collapse

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Vapor emission; seismicity remains low

Moutohora Island (New Zealand)

CO2-rich gases from thermal area

Olca-Paruma (Chile-Bolivia)

Fumarolic activity and minor seismicity

Pacaya (Guatemala)

Continued weak Strombolian explosions; low SO2 flux

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Seismicity remains relatively low; minor deflation

Raoul Island (New Zealand)

Increased microseismicity but no changes in thermal activity

Redoubt (United States)

Moderate explosions and dome extrusion; rootless phreatic explosion as eruptions interact with glaciers

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Phreatic explosions stop; increased tremor

Ruiz, Nevado del (Colombia)

Minor ash emission; seismicity remains low

Rumble III (New Zealand)

Submarine summit bathymetry; bubble plumes in water column

Santa Maria (Guatemala)

Viscous lava extrusion continues; rapid erosion of N flank

Sheveluch (Russia)

100-m explosion vent in center of lava dome; minor fumarolic activity

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Thick vapor emission; weak seismicity

Vulcano (Italy)

High-temperature fumaroles; gas chemistry; small seismic swarms

Waesche (Antarctica)

No signs of recent activity

White Island (New Zealand)

Minor ash emission; seismicity and thermal activity decline; deflation

White Island (New Zealand)

Strong submarine hydrothermal activity at the Calypso Vents

Zhupanovsky (Russia)

Four vigorous fumaroles



Anatahan (United States) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Anatahan

United States

16.35°N, 145.67°E; summit elev. 790 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Felt earthquakes and increased thermal activity

Shallow earthquakes that began 30 March (table 1) were felt and heard on Anatahan Island, and associated with an apparent increase in thermal activity from the younger E cone's crater lake. Felt seismicity remained frequent through 1 April. Observations limited to early morning and around noon yielded reports of 9 shocks, each lasting 5-7 seconds, 31 March-1 April. No felt events were reported 2-4 April. A helicopter overflight on 1 April revealed that the crater lake had become turbulent and had changed from its usual dirty green color to a bluish gray or whitish blue. Fumarolic activity had increased and a rotten egg smell was noted. A new landslide was visible on the SW wall of the active crater. The 23 residents of the island were evacuated 4 April, and had not returned as of mid-April.

Table 1. Earthquakes near Anatahan recorded by WWSSN stations, 30 March-1 April 1990. All events were shallow, but preliminary data did not allow precise depth determinations. Courtesy of the NEIC.

Date Time Magnitude Distance / Direction
30 Mar 1990 0016 5.2 mb 65 km NE
30 Mar 1990 0036 4.7 mb 70 km NE
30 Mar 1990 1254 5.2 mb 75 km ENE
30 Mar 1990 1743 5.0 mb 75 km ENE
30 Mar 1990 1827 4.6 mb 65 km NNE
30 Mar 1990 2136 4.5 mb 70 km NNE
31 Mar 1990 1635 4.6 mb 85 km NNW

Geologic Background. The elongate, 9-km-long island of Anatahan in the central Mariana Islands consists of a large stratovolcano with a 2.3 x 5 km compound summit caldera. The larger western portion of the caldera is 2.3 x 3 km wide, and its western rim forms the island's high point. Ponded lava flows overlain by pyroclastic deposits fill the floor of the western caldera, whose SW side is cut by a fresh-looking smaller crater. The 2-km-wide eastern portion of the caldera contained a steep-walled inner crater whose floor prior to the 2003 eruption was only 68 m above sea level. A submarine cone, named NE Anatahan, rises to within 460 m of the sea surface on the NE flank, and numerous other submarine vents are found on the NE-to-SE flanks. Sparseness of vegetation on the most recent lava flows had indicated that they were of Holocene age, but the first historical eruption did not occur until May 2003, when a large explosive eruption took place forming a new crater inside the eastern caldera.

Information Contacts: N. Banks and J. Ewert, CVO; NEIC.


Bamus (Papua New Guinea) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Bamus

Papua New Guinea

5.2°S, 151.23°E; summit elev. 2248 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong earthquake swarm, then somewhat decreased seismicity

"Seismicity. . . continued throughout March, although at a milder level after the 5th. Following intense February seismicity that involved 83 earthquakes of ML >=4.0, eight of ML >=5.0, and one of ML >=6.0, activity was strong again 3-5 March. More than 720 earthquakes (two of ML = 5.0-5.1 and 10 of ML >=4.5) were recorded before seismicity decreased to 20-50 events/day of small-moderate magnitude. The energy released by the February-March seismicity was relatively large, 1.22 x 1021 ergs (figure 1).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Daily number of earthquakes (bars) and cumulative energy release (circles) near Bamus, February-March 1990. Magnitudes (ML) of larger events are given over earthquake count bars. Courtesy of RVO.

"An inspection of the Bamus area was carried out on 6 March. Rockfalls had occurred at many places on the volcano and in the limestone ranges to the S. However, no change was observed in the temperatures of the solfataric areas on the summit tholoid (which remained at <=15°C).

"Temporary seismograph networks were operated in the area 13-16 February and 6-8 March. Earthquake locations defined a broad 15-km-long seismic zone trending NNE that extended from the Nakanai Mountains to the S flank of Bamus (figure 2). Within this zone was a concentration of locations trending ENE near the S foot of Bamus. Earthquake focal depths ranged from 0 to 23 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Epicenters of seismic events at Bamus, 13-16 February and 6-8 March 1990. Courtesy of RVO.

"Cross-sections . . . (figure 3) suggest that the main cluster of earthquakes defines an ENE-trending near-vertical fault. This orientation is consistent with the structural pattern evident in the Miocene limestone immediately S of, and underlying, Bamus.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Focal depths of seismic events near Bamus during 13-16 February and 6-8 March 1990 projected along lines A-B (top) and A-C (bottom). Horizontal scale (and thus vertical exaggeration) changes from A-B to A-C. Courtesy of RVO.

"The cause of this seismicity remains uncertain. Its ongoing fluctuating character, and the fact that its swarms include but do not occur in response to larger earthquakes, could be consistent with magmatic injection. On the other hand, ML 5-6 earthquakes are uncommon for magmatic events. Analysis of the magnitude/frequency distribution of the earthquakes shows that the 'b' value is ~1, which is indicative of tectonic earthquake sequences. The seismicity was continuing in early April and was being monitored primarily by the permananent seismograph at Ulawun."

Geologic Background. Symmetrical 2248-m-high Bamus volcano, also referred to locally as the South Son, is located SW of Ulawun volcano, known as the Father. These two volcanoes are the highest in the 1000-km-long Bismarck volcanic arc. The andesitic stratovolcano is draped by rainforest and contains a breached summit crater filled with a lava dome. A satellitic cone is located on the southern flank, and a prominent 1.5-km-wide crater with two small adjacent cones is situated halfway up the SE flank. Young pyroclastic-flow deposits are found on the volcano's flanks, and villagers describe an eruption that took place during the late 19th century.

Information Contacts: I. Itikarai, P. de Saint-Ours, and C. McKee, RVO.


Callaqui (Chile) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Callaqui

Chile

37.92°S, 71.45°W; summit elev. 3164 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Steam jetting from fumaroles

Steam jets from that rose 300-400 m from fumaroles on the SE flank, 200 m below the summit, were observed during dry weather at about noon on 9 and 16 March.

Geologic Background. The late-Pleistocene to Holocene Callaqui stratovolcano has a profile of an overturned canoe, due to its construction along an 11-km-long, SW-NE fissure above a 1.2-0.3 million year old Pleistocene edifice. The ice-capped, basaltic-andesite volcano contains well-preserved cones and lava flows, which have traveled up to 14 km. Small craters 100-500 m in diameter are primarily found along a fissure extending down the SW flank. Intense solfataric activity occurs at the southern portion of the summit; in 1966 and 1978, red glow was observed in fumarolic areas (Moreno 1985, pers. comm.). Periods of intense fumarolic activity have dominated; few historical eruptions are known. An explosive eruption was reported in 1751, there were uncertain accounts of eruptions in 1864 and 1937, and a small phreatic ash emission was noted in 1980.

Information Contacts: J. Naranjo, SERNAGEOMIN, Santiago; H. Moreno, Univ de Chile.


Colima (Mexico) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity and SW flank rockfall avalanches; Seismic net expanded

A group from CICBAS (Universidad de Colima) and CONMAR (Oregon State Univ) visited the volcano 15-17 February. Since their last visit, in May 1989, rockfall avalanches have occurred preferentially on the SW flank. Fumarolic activity persisted throughout their visit, forming a dense gray cloud. Poor weather conditions limited additional observations.

The geologists emplaced geoceivers for satellite communication, to determine geodetic positions of sites near the volcano for installation of two new telemetering seismographs. On 15 December 1989, the CICBAS seismology group had installed the 4th telemetric station of the Red Sismológica Telemétrica de Colima, 7 km from the volcano (at la Yerbabuena, site EZV6 on figure 6).

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

Information Contacts: Guillermo Castellanos, Gilberto Ornelas-Arciniega, C. Ariel Ramírez-Vazquez, G.A. Reyes-Dávila, and Hector Tamez, CICBAS, Universidad de Colima.


Deception Island (Antarctica) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Deception Island

Antarctica

63.001°S, 60.652°W; summit elev. 602 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


More than 1,000 seismic events recorded in one month

"Spanish scientists visited Deception Island in December 1989 and January-February 1990. A geophysical station is located on the island and the Spanish oceanographic vessel Las Palmas operated in the area. Geological, tectonic, and geophysical features on and near the island were investigated. A regional, higher precision GPS geodetic network spans the Deception section of the Bransfield Rift.

"During the 1989-90 field season, an array of six digital seismic stations was installed on Deception Island. More than 1,000 events (0.5-2.1 mb) were digitally recorded. The major shocks were located in de Neptune Bowels (S of the island). The distribution of events shows a good correlation with tectonic features on and near the island (figure 2). A low seismic velocity, high-attenuation body was inferred under the NE sector of the island. A negative magnetic anomaly (-4,900 nT) is located in the same area.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Distribution of seismic events (circles) recorded by the Spanish Antarctic Program seismic array (triangles) on Deception Island, 20 January-20 February 1990.

"Chemical compositions of samples from fumaroles and thermal springs suggest a thermal anomaly related to an underlying magma body. Gas geothermometry shows a formation temperature >250°C, with an outflow temperature of about 100°C. The phreatomagmatic character of the recent episodes is hypothesized as the result of a magma intrusion into shallow and confined water-saturated layers.

"A permanent seismic station monitoring the seismic activity in the area has been established at Spain's Juan Carlos I facility (35 km from Deception)."

Geologic Background. Ring-shaped Deception Island, one of Antarctica's most well known volcanoes, contains a 7-km-wide caldera flooded by the sea. Deception Island is located at the SW end of the Shetland Islands, NE of Graham Land Peninsula, and was constructed along the axis of the Bransfield Rift spreading center. A narrow passageway named Neptunes Bellows provides entrance to a natural harbor that was utilized as an Antarctic whaling station. Numerous vents located along ring fractures circling the low, 14-km-wide island have been active during historical time. Maars line the shores of 190-m-deep Port Foster, the caldera bay. Among the largest of these maars is 1-km-wide Whalers Bay, at the entrance to the harbor. Eruptions from Deception Island during the past 8700 years have been dated from ash layers in lake sediments on the Antarctic Peninsula and neighboring islands.

Information Contacts: R. Ortiz, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Spain; Rafael Soto, Real Instituto y Observatorio de la Armada, Spain.


Erebus (Antarctica) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

77.53°S, 167.17°E; summit elev. 3794 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional Strombolian explosions from two small lava lakes; stronger SO2emission

Scientists visited the summit of Mt. Erebus several times from mid-November 1989 through mid-January 1990. Activity was at a low level compared to that of the early 1980s. Anorthoclase phonolite lava in the summit inner crater was mainly confined to two small convecting lakes; one circular and about 20 m in diameter, and the other irregular and ~20 m long. This was the largest area of convecting lava seen at Mt. Erebus since late 1984, when eruptions buried an older, larger, lava lake system. Three hornitos were actively degassing around the lava lakes, and small fumaroles were present within the inner crater.

From mid-November to mid-December, infrequent small Strombolian explosions ejected bombs to a few tens of meters from the lava lakes. A small gas bubble burst was observed in one of the hornitos. In mid-December, an increase in the frequency and size of small Strombolian eruptions was recorded by Victoria University's remote video camera mounted on the crater rim 220 m above the lava lakes. Images transmitted to Scott base, 35 km from the volcano, showed bombs being ejected to more than 100 m height.

SO2 emission, monitored by COSPEC, has increased substantially over the previous 5 years, commonly exceeding 100 t/d. This increase was consistent with previous observations suggesting that the surface area of the lava lakes correlates with SO2 emission rates.

Geologic Background. Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost historically active volcano, overlooks the McMurdo research station on Ross Island. It is the largest of three major volcanoes forming the crudely triangular Ross Island. The summit of the dominantly phonolitic volcano has been modified by one or two generations of caldera formation. A summit plateau at about 3,200 m elevation marks the rim of the youngest caldera, which formed during the late-Pleistocene and within which the modern cone was constructed. An elliptical 500 x 600 m wide, 110-m-deep crater truncates the summit and contains an active lava lake within a 250-m-wide, 100-m-deep inner crater; other lava lakes are sometimes present. The glacier-covered volcano was erupting when first sighted by Captain James Ross in 1841. Continuous lava-lake activity with minor explosions, punctuated by occasional larger Strombolian explosions that eject bombs onto the crater rim, has been documented since 1972, but has probably been occurring for much of the volcano's recent history.

Information Contacts: P. Kyle and W. McIntosh, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; R. Dibble, Victoria Univ.


Etna (Italy) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava fountains and flow then strong block ejection from Southeast Crater

Summit activity. (S. Calvari, M. Coltelli, O. Consoli, M. Pompilio, and V. Scribano.) February activity was characterized by a single strong eruptive episode at Southeast Crater. Summit-area craters generally remained quiet through the rest of February and March. The 1-2 February eruptive episode was similar to several in January. A gradual increase in Strombolian explosions was followed by lava fountaining, and lava flowed over the crater's E rim for 5 hours beginning at 2200 on 1 February. The flow turned toward the Valle del Bove, advancing to ~ 2,000 m altitude, near the terminus of the mid-January flow. During the morning of 2 February, discontinuous Strombolian activity was followed by ejection of scoria that seldom reached a few tens of meters from the rim. Activity changed at about 1330 to energetic, discontinuous explosions that generated rumbling heard at a considerable distance. Blocks more than a meter across fell within a few hundred meters of the crater; much of the slightly vesicular ash was non-juvenile. Similar activity continued until about midnight. After the eruptive episode, the crater was completely obstructed, without any gas emission, until 27 February, when sporadic ejection of dark tephra began from two vents on the crater floor. February activity at other summit-area craters was limited to vapor emission from floors and walls. Emissions were particularly strong from Northeast Crater, where the active vent's walls were strongly incandescent.

Degassing was continuous at the summit craters in March but was not accompanied by Strombolian activity. Degassing occurred from an elliptical vent on the W floor of La Voragine accompanied by sporadic rumbling. Gas was also emitted from two sites on the SE and NW floor of Bocca Nuova. Weak fumarolic activity, from collapse steps that have formed along concentric fractures in Southeast Crater, was strongest from the center of the crater. Degassing also continued in Northeast Crater. On 29 and 30 March, sporadic tephra ejection and incandescence were observed, apparently from a sudden rise in the magma column.

Seismic activity. (E. Privitera, C. Cardaci, O. Cocina, V. Longo, A. Montaldo, M. Patanè, A. Pellegrino, and S. Spampinato.) Volcanic tremor amplitude began a progressive increase on 1 February at 1239, probably associated with increased Strombolian activity at Southeast Crater. Amplitudes peaked at 1940 that day, and at 0048 the next morning as activity was changing from Strombolian to lava fountaining. Other substantial increases in tremor amplitude occurred at 0600-1100, 1855, and 1935. The first of two sequences of discrete earthquakes on 2 February began at 0352. Eight of the events, centered at ~15 km depth on the volcano's N sector, were larger than M 1, the strongest at M 2.6 between 0424 and 0619. The second series of shocks started at 1321, with the two largest events (M 2.8) at 1322 and 1337. Hypocenters were on the Valle del Bove at <1 km depth. From 3 February until the end of the month, seismic activity was at very low levels, with little variation in tremor amplitude or the number of low-frequency shocks. Nine fracturing events exceeded M 1, with a maximum magnitude of 2.5.

Seismic activity in March was characterized by a significant increase in the number of fracturing events. Swarms on 16 and 18 March totaled 124 shocks (M>=1) and brought the month's recorded earthquakes to 153, ~ 3 times as many as in January and February. The 16 March swarm began at 0530 and continued until 0050 the next day. Of the 107 shocks stronger than M 1, 28 were of M>=2 and three of M>=3. The bulk of the most energetic events originated from the central to W part of the edifice at 10-20 km depth, although one (at 1052) was located just NNW of the central crater at ~5 km depth. The strongest shock of the 18 March sequence, which included 17 events, occurred on the SW flank (a few kilometers S of Monte Nero) at ~10-15 km depth. An M 3.3 earthquake on 22 March at 1159 was ~15 km deep, roughly 6 km SSW of the summit (just S of Monte Vetore). The March seismicity was not accompanied by changes in volcanic tremor amplitude, which remained low throughout the month. The number and amplitude of low-frequency events showed little change after 3 February. A new seismic station (PZF) was installed on the lower NW flank (near Maletto), replacing station RCC, stolen in August 1989. With the new site, IIV's Etna network numbers 8 stations.

Ground deformation. (A. Bonaccorso, O. Campisi, G. Falzone, B. Puglisi, and R. Velardita.) Two tilt stations (SPC and CDV) operated during February, both on the S side of the volcano. Data from station SPC generally remained within resolution limits through February and March. A weak anomaly was recorded on the tangential component 18-20 February, then tangential data returned to the normal range. Radial values from recently installed station CDV remained within resolution limits through February, while tangential data began a (negative) excursion on 18 February that totalled 5 µrad by the end of the month. All instruments from this station were stolen on 1 March. Reoccupation of sites that form a triangle along the fracture zone between 1,800 and 1,500 m altitude on the S-SE flank (between benchmarks Bocche 1792, Serra Pizzuta Calvarina, and Mt. Stempato) did not show significant deformation since the previous measurements on 19 January.

Summit SO2 flux. (T. Caltabiano and R. Romano.) Rates of SO2 emission during Southeast Crater's eruptive episode on 2 February were three times mean values. Measurements 7, 14, and 21 February showed considerable variation. The five March measurements yielded SO2 flux of 2,500-14,000 t/d, increasing at the end of the month.

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

Information Contacts: R. Santacroce, IIV.


Fuego (Guatemala) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous gas emission; summit morphology appears unchanged since 1980

Overflights of Fuego were made on 15 and 16 February by volcanologists from INSIVUMEH and Michigan Tech. The following is from their report.

"Continuous gas emission was observed, with no evidence of any magma at the surface. The geometry of the summit crater and its surroundings (which influences the paths of pyroclastic flows during eruptive activity) was unchanged since 1980. COSPEC measurements of SO2 emission rates were made from the air, yielding 265 ± 33 t/d on 15 February and 120 ± 30 t/d on 16 February (3 and 8 determinations respectively). These rates are very similar to the 100 t/d measured in February 1980 and much less than the rates measured in February 1978 (660-1,700 t/d) when Fuego was actively erupting (Stoiber et al., 1983; reference under Santiaguito)."

Geologic Background. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. Construction of Meseta dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km onto the Pacific coastal plain. Growth of the modern Fuego volcano followed, continuing the southward migration of volcanism that began at Acatenango. In contrast to the mostly andesitic Acatenango, eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows.

Information Contacts: Otoniel Matías and Rodolfo Morales, Sección de Volcanología, INSIVUMEH; W.I. Rose, Jimmy Diehl, Robert Andres, Michael Conway, and Gordon Keating, Michigan Technological Univ, USA.


Galeras (Colombia) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small phreatic ash emissions with spasmodic tremor and long-period seismicity

Small phreatic ash emissions continued in March, accompanied by spasmodic tremor and long-period seismicity (table 2). Incandescence was mainly observed in the W part of the crater. The number of low-frequency earthquakes increased 47% relative to February values, with an 86% increase in seismic energy release. However, the number of high-frequency events decreased 38% from February and energy release declined 28% (figures 17 and 18). Most earthquakes were centered in two zones under, W of, and S of the summit (figure 19). SO2 emissions measured on 15 and 22 March by COSPEC were at low-moderate levels, ranging from 630 to 1,380 t/d.

Table 2. Phreatic ash emissions and associated seismicity at Galeras, March 1990. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Date Time Seismic Signal
09 Mar 1990 0233 Spasmodic tremor
11 Mar 1990 1448 Spasmodic tremor
11 Mar 1990 1618 Spasmodic tremor
11 Mar 1990 1652 Long-period
11 Mar 1990 2036 Spasmodic tremor
17 Mar 1990 1817 Long-period
17 Mar 1990 1921 Spasmodic tremor
18 Mar 1990 0631 Spasmodic tremor
27 Mar 1990 0609 Long-period
27 Mar 1990 1552 Spasmodic tremor
28 Mar 1990 1359 Spasmodic tremor
29 Mar 1990 0948 Spasmodic tremor
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Number of seismic events at Galeras, February 1989-March 1990. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Daily energy release of high-frequency (dashed line) and low-frequency (solid line) seismicity at Galeras, March 1990. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Epicenters of 67 seismic events at Galeras, March 1990. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

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-OVP.


Guagua Pichincha (Ecuador) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Guagua Pichincha

Ecuador

0.171°S, 78.598°W; summit elev. 4784 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic explosions and tremor after 10 days of A-type shocks

After 15 months of quiet, phreatic activity began on 16 April at 0221. The activity was confined to the phreatic crater formed in 1981-82, on the NE side of the 600-m-diameter dome that occupies most of the caldera floor. Activity began with spasmodic harmonic tremor of small to intermediate amplitude, accompanied by strong fumarolic emissions generating a vapor column that rose at least 800 m. Several explosions were heard and recorded by seismographs 1.5 km and (very weakly) 9 km from the crater. Seven new fumaroles were observed within the 1981 crater, but by 17 April had joined to form a single fumarole 4 m in diameter. Non-juvenile material, rocks, and mud were thrown outward to 250 m from the vent, forming a layer 4 cm thick. The explosions enlarged the 1981 crater by ~20 m.

Precursory activity began with a M 2.3 earthquake on 5 April and a M 2.2 shock on 13 April. Only a few small events, both A- and B-type, were detected during subsequent days. The tremor had a typical frequency of 1.7 Hz on 15-17 April. Periods of tremor lasted as much as 3 hours, separated by intervals of low-amplitude tremor or quiescence. Intermittent explosions were also recorded, always associated with tremor. Only a few very small B-type events have been recorded since the onset of phreatic activity. Fumarolic waters remained at their normal temperature of 87°C.

Given the shallow character of the activity, geologists believed that it was partly related to the previous week's increased precipitation. Stepped-up monitoring and re-deployment of the Instituto Geofísico's seismic net (dismantled following the 1988 activity) were begun 16-17 April, and tilt stations and EDM lines were being resurveyed. The Instituto's hazard map and previously planned preparedness exercises for a hypothetical eruption of Guagua Pichincha were helping civil defense authorities to prepare for the possibility of increased activity.

Geologic Background. Guagua Pichincha and the older Pleistocene Rucu Pichincha stratovolcanoes form a broad volcanic massif that rises immediately to the W of Ecuador's capital city, Quito. A lava dome is located at the head of a 6-km-wide breached caldera that formed during a late-Pleistocene slope failure ~50,000 years ago. Subsequent late-Pleistocene and Holocene eruptions from the central vent in the breached caldera consisted of explosive activity with pyroclastic flows accompanied by periodic growth and destruction of the central lava dome. One of Ecuador's most active volcanoes, it is the site of many minor eruptions since the beginning of the Spanish era. The largest historical eruption took place in 1660, when ash fell over a 1000 km radius, accumulating to 30 cm depth in Quito. Pyroclastic flows and surges also occurred, primarily to then W, and affected agricultural activity, causing great economic losses.

Information Contacts: M. Hall, Instituto Geofísico de la Escuela Politécnica Nacional.


Irruputuncu (Chile-Bolivia) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Irruputuncu

Chile-Bolivia

20.73°S, 68.55°W; summit elev. 5163 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption reported by press but geologist observes only fumarolic activity

December press reports in Bolivia of an eruption . . .[located 25 km NNW of Olca Volcano] remain unconfirmed, and attempts by Bolivian geologists to fly over the volcano in January were stymied by poor weather. State oil company (ENAP) geologist Patricio Sepulveda reported only normal fumarolic activity at Irruputuncu on 25 March.

Geologic Background. Irruputuncu is a small stratovolcano that straddles the Chile/Bolivia border. It is the youngest and most southerly of a NE-SW-trending chain of volcanoes. It was constructed within the collapse scarp of a Holocene debris avalanche whose deposit extends to the SW. Subsequent eruptions filled much of this scarp and produced thick, viscous lava flows down the W flank. The summit complex contains two craters, the southernmost of which is fumarolically active. The first unambiguous historical eruption took place in November 1995, when phreatic explosions produced dark ash clouds.

Information Contacts: J. Naranjo, SERNAGEOMIN.


Karymsky (Russia) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Slight thermal activity

The volcano was generally quiet during a 2 February overflight (figure 1). Pre-existing thermal areas were visible in the S and SW parts of the crater, although the vent was snow-covered. Slightly warm zones were also noted on the upper S flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Summit crater of Karymsky, looking roughly SW on 2 February 1990. Courtesy of B. Ivanov.

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

Information Contacts: B. Ivanov, IV.


Kick 'em Jenny (Grenada) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Kick 'em Jenny

Grenada

12.3°N, 61.64°W; summit elev. -185 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong T-phase signals suggest submarine eruption, but no activity detected at the surface

Seismic stations along the Lesser Antilles arc began to record very strong acoustic (T-phase) signals, probably associated with an eruption of the . . . Kick-'em-Jenny . . . on 26 March at 1112. Overflights of the area during the period of vigorous seismicity did not reveal any water discoloration or other surface changes above the volcano, which had a summit depth of about 160 m in 1982.

Thirteen distinct seismic bursts, lasting up to 19 minutes, were recorded 26-27 March on instruments operated by the Seismic Research Unit, Univ of the West Indies. The IPGP's Mt. Pelée seismic network on Martinique, 250 km NNE of Kick-'em-Jenny, recorded strong T-waves on 26 March at 1117:22, 1502:30, 1723, and 2034 (the latter felt by residents of NW Martinique), and on 27 March at 0035:40 and 0424:25. T-waves reached IPGP's Soufrière de Guadeloupe net, 450 km N of Kick-'em-Jenny, on 26 March at 1118. The initial activity saturated the Grenada seismograph and the largest burst of seismicity, at about 1721 on 26 March, was felt on northern Grenada. After a single 14-minute episode that started at 0103 on 28 March, seismicity stopped on all but the Grenada instrument, which continued to record occasional low-frequency (0.5-2 Hz) signals for periods of about 30 seconds to more than 3 hours. The latest reported low-frequency episode occurred on 5 April between about 0500 and 0800.

Geologic Background. Kick 'em Jenny, a historically active submarine volcano 8 km off the N shore of Grenada, rises 1300 m from the sea floor. Recent bathymetric surveys have shown evidence for a major arcuate collapse structure, which was the source of a submarine debris avalanche that traveled more than 15 km W. Bathymetry also revealed another submarine cone to the SE, Kick 'em Jack, and submarine lava domes to its S. These and subaerial tuff rings and lava flows at Ile de Caille and other nearby islands may represent a single large volcanic complex. Numerous historical eruptions, mostly documented by acoustic signals, have occurred since 1939, when an eruption cloud rose 275 m above the sea. Prior to the 1939 eruption, which was witnessed by a large number of people in northern Grenada, there had been no written mention of the volcano. Eruptions have involved both explosive activity and the quiet extrusion of lava flows and lava domes in the summit crater; deep rumbling noises have sometimes been heard onshore. Historical eruptions have modified the morphology of the summit crater.

Information Contacts: W. Ambeh, K. Rowley, L. Lynch, and L. Pollard, UWI; A. Redhead, Office of the Prime Minister, Grenada; J.P. Viode and G. Boudon, Observatoire Volcanologique de la Montagne Pelée, Martinique; C. Antenor and M. Feuillard, Observatoire de la Soufrière, Guadeloupe; J.L. Cheminée, N. Girardin, and A. Hirn, IPGP Observatoires Volcanologiques, France.


Kilauea (United States) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption stops briefly then resumes after seismic swarm; lava destroys house

Lava flows . . . remained active during the first half of March. The main (Quarry) and low-volume (Roberts) flows continued to enter the ocean, while a third (Keone) flow advanced slowly to within 600 m of a highway at 30 m elevation (figure 66). Activity was periodically observed at Pu`u `O`o. Crusted lava in Kupaianaha pond averaged 30 m below the rim and only overturned a few times/day, in contrast to vigorous past activity. On the 19th, the eruption stopped and the lava pond roofed over. Small collapse pits were found in the lava pond's crust the next day. Only residual lava from the Quarry and Roberts lava tubes drained into the ocean on the 21st.

Activity resumed on the night of the 21st, with glow reported from the East rift zone. By the next day, active lava was visible in Pu`u `O`o, had risen to 20 m below the rim at Kupaianaha, and had reoccupied the tube system to 550 m elevation. Surface lava breakouts at 550 and 600 m elevation fed two flows. Lava followed the course of the January 1990 flow between the December 1986 and 1977 aa flows, and by the end of the month had reached 200 m elevation. Lava also followed the course of the Keone flow, to within 500 m of the intersection of highways 130 and 137. Kupaianaha pond remained active through 23 March when it again began to roof over ~30 m below the rim, and by the 26th, only small pahoehoe lobes were periodically active around the pond's margins.

Seismic signals . . . marked the eruption's changes. From early to mid-March, sporadic gas pistoning was recorded, manifested as background volcanic tremor decreasing to an essentially quiet state for several minutes, generally ending with a sharp burst of energy followed by continued background tremor. This activity subsided after 17 March, succeeded by a marked increase in tremor and, on the afternoon of 18 March, brief summit deflation.

At Kilauea's summit, swarms of long-period tremor events occurred from late 16 March through midday 18 March and from the evening of 19 March through the early morning of the 21st (figure 67). A swarm of short-period microearthquakes began later that morning and continued until early 22 March. Five hours after the onset of the summit swarm, and several hours before eruptive activity resumed, a sudden increase in earthquakes occurred in the upper East rift zone between the summit and the active craters. The hypocenters were in two areas: near Makaopuhi (roughly midway between the summit caldera rim and Kupaianaha) and Pauahi (~5 km uprift from Makaopuhi). The swarm continued until the morning of 25 March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Preliminary locations of earthquakes in the Hawaii Island region, including Kilauea and Loihi, 1-26 March 1990. Courtesy of R. Koyanagi.

After lava returned to Kupaianaha on 22 March, variations in seismicity became less obvious. Tremor near Pu`u `O`o increased gradually and was relatively steady from the 24th until the end of the month.

Addendum: Eruptive activity declined on 5 April [see also 15:4], but had resumed by the night of the 6th. Lava entered Kalapana Gardens subdivision on 3 April, and within three weeks had destroyed a dozen houses.

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, P. Okubo, and R. Koyanagi, HVO; AP.


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

56.056°N, 160.642°E; summit elev. 4754 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong summit tephra eruption; basaltic lava from SE flank vent

During an overflight by geologists on 2 February, vigorous ash emission fed a large eruption column that rose to ~5 km height and had a basal diameter of ~400-600 m (figure 3). Individual ash bursts were visible at the base of the column, although ash emission appeared to be continuous. A new vent was noted at 4,500 m elev on the NE slope of the Apakhonchich valley, on the upper SE flank. Vapor jets 200-300 m high were distinctly visible above this vent. A subsidiary vent downslope (at 3,970 m elev) fed basaltic lava flows. An ash plume extended 60-80 km E. The ashfall area on 2 February was ~1,600 km2.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Tephra cloud from Kliuchevskoi's summit crater on 2 February 1990, in photograph looking roughly E. Arrow 1 indicates the new vent at 4,600 m elev on the SE flank, arrow 2 the effusive vent at 3,970 m elev. Courtesy of B. Ivanov.

Images from the NOAA 10 and 11 polar orbiting satellites showed several plumes from Kliuchevskoi. On 22 February at 1548, a thin plume extended ~80 km SE. A plume was next visible on 10 March at 0956. Although obscured by weather clouds a short distance ENE of the volcano, it formed a distinct cold area on the infrared image, indicating that it was at relatively high altitude. On 12 March at 0335, a very thin plume stretched 15-20 km NE from the Kliuchevskoi area, and on 15 March at 0942, a small diffuse plume extended S from the volcano. A thin plume extended 250 km NE on 3 April at 0903. Weather clouds . . . may have obscured additional eruptive activity.

Geologic Background. Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka's highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank craters.

Information Contacts: B. Ivanov, IV; W. Gould, NOAA/NESDIS.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — March 1990 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)


Glow; gas emission; rumbling

"Activity consisted of weak to moderate white-grey emissions from Crater 2. Weak, steady, red glow was observed 1-4 and 25-31 March. Rumbling noises were heard on the 28th and 29th. Crater 3 remained quiet throughout the month. Seismicity was at a low level."

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: I. Itikarai, P. de Saint-Ours, and C. McKee, RVO.


Lascar (Chile) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Lascar

Chile

23.37°S, 67.73°W; summit elev. 5592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


20 February eruption ejected about 10-30% of the lava dome in crystal-rich fragments

After the 20 February eruption, Lascar returned to its normal fumarolic activity with the generation of mainly white plumes that rise 300-500 m above the rim of the active central crater. Between 20 and 24 March, geologists from the SERNAGEOMIN and several British universities observed the volcano from the ground and from the active crater's rim, reached on the 23rd from the N slope and on the 24th from the S slope. The following is from their report.

"Examination of photographs taken by J.R. Gerneck (Chile Hunt Oil) during the 20 February eruption revealed three discrete plumes. The first, white in color, consisted mainly of steam, and was overtaken by two smaller, grayish, higher velocity clouds. Geologists interpreted this sequence as an initial steam explosion related to the partial destruction of the dome that fills the bottom of the active crater, followed by phreatomagmatic eruptions. The eruption products, primarily fragments of the dome, occurred as shattered, dark, dense blocks of porphyritic pyroxene andesite, ranging to white, semi-vesicular, largely disaggregated blocks of similar composition, with thin, darker, quenched rims. The blocks were composed of plagioclase, clinopyroxene, and orthopyroxene phenocrysts, small amounts of magnetite, and scarce reacted olivine and hornblende crystals in a glassy groundmass. They are enriched in crystals compared to bombs from the 1986 eruption, with larger phenocrysts (up to 2 mm), and a larger proportion of pyroxene. No olivine or hornblende were found in the 1986 bombs, which included occasional xenoliths of partially molten granite. The 20 February blocks were distributed almost symmetrically in a radius of 4 km around the crater, associated with asymmetrical impact craters, elongate parallel to block trajectories. The number of blocks increased dramatically close to the vent where they covered 70-90% of the surface. No fresh ash was observed close to the volcano.

"Preliminary calculations, based on the volume of ejecta and the size of the plume, indicate that between 10 and 30% of the dome was erupted on 20 February. This estimate is supported by 5 March airphotos of the interior of the crater and by observations made from the crater rim, where a large part of the dome can still be observed in the bottom of the crater. The dome has apparently continued deflating since our last observation in November 1989 (14:11). A hole appeared to be present in its center, produced by collapse into the vent. Fumaroles were located around the dome, along ring fractures as observed in April 1989. Gas was still venting at extremely high velocity, creating the same jet-like noise reported in November. The strongest fumaroles were on the dome's NE and SW edges. A strong smell of HCl and SO2 was recorded from the N rim. Deposits of yellow sulfur are visible associated with the fumaroles. Temperatures were measured (by Clive Oppenheimer) using an infrared radiometer (after dark, to eliminate the effects of sunlight). The fumaroles were observed to be glowing red hot and bright spots were seen over the dome. Preliminary data show the largest fumarole to have a temperature of 700-800°C, while the surface of the dome had an average temperature of 100-200°."

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

Information Contacts: M. Gardeweg, SERNAGEOMIN, Santiago; S. Matthews, Univ College London; C. Oppenheimer, Open Univ; S. Sparks and M. Stasiuk, Univ of Bristol.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — March 1990 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)


Airphotos suggest continued production of small lava flows on crater floor

Airphotos taken between 16 and 18 October 1989 by Geoff Price and 7 March 1990 by Lester Eshelman suggest that no large-volume lava flows have been extruded since June 1989. Only minor changes appear to have occurred to cones in the crater since . . . 24 June-1 July and 22-25 November 1988.

During the October 1989 overflight, clouds partially obscured the crater floor, which appeared pale gray, with a slightly darker lava flow (F13), previously seen June-August 1989, near the W wall (figure 14). Cones and vents on the crater floor had changed little since June-August 1989. A vent (T12) seen in September 1989 was no longer visible at the base of the E crater wall. A new vent (T13) had been added to the old complex (T5/T9) which now appeared as several closely spaced cones joined at the base. A possible small hornito (H6) was observed between T5/T9 and T8. The width of the overflow across the former saddle (M2M1) had not changed, but the area of lava S of the saddle may have increased slightly, particularly on the W side of the southern depression.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. View of the N crater and southern depression at Ol Doinyo Lengai, looking roughly S between 16 and 18 October, 1989. Traced from a photograph by Geoff Price; courtesy of C. Nyamweru.

On 7 March 1990, bright sunshine and clear visibility revealed small lava flows of varying colors on the crater floor. However, none were dark gray or black, suggesting that they were of different ages and probably more than a few days (but at most a few weeks) old. No new vents were recognized, and the area of lava in the southern depression had not increased. Flow F13 was white, but had been partially covered by younger brown flows from the W side of T5/T9T13 (figure 15). Many flows of different colors were seen on its W and N slopes, including a narrow white tongue of lava (roughly 4-5 m long and 50 cm wide) stretching from the vent down the flank of the cone complex. Similar features were observed forming on T4/T7 in 1988. Several dark grooves extending from the slopes of T5/T9 appear to be narrow channels formed when a lava flow built levees, restricting it to a narrow stream. The formation of similar features was observed . . . in June and November 1988.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. View of the N crater and southern depression at Ol Doinyo Lengai, looking roughly S on 7 March 1990. Traced from a photograph by L. Eshelman; courtesy of C. Nyamweru.

Notes on individual vents and cones are as follows: T5/T9/T13: Probable center of activity since October 1989, with emission of small thin flows from very small vents, mostly on its W slopes. The top has merged into a single broad cone with several dark patches indicating cracks or vents near the top. T4/T7: Brown and buff colors dominate. Small black patches at the top of two mounds on the E side indicate vents still open. No sign of new material extruded from these vents. Generally smooth and weathered. Lava production from T4/T7 was last reported in November 1988 (13:12). T8: Brown and buff colors dominate. Top of pinnacle appears slightly less steep. No sign of new material. Lava spattering was seen in November 1988, but only gas emission has been observed since then. T10: Gray; part of ridge that joined this cone to the E crater wall may have collapsed. Bubbling lava was seen near T10 in May 1989 (14:06). T11: Pale gray; center of cone is flat and inactive. Possible collapse at N edge. No recent lava emission was apparent and none has been reported since November 1988.

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.


Llaima (Chile) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Llaima

Chile

38.692°S, 71.729°W; summit elev. 3125 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small explosion ejects incandescent column; strong seismicity

A small explosion on 25 February, followed by the ejection of a glowing column from the main crater, was reported by Conguillio National Park administrator Omar Toledo. He added that small sediment-laden streams of water had flowed down the E flank at times when thawing does not normally occur. Field observations by geologists 5-18 March revealed occasional increases in fumarolic activity from the main crater. On 10 March, vigorous 40-60-second puffs of gas were emitted every minute during the early evening. After a summit climb, Conguillio National Park rangers reported that intense fumarolic activity produced grayish gases and a strong sulfur odor. Rockslides occurred every 1-2 hours on the NE flank.

A portable seismograph was operated 19-22 March at the volcano's W foot (in Los Paraguas National Park) by Jaime Campos and Bertrad Delovis, Dept de Geofísica, Univ de Chile. Intense volcanic earthquakes and tremor were recorded. Another portable seismograph will be installed at the NE foot (near Conguillio Lake) by Univ de la Frontera scientists.

Geologic Background. Llaima, one of Chile's largest and most active volcanoes, contains two main historically active craters, one at the summit and the other, Pichillaima, to the SE. The massive, dominantly basaltic-to-andesitic, stratovolcano has a volume of 400 km3. A Holocene edifice built primarily of accumulated lava flows was constructed over an 8-km-wide caldera that formed about 13,200 years ago, following the eruption of the 24 km3 Curacautín Ignimbrite. More than 40 scoria cones dot the volcano's flanks. Following the end of an explosive stage about 7200 years ago, construction of the present edifice began, characterized by Strombolian, Hawaiian, and infrequent subplinian eruptions. Frequent moderate explosive eruptions with occasional lava flows have been recorded since the 17th century.

Information Contacts: H. Moreno, Univ de Chile; J. Naranjo, SERNAGEOMIN, Santiago.


Loihi (United States) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Loihi

United States

18.92°N, 155.27°W; summit elev. -975 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong earthquake swarm, suggesting magma movement

A vigorous earthquake swarm occurred off the S flank of Hawaii 11-19 March 1990 (figure 4). More than 300 events were registered, about 15 of M 3-4, and some of M >4. Seismologists associated many of the events, including the larger ones, with processes at Loihi Seamount. No acoustic signals (T-waves) were reported.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Portion of a seismogram recorded during Loihi's 11 March 1990 earthquake swarm, by a station (AHU) 45 km from the epicentral area. Courtesy of R. Koyanagi.

Further Reference. Malahoff, A., 1987, Geology of the summit of Loihi submarine volcano, in Decker, R.W., Wright, T.L., and Stauffer, P.H., eds., Volcanism in Hawaii: USGS Professional Paper 1350, p. 133-144.

Geologic Background. Loihi seamount, the youngest volcano of the Hawaiian chain, lies about 35 km off the SE coast of the island of Hawaii. Loihi (which is the Hawaiian word for "long") has an elongated morphology dominated by two curving rift zones extending north and south of the summit. The summit region contains a caldera about 3 x 4 km wide and is dotted with numerous lava cones, the highest of which is about 975 m below the sea surface. The summit platform includes two well-defined pit craters, sediment-free glassy lava, and low-temperature hydrothermal venting. An arcuate chain of small cones on the western edge of the summit extends north and south of the pit craters and merges into the crests prominent rift zones. Deep and shallow seismicity indicate a magmatic plumbing system distinct from that of Kilauea. During 1996 a new pit crater was formed at the summit, and lava flows were erupted. Continued volcanism is expected to eventually build a new island; time estimates for the summit to reach the sea surface range from roughly 10,000 to 100,000 years.

Information Contacts: P. Okubo and R. Koyanagi, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.


Long Valley (United States) — March 1990 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)


Continued earthquake swarm in caldera's S moat

Earthquake swarm activity in the caldera's S moat continued through March. A swarm of >300 events of magnitude greater than or equal to 2.8 occurred 3 March, followed by smaller swarms on 9, 18, 28, and 30 March. The swarm on the 30th included more than 100 events, all of which were smaller than M 2. Only a few isolated events occurred beneath Mammoth Mountain. Two-color geodimeter measurements indicate that extension across the S moat and resurgent dome continued through March at the 5 ppm/year rate that began in late September.

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: D. Hill, USGS Menlo Park.


Lonquimay (Chile) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Lonquimay

Chile

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption ends after 13 months; continued fumarolic activity and small-scale collapse

The following is a report from José A. Naranjo and Hugo Moreno R. Most field observations were made in collaboration with R.S.J. Sparks and Mark Stasiuk, Bristol Univ, and Clive Oppenheimer, Open Univ.

"Field evidence suggests that the eruption from Navidad Cone ended between 22 and 25 January 1990, after 13 months of activity. Explosions with pyroclastic ejections stopped between 29 December and 10 January. José Córdoba, a teacher from Malalcahuello, observed and photographed one of the last explosions, on 27 December at 1930-2000. Strong explosions ejected bombs, and white clouds consisting mainly of water vapor rose as much as 600 m above the crater. He also observed two small landslides that originated from the cone's flank (above the vent), followed by white steam clouds that rose along the scar left on the N flank (see below). These collapses may represent the early stages of the slumping observed on 20 January.

"Chlorine gases and minor water vapor fumaroles remained along concentric fractures within the main crater 3-17 March. Compared with previous observations on 21 November and 20 January, the innermost annular fractures exhibited clear evidence of collapse, leaving scarps 1.5-2 m high (figure 16). Fumes from the outermost fractures near the crater rim yielded temperatures of 86°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. View N across the crater of Navidad scoria cone, Lonquimay volcano, from the highest (S) part of the rim. 21 November 1989 (top): Concentric fractures had formed on the W side of the innermost nested crater; intense water vapor fumaroles aligned with them, and a strong steam jet was emitted from a glowing vent on the inner wall. 20 January 1990 (middle): Vapor emission had ceased and collapse had occurred along the eastern inner wall, the southern fractures, and around the N wall-vent. A funnel-shaped crater about 120 m in diameter had clearly widened by collapse since November. 5 March 1990 (bottom): Only dry gases were emitted along the annular fractures, while no fumes were visible at the main crater vents. Fractures had widened on the S part of the cone, and collapse scars appeared on the E part. Sketched from photographs by J.A. Naranjo.

"By March, the source vent was completely covered by talus from the unstable flank material above it. Discontinuous slumping of this debris left a funnel-shaped scar about 90 m high and 30 m deep, with walls that project upward through the crater's inner concentric fractures. The channel was enlarged by successive collapses that were up to 30 m deep and 25 m wide near the vent.

"The lava surface remained almost completely covered by a 1-3-m-thick mantle of debris transported on it. Former arched transverse debris ridges were disturbed and a gash of fresher lava was formed along the debris mantle's front axis. The top parts of most ridges showed higher temperatures (up to 390°C at 30 cm depth) than the almost cool gullies between them. After 20 January, the debris-covered lava advanced 120 m before it stopped flowing. This smooth surface texture conspicuously contrasted with the spiny, jagged surface presented by the blocky/aa lava immediately downstream.

"The fumaroles aligned with the central vent and the flow to the ENE showed decreased activity when compared to April 1989, although their temperatures remained at 190° and 250-300°C, 600 and 300 m from Navidad Cone respectively.

"On 17 March, a 948°C thermocouple measurement was obtained ~7 m below the lava surface, 1.5-2 km downstream from the source vent. The main lobe in the Lolco River valley had not advanced since 20 November 1989, although it showed a front thickness that had increased slightly, from 45-50 m in November to 55-60 m in March."

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: J. Naranjo, SERNAGEOMIN, Santiago; H. Moreno, Univ de Chile.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — March 1990 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)


Vapor emission; seismicity remains low

"Activity remained at a low level in March. The summit was obscured for long periods (4-9 and 11-23 March), but when weather cleared, emissions of white vapour in weak to moderate amounts were observed from both craters. Seismicity remained low, with daily totals of volcanic earthquakes ranging from 900 to 1,200. No significant changes were noted in seismic amplitudes and ground deformation."

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: I. Itikarai, P. de Saint-Ours, and C. McKee, RVO.


Moutohora Island (New Zealand) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Moutohora Island

New Zealand

37.858°S, 176.98°E; summit elev. 354 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


CO2-rich gases from thermal area

The following observations, made by scientists from the USSR and New Zealand during a cruise of the RV Vulkanolog, were reported by W.F. Giggenbach and I. Menyailov.

"...Thermal activity manifests itself largely in areas of hydrothermally altered, steaming ground. The major thermal feature is a vigorously boiling pool near sea level in Sulphur Bay (Ramsay and Hayward, 1971). As indicated by the occurrence of bubble zones (Glasby, 1971), submarine thermal activity extends well SW of the island.

"During both the 1988 and 1990 cruises of the RV Vulkanolog, gas and water samples were collected from the main pool. The waters are essentially acid sulfate (4,000 mg/kg; Cl, 20 mg/kg), steam-heated, initially non-saline groundwater. Compositions of 1988 gases are compared in table 1 with those of 1974 samples from Sulphur Bay spring and the seafloor at 34 m depth (Lyon and others, 1977).

Table 1. Chemical composition of gases collected from vents on and near Whale Island (in mmol/mol of dry gas), March 1974 (Lyon and others, 1977) and during the September 1988 cruise of the RV Vulkanolog.

Vent Seafloor (34 m depth) Island (pool)
Date 10 Sep 1974 10 Sep 1974 10 Sep 1974 10 Mar 1988 10 Mar 1988
C 15 15 99 99 99
CO2 734 680 967 935 937
H2S -- -- -- 12.5 12.2
He -- -- -- 0.0028 0.0010
Ne -- -- -- 0.00004 0.00006
Ar 1.2 0.8 0.07 0.04 0.03
H2 0.1 0.3 3.2 11.2 9.7
O2 14.1 7.5 <0.01 <0.03 <0.03
N2 131 119 11 13 11
CH4 120 193 18 28 30

"All gases reflect a hydrothermal origin, and their major component is CO2. The seafloor gases are contaminated with air, probably after sampling. Their higher CH4 and lower H2 contents suggest longer residence at lower temperatures compared to the island samples. The composition of the latter has remained essentially unchanged over the last 14 years."

References. Glasby, G.P., 1971, Direct observation of columnar scattering associated with geothermal gas bubbling in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand: New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, v. 5, p. 483-496.

Lyon, G.L., Giggenbach, W.F., Singleton, R.J., and Glasby, G.P., 1977, Isotopic and Chemical composition of submarine geothermal gases from the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand: New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin, v. 218, p. 65-67.

Ramsay, W.R.H., and Hayward, B.W., 1971, Geology of Whale Island: Tane, v. 17, p. 9-32.

Geologic Background. Moutohora (Whale) Island forms the summit of a largely submerged Pleistocene dacitic-andesitic complex volcano that lies 11 km offshore from Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty. The island is 15 x 5 km wide and elongated E-W. The 354-m-high central dome complex is flanked by East Dome, which forms the eastern tip of the island and is the oldest of the domes, and Pa Hill lava dome, which forms the NW tip of the island. Acid hot springs, steaming ground, and fumaroles are located primarily between the central cone and East Dome. The central cone and east dome are both older than the roughly 42,000 before present (BP) Rotoehu Tephra, and Pa Hill dome is overlain by the 9000 years BP Rotoma Ash but may be considerably older. It was included in the Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World (Nairn and Cole, 1975) based on its thermal activity.

Information Contacts: I. Menyailov and A. Ivanenko, IV, Petropavlovsk; W. Giggenbach, DSIR Chemistry, Petone.


Olca-Paruma (Chile-Bolivia) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Olca-Paruma

Chile-Bolivia

20.939°S, 68.413°W; summit elev. 5705 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity and minor seismicity

Fumarolic activity, accompanied by low-intensity seismicity, was described by policemen from Ujina, 15 km SW of Olca, on 13 November 1989. Minor seismicity associated with Olca was noted in mid-March 1990 by state oil company (ENAP) geologist Patricio Sepulveda.

Geologic Background. A 15-km-long E-W ridge forming the border between Chile and Bolivia is comprised of several stratovolcanoes with Holocene lava flows. Andesitic-dacitic lava flows extend as far as 5 km N from the active crater of Volcán Olca and to the north and west from vents farther to the west. Olca is flanked on the west by Cerro Michincha and on the east by Volcán Paruma, which is immediately west of the higher pre-Holocene Cerro Paruma volcano. Volcán Paruma has been the source of conspicuous fresh lava flows, one of which extends 7 km SE, and has displayed persistent fumarolic activity. The only reported historical activity from the complex was a flank eruption of unspecified character between 1865 and 1867, which SERNAGEOMIN notes is based on unconfirmed records.

Information Contacts: J. Naranjo, SERNAGEOMIN.


Pacaya (Guatemala) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

14.382°N, 90.601°W; summit elev. 2569 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued weak Strombolian explosions; low SO2 flux

Volcanologists from INSIVUMEH and Michigan Tech visited Pacaya on 13, 14, 17, 18, and 28 February and 1, 2, 3, and 4 March, and flew over the volcano on 16 February. The following is from their report.

"Activity at Pacaya continued at a low level, consisting of brief (10-60 second), weak (ejecta typically thrown 2-100 m), Strombolian explosions with reposes of <1 to several minutes. All activity was from a small cone, 6 m high and 8 m wide at its rim, within MacKenney crater. The explosions were accompanied by gas emission (with jet-like noise) and often by fine ash clouds.

"On 17 February, during activity that was typical of the observation period, 78 COSPEC scans were made from a ground observation site 1.25 km from MacKenney crater (at Cerro Chino). Pacaya was emitting SO2 at an average rate of 30 t/d, with the measured range varying between 3 and 130 t/d. Higher fluxes were directly associated with observed small explosions. The new SO2 observations at Pacaya were much lower than values measured several times from 1972 until 1980 (Stoiber et al., 1983; reference under Santiaguito), which were generally between 250 and 1,500 t/d."

Geologic Background. Eruptions from Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, are frequently visible from Guatemala City, the nation's capital. This complex basaltic volcano was constructed just outside the southern topographic rim of the 14 x 16 km Pleistocene Amatitlán caldera. A cluster of dacitic lava domes occupies the southern caldera floor. The post-caldera Pacaya massif includes the ancestral Pacaya Viejo and Cerro Grande stratovolcanoes and the currently active Mackenney stratovolcano. Collapse of Pacaya Viejo between 600 and 1500 years ago produced a debris-avalanche deposit that extends 25 km onto the Pacific coastal plain and left an arcuate somma rim inside which the modern Pacaya volcano (Mackenney cone) grew. A subsidiary crater, Cerro Chino, was constructed on the NW somma rim and was last active in the 19th century. During the past several decades, activity has consisted of frequent strombolian eruptions with intermittent lava flow extrusion that has partially filled in the caldera moat and armored the flanks of Mackenney cone, punctuated by occasional larger explosive eruptions that partially destroy the summit of the growing young stratovolcano.

Information Contacts: Otoniel Matias and Rodolfo Morales, Sección de Volcanología, INSIVUMEH; W.I. Rose, Jimmy Diehl, Robert Andres, Michael Conway, and Gordon Keating, Michigan Technological Univ.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — March 1990 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)


Seismicity remains relatively low; minor deflation

"Activity remained at a low level in March. A total of 265 caldera earthquakes was recorded. Daily earthquake totals ranged from 0 to 24, with the highest daily total recorded in a small Greet Harbour swarm on 18 March that included two felt events (ML 2.8 and 2.6). During the month, seismicity was broadly distributed within the caldera seismic zone. Levelling measurements on 26 March indicated deflation of 2 mm at the S tip of Matupit Island since previous measurements on 20 February."

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: I. Itikarai, P. de Saint-Ours, and C. McKee, RVO.


Raoul Island (New Zealand) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Raoul Island

New Zealand

29.27°S, 177.92°W; summit elev. 516 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased microseismicity but no changes in thermal activity

The following observations, made by scientists from the USSR and New Zealand during a cruise of the RV Vulkanolog, were reported by W.F. Giggenbach and I. Menyailov. The island was visited on 30 January 1990.

"A considerable increase in microseismic activity to ~180 events/day, starting at the beginning of January 1990, was recorded by the Raoul Island seismic station. A similar swarm of minor shocks (Adams and Dibble, 1967) and an increase in hydrothermal activity (Healy et al., 1965) preceded the 1964 eruption. There were, however, no significant changes in the appearance and emission rate of thermal fluids from the main area of geothermal discharge along the W shore of Green Lake since the last visit of RV Vulkanolog in March 1988. Water and steam samples were collected in 1988 and 1990. The compositions of the 1988 samples are compared in table 1 with those reported by Weissberg and Sarbutt (1966) for samples collected shortly after the 1964 eruption. Gas compositions point to an essentially hydrothermal origin with insignificant contributions from high-temperature magmatic gases. Heavy seas prevented landing on Curtis Island, the other island in the Kermadecs showing thermal activity."

Table 1. Chemical composition (in mmol/mol of dry gas) of steam samples collected from the main fumarolic vents on Raoul Island in December 1964 (shortly after the 1964 eruption; Weissberg and Sarbutt, 1966) and during the March 1988 cruise of the RV Vulkanolog.

Dry Gas (mmol/mol) 08 Dec 1964 10 Mar 1988
  Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 1 Sample 2
C 100 83 96 96
CO2 855 912 984 969
H2S 12.2 -- 0.9 0.9
He -- -- 0.005 --
Ne -- -- 0.00008 --
Ar -- -- 0.07 0.28
H2 -- 0.7 0.3 0.2
O2 19.2 7.3 <0.1 5.0
N2 113 78 14 25
CH4 0.50 1.70 0.11 0.07

References. Adams, R.D., and Dibble, R.R., 1967, Seismological studies of the Raoul Island eruption, 1964: New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, v. 10, p. 1,348-1,361.

Weissberg, B.G., and Sarbutt, J., 1966, Chemistry of the hydrothermal waters of the volcanic eruption on Raoul Island, November 1964: New Zealand Journal of Science; v. 9, p. 426-432.

Geologic Background. Anvil-shaped Raoul Island is the largest and northernmost of the Kermadec Islands. During the past several thousand years volcanism has been dominated by dacitic explosive eruptions. Two Holocene calderas exist, the older of which cuts the center the island and is about 2.5 x 3.5 km wide. Denham caldera, formed during a major dacitic explosive eruption about 2200 years ago, truncated the W side of the island and is 6.5 x 4 km wide. Its long axis is parallel to the tectonic fabric of the Havre Trough that lies W of the volcanic arc. Historical eruptions during the 19th and 20th centuries have sometimes occurred simultaneously from both calderas, and have consisted of small-to-moderate phreatic eruptions, some of which formed ephemeral islands in Denham caldera. An unnamed submarine cone, one of several located along a fissure on the lower NNE flank, has also erupted during historical time, and satellitic vents are concentrated along two parallel NNE-trending lineaments.

Information Contacts: I. Nairn, P. Otway, B. Scott, and C. Wood, NZGS Rotorua; W. Giggenbach, DSIR Chemistry, Petone.


Redoubt (United States) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Redoubt

United States

60.485°N, 152.742°W; summit elev. 3108 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Moderate explosions and dome extrusion; rootless phreatic explosion as eruptions interact with glaciers

Quoted material is from the AVO staff. Information about the 4, 9, and 14 March explosive episodes supplements the initial reports in 15:02.

"Lava dome growth disrupted by moderate explosions and gravitational collapse continued. Since 15 February, explosive episodes have occurred at average intervals of 3-9 days (table 1). Explosive episodes were associated with pyroclastic flows and surges that triggered floods and lahars in the Drift River valley, which drains the volcano's N flank (figure 8). Seismicity remained centered on Redoubt from the surface to a depth of about 10 km, but earthquakes of M >= 2.0 have not occurred since 9 March. The summit seismometer that was damaged during the 15 February event was removed in March and three new seismometers were placed on the volcano's summit and flanks. COSPEC measurements began on 20 March; data are collected as weather permits. SO2 emission rates have ranged from 1,600 to 6,000 t/d."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Sketch map of the Drift River valley and related drainages on the NE flank of Redoubt. The Drift River oil facility is between the mouth of the Drift River and Rust Slough. Courtesy of AVO.

Since early January, deposition in the Drift River's main channel has diverted significant amounts of flood water and debris into Rust Slough, S of the Drift River oil facility. An L-shaped 4-m-high levee upstream from the oil facility was designed to protect it from Drift River floods, but neither levees nor topography protect its S side. Beginning on 4 March, deposition in Rust Slough has diverted floodwater farther southward into Cannery Creek, just upstream of the Drift River facility. None of the subsequent floods associated with March-mid April explosive episodes have affected the oil facility.

Explosive episode, 4 March. "An explosive event that occurred at 2039 was recorded for 8 minutes at the Spurr station (a regional seismometer about 100 km NNE of Redoubt that has been operating since the onset of the eruption). By 2110, an ash plume was reported to an altitude of 12 km; the plume moved N20°E and ashfall occurred 225 km away. Moderate flooding occurred in the Drift River. A new diversion upstream of the Drift River oil facility caused much of the flow to be diverted S of the facility (from Rust Slough into Cannery Creek).

Explosive episode, 9 March. "An explosive event occurred at 0951 and was recorded for 10 minutes at the Spurr station. Tephra fell primarily W of the volcano; Port Alsworth, 95 km SW of the volcano, received a light dusting from the southern margin of the plume. Floodwater reached the Drift River oil facility about 2 3/4 hours after the onset of the event.

Explosive episode, 14 March. "Explosive activity that began at 0947 was recorded for 14 minutes at the Spurr station. Tephra fell E of the volcano; the Drift River oil facility reported heavy ashfall from 1057 to 1247. Oil facility crews were evacuated because of the heavy ashfall. Traces of ash were reported on the Kenai Peninsula and in the Anchorage area." Satellite images (figure 9) showed the plume moving ENE. The temperature at the top of the dense portion of the plume was -40°C at 1030, corresponding to an altitude of about 7 km. Winds were relatively light, and by 1230, the plume extended less than 150 km N and about 100 km E of the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Image from the NOAA 10 polar orbiting satellite, 14 March at 1054, about an hour after the onset of the eruptive episode. An elongate plume extends ENE of Redoubt. Courtesy of G. Stephens.

"Moderate flooding occurred in the lower Drift River valley. Peak flow velocity was about 6 m/sec. The flood reached the oil facility about 2 1/4 hours after the onset of the explosive episode. The flood carried numerous ice blocks and hot angular dome rocks 16 km from the glacier, where peak discharge was estimated at 1200 m3/sec.

"On 15 March, after a vigorous 2.5-minute seismic event was recorded at all seismic stations, an AVO field crew was warned about a possible explosion. They reported no changes in steam plume activity and did not hear any noises. However, 20 minutes later, they noted an approximate doubling of the Drift River's discharge 4 km downstream from the glacier. The increased discharge was accompanied by large quantities of cobble-sized ice.

"A small dome in the summit area was observed by field crews on 16, 18, 20, and 21 March. The dome appeared to be growing slowly between observations.

Explosive episode, 23 March. "Seismicity indicating the onset of explosive activity began at 0404 and was recorded for 8 minutes at the Spurr station. Seismic activity at the summit stations had increased around 0000 on 22 March and had stayed at elevated levels for most of the day. Seismic activity then decreased several hours before the 23 March explosive episode. A plume was reported to 10.5 km but appeared to be mostly steam. Light ashfall was observed W of the mountain, but ash did not fall on any community. Discharge increased in the Drift River."

An image from the NOAA 11 polar orbiting satellite at 0430 (figure 10), 26 minutes after the onset of the explosive episode, showed a plume extending WNW from the volcano. The top of the dense portion of the plume had a temperature of -39°C, yielding an altitude estimate of slightly less than 9 km based on the radiosonde temperature/altitude profile over Anchorage 1.5 hours earlier. The plume continued to move rapidly WNW, and by 1430, 10.5 hours after the explosion, its center was about 850 km from the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Image from the NOAA 11 polar orbiting satellite, 23 March at 0430, about 30 minutes after the start of the eruptive episode. The nearly circular plume is just WNW of Redoubt. Courtesy of G. Stephens.

"Pyroclastic flow deposits covered the lower Canyon (below 825 m) and the upper piedmont area (above 500 m) of the Drift glacier. The deposits were generally hot, dry, and friable; where they rested on snow, the basal part of thick deposits, and those less than 50 cm thick, were wet and warm to the touch. Pyroclastic deposits were still hot (325°C) when measured on 26 March.

"Views into the crater on 23 March were largely obscured by steam but much of the dome appeared missing from the summit area. Poor weather obscured observations of the summit area from 26 March until 6 April.

Explosive episode, 29 March. "Seismic activity indicated that an explosive event began at 1033 and was recorded for 7 minutes at the Spurr station. An increase in discharge of the Drift River was reported, reaching the oil facility by 1307. Pilots reported a plume, consisting chiefly of steam, to 15 km. Tephra fallout appears to have been similar to that of 4 March; light ashfall was reported to 225 km N-NE of the volcano.

"Poor weather prevented ground observations or views of the glacier. Deposits from a debris flow or hyperconcentrated flow were observed in the upper valley and flooding appeared similar to 23 March. No hot debris or ice blocks were observed in the upper valley.

Explosive episode, 6 April. "Seismicity increased throughout the morning of 6 April. An explosive event began at 1723 and was recorded for 7-8 minutes at the Spurr station. Seismicity declined after the explosive event. An ash plume was reported to 9 km; wind shear caused the lower part of the plume to drift NW and the upper part to drift E. The ash plume reached the W coast of the Kenai Peninsula by 1808, but only light ashfall was reported in Kenai during the evening.

"Pyroclastic flow deposits overlay the glacier down to about the 610 m level. A debris flow of dome-rock material and ice boulders flowed onto the Drift River valley, and peak flow velocity was estimated at 22 m/s. Peak discharge attenuated quickly downvalley.

Dome growth and hydrologic events 7-13 April. "A dome was first observed in the summit area on 7 April. This dome appeared to be larger when observed on 10 and 13 April and was greatly oversteepened on the N face.

"On 7 April, discharge near the E canyon mouth of the Drift River glacier fluctuated by 30-50% several times during a 1/2-hour observation period. A flood of ice blocks up to 1 m across caused a 4-fold discharge increase in one of the large glacier canyons. Repeated increases in discharge were noted over a 15-minute observation period. An iceslide blocked the entire width of the canyon bottom upstream of the increased discharge area. Episodic release through a tunnel at the base of the ice jam may explain the surges observed at the canyon mouth.

"On 10 April a rootless phreatic eruption was noted on the Drift Glacier at the 890 m level, causing a vigorous ash and steam plume to rise 1,000 m. A series of explosions migrated N and S of this area along a glacier bed stream, producing an elongate crater perhaps 300 m long. Numerous small pyroclastic flows emanated from the explosion area and formed a small pyroclastic flow fan that dammed the main water flow from the dome area for about an hour. Failure of the dam caused a flood with an estimated discharge of 10 m3/s.

Explosive event, 15 April. "A moderate explosive event occurred at 1440 and lasted about 8 minutes at the Spurr station. The ash plume reached elevations between 9 and 12 km and the plume moved N-NW. There were no clearly identifiable seismic precursors. Seismic activity before and after the event appeared unchanged." [See also 15:04].

Geologic Background. Redoubt is a 3108-m-high glacier-covered stratovolcano with a breached summit crater in Lake Clark National Park about 170 km SW of Anchorage. Next to Mount Spurr, Redoubt has been the most active Holocene volcano in the upper Cook Inlet. The volcano was constructed beginning about 890,000 years ago over Mesozoic granitic rocks of the Alaska-Aleutian Range batholith. Collapse of the summit of Redoubt 10,500-13,000 years ago produced a major debris avalanche that reached Cook Inlet. Holocene activity has included the emplacement of a large debris avalanche and clay-rich lahars that dammed Lake Crescent on the south side and reached Cook Inlet about 3500 years ago. Eruptions during the past few centuries have affected only the Drift River drainage on the north. Historical eruptions have originated from a vent at the north end of the 1.8-km-wide breached summit crater. The 1989-90 eruption of Redoubt had severe economic impact on the Cook Inlet region and affected air traffic far beyond the volcano.

Information Contacts: AVO Staff; SAB.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruapehu

New Zealand

39.28°S, 175.57°E; summit elev. 2797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic explosions stop; increased tremor

Phreatic eruptions had apparently stopped by 1 February. A possible eruption cloud was reported on 19 March, but a field inspection that day revealed only steam rising from the lake surface. There was no evidence of recent surging associated with small eruptions. Crater Lake was battleship gray with yellow and gray sulfur slicks. No convection was observed over the main vent, and only faint upwelling could be detected over the N vents. The lake temperature had cooled to 34.1°C from 46.5°C on 6 February. A sizeable lake had formed in an area of ice collapse in the valley draining Crater Lake to the S. Since 1 February, the lake had grown from ~60 ± 15 m to 100 ± 30 m. Sudden release of the lake could cause flooding in the Whangaehu River.

Volcanic tremor gradually declined in February, nearing background levels by 8 March. Continuous tremor with fairly uniform amplitude changed to bursts of tremor alternating with periods of quiet, similar to small volcanic earthquakes. On 8 March, tremor increased to high levels and broadened its frequency range, with 1 and 1.5 Hz tremor in addition to the usual 2 Hz signal. Tremor remained strong for 2-3 days before declining to more moderate amplitude. During the period of strongest activity, 6-hour energy release reached 400-1,400 x 104 joules, exceeding levels that accompanied the January 1982 eruptions, but less than in September 1982, when there were no eruptions and declining lake temperature. Tremor increased again on 16 March, almost to the level of 8 March, but by the 22nd had decreased to moderate-strong amplitude. EDM measurements on four lines across the N portion of the crater detected only small (<7mm) changes since the 1 February survey.

Geologic Background. Ruapehu, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is a complex stratovolcano constructed during at least four cone-building episodes dating back to about 200,000 years ago. The 110 km3 dominantly andesitic volcanic massif is elongated in a NNE-SSW direction and surrounded by another 100 km3 ring plain of volcaniclastic debris, including the Murimoto debris-avalanche deposit on the NW flank. A series of subplinian eruptions took place between about 22,600 and 10,000 years ago, but pyroclastic flows have been infrequent. A single historically active vent, Crater Lake, is located in the broad summit region, but at least five other vents on the summit and flank have been active during the Holocene. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred in historical time from the Crater Lake vent, and tephra characteristics suggest that the crater lake may have formed as early as 3000 years ago. Lahars produced by phreatic eruptions from the summit crater lake are a hazard to a ski area on the upper flanks and to lower river valleys.

Information Contacts: P. Otway, DSIR Wairakei.


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — March 1990 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)


Minor ash emission; seismicity remains low

The number of earthquakes and seismic energy release remained low in March. Located events were centered W and SW of the crater. The strongest recorded earthquake (M 2.1) occurred 21 March. Only a few short pulses of low-energy tremor were recorded, except for a high-energy episode on 12 March at 2301, associated with a small ash emission. Five COSPEC measurements yielded an average SO2 flux of 1,540 t/d, similar to the previous month. Deformation measurements showed no significant changes.

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.


Rumble III (New Zealand) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Rumble III

New Zealand

35.745°S, 178.478°E; summit elev. -220 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Submarine summit bathymetry; bubble plumes in water column

The following observations, made by scientists from the USSR and New Zealand during a cruise of the RV Vulkanolog, were reported by W.F. Giggenbach and I. Menyailov.

"Considerable uncertainty remains about the minimum depth to the summit of Rumble III seamount. Early bathymetric measurements place it at 117 m depth (Kibblewhite and Denham, 1967), while later data and surveys by the RV Vulkanolog in March 1988 suggest a depth of 200 m. A special effort was therefore made to locate its highest point and to determine its depth.

"From echograms, it appears that the uncertainty may largely be due to the production of gas-rich, probably volcanic fluids from the summit area (Kibblewhite, 1966). Close inspection of the echograms shows that reflections above 200 m are probably caused by a plume of expanding bubbles, as they are invariably Separated from the solid reflector (the true summit) by a non-reflecting zone. There, the bubbles are either too small or the prevailing pressures keep the gases in solution.

"In contrast to March 1988, when echograms suggested that some of the bubble swarms reached the surface and gas bubbles were observed from the RV Vulkanolog, in January 1990 the plumes terminated at 150-120 m depth and no bubbles were observed at the surface. The disappearance of bubbles at depths <120 m is likely to be due to re-dissolution of soluble, probably volcanic gases (CO2 and SO2). The decrease in extent of the bubble zones may reflect a decrease in the production rate of thermal fluids and, therefore, of volcanic activity. There were no obvious signs of volcanic activity in either March 1988 or January 1990.

"Several large samples of ferro-magnesian, basaltic pillow lavas were dredged from the slopes of the seamount at depths of 400-1,200 m."

References. Kibblewhite, A.C., 1966, The acoustic detection and location of an underwater volcano: New Zealand Journal of Science, v. 9, p. 178-199.

Kibblewhite, A.C. and Denham, R.N., 1967, The Bathymetry and total magnetic field of the south Kermadec Ridge seamounts: New Zealand Journal of Science, v. 10, p. 52-69.

Geologic Background. The Rumble III seamount, the largest of the Rumbles group of submarine volcanoes along the South Kermadec Ridge, rises 2300 m from the sea floor to within about 200 m of the sea surface. Collapse of the edifice produced a horseshoe-shaped caldera breached to the west and a large debris-avalanche deposit. Fresh-looking andesitic rocks have been dredged from the summit and basaltic lava from its flanks. Rumble III has been the source of several submarine eruptions detected by hydrophone signals.

Information Contacts: I. Menyailov and A. Ivanenko, IV, Petropavlovsk; W. Giggenbach, DSIR Chemistry, Petone.


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Viscous lava extrusion continues; rapid erosion of N flank

Santiaguito was visited by volcanologists from INSIVUMEH, Michigan Tech, and Arizona State 20-26 February. The following is from their report.

"Eruptive activity was still focused on Caliente vent, capped by a cone-shaped exogenous domal mass of lava that feeds a viscous flow directed toward the SSW. The flow extended about 500 m, dropping about 250 m in elevation below the top of the vent (about 2,500 m above sea level) and terminating on a talus slope at the angle of repose. Rockfalls were frequent, resulting in ash clouds. The frequency of vertical ash eruptions from Caliente vent was only a few/day. The rate of SO2 emission was measured on 22 February at 48 ± 15 t/d, with a range of 21-76 t/d (24 determinations). This emission rate was slightly less than the average of about 100 t/d (range 40-1,600 t/d) determined in July 1976, when there were many more vertical ash eruptions that had higher values, but was identical to the emission rates measured then between eruptions (Stoiber and others, 1983; especially Table 29.4).

"Figure 12 shows the pattern of Santiaguito's activity from June 1988 until 10 January 1990, five weeks before the dates of the most recent field surveys, as revealed from interpretation of telemetered seismic data by INSIVUMEH. The data demonstrate a good correlation between the frequency of avalanche events and vertical explosions. They also demonstrate that the February field observation dates represented a time of very few vertical explosions compared to the past year's record.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Mean daily number of explosions (crosses) and avalanches (squares) during 2-week periods at Santiaguito, as interpreted from telemetered data by INSIVUMEH, June 1988-January 1990. The 19 June 1989 eruption is marked by an arrow.

"Significant changes have occurred on the N side of Santiaguito since July 1989 (figure 13). The El Monje dome, mostly extruded between 1947 and 1952, had developed a talus slope on its N side that was stabilized and had developed a strong moss coating that prevented rockfalls. This slope allowed access to the summit of Santiaguito throughout a long period (1964-88) and also to the 1902 crater of Santa María. Deep barrancas (canyons) have formed on the N side of the El Monje dome, cutting steep barriers into the talus slopes. These have coalesced at the edge of the talus slope, forming a large barranca between Santiaguito and Santa María that feeds an enormous amount of material into the (Isla) area farther W, and caused another deep barranca to form at the end of the Loma trail. The barrancas on the El Monje dome have deepened and migrated headward until they intersect the top of the dome. They could reflect fracturing of the El Monje dome, perhaps the weakest of three dome units that buttress the N side of the Caliente Vent. If viewed in this way the new barrancas could forecast the site of new dome extrusion from a lateral vent. The increased sediment load from this barranca system is likely to affect the Río Concepción and the Río Tambor to the south when the next rainy season arrives in April or May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Simplified geologic map of Santiaguito Dome, 1922-February 1990. Streams near Santiaguito are approximately located. Unit dates, such as Rc (1922-90), represent periods of discontinuous activity at each vent. Patterned areas represent very recent activity: Rl - area of active laharic and stream deposition, and very high aggradation rates; Rd - area of recently initiated extensive mass wasting indicating inflation of the El Monje vent area and potential reactivation of the vent; Rc (v pattern) - active block lava flows on Caliente's summit, with very common (hourly) collapse of the broad toe resulting in hot rock avalanches; Rc (dotted pattern) - extent of the 1986-88 block lava flow from Caliente.

"Fieldwork was also directed at examination of the areas affected by the 19 July 1989 eruption (figure 14). The outline of a distinct blast zone, marked by tree blowdown, was mapped. A collapse scarp facing the blast zone was observed. This shows conclusively that partial domal collapse accompanied the 19 July 1989 eruption (14:07)."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Map of Santiaguito and vicinity, showing the zones affected by the 1929, 1973, and 1989 pyroclastic flows. The 1989 and April 1973 deposits have similar areas but different sources. Modified from Rose, 1987.

Reference. Stoiber, R.E., Malinconico, L.L. Jr., and Williams, S.N., 1983, Use of the correlation spectrometer at volcanoes, in Tazieff, H. and Sabroux, J.C., eds., Forecasting Volcanic Events; Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 425-444.

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

Information Contacts: O. Matías and R. Morales, INSIVUMEH; W.I. Rose, J. Diehl, R. Andres, F.M. Conway, and G. Keating, Michigan Technological Univ; J. Fink and S. Anderson, Arizona State Univ.


Sheveluch (Russia) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


100-m explosion vent in center of lava dome; minor fumarolic activity

During a 2 February overflight, an explosion vent more than 100 m in diameter was observed in the center of the [extrusive] hornblende andesite lava dome (figure 1). Minor fumarolic activity was occurring.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Crater and lava dome at Shiveluch, looking roughly N on 2 February 1990, showing explosion vents. Courtesy of B.V. Ivanov.

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: B. Ivanov, IV.


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — March 1990 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)


Thick vapor emission; weak seismicity

"Activity remained at a low level in March. Summit crater emissions consisted of thick white vapour. Seismicity was low throughout the month."

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

Information Contacts: I. Itikarai, P. de Saint-Ours, and C. McKee, RVO.


Vulcano (Italy) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Vulcano

Italy

38.404°N, 14.962°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


High-temperature fumaroles; gas chemistry; small seismic swarms

Fumarolic activity at Vulcano remained at a very high level in 1989. The temperature of a fumarole (F5) on the crater rim (figure 6) has remained stable at 310 ± 5°C; more than 90 samples have been collected since July 1987. In contrast, a fumarole (FF) inside the crater showed very high temperatures, reaching a maximum of 550°C in August-September 1989, 100° hotter than in 1988. February 1990 temperatures were 515° and 312° at FF and F5 respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Map of Vulcano, showing locations of F5 and FF fumaroles.

Major chemical species (H2O, CO2, H2S, and SO2) showed large variations in concentration (figure 7). 3He/4He ratios were very high for all crater fumaroles (~60% mantle-derived He), remaining stable during 1989 at ~ 7.5-8.0 x 10-6. The 13C/12C ratio followed a similar trend to that of CO2, with very wide oscillations from about d13C 0.00 to -2.20+. Geologists noted that the chemical and isotopic trends suggest mixing of different sources.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Variations in concentrations of H2O (top), CO2, (center) and SO2 and H2S (bottom) at Vulcano's fumarole F5, 1987-90. Courtesy of OV.

Seismic activity was monitored by a permanent network installed by IIV, and a digital mobile seismic network operated by OV since 1987. Seismicity was at a low level and characterized by low-energy earthquakes occurring in swarm sequences. On the basis of their wave shapes and spectral characteristics, the earthquakes were divided into "Volcano-tectonic" and "Volcanic" events (figure 8) using the classification of Latter (1981). Volcano-tectonic earthquakes outside the Fossa cone and around the island showed clear P and S phases, high frequency contents, and represented the most energetic events (M < 1.6). Volcanic-type events showed very regular wave trains that were sometimes sharply monochromatic, and were characterized by low dominant frequencies and an absence of clearly identifiable phases. Their energy reached 1011-1012 ergs and their magnitudes were negative. Particle motion analysis revealed the presence of Rayleigh and Rayleigh-like waves with a prograde rotation; the arrivals of these two phases followed one another during such earthquakes. Geologists interpreted these events, centered in the Fossa crater, as being related to fumarolic gas flow at shallow depth.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Seismograms showing events classified as "Volcano-tectonic" (top) and "Volcanic" (bottom) at Vulcano.

Reference. Latter, J.H., 1981, Volcanic earthquakes and their relationship to eruptions at Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe volcanoes: JVGR, v. 9, p. 293-310.

Geologic Background. The word volcano is derived from Vulcano stratovolcano in Italy's Aeolian Islands. Vulcano was constructed during six stages during the past 136,000 years. Two overlapping calderas, the 2.5-km-wide Caldera del Piano on the SE and the 4-km-wide Caldera della Fossa on the NW, were formed at about 100,000 and 24,000-15,000 years ago, respectively, and volcanism has migrated to the north over time. La Fossa cone, active throughout the Holocene and the location of most of the historical eruptions, occupies the 3-km-wide Caldera della Fossa at the NW end of the elongated 3 x 7 km island. The Vulcanello lava platform forms a low, roughly circular peninsula on the northern tip of Vulcano that was formed as an island beginning in 183 BCE and was connected to Vulcano in about 1550 CE. Vulcanello is capped by three pyroclastic cones and was active intermittently until the 16th century. The latest eruption from Vulcano consisted of explosive activity from the Fossa cone from 1898 to 1900.

Information Contacts: D. Tedesco, S. Vulcano, and G. Luongo, OV.


Waesche (Antarctica) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Waesche

Antarctica

77.17°S, 126.88°W; summit elev. 3292 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


No signs of recent activity

January 1990 fieldwork revealed no fumarolic ice towers or other signs of recent activity. A thick (<=4 m) sequence of tephra was found in blue ice at the foot of the volcano, but its vertical attitude suggested eruptions thousands of years ago.

Geologic Background. Mount Waesche is the southernmost of a N-S-trending chain of volcanoes in central Marie Byrd Land. It is located 20 km SW of Pliocene Mount Sidley, Antarctica's highest volcano, and was constructed on the SE rim of the 10-km-wide Chang Peak caldera. Pre-caldera Chang Peak lavas were erupted about 1.6 million years ago (Ma) and the Waesche shield formed about 1.0 Ma. Waesche may have been active during the Holocene and is a possible source of ash layers in the Byrd Station ice core that were deposited during the past 30,000 years. The youngest lavas are too young to date by Potassium-Argon. Satellitic cinder cones, some aligned along radial fissures, are located on the SW flank.

Information Contacts: P. Kyle and W. McIntosh, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; R. Dibble, Victoria Univ.


White Island (New Zealand) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 321 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash emission; seismicity and thermal activity decline; deflation

Little eruptive activity has occurred since 29 November fieldwork revealed a new vent and fresh tephra on the main crater floor. Seismic activity has been at low levels, fumarole temperatures have decreased, and deflation on the main crater floor (centered in the Donald Duck area) suggests that heatflow has been redirected from Noisy Nellie fumarole westward to 1978 Crater. R. Fleming reported a small eruption of lithic accessory ejecta from Noisy Nellie in late January 1990, and further collapse of Corporate and Congress Craters.

Geologists from the RV Vulkanolog visited White Island 2-3 March. Only blue "flames" associated with fumarolic discharge were seen over fumaroles E of 1978 Crater (Donald Mound, Blue Duck, and Noisy Nellie) during the night of 2 March. The three most vigorous vents along a small cone on R.F. crater's floor glowed pale red (500-550°C) and a small eruptive episode on 3 March added pebble-sized material to the cone. A shallow green pond that occupied the rest of the crater floor was surrounded by yellow to orange precipitates.

On 6 March geologists found only 4 mm of fine green ash that had fallen since 29 November at a site 35 m E of 1978 Crater. No new ash was found on the 1978 Crater rim or to the SE (S of Donald Mound). Donald Duck emitted white gas/steam clouds, and low-pressure gas emerged from Noisy Nellie. Accessory blocks and smaller ejecta, first seen about a month earlier, extended 30 m SE from Noisy Nellie. Emissions from 1978 Crater obscured R.F. and Corporate craters, but small detonations from R.F. Crater were frequently heard.

Only ~10 small B-type events/day and an average of ~3 A-types/day were recorded in December, with small E-types recorded on the 7th and 21st. About 3-6 B-type events/day plus rare A-types were recorded during January and February, with tremor nearly absent.

A March deformation survey showed strong subsidence of the Donald Mound area following a period of brief uplift measured 29 November. Subsidence since then was centered E of 1978 Crater (between Noisy Nellie and Donald Mound), reaching 30 mm near Donald Duck vent, with a trough extending NW along the line of fumaroles. Noisy Nellie, near the apparent center of the 15+ mm uplift prior to 29 November, lies on the edge of this trough. The recent subsidence of 9 mm/month is similar to the rate observed since mid-1987.

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

Information Contacts: I. Nairn, P. Otway, B. Scott, and C. Wood, NZGS Rotorua; W. Giggenbach, DSIR Chemistry, Petone.


White Island (New Zealand) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 321 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong submarine hydrothermal activity at the Calypso Vents

The following observations, made by scientists from the USSR and New Zealand during a cruise of the RV Vulkanolog, are reported by W.F. Giggenbach and I. Menyailov.

"Calypso Mound is a white anhydrite cone some 6-8 m high, formed at 167 m depth by discharge of thermal waters at the ocean floor. It was discovered in February 1987 using the diving vessel Soucoup carried on the RV Calypso (Sarano and others, 1989). It lies within one of the 'bubble zones' extending in a line from White Island to Whale Island in the Bay of Plenty (Duncan and Pantin, 1969) [around 37.64°S, 177.10°E].

"The echograms indicated strong hydrothermal activity with a number of vents producing bubble curtains. However, an extended visual search under calm conditions from both the RV Vulkanolog and a rubber dinghy detected no bubbles at the surface. A possible explanation is re-dissolution of the gas in seawater. Similar gases, collected from more shallow submarine springs in the Bay of Plenty, S of Whale Island, and from Whale Island itself (see below), consisted predominantly of CO2, which has a comparatively high solubility in water. Re-dissolution is also supported by the distribution of reflections recorded during a slow pass over the area. Most of the individual bubble swarms, now clearly separated, appeared to terminate at ~20 m depth.

"Close inspection of a video recording shows that the fluid discharged from two vents on Calypso Mound is very likely to contain a considerable free vapor phase, indicated by flame-like tongues of free vapor, rapidly quenched on contact with cold seawater. Water leaving the vapor-seawater interaction zone appeared clear and colorless except for schlieren indicating a density difference from seawater.

"The existence of free vapor at 167 m depth and about 18 bars pressure suggests that the temperature of the fluid discharged from Calypso Mound is close to 207°C. The high proportion of vapor, apparently present in the fluid mixture leaving the vents, would indicate high corresponding enthalpies of the fluid feeding Calypso Mound. The temperature of any initial single phase liquid, before flashing and possibly present at greater depth, may therefore be considerably higher. However, Sarano et al. (1989) consider it unlikely that the waters emitted from Calypso Mound were as hot as 160°C. The 'hydrothermal' nature indicated for the Calypso Mound system may also explain the enrichment in typically 'epithermal' elements such as As, Sb, Hg, and Tl, and the absence of a 'volcanic' trace metal signature (Giggenbach and Glasby, 1977) in clays recovered from near the main cone."

References. Duncan, A.R., and Pantin, H.M., 1969, Evidence for submarine geothermal activity in the Bay of Plenty: New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, v. 3, p. 602-606.

Giggenbach, W.F., and Glasby, G.P., 1977, The influence of thermal activity on the trace metal distribution in marine sediments around White Island, New Zealand: New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin, v. 218, p. 121-126.

Sarano, F., Murphy, R.C., Houghton, B.F., and Hedenquist, J.W., 1989, Preliminary observations of submarine geothermal activity in the vicinity of White Island, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand: Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, v. 19, p. 449-459.

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

Information Contacts: I. Menyailov and A. Ivanenko, IV, Petropavlovsk; W. Giggenbach, DSIR Chemistry, Petone.


Zhupanovsky (Russia) — March 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Zhupanovsky

Russia

53.589°N, 159.15°E; summit elev. 2899 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Four vigorous fumaroles

On 2 February, fumarolic activity was noted in two vents inside the active crater and two vents to the W (figure 1).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Active fumarolic vents at Zhupanovsky, looking roughly E on 2 February 1990. Courtesy of B. Ivanov.

Geologic Background. The Zhupanovsky volcanic massif consists of four overlapping stratovolcanoes along a WNW-trending ridge. The elongated volcanic complex was constructed within a Pliocene-early Pleistocene caldera whose rim is exposed only on the eastern side. Three of the stratovolcanoes were built during the Pleistocene, the fourth is Holocene in age and was the source of all of Zhupanovsky's historical eruptions. An early Holocene stage of frequent moderate and weak eruptions from 7000 to 5000 years before present (BP) was succeeded by a period of infrequent larger eruptions that produced pyroclastic flows. The last major eruption took place about 800-900 years BP. Historical eruptions have consisted of relatively minor explosions from the third cone.

Information Contacts: B. Ivanov, IV.

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 (BGVN 22:08) False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 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/).