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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

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake persists with decreased thermal output, November 2018-February 2019

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Daily explosions cause steam-and-ash plumes and block avalanches, November 2018-February 2019

Reventador (Ecuador) Multiple daily explosions with ash plumes and incandescent blocks rolling down the flanks, October 2018-January 2019

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) Weak explosions and ash plumes beginning 21 October 2018

Kerinci (Indonesia) A persistent gas-and-steam plume and intermittent ash plumes occurred from July 2018 through January 2019

Yasur (Vanuatu) Eruption continues with ongoing explosions and multiple active crater vents, August 2018-January 2019

Ambae (Vanuatu) Ash plumes and lahars in July 2018 cause evacuation of the island; intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes through January 2019

Agung (Indonesia) Ongoing intermittent ash plumes and frequent gas-and-steam plumes during August 2018-January 2019

Erebus (Antarctica) Lava lakes persist through 2017 and 2018

Villarrica (Chile) Intermittent Strombolian activity ejects incandescent bombs around crater rim, September 2018-February 2019

Popocatepetl (Mexico) Explosions with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta continue during September 2018-February 2019

Pacaya (Guatemala) Continuous activity from the cone in Mackenney crater; daily lava flows on the NW flank during October 2018-January 2019



Masaya (Nicaragua) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists with decreased thermal output, November 2018-February 2019

Nicaragua's Volcan Masaya has an intermittent lava lake that has attracted visitors since the time of the Spanish Conquistadores; tephrochronology has dated eruptions back several thousand years. The unusual basaltic caldera has had historical explosive eruptions in addition to lava flows and an actively circulating lava lake. An explosion in 2012 ejected ash to several hundred meters above the volcano, bombs as large as 60 cm fell around the crater, and ash fell to a thickness of 2 mm in some areas of the park. The reemergence of the lava lake inside Santiago crater was reported in December 2015. By late March 2016 the lava lake had grown and intensified enough to generate a significant thermal anomaly signature which has varied in strength but continued at a moderate level into early 2019. Information for this report, which covers the period from November 2018 through February 2019, is provided by the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and satellite -based imagery and thermal data.

The lava lake in Santiago Crater remained visible and active throughout November 2018 to February 2019 with little change from the previous few months (figure 70). Seismic amplitude RSAM values remained steady, oscillating between 10 and 40 RSAM units during the period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. A small area of the lava lake inside Santiago Crater at Masaya was visible from the rim on 25 November 2018 (left) and 17 January 2019 (right). Left image courtesy of INETER webcam; right image courtesy of Alun Ebenezer.

Every few months INETER carries out SO2 measurements by making a transect using a mobile DOAS spectrometer that samples for gases downwind of the volcano. Transects were done on 9-10 October 2018, 21-24 January 2019, and 18-21 February 2019 (figure 71). Average values during the October transect were 1,454 tons per day, in January they were 1,007 tons per day, and in February they averaged 1,318 tons per day, all within a typical range of values for the last several months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. INETER carries out periodic transects to measure SO2 from Masaya with a mobile DOAS spectrometer. Transects taken along the Ticuantepe-La Concepcion highway on 9-10 October 2018 (left) and 21-24 January 2019 (right) showed modest levels of SO2 emissions downwind of the summit. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua. Octubre 2018 and Enero 2019).

During a visit by INETER technicians in early November 2018, the lens of the Mirador 1 webcam, that had water inside it and had been damaged by gases, was cleaned and repaired. During 21-24 January 2019 INETER made a site visit with scientists from the University of Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, to measure halogen species in gas plumes, and to test different sampling techniques for volcanic gases, including through spectroscopic observations with DOAS equipment, in-situ gas sampling (MultiGAS, denuders, alkaline traps), and using a Quadcopter UAV (drone) sampling system.

Periodic measurements of CO2 from the El Comalito crater have been taken by INETER for many years. The most recent observations on 19 February 2019 indicated an emission rate of 46 +/- 3 tons per day of CO2, only slightly higher than the average value over 16 measurements between 2008 and 2019 (figure 72).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. CO2 measurements taken at Masaya on 19 February 2019 were very close to the average value measured during 2008-2019. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua, Febrero 2019).

Satellite imagery (figure 73) and in-situ thermal measurements during November 2018-February 2019 indicated constant activity at the lava lake and no significant changes during the period. On 14 January 2019 temperatures were measured with the FLIR SC620 thermal camera, along with visual observations of the crater; abundant gas was noted, and no explosions from the lake were heard. The temperature at the lava lake was measured at 107°C, much cooler than the 340°C measured in September 2018 (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery (geology, bands 12, 4, and 2) clearly indicated the presence of the active lava lake inside Santiago crater at Masaya during November 2018-February 2019. North is to the top, and the Santigo crater is just under 1 km in diameter for scale. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Thermal measurements were made at Masaya on 14 January 2019 with a FLIR SC620 thermal camera that indicated temperatures over 200°C cooler than similar measurements made in September 2018.

Thermal anomaly data from satellite instruments also confirmed moderate levels of ongoing thermal activity. The MIROVA project plot indicated activity throughout the period (figure 75), and a plot of the number of MODVOLC thermal alerts by month since the lava lake first appeared in December 2015 suggests constant activity at a reduced thermal output level from the higher values in early 2017 (figure 76).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Thermal anomalies remained constant at Masaya during November 2018-February 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA project. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. The number of MODVOLC thermal alerts each month at Masaya since the lava lake first reappeared in late 2015 reached its peak in early 2017 and declined to low but persistent levels by early 2018 where they have remained for a year. Data courtesy of MODVOLC.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Alun Ebenezer (Twitter: @AlunEbenezer, URL: https://twitter.com/AlunEbenezer).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions cause steam-and-ash plumes and block avalanches, November 2018-February 2019

The dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex on the W flank of Guatemala's Santa María volcano has been growing and actively erupting since 1922. The youngest of the four vents in the complex, Caliente, has been erupting with ash explosions, pyroclastic, and lava flows for more than 40 years. A lava dome that appeared within the summit crater of Caliente in October 2016 has continued to grow, producing frequent block avalanches down the flanks. Daily explosions of steam and ash also continued during November 2018-February 2019, the period covered in this report, with information primarily from Guatemala's INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meterologia e Hidrologia) and the Washington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center).

Activity at Santa Maria continued with little variation from previous months during November 2018-February 2019. Plumes of steam with minor magmatic gases rose continuously from the Caliente crater 100-500 m above the summit, generally drifting SW or SE before dissipating. In addition, daily explosions with varying amounts of ash rose to altitudes of around 2.8-3.5 km and usually extended 20-30 km before dissipating. Most of the plumes drifted SW or SE; minor ashfall occurred in the adjacent hills almost daily and was reported at the fincas located within 15 km in those directions several times each month. Continued growth of the Caliente lava dome resulted in daily block avalanches descending its flanks. The MIROVA plot of thermal energy during this time shows a consistent level of heat flow with minor variations throughout the period (figure 89).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Persistent thermal activity was recorded at Santa Maria from 6 June 2018 through February 2019 as seen in the MIROVA plot of thermal energy derived from satellite thermal data. Daily explosions produced ash plumes and block avalanches that were responsible for the continued heat flow at the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.

During November 2018 steam plumes rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.2 km from Caliente summit, usually drifting SW, sometimes SE. Several ash-bearing explosions were reported daily, rising to 3-3.2 km altitude and also drifting SW or SE. The highest plume reported by INSIVUMEH rose to 3.4 km on 25 November and drifted SW. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 9 November that rose to 4.3 km altitude and drifted W; it dissipated within a few hours about 35 km from the summit. On 11 November another plume rose to 4.9 km altitude and drifted NW. INSIVUMEH issued a special report on 2 November noting an increase in block avalanches on the S and SE flanks, many of which traveled from the crater dome to the base of the volcano. Nearly constant avalanche blocks descended the SE flank of the dome and occasionally traveled down the other flanks as well throughout the month. They reached the bottom of the cone again on 29 November. Ashfall was reported around the flanks more than once every week and at Finca Florida on 12 November. Finca San Jose reported ashfall on 11, 13, and 23 November, and Parcelamiento Monte Claro reported ashfall on 15, 24, 25, and 27 November.

Constant degassing from the Caliente dome during December 2018 formed white plumes of mostly steam that rose to 2.6-3.0 km altitude during the month. Weak explosions averaging 9-13 per day produced gray ash plumes that rose to 2.8-3.4 km altitude. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 4 December that extended 25 km SW of the summit at 3.0 km altitude and dissipated quickly. Small ash plumes were visible in satellite imagery a few kilometers WNW on 8, 12, 30, and 31 December at 4.3 km altitude; they each dissipated within a few hours. Ashfall was reported in Finca Monte Claro on 1 and 4 December, and in San Marcos Palajunoj on 26 and 30 December along with Loma Linda. On 28 December ashfall on the E flank affected the communities of Las Marías, Calahuache, and El Nuevo Palmar. Block avalanches occurred daily, sending large blocks to the base of the volcano that often stirred up small plumes of ash in the vicinity (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Activity during December 2018 at Santa Maria included constant degassing of steam plumes, weak explosions with ash plumes, and block avalanches rolling down the flanks to the base of the cone. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Diciembre 2018).

Multiple explosions daily during January 2019 produced steam-and-ash plumes (figure 91). Constant degassing rising 10-500 m emerged from the SSE part of the Caliente dome, and ashfall, mainly on the W and SW rim of the cone, was a daily feature. Seismic station STG-3 detected 10-18 explosions per day that produced ash plumes, which rose to between 2.7 and 3.5 km altitude. The Washington VAAC noted a faint ash emission in satellite imagery on 1 January that was about 25 km W of the summit at 4.3 km altitude. A new emission appeared at the same altitude on 4 January about 15 km NW of the summit. A low-density emission around midday on 5 January produced an ash plume that drifted NNE at 4.6 km altitude. Ash plumes drifted W at 4.3 km altitude on 11 and 14 January for short periods of time before dissipating.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Explosions during January produced numerous steam-and-ash plumes at the Santiaguito complex of Santa Maria. A moderate explosion on 31 January 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to about 3.1 km altitude (top). A thermal image and seismograph show another moderate explosion on 18 January 2019 that also rose nearly vertically from the summit of Caliente. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de actividad Volcanica enero 2019, Volcan Santiaguito).

Ash drifted mainly towards the W, SW, and S, causing ashfall in the villages of San Marcos Palajunoj, Loma Linda, Monte Bello, El Patrocinio, La Florida, El Faro, Patzulín and a few others several times during the month. The main places where daily ashfall was reported were near the complex, in the hilly crop areas of the El Faro and San José Patzulín farms (figure 92). Blocks up to 3 m in diameter reached the base of the complex, stirring up ash plumes that settled on the immediate flanks. Juvenile material continued to appear at the summit of the dome during January; the dome had risen above the edge of the crater created by the explosions of 2016. Changes in the size and shape of the dome between 23 November 2018 and 13 January 2019 showed the addition of material on the E and SE side of the dome, as well as a new effusive flow that travelled 200-300 m down the E flank (figure 93).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Near-daily ashfall affected the coffee plants at the El Faro and San José Patzulín farms (left) at Santiaguito during January 2019. Large avalanche blocks descending the flanks, seen here on 23 January 2018, often stirred up smaller ash plumes that settled out next to the cone. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de actividad Volcanica enero 2019, Volcan Santiaguito).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. A comparison of the growth at the Caliente dome of the Santiaguito complex at Santa Maria between 23 November 2018 (top) and 13 January 2019 (bottom) shows the emergence of juvenile material and a 200-300 m long effusive flow that has moved slowly down the E flank. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de actividad Volcanica enero 2019, Volcan Santiaguito).

Persistent steam rising 50-150 m above the crater was typical during February 2019 and accompanied weak and moderate explosions that averaged 12 per day throughout the month. White and gray ash plumes from the explosions rose to 2.8-3.3 km altitude; daily block avalanches usually reached the base of the dome (figure 94). Ashfall occurred around the complex, mainly on the W, SW, and NE flanks on a daily basis, but communities farther away were affected as well. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume on 7 February in visible satellite imagery moving SW from the summit at 4.9 km altitude. The next day a new ash plume was located about 20 km W of the summit, dissipating rapidly, at 4.3 km altitude. Ashfall drifting SW affected Palajuno Monte Claro on 5, 9, 15, and 16 February. Ash drifting E and SE affected Calaguache, Las Marías and surrounding farms on 14 and 17 February, and fine-grained ash drifting SE was reported at finca San José on 21 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Activity at the Caliente dome of the Santiaguito complex at Santa Maria included daily ash-and-steam explosions and block avalanches descending the sides of the dome in February 2019. A typical explosion on 2 February 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to about 3 km altitude and drifted SW (left). A block avalanche on 14 February descended the SE flank and stirred up small plumes of ash in the vicinity (right, top); the avalanche lasted for 88 seconds and registered with seismic frequencies between 3.46 and 7.64 Hz (right bottom). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 01 al 08 de febrero de 2019).

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); 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); 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/).


Reventador (Ecuador) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

0.077°S, 77.656°W; summit elev. 3562 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple daily explosions with ash plumes and incandescent blocks rolling down the flanks, October 2018-January 2019

The andesitic Volcán El Reventador lies well east of the main volcanic axis of the Cordillera Real in Ecuador and has historical eruptions with numerous lava flows and explosive events going back to the 16th century. The eruption in November 2002 generated a 17-km-high eruption cloud, pyroclastic flows that traveled 8 km, and several lava flows. Eruptive activity has been continuous since 2008. Daily explosions with ash emissions and ejecta of incandescent blocks rolling hundreds of meters down the flanks have been typical for many years. Activity continued during October 2018-January 2019, the period covered in this report, with information provided by Ecuador's Instituto Geofisico (IG-EPN), the Washington Volcano Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and infrared satellite data.

Multiple daily reports were issued from the Washington VAAC throughout the entire October 2018-January 2019 period. Plumes of ash and gas usually rose to altitudes of 4.3-6.1 km and drifted about 20 km in prevailing wind directions before either dissipating or being obscured by meteoric clouds. The average number of daily explosions reported by IG-EPN for the second half of 2018 was more than 20 per day (figure 104). The many explosions during the period originated from multiple vents within a large scarp that formed on the W flank in mid-April (BGVN 43:11, figure 95) (figure 105). Incandescent blocks were observed often in the IG webcams; they traveled 400-1,000 m down the flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. The number of daily seismic events at El Reventador for 2018 indicated high activity during the first and last thirds of the year; more than 20 explosions per day were recorded many times during October-December 2018, the period covered in this report. LP seismic events are shown in orange, seismic tremor in pink, and seismic explosions with ash are shown in green. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Anual del Volcán El Reventador – 2018, Quito, 29 de marzo del 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Images from IG's REBECA thermal camera showed the thermal activity from multiple different vents at different times during the year (see BGVN 43:11, figure 95 for vent locations). Courtesy if IG (Informe Anual del Volcán El Reventador – 2018, Quito, 29 de marzo del 2019).

Activity during October 2018-January 2019. During most days of October 2018 plumes of gas, steam, and ash rose over 1,000 m above the summit of Reventador, and most commonly drifted W or NW. Incandescence was observed on all nights that were not cloudy; incandescent blocks rolled 400-800 m down the flanks during half of the nights. During episodes of increased activity, ash plumes rose over 1,200 m (8, 10-11, 18-19 October) and incandescent blocks rolled down multiple flanks (figure 106).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Ash emissions rose over 1,000 m above the summit of Reventador numerous times during October 2018, and large incandescent blocks traveled hundreds of meters down multiple flanks. The IG-EPN COPETE webcam that captured these images is located on the S caldera rim. Courtesy of IG Daily Reports (Informe diario del estado del Volcan Reventador, numbers 2018-282, 292, 295, 297).

Similar activity continued during November. IG reported 17 days of the month with steam, gas, and ash emissions rising more than 1,000 m above the summit. The other days were either cloudy or had emissions rising between 500 and 1,000 m. Incandescent blocks were usually observed on the S or SE flanks, generally travelling 400-600 m down the flanks. The Washington VAAC reported a discrete ash plume at 6.1 km altitude drifting WNW about 35 km from the summit on 15 November. The next day, intermittent puffs were noted moving W, and a bright hotspot at the summit was visible in satellite imagery. During the most intense activity of the month, incandescent blocks traveled 800 m down all the flanks (17-19 November) and ash plumes rose over 1,200 m (23 November) (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Ash plumes rose over 1,000 m above the summit on 17 days during November 2018 at Reventador, and incandescent blocks traveled 400-800 m down the flanks on many nights. Courtesy of IG Daily Reports (Informe diario del estado del Volcan Reventador, numbers 2018-306, 314, 318, 324).

Steam, gas, and ash plumes rose over 1,200 m above the summit on 1 December. The next day, there were reports of ashfall in San Rafael and Hosteria El Hotelito, where they reported an ash layer about 1 mm thick was deposited on vehicles during the night. Ash emissions exceeded 1,200 m above the summit on 5 and 6 December as well. Incandescent blocks traveled 800 m down all the flanks on 11, 22, 24, and 26 December, and reached 900 m on 21 December. Ash emissions rising 500 to over 1,000 m above the summit were a daily occurrence, and incandescent blocks descended 500 m or more down the flanks most days during the second half of the month (figure 108).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Ash plumes that rose 500 to over 1,000 m were a daily occurrence at Reventador during December 2018. Incandescent blocks traveled as far as 900 m down the flanks as well. Courtesy of IG Daily Reports (Informe diario del estado del Volcan Reventador, numbers 2018-340, 351, 353, 354, 358, 359).

During the first few days of January 2019 the ash and steam plumes did not rise over 800 m, and incandescent blocks were noted 300-500 m down the S flank. An increase in activity on 6 January sent ash-and-gas plumes over 1,000 m, drifting W, and incandescent blocks 1,000 m down many flanks. For multiple days in the middle of the month the volcano was completely obscured by clouds; only occasional observations of plumes of ash and steam were made, incandescence seen at night through the clouds confirmed ongoing activity. The Washington VAAC reported continuous ash emissions moving SE extending more than 100 km on 12 January. A significant explosion late on 20 January sent incandescent blocks 800 m down the S flank; although it was mostly cloudy for much of the second half of January, brief glimpses of ash plumes rising over 1,000 m and incandescent blocks traveling up to 800 m down numerous flanks were made almost daily (figure 109).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Even during the numerous cloudy days of January 2019, evidence of ash emissions and significant explosions at Reventador was captured in the Copete webcam located on the S rim of the caldera. Courtesy of IG Daily Reports (Informe diario del estado del Volcan Reventador, number 2019-6, 21, 26, 27).

Visual evidence from the webcams supports significant thermal activity at Reventador. Atmospheric conditions are often cloudy and thus the thermal signature recorded by satellite instruments is frequently diminished. In spite of this, the MODVOLC thermal alert system recorded seven thermal alerts on three days in October, four alerts on two days in November, six alerts on two days in December and three alerts on three days in January 2019. In addition, the MIROVA system measured moderate levels of radiative power intermittently throughout the period; the most intense anomalies of 2018 were recorded on 15 October and 6 December (figure 110).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Persistent thermal activity at Reventador was recorded by satellite instruments for the MIROVA system from 5 April 2018 through January 2019 in spite of frequent cloud cover over the volcano. The most intense anomalies of 2018 were recorded on 15 October and 6 December. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec); 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); 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/).


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

30.443°N, 130.217°E; summit elev. 657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak explosions and ash plumes beginning 21 October 2018

Activity at Kuchinoerabujima is exemplified by interim explosions and periods of high seismicity. A weak explosion occurred on 3 August 2014, the first since 1980, and was followed by several others during 29 May-19 June 2015 (BGVN 42:03). This report describes events through February 2019. Information is based on monthly and annual reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and advisories from the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Activity has been limited to Kuchinoerabujima's Shindake Crater.

Activity during 2016-2018. According to JMA, between July 2016 and August 2018, the volcano was relatively quiet. Deflation had occurred since January 2016. On 18 April 2018 the Alert Level was lowered from 3 to 2 (on a scale of 1-5). A low-temperature thermal anomaly persisted near the W fracture in Shindake crater. During January-March 2018, both the number of volcanic earthquakes (generally numerous and typically shallow) and sulfur dioxide flux remained slightly above baselines levels in August 2014 (60-500 tons/day compared tp generally less than 100 tons/day in August 2014).

JMA reported that on 15 August 2018 a swarm of deep volcanic earthquakes was recorded, prompting an increase in the Alert Level to 4. The earthquake hypocenters were about 5 km deep, below the SW flanks of Shindake, and the maximum magnitude was 1.9. They occurred at about the same place as the swarm that occurred just before the May 2015 eruption. Sulfur dioxide emissions had increased since the beginning of August; they were 1,600, 1,000, and 1,200 tons/day on 11, 13, and 17 August, respectively. No surficial changes in gas emissions or thermal areas were observed during 16-20 August. On 29 August, JMA downgraded the Alert Level to 3, after no further SO2 flux increase had occurred in recent days and GNSS measurements had not changed.

A very weak explosion was recorded at 1831 on 21 October, with additional activity between 2110 on 21 October and 1350 on 22 October; plumes rose 200 m above the crater rim. During an overflight on 22 October, observers noted ash in the emissions, though no morphological changes to the crater nor ash deposits were seen. Based on satellite images and information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 24-28 October ash plumes rose to altitudes of 0.9-1.5 km and drifted in multiple directions. During a field observation on 28 October, JMA scientists did not observe any changes in the thermal anomalies at the crater.

JMA reported that during 31 October-5 November 2018, very small events released plumes that rose 500-1,200 m above the crater rim. On 6 November, crater incandescence began to be periodically visible. During 12-19 November, ash plumes rose as high as 1.2 km above the crater rim and, according to the Tokyo VAAC, drifted in multiple directions. Observers doing fieldwork on 14 and 15 November noted that thermal measurements in the crater had not changed. Intermittent explosions during 22-26 November generated plumes that rose as high as 2.1 km above the crater rim. During 28 November-3 December the plumes rose as high as 1.5 km above the rim.

JMA reported that at 1637 on 18 December an explosion produced an ash plume that rose 2 km and then disappeared into a weather cloud. The event ejected material that fell in the crater area, and generated a pyroclastic flow that traveled 1 km W and 500 m E of the crater. Another weak explosion occurred on 28 December, scattering large cinders up to 500 m from the crater.

The Tokyo VAAC did not issue any ash advisories for aviation until 21 October 2018, when it issued at least one report every day through 13 December. It also issued advisories on 18-20 and 28 December.

Activity during January-early February 2019. JMA reported that at 0919 local time on 17 January 2019 an explosion generated a pyroclastic flow that reached about 1.9 km NW and 1 km E of the crater. It was the strongest explosion since October 2018. In addition, "large cinders" fell about 1-1.8 km from the crater.

Tokyo VAAC ash advisories were issued on 1, 17, 20, and 29 January 2018. An explosion at 1713-1915 on 29 January produced an ash plume that rose 4 km above the crater rim and drifted E, along with a pyroclastic flow. Ash fell in parts of Yakushima. During 30 January-1 February and 3-5 February, white plumes rose as high as 600 m. On 2 February, an explosion at 1141-1300 generated a plume that rose 600 m. No additional activity during February was reported by JMA. The Alert Level remained at 3.

Geologic Background. A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the eastern end of the irregularly shaped island of Kuchinoerabujima in the northern Ryukyu Islands, 15 km west of Yakushima. The Furudake, Shindake, and Noikeyama cones were erupted from south to north, respectively, forming a composite cone with multiple craters. The youngest cone, centrally-located Shintake, formed after the NW side of Furutake was breached by an explosion. All historical eruptions have occurred from Shintake, although a lava flow from the S flank of Furutake that reached the coast has a very fresh morphology. Frequent explosive eruptions have taken place from Shintake since 1840; the largest of these was in December 1933. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater and have suffered damage from eruptions.

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


A persistent gas-and-steam plume and intermittent ash plumes occurred from July 2018 through January 2019

Kerinci is a frequently active volcano in Sumatra, Indonesia. Recent activity has consisted of intermittent explosions, ash, and gas-and-steam plumes. The volcano alert has been at Level II since 9 September 2007. This report summarizes activity during July 2018-January 2019 based on reports by The Indonesia volcano monitoring agency, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), MAGMA Indonesia, notices from the Darwin Volcano Ash Advisory Center (Darwin VAAC), and satellite data.

Throughout this period dilute gas-and-steam plumes rising about 300 m above the summit were frequently observed and seismicity continued (figure 6). During July through January ash plumes were observed by the Darwin VAAC up to 4.3 km altitude and dispersed in multiple directions (table 7 and figure 7).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Graph showing seismic activity at Kerinci from November 2018 through February 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Table 7. Summary of ash plumes (altitude and drift direction) for Kerinci during July 2018 through January 2019. The summit is at 3.5 km altitude. Data courtesy of the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) and MAGMA Indonesia.

Date Ash plume altitude (km) Ash plume drift direction
22 Jul 2018 4.3 SW
28-30 Sep 2018 4.3 SW, W
02 Oct 2018 4.3 SW, W
18-22 Oct 2018 4.3 N, W, WSW, SW
19 Jan 2019 4 E to SE
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Dilute ash plumes at Kerinci during July 2018-January 2019. Sentinel-2 natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Based on satellite data, a Darwin VAAC advisory reported an ash plume to 4.3 km altitude on 22 July that drifted to the SW and S. Only one day with elevated thermal emission was noted in Sentinel-2 satellite data for the entire reporting period, on 13 September 2018 (figure 8). No thermal signatures were detected by MODVOLC. On 28-29 September there was an ash plume observed to 500-600 m above the peak that dispersed to the W. Several VAAC reports on 2 and 18-22 October detected ash plumes that rose to 4.3 km altitude and drifted in different directions. On 19 January from 0734 to 1000 an ash plume rose to 200 m above the crater and dispersed to the E and SE (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Small thermal anomaly at Kerinci volcano on 13 September 2018. False color (urban) image (band 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Small ash plume at Kerinci on 19 January 2018 that reached 200 m above the crater and traveled west. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

19.532°S, 169.447°E; summit elev. 361 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption continues with ongoing explosions and multiple active crater vents, August 2018-January 2019

According to the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), which monitors Yasur, the volcano has been in essentially continuous Strombolian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774, and undoubtedly before that time. VMGD reported that, based on visual observations and seismic data, activity continued through January 2019, with ongoing, sometimes strong, explosions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-4). VMGD reminded residents and tourists to remain outside the 395-m-radius permanent exclusion zone and warned that volcanic ash and gas could reach areas influenced by trade winds.

Thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were recorded 6-15 days per month during the reporting period, sometimes with multiple pixels. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected numerous hotspots every month. Active crater vents were also frequently visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery (figure 50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Sentinel-2 satellite color infrared image (bands 8, 4, 3) of Yasur on 17 November 2018 showing at least three distinct heat sources in the crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Yasur, the best-known and most frequently visited of the Vanuatu volcanoes, has been in more-or-less continuous Strombolian and Vulcanian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. This style of activity may have continued for the past 800 years. Located at the SE tip of Tanna Island, this mostly unvegetated pyroclastic cone has a nearly circular, 400-m-wide summit crater. The active cone is largely contained within the small Yenkahe caldera, and is the youngest of a group of Holocene volcanic centers constructed over the down-dropped NE flank of the Pleistocene Tukosmeru volcano. The Yenkahe horst is located within the Siwi ring fracture, a 4-km-wide, horseshoe-shaped caldera associated with eruption of the andesitic Siwi pyroclastic sequence. Active tectonism along the Yenkahe horst accompanying eruptions has raised Port Resolution harbor more than 20 m during the past century.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department, Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Ambae (Vanuatu) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

15.389°S, 167.835°E; summit elev. 1496 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes and lahars in July 2018 cause evacuation of the island; intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes through January 2019

Ambae is one of the active volcanoes of Vanuatu in the New Hebrides archipelago. Recent eruptions have resulted in multiple evacuations of the local population due to ashfall. The current eruption began in September 2017, with the initial episode ending in November that year. The second episode was from late December 2017 to early February 2018, and the third was during February-April 2018. The Alert Level was raised to 3 in March, then lowered to Level 2 again on 2 June 2018. Eruptive activity began again on 1 July and produced thick ash deposits that significantly impacted the population, resulting in the full evacuation of the Island of Ambae. This report summarizes activity from July 2018 through January 2019 and is based on reports by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department (VMGD), The Vanuatu Red Cross, posts on social media, and various satellite data.

On 1 July Ambae entered a new eruption phase, marked by an ash plume that resulted in ashfall on communities in the W to NW parts of Ambae Island and the NE part of Santo Island (figure 78). On 9-10 July VMGD reported that a small eruption continued with activity consisting of ongoing gas-and-steam emissions. An observation flight on 13 July confirmed that the eruption was centered at Lake Voui and consisted of explosions that ejected hot blocks with ongoing gas-and-steam and ash emissions. Populations on Ambae and a neighboring island could hear the eruption, smell the volcanic gases, and see incandescence at night.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Ash plume at Ambae on 1 July 2018 that resulted in ashfall on the W to NW parts of the island, and on the NE part of Santo Island. Courtesy of VMGD.

On 16 July the Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume to 9.1 km that drifted to the NE. During 16-24 July daily ash plumes from the Lake Voui vent rose to altitudes of 2.3-9.1 km and drifted N, NE, E, and SE (figure 79 and 80). Radio New Zealand reported that on the 16th significant ash emission blocked out sunlight, making the underlying area dark at around 1600 local time. Much of E and N Ambae Island experienced heavy ashfall and the eruption could be heard over 30 km away. The Vanuatu Red Cross Society reported worsening conditions in the south on 24 July with ashfall resulting in trees falling and very poor visibility of less than 2 m (figures 81, 82, and 83). The Daily Post reported that by 19 July lahars had washed away two roads and other roads were blocked to western Ambae. Volcanologists who made their way to the area reported widespread damage (figure 84). The Alert Level was raised from level 2 to 3 (on a scale of 0-5) on 21 July due to an increase in ash emission and more sustained plumes, similar to March 2018 activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Ash plumes produced by the Ambae eruption in July 2018 as seen in Terra/MODIS visible satellite images. Images courtesy of NASA Worldview.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Sentinel-2 satellite image of an ash plume from Ambae in Vanuatu on 23 July 2018 with the inset showing the ash plume at the vent. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Ashfall at Ambae, posted on 25 July 2018. Courtesy of the Vanuatu Red Cross Society.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. An ash plume at Ambae in July during a day and a half of constant ashfall, looking towards the volcano. Courtesy of Michael Rowe.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Ashfall from the eruption at Ambae blocked out the sun near the volcano on 24 July 2018. Courtesy of the Vanuatu Red Cross Society.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Impacts of ashfall near Ambae in July 2018. Photos by Nicholson Naki, courtesy of the Vanuatu Red Cross (posted on 22 July 2018).

At 2100 on 26 July the ongoing explosions produced an ash plume that rose to 12 km and spread NE, E, SE. A state of emergency was announced by the Government of Vanuatu with a call for mandatory evacuations of the island. Ash emissions continued through the next day (figure 85 and 86) with two episodes producing volcanic lightning at 1100-1237 and 1522-2029 on 27 July (figure 87). The Darwin VAAC reported ash plumes up to 2.4-6.4 km, drifting SE and NW, and pilots reported heavy ashfall in Fiji. Large SO2 plumes were detected accompanying the eruptions and moving towards the E (figure 88).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Ash plumes at Ambae at 0830 and 1129 local time on 27 July 2018. The ash plume is significantly larger in the later image. Webcam images from Saratamata courtesy of VMGD.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Two ash plumes from Ambae at 1200 on 27 July 2018 as seen in a Himawari-8 satellite image. Courtesy of Himawari-8 Real-time Web.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Lightning strokes detected at Ambae on 27 July 2018. There were two eruption pulses, 1100-1237 (blue) and 1522-2029 local time (red) that produced 185 and 87 lightning strokes, respectively. Courtesy of William A. Brook, Ronald L. Holle, and Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Aura/OMI data showing the large SO2 plumes produced by Ambae in Vanuatu during 22-31 July 2018. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Video footage showed a lahar blocking a road around 2 August. The government of Vanuatu told reporters that the island had been completely evacuated by 14 August. A VMGD bulletin on 22 August reported that activity continued with ongoing gas-and-steam and sometimes ash emissions; residents on neighboring islands could hear the eruption, smell volcanic gases, and see the plumes.

On 1 September at 2015 an explosion sent an ash plume to 4-11 km altitude, drifting E. Later observations in September showed a decrease in activity with no further explosions and plumes limited to white gas-and-steam plumes. On 21 September VMGD reported that the Lake Voui eruption had ceased and the Alert Level was lowered to 2.

Observed activity through October and November dominantly consisted of white gas-and-steam plumes. An explosion on 30 October at 1832 produced an ash plume that rose to 4-5 km and drifted E and SE. Satellite images acquired during July-November show the changing crater area and crater lake water color (figure 89). VMGD volcano alert bulletins on 6, 7, and 21 January 2019 reported that activity continued with gas-and-steam emissions (figure 90). Thermal energy continued to be detected by the MIROVA system through January (figure 91).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. The changing lakes of Ambae during volcanic activity in 2018. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. A steam plume at Ambae on 21 January 2019. Courtesy of VMGD.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Log radiative power MIROVA plot of MODIS infrared data at Ambae for April 2018 through January 2019 showing the increased thermal energy during the July 2018 eruption and continued activity. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The island of Ambae, also known as Aoba, is a massive 2500 km3 basaltic shield that is the most voluminous volcano of the New Hebrides archipelago. A pronounced NE-SW-trending rift zone dotted with scoria cones gives the 16 x 38 km island an elongated form. A broad pyroclastic cone containing three crater lakes (Manaro Ngoru, Voui, and Manaro Lakua) is located at the summit within the youngest of at least two nested calderas, the largest of which is 6 km in diameter. That large central edifice is also called Manaro Voui or Lombenben volcano. Post-caldera explosive eruptions formed the summit craters about 360 years ago. A tuff cone was constructed within Lake Voui (or Vui) about 60 years later. The latest known flank eruption, about 300 years ago, destroyed the population of the Nduindui area near the western coast.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/NZ/messages.html); 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/); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Himawari-8 Real-time Web, developed by the NICT Science Cloud project in NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology), Japan, in collaboration with JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency) and CEReS (Center of Environmental Remote Sensing, Chiba University) (URL: https://himawari8.nict.go.jp/); Vanuatu Red Cross Society (URL: https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuRedCross); William A. Brooks and Ronald L. Holle, Vaisala Inc., Tucson, Arizona, and Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/); Michael Rowe, The University of Auckland, 23 Symonds Street, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand (URL: https://unidirectory.auckland.ac.nz/profile/michael-rowe); Radio New Zealand, 155 The Terrace, Wellington 6011, New Zealand (URL: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/359231/vanuatu-provincial-capital-moves-due-to-volcano); Vanuatu Daily Post (URL: http://dailypost.vu/).


Agung (Indonesia) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing intermittent ash plumes and frequent gas-and-steam plumes during August 2018-January 2019

Agung is an active volcano in Bali, Indonesia, that began its current eruptive episode in September 2017. During this time activity has included ash plumes, gas-and-steam plumes, explosions ejecting ballistic blocks onto the flanks, and lava extrusion within the crater.

This report summarizes activity from August 2018 through January 2019 based on information from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), MAGMA Indonesia, the National Board for Disaster Management - Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

During August 2018 through January 2019 observed activity was largely gas-and steam plumes up to 700 m above the crater (figures 39 and 40). In late December and January there were several explosions that produced ash plumes up to 5.5 km altitude, and ejected ballistic blocks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Graph showing the observed white gas-and-steam plumes and gray ash plumes at Agung during August 2018 through January 2019. The dates showing no data points coincided with cloudy days where the summit was not visible. Data courtesy of PVMBG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A white gas-and-steam plume at Agung on 21 December 2018. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume on 8-9 August based on satellite data, webcam footage, and ground report information. The ash plume rose to 4.3 km and drifted to the W. They also reported a diffuse ash plume to 3.3 km altitude on 16-17 August based on satellite and webcam data. During September through November there were no ash plumes observed at Agung; activity consisted of white gas-and-steam plumes ranging from 10-500 m above the crater.

Throughout December, when observations could be made, activity mostly consisted of white gas-and-steam plumes up to 400 m above the crater. An explosion occurred at 0409 on 30 December that lasted 3 minutes 8 seconds produced an ash plume rose to an altitude of 5.5 km and moved to the SE and associated incandescence was observed at the crater. Light Ashfall was reported in the Karangasem regency to the NE, including Amlapura City and several villages such as in Seraya Barat Village, Seraya Tengah Village, and Tenggalinggah Village (figure 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. A webcam image of an explosion at Agung that began at 0409 on 30 December 2018. Light Ashfall was reported in the Karangasem regency. Courtesy of PVMBG.

White gas-and-steam plumes continued through January 2019 rising as much as 600 m above the crater. Several Volcano Observatory Notices for Aviation (VONAs) were issued during 18-22 January. An explosion was recorded at 0245 on 19 January that produced an ash plume to 700 m above the crater and ejected incandescent blocks out to 1 km from the crater. On 21 January another ash plume rose to an estimated plume altitude of 5.1 km. The next morning, at 0342 on the 22nd, an ash plume to an altitude of 2 km that dispersed to the E and SE.

Satellite data shows continued low-level thermal activity in the crater throughout this period. MIROVA thermal data showed activity declining after a peak in July, and a further decline in energy in September (figure 42). Low-level thermal activity continued through December. Sentinel-2 thermal data showed elevated temperatures within the ponded lava in the crater (figure 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Log radiative power MIROVA plot of MODIS infrared data for May 2018 through January 2019 showing thermal anomalies at Agung. The black data lines indicate anomalies more than 10 km from the crater, which are likely due to fires. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing areas of elevated temperatures within the lava ponded in the Agung crater during August 2018 through January 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/); 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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Erebus (Antarctica) — January 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lakes persist through 2017 and 2018

Between the early 1980's through 2016, activity at Erebus was monitored by the Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory (MEVO), using seismometers, infrasonic recordings to measure eruption frequency, and annual scientific site visits. MEVO recorded occasional explosions propelling ash up to 2 km above the summit of this Antarctic volcano and the presence of two, sometimes three, lava lakes (figure 26). However, MEVO closed in 2016 (BGVN 42:06).

Activity at the lava lakes in the summit crater can be detected using MODIS infrared detectors aboard the Aqua and Terra satellites and analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm. A compilation of thermal alert pixels during 2017-2018 (table 4, a continuation of data in the previous report) shows a wide range of detected activity, with a high of 182 alert pixels in April 2018. Although no MODVOLC anomalies were recorded in January 2017, detectors on the Sentinel-2 satellite imaged two active lava lakes on 25 January.

Table 4. Number of MODVOLC thermal alert pixels recorded per month from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2018 for Erebus by the University of Hawaii's thermal alert system. Table compiled by GVP from data provided by MODVOLC.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec SUM
2017 0 21 9 0 0 1 11 61 76 52 0 3 234
2018 0 21 58 182 55 17 137 172 103 29 0 0 774
SUM 0 42 67 182 55 18 148 233 179 81 0 3 1008
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Sentinel-2 images of the summit crater area of Erebus on 25 January 2017. Top: Natural color filter (bands 4, 3, 2). Bottom: Atmospheric penetration filter (bands 12, 11, 8A) in which two distinct lava lakes can be observed. The main crater is 500 x 600 m wide. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost historically active volcano, overlooks the McMurdo research station on Ross Island. The 3794-m-high Erebus 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 3200 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. 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: Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Villarrica (Chile) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent Strombolian activity ejects incandescent bombs around crater rim, September 2018-February 2019

Historical eruptions at Chile's Villarrica, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. An intermittently active lava lake at the summit has been the source of explosive activity, incandescence, and thermal anomalies for several decades. Sporadic Strombolian activity at the lava lake and small ash emissions have continued since the last large explosion on 3 March 2015. Similar continuing activity during September 2018-February 2019 is covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Southern Andes Volcano Observatory (Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur, OVDAS), part of Chile's National Service of Geology and Mining (Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, SERNAGEOMIN), and Projecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI), part of the Fundacion Volcanes de Chile, a research group that studies volcanoes across Chile.

After ash emissions during July 2018 and an increase in of thermal activity from late July through early September 2018 (BGVN 43:10), Villarrica was much quieter through February 2019. Steam plumes rose no more than a few hundred meters above the summit and the number of thermal alerts decreased steadily. Intermittent Strombolian activity sent ejecta a few tens of meters above the summit crater, with larger bombs landing outside the crater rim. A small pyroclastic cone appeared at the surface of the lava lake, about 70 m below the rim, in November. The largest lava fountain rose 35 m above the crater rim in late January 2019.

Steam plumes rose no more than 300 m above the crater during September 2018 and were less than 150 m high in October; incandescence at the summit was visible during clear nights, although a gradual decrease in activity suggested a lowering of the lake level to SERNAGEOMIN. SERNAGEOMIN attributed an increase in LP seismic events from 1,503 in September to 5,279 in October to dynamics of the lava lake inside the summit crater; counts decreased gradually in the following months.

POVI reported webcam evidence of Strombolian activity with ejecta around the crater several times during November 2018. On 5 November the webcam captured an image of an incandescent bomb, more than a meter in diameter, that landed on the NW flank. The next day, explosions sent ejecta 50 m above the edge of the crater, and pyroclastic debris landed around the perimeter. Significant Strombolian explosions on 16 November sent incandescent bombs toward the W rim of the crater (figure 71). The POVI webcam in Pucón captured incandescent ejecta landing on the crater rim on 23 November. POVI scientists observed a small pyroclastic cone, about 10-12 m in diameter, at the bottom of the summit crater on 19 November (figure 72); it was still visible on 25 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Strombolian activity at the summit of Villarrica was captured several times in the POVI webcam located in Pucón. An explosion on 5 November 2018 ejected a meter-sized bomb onto the NW flank (left). On 16 November, incandescent bombs were thrown outside the W rim of the crater (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. A small pyroclastic cone was visible at the bottom of the summit crater at Villarrica (about 70 m deep) on 19 November 2018 (left); it was still visible on 25 November (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).

During December 2018 webcam images showed steam plumes rising less than 350 m above the crater. Infrasound instruments identified two small explosions related to lava lake surface activity. SERNAGEOMIN noted a minor variation in the baseline of the inclinometers; continued monitoring indicated the variation was seasonal. A compilation by POVI of images of the summit crater during 2018 showed the evolution of the lava lake level during the year. It had dropped out of sight early in the year, rose to its highest level in July, and then lowered slightly, remaining stable for the last several months of the year (figure 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Evolution of the lava pit at Villarrica during 2018. During July the lava lake level increased and for November and December no significant changes were observed. Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).

Between 25 December 2018 and 15 January 2019, financed with funds contributed by the Fundación Volcanes de Chile, POVI was able to install new HD webcams with continuous daily image recording, greatly improving the level of detail data available of the activity at the summit. POVI reported that after a five-week break, Strombolian explosions resumed on 3 January 2019; the lava fountains rose 20 m above the crater rim, and pyroclastic ejecta fell to the E. On 24 January the Strombolian explosions ejected ash, lapilli, and bombs up to 15 cm in diameter; the lava fountain was about 35 m high.

An explosion on 7 February reached about 29 m above the crater's edge; on 9 February a lava fountain three meters in diameter rose 17 m above the crater rim. Sporadic explosions were imaged on 12 February as well (figure 74). During a reconnaissance overflight on 24 February 2019, POVI scientists observed part of the lava pit at the bottom of the crater (figure 75). As of 28 February they noted a slight but sustained increase in the energy of the explosions. SERNAGEOMIN noted that steam plumes rose 400 m in January and 150 m during February, and incandescence was visible on clear nights during both months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Strombolian activity at Villarrica in January and February 2019 was imaged with a new HD webcam on several occasions. On 24 January 2019 explosions ejected ash, lapilli, and bombs up to 15 cm in diameter; the lava fountain was about 35 m high (left); on 12 February 2019 explosions rose about 19 m above the crater rim (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. During a reconnaissance overflight on 24 February 2019, POVI scientists observed part of the lava pit at the bottom of the crater at Villarrica; gas and steam emissions and incandescence from small explosions were noted. Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).

Geologic Background. Glacier-clad Villarrica, one of Chile's most active volcanoes, rises above the lake and town of the same name. It is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. A 6-km-wide caldera formed during the late Pleistocene. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesitic cone at the NW margin of the Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents dot the flanks. Plinian eruptions and pyroclastic flows that have extended up to 20 km from the volcano were produced during the Holocene. Lava flows up to 18 km long have issued from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. Glaciers cover 40 km2 of the volcano, and lahars have damaged towns on its flanks.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI) (URL: http://www.povi.cl/).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta continue during September 2018-February 2019

Frequent historical eruptions have been reported from Mexico's Popocatépetl going back to the 14th century. Activity increased in the mid-1990s after about 50 years of quiescence, and the current eruption, ongoing since January 2005, has included numerous episodes of lava-dome growth and destruction within the 500-m-wide summit caldera. Multiple emissions of steam and gas occur daily, rising generally 1-3 km above the 5.4-km-elevation summit; many contain small amounts of ash. Larger, more explosive events with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta landing on the flanks usually occur several times every week.

Activity through August 2018 was typical of the ongoing eruption with near-constant emissions of water vapor, gas, and minor ash, as well as multiple explosions every week with ash-plumes and incandescent blocks scattered on the flanks (BGVN 43:11). This report covers similar activity from September 2018 through February 2019. Information about Popocatépetl comes from daily reports provided by México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED); ash emissions are also reported by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite visible and thermal imagery and SO2 data also provide helpful observations of activity.

Near-constant emissions of steam and gas, often with minor ash content, were typical activity throughout September 2018-February 2019. Intermittent larger explosions with plumes of moderate ash content that generated ashfall in nearby communities were reported each month except November. Periods with increased explosive activity that consisted of multiple daily explosions included all of September into early October, early December 2018, and the second half of February 2019 (figure 116). Increased observations of incandescence at the summit generally coincided with increases in explosive activity. Increases in thermal anomalies measured by the MIROVA project during this time also correlated with times of increased explosive activity as reported by CENAPRED (figure 117).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. The numbers of low intensity emissions of steam and gas, often with minor amounts of ash ranged from a few tens to several hundred per day throughout September 2018-February 2019 (blue, left axis). Increases in the daily numbers of larger ash-bearing explosions occurred during September-early October 2018, early December, and the second half of February 2019 (orange, right axis). Data courtesy of CENEPRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Thermal anomalies registered by the MIROVA project from 5 April 2018 through February 2019 had periods of increased frequency and intensity during September-early October, early December 2018, and in the second half of February 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during September 2018. Multiple explosions with ash plumes were reported nearly every day in September (figure 118). The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery 15 km NW of the summit at 7.6 km altitude on 4 September. Most plumes reported by the VAAC during the month rose to 6.1-7.6 km and drifted up to 40 km in multiple directions. Two small episodes of ash emissions with tremor on 16 September were followed the next day by a series of emissions, explosions, and tremor that lasted for over six hours; incandescent blocks were visible on the flanks in the early morning. An increase in activity late on 18 September produced Strombolian eruptions that lasted for nearly eight hours along with ash emissions and incandescent blocks on the flanks. A plume on 19 September still had detectable ash 150 km NE of the summit; a smaller plume drifting E was responsible for ashfall reported in Tlaxcala.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. Multiple explosions with ash plumes were reported nearly every day in September at Popocatépetl, generating ash plumes that rose from 1.5-3 km above the crater and drifted in multiple directions. The CENAPRED webcams captured images of ash plumes on 8, 11, and 19 September, and the Sentinel-2 satellite (rendering is Atmospheric penetration, based on bands 12, 11 and 8A) imaged ash plumes from two of seven reported explosions on 24 September 2018. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 9, 11, y 20 de septiembre de 2018) and Sentinel Hub Playground (lower image).

Discrete puffs of ash were observed by the Washington VAAC on 20 September moving WSW extending around 200 km from the summit. Three explosions on 21 September ejected incandescent blocks onto the NE flank. During an overflight on 21 September, CENAPRED observed dome number 80, partly destroyed by the recent explosions (figure 119). The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 8.8 km altitude on 21 September 30 km WSW from the summit. Ashfall was reported by CENACOM (Mexican National Communications Center) on 29 September in Atlautla, Tehuixtitlan, and Cuecuecuautitla in the State of Mexico, and in the Tláhuac Delegation, Iztapalapa, and Xochimilco in Mexico City.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. During an overflight on 21 September 2018, CENAPRED observed dome number 80 at Popocatépetl, partly destroyed by the recent explosions. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 21 de septiembre de 2018).

Activity during October and November 2018. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 7 km altitude on 2 October, 35 km W of the summit. Numerous smaller plumes were reported by the VAAC during both months at about 6 km altitude drifting in multiple directions. Two larger explosions on 8 October produced ash plumes that rose to 3.5 and 2.4 km, respectively, above the summit, and drifted NE (figure 120). As a result, ashfall was reported at the Puebla airport. On 10 and 12 October, extended periods of LP tremor were accompanied by gas emissions, but otherwise lower levels of activity were noted for much of the month. An ash plume extended over 80 km NE at 7.6 km altitude on 10 November. An explosion on 13 November produced incandescent fragments on the flanks. During 19-21 November episodes of LP seismicity and tremors produced gas and ash emissions; some of the episodes lasted for as long as 13 hours; incandescent fragments were observed on the upper slopes during the more intense periods. On 22 November scientists on an overflight by CENAPRED observed dome 81 with a diameter of 175 m and an estimated depth of 30 m (figure 121).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. A large explosion early on 8 October 2018 at Popocatépetl sent an ash plume to 3.5 km above the summit crater that drifted NE. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 9 de Octubre de 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. On 22 November 2018 scientists on an overflight by CENAPRED observed dome 81 at Popocatépetl with a diameter of 175 m and an estimated depth of 30 m. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelos, herramienta útil para el monitoreo volcánico del Popocatépetl, jueves, 22 de noviembre de 2018).

Activity during December 2018. Increased ash emissions were reported in early December 2018, producing ash plumes that rose at least 1 km above the crater and drifted mostly E; incandescent blocks ejected on 5 December fell mostly back into the crater. Multiple explosions on 6 and 7 December produced ash plumes that rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater and resulted in ashfall in Amecameca and Tlalmanalco; they also produced incandescent blocks that traveled as far at 2.5 km from the crater, according to CENAPRED. An explosion on 9 December produced a 2-km-high ash plume that drifted NE (figure 122). Satellite images captured during clear skies on 18 December showed incandescence at the dome inside the summit crater, and dark ash and ejecta covering much of the upper flanks (figure 123). An ash plume was centered about 100 km NE of the summit on 24 December at 7.6 km altitude, and dissipating rapidly, according to the Washington VAAC. Incandescent blocks were ejected onto the flanks on 26 December during an evening explosion.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. An explosion on 9 December 2018 produced a 2-km-high ash plume at Popocatépetl that drifted NE. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 9 de diciembre de 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Clear skies on 18 December 2018 resulted in a Sentinel-2 satellite image of Popocatépetl that showed incandescence on the dome inside the summit crater, and dark tephra surrounding all the upper flanks. Rendering is Atmospheric penetration, based on bands 12, 11 and 8A. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January 2019. An explosion in the early morning of 16 January 2019 produced incandescent blocks that traveled 1.5 km down the slopes. It also produced an ash emission that lasted for 25 minutes; the seismic signal associated with the event was a mixture of harmonic tremor and high-frequency low-amplitude earthquakes. In the first minutes the height of the column reached 1,000 m above the crater, later it decreased to 500 m; ash was dispersed ENE. Late on 22 January a large explosion produced an ash plume that rose 3.5 km above the crater and numerous incandescent blocks that were observed as far as 2 km from the summit (figure 124); ashfall was reported in Santa Isabel Cholula, Santa Ana Xalmimilulco, Domingo Arenas, San Martin Texmelucan, Tlalancaleca, San Salvador el Verde, San Andres Calpan, San Nicolás de los Ranchos, and Huejotzingo, all in the state of Puebla. A large discrete ash plume was observed in satellite imagery by the Washington VAAC on 24 January at 6.7 km altitude moving NE to about 35 km distance before dissipating. In an overflight on 27 January CENAPRED noted that the internal crater remained about 300 m wide and 150 m deep, and no dome was visible (figure 125).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Late on 22 January 2019 a large explosion at Popocatépetl produced an ash plume that rose 3.5 km above the crater and produced numerous incandescent blocks that were observed as far as 2 km from the summit. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Actualización de Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 22 de enero de 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 125. During an overflight of Popocatépetl on 27 January 2019 observers from CENAPRED noted that the internal crater remained about 300 m wide and 150 m deep, and no dome was visible. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 27 de enero de 2019).

Activity during February 2019. Several days of increased activity of harmonic tremor and explosions were reported during 14-19 February 2019 (figure 126). Incandescent blocks from Strombolian activity appeared on the flanks late on 14 February traveling as far as 1.5 km, along with a continuous stream of ash and gas that drifted SW for seven hours. The initial ash plume rose 800 m, but by early the next day had risen to 2 km. Ashfall was reported in the communities of Hueyapan, Tetela del Volcán, Zacualpan, Temoac, Jantetelco, Cuautla, Ocuituco, and Yecapixtla, in the state of Morelos, and in Tochimilco, Puebla, on 15 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 126. Several days of increased activity at Popocatépetl, including harmonic tremor and explosions, were reported during 14-19 February 2019. Incandescent blocks from Strombolian activity appeared on the flanks late on 14 February traveling as far as 1.5 km, along with a continuous stream of ash and gas that drifted SW for seven hours (left). Steam and gas streamed continuously from the summit for many hours on 17 February (right); the plume drifted NNE at 1-1.5 km altitude. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 14 y 18 de febrero de 2019).

A new episode of Strombolian activity early on 16 February lasted for six hours and produced 2-km-high ash plumes that drifted SE. Later that afternoon, a new harmonic tremor episode, again lasting about six hours, was accompanied by water vapor and gas emissions that drifted NE and incandescent blocks ejected 400 m down the flanks. A Sentinel-2 satellite image that day recorded a significant thermal signature from the summit dome (figure 127).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 127. A Sentinel-2 satellite image on a clear 16 February 2019 recorded a significant thermal signature from the summit dome of Popocatépetl. Rendering is Atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Satellite instruments recorded a strong SO2 signature from the volcano during 15-18 February (figure 128). Multi-hour periods of harmonic tremor were recorded during 17-19 February, accompanied by gas-and-ash emissions. Ash plume heights were between 1 and 2 km above the crater, and minor ashfall was reported in Tlaxco and Xalostoc in Nativitas, and Hueyotlipan, Amaxac de Guerrero, Tepetitla de Lardizábal, and Texoloc in Tlaxcala, on 18 February. Two overflights on 18 and 19 February confirmed the formation of dome 82 inside the summit crater, estimated to be 200 m in diameter (figure 129).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 128. Significant SO2 plumes were measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during 15-18 February 2019 at Popocatépetl. The plume initially drifted SW (top left, 15 February); changes in the wind direction carried the plume to the N (top right, 16 February), then to the NE (bottom left, 17 February), and back to the N on 18 February (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 129. An overflight on 19 February by CENAPRED confirmed the formation of dome 82 inside the summit crater at Popocatépetl, estimated to be 200 m in diameter. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Actualización del reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 19 de febrero de 2019).

Geologic Background. Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m wide crater. The generally symmetrical volcano is modified by the sharp-peaked Ventorrillo on the NW, a remnant of an earlier volcano. At least three previous major cones were destroyed by gravitational failure during the Pleistocene, producing massive debris-avalanche deposits covering broad areas to the south. The modern volcano was constructed south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone. Three major Plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 CE, have occurred since the mid-Holocene, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and voluminous lahars that swept basins below the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since Pre-Columbian time.

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/); 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); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous activity from the cone in Mackenney crater; daily lava flows on the NW flank during October 2018-January 2019

Extensive lava flows, bomb-laden Strombolian explosions, and ash plumes emerging from MacKenney crater have characterized the persistent activity at Pacaya since 1961. The latest eruptive episode began with intermittent ash plumes and incandescence in June 2015; the growth of a new pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater was confirmed in mid-December 2015. The pyroclastic cone has continued to grow, rising above the crater rim in late 2017 and sending numerous flows down the flanks of the crater throughout 2018 (BGVN 43:11). Similar activity continued during October 2018-January 2019, covered in this report, with information provided primarily by Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH).

There were few variations in the eruptive activity at Pacaya during October 2018-January 2019. Virtually constant Strombolian activity from the summit of the pyroclastic cone within Mackenney crater produced ejecta that rose 5-30 m daily. Periods of increased activity occasionally increased the height of the ejecta to 50 m. Lava flows descended the NW flank of Mackenney cone towards Cerro Chino crater, usually one or two a day, sometimes three or four. They travelled 50-300 m down the flank; the longest reached 600 m in mid-October and 500 m at the end of January. Steam and gas plumes persisted from the summit; a single VAAC report mentioned dilute ash in mid-October. Plumes generally rose a few hundred meters above the summit, occasionally reaching 700-800 m. Incandescent avalanche blocks at the heads of the flows were sometimes as large as a meter in diameter and traveled far down the flanks.

Constant Strombolian activity during October 2018 from the pyroclastic cone within Mackenney crater was ejected up to 30 m above the summit of the cone throughout the month, with occasional more intense episodes rising 50 m. Lava flows were reported daily by INSIVUMEH on the NW flank from 50 to 300 m long. White and blue gas-and-steam emissions generally rose a few hundred meters from the summit of the pyroclastic cone and usually drifted S or N. The highest rose 800 m on 26 and 27 October. In a special report issued late on 12 October INSIVUMEH noted that seismicity had increased during the day; Strombolian explosions also increased and ejected material 25-50 m above the summit, producing block avalanches in the vicinity of the flows (figure 103). The cone within Mackenney crater continued to grow, reaching 75 m above the rim and nearly filling the crater at its base. According to the Washington VAAC, on 14 October a pilot reported minor ash emissions moving W at an estimated 650 m above the summit. Multi-spectral imagery showed a faint ash plume moving W at 3.4 km altitude, and a well-defined hotspot was seen in short-wave infrared imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Strombolian activity sent ejecta 25-50 m above the summit of Pacaya on 12 October 2018, and lava flows traveled 600 m down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino, as seen from the community of Escuintla located about 20 km W. Courtesy of Carlos Barrios and INSIVUMEH.

Similar activity persisted throughout November 2018 (figures 104 and 105). The Strombolian activity usually rose 5-30 m high; on 24 November INSIVUMEH reported ejecta 75 m high and the presence of four lava flows on the NW flank that traveled distances ranging from 50 to 200 m. Steam-and-gas emissions rose no more than 500 m above the summit. On 24 and 28 November incandescent avalanche blocks were observed at the fronts of the lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Constant Strombolian activity rising 25-50 m above the summit of Pacaya was reported on 12 November 2018. In addition, a lava flow 150 m long traveled down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino, as seen in this image with incandescent blocks below the flow. A diffuse plume of mostly gas and steam rose 350 m above the crater. Courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Continuous lava flows up to 300 m long were observed during the last week of November 2018 at Pacaya. They traveled down the NW flank and often had large incandescent blocks that descended the flank beneath the flow. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Pacaya (1402-11), Semana del 24 al 30 de noviembre de 2018).

During December 2018, continuous Strombolian activity was observed 25 m high. Incandescent avalanche blocks were noted at the fronts of the lava flows more frequently than in previous months. One to three lava flows extending 50-300 m down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino were reported every day that the flanks were visible (figure 106). Late on 13 December INSIVUMEH released a special bulletin noting that explosions were heard as far as 8 km from Mackenney crater, and Strombolian activity rose 25-50 m. Constant tremor activity had been produced from the ongoing lava flows descending the flank; the incandescent avalanche blocks up to 1 m in diameter were falling from the front of the flows. By the end of December, the growing pyroclastic cone had filled the inside of Mackenney crater, reaching 75-100 m above the crater rim. In a special information report on 28 December, INSIVUMEH noted that changes in the eruptive patterns included an increase in seismic tremor along with more persistent and higher energy Strombolian activity from the active cone, which frequently sent material outside of the crater onto the flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Lava flows traveled down the NW flank of Pacaya on 7 December 2018. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de la actividad volcanica, diciembre 2018, Volcan de Pacaya).

There were no significant changes in activity during January 2019. Constant Strombolian activity rose 5-30 m above the summit; INSIVUMEH reported the height at 50 m on 7 January. Large incandescent avalanche blocks were noted at the front of the lava flows several times; one or two flows daily reached lengths of 100-300 m. The flow reported on 29 January reached 500 m, traveling down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino. Steam plumes, sometimes with bluish gas, rose generally to around 100 m above the summit, occasionally higher. Growth and destruction of the pyroclastic cone inside Mackenney crater continued as it had for the previous several months. The persistent Strombolian and lava flow activity was responsible for a strong thermal signature recorded in satellite data and plotted by the MIROVA project during the period (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. A MIROVA graph of thermal radiative power at Pacaya from 5 April 2018 through January 2019 showed little change during the period from October 2018-January 2019 covered in this report. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php); 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/); Carlos Barrios (Twitter: @shekano, URL: https://twitter.com/shekano).

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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. The 3794-m-high Erebus 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 3200 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. 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 spills down the S flank. It is dominantly andesitic, but basalt and dacite are also found. There is an E-W fissure, although the prominent NE-SW Cordón Fissural Oriental fissure zone cuts across the entire volcano, that produced a series of NE-flank vents and cinder cones, some of which have been the source of voluminous lava flows, including those during 1887-90 and 1988-90 that traveled up to 10 km.

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

Information Contacts: 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.

View Atmospheric Effects Reports

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

View Special Announcements Reports

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

08/1997 (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/).