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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

Ibu (Indonesia) Frequent ash plumes and small lava flows active in the crater through June 2019

Ebeko (Russia) Continuing frequent moderate explosions though May 2019; ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Weak thermal anomalies and moderate Strombolian-type eruptions in September 2018-June 2019

Yasur (Vanuatu) Strong thermal activity with incandescent ejecta continues, February-May 2019

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Infrequent thermal anomalies, no ash emissions, February-May 2019

Ambae (Vanuatu) Declining thermal activity and no explosions during February-May 2019

Sangay (Ecuador) Explosion on 26 March 2019; activity from 10 May through June produced ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows

Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) Ash emissions and thermal anomalies during October 2018-April 2019; lava emissions at the E flank coast and summit area

Sarychev Peak (Russia) Brief ash emission reported on 16 May 2019

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Lava lake remains active through May 2019; three new vents around the secondary cone

Bezymianny (Russia) Ongoing thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and lava dome growth during February-May 2019; strong explosion in mid-March

Nevados de Chillan (Chile) Small ash explosions and dome growth during December 2018-May 2019; ballistic ejecta deposited around the crater, with a pyroclastic flow in May



Ibu (Indonesia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

1.488°N, 127.63°E; summit elev. 1325 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash plumes and small lava flows active in the crater through June 2019

Ibu volcano on Halmahera island in Indonesia began the current eruption episode on 5 April 2008. Since then, activity has largely consisted of small ash plumes with less frequent lava flows, lava dome growth, avalanches, and larger ash plumes up to 5.5 km above the crater. This report summarizes activity during December 2018 through June 2019 and is based on Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) reports by MAGMA Indonesia, reports by Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), and various satellite data.

During December PVMBG reported ash plumes ranging from 200 to 800 m above the crater. There were 11 MODVOLC thermal alerts that registered during 1-12 December. An explosion on 12 January 2019 produced an ash plume that reached 800 m above the crater and dispersed to the S (figure 15). A report released for this event by Sutopo at BNPB said that Ibu had erupted almost every day over the past three months; an example given was of activity on 10 January consisting of 80 explosions. There were four MODVOLC thermal alerts through the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. An eruption at Ibu at 1712 on 21 January 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to 800 m above the crater. Courtesy of BNPB (color adjusted).

Throughout February explosions frequently produced ash plumes as high as 800 m above the crater, and nine MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued. Daily reports showed variable plume heights of 200-800 m most days throughout the month. Wind directions varied and dispersed the plumes in all directions. A VONA released at 1850 on 6 February reported an ash plume that rose to 1,925 m altitude (around 600 m above the summit) and dispersed S. Activity continued through March with the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG reporting explosions producing ash plumes to heights of 200-800 m above the crater and dispersing in various directions. There were ten MODVOLC alerts through the month.

Similar activity continued through April, May, and June, with ash plumes reaching 200-800 m above the crater. There were 12, 6, and 15 MODVOLC Alerts in April, May, and June, respectively.

Planet Scope satellite images show activity at a two vents near the center of the crater that were producing small lava flows from February through June (figure 16). Thermal anomalies were frequent during December 2018 through June 2019 across MODVOLC, MIROVA, and Sentinel-2 infrared data (figures 17 and 18). Sentinel-2 data showed minor variation in the location of thermal anomalies within the crater, possibly indicating lava flow activity, and MIROVA data showed relatively constant activity with a few reductions in thermal activity during January and February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Planet Scope natural color satellite images showing activity in the Ibu crater during January through June 2019, with white arrows indicating sites of activity. One vent is visible in the 21 February image, and a 330-m-long (from the far side of the vent) lava flow with flow ridges had developed by 24 March. A second vent was active by 12 May with a new lava flow reaching a maximum length of 520 m. Activity was centered back at the previous vent by 23-27 June. Natural color Planet Scope Imagery, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Examples of thermal activity in the Ibu crater during January through May 2019. These Sentinel-2 satellite images show variations in hot areas in the crater due to a vent producing a small lava flow. Sentinel-2 false color (urban) images (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Ibu from September 2018 through June 2019. The registered energy was relatively stable through December, with breaks in January and February. Regular thermal anomalies continued with slight variation through to the end of June. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The truncated summit of Gunung Ibu stratovolcano along the NW coast of Halmahera Island has large nested summit craters. The inner crater, 1 km wide and 400 m deep, contained several small crater lakes through much of historical time. The outer crater, 1.2 km wide, is breached on the north side, creating a steep-walled valley. A large parasitic cone is located ENE of the summit. A smaller one to the WSW has fed a lava flow down the W flank. A group of maars is located below the N and W flanks. Only a few eruptions have been recorded in historical time, the first a small explosive eruption from the summit crater in 1911. An eruption producing a lava dome that eventually covered much of the floor of the inner summit crater began in December 1998.

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/); 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); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/).


Ebeko (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

50.686°N, 156.014°E; summit elev. 1103 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuing frequent moderate explosions though May 2019; ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk

The Ebeko volcano, located on the northern end of the Paramushir Island in the Kuril Islands, consists of many craters, lakes, and thermal features and has been frequently erupting since late February 2017. Typical activity includes ash plumes, explosive eruptions, and gas-and-steam activity. The previous report through November 2018 (BGVN 43:12) described frequent ash explosions that sometimes caused ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km E). The primary source of information is the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). This report updates the volcanic activity at Ebeko for December 2018 through May 2019.

Frequent moderate explosive activity continued after November 2018. Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk observed explosions sending up ash, which drifted N, NE, and E, resulting in ash falls on Severo-Kurilsk on 28 different days between December 2018 and March 2019. On 25 December 2018 an explosion sent ash up to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km and then drifted N for about 5 km. Explosions occurring on 8-10 March 2019 sent ash up to an altitude of 4 km, resulting in ashfall on Severo-Kurilsk on 9-10 March 2019. An ash plume from these explosions rose to a height of 2.5 km and drifted to a maximum distance of 30 km ENE.

Satellite data analyzed by KVERT registered 12 thermal anomalies from December 2018 through May 2019. According to satellite data analyzed by MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), only one thermal anomaly was recorded from December 2018-May 2019, and no hotspot pixels were recognized using satellite thermal data from the MODVOLC algorithm.

Geologic Background. The flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. Blocky lava flows extend west from Ebeko and SE from the neighboring Nezametnyi cone. The eastern part of the southern crater contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion craters.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); 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/).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak thermal anomalies and moderate Strombolian-type eruptions in September 2018-June 2019

Klyuchevskoy has had alternating eruptive and less active periods since August 2015. Activity has included lava flows, a growing cinder cone, thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and ash explosions. Though some eruptions occur near the summit crater, major explosive and effusive eruptions have also occurred from flank craters (BGVN 42:04 and 43:05). Intermittent moderate gas-and-steam and ash emissions were previously reported from mid-February to mid-August 2018. The Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) is the primary source of information for this September 2018-June 2019 reporting period.

KVERT reported that moderate gas-and-steam activity, some of which contained a small amount of ash, and weak thermal anomalies occurred intermittently from the beginning of September 2018 through mid-April 2019. On 21-22 April 2019 webcam data showed a gas-and-steam plume extending about 160 km SE (figure 31). Moderate Strombolian-type volcanism began late April 2019 and continued intermittently through June 2019. On 11-12 June webcam data showed explosions that sent ash up to a maximum altitude of 6 km, with the resulting ash plume extending about 200 km WNW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Gas-and-steam plume containing some amount of ash rising from the summit of Klyuchevskoy on 22 April 2019. Photo by A. Klimova, courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (IVS FEB RAS).

Thermal anomalies were noted by KVERT during two days in September 2018, six days in April 2019, eleven days in May 2019, and six days in June 2019. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed infrequent weak thermal anomalies December 2018 through early May 2019.

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: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); 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/).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong thermal activity with incandescent ejecta continues, February-May 2019

Yasur volcano on Tanna Island has been characterized by Strombolian activity with large incandescent bombs, frequent explosions, lava fountaining, and ash emissions for much of its known eruptive history. Melanesians from nearby islands are believed to have settled Tanna in about 400 BCE; it is now part of the nation of Vanuatu, independent since 1980. The Kwamera language (or Tannese) spoken on the SE coast of the island is thought to be the source of the name of the island. No known oral history describes volcanic activity; the first written English-language documentation of activity dates to 5 August 1774, when Captain James Cook saw "a great fire" on Tanna Island. Cook realized that it "was a Volcano which threw up vast quantities of fire and smoak and made a rumbling noise which was heard at a good distance" (The Captain Cook Society) (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Incandescence, steam, and dark ash from Yasur fill the sky in this sketch representing Captain James Cook's landing in the 'Resolution' at Tanna Island on 5 August 1774. The form of the volcano is behind the ship, the incandescence is in the upper right next to the ship's masts. "Landing at Tanna" by William Hodges, 1775-1776, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. The Maritime Museum noted that this is one of a group of panel paintings produced by Hodges of encounters with islanders during the voyage, in which the European perception of each society at the time is portrayed. Image taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Based on numerous accounts from ships logs and other sources, volcanic activity has been continuous since that time. During periods of higher activity, multiple vents within the summit crater send ejecta 100 m or more above the crater rim, with large bombs occasionally landing hundreds of meters away. Continued activity during February-May 2019 is covered in this report with information provided by the Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) which monitors the volcano and satellite data; photographs from tourists also provide valuable information about this remote location.

VMGD has maintained Alert Level 2 at Yasur since October 2016, indicating that it is in a major state of unrest. There is a permanent exclusion zone within 395 m of the eruptive vents where access is prohibited due to multiple hazards, primarily from large incandescent bombs up to 4 m in diameter which have been ejected from the vents onto the crater rim in the past, resulting in fatalities (BGVN 20:08).

Satellite and ground based information all support high levels of thermal activity during February -May 2019. MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued 11 times in February, 27 times in March, and 20 times each in April and May. The MIROVA graph also indicated the ongoing consistently high levels of thermal energy throughout the period (figure 52). Plumes of SO2 emissions are common from Vanuatu's volcanoes; newer higher resolution data available beginning in 2019 reveal a persistent stream of SO2 from Yasur on a near-daily basis (figure 53).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy at Yasur from 3 September 2018 through May 2019 indicates the ongoing activity at the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. The SO2 plumes from Yasur were persistent during January-May 2019 when they were visible many days of each week throughout the period. Top left: On 12 January plumes were visible drifting E from both Ambrym (top) and Yasur (bottom). Top right: Plumes drifted W from three Vanuatu volcanoes on 7 February, Gaua (top), Ambrym (middle) and Yasur (bottom). Bottom left: On 12 March N drifting plumes could be seen from Ambae (top) and Yasur (bottom). On 27 April, only Yasur had an SO2 plume drifting W. Courtesy of Goddard Space Flight Center.

Satellite imagery confirmed that the heat sources from Yasur were vents within the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone. Both northern and southern vent areas were active. On 7 March 2019 the N vent area had a strong thermal signal. Ten days later, on 17 March, similar intensity thermal anomalies were present in both the N and S vent areas (figure 54). On 6 April the S vent area had a stronger signal, and gas emissions from both vents were drifting N (figure 55). Satellite imagery from 21 May 2019 indicated a strong thermal signal inside the crater in the area of the vents, and included a weaker signal clearly visible on the inside E crater rim. Strong Strombolian activity or spatter sending large incandescent bombs as far as the crater rim are a likely explanation for the signal (figure 56), underscoring the hazardous nature of approaching the crater rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Strong thermal anomalies from the crater of Yasur's pyroclastic cone seen in satellite images confirmed the ongoing high level of activity. Left: 7 March 2019, a strong thermal anomaly from the N vent area, shown with "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). Right: 17 March 2019, thermal anomalies at both the N and S vent areas, shown with "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). The crater is about 500 m in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Strong thermal anomalies (left) and gas emissions (right) at Yasur were captured with different bands in the same Sentinel-2 satellite image on 6 April 2019. Left: The thermal anomaly in the S vent area was stronger than in the N vent area, "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Right: Gas plumes drifted N from both vent areas, "Natural color" rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). The crater is about 500 m in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Thermal activity from the crater of Yasur on 21 May 2019 produced a strong thermal signal from the center of the crater and a weaker signal on the inside E crater rim, likely the result of hazardous incandescent bombs and ejecta, frequent products of the activity at Yasur. Left: "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Right: "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). The crater is about 0.5 km in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Tourists visit Yasur on a regular basis. A former lake on the N side of Yasur has left ripples in the sand deposits over older volcanic rocks on the N side of the volcano (figure 57) since it drained in 2000 (BGVN 28:01). Visitors are allowed to approach the S rim of the crater where incandescence from both the N and S vents is usually visible (figure 58). Incandescent spatter from the convecting lava in the vents is highly dangerous and unpredictable and often covers the inner slopes of the rim as well as sending bombs outside the crater (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. The pyroclastic cone of Yasur viewed from the north on 6 May 2019. Ripples in volcaniclastic sand in the foreground are remnants of a lake that was present on the N side of the volcano until a natural dam breached in 2000. Copyrighted photo by Nick Page, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Two glowing vents were visible from the south rim of Yasur on 6 May 2019. The S vent area is in the foreground, the N vent area is in the upper left. Copyrighted by Nick Page, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Incandescent spatter at Yasur on 6 May 2019 sent fragments of lava against the inside crater wall and onto the rim. The convecting lava in the vent can be seen in the lower foreground. Copyrighted photo by Nick Page, used with permission.

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 (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/); 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); 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/); The Captain Cook Society (URL: https://www.captaincooksociety.com/home/detail/225-years-ago-july-september-1774); Royal Museums Greenwich (URL: https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/13383.html); Wikimedia Commons, (URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Landing_at_Tana_one_of_the_New_Hebrides,_by_William_Hodges.jpg); Nick Page, Australia,Flickr: (URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/152585166@N08/).


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrequent thermal anomalies, no ash emissions, February-May 2019

With historical eruptions reported back to 1842, Papua New Guinea's Bagana volcano on the island of Bougainville has been characterized by viscous andesitic lava flows down the steep flanks of its cone, along with intermittent ash plumes and pyroclastic flows. Ongoing thermal anomalies and frequent ash plumes have been typical of activity during the current eruption since it began in early 2000. Activity declined significantly in December 2018 and remained low through May 2019, the period covered in this report (figure 33). Information for this report comes primarily from satellite images and thermal data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. The MIROVA plot of radiative power at Bagana from 1 September 2018 through May 2019 shows a marked decline in thermal activity during December 2018 after ash explosions and satellite observations of flows during the previous months. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The last ash emission at Bagana was reported on 1 December 2018 by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). A Sentinel-2 satellite image showed a linear thermal anomaly trending NW from the summit on 14 December (BGVN 50:01). On 8 January 2019, an image contained a dense steam plume drifting E and a very faint thermal anomaly on the N flank a few hundred meters from the summit. A more distinct thermal anomaly at the summit appeared on 22 February 2019 (figure 34). A visitor to the region photographed incandescence on the flank, likely from the volcano, at dawn around 19 February 2019 (figure 35).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery revealed thermal anomalies at Bagana in January and February 2019. Left: a very faint thermal anomaly was N of the summit at the edge of the E-drifting steam plume on 8 January 2019. Right: A thermal anomaly was located at the summit, at the base of the NE-drifting steam plume on 22 February 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. A visitor near Bagana spotted incandescence on the flank at dawn, possibly from a lava flow. Posted online 19 February 2019. Courtesy of Emily Stanford.

Two faint thermal anomalies were visible at the summit in satellite imagery on 19 March; a single one appeared on 29 March 2019 (figure 36). No thermal anomalies were recorded in Sentinel-2 images during April or May, but steam plumes and gas emissions were visible through cloud cover on multiple occasions (figure 37).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Faint thermal anomalies at Bagana were recorded in satellite imagery twice during March 2019. Left: 19 March, two anomalies appear right of the date label. Right: 29 March, a small anomaly appears right of the date label. Sentinel-2 image rendered with "Atmospheric Penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Steam and gas emissions at Bagana were recorded in satellite imagery during April and May 2019. Left: A steam plume drifted NW from the summit on 23 April, visible through dense cloud cover. Right: A gas plume drifted SW from the summit on 18 May. Sentinel-2 image with "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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); Emily Stanford (Twitter: https://twitter.com/NerdyBatLady, image posted at https://twitter.com/NerdyBatLady/status/1098052063009792001/photo/1).


Ambae (Vanuatu) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Declining thermal activity and no explosions during February-May 2019

Ambae (Aoba) is a large basaltic shield volcano in the New Hebrides arc, part of the multi-island country of Vanuatu. Its periodic phreatic and pyroclastic explosions originating in the summit crater lakes have been recorded since the 16th century. A pyroclastic cone appeared in Lake Voui during November 2005-February 2006 (BGVN 31:12, figure 30); an explosive eruption from a new pyroclastic cone in the lake began in mid-September 2017 (BGVN 43:02). Activity included high-altitude ash emissions (9.1 km), lava flows, and Strombolian activity. Intermittent pulses of ash emissions during the following months resulted in extensive ashfall and evacuations; multiple communities were affected by lahars. The most recent episode of the eruption from July to September 2018 (BGVN 44:02) resulted in 11-km-altitude ash plumes and the evacuation of the entire island due to heavy ashfall and lahars. This report covers activity from February to May 2019, with information provided by the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) and satellite data from multiple sources.

Activity diminished after the extensive eruptive phase of July-September 2018 when substantial ash plumes and ashfall resulted in evacuations. An explosion with an ash plume on 30 October 2018 was the last activity reported for 2018. Thermal alerts were reported by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODVOLC thermal alerts system through January 2019, and the Log Radiative Power graph prepared by the MIROVA project showed decreasing thermal anomalies into June 2019 (figure 92). Satellite images recorded in April and May 2019 (figure 93) showed the configuration of the summit lakes to be little changed from the previous November except for the color (BGVN 44:02, figure 89). No ash emissions or SO2 plumes were reported during the period. VMGD noted that the volcano remained at Alert Level 2 through May 2019 with a 2-km-radius exclusion zone around the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. The MIROVA log radiative power plot for Ambae showed ongoing intermittent thermal anomalies from early September 2018 through May 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Satellite imagery in April and May 2019 showed little change in the configuration of lakes at the summit of Ambae since November 2018 (see BGVN 44:02, figure 89). Left: 24 April 2019. Right: 29 May 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery with "Natural Color" rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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/); 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).


Sangay (Ecuador) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 26 March 2019; activity from 10 May through June produced ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows

Sangay is the southernmost active volcano in Ecuador, with confirmed historical eruptions going back to 1628. The previous eruption occurred during August and December and was characterized by ash plumes reaching 2,500 m above the crater. Lava flows and pyroclastic flows descended the eastern and southern flanks. This report summarizes activity during January through July 2019 and is based on reports by Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

After the December 2018 eruption there was a larger reduction in seismicity, down to one event per day. During January, February, and most of March there was no recorded activity and low seismicity until the Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 0615 on 26 March. The ash plume rose to a height of around 1 km and dispersed to the SW as seen in GOES 16 satellite imagery as a dark plume within white meteorological clouds. There was no seismic data available due to technical problems with the station.

More persistent eruptive activity began on 10 May with thermal alerts (figure 30) and an ash plume at 0700 that dispersed to the W. An explosion was recorded at 1938 on 11 May, producing an ash plume and incandescent material down the flank (figure 31). Two M 2 earthquakes were detected between 3.5 and 9 km below the crater on 10 May, possibly corresponding to explosive activity. By 17 May there were two active eruptive centers, the central crater and the Ñuñurcu dome (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Sangay for the year ending June 2019. The plot shows the August to December 2018 eruption, a break in activity, and resumed activity in May 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. An explosion at Sangay on 10 May 2019 sent ballistic projectiles up to 650 m above the crater at a velocity of over 400 km/hour, an ash plume that rose to over 600 m, and incandescent blocks that traveled over 1.5 km from the crater at velocities of around 150 km/hour. Screenshots are from video by IG-EPN.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. A photograph of the southern flank of Sangay on 17 May 2019 with the corresponding thermal infrared image in the top right corner. The letters correspond to: a) a fissure to the W of the lava flow; b) an active lava flow from the Ñuñurcu dome; c) the central crater producing a volcanic gas plume; d) a pyroclastic flow deposit produced by collapsing material from the front of the lava flow. Prepared by M. Almeida; courtesy of IG-EPN (special report No. 3 – 2019).

Activity at the central crater by 21 May was characterized by sporadic explosive eruptions that ejected hot ballistic ejecta (blocks) with velocities over 400 km/hour; after landing on the flanks the blocks travelled out to 2.5 km from the crater. Ash plumes reached heights between 0.9-2.3 km above the crater and dispersed mainly to the W and NW; gas plumes also dispersed to the W. The Ñuñurcu dome is located around 190 m SSE of the central crater and by 21 May had produced a lava flow over 470 m long with a maximum width of 175 m and an estimated minimum volume of 300,000 to 600,000 m3. Small pyroclastic flows and rockfalls resulted from collapse of the lava flow front, depositing material over a broad area on the E-SE flanks (figure 33). One pyroclastic flow reached 340 m and covered an area of 14,300 m2. During the 17 May observation flight the lava flow surface reached 277°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. A view of the ESE flanks of Sangay on 17 May 2019. The area within the black dotted line is the main area of pyroclastic flow deposition from the Ñuñurco Dome. Photo by M. Almeida; courtesy of IG-EPN (special report No. 4 – 2019).

At the end of June activity was continuing at the central crater and Ñuñurco Dome. At least three lava flows had been generated from the dome down the SE flank and pyroclastic flows continued to form from the flow fronts (figure 34). Pyroclastic material had been washed into the Upano river and steam was observed in the Volcán River possibly due to the presence of hot rocks. Ash plumes continued through June reaching heights of 800 m above the crater (figure 35), but no ashfall had been reported in nearby communities.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 natural color (left) and thermal (center) images (bands 12, 11, 4), and 1:50 000 scale maps (right) of Sangay with interpretation on the background of a 30 m numerical terrain model (WGS84; Zone 17S) (Prepared by B. Bernard). The dates from top to bottom are 17 May, 22 May, 27 May, 16 June, and 26 June 2019. Prepared by B. Bernard; courtesy IG-EPN (special report No. 4 – 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Plots giving the heights and dispersal direction of ash plumes at Sangay during May and June 2019. Top: Ash plume heights measures in meters above the crater. Bottom: A plot showing that the dominant dispersal direction of ash plumes is to the W during this time. Courtesy of IG-EPN (special report No. 4 – 2019).

Geologic Background. The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

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); 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).


Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions and thermal anomalies during October 2018-April 2019; lava emissions at the E flank coast and summit area

Steeply-sloped Kadovar Island is located about 25 km NNE from the mouth of the Sepik River on the mainland of Papua New Guinea. The first confirmed historical eruption with ash plumes and lava extrusion began in early January 2018, resulting in the evacuation of around 600 residents from the N side of the approximately 1.4-km-diameter island (BGVN 43:03); continuing activity from October 2018 through April 2019 is covered in this report. Information was provided by the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite sources, and photos from visiting tourists.

Activity during March-September 2018. After the first recorded explosions with ash plumes in early January 2018, intermittent ash plumes continued through March 2018. A lava flow on the E flank extended outward from the island, extruding from a vent low on the E flank and forming a dome just offshore. The dome collapsed and regrew twice during February 2018; the growth rate slowed somewhat during March. A satellite image from 21 March 2018 was one of the first showing the new dome growing off the E flank with a thermal anomaly and sediment plumes in the water drifting N and E from the area. Thermal anomalies were visible at both the summit vent and the E-flank coastal dome in in April and May 2018, along with steam and gas rising from both locations (figure 19).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Kadovar provided clear evidence of thermal activity at the new E-flank coastal dome during March-May 2018. Sediment plumes were visible drifting N and E in the water adjacent to the coastal dome. The summit crater also had a persistent steam plume and thermal anomaly in April and May 2018. Left: 21 March 2018. Middle 10 April 2018. Right: 15 May 2018. Images all shown with "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A trip to Kadovar by tourists in mid-May 2018 provided close-up views of the dense steam plumes at the summit and the growing E-flank coastal dome (figures 20 and 21). The thermal anomaly was still strong at the E-flank coastal dome in a mid-June satellite image, but appeared diminished in late July. Intermittent puffs of steam rose from both the summit and the coastal dome in mid-June; the summit plume was much denser on 29 July (figure 22). Ash emissions were reported by the Darwin VAAC and photographed by tourists during June (figure 23) and September 2018 (BGVN 43:10), but thermal activity appeared to decline during that period (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. A tourist photographed Kadovar and posted it online on 19 May 2018. Steam plumes rose from both the summit and the E-flank coastal dome in this view taken from the SE. Courtesy of Tico Liu.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. A closeup view of the E-flank coastal dome at Kadovar posted online on 19 May 2018 showed steam rising from several places on the dome, and dead trees on the flank of the volcano from recent eruptive activity. Courtesy of Tico Liu.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. The thermal anomaly was still strong at the E-flank coastal dome of Kadovar in a 14 June 2018 satellite image (left), but appeared diminished on 29 July 2018 (right). Intermittent puffs of steam rose from both the summit and the coastal dome on 14 June; the summit plume was much denser on 29 July. Sentinel-2 images both show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. An ash plume rose from the summit of Kadovar and drifted W while steam and gas rose from the E-flank coastal dome, posted online 27 June 2018. Courtesy of Shari Kalt.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Thermal activity at Kadovar for the year ending on 26 April 2019 was consistent from late April 2018 through mid-June 2018; a quiet period afterwards through late September ended with renewed and increased thermal activity beginning in October 2018. All distances are actually within 1 km of the summit of Kadovar, a DEM georeferencing error makes some locations appear further away. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Multiple satellite images during August and early September 2018 showed little or no sign of thermal activity at the E-flank coastal dome, with only intermittent steam plumes from the summit. A new steam plume on the eastern slope appeared in a 22 September 2018 image (figure 25). The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported explosive activity on the afternoon of 21 September. Noises of explosions were accompanied by dark gray and brown ash clouds that rose several hundred meters above the summit crater and drifted NW. Local reports indicated that the activity continued through 26 September and ashfall was reported on Blupblup island during the period. Ground observers noted incandescence visible from both the summit and the E-flank coastal dome.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Steam plumes were seen in satellite images of Kadovar during August and early September 2018, but no thermal anomalies. Intermittent steam plumes rose from the summit vent on 28 August (left). A new dense steam plume originating mid-way down the E flank appeared on 22 September 2018 (right). Sentinel-2 images both show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during October-December 2018. Evidence of both thermal and explosive activity reappeared in October 2018 (figure 24). The Darwin VAAC reported intermittent ash plumes rising to 2.7 km altitude and drifting W on 1 October 2018. Low-level continuous ash emissions rising less than a kilometer and drifting W were reported early on 3 October. A higher plume drifted WNW at 2.4 km altitude on 7 October. Intermittent discrete emissions of ash continued daily at that altitude through 16 October, drifting NW or W. Ash emissions drifting NW and thermal anomalies at the summit were visible in satellite imagery on 2 and 12 October (figure 26). A brief ash emission was reported on 21 October 2018 at 2.4 km altitude drifting NE for a few hours. Intermittent ash emissions also appeared on 29 October moving SE at 1.8 km altitude. For the following three days ash drifted SW, W, then NW at 2.1 km altitude, finally dissipating on 1 November; the thermal anomaly at the summit was large and intense in satellite images on 27 October and 1 November compared with previous images (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Ash emissions drifting NW and thermal anomalies at the summit of Kadovar were visible in satellite imagery on 2 and 12 October 2018; no thermal activity was noted at the E-flank coastal dome. Sentinel-2 images both show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Strong thermal anomalies at the summit of Kadovar on 27 October and 1 November 2018 were not concealed by the steam plumes drifting SW and NW from the summit. Sentinel-2 images both show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

An ash explosion was photographed by tourists on a cruise ship on the afternoon of 6 November 2018 (figure 28). After the explosion, a dense steam plume rose from a large dome of lava near the summit at the top of the E flank (figure 29). Continuous ash emissions rising to 1.8 km altitude were reported by the Darwin VAAC beginning on 9 November 2018 moving WNW and lasting about 24 hours. A new ash plume clearly identifiable on satellite imagery appeared on 13 November at 2.4 km altitude moving E, again visible for about 24 hours. Another shipboard tourist photographed an ash plume on 18 November rising a few hundred meters above the summit (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. An explosion at Kadovar photographed on the afternoon of 6 November 2018 sent a dense gray ash plume hundreds of meters above the summit drifting W; blocks of volcanic debris descended the flanks as well. View is from the S. Courtesy of Coral Expeditions, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Tourists on a cruise ship passed by Kadovar on 6 November 2018 and witnessed a steam plume drifting W from a large dome of lava near the summit at the top of the E flank after an ash explosion. Smaller steam plumes were visible in the middle and at the base of the E flank, but no activity was visible at the coastal dome off the E flank (lower right). View is from the SE. Courtesy of Coral Expeditions, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. An ash plume rose at dusk from the summit of Kadovar and was witnessed by a cruise ship tourist on 18 November 2018. View is from the E; the E-flank coastal dome is a lighter area in the lower foreground. Courtesy of Philip Stern.

Low-level ash emissions were reported briefly on 28 November at about 1 km altitude moving SE. Intermittent puffs of ash were seen drifting WSW on 2 and 3 December at about 1.2 km altitude. They were the last VAAC reports for 2018. Two thermal anomalies were visible at the summit in satellite imagery on 26 November, they grew larger and more intense through 16 December when multiple anomalies appeared at the summit and on the E flank (figure 31).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Multiple thermal anomalies near the summit of Kadovar grew larger and more intense between 26 November and 16 December 2018. Sentinel-2 images show "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January-April 2019. Multiple thermal anomalies were still visible at the summit in satellite imagery on 5 January 2019 as regular puffs of steam drifted SE from the summit, leaving a long trail in the atmosphere (figure 32). Additional imagery on 10 and 30 January showed a single anomaly at the summit, even through dense meteorologic clouds. A short-lived ash emission rose to 2.4 km altitude on 11 January 2019 and drifted E; it dissipated the next day. Multiple minor intermittent discrete ash plumes extended WNW at 3.0 km altitude on 18 January; they dissipated within six hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Multiple thermal anomalies were visible in satellite imagery of Kadovar on 5 January 2019 as regular puffs of steam drifted SE from the summit. Sentinel-2 image shows "Geology" rendering using bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force released images of eruptive activity on 10 February 2019 (figure 33). Satellite imagery in February was largely obscured by weather; two thermal anomalies were barely visible through clouds at the summit on 14 February. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission at 1.8 km altitude drifting ESE on 16 February; a similar plume appeared on 21 February that also dissipated in just a few hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. The Royal New Zealand Air Force released images of an ash plume at Kadovar on 10 February 2019. Courtesy of Brad Scott.

Satellite imagery on 1 March 2019 confirmed a strong thermal anomaly from the summit and down the E flank almost to the coast. A month later on 5 April the anomaly was nearly as strong and a dense ash and steam plume drifted N from the summit (figure 34). A tourist witnessed a dense steam plume rising from the summit on 4 April (figure 35). Multiple discrete eruptions were observed in satellite imagery by the Darwin VAAC on 9 April at 1.2-1.5 km altitude drifting SE. The thermal anomaly at the summit persisted in satellite imagery taken on 15 April 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. A strong thermal anomaly appeared from the summit down the E flank of Kadovar on 1 March 2019 (left). A month later on 5 April the strong anomaly was still present beneath a dense plume of ash and steam (right). Sentinel-2 imagery shows "Geology" rendering with bands 12, 4, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. A dense steam plume is shown here rising from the summit area of Kadovar, posted online on 4 April 2019. View is from the N. Courtesy of Chaiyasit Saengsirirak.

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; 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/); Tico Liu, Hong Kong (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tico.liu. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155389178192793&set=pcb.10155389178372793&type=3&theater); Shari Kalt (Instagram user LuxuryTravelAdvisor: https://www.instagram.com/luxurytraveladviser/, https://www.instagram.com/p/BkhalnuHu2j/); Coral Expeditions, Australia (URL: https://www.coralexpeditions.com/, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coralexpeditions); Philip Stern (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sternph, https://www.facebook.com/sternph/posts/2167501866616908); Brad Scott, GNS Science Volcanologist at GNS Science, New Zealand (Twitter: https://twitter.com/Eruptn); Chaiyasit Saengsirirak, Bangkok, Thailand (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chaiyasit.saengsirirak, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2197513186969355).


Sarychev Peak (Russia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sarychev Peak

Russia

48.092°N, 153.2°E; summit elev. 1496 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief ash emission reported on 16 May 2019

Located on Matua Island in the central Kurile Islands of Russia, Sarychev Peak has historical observations of eruptions dating back to 1765. Thermal activity in October 2017 (BGVN 43:11) was the first sign of renewed activity since a major eruption with ash plumes and pyroclastic flows in June 2009 (BGVN 34:06). The following month (November 2017) there was fresh dark material on the NW flank that appeared to be from a flow of some kind. After that, intermittent thermal anomalies were the only activity reported until explosions with ash plumes took place that lasted for about a week in mid-September 2018 (figure 24). Additional explosions in mid-October were the last reported for 2018. A single ash explosion in May 2019 was the only reported activity from November 2018 to May 2019, the period covered in this report. Information is provided by the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT) and the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), members of the Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (FEB RAS), and from satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Multiple ash plumes were observed at Sarychev Peak during September 2018. Left: 13 September. Right: 18 September. Photos by S. A. Tatarenkov, courtesy of IMGG FEB RAS.

Satellite imagery in mid-September and early October 2018 showed gas emissions from the summit vent, and a weak thermal anomaly in October (figure 25). KVERT lowered the Aviation Color Code from Orange to Yellow on 1 November 2018, and SVERT released a VONA on 12 November 2018 lowering the Aviation Color Code from Yellow to Green after the ash emissions in October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Minor gas emissions were visible at Sarychev Peak in satellite imagery in mid-September and early October 2018; a possible weak thermal anomaly appeared in the summit vent in October. Top left: 13 September. Top right: 18 September. Bottom left: 8 October. Bottom right: 11 October. The 13 September image uses "Natural Color" rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and the other images use "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Sentinel-2 satellite instruments in March, April, and May 2019 acquired images that showed dark streaks in the snow-covered peak radiating out from the summit vent in various directions. As the spring snows melted, more dark streaks appeared. It is unclear whether the streaks represent fresh ash, particulates from gas emissions in the snow, or concentrated material from earlier emissions that were exposed during the spring melting (figure 26). No further activity was reported until the Tokyo VAAC noted an eruption on 16 May 2019 that produced an ash plume which rose to 2.4 km altitude and drifted S. It was visible in satellite imagery for 3 or 4 hours before dissipating. SVERT reported the ash plume visible up to 50 km SE of the island. They also noted that weak thermal anomalies had been seen in satellite data on 10, 12, and 17 May 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Streaks of brown radiate outward from the summit vent at Sarychev Peak in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery taken during March-May 2019. The exact material and timing of deposition is unknown. Top left: 17 March. Top middle: 14 April. Top right: 19 April. Bottom left: 29 April, Bottom middle: 6 May. Bottom right: 26 May 2019. Sentinel-2 images with "Natural Color" rendering using bands 4,3, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Sarychev Peak, one of the most active volcanoes of the Kuril Islands, occupies the NW end of Matua Island in the central Kuriles. The andesitic central cone was constructed within a 3-3.5-km-wide caldera, whose rim is exposed only on the SW side. A dramatic 250-m-wide, very steep-walled crater with a jagged rim caps the volcano. The substantially higher SE rim forms the 1496 m high point of the island. Fresh-looking lava flows, prior to activity in 2009, had descended in all directions, often forming capes along the coast. Much of the lower-angle outer flanks of the volcano are overlain by pyroclastic-flow deposits. Eruptions have been recorded since the 1760s and include both quiet lava effusion and violent explosions. Large eruptions in 1946 and 2009 produced pyroclastic flows that reached the sea.

Information Contacts: Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, (FEB RAS IMGG), 693 022 Russia, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, ul. Science 1B (URL: http://imgg.ru/ru); Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science, Nauki st., 1B, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, 693022 (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/en/, http://www.imgg.ru/ru/svert/reports); Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake remains active through May 2019; three new vents around the secondary cone

Since at least 1971 scientists and tourists have observed a lava lake within the Nyiragongo summit crater. Lava flows have been a hazard in the past for the nearby city of Goma (15 km S). The previous report (BGVN 43:06) of activity between November 2017 and May 2018 described nearly daily record of thermal anomalies due to the active lava lake and lava fountaining, gas-and-steam plumes, and the opening of a new vent within the crater in February 2016. Monthly reports from the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) disseminate information regarding the volcano's activity. This report updates the activity during June 2018-May 2019.

OVG noted that the level of the lava lake changes frequently, and was lower when observed on October 2018, 12 April 2019, and 12 May 2019. According to data from the OVG, on 15 April 2019 the secondary cone that formed in February 2016 produced lava flows and ejecta. In addition, at least three other vents formed surrounding this secondary cone. During most of April 2019 the lava lake was still active; however, beginning on 12 April 2019, seismic and lava lake activity both declined.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data continues to show almost daily, strong thermal anomalies every month from June 2018 through 24 May 2019 (figure 66). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reports a majority of the hotspot pixels (2,406) occurring within the lava lake at the summit crater (figure 67).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Thermal anomalies at Nyiragongo for June 2018 through 24 May 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and strong. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Map showing the number of MODVOLC hotspot pixels at Nyiragongo from 1 June 2018 to 31 May 2019. Nyiragongo (2,423 pixels) is at the bottom center; Nyamuragira volcano (342 pixels) is about 13 km NW. Courtesy of HIGP-MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Geologic Background. One of Africa's most notable volcanoes, Nyiragongo contained a lava lake in its deep summit crater that was active for half a century before draining catastrophically through its outer flanks in 1977. The steep slopes of a stratovolcano contrast to the low profile of its neighboring shield volcano, Nyamuragira. Benches in the steep-walled, 1.2-km-wide summit crater mark levels of former lava lakes, which have been observed since the late-19th century. Two older stratovolcanoes, Baruta and Shaheru, are partially overlapped by Nyiragongo on the north and south. About 100 parasitic cones are located primarily along radial fissures south of Shaheru, east of the summit, and along a NE-SW zone extending as far as Lake Kivu. Many cones are buried by voluminous lava flows that extend long distances down the flanks, which is characterized by the eruption of foiditic rocks. The extremely fluid 1977 lava flows caused many fatalities, as did lava flows that inundated portions of the major city of Goma in January 2002.

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Goma, North Kivu, DR Congo (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Observatoire-Volcanologique-de-Goma-OVG-180016145663568/); 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/).


Bezymianny (Russia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and lava dome growth during February-May 2019; strong explosion in mid-March

Volcanism at Bezymianny has been frequent since 1955. During the last reporting period, observations primarily consisted of moderate gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies. Lava dome growth has been reported, as well as the effusion of several lava flows onto the dome flanks. Monitoring is the responsibility of the Kamchatka Volcano Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). Activity during February to mid-March 2019 consisted of predominantly moderate gas-and-steam emissions. Incandescent, hot avalanches from the lava dome, strong fumarolic activity, and a thermal anomaly began to occur in mid-March 2019. This reporting period includes activity from February-May 2019.

One explosion occurred during this reporting period. According to video data from KVERT and seismic data from the Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service, on 15 March 2019 an explosion sent ash up to an altitude of 15 km. According to the KVERT Weekly Reports, satellite data showed large ash clouds from this eruption drifting several thousands of kilometers east from the volcano. The Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) issued by KVERT for this event described ash clouds to a distance of about 870 km. Ashfall was reported in Ust'-Kamchatsk (115 km E) on 15 March and Nikolskoe (350 km E) on 15-16 March 2019.

Beginning 15 March and continuing through May 2019, the number of hot avalanches from the lava dome top significantly increased, as well as the temperature of the thermal anomalies as reported by KVERT based on satellite data. Incandescent lava dome growth with extruding, viscous lava flows accompanying strong fumarolic activity and thermal anomalies continued in late April-May 2019 (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Fumarolic plume rising above at Bezymianny on 14 April 2019. Photo by A. Klimova, courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

MODIS infrared data processed by MIROVA showed stronger and more frequent thermal anomalies in mid-March 2019 compared to the typical thermal activity since late January and afterwards through May (figure 31). According to the MODVOLC algorithm, 11 hotspot pixels were recorded between February and May 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Thermal anomalies at Bezymianny for September 2018 through May 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service, Russian Academy of Sciences (KB GS RAS) (URL: http://www.emsd.ru/); 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/).


Nevados de Chillan (Chile) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevados de Chillan

Chile

36.868°S, 71.378°W; summit elev. 3180 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash explosions and dome growth during December 2018-May 2019; ballistic ejecta deposited around the crater, with a pyroclastic flow in May

The current Nevados de Chillán eruption period began on 8 January 2018 with a phreatic explosion from the new Nicanor crater, within the Nuevo crater; a new dome was observed within this crater the next day. Dome growth continues with explosions that eject ash plumes and incandescent ejecta. This bulletin summarizes activity from December 2018 through May 2019 and is based on reports by Chile's Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)-Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS) and satellite imagery.

Throughout December 2018 pulsating emissions from the Nicanor crater produced white plumes predominantly composed of water vapor, with occasional ash ejections giving the plume a gray appearance. Incandescence was frequently observed during the night due to the ejection of hot ballistic ejecta emplaced around the crater during explosions. After 11 months of observations, the dacite dome in the crater maintained a semi-stable extrusion rate of around 345 m3/day. Explosions were reported on 7, 17, 28, and 29 December.

Similar background activity continued through January with pulsating gas-and-steam plumes occasionally including ash, and incandescence observed during the nights due to hot ejecta around the crater. Explosions were recorded at 0500 and 1545 on 11 January, and on 13, 21, and 31 January (figures 33 and 34). During the night explosions and incandescent ejecta were observed impacting the area around the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. An explosion at Nevados de Chillán on 11 January 2019. The explosion ejected incandescent blocks that impacted the flanks. The timestamp is at the top left of each image; screenshots are of footage courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. An explosion at Nevados de Chillán on 31 January 2019 produced an ash plume from the Nicanor crater. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Activity continued through February similar to previous months. The dome in the crater maintained a low extrusion, and activity alternated between dome growth and partial destruction during explosions. Steam-and-gas plumes with occasional ash content continued, with plumes reaching 1 km and drifting in multiple directions. Incandescence was observed during the night. Explosions were reported on 15 February.

During March through May, typical activity consisting of pulsating emission of steam plumes with occasional ash content, and incandescence at night, continued. Intermittent explosions associated with the partial destruction of the dome continued, with events reported on 1 March at 2323, and on 4, 7, and 8 March. Several explosions were reported during 8-9 and 23-30 April. Three explosions were reported on 3 May with one of them producing a 2-km-high ash plume and a pyroclastic flow on 10 May (figure 35). Additional explosions occurred on the 12 and 18 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. An explosion at Nevados de Chillán on 10 May 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to 2 km above the crater and a pyroclastic flow. The white plume in the bottom two images is steam from the interaction of the hot pyroclastic material and the snow. Screenshots are of a video courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN with timestamps indicated in the top left of each image.

Satellite data from December 2018 through May 2019 recorded intermittent thermal energy, with an increase after February 2019 (figure 36). Thermal anomalies from MODIS instruments were detected by the MODVOLC system on 29 March and 17 May 2019 (two anomalies). A thermal anomaly in the Nicanor crater was persistent in Sentinel-2 data throughout this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Thermal anomalies at the active Nicanor crater of the Nevados de Chillán complex. Top: Sentinel-2 thermal image of showing the location of the thermal anomaly (orange). Bottom: MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared data from September 2018 through May 2019. Thermal signatures are intermittent and increase after February 2019. Note that the black lines are not from the crater and are unlikely to be related to volcanic activity. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground and MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The compound volcano of Nevados de Chillán is one of the most active of the Central Andes. Three late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes were constructed along a NNW-SSE line within three nested Pleistocene calderas, which produced ignimbrite sheets extending more than 100 km into the Central Depression of Chile. The largest stratovolcano, dominantly andesitic, Cerro Blanco (Volcán Nevado), is located at the NW end of the group. Volcán Viejo (Volcán Chillán), which was the main active vent during the 17th-19th centuries, occupies the SE end. The new Volcán Nuevo lava-dome complex formed between 1906 and 1945 between the two volcanoes and grew to exceed Volcán Viejo in elevation. The Volcán Arrau dome complex was constructed SE of Volcán Nuevo between 1973 and 1986 and eventually exceeded its height.

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/); 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).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 17, Number 05 (May 1992)

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Aira (Japan)

Explosions and seismic swarms continue

Antuco (Chile)

Fumarolic activity in summit crater's small scoria cone

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Lava flows continue to advance; stronger and more frequent explosions

Asosan (Japan)

Mud/water ejections from heating crater lake; tremor episodes

Avachinsky (Russia)

Fumarolic activity around 1991 dome

Barren Island (India)

Continued gas emission from central crater and lava flow; animal and plant life recovering

Bezymianny (Russia)

Gas emission from center of dome

Etna (Italy)

Fissure eruption continues; lava diverted; lava field described

Fuego (Guatemala)

Seismicity and continued fumarolic activity

Galeras (Colombia)

Occasional explosions eject ash; strong fumarolic activity on 1991 dome; earthquakes and tremor decline

Heard (Australia)

Plumes and glow; volcano morphology and 1986-87 activity described; 1992 summit eruption

Ijen (Indonesia)

Infrared Space Shuttle photograph shows caldera and crater lake

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Fumarolic activity in and around crater lake; low-frequency seismicity

Kanlaon (Philippines)

Small ash emission

Kilauea (United States)

Lava production from episode-51 vent interrupted by brief pauses; lava lake in nearby crater

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Small explosions eject ash

Kozushima (Japan)

Continued seismic swarms

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Moderate explosive activity from 2 craters

Lascar (Chile)

New dome fills base of crater; occasional explosions

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Strong explosions from summit craters; lava flows; avalanches

Pacaya (Guatemala)

Numerous explosions; lava flows; temporary evacuations

Pinatubo (Philippines)

Rains on 1991 deposits produce destructive mudflows

Poas (Costa Rica)

Thermal activity in crater lake feeds 1-km plume; frequent earthquakes and occasional tremor

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Seismic swarm; uplift over broad area

Raung (Indonesia)

Infrared Space Shuttle photograph shows devegetated summit area

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

Thermal activity from crater lake; occasional seismicity

Rinjani (Indonesia)

Infrared Space Shuttle photo of Lombok Island during May 1992

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Thermal activity but no phreatic eruptions from Crater Lake

Saba (Netherlands)

Seismic swarm

Santa Maria (Guatemala)

Frequent explosions feed small ash columns; continued erosion threatens vent area

Spurr (United States)

Ash eruption follows increased seismicity and thermal activity

Stromboli (Italy)

Frequent explosions; increased seismicity

Suwanosejima (Japan)

Tephra clouds from frequent explosions

Tongariro (New Zealand)

Fumarole temperatures and gas chemistry unchanged from 1989; no significant deformation or seismicity

Unzendake (Japan)

Lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows

Villarrica (Chile)

Volcanic earthquakes and tremor

White Island (New Zealand)

Continued tephra ejection from three vents



Aira (Japan) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions and seismic swarms continue

Eight explosions occurred . . . in May . . . . The month's highest ash plume rose 2,500 m on 22 May. Seismic swarms were recorded seven times in May, each lasting for ~5 hours, normal for the volcano.

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

Information Contacts: JMA.


Antuco (Chile) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Antuco

Chile

37.406°S, 71.349°W; summit elev. 2979 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity in summit crater's small scoria cone

During a February overflight, fumarolic activity was visible in the small scoria cone nested within the main crater. Weak summit fumaroles had previously been observed during visits in 1969, 1982, and March 1984. Fumarolic activity has apparently been continuous, but of variable intensity, from the cone since the volcano's last eruption in 1869. Lava flows from Antuco dammed Laja Lake's outlet in 1853, causing the water level to rise around 20 m.

Geologic Background. Antuco volcano, constructed to the NE of the Pleistocene Sierra Velluda stratovolcano, rises dramatically above the SW shore of Laguna de la Laja. Antuco has a complicated history beginning with construction of the basaltic-to-andesitic Sierra Velluda and Cerro Condor stratovolcanoes of Pliocene-Pleistocene age. Construction of the Antuco I volcano was followed by edifice failure at the beginning of the Holocene that produced a large debris avalanche which traveled down the Río Laja to the west and left a large 5-km-wide horseshoe-shaped caldera breached to the west. The steep-sided modern basaltic-to-andesitic cone of has grown 1000 m since then; flank fissures and cones have also been active. Moderate explosive eruptions were recorded in the 18th and 19th centuries from both summit and flank vents, and historical lava flows have traveled into the Río Laja drainage.

Information Contacts: H. Moreno, SAVO, Temuco.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Arenal

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows continue to advance; stronger and more frequent explosions

Two lobes of the lava flow active since November continued to extend down the W flank in May, with an estimated total volume of 3 x 106 m3 of lava. The northernmost lobe divided into several fronts; the longest reached to ~800 m elevation, while the most active front became channeled in a valley at ~855 m elevation on 14 May. A lava temperature of 820°C was measured at the front using an infrared thermometer. The southern lobe continued to travel along a more gentle slope to ~700 m elevation, covering and burning roughly 100 m2 of forest and grasslands. Summit incandescence, visible at night, suggested to scientists that a lava lake was feeding the active lava flow. Small pyroclastic flows occurred sporadically. One observed at 0723 on 13 May flowed down the W flank to 1,200 m elevation.

Explosive activity increased in number and magnitude from preceding months, especially since 26 May, when new explosions produced ash columns >1 km high and bombs fell to 1,000 m elevation. Between 23 April and 12 May, 80 g/m2 ash had accumulated 1.8 km W of the crater (at 740 m elevation). Samples were composed of very fine ash (40%), and fine and medium-sized scoria fragments and plagioclase crystals (60%). Volcanic earthquakes averaged 10/day in May (compared to 6 and 15 daily in April and March, respectively), with maxima of 20-24 on 15, 23, and 28 May. The month's highest levels of tremor were recorded on 7, 12, 14, 17, and 22 May.

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

Information Contacts: G. Soto, R. Barquero, and G. Alvarado, ICE; M. Fernández, Univ de Costa Rica; E. Fernández, J. Barquero, and V. Barboza, OVSICORI.


Asosan (Japan) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mud/water ejections from heating crater lake; tremor episodes

Isolated volcanic tremor episodes began to increase in October 1991, reaching about 100 events/day by the end of May. The increase in seismic activity followed a period of quiet after the July 1989-December 1990 eruptive phase. Ejections of mud and water, the first since June 1991, were observed within the active crater lake . . . on 23 April. Similar ejections, to 5 m height, were observed on 27 April, 1 and 27 May, and 2 June. The lake's surface temperature has been increasing since March-May 1991 when it was 20-30°C, reaching ~70°C (measured by infrared thermometer) in May. Weak mud ejections have been common in the past, during the period between eruptive phases when the crater is normally occupied by a lake, but have not been observed during the lowest levels of activity.

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

Information Contacts: JMA.


Avachinsky (Russia) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Avachinsky

Russia

53.256°N, 158.836°E; summit elev. 2717 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity around 1991 dome

Fumarolic activity was occurring from numerous points around the margins of the January 1991 lava dome during a 13 May overflight. Numerous circumferential and radial fissures, previously observed in October 1991, covered the dome's surface, but the small lava flows that extended down the SSE and SW flanks were no longer visible.

Geologic Background. Avachinsky, one of Kamchatka's most active volcanoes, rises above Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka's largest city. It began to form during the middle or late Pleistocene, and is flanked to the SE by the parasitic volcano Kozelsky, which has a large crater breached to the NE. A large horseshoe-shaped caldera, breached to the SW, was created when a major debris avalanche about 30,000-40,000 years ago buried an area of about 500 km2 to the south underlying the city of Petropavlovsk. Reconstruction of the volcano took place in two stages, the first of which began about 18,000 years before present (BP), and the second 7000 years BP. Most eruptive products have been explosive, with pyroclastic flows and hot lahars being directed primarily to the SW by the breached caldera, although relatively short lava flows have been emitted. The frequent historical eruptions have been similar in style and magnitude to previous Holocene eruptions.

Information Contacts: H. Gaudru, SVE, Switzerland; G. de St. Cyr, T. de St. Cyr, and I. de St. Cyr, Lyon, France; T. Vaudelin, Genève, Switzerland.


Barren Island (India) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Barren Island

India

12.278°N, 93.858°E; summit elev. 354 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued gas emission from central crater and lava flow; animal and plant life recovering

A multidisciplinary team from the GSI, IMD, CARI, and the Wildlife Dept visited Barren Island on 21-22 May. Hot gas was emerging from the funnel-shaped [300-m-deep] crater, which had an estimated diameter of [400 m] at the rim. The 1991 lava flow that extended to the coast was covered with rain-compacted scoriae and ash, and had a smooth, flat surface like a paved road. The flow's surface temperature was 40°C, but at 1/3 m depth it exceeded the thermometer's 360°C limit. Gases were emitted from small holes in the flow. A portable seismograph recorded several mild seismic events.

Some burnt ficus trees on the NW coast were sprouting new shoots, but badly charred ones appeared dead. Crabs were plentiful, even on the lava flow, and 25 feral goats were counted in one hour in the surrounding hills. Many birds were visible, but rats were completely absent. The water around the island was clear and of normal temperature, and fish were observed.

Further References. Haldar, D., Laskar, T., Bandyapadhyay, P.C., Sarkar, N.K., and Biswas, J.K., 1992, Volcanic eruption of the Barren Island volcano, Andaman Sea: J. of the Geological Society of India, v. 39, no. 5, p. 411-419.

Haldar, D., Laskar, T., Bandyapadhyay, P.C., Sarkar, N.K., and Biswas, J.K., 1992, A note on the recent eruption of the Barren Island volcano: Indian Minerals, v. 46, no. 1, p. 77-88.

Geologic Background. Barren Island, a possession of India in the Andaman Sea about 135 km NE of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, is the only historically active volcano along the N-S volcanic arc extending between Sumatra and Burma (Myanmar). It is the emergent summit of a volcano that rises from a depth of about 2250 m. The small, uninhabited 3-km-wide island contains a roughly 2-km-wide caldera with walls 250-350 m high. The caldera, which is open to the sea on the west, was created during a major explosive eruption in the late Pleistocene that produced pyroclastic-flow and -surge deposits. Historical eruptions have changed the morphology of the pyroclastic cone in the center of the caldera, and lava flows that fill much of the caldera floor have reached the sea along the western coast.

Information Contacts: S. Acharya, SANE.


Bezymianny (Russia) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas emission from center of dome

Gas emission from the center of Novy Dome produced a white-and-brown plume that covered the dome complex, especially its NE side, during an 18 May visit. No evidence of recent collapse was visible.

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

Information Contacts: H. Gaudru, SVE, Switzerland; G. de St. Cyr, T. de St. Cyr, and I. de St. Cyr, A.V. Lyon, France; T. Vaudelin, Genève, Switzerland.


Etna (Italy) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption continues; lava diverted; lava field described

The following is from R. Romano. Lava production from the fissure ... was continuing without noticeable variation in mid-June. Gas emission, from four explosion vents between 2,335 and 2,215 m elevation, has diminished along the upper part of the fissure. The main lava channel has roofed over, but lava was visible through a skylight beginning at 2,205 m elevation, where the effusion rate was estimated at 6-8 m3/s and the flow velocity at ~ 1 m/s on 7 and 13 June. Three more skylights were open along the main channel to 2,020 m asl. An overflow occurred on 12 June from one of the skylights, at 2,075 m altitude, but lava advanced only a few meters before returning to the main channel. This overflow was still active the next day. Ephemeral vents from the main tube remained active through the end of May: in the Valle del Bove; below the Valle del Bove in Val Calanna; and near the distal end of the flow field, along a deep gully under Portella Calanna (figure 48). Lava flows emerged more or less continuously from the latter vents, but did not descend below 800 m altitude. The total volume of lava produced by the eruption is estimated at 150 x 106 m3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Status of activity within Etna's flow field on 18 May 1992, after 153 days of activity. Modified by Hughes and Bulmer from map by Romano in 17:4. Contour interval, 100 m.

Lava diversion. An earthen barrier built in a valley above the town of Zafferana Etnea in early January was breached by lava on 7 April. Lava overran a series of additional barriers the following week but stopped before reaching the town. Subsequent hazards efforts focused on reducing the lava supply to the end of the flow, by obstructing the main lava tube near the vent and disrupting lava production at ephemeral vents (17:3-4).

F. Barberi and L. Villari report successful lava diversion from the main tube, at a site 500 m downslope from the primary eruptive vent. In this area, at ~ 2,000 m elevation on the W wall of the Valle del Bove, lava was carried through a single tube locally broken by skylights. On 27 May, about 2/3 of the tube's lava was diverted into an artificially excavated channel by blasting through the 2-3-m-thick wall of the right levee. Two days later, bulldozers obstructed the natural channel by pushing large blocks of lava into it. By 1815 that day, all of the lava output (~30 m3/s) was flowing into the artificial channel. In effect, the diversion returned the active flow front to its position a few days after the onset of the eruption. Lava was moving downslope along the same path as the earlier main flow, but was > 6 km upslope from its previously most advanced front.

Flows generated by lava diversion efforts. R. Romano reports that as of 13 June, a vent remained active at the site of the first lava diversion. Although the vent has been shrinking, it continued to feed a flow that has advanced over lava from previous months, forming tubes and various ephemeral vents, many of which were near the S wall of the Valle del Bove. The ephemeral vents produced two lava flows, one near the S wall of the Valle del Bove at around 1,700 m elevation, the other in a more central position, at ~ 1,800 m asl on the main lava field. The lava flows that formed after the first diversion advanced more than a kilometer over the center of the lava field. Flows that followed the second diversion remained predominantly near the S wall of the Valle del Bove, passing and encircling a site at 1,575 m asl (Poggio Canfareddi), 2 km from their point of origin, on 3 June. This lava front stopped advancing on 5 June and several superposing lobes began to develop.

Seismicity and summit activity. Weak seismic activity began on 29 May, followed by an increase in volcanic tremor on 31 May that continued until the next day. Ash emissions, sometimes voluminous, occurred from the central craters at irregular intervals on 31 May and 1 June, first from the W vent (Bocca Nuova) then from the E vent (La Voragine). Only weak degassing preceded the ash ejection, but gas emission became more consistent beginning 2 June. COSPEC measurements yielded SO2 flux values of ~ 10,000 t/d. Flashes from the summit craters were observed during the evening of 7 June from the W flank. Fieldwork on 12 June revealed that Northeast Crater was obstructed, with only fumarolic activity along the walls.

EDM data. S. Saunders reports that four lines of an EDM network on the upper S flank were remeasured on 7 May, showing a 138-ppm contraction that was interpreted as deflation during the eruption. Between July and October 1991, total extensional strain along these lines was 88 ppm, indicating pre-eruption inflation. Strain along these lines has returned to near pre-eruption levels.

Landsat Thematic Mapper data. The following is from D. Rothery. "The 1991-92 sustained lava eruption of Etna provides an opportunity to study lava flow development by remote sensing. The first cloud-free Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) image of the eruption was recorded on 2 January at approximately 1000 (figure 49). Landsat repeats its coverage on a 16-day cycle; the next cloud-free acquisition was on 22 March and we are still awaiting receipt of those data. By manipulating radiance measurements in two wavebands, we hope to be able to constrain the surface temperature distribution of this flow along its length. The most noteworthy aspects of the 2 January data are: 1) There is a narrow 700-m length near the source that is radiant in TM band 4 (0.76-0.90 mm wavelength). As far as we know, this is the first time that thermal radiance in TM band 4 has been reported over a volcano. Field observations (A. Borgia) on 2 and 3 January show that this feature corresponds to a 10-15-m-wide open channel at the source of the flow. 2) The entire 6.5-km-long active flow is radiant in TM band 7 (2.08-2.35 mm wavelength). At least some of the areas that are also radiant in band 5 (1.55-1.75 mm) occur when the flow spills down a steep slope, breaking apart the raft of blocks and crust that otherwise blanket the underlying lava at near-magmatic temperatures."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Extracts of Landsat TMr images of Etna, 2 January 1992, in band 4 (0.76-0.90 mm wavelength, left) and band 7 (2.08-2.35 mm wavelength, right) at pixel sizes of 30 x 30 m. In band 4, much of Etna is snow-covered (white), while the active lava flow is the darkest land feature because of its very low reflectance in this part of the spectrum (very-near infrared). Thermal radiance is confined to a narrow channel near the source and is not evident at this scale. In band 7, the active flow is radiant through most of its length. Bright lines are caused by sensor overload. Courtesy of D. Rothery.

Lava field characteristics. The following is an excerpt from a preliminary report by Wyn Hughes and Mark Bulmer, describing the eruption as of 18 May.

Lava leaving the eruptive vent advanced through a tube system that extended downslope to the foot of the western backwall of the Valle del Bove at 1,850 m asl. Several skylights were spaced at intervals along it. At the break in slope, numerous active ephemeral vents issued new lava-flow units onto the surface of the flow field (figure 48). These did not travel far from their source. Surface activity was otherwise absent within the Valle del Bove; lava was being efficiently transported through tubes toward the flow front. One tube system (with skylights and fume) could be traced through the center of the flow field in the Valle del Bove, toward Val Calanna. At the distal end of the Valle del Bove, several pressure ridges were visible, oriented perpendicular to the underlying ground slope.

Most of the surface activity was occurring in Val Calanna, where intense ephemeral vent activity was issuing new lava-flow units onto the flow-field surface. Lava was being supplied to this area through a series of tubes that descended from the Valle del Bove. Most of the activity in Val Calanna appeared to be supplied by a major tube system that could be traced (by skylights and fume) descending the backwall along its S margin (Salto della Giumenta). A smaller tube system probably supplied some ephemeral vents on the N margin of Val Calanna (S foot of Mte. Calanna).

In Val Calanna, effusive activity was mainly concentrated along the S margin of the flow field, where lava had ponded along the S wall of Val Calanna, and behind the man-made earthen barrier. From there, ephemeral vents in the crust fed numerous new lava-flow units, supplying three regions. Where lava moved directly NE, these were progressively widening the flow field at 1,050 m altitude. Flows that initially moved NE, but then changed to a more easterly direction, were supplying units that flowed around the N margin of the buried man-made barrier. Near the barrier, although active aa-textured flow fronts and channel-fed flow units could be traced on the surface of the flow field, most of the activity that contributed to its widening was supplied from tubes in the previous days' flow units. Ephemeral vents at 1,000 m elevation on the N margin of the buried man-made barrier supplied new flow units that were widening the field to the NE. However, these flow units were abutting the distal levee of the 1852-53 flow field, which was largely hindering the widening. On 18 May, some of these slow-moving tube-fed lavas managed to flow out of Val Calanna, and began the steep descent towards Zafferana. This activity was occurring on the NE side of the flow field. Three ephemeral vents had opened just below the S margin of the man-made barrier. A short distance downslope, flows from these vents combined to feed a front that advanced quite rapidly down the SW side of the flow field on the night of 17 May. By the next morning, and after destroying an abandoned dwelling during the night, the rate of advance had decreased, with the front at ~ 870 m asl. All of these active regions were being channel/tube-fed by lava from along the S wall of Val Calanna, which in turn was being supplied by tubes that descended from the Valle del Bove.

Flow-field morphology. Although the flow field was widening somewhat towards the NE end of Val Calanna, the activity was dominated by ephemeral vents extruding new flow units onto the surface of the original field. This was mainly occurring at ~ 1,800 and 1,050 m altitude, where the backwalls of the Valle del Bove and Val Calanna give way to their respective floors (figures 48 and 50). The surface activity was rapidly burying aa channel-fed flow units from early in the eruption. They could only be seen among the flows that had gone around the N margin of Mte. Calanna, and as isolated inliers on the floor of Val Calanna.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Profile of the pre-eruption terrain in the 1991-92 lava field at Etna. Sites of ephemeral vent activity and zones of lava tubes and channel-fed units are shown diagrammatically. Courtesy of J.W. Hughes and M. Bulmer.

New flow units from ephemeral vents generally emerged with pahoehoe surface textures, in contrast to the early activity whose products had entirely aa textures. The flow-field surface on the floor of Val Calanna, as already occurred in the Valle del Bove, was slowly becoming dominated by pahoehoe textures. Small-scale pahoehoe textures, similar to those described by Pinkerton and Sparks (1978) for the sub-terminal 1975 flow field, prevailed around the ephemeral vents in Val Calanna. However, among the more active vents, pahoehoe slab textures that characterized the near-vent surfaces of new channel-fed flow units progressively changed to aa with increasing distance from the vent area.

Comparison with historical flow fields on Etna. The current ephemeral vent activity within the 1991-92 flow field is consistent with the pattern of historical eruptions that lasted > 100 days (Hughes, 1992). By then, the early channel-fed aa activity that characterized the lengthening and widening phases in the flow field's growth had given way to a tumulus-building phase at the vent area — for example, 1865 (Fouque, 1865); or at a break in slope below the vent area — for example, 1950-51 (Cumin 1954) and 1983 (Frazzetta and Romano, 1984). Important in the emplacement of the 1983 flow field was the evolution of the main supply channel near the vent into a lava tube. By the eruption's 60th day, the tube formed a continuous link between the vent and the lava mound that had accumulated around the break in slope at 2,000 m altitude. The hydrostatic pressures generated within the lava tube were then sufficient to lift and fracture the roof of the lava mound, allowing the escape of lava through ephemeral vent activity. This sequence of events signified the early stages of tumulus development. The present activity occurring at 1,800 m altitude within the Valle del Bove is similar.

The second area of ephemeral vent activity away from the vent area and initial break in slope appears, however, to be unique to the 1991-92 flow field; a similar phenomenon has not been documented for Etna flow fields of the last 250 years. For most, the concave profile of the volcano's flanks (figure 51) meant that once the lava had descended from the steep upper slopes it only encountered progressively gentler gradients. However, the terrain over which the 1991-92 lavas have flowed is much more irregular, with a terraced appearance. The steep terrain around the vent in the upper Valle del Bove is duplicated downslope in the upper reaches of Val Calanna. The morphologic positions of the ephemeral vent activity within the Valle del Bove and Val Calanna are similar (figure 50); both occur at the foot of a steep slope down which lava is transported through tubes. It must be concluded that conditions favoring tumulus construction have also been duplicated within Val Calanna.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Profiles of the N, S, E, and W flanks of Etna. Courtesy of J. W. Hughes and M. Bulmer.

References. Cumin, G., 1954, L'eruzione laterale del Novembre 1950-Dicembre 1951: BV, v. 15, p. 3-70.

Fouque, F., 1865, Sur l'eruption de l'Etna du 1st Fevrier 1865: C. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris; v. 60, p. 1331-1334; and v. 61, p. 210-212.

Frazzetta, G., and Romano, R., 1984, The 1983 Etna eruption: event chronology and morphological evolution of the flows: BV, v. 47, p. 1079-1096.

Hughes, J.W., 1992, The Influence of volcanic systems on the morphological evolution of lava flow fields: Ph.D. dissertation, University of London, 255 p.

Pinkerton, H., and Sparks, R.S.J., 1976, The subterminal lavas, Mount Etna: a case history of the formation of a compound lava flow field: JVGR, v. 1, p. 167-182.

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: F. Barberi, Univ di Pisa; L. Villari, IIV; R. Romano and T. Caltabiano, IIV; P. Carveni, M. Grasso, and C. Monaco, Univ di Catania; W. McGuire and A. Morrell, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education; S. Saunders, West London Institute; D. Rothery, A. Borgia, R. Carlton, and C. Oppenheimer, Open Univ; J. Wyn Hughes and M. Bulmer, Univ College London.


Fuego (Guatemala) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity and continued fumarolic activity

An apparent harmonic tremor episode was recorded in mid-April, prompting the placement of several additional portable seismometers on the volcano in early May. Since then, several tectonic earthquakes have been recorded, but no harmonic tremor. Fumarolic activity continued in the summit crater.

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: E. Sánchez, and Otoniel Matías, INSIVUMEH, Guatemala; Michael Conway, Michigan Technological Univ.


Galeras (Colombia) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional explosions eject ash; strong fumarolic activity on 1991 dome; earthquakes and tremor decline

Gas emission continued in May, occasionally accompanied by explosions that produced very fine ash, and noise from various points in the active crater. The observed explosions were associated with long-period earthquakes or variations in background tremor. SO2 flux was at low to moderate levels, ranging from ~250 to 650 t/d. Increased fumarole temperatures were measured on the SW (at Deformes fumarole) and W (at Besolima fissure) flanks of the cone, while strong fumarolic activity continued on the NW side of the 1991 dome.

Long-period seismicity and spasmodic tremor declined noticeably in May (figure 54). The few recorded high-frequency events were centered towards the W side of the crater, near the active cone, at <4.5 km depth, and M <2.0. A tremor episode that began on 31 May at 0451 was composed of two bands with durations of 33 and 18 minutes, separated by six tremor-free minutes. The tremor's dominant period was 0.5-1.0 seconds, and the released energy roughly 2.0 x 1011 ergs (reduced displacement of Rayleigh waves of 56 cm2 at the station 1.5 km from the crater). Another tremor episode, lasting 27 minutes with dominant periods of 0.2-0.4 seconds, was recorded in April. These tremor events were similar to those recorded in July-December 1991, associated with the formation and growth of the lava dome. A large long-period event recorded at 1920 on 6 June had a period of 1.5 seconds, and reduced displacements of 59 cm2 for Rayleigh waves, and 42 cm2 for body waves.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Daily reduced displacement of long-period seismicity (top) and spasmodic tremor episodes (bottom) at Galeras, May 1992. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Electronic tiltmeter measurements in May indicated deformation trends similar to April. The tiltmeter [at Crater Station] indicated continued deflation, while the tiltmeter [at Peladitos Station] suggested minor inflation (see figure 58).

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: J. Romero, INGEOMINAS-Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur.


Heard (Australia) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Plumes and glow; volcano morphology and 1986-87 activity described; 1992 summit eruption

[The following from Graeme Wheller] includes observations of continued activity in late 1986 and early 1987, and a renewed eruption in 1992.

Volcano morphology. Heard Island consists of two volcanic cones, Big Ben and Mt. Dixon, joined by a narrow isthmus (figure 2). Both cones are young, but only Big Ben has been observed to erupt. Many young lavas, including two that are unvegetated, lie on the flanks of Mt. Dixon. The separation of the two volcanoes is evident from the contrasting petrographic, geochemical, and isotopic characteristics of their respective eruptives [(Barling and others, 1994)].

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2.Geologic sketch map of Heard Island (after Barling, 1990) showing the location of the lava flow observed by Rod Ledingham in mid-January 1993.

Big Ben is a large, glacier-covered, composite cone 20-25 km in diameter at sea-level, consisting mainly of basaltic lavas and lesser ash and scoria. Its summit region consists of a SW-facing semi-circular ridge 5-6 km in diameter, 2,200-2,400 m asl. The ridge appears to have formed from breaching of the SW flank of Big Ben, possibly by landsliding caused by seismicity or a laterally directed blast. The E, N, and W flanks of Big Ben have been deeply scoured by glacial erosion, forming high-standing radial ribs to 7-8 km long.

Eruptions have built a new regularly shaped cone, Mawson Peak, within the breached region of the summit. Mawson Peak is snow-and ice-covered on all sides, . . . and its SW flank slopes smoothly to the coast. All . . . historical volcanism has apparently originated at the summit of Mawson Peak.

Young volcanic deposits. Mt. Dixon, much smaller than Big Ben, appears to be the latest manifestation of volcanic activity that has created a peninsula 9 km long and up to 5 km wide extending from the NW side of Big Ben. Mt. Dixon, at the end of the peninsula, is a glacier-covered rounded cone 706 m tall. More than 20 separate relatively young basaltic lava flows have been identified on its flanks, including two that are largely vegetation-free and may have been erupted within the last few hundred years. These lavas have flowed from vents on the upper flanks of Mt. Dixon, except for one from a fissure marked by an elongate scoria ridge ~1 km long near the base of the S flank. A crater ~50 m in diameter occurs at the head of one W-flank flow ~1 km inland. Several small hornitos occur on the lava flow near this crater. One is still well-formed, ~2.5 m high and 3-4 m in diameter, but the others have largely collapsed. On the W and N flanks of Mt. Dixon, particularly near Red Island, trachytic lavas lie beneath the basalt lavas.

Eleven parasitic scoria cones and associated small basaltic lava flows occur around the coastline . . . . Some are at or near the edges of vertical sea cliffs, indicating that erosion by the sea may have obliterated other cones. The parasitic cones are typically ~100 m high and well-formed with deep central craters. Lava spatter usually occurs abundantly around the upper parts of the cones. Lavas produced from these vents are typically small-volume pahoehoe flows. From their morphology and relative lack of vegetation, the cones and their lavas may be only a few thousand years old. On Azorella Peninsula, the parasitic cone forms the W side of Corinth Head which, together with Rogers Head, appears to be a remnant of an older and much larger cone formed of thinly stratified leucocratic tuff. The basaltic flow erupted from the Corinth Head crater contains partly collapsed tumuli and lava tunnels.

A similarly youthful, trachytic, airfall (Plinian?) pumice deposit 1-1.5 m thick occurs at the E end of the island. The lower 0.5 m of the deposit is distinctly darker than the upper part, showing a sharp horizontal transition. The deposit is overlain by moraine but underlying material is not visible. Similar deposits are not known from any other parts of the island. Although it is primary deposit and must therefore have been produced by an eruption on Heard Island, the location of its originating vent is not known.

December 1986-January 1987 activity. A deep, well-formed crater at the top of Mawson Peak was discovered on helicopter overflights in December 1986 and January 1987, during the 1986/87 Heard Island ANARE. On 21 December, a brief landing was made on the summit beside the crater. The crater was cylindrical and, from visual estimates, ~40-50 m in diameter and 50-70 m deep, with vertical walls exposing dark horizontal ash layers thinly coated in yellow sulfur. The crater was floored by a black ropy lava surface in which small patches of red lava periodically appeared, indicating an active lava lake within the crater. Larger red patches, ~ 5-10 m across, appeared less frequently, accompanied by gentle emissions of a little blue smoke. Minor steam emission also occurred from around the crater rim and from a rocky area on the crater's E side. The crater appears to have been formed by the 1985/87 eruption because it was not seen by climbing parties that reached the summit of Mawson Peak in 1965 and 1983.

A new pahoehoe lava flow in a glacial valley on Mawson Peak's SW flank was also discovered during the 1986/87 ANARE. The flow extended ~8-9 km from the summit crater rim, where it exited through a deep V-shaped notch, to within 2-3 km of the coast (near Cape Arkona). Small amounts of steam emanated from parts of the flow, which probably formed in January 1985, as observed from the Marion Dufresne.

1992 summit activity. Satellite images and observations from the ANARE base revealed eruptive activity in 1992. Data from the NOAA 11 polar orbiter showed plumes extending 300 km NNE then E from the island on 17 January at about 1720, and 200 km NE the next day at 0300. Weather in the region is usually cloudy, and no other activity was evident . . . until a short-lived thermal anomaly was detected on 18 May at 2146. The ANARE team had not yet reached Heard Island on 17 January, but the summit area was visible for 20 days in March, 18 days in April, and 7 days in May (as of the 29th). Gas had been emerging from the summit during fieldwork in mid-1990, but no activity was evident in 1992 until 29 May, when an orange glow was first noticed above the mountain at 2130. The glow rapidly intensified and appeared to be pulsating, faded after about a minute, then reappeared a few minutes later. Three or four such cycles were observed, with glow intensity changing randomly. Glow faded for the last time at about 2200. Although some auroral activity occurred that night, none of the observers believed that it was the source of the glow. Activity was next reported on 8 June, when vapor began to emerge from the summit at about 1430, soon forming a plume to the SE. Mist soon obscured the activity. Traces of steam were also visible on 10 June.

Reference. Barling, J., 1990, Heard and McDonald Islands, in Le Masurier, W., and Thomson, J., eds., Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and southern Oceans: American Geophysical Union, Washington DC, p. 435-441.

Further References. Barling, J., Goldstein, S.L., and Nicholls, I.A., 1994, Geochemistry of Heard Island (southern Indian Ocean): characterisation of an enriched mantle component and implications for enrichment of sub-Indian Ocean mantle: Journal of Petrology, v. 35, p. 1017-1053.

Hilton, D.R., Barling, J., and Wheller, G.E., 1995, Effect of shallow-level contamination on the helium isotope systematics of ocean-island lavas: Nature, v. 373, p. 330-333.

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

Information Contacts: G. Wheller, CSIRO Division of Exploration Geoscience, Australia; R. Varne, Univ of Tasmania; A. Vrana, K. Green, and T. Jacka, Australian Antarctic Division, Tasmania; W. Gould, NOAA/NESDIS.


Ijen (Indonesia) — May 1992

Ijen

Indonesia

8.058°S, 114.242°E; summit elev. 2769 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrared Space Shuttle photograph shows caldera and crater lake

An infrared Space Shuttle photograph (figure 1) taken in May 1992 showed clear views of both Raung and the Ijen volcanic complex. Neither volcano was erupting, but the caldera lake in Kawah Ijen and the devegetated caldera and summit region at Raung were obvious features. The Ijen Caldera was clearly defined, along with some post-caldera cones on its southern margin (Kawah Ijen and Gunung Merapi, Gunung Rante, and Gunung Pendil).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. This near-vertical color infrared photograph shows both Raung volcano and the Ijen volcanic complex on the E end of Java; the summit of Baluran, at the NE tip of the island, is hidden by clouds. Raung, the tall feature near the center of this photograph with a NE-flank vent (Gunung Suket), has a very wide caldera surrounded by a grayish rim. The difference in color of the rim and the flanks is caused by the rim's lack of vegetation compared with the healthy and extensive vegetation on the flanks. The large elongate Ijen Caldera NE of Raung has numerous cones on its margin, the most obvious being Kawah Ijen with its acidic crater lake. North is to the left; the tip of the island is pointing NE. NASA Photo ID: STS049-097-050, May 1992.

Geologic Background. The Ijen volcano complex at the eastern end of Java consists of a group of small stratovolcanoes constructed within the large 20-km-wide Ijen (Kendeng) caldera. The north caldera wall forms a prominent arcuate ridge, but elsewhere the caldera rim is buried by post-caldera volcanoes, including Gunung Merapi, which forms the high point of the complex. Immediately west of the Gunung Merapi stratovolcano is the historically active Kawah Ijen crater, which contains a nearly 1-km-wide, turquoise-colored, acid lake. Picturesque Kawah Ijen is the world's largest highly acidic lake and is the site of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation in which sulfur-laden baskets are hand-carried from the crater floor. Many other post-caldera cones and craters are located within the caldera or along its rim. The largest concentration of cones forms an E-W zone across the southern side of the caldera. Coffee plantations cover much of the caldera floor, and tourists are drawn to its waterfalls, hot springs, and volcanic scenery.

Information Contacts: NASA JSC Digital Image Collection (URL: http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/).


Irazu (Costa Rica) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Irazu

Costa Rica

9.979°N, 83.852°W; summit elev. 3432 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity in and around crater lake; low-frequency seismicity

During May, water in the crater lake returned to the level of the previous summer. Fumarolic emissions N of the lake decreased, while subaqueous fumaroles in the SE, E, and N parts of the lakes remained active. Small landslides occurred along the crater's E, N, and SW walls. A monthly total of 126 earthquakes was recorded (at station IRZ2, 5 km W of the crater), with a M 1.8 event centered 3.6 km SW of the crater, at 1 km depth, on 5 May. Low-frequency seismicity continued through May.

Geologic Background. Irazú, one of Costa Rica's most active volcanoes, rises immediately E of the capital city of San José. The massive volcano covers an area of 500 km2 and is vegetated to within a few hundred meters of its broad flat-topped summit crater complex. At least 10 satellitic cones are located on its S flank. No lava flows have been identified since the eruption of the massive Cervantes lava flows from S-flank vents about 14,000 years ago, and all known Holocene eruptions have been explosive. The focus of eruptions at the summit crater complex has migrated to the W towards the historically active crater, which contains a small lake of variable size and color. Although eruptions may have occurred around the time of the Spanish conquest, the first well-documented historical eruption occurred in 1723, and frequent explosive eruptions have occurred since. Ashfall from the last major eruption during 1963-65 caused significant disruption to San José and surrounding areas.

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, J. Barquero, and V. Barboza, OVSICORI.


Kanlaon (Philippines) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Kanlaon

Philippines

10.412°N, 123.132°E; summit elev. 2435 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash emission

Newspapers reported a 1-km-high ash emission and ashfall at flank towns on 10 June, coinciding with a minor earthquake. There were no reports of injuries.

Geologic Background. Kanlaon volcano (also spelled Canlaon), the most active of the central Philippines, forms the highest point on the island of Negros. The massive andesitic stratovolcano is dotted with fissure-controlled pyroclastic cones and craters, many of which are filled by lakes. The largest debris avalanche known in the Philippines traveled 33 km SW from Kanlaon. The summit contains a 2-km-wide, elongated northern caldera with a crater lake and a smaller, but higher, historically active vent, Lugud crater, to the south. Historical eruptions, recorded since 1866, have typically consisted of phreatic explosions of small-to-moderate size that produce minor ashfalls near the volcano.

Information Contacts: Reuters.


Kilauea (United States) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava production from episode-51 vent interrupted by brief pauses; lava lake in nearby crater

Lava production at the E-51 vent halted on 28 April. Shallow long-period (LPC-A type, 3-5 Hz) microearthquake counts declined for a few days, then increased to > 200 events daily between the mornings of 1-3 May. During the interval of eruptive quiet, the small lava lake in Pu`u `O`o crater rose until it spilled onto the crater floor on 3 May.

The lava lake was still overflowing when activity resumed at the E-51 vent the next day. Channelized lava flows covered much of the S flank of the E-51 shield between 4 and 22 May, many forming tubes that extended to the shield's base. Flows emerged from the tubes under enough pressure to create dome fountains at their heads. Some ponding occurred at the base of the shield before flows advanced S and E. The perched lava pond on the E-51 shield fed large overflows as well as small aa flows on the shield's NW flank. The pond level fluctuated, dropping as much as 15 m below the rim when the eruption paused again on 22 May.

Shallow long-period (LPC-B type, 1-3 Hz) microearthquake rates were nearly 100/day 8-11 May, declined for a few days, then increased again 15-21 May, peaking on the 17th when 442 were detected. As these events declined, an increase in LPC-A types was noted. The amplitude of eruption tremor remained low, then abruptly dropped to near background on 22 May at about 1300.

The eruption resumed on 27 May, for the first time re-occupying tubes formed during the previous active period. Activity paused again on 29 May, resuming on 2 June, again using the same tubes on the S flank of the shield.

The lava lake in Pu`u `O`o remained active throughout May. Its level fluctuated between 35 and 70 m below the crater rim, periodically overflowing onto the crater floor. Collapses of the crater walls and floor left the lake with a smaller diameter, against the E crater wall.

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: T. Mattox and P. Okubo, HVO.


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small explosions eject ash

During a 13 May visit, two explosions (at 1130 and 1428) ejected ash clouds to 1,000 m above the summit. A third explosion was noted at 0140 the next day, but no additional activity was observed during the 14-15 May journey from the volcano.

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: H. Gaudru, SVE, Switzerland; G. de St. Cyr, T. de St. Cyr, and I. de St. Cyr, A.V. Lyon, France; T. Vaudelin, Genève, Switzerland.


Kozushima (Japan) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Kozushima

Japan

34.219°N, 139.153°E; summit elev. 572 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued seismic swarms

Abnormal seismicity continued around the volcano in May, when 2 earthquake swarms were recorded. On 8 May a swarm occurred 2-3 km E of the island, with M <3.9. The second, on 14-16 May, occurred 3-4 km NW, with the largest event (M 4.9) recorded at 0731 on 15 May. No surface anomalies were observed.

Geologic Background. A cluster of rhyolitic lava domes and associated pyroclastic deposits form the small 4 x 6 km island of Kozushima in the northern Izu Islands. Kozushima lies along the Zenisu Ridge, one of several en-echelon ridges oriented NE-SW, transverse to the trend of the northern Izu arc. The youngest and largest of the 18 lava domes, 574-m-high Tenjoyama, occupies the central portion of the island. Most of the older domes, some of which are Holocene in age, flank Tenjoyama to the north, although late-Pleistocene domes are also found at the southern end of the island. Only two possible historical eruptions, from the 9th century, are known. A lava flow may have reached the sea during an eruption in 832 CE. Tenjosan lava dome was formed during a major eruption in 838 CE that also produced pyroclastic flows and surges. Earthquake swarms took place during the 20th century.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — May 1992 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)


Moderate explosive activity from 2 craters

"Moderate eruptive activity continued during May. Crater 3 was the most steadily active. Throughout the month it produced intermittent weak and loud explosions with forceful emission of grey ash columns rising to several hundred meters above the crater. No night glow was seen until 29 May. Activity at Crater 2 was moderately strong on 1 May, with forceful dark ash clouds rising several km above the crater. After the 1 May episode, activity was relatively mild. Other than moderate volumes of white and occasionally blue vapour emission, it only produced Vulcanian explosions on 11 and 18 May.

"Both craters were reactivated on the last few days of the month. Weak incandescent projections started at Crater 3 on the night of 29-30 May. On 30 May, low to loud explosions and whooshing noises accompanied bright Strombolian ejections to 700 m above the crater. Also on 30 May, a thick, dark ash column a few km high was emitted by Crater 2, with nighttime incandescent fragments rising 125 m above the crater. On 31 May, the activity was mainly from Crater 3, with ongoing high Strombolian projections, emission of a thick grey ash column several km high, and the production of a new, short lava flow down the NW flank of the cone. Unfortunately, failure of both seismic stations prevented recording of any related seismicity. The recurring activity from both craters continued into early June, producing much ashfall on the downwind coastal areas."

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

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


Lascar (Chile) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Lascar

Chile

23.37°S, 67.73°W; summit elev. 5592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New dome fills base of crater; occasional explosions

On 4 March, a new lava dome was observed in the active crater . . . at the base of the S wall (17:3).

Following a request by local authorities (Intendencia and Oficina Regional de Emergencia, II Región), the Chilean Air Force overflew the volcano at 1245 on 20 March. The high-quality vertical photographs obtained of the summit area enabled an accurate estimation of the dome's size and volume. The dome appeared to fill the entire, nearly circular, base of the crater (180-190 m in diameter; figure 10), with a thickness of ~40 m, and an estimated volume of 1.1 x 106 m3. It had steep walls and was devoid of a talus apron. The blocky, rugged surface of the dome appeared to have formed as a smaller, black central elongated plug (85 x 115 m) intruded a dark-brownish older external rim. Strong fumarolic activity occurred along the NE edge of the dome, which strongly resembled the one observed in March and April 1989.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Sketch map of the summit area of Lascar, prepared from vertical airphotos taken during an overflight by the Chilean Air Force on 20 March, showing the new lava dome. Courtesy of M. Gardeweg.

Observations from Talabre indicated that fumarolic activity had remained vigorous since late March, with eruption columns often 2-3 times larger than normal. The plume was usually yellowish to gray instead of its typical white until May, when a continuous dense gray plume was observed. Ashfall was reported on 15 May at 1050, accompanied by a gray eruption column estimated to be 1,500-2,000 m high (about 6x normal). On 21 May at 1130, an abrupt increase in the plume to a few kilometers height was observed by residents of nearby villages, and by people to 145 km W. The volcano "roared" for 10 minutes according to a witness (Luciano Sozo of Talabre) near the volcano. A second large explosion was reported that day at 1322 by Talabre residents. Following reports of night glow on 21-23 May, activity apparently returned to normal, with small pale-gray to white plumes and an absence of night glow. Although the May explosions were not as large as those in September 1986 and February 1990, scientists suggested that they might correspond to explosive destruction of part of the summit dome. Onset of winter and the partial covering of the cone by snow prevented visits to the summit, prompting a recommendation to the local authorities for new overflights and airphotos to monitor the development of the dome.

Several earthquakes recorded by the regional seismic network corresponded to large earthquakes centered away from the volcano, and were recorded by seismometers to the W. However, at least 4 small earthquakes were recorded between 24 April and late May only in villages closer to Lascar. The absence of seismometers near the volcano has prevented detailed monitoring of its seismicity.

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.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — May 1992 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)


Strong explosions from summit craters; lava flows; avalanches

"The eruption continued strongly in May with new paroxysmal phases of activity at Southern Crater on 10, 14, 16, 23, and 31 May. Main Crater was active 2-7 May, 14-16 May, and 26 May through the end of the month. New lava flows were emitted into the NE valley during these periods. Unlike former episodes of strong eruptive activity (i.e. 1974, 1984), the current episode involves both summit craters, in an intermittent pattern. Following a period of strong, lava-producing activity from Main Crater in April, Southern Crater was reactivated on 2 May. This crater had been blocked by sluggish lava and/or rubble from its last paroxysmal phase (11 April), and was re-opened after several loud explosions and ejection of dark, ash-laden columns with incandescent blocks up to 980 m high. On 3 May, and for a few days after, activity at Southern Crater consisted of intermittent explosions producing debris avalanches that were channelled into the upper SW valley. Main Crater became the center of activity again on 4 May. At approximately 1100, it started to produce a strong, sustained ash column that rose 1,000-3,000 m above the summit, deep roaring sounds, and an increase in the level of seismicity. At night, a bright glow and incandescent projections (to 125 m) were visible from Tabele Observatory . . . , but an aerial inspection on 5 May revealed that a new lava flow was being emitted from a fissure on the flank of the dark scoria cone now occupying Main Crater, at ~1,600 m elev. The lava flow overrode earlier flows emitted in April down to ~500 m elev, then followed a stream channel on the S side of the valley. Summit activity waned on 6 May and the flow stopped on 7 May, at ~60 m elevation, after advancing 4.5 km.

"On the following day (8 May), the level of activity increased in Southern Crater with Strombolian projections up to 300 m above the crater rim. At 1415 on 9 May, a second vent became active. Both vents then displayed sub-continuous Strombolian projections up to 100 m (N vent) and 500 m (Iabu vent), while the level of seismicity, which consisted of a succession of low-frequency events and microtremor, increased. This activity culminated in a paroxysmal phase on the night of 9-10 May. At 0040, a deep roaring sound was heard. This became louder and was followed by the outrush of incandescent lava fragments up to 1,000 m above the crater. During the following hours, the high output rate of lava spatter was maintained, accompanied by very loud explosion sounds that shook walls and windows at the Observatory . . . . Concurrently, lightning-and-thunder effects were occurring in the 3,000-m-high vapor-and-tephra cloud generated by the eruption and by the pyroclastic avalanches into both the SE and SW valleys. A lava flow poured out of Iabu vent, tumbled into the SW valley, and progressed down to 600 m elev during the following day.

"Seismicity and eruptive activity were low for the three following days but another paroxysmal phase of activity occurred in the early morning of 14 May. From 0200, weak roaring and explosion sounds were heard and Strombolian projections (50-125 m above the crater rim) resumed from the N vent of Southern Crater, while seismicity steadily built. Between 0430 and 0700, continuous incandescent projections were reaching heights of 500 m (Iabu vent) to 1,100 m (N vent), with spatter falling back as far as the foot of the terminal cone. A lava flow from Iabu vent tumbled into the SW valley. Even after the Strombolian activity stopped at the summit, the lava flow continued throughout the day and the following night, progressing down the valley to 200 m elev, a total length of 3.8 km. After 0700 on 14 May, emissions from Southern Crater had changed to produce a silent ash column that died out at about 0900. In the afternoon, explosions related to deep Strombolian activity in Main Crater were observed at ~10/minute, and at night the incandescent projections were seen rising to 400 m above the crater rim. By the morning of 15 May, Main Crater was emitting a silent, thick, billowy column of grey ash that lasted until 16 May. In the afternoon of 16 May, Southern Crater entered yet another paroxysmal phase, similar to the one on 14 May. This time only Iabu vent was active, displaying a glowing ribbon of new lava flowing into the SW valley, to an estimated 400 m elev. Strombolian activity died out around 2030 on 16 May, as did the lava flow the next afternoon.

"After a few uneventful days with only white and blue vapours released from multiple cracks around the craters, the eruption resumed from Southern Crater on 20 May. This time a new vent on the W side of the crater was active. Until 23 May, it produced weak, intermittent, ash-laden explosions, with nighttime incandescent projections up to 180-250 m above the crater. The seismicity built up from 0300 on 23 May. By 1130, after a marked increase in activity over 30 minutes, Southern Crater entered yet another phase of intense Strombolian eruption that lasted until 1430. This was followed by discontinuous Strombolian eruptions until late afternoon. A new lava flow from Iabu vent progressed into the SW valley to an estimated 600 m elevation. There was weak fluctuating activity in Southern Crater for another week, during which Main Crater was reactivated, producing weak to strong Strombolian eruptions with variable amounts of ash. Another paroxysmal phase of activity occurred at Southern Crater on 31 May, between 1330 and 1700. It produced a thick, dark-grey cloud and was accompanied by continuous roaring sounds and another lava flow into the SW valley.

"Water-tube tilt measurements at Tabele Observatory first showed a 2 µrad radial deflation, then a steady recovery throughout the month. Other dry tilt and levelling lines around the island were checked repeatedly but showed no significant change.

"The intermittent, recurring activity in the two craters has the effect of markedly modifying their configuration between each aerial reconnaissance. Following the ash eruption in mid-May, the scoria and spatter cone that initially occupied Main Crater was changed into a somma-type feature, with a 50-m-wide vertical crater in the center. Likewise, repeated emissions of lava flows into the SW and NE valleys are significantly modifying their topography; the volumes of erupted material are being calculated. Each eruptive phase also produced a few mm to cm of ash and lapilli falls onto coastal areas on the NW and SE sides of the island. These deposits are not yet significant enough to dangerously affect villages and subsistence gardens."

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

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


Pacaya (Guatemala) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous explosions; lava flows; temporary evacuations

Activity was unusually high through May, with several thousand explosions recorded seismically every day (figure 10). Powerful pyroclastic episodes in early May temporarily forced the evacuations of villages near the W base of the volcano. During the first week of May, two lava flows were extruded from vents near the NW and S summit of MacKenney cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Daily number of explosions recorded seismically at Pacaya, January-March 1992. Stars mark the strongest eruptive episodes. Prepared by INSIVUMEH.

Pacaya has erupted almost continuously since January-February 1990, when Strombolian activity was observed producing a new cone. Strong Strombolian activity destroyed the new cone and lava emission began in July 1990. Since then, lava emission has continued, and periodic increases in explosive activity have resulted in crop damage and the evacuation of up to 1,500 people.

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: E. Sanchez and Otoniel Matías, INSIVUMEH, Guatemala City; Michael Conway, Michigan Technological Univ, USA; Rodolfo Morales, INSIVUMEH, Guatemala City.


Pinatubo (Philippines) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Pinatubo

Philippines

15.13°N, 120.35°E; summit elev. 1486 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Rains on 1991 deposits produce destructive mudflows

Increased steam emission from Pinatubo's summit caldera was periodically observed in 1992, often accompanied by low-frequency harmonic tremors believed to be associated with sudden release of pressurized gas and steam from shallow depth. However, seismicity at the volcano continued to decline. Felt shocks with intensities of I-V (Rossi-Forel scale) were reported until mid-May.

Numerous mudflows descended the volcano's flanks, as heavy local rainfall mobilized large quantities of unconsolidated material deposited during the June 1991 eruption (16:5-6). The more significant events occurred on 18-19 February, 5 April, 10 and 31 May, and 1 and 4 June, affecting low-lying areas NE, SE, and SW of the volcano. Dams along the Pasig-Potrero and Sacobia rivers (SE and E flank, respectively) were destroyed during these relatively minor mudflow events and residents of Angeles (25 km E) reported slight to moderate ashfall from secondary explosions in pyroclastic-flow deposits within the Sacobia Pyroclastic Fan (SPF). Civil authorities have attempted to limit damage from the mudflows in the three provinces surrounding the volcano (Tarlac, Pampanga, and Zambales) by constructing Sabo dams and catchment basins, and by dredging channels, at a cost of more than $300,000,000. More than 250 school buildings were prepared as evacuation centers and the government advised people living near river banks to move to safer ground.

On 4 April, a major secondary explosion occurred at the toe of the SPF (drained by the Sacobia-Bamban and Abacan rivers), producing a 1.2-km-high ash plume. The explosion triggered a landslide that developed into a secondary pyroclastic flow, travelling 3 km down the Sacobia River and 2 km down the Abacan River. Numerous explosions followed, minutes apart. The secondary flow deposit, 14 m thick 3 km from the explosion site, buried three Sabo dams along the Abacan and two along the Sacobia River. A moderate amount of ashfall (~4 mm) was reported by residents at Clark Air Base/Pinatubo Volcano Observatory and Angeles. The flow left a deep escarpment, cutting the Abacan River off from the SPF, its source of mudflow material. The upper reaches of the river have been captured, and now flow down to the Sacobia-Bamban River, with only a muddy trickle expected to reach the Abacan.

With the advent of the rainy season (June-November), larger mudflows, with accompanying flooding and siltation, were expected in low-lying areas along the major river channels draining the volcano. As of early June, about 70,000 of the roughly 250,000 people displaced during the 1991 eruption and subsequent mudflows remained in evacuation centers and resettlement areas.

Geologic Background. Prior to 1991 Pinatubo volcano was a relatively unknown, heavily forested lava dome complex located 100 km NW of Manila with no records of historical eruptions. The 1991 eruption, one of the world's largest of the 20th century, ejected massive amounts of tephra and produced voluminous pyroclastic flows, forming a small, 2.5-km-wide summit caldera whose floor is now covered by a lake. Caldera formation lowered the height of the summit by more than 300 m. Although the eruption caused hundreds of fatalities and major damage with severe social and economic impact, successful monitoring efforts greatly reduced the number of fatalities. Widespread lahars that redistributed products of the 1991 eruption have continued to cause severe disruption. Previous major eruptive periods, interrupted by lengthy quiescent periods, have produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that were even more extensive than in 1991.

Information Contacts: R. Punongbayan, Perla J. Delos Reyes, Renatu U. Solidum, and Ronnie C. Torres, PHIVOLCS; Reuters; UPI.


Poas (Costa Rica) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal activity in crater lake feeds 1-km plume; frequent earthquakes and occasional tremor

Fumarolic activity continued in the crater lake in May, producing a continuous 1-km-high plume. Residents of the S and SW flanks reported sulfur odors. A total of 7,085 low-frequency earthquakes was recorded in May (at station POA2, 2.7 km SW), with a daily average of 229, compared to 250/day in April. Medium-frequency tremor was recorded sporadically. Twelve volcano-tectonic earthquakes were recorded in May, with a M 2.5 event centered 7 km ESE of the crater, at 7.5 km depth, on 18 May.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, J. Barquero, and V. Barboza, OVSICORI.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — May 1992 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)


Seismic swarm; uplift over broad area

"Slow magmatic inflation continued in May, although an unusual swarm of seismic activity took place at the beginning of the month. Seismic activity in the usual annular seismic zone remained at a low level throughout May, with a total of 125 events. Starting on 2 May, however, an unusual swarm of earthquakes occurred 4.5-5 km under the N (older and inactive) rim of the caldera, slightly E of Rabaul township. Approximately 300 such events were recorded 2-19 May, with ~140 occurring on 3 May. A dozen were felt by residents. Five events were of ML >=3.0, the largest ML 4.2. Levelling measurements on 4 June indicated that uplift had occurred over a broad area of the caldera since the previous measurements on 11 May. This suggests a deeper source than usual. The biggest changes (20 mm) were recorded at the S end of Matupit Island."

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

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


Raung (Indonesia) — May 1992

Raung

Indonesia

8.119°S, 114.056°E; summit elev. 3260 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrared Space Shuttle photograph shows devegetated summit area

An infrared Space Shuttle photograph (figure 1) taken in May 1992 showed clear views of both Raung and the Ijen volcanic complex. Neither volcano was erupting, but the caldera lake in Kawah Ijen and the devegetated caldera and summit region at Raung were obvious features. The Ijen Caldera was clearly defined, along with some post-caldera cones on its southern margin (Kawah Ijen and Gunung Merapi, Gunung Rante, and Gunung Pendil).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. This near-vertical color infrared photograph shows both Raung volcano and the Ijen volcanic complex on the E end of Java; the summit of Baluran, at the NE tip of the island, is hidden by clouds. Raung, the tall feature near the center of this photograph with a NE-flank vent (Gunung Suket), has a very wide caldera surrounded by a grayish rim. The difference in color of the rim and the flanks is caused by the rim's lack of vegetation compared with the healthy and extensive vegetation on the flanks. The large elongate Ijen Caldera NE of Raung has numerous cones on its margin, the most obvious being Kawah Ijen with its acidic crater lake. North is to the left; the tip of the island is pointing NE. NASA Photo ID: STS049-097-050, May 1992.

Geologic Background. Raung, one of Java's most active volcanoes, is a massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java that was constructed SW of the rim of Ijen caldera. The unvegetated summit is truncated by a dramatic steep-walled, 2-km-wide caldera that has been the site of frequent historical eruptions. A prehistoric collapse of Gunung Gadung on the W flank produced a large debris avalanche that traveled 79 km, reaching nearly to the Indian Ocean. Raung contains several centers constructed along a NE-SW line, with Gunung Suket and Gunung Gadung stratovolcanoes being located to the NE and W, respectively.

Information Contacts: NASA JSC Digital Image Collection (URL: http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal activity from crater lake; occasional seismicity

The active crater lake (150-200 m diameter) was gray to dirty white during May fieldwork, with weak, intermittent bubbling. Fumarolic activity in the E part of the crater, where water was slightly greenish, was stronger than during February fieldwork. The activity, audible at the crater rim, produced a plume that rose more than 100 m (the height of the crater wall), and was visible several kilometers N. Crater-lake level had dropped about 30 cm since February, while the temperature remained at 37°C and the pH at 1.6. Small mats of sulfur were visible on the lake surface. Weak vapor emission began at several points along a fissure (first observed in February) near the SE and SW rim, with temperatures of 55°C and 60°C, respectively.

Six microearthquakes were recorded in May (at OVSICORI station RIN3, 5 km S). A 16-minute tremor episode (1-2.5 Hz) was recorded on 22 May.

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

Information Contacts: G. Soto, R. Barquero, and Guillermo E. Alvardo, ICE; Mario Fernández, Univ. de Costa Rica; E. Fernández, J. Barquero, and V. Barboza, OVSICORI.


Rinjani (Indonesia) — May 1992

Rinjani

Indonesia

8.42°S, 116.47°E; summit elev. 3726 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrared Space Shuttle photo of Lombok Island during May 1992

Rinjani volcano on the island of Lombok (figure 1) is second in height among Indonesian volcanoes only to Sumatra's Kerinci volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Black-and-white reproduction of a Space Shuttle infrared photograph of Lombok Island and Rinjani sometime during 7-16 May 1992. The elevation-controlled shading is thought to reflect vegetation zones. NASA photograph number STS-49-97-051.

Geologic Background. Rinjani volcano on the island of Lombok rises to 3726 m, second in height among Indonesian volcanoes only to Sumatra's Kerinci volcano. Rinjani has a steep-sided conical profile when viewed from the east, but the west side of the compound volcano is truncated by the 6 x 8.5 km, oval-shaped Segara Anak (Samalas) caldera. The caldera formed during one of the largest Holocene eruptions globally in 1257 CE, which truncated Samalas stratovolcano. The western half of the caldera contains a 230-m-deep lake whose crescentic form results from growth of the post-caldera cone Barujari at the east end of the caldera. Historical eruptions dating back to 1847 have been restricted to Barujari cone and consist of moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows that have entered Segara Anak lake.

Information Contacts:


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruapehu

New Zealand

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal activity but no phreatic eruptions from Crater Lake

The lake's temperature, measured during fieldwork on 6 May, had risen slightly to 34.5°C, but there was no evidence of further phreatic activity. Moderate upwelling over the N vents produced yellow slicks in the moderately steaming, battleship-gray lake. No upwelling from the central vent was visible. EDM data showed continued minor inflation across the lake.

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.


Saba (Netherlands) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Saba

Netherlands

17.63°N, 63.23°W; summit elev. 887 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic swarm

A high-frequency seismic swarm began at the volcano on 4 June, peaking on 10-11 June, and centered along a roughly NE-SW zone 20 km long (figure 1). Of the numerous earthquakes recorded by the regional seismic network (most stations are E or S of the island), 12 were locatable. These events were concentrated at ~8 km depth (1-65 km depth range) and had magnitudes between 2.9 and 4.4 (the largest, at 27 km depth, was recorded at 0148 on 11 June). Several earthquakes were felt by island residents, but there were no reports of damage or injuries. On 13 June, a portable 3-component seismograph was installed on the island, previously uninstrumented, to supplement the regional seismic network, but activity declined, and only two additional events had been located as of 16 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Epicenter map of 12 earthquakes near Saba, 4-16 June 1992. Courtesy of the Seismic Research Unit, UWI.

Geologic Background. Saba, the northernmost active volcano of the West Indies, is a small 5-km-diameter island forming the upper half of a large stratovolcano that rises 1500 m above the sea floor. Its eruptive history is characterized by the emplacement of lava domes and associated pyroclastic flows. The summit of the volcano, known as Mount Scenery (or The Mountain), is a Holocene lava dome that overtops a major collapse scarp that formed about 100,000 years ago. Flank domes were constructed on the SW, SE, east, and NE sides of the island near the coast. A large andesitic lava flow entered the sea on the NE flank, forming the Flat Point Peninsula, the only site level enough on which to locate the island's airport. The village of The Bottom overlies pyroclastic-surge deposits that contain European pottery fragments and were radiocarbon dated at 280 +/- 80 years before present. The village was settled in 1640 on grassy meadows on the volcano's flanks reflecting initial vegetation recovery following destruction of tropical rainforests by pyroclastic flows and surges. Lava dome growth may also have occurred during this SW-flank eruption.

Information Contacts: L. Lynch, UWI; A. Smith, Univ of Puerto Rico.


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions feed small ash columns; continued erosion threatens vent area

The dome was observed from the old "Hotel Magermann" site and the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory (NW of and 7 km S of the dome, respectively) during 21-24 May fieldwork by Michigan Technological Univ and INSIVUMEH scientists. Between 50 and 100 explosions occurred daily at Caliente vent (figure 24), typically producing relatively weak vertical columns to 500-2,000 m height. The plume was white to light gray, with a small convecting section (100-300 m high) at the base. Fine ash observed several kilometers from the vent consisted of dense, pulverized dacite and fragments of plagioclase; the eruptions were probably phreatic. Between explosions, passive gas emissions rose several hundred meters.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Daily number of explosions recorded seismically at Santiaguito, March-April 1992. The arrow marks an unusually strong eruptive event and pyroclastic flow. Prepared by INSIVUMEH.

Several small, gray, vertical plumes were observed rising from near the SE base of Caliente, probably resulting from collapse at the front of a block lava flow. Although inclement weather prevented closer observation, plume locations suggested that the block lava flow had not progressed far since observations in late November 1991.

An extensive network of gullies, first observed on the N slope of Santiaguito in January 1990, has extended E to include Caliente vent. Rapid mass wasting, which began on the central dome (El Monje), resulted in numerous gullies that coalesced, greatly changing the appearance of the N flank. Scientists noted that continued erosion could severely undercut the large spines on Caliente's upper N flank, possibly causing their collapse and a subsequent rapid depressurization of the shallow magma system beneath Caliente. They warned that sudden depressurization could produce an extremely powerful pyroclastic eruption at the dome. One of INSIVUMEH's goals during its "Decade Volcano" program at Santiaguito is to monitor erosion processes and quantify mass-wasting rates at the dome.

The onset of the rainy season has annually caused an increased number of lahars in drainages S of the volcano. On 20 May, a lahar swept 12 km down the Río Nimá II. Fresh lahar deposits (about 1 m thick) found on terraces above the river's central channel indicated that the lahar was at least 2-3 m thick and 15-30 m wide.

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

Information Contacts: Michael Conway, Michigan Technological Univ; Otoniel Matías, INSIVUMEH.


Spurr (United States) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Spurr

United States

61.299°N, 152.251°W; summit elev. 3374 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash eruption follows increased seismicity and thermal activity

Seismicity continued at abnormally high levels through early June. Much of the elevated seismicity since August 1991 has been concentrated beneath the main summit, and more recently beneath Crater Peak, 3 km S. The events occurred at 0-5 km depth. Most had magnitudes <1.0; maximum magnitude was 1.7. No long-period events have been recorded.

A localized increase in seismicity was recorded at about 0700 on 6 June, centered immediately beneath Crater Peak. The seismicity, different from previously recorded events, was characterized by bursts of 1-5-minute duration. These bursts of tremor-like activity were small, comparable to events that are often associated with hydrothermal activity at other volcanoes. Similar seismicity continued beneath Crater Peak in the succeeding weeks.

Geologists overflew Crater Peak on 8 June. Its small turquoise-colored crater lake (previously measured at 55°C), appeared darker than before and thermal upwelling was visible at the E end of the lake. Only a trace of SO2 was measured in the plume, similar to October 1991. During a visit on 11 June, the crater lake was dark gray, with a temperature of 50°C and a pH of 2.5. The large upwelling was still visible, as were a dozen smaller features, mostly near the E side of the lake. An increase in fumarolic activity was noted in the crater. One prominent fumarole in the talus cone N of the lake was gushing water, and periodically produced several 1-m-high geysers.

On 27 June, a series of explosive pulses produced a substantial ash plume. The eruption was preceded by increased seismicity, including a pair of tremor bursts lasting 2 1/2 hours each on 24 and 25 June, twice as long as any other episodes since they were first recorded on 6 June. An overflight on 26 June at about 1100 showed that the level of Crater Peak's lake had dropped, perhaps indicating increased heating. Continuous tremor began at 1204, and a swarm of volcano-tectonic earthquakes started at 0300 the next morning.

A moderate explosive eruption that began at 0704 on 27 June sent ash to about 8 km altitude. Additional seismic signals that may have indicated eruptive pulses were received at 0814 and 0904. Weather clouds obscured the volcano, limiting direct ground-based or satellite observations of the eruption, but the plume could be tracked as it spread N, away from populated areas. About 0.3 cm of sand-sized ash fell at Finger Lake, roughly 100 km N of the volcano. By late morning, satellite images showed that the plume extended 335 km at an azimuth of 005°, and had a maximum width of 75 km, about 200 km from the volcano. Pilot reports indicated that the top of the cloud was at about 9 km altitude. By midafternoon, the plume, heading 010°, was 670 km long and reached 200 km width 450 km from Spurr. Its base was reported at about 1500 m altitude from an aircraft roughly 400 km NNE of Spurr. After initially moving N, the plume turned toward the S and E, and had spread over western and central Canada by 29 June, when its narrow leading edge was over southern Lake Winnipeg, roughly 3500 km SE of the volcano. No new eruptions had been reported at press time, but a pilot saw a white cloud rising vertically from the volcano to 6-7.5 km altitude on 28 June at 0340. During an overflight early 29 June, the volcano was steaming, and debris and some incandescent material were present in and around the crater, but no major morphologic changes were evident. Mudflows and flooding associated with the eruption were apparently relatively minor.

Geologic Background. The summit of Mount Spurr, the highest volcano of the Aleutain arc, is a large lava dome constructed at the center of a roughly 5-km-wide horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the south. The volcano lies 130 km W of Anchorage and NE of Chakachamna Lake. The caldera was formed by a late-Pleistocene or early Holocene debris avalanche and associated pyroclastic flows that destroyed an ancestral edifice. The debris avalanche traveled more than 25 km SE, and the resulting deposit contains blocks as large as 100 m in diameter. Several ice-carved post-caldera cones or lava domes lie in the center of the caldera. The youngest vent, Crater Peak, formed at the breached southern end of the caldera and has been the source of about 40 identified Holocene tephra layers. Spurr's two historical eruptions, from Crater Peak in 1953 and 1992, deposited ash on the city of Anchorage.

Information Contacts: AVO; SAB, NOAA/NESDIS; AP.


Stromboli (Italy) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions; increased seismicity

Seismic activity remained at a low level (around 100 explosions/day) from the beginning of 1992 through 8 April, when the seismic station was shut down for maintenance and conversion to a 3-component system. When operations resumed on 17 May, seismicity was unusually high, and the number of recorded events on 19 May was the largest since the station was installed in October 1989 (figure 25). Tremor amplitude briefly remained at November 1991 levels, but decreased rapidly beginning 20 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Seismicity recorded at Stromboli, January-May 1992. Open bars show the total number of seismic events/day, while solid bars tally those with ground velocities exceeding 100 mm/s. The line represents tremor energy computed using 60-second samples taken every hour, then averaged daily. Courtesy of M. Riuscetti.

Daily summit observations 10-19 May revealed that activity was concentrated in craters C1 (vent 1) and C3 (vent 4) with glowing tephra ejected to 100-150 m height. Noisy vapor emissions lasting 15-20 seconds, accompanied by modest spatter ejection, occurred from a fissure in C2, on the W rim. Very modest activity continued from the small spatter cone in C3.

During the night of 16-17 May, Beat Gasser saw activity from several vents. Loud explosions occurred ~4 times an hour from C1, ejecting lava to as much as 300 m height for 5-10 seconds. Several explosions typically occurred at intervals of 5-10 minutes, followed by ~30 minutes of repose. Between explosions, a steady red glow and lava spattering were visible inside the crater, with spatter seldom reaching the crater's outer walls. Spattering declined before explosions. Crater C2 produced noisy 10-15-second gas emissions about once an hour. Ejections of a few red tephra fragments from C2 were seen during the night. East of C2, a steady red glow was visible at night within a small vent that was the source of pulsing gas emissions at 3-second intervals. Eruptions occurred about twice an hour from C3, but like those from C1 were not evenly spaced. Two eruptions typically occurred roughly 10 minutes apart, followed by nearly an hour of quiet. The three active craters never erupted simultaneously, and their eruptions were separated by intervals of at least 5 minutes.

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

Information Contacts: M. Riuscetti, Univ di Udine; B. Gasser, Kloten, Switzerland.


Suwanosejima (Japan) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tephra clouds from frequent explosions

Island residents reported frequent explosions, ashfalls, and rumbling in early and mid-May. Ash plumes were observed rising to 1.5-2.0 km elevation by Japanese airline pilots on 1-3 May, and a plume was visible on a NOAA weather satellite image at 1538 on 1 May.

Recently, the volcano had been active several times a year, with frequent explosions producing ash clouds and detectable ashfall. During peaks in activity, ash clouds rose to 2-3 km height and tens of small explosions occurred per minute. Eruptive episodes typically lasted for a few days to a month. Explosions had been reported earlier in 1992 on 1-4, 10, and 25-31 January, 4-14 and 21-28 February, 2-4 and 11-12 March, and 15-16 April.

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

Information Contacts: JMA; W. Gould, NOAA.


Tongariro (New Zealand) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Tongariro

New Zealand

39.157°S, 175.632°E; summit elev. 1978 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarole temperatures and gas chemistry unchanged from 1989; no significant deformation or seismicity

Fumarole temperatures (93.9 & 94.3°C) and preliminary gas chromatograph data collected on 7 April were unchanged since the previous fieldwork in March 1989. No significant deformation was evident. Seismicity has remained relatively low.

Geologic Background. Tongariro is a large volcanic massif, located immediately NE of Ruapehu volcano, that is composed of more than a dozen composite cones constructed over a period of 275,000 years. Vents along a NE-trending zone extending from Saddle Cone (below Ruapehu volcano) to Te Maari crater (including vents at the present-day location of Ngauruhoe) were active during several hundred years around 10,000 years ago, producing the largest known eruptions at the Tongariro complex during the Holocene. North Crater stratovolcano, one of the largest features of the massif, is truncated by a broad, shallow crater filled by a solidified lava lake that is cut on the NW side by a small explosion crater. The youngest cone of the complex, Ngauruhoe, is also the highest peak of the massif.

Information Contacts: P. Otway, DSIR Geology & Geophysics, Wairakei.


Unzendake (Japan) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Unzendake

Japan

32.761°N, 130.299°E; summit elev. 1483 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows

Lava-dome growth continued through mid-June, and pyroclastic flows were frequently generated by partial collapse of the dome complex. The new dome (7) which first appeared on 24 March (correction to 17:3-4), continued to grow, reaching 150 m length by the end of May. Lava extrusion formed "banana peel" and sometimes "petal" structures (petal with two lobes). Swelling of the cryptodome raised its summit to 1,390 m elevation, 30 m higher than the pre-eruption summit. Lava blocks on the surface of the cryptodome were reddish in color and small (< 10 m across, commonly a few m across), suggesting to geologists that they had broken into pieces during intrusion. Earthquakes, probably occurring within the dome complex, frequently triggered collapse of the cryptodome, causing it to develop a conical shape with a relatively smooth surface.

Collapses occurred at both sides of the growing lobes on dome 7, as well as at the dome front. One rockfall, measured by the GSJ with a theodolite, was estimated to have a volume of 1.2 x 105 m3. Pyroclastic flows generated from rockfalls traveled primarily down the dome complex's SE flank towards Mt. Iwatoko and into the Akamatsu valley, extensively burying its gentle slope (figure 42). Ash clouds accompanying the flows rose to about 1,000 m, with a maximum height of 1,400 m on 19 May. The pyroclastic-flow-deposit distribution was little changed from previous months. During mid-May to mid-June, 2-3 flows extended > 2 km/day, a flow 2.5 km long occurred every two days, and no flows reached > 3 km from the dome complex. Longer flows had a tendency to erode the steeper, upstream area, then deposit in the middle and downstream areas. The eroded upstream channels were subsequently filled by less-energetic flows. The longer flows tended to follow topographic lows quite closely, and as the saddle in the Akamatsu Valley was filled (~ 2.2 km SE from the front of dome 7), the height of the S cliff decreased from 30 to 10 m by early June. A deposition rate of ~ 35 cm/day was calculated for the mid-May to mid-June period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Map showing distribution of 1991-92 pyroclastic flow deposits at Unzen, mid-June 1992. 1991 pyroclastic surge deposits are not shown. Courtesy of Setsuya Nakada.

The magma-supply rate, based on mapping by the Geographical Survey Institute, was estimated to be roughly 2 x 105 m3/day for late February-late April, the lowest value since June 1991 (prior reported rates ranged from 2.5 to 3.5 x 105 m3/day). The low magma-supply rate reflects the low level of activity in April, when the lava domes grew very little, large pyroclastic flows were rare, and seismicity was at low levels. Estimates of magma supply in May-early June suggest that the rate had returned to ~ 3 x 105 m3/day. Geologists believe that the supply rate has probably fluctuated considerably since February. The volume of the dome complex was estimated to be 44 x 106 m3 on 25 April (similar to that of late February); combined pyroclastic flow and avalanche deposits, 50 x 106 m3 (dense rock equivalent); indicating a total erupted volume of ~ 94 x 106 m3.

Continued geomagnetic measurements by Kyoto Univ scientists show that the degree of demagnetization around the dome complex had decreased from mid-March. Demagnetization was strongest when lava first appeared in May 1991, and continued steadily until February 1992. Electronic distance measurements collected by the GSJ also showed the strongest shortening (between the summit and a point ~ 1.5 km away) in May 1991, and steady shortening through recent months, implying continuous swelling of the summit region.

Small earthquakes continued to occur beneath and within the dome complex, with 50-150/day in May-early June. A total of 3,235 earthquakes was recorded in May, similar to April. The daily number of seismically detected pyroclastic flows ranged from 5 to 17, with a total of 337 events, similar to previous months.

The evacuated area E of the volcano, in Shimabara and Fukae town, was reduced somewhat in June, decreasing the number of evacuees from 7,600 in May [to] about 6,750 by 11 June.

Geologic Background. The massive Unzendake volcanic complex comprises much of the Shimabara Peninsula east of the city of Nagasaki. An E-W graben, 30-40 km long, extends across the peninsula. Three large stratovolcanoes with complex structures, Kinugasa on the north, Fugen-dake at the east-center, and Kusenbu on the south, form topographic highs on the broad peninsula. Fugendake and Mayuyama volcanoes in the east-central portion of the andesitic-to-dacitic volcanic complex have been active during the Holocene. The Mayuyama lava dome complex, located along the eastern coast west of Shimabara City, formed about 4000 years ago and was the source of a devastating 1792 CE debris avalanche and tsunami. Historical eruptive activity has been restricted to the summit and flanks of Fugendake. The latest activity during 1990-95 formed a lava dome at the summit, accompanied by pyroclastic flows that caused fatalities and damaged populated areas near Shimabara City.

Information Contacts: S. Nakada, Kyushu Univ; JMA.


Villarrica (Chile) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanic earthquakes and tremor

Seismicity was recorded at the volcano during March-May by a telemetered seismic station (VNV) 4.5 km from the summit, at 1,400 m elev. The average tremor frequency decreased slightly from 1.9 Hz (in March-April) to 1.8 Hz (in May). Tremor frequency also decreased with distance from the summit. Average frequencies of 1.9, 0.8, and 0.6 Hz were recorded 4.5 km (station VNV), 18.7 km (station PP) and 21 km (station PL) from the volcano, respectively, in April. Since 28 May, activity has increased, and both tremor and volcanic earthquakes have been recorded.

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: G. Fuentealba and P. Peña, Univ de La Frontera; M. Petit-Breuilh, Fundación Andes, Temuco.


White Island (New Zealand) — May 1992 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)


Continued tephra ejection from three vents

Voluminous emission of lithic-dominated fine ash continued into May from three vents in the 1978/92 Crater complex. No obvious changes have occurred to crater morphology since the formation of a new collapse crater (Princess) in mid-April.

No ash was being emitted during 5 May fieldwork. Most of the gas emission occurred from a crater (Wade) that had ... enlarged considerably since February 1992. It occupied much of the floor of the 1978/92 Crater complex, with only narrow divides separating it from neighboring craters TV1... and May 91. A few ash-free ballistic blocks, apparently erupted from Princess Crater since heavy rain two days earlier, had fallen within ~50 m of the 1978/92 crater rim.

When geologists returned on 12 May, voluminous clouds of steam and light-gray ash were emerging from Princess, Wade, and TV1 Craters. The Wade/Princess and TV1/Princess pairs were sometimes simultaneously active. Ash from Princess Crater collected at 1125 was in accretionary flakes 1-3 mm across, composed of silt- to sand-sized pulverized andesite, along with much hydrothermal opal-C, anhydrite, natroalunite, and pyrite. Additional blocks, probably from TV1 Crater, had been deposited in an arc extending 50-100 m E of the 1978/92 complex rim. Fine gray ash coated the blocks, about half of which were weakly vesicular to scoriaceous andesite with xenoliths of thermally altered lithic material. Fractures on the N side of the subsided area, which developed next to Princess Crater in mid-April, suddenly began emitting steam along a zone 20-30 m long at about 1100; Princess Crater was active at the time, but neighboring TV1 was not. Fresh-looking, tephra-free surfaces suggested that movement was continuing along new fractures at the S wall of Main Crater. A trench dug at the rim of the 1978/92 Crater complex revealed 1.5 m of tephra accumulation since April 1991.

Seismicity showed little change since late April. A-type events were recorded 1-11 times a day, while B-types were less than 6/day. Variable-frequency volcanic tremor continued until about 27 April in 2-18-hour episodes. No additional tremor was evident until 13 May, when medium-frequency, low-amplitude signals followed an E-type eruption signature at 0843 (see below). The occurrence of tremor continued to correlate well with observed ash emission. E-type eruption signatures were detected 21 April at 1758; 26 April at 0804, 1425, and 2008; 27 April at 0116; 2 May at 2157 and 2208; 8 May at 0816; 9 May at 0724; 10 May at 0905; 11 May at 0040; 13 May at 0843 and 0855; 14 May at 0452 and 0629; and 17 May at 0119 and 1135. The last event was associated with an ash eruption seen during a COSPEC survey, which yielded an average SO2 emission rate of 350 t/d; see table 9 for a comparison with previous COSPEC data. The eruption, observed at 1139, fed a billowing cloud that rose 2,000 m. SO2 in the leading edge of the cloud corresponded to an emission rate of 950 t/d.

Table 9. SO2 emission measured by COSPEC at White Island, December 1983-May 1992. Courtesy of P. Kyle and W. Giggenbach.

Date SO2 Emissions (t/d)
23 Dec 1983 1200 ± 300
21 Nov 1984 320 ± 120
07 Jan 1985 350 ± 150
07 Feb 1986 570 ± 100
12 Jan 1987 830 ± 200
04 Nov 1987 900 ± 100
14 Dec 1990 362 ± 80
17 May 1992 350 ± 50

Deformation data showed continued subsidence E of the 1978/92 Crater rim (in the Donald Mound area) at rates that were apparently only slightly lower than in 1991. No acceleration in deformation had been detected over the April 1992 subsidence area in the 16 months preceding December 1991. Magnetic and gravity changes were small. Fumarole temperatures measured by an IR pyrometer have declined since March. The maximum value in mid-May was 211°C, probably depressed by heavy rains the preceding week.

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, DSIR Geology & Geophysics, Rotorua.

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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