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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

Tinakula (Solomon Islands) Thermal anomalies in satellite data December 2018-June 2019; ship visit January 2019

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

Semeru (Indonesia) Decreased activity after October 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Tinakula (Solomon Islands) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

10.386°S, 165.804°E; summit elev. 796 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies in satellite data December 2018-June 2019; ship visit January 2019

Remote Tinakula lies 100 km NE of the Solomon Trench at the N end of the Santa Cruz Islands, which are part of the country of the Solomon Islands located 400 km to the W. It has been uninhabited since an eruption with lava flows and ash explosions in 1971 when the small population was evacuated (CSLP 87-71). The nearest communities live on Te Motu (Trevanion) Island (about 30 km S), Nupani (40 km N), and the Reef Islands (60 km E); residents occasionally report noises from explosions at Tinakula. Ashfall from larger explosions has historically reached these islands. The most recent eruptive episode was a large ash explosion and substantial SO2 plume during 21-26 October 2017; satellite imagery suggested that a flow of some type traveled down the scarp on the W flank. Renewed thermal activity that was recognized in satellite imagery beginning in December 2018 continued intermittently through June 2019 and is covered in this report. Satellite imagery and thermal data are the primary sources of information for this volcano. It is occasionally visited by members of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) of the Solomon Islands Government, tourists, and research vessels who are able to capture ground-based information.

Satellite images from December 2018 to February 2019 show thermal anomalies at the summit vent. Excellent ship-based photographs of the island on 24-25 January 2019 provided by a crewmember from the R/V Petrel identify numerous volcanic features and show a steam-and-gas plume at the vent. Satellite images from April and May 2019 show thermal anomalies at both the summit vent and along the W flank scarp suggesting flow activity during that time.

A stream of incandescence on the NW flank of Tinakula in a Sentinel 2 satellite image on 24 October 2017 confirmed that some type of high-temperature flow accompanied the explosions and eruptive activity of 21-25 October 2017 (BGVN 43:02). Satellite imagery during most of 2018 recorded steam plumes drifting in several directions from the summit, but no thermal activity (figure 24). There was no further evidence of activity in satellite visible or thermal data until almost exactly one year later when the MIROVA project recorded two thermal alerts in the third week of October 2018 (figure 25). Satellite images from that week were cloudy and did not confirm any surface activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Tinakula provides valuable information about activity at this remote volcano in the South Pacific. A large explosion with ash plumes and flows occurred during 21-26 October 2017. Top left: a strong E-W linear thermal anomaly suggesting a flow event from the summit was evident on the NW flank on 24 October 2017. Top right: a small steam plume rose from the summit vent on a cloudless 11 February 2018. Bottom left: a dense steam plume drifted SE from the summit vent on 4 September 2018. Bottom right: clouds and dense steam obscure the summit on 24 October 2018, about the same time that MIROVA reported a thermal anomaly. Top left image uses bands 12, 11, 8A, others use 12, 4, 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. The MIROVA project recorded the first thermal anomaly in a year from Tinakula during the third week of October 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The first satellite imagery confirming renewed thermal activity appeared on 8 December 2018, around the same time as a small MIROVA anomaly. After that, several images during January and February 2019 confirmed moderately strong thermal activity at the summit (figure 26). Whether the anomalies were the result of active lava effusion or strong incandescent gases from the summit vent is uncertain.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Thermal anomalies at the summit vent of Tinakula were recorded six times between early December 2018 and early February 2019 with Sentinel-2 satellite images. Top row: 8 December 2018 and 2 January 2019. Middle row: 12 (anomaly is just below date) and 27 January 2019. Bottom row: 1 and 6 February 2019. All images are bands 12, 4, 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Visual confirmation of activity at Tinakula is rare, but the research vessel R/V Petrel sailed past the volcano on 24 and 25 January 2019 and a crewmember provided detailed images of the W flank and vent area. The summit vent is located at the top of a W facing scarp, and steam is frequently observed rising from the vent (figures 27). Recent flows and volcaniclastic deposits were visible in the ravine on the W flank (figures 28 and 29). Fresh-looking lava was also visible near the summit vent on top of older deposits (figure 30). Eroded volcaniclastic deposits near the base of the scarp on the W flank were visible on top of older veined and layered volcanic rocks (figure 31). Crewmembers on the vessel R/V Petrel could clearly see an incandescent glow from the summit crater at night (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. A view from the SW of the W flank of Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. The summit vent is at the top of a W facing scarp, the steam plume drifted E. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. The W flank of Tinakula as seen from the W on 24-25 January 2019. The steam plume drifted E. Recent flows and volcaniclastic deposits appeared dark in the steep ravine on the W face (left side). Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Steam and gas rose from the summit vent at Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. Recent lava deposits are visible in front of the plume and in the ravine on the left (the W flank). Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The edge of the summit vent of Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019 had recent lava on older deposits; steam and gas is rising from the vent in the background. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. The W flank of Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. Eroded volcaniclastic deposits overlie older veined and layered volcanic rocks. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Incandescence was clearly visible from the summit vent at Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.

During April and May 2019, both the MIROVA project and MODVOLC measured a number of thermal anomalies (figure 33) using MODIS satellite data. MODVOLC alerts were issued on 4 and 20 April, and 11, 18, and 27 May. Sentinel-2 satellite images during the period confirmed that a flow on the W flank was a likely source of the thermal energy in addition to the summit vent (figure 34). Thermal anomalies appeared again at the end of June in MIROVA data, but no satellite images showed anomalies at that time.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. The number and intensity of MIROVA thermal anomalies increased at Tinakula during April and May 2019. After a short pause, they returned at the end of June. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 satellite images captured thermal anomalies at the summit and on the W flank of Tinakula during April and May 2019 suggesting the presence of an incandescent flow down the W scarp. Top row: 7 and 22 April 2019 (bands 12, 8, 4). Bottom row: 27 April and 12 May 2019 (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The small 3.5-km-wide island of Tinakula is the exposed summit of a massive stratovolcano at the NW end of the Santa Cruz islands. Similar to Stromboli, it has a breached summit crater that extends from the summit to below sea level. Landslides enlarged this scarp in 1965, creating an embayment on the NW coast. The satellitic cone of Mendana is located on the SE side. The dominantly andesitic volcano has frequently been observed in eruption since the era of Spanish exploration began in 1595. In about 1840, an explosive eruption apparently produced pyroclastic flows that swept all sides of the island, killing its inhabitants. Frequent historical eruptions have originated from a cone constructed within the large breached crater. These have left the upper flanks and the steep apron of lava flows and volcaniclastic debris within the breach unvegetated.

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/); 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); Vulcan Inc. (URL: https://www.vulcan.com/), additional details about the R/V Petrel (URL: https://www.paulallen.com/).


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

Piton de la Fournaise

France

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

Short pulses of intermittent eruptive activity have characterized Piton de la Fournaise, the large basaltic shield volcano on La Réunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, for several thousand years. For the last 20 years, frequent effusive basaltic eruptions have occurred on average twice per year. The activity is characterized by lava fountains and lava flows, and occasional explosive eruptions that shower blocks over the summit area and produce ash plumes. Almost all of the recent activity has occurred within the Enclos Fouqué caldera, although past eruptions in 1977, 1986, and 1998 have occurred at vents outside of the caldera. Four separate eruptive episodes were reported during 2018; from 3-4 April, 27 April-1 June, 13 July, and 15 September-1 November (BGVN 43:12, 43:09). Two episodes from 2019 during February-March and June are covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) as well as satellite instruments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Semeru (Indonesia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Decreased activity after October 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Heard (Australia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dukono (Indonesia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous ash explosions from October 2018 through March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional weak phreatic explosions continue through February 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent passive ash emissions continue through February 2019

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

Table 8. Ash emissions at Turrialba, September 2018-February 2019. Cloudy weather sometimes obscured observations. Maximum plume height is above the crater rim. Information courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/); Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN) a collaboration between a) the Sección de Sismología, Vulcanología y Exploración Geofísica de la Escuela Centroamericana de Geología de la Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), and b) the Área de Amenazas y Auscultación Sismológica y Volcánica del Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica (URL: https://rsn.ucr.ac.cr/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Costa Rica Star (URL: https://news.co.cr); The Tico Times (URL: https://ticotimes.net).


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

San Cristobal

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak ash explosions in January and March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Semisopochnoi

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash explosions during September and October 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Asosan (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; Katcho Karume, Director; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MONUSCO, United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (URL: https://monusco.unmissions.org/en/, Twitter: @MONUSCO); Cultur Volcan, Journal d'un volcanophile (URL: https://laculturevolcan.blogspot.com), Twitter: @CultureVolcan).


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

Tengger Caldera

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Mongabay, URL: https://news.mongabay.com/2018/09/fires-tear-through-east-java-park-threatening-leopard-habitat/.

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 17, Number 06 (June 1992)

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Agrigan (United States)

Thermal activity but no seismicity or deformation

Aira (Japan)

Explosions and seismicity less frequent

Alamagan (United States)

Fumarolic activity but no shallow seismicity

Anatahan (United States)

Thermal activity but deformation unchanged

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Lava production and tephra ejection continue

Asosan (Japan)

Explosions follow increased seismicity and heating of crater lake

Asuncion (United States)

Strong steaming

Bogoslof (United States)

Steam and ash emission

Chichon, El (Mexico)

Frequent rockfalls and continued thermal activity

Clark (New Zealand)

New submarine volcano identified; no gas bubbling

Clear Lake (United States)

50 small seismic events triggered by M 7.5 earthquake hundreds of km away

Colima (Mexico)

Rockfalls and thermal activity; large lahar deposit described

Etna (Italy)

Continued flank lava production

Farallon de Pajaros (United States)

Vigorous fuming

Galeras (Colombia)

Strong explosion destroys most of summit lava dome

Guguan (United States)

No gas emission

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Fumarolic activity and seismicity continue

Karangetang (Indonesia)

Some decline in explosive activity, lava production, and seismicity, but glowing rockfalls advance 1.5 km

Kilauea (United States)

Continued east rift lava production

Kozushima (Japan)

Earthquake and aftershocks

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Strombolian explosions and lava flow

Lascar (Chile)

Satellite data show heat from lava dome

Lassen Volcanic Center (United States)

Seismicity apparently triggered by M 7.5 earthquake hundreds of kilometers away

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Lava ejection from small crater-floor vent

Long Valley (United States)

Abrupt increase in seismicity triggered by M 7.5 earthquake hundreds of kilometers away

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Strong ash ejections; Strombolian explosions; lava and pyroclastic flows

Marapi (Indonesia)

Explosion kills one person and injures five others

Maug Islands (United States)

No activity evident

Medicine Lake (United States)

Seismicity apparently triggered by M 7.5 earthquake hundreds of kilometers away

Nyamuragira (DR Congo)

Continued lava production from fissure vents

Pagan (United States)

Recent small ash eruption; long-period earthquakes and tremor; inflation

Pinatubo (Philippines)

Lava dome extruded into caldera lake; small steam-and-ash ejections; lahars and secondary explosions

Poas (Costa Rica)

Vigorous gas emission in and around crater lake; continued seismicity

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Uplift and seismicity increase slightly

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

Continued fumarolic activity

Rumble III (New Zealand)

Gas bubbles detected; summit 140 m below surface

Rumble IV (New Zealand)

Gas bubbles detected; summit 450 m below surface

Rumble V (New Zealand)

New submarine volcano identified; rising gas bubbles

Sarigan (United States)

No activity evident

Shasta (United States)

No seismicity triggered by M 7.5 earthquake hundreds of kilometers away

Spurr (United States)

Details of 27 June eruptive cloud

Stromboli (Italy)

Small explosions and seismicity continue

Tangaroa (New Zealand)

New submarine volcano identified; no gas bubbling

Turrialba (Costa Rica)

Occasional seismicity

Unzendake (Japan)

Continued lava dome growth generates pyroclastic flows



Agrigan (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Agrigan

United States

18.77°N, 145.67°E; summit elev. 965 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal activity but no seismicity or deformation

A six-member team of USGS volcanologists visited the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 11-27 May 1992 at the request of the CNMI Office of Civil Defense. The team observed all of the islands in the chain N of Saipan, installed a new seismic station at the base of frequently active Pagan, remeasured existing EDM networks, mapped the geology of Alamagan, sampled fumaroles and hot springs, and collected rocks and charcoal for radiocarbon dating. No volcanoes in the chain erupted during the observation period.

Remeasurement of five EDM lines on 15-16 May yielded no significant changes (>1 cm) since the network was established in September 1990. Two seismometers temporarily operated on the caldera floor recorded no local shallow seismicity. The temperature of the boiling spring in the caldera was 98°C, the same as in 1990. The volume of water issuing from the hot spring was less than in 1990, maybe because of seasonal rainfall variations. The highest measured fumarole temperature was 102°C, 4° higher than in 1990, perhaps related to a drop in the water table.

Geologic Background. The highest of the Marianas arc volcanoes, Agrigan contains a 500-m-deep, flat-floored caldera. The elliptical island is 8 km long; its summit is the top of a massive 4000-m-high submarine volcano. Deep radial valleys dissect the flanks of the thickly vegetated stratovolcano. The elongated caldera is 1 x 2 km wide and is breached to the NW, from where a prominent lava flow extends to the coast and forms a lava delta. The caldera floor is surfaced by fresh-looking lava flows and also contains two cones that may have formed during the only historical eruption in 1917. This eruption deposited large blocks and 3 m of ash and lapilli on a village on the SE coast, prompting its evacuation.

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi, M. Sako, and F. Trusdell, HVO.


Aira (Japan) — June 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 seismicity less frequent

Only two explosions occurred . . . in June, causing no damage. The month's highest ash clouds rose 2,000 m on 9 and 18 June. Two 9-hour swarms of volcanic earthquakes were recorded, a relatively low level of seismicity 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.


Alamagan (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Alamagan

United States

17.6°N, 145.83°E; summit elev. 744 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity but no shallow seismicity

A six-member team of USGS volcanologists visited the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 11-27 May 1992 at the request of the CNMI Office of Civil Defense. The team observed all of the islands in the chain N of Saipan, installed a new seismic station at the base of frequently active Pagan, remeasured existing EDM networks, mapped the geology of Alamagan, sampled fumaroles and hot springs, and collected rocks and charcoal for radiocarbon dating.

[At Alamagan] the team measured a temperature of 72°C at one fumarole. No shallow earthquakes or volcanic tremor have been recorded on the Alamagan seismic station since it was installed in September 1990. Charcoal was collected that should date the youngest and one of the oldest eruptions.

Geologic Background. Alamagan is the emergent summit of a large stratovolcano in the central Mariana Islands with a roughly 350-m-deep summit crater east of the center of the island. The exposed cone is largely Holocene in age. A 1.6 x 1 km graben cuts the SW flank. An extensive basaltic-andesite lava flow has extended the northern coast of the island, and a lava platform also occurs on the S flank. Pyroclastic-flow deposits erupted about 1000 years ago have been dated, but reports of historical eruptions were considered invalid (Moore and Trusdell, 1993).

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi, M. Sako, and F. Trusdell, HVO.


Anatahan (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Anatahan

United States

16.35°N, 145.67°E; summit elev. 790 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal activity but deformation unchanged

A six-member team of USGS volcanologists visited the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 11-27 May 1992 at the request of the CNMI Office of Civil Defense. The team observed all of the islands in the chain N of Saipan, installed a new seismic station at the base of frequently active Pagan, remeasured existing EDM networks, mapped the geology of Alamagan, sampled fumaroles and hot springs, and collected rocks and charcoal for radiocarbon dating. No volcanoes in the chain erupted during the observation period.

Remeasurement of the EDM network on 22 May showed no significant changes, consistent with the lack of shallow seismicity since September 1990. Boiling hot springs on the eastern crater floor and solfataras at the base of the nearby crater wall had maximum temperatures of 98°C.

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

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi, M. Sako, and F. Trusdell, HVO.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — June 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 production and tephra ejection continue

Lava production, tephra ejection, and fumarolic activity continued through mid-July. Most of the W-flank lava moved down a channel feeding the flow's S lobe, which moved into young forest on the WSW flank, an area that had been affected by the 1968 pyroclastic flows. Since mid-May, the S lobe's front had advanced almost 300 m, reaching 665 m elevation on 10 June and 650 m elevation by the 24th. As it advanced, the lava flow continued to start fires that burned well over a hectare of the surrounding woodland. Between 12 and 22 July, the flow front advanced at an average rate of ~20 m/day, reaching ~2.5 km from the new summit crater (C). The lava supply to the N lobe had dwindled, and its front had halted at 830 m elevation.

Explosions were stronger and more numerous in June than in May. Some caused rumbling that vibrated house windows in La Palma, 4 km N of the volcano. An impact crater 1 m in diameter and 30 cm deep was found at 780 m elevation on the W flank, and large blocks frequently reached slightly >1 km from the new summit crater (C) 12-22 July. Some ash columns rose >1 km above Crater C. The rate of explosions varied; during observations on 12 June, an explosion was heard every hour. Ashfall on the observation point at 780 m elevation, 1.8 km W of the active crater, accumulated more rapidly in the 4 weeks ending 10 June than in the succeeding 2 weeks (see table 5). Vegetation on the NE, E, and SE flanks continues to be affected by acid rain and tephra fall, as it has for more than 20 years. Fumarolic activity occurred from the remnants of the old summit crater (D).

Volcanic seismicity recorded at a station (Fortuna) 4 km E of the active crater averaged 30 events/day, with a maximum of 51 on 18 June (figure 48). Conspicuous tremor episodes occurred on 4, 6, 10, 17, and 30 June. The level of both seismic and pyroclastic activity decreased 12-22 July, as did the number of avalanches from the advancing lava flow front.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Daily number of seismic events recorded at a station (Fortuna) 4 km E of Arenal's active crater, June 1992. Courtesy of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

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


Asosan (Japan) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions follow increased seismicity and heating of crater lake

Eruptions that occurred from Crater 1 during the night of 30 June-1 July were the first [strong explosions] since . . . December 1990. The daily number of isolated volcanic tremor episodes began to increase in October 1991, and had reached ~100/day by the end of May. Isolated tremor episodes rapidly became more frequent in late June, and the amplitude of continuous tremor also increased through the month.

Ejections of mud and water from the lake in Crater 1 were first noted on 23 April and were sporadically observed later in April and in May. The ejections became more vigorous in late June, increasing in height from 5 m on 24 June to 20 m on the 26th, 50 m on the 29th, and 150 m on the 30th. Surface temperatures of the lake water increased from around 20°C in May 1991 to 78°C in June 1992. Steam plumes also grew to 1,000 m height in late June.

Strong tremor episodes were recorded during the night of 30 June-1 July. During fieldwork at noon on 1 July, the crater was quiet, but many blocks to 0.8 m across had been scattered to 100 m from the crater's NE rim. The eruptions were not seen or heard, but seismic and air-vibration records suggested that they may have occurred at 2349 on 30 June and 0316 on 1 July.

Tremor decreased in early July, but remained at higher levels than in mid-June. Ejections of mud and water to heights of a few tens of meters occurred sporadically through early July, but no additional strong mud/water ejections or eruptions were reported.

Because of the increasing activity, the area within 1 km of the crater was closed to tourists on 24 June, and remained closed as of mid-July.

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.


Asuncion (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Asuncion

United States

19.671°N, 145.406°E; summit elev. 857 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong steaming

A six-member team of USGS volcanologists visited the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 11-27 May 1992 at the request of the CNMI Office of Civil Defense. Vigorous steaming was occurring from several locations in the summit crater [of Asuncion] during observations from a helicopter on 18 May.

Geologic Background. A single large asymmetrical stratovolcano, steeper on the NE side, forms 3-km-wide Asuncion Island. The steep NE flank terminates in high sea cliffs. The gentler SW flanks have low-angle slopes bounded by sea cliffs only a few meters high. The southern flank is cut by a large landslide scar. The southern flanks and western flanks are mantled by ash deposits that may have originated during eruptions in historical time. An explosive eruption in 1906 also produced lava flows that descended about half way down the western and SE flanks, but several other historical eruption reports are of uncertain validity. Few invesitgations have been done on the Cheref and Poyo seamounts, 30 and 50 km SE, respectively.

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi, M. Sako, and F. Trusdell, HVO.


Bogoslof (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Bogoslof

United States

53.93°N, 168.03°W; summit elev. 150 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Steam and ash emission

A eruption . . . had begun by 6 July, when airplane pilots first reported steam and ash rising through low clouds. Similar activity was seen through the week, when satellite images revealed repeated plumes from Bogoslof. Pilots reported a cloud to ~3 km altitude on 14 July at 1815. Satellite images showed the plume extending roughly 100 km SE, to the S side of Unalaska Island. An image from 16 July at 1140 showed another plume extending ~100 km E to Unalaska. That day, a pilot saw a white plume rising to ~4 km altitude. An episode of vigorous steam and ash ejection began on 20 July at about 1700, and material had reached nearly 8 km asl by 1725, drifting NNE. A dark gray cloud that was ~15 km wide at 3 km altitude was moving NW from the volcano several hours later. Poor weather prevented subsequent observations, but satellite images showed no volcanic plumes rising above weather-cloud tops at ~6 km elevation. There have been no reports of ashfall. Cloudy weather has prevented direct observation of the island . . . .

Geologic Background. Bogoslof is the emergent summit of a submarine volcano that lies 40 km north of the main Aleutian arc. It rises 1500 m above the Bering Sea floor. Repeated construction and destruction of lava domes at different locations during historical time has greatly modified the appearance of this "Jack-in-the-Box" volcano and has introduced a confusing nomenclature applied during frequent visits of exploring expeditions. The present triangular-shaped, 0.75 x 2 km island consists of remnants of lava domes emplaced from 1796 to 1992. Castle Rock (Old Bogoslof) is a steep-sided pinnacle that is a remnant of a spine from the 1796 eruption. Fire Island (New Bogoslof), a small island located about 600 m NW of Bogoslof Island, is a remnant of a lava dome that was formed in 1883.

Information Contacts: AVO; SAB.


El Chichon (Mexico) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

El Chichon

Mexico

17.36°N, 93.228°W; summit elev. 1150 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent rockfalls and continued thermal activity

The following, from José Luís Macías, Arturo Macías, Jean-Christophe Komorowski, Claus Siebe, and Robert Tilling, describes observations during fieldwork 18 April-21 May 1992, ten years after the major 1982 eruption.

Geology. We made several visits to the crater. The very significant erosion that has occurred in the last 10 years allowed us to descend relatively easily into the crater through its SE wall, where the rim's altitude is 1,060 m. The crater floor is at 900 m elevation.

The only changes that we noticed during our visits were caused by frequent rockfalls from the crater walls. Between the first and second visits, on 19 April and 3 May, new crater-floor rockfall deposits had originated from the SE crater wall. Recently exhumed fault planes veneered by secondary mineralization in the crater wall were also quite common. On the SE part of the rim, a fracture system 90 m long, 6-9 cm wide at its SE end, and 0.2-8 cm wide at the NE end, trended N 65°E, and was associated with mild fumarolic activity. The fracture cuts through bedded domal talus breccia mapped by Rose and others (1984) and might evolve to produce rockfalls in the near future. Several other curviplanar slump fractures encompass apparent areas of several hundred square meters on the crater wall. Thus, more vigorous rockfall activity might be expected, particularly during the coming rainy season or periods of heightened regional seismic activity.

People living near the volcano reported an eruption in late March or early April that produced light ashfall near the volcano, and was accompanied by loud, thunder-like noises. We think that the ashfall most likely was dust produced during large rockfalls from the crater walls, and the noise was the sound of the rockfalls. Eruption-like dust clouds produced by rockfall activity have been described at Kilauea by Tilling (1974) and Tilling and others (1975).

To try to reduce local alarm, J.L. Macías and J.-C. Komorowski described the current activity and their interpretations of it during an informal conference on 19 May with residents of Chapultenango (11 km ESE of the crater), local authorities, and a group of elementary school teachers. Rumors in El Volcán (5 km E of the crater) that the volcano would erupt on its 10th anniversary caused many women and children to leave their homes.

Crater lake. Temperature and acidity of the crater lake were measured three times at two different sites (table 2). Lake temperature had increased from 28.6°C in 1986 to more than 40° in May 1992, nearing the 42° of October 1983 and February 1984. The pH values of 1.8 and 1.9 measured in 1983 and 1984, respectively, were similar to the April 1992 value. Although no heavy rainfall occurred between 18 April and 8 May, brief rains were common at night and may have diluted the lake with meteoric water, raising its pH. Water samples collected on the lake's N shore are being studied by M.A. Armienta and S. de la Cruz-Reyna at the Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM.

Table 2. Temperature and acidity of the crater lake at El Chichón, measured at sites on the SE and N shores.

Date Site Temperature pH
18 Apr 1992 SE shore 32.4°C 1.87
18 Apr 1992 N shore 36.9°C 1.87
08 May 1992 SE shore 32.1°C 2.15
08 May 1992 N shore 40.1°C 2.23
18 May 1992 SE shore -- --
18 May 1992 N shore 40.2°C 2.31

Fumarolic activity. Gas emission from the crater fed a low-altitude plume visible on clear days. Fumarolic activity was observed throughout the crater but was much more extensive and vigorous in its NNE sector (steaming ground zone of Casadevall and others, 1984). Almost all of the fumaroles showed a steady, audible release of overpressured gas, except for one just N of the crater lake, where frequent noise changes showed that output was distinctly discontinuous. At times, vapor formed only within about 1 m above this vent, suggesting that the gas is initially superheated. All of the fumaroles produced sublimates, primarily native sulfur. A high-temperature fumarole NE of the crater lake contains molten orange sulfur within the orifice of a 1-m-high feature otherwise covered with needle-like amorphous yellow sulfur. Numerous mildly steaming areas were found in the NW and NE parts of the crater, and small fumaroles were active several tens of meters above the crater floor along the path descending from the SE crater wall. Relict portions of altered brecciated trachyandesite described by Rose and others (1984) as remnants of the pre-1982 dome and shown on the map of Casadevall and others (1984) as "altered areas" are still actively steaming.

A few fumaroles on the NE side of the crater are characterized by vigorous geyser activity, sending a constant flux of boiling water to 2-3 m height. In the same area, several boiling springs about 2-3 m above the present crater-lake surface produce boiling streams with a significant discharge into the lake, 50 m away. A similar situation was evident near a boiling mud pit in the NW part of the crater. These boiling streams are sites of mineral precipitation, and active red, brown, and green algae growth. Ferns and grasses have returned to some of these hydrothermal areas. Ponds 1 m in diameter on the NW side of the lake contained vigorously boiling mud (rising <1 m) and water.

The crater lake, which had recovered to November 1982 levels by November 1990, was turquoise-blue and had at least two large zones of intense surface effervescence as described by Casadevall and others (1984).

Although an acrid smell was noted at active hydrothermal areas, H2S concentrations must have decreased below the 2-6 ppm that forced geologists to take special precautions in 1983 and to leave the crater in 1984. During several 4-hour periods in the crater, we never needed gas masks, even in the most active areas.

Other observations. In the Río Magdalena near Xochimilco (8 km NW of the crater), vegetation has made a strong comeback on pyroclastic-flow deposits, which are now covered by tall grasses and acacia trees up to 2 m high with trunks several centimeters in diameter. In all other areas within 2-3 km of the crater, the 1982 deposits are covered only by moss, lichen, and tall grass. Where pyroclastic flows and surges did not surmount topographic barriers or deposited only a thin veneer of material, vegetation is much more lush, with trees, ferns, and other broad-leafed tropical plants. Trees that were charred but not totally blown down >5 km away have begun to grow again from their stumps. The river that now passes through El Volcán was formed after the pyroclastic flows changed the former drainage pattern. An abundant, rusty colored precipitate (Fe oxides) was sampled for analysis.

Future work. More extensive field observations within the crater are planned for November or December. We will measure temperature and pH, and sample sites of hydrothermal activity. An attempt will be made to overfly the crater with a COSPEC, to bring portable seismometers into the crater and somma flanks, and to make bathymetric measurements.

References. Casadevall, T., de la Cruz-Reyna, S., Rose, W., Bagley, S., Finnegan, D., and Zoller, W., 1984, Crater lake and post-eruption hydrothermal activity, El Chichón Volcano, México: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 23, p. 169-191.

Rose, W., Bornhorst, T., Halsor, S., Capaul, W., Plumley, P., de la Cruz-Reyna, S., Mena, M., and Mota, R., 1984, Volcán el Chichón, México: pre-1982 S-rich eruptive activity: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 23, p. 147-167.

Tilling, R., 1974, Rockfall activity in pit craters, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii: Proceedings of the Symposium on "Andean and Antarctic Volcanology Problems", IAVCEI, Santiago, Chile, September 1974, p. 518-528.

Tilling, R., Koyanagi, R., and Holcomb, R., 1975, Rockfall seismicity-correlation with field observations, Makaopuhi Crater, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii: Journal of Research, U.S. Geological Survey, v. 3, p. 345-361.

Geologic Background. El Chichón is a small, but powerful trachyandesitic tuff cone and lava dome complex that occupies an isolated part of the Chiapas region in SE México far from other Holocene volcanoes. Prior to 1982, this relatively unknown volcano was heavily forested and of no greater height than adjacent nonvolcanic peaks. The largest dome, the former summit of the volcano, was constructed within a 1.6 x 2 km summit crater created about 220,000 years ago. Two other large craters are located on the SW and SE flanks; a lava dome fills the SW crater, and an older dome is located on the NW flank. More than ten large explosive eruptions have occurred since the mid-Holocene. The powerful 1982 explosive eruptions of high-sulfur, anhydrite-bearing magma destroyed the summit lava dome and were accompanied by pyroclastic flows and surges that devastated an area extending about 8 km around the volcano. The eruptions created a new 1-km-wide, 300-m-deep crater that now contains an acidic crater lake.

Information Contacts: José Luís Macías V. and Michael Sheridan, State Univ of New York, Buffalo, NY; Jean-Christophe Komorowski and Claus Siebe, Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM; Robert Tilling, USGS.


Clark (New Zealand) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Clark

New Zealand

36.446°S, 177.839°E; summit elev. -860 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New submarine volcano identified; no gas bubbling

Three previously unknown submarine arc stratovolcanoes have been identified at the S end of the Kermadec Ridge: Rumble V (36.140°S, 178.195°E, summit 700 m below sea level); Tangaroa (36.318°S, 178.031°E, summit 1,350 m below sea level); and Clark (36.423°S, 177.845°E, summit 1,150 m below sea level) (figure 1). All three have basal diameters of 16-18 km and rise from the seafloor at ~2,300 m depth. The first evidence of the volcanoes was from GLORIA side-scan mapping of the southern Havre Trough-Kermadec Ridge region in 1988 (Wright, 1990). Later investigations, including a photographic and rock-dredge study during the 3-week Rapuhia cruise (early 1992), confirmed previous interpretations. Side-scan and photographic data show a complex terrain of lava flows and talus fans on the flanks of all three volcanoes, with the most pristine-looking morphology at Rumble V. During the 1992 cruise, gas bubbles were detected acoustically, rising from the crests of Rumble III, IV, and V. No gas bubbling was evident from Tangaroa or Clark. Bathymetric surveys indicated that the summits of the shallowest volcanoes, Rumble III and IV, were at ~140 and 450 m, respectively, below the sea surface.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Sketch map of New Zealand's North Island and the southern Kermadec Ridge area, with locations of young volcanoes. Courtesy of Ian Wright.

Reference. Wright, I.C., 1990, Bay of Plenty-Southern Havre Trough physiography, 1:400,000: New Zealand Oceanographic Institute Chart, Miscellaneous Series no. 68.

Geologic Background. Clark submarine volcano lies near the southern end of the Southern Kermadec arc. This basaltic and dacitic stratovolcano consists of a basal substrate of massive lava flows, pillow lavas, and pillow tubes overlain by volcaniclastic sediments. Craters occupy the complex crest of the volcano. Clark is the southernmost volcano of the submarine chain that displays hydrothermal activity. Diffuse hydrothermal venting and sulfide chimneys were observed near the summit of Clark volcano during a New Zealand-American NOAA Vents Program expedition in 2006.

Information Contacts: I. Wright, New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington.


Clear Lake (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Clear Lake

United States

38.97°N, 122.77°W; summit elev. 1439 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


50 small seismic events triggered by M 7.5 earthquake hundreds of km away

Southern California's largest earthquake since 1952, M 7.5 on 28 June, appeared to trigger seismicity at several volcanic centers in California. It was centered roughly 200 km E of Los Angeles. In the following, David Hill describes post-earthquake activity at Long Valley caldera, and Stephen Walter discusses the USGS's seismic network, and the changes it detected at Lassen, Shasta, Medicine Lake, and the Geysers.

In recent years, the USGS northern California seismic network has relied upon Real-Time Processors (RTPs) to detect, record, and locate earthquakes. However, a film recorder (develocorder) collects data from 18 stations in volcanic areas, primarily to detect long-period earthquakes missed by RTPs. The film recorders proved useful in counting the post-M 7.5 earthquakes, most of which were too small to trigger the RTPs.

The film record was scanned for the 24 hours after the M 7.5 earthquake, noting the average coda duration for each identified event. Some events may have been missed because of seismogram saturation by the M 7.5 earthquake. Marked increases in microseismicity were observed at Lassen Peak, Medicine Lake caldera, and the Geysers (table 1). No earthquakes were observed at Shasta, but the lack of operating stations on the volcano limited the capability to observe small events.

Table 1. Number of earthquakes at northern California volcanic centers during 24-hour periods following major earthquakes on 25 April (40.37°N, 124.32°W; M 7.0) and 28 June (34.18°N, 116.47°W; M 7.5) 1992. Events with coda durations less than or equal to 10 seconds and greater than 10 seconds are tallied separately. Earthquakes were identified from film records of seismograms from nearby stations. Courtesy of Stephen Walter.

Volcanic center Lassen Lassen Shasta Shasta Medicine Lake Medicine Lake Geysers Geysers
Codas (seconds) 0-10 11+ 0-10 11+ 0-10 11+ 0-10 11+
25 Apr 1992 0 0 0 1 0 0 7 2
28 Jun 1992 8 14 1 5 12 0 46 4

Film was also scanned for the 24 hours following the M 7.0 earthquake at 40.37°N, 124.32°W (near Cape Mendocino) on 25 April. Although smaller than the 28 June earthquake, its epicenter was only 20-25% as far from the volcanoes. Furthermore, both the 25 April main shock and a M 6.5 aftershock were felt at the volcanic centers, but no felt reports were received from these areas after the 28 June earthquake. Only the Geysers showed any possible triggered events after the 25 April shock. However, background seismicity at the Geysers is higher than at the other centers, and is influenced by fluid injection and withdrawal associated with intensive geothermal development.

Geysers geothermal area report. Film records showed 50 small events in the 24 hours following the M 7.5 earthquake, 46 of which had coda durations

Geologic Background. The late-Pliocene to early Holocene Clear Lake volcanic field in the northern Coast Ranges, contains lava dome complexes, cinder cones, and maars of basaltic-to-rhyolitic composition. The westernmost site of Quaternary volcanism in California, the Clear Lake field is located far to the west of the Cascade Range in a complex geologic setting within the San Andreas transform fault system. Mount Konocti, a composite dacitic lava dome on the south shore of Clear Lake, is the largest volcanic feature. Volcanism has been largely non-explosive, with only one major airfall tuff and no ash flows. The latest eruptive activity, forming maars and cinder cones along the shores of Clear Lake, continued until about 10,000 years ago. A large silicic magma chamber provides the heat source for the Geysers, the world's largest producing geothermal field.

Information Contacts: Stephen Walter and David Hill, MS 977, U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, California 94025 USA.


Colima (Mexico) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Rockfalls and thermal activity; large lahar deposit described

The following . . . covers activity between 10 April and 30 June 1992, and describes the 25 June 1991 lahar deposits.

Seismicity and rockfall activity. After a brief seismic crisis 4-10 March, activity at Colima remained near background levels. Starting 10 April, seismicity became more frequent. Nine B-type earthquakes were detected by the Red Sismológica de Colima (RESCO) and up to 60 events were recorded 10-20 May at the SW-flank Yerbabuena station (figure 17). Subsequent seismic activity remained near background, with only four B-type earthquakes recorded by RESCO 20-31 May, and three between 1 and 20 June. Seismic activity increased slightly 21-30 June, when 22 B-type earthquakes were recorded and the number of associated seismically detected rockfalls reached 55. Other rockfalls were also noted, probably associated with small diurnal changes in the volcano's hydrothermally altered summit region, which might be related to changes in rock temperature and surface water content. Extraordinary out-of-season precipitation in January, related to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation event of 1991-92, exceeded 700% of the monthly mean of the past 30 years and must have saturated the volcano's upper porous regions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Sketch map of the summit area and SW flank of Colima, showing major canyons and recent volcanic deposits. Modified from Rodríguez-Elizarrarás, and others, 1991.

Current thermal activity. Fumarolic activity has been steady, with an impressive white plume that can rise several hundred meters above the summit before dissipating. This represents the systematic release of meteoric water accumulated in the upper part of the volcano, not an increase in the magmatic component of the fumarolic activity. Further avalanching of the most precarious hydrothermally altered regions of the summit area is expected during the rainy season, which has just started.

25 June 1991 lahar deposit. Block-and-ash flows emplaced about 1 x 106 m3 of loose pyroclastic debris in the upper Barranca El Cordobán during collapse of the crater dome and rim on 16-17 April 1991, just before the 1991 lava flow began to move down the SW flank (figure 17) (Rodríguez-Elizarrarás and others, 1991). Despite heavy rains in May-September 1991, geologists from the CICT reported that most of the pyroclastic deposits had been washed away without producing sizeable mudflows (Rodríguez-Elizarrarás, and others, 1991). Nevertheless, on 28 March 1992, S. de la Cruz-Reyna and CICT geologists observed a significant laharic mass-flow deposit near El Jabalí, which was studied 5-7 June by J.-C. Komorowski and CICT geologists. A more thorough field and laboratory investigation of this deposit is in progress.

The lahar reached the settlements of La Becerrera and San Antonio, ~12 km SW of the summit (figure 17). Unequivocal non-reworked lahar material was seen at 1,280 m elevation, ~500 m above the confluence of the barrancas El Zarco and El Cordobán. The total thickness was 2 m with a channel width of 30 m. Deposits from this lahar have been identified up to ~1,900 m above sea level, at the bottom of a 20-30-m vertical lava wall in the barranca El Cordobán. The barranca's slope flattens drastically after the lava wall, so deposition probably began below this point. The most distant block-and-ash flow deposits in this barranca reached down to 2,100 m elevation. Upstream, the barranca was significantly eroded by water and debris from a maximum elevation of 2,600 m. Although there is no clear evidence of lahar deposits at San Antonio and La Becerrera, one person reported that the water crossing on the San Antonio-Laguna Verde road was obstructed for two days by lahar material, until machines cleared the debris. Such occurrences are frequent in the rainy season, because several large barrancas draining the upper slopes join there to form a channel 30 m wide.

We estimate the total lahar path at 9.9 km. Based on several measurements at different sites, the lahar deposit averages 25 m wide and 2 m thick. Maximum width was 38 m and maximum thickness 2.9 m at 1,640 m elevation (star on figure 17). Volume was estimated at approximately 0.5 x 106 m3, or about 50% of the material estimated to have been emplaced by the 16-17 April 1991 pyroclastic activity. Field evidence and testimony (see below) unequivocally show that all of the lahar deposit was emplaced during one event. April 1992 field studies of barrancas at higher altitude revealed tremendous erosion since April 1991, leaving ravines incised deeply (to 15 m) into the pre-1991 pyroclastic deposits. A significant volume of loose 1991 debris remains on the mountain, ready to be incorporated into lahars during the rainy season.

Preliminary field investigations showed that the lahar deposit is characterized by a very flat surface, with suspended lava blocks to 1-2 m in maximum dimension protruding through the surface, and abundant pumiceous clasts from eroded 1913 deposits. The deposit is massive, non-stratified, non-graded, poorly sorted, and matrix supported. Its typical massive lowermost zone (0.6 m thick), locally well-sorted, has a concentration of blocks (to 0.5 m size) and wood fragments at the base, a prominent clast-supported medial zone (0.7 m thick) with imbricated sub-rounded boulders (to 0.3 m), and an uppermost massive unit (0.8 m) with a tendency toward reverse grading of lithic cobbles, supported in a sandy matrix. The deposit is typically semi-indurated. Inter-unit contacts are sharply defined in several places, most likely reflecting shear between rheologically different portions of the mass flow. Given the large suspended blocks, the very flat surface, the constant thickness over 9 km of travel distance, the presence of marginal levees, and overturned logs that came to rest vertically, the mass flow clearly had a significant yield strength. However, it must have been relatively swift, as it was able to flow around topographic barriers in the channel, and in some places to leave an elevated deposit on the outside wall when it rounded a sharp curve.

Few people witnessed the lahar. The best testimony came from a farmer (Ramón Aguirre Valencia) who went to Barranca El Cordobán on 26 June 1991 to check his cattle. At 1,600 m altitude, the barranca was filled by a gravel- and boulder-rich deposit with a flat surface. Rocks on the surface were coated with a thin layer of light-colored fine ash. Of the 20 cows killed by the lahar, several could be seen, with horns, heads, and feet protruding from the deposit. Numerous tree trunks several meters long and as much as 30 cm in diameter were also on the lahar's surface. Heavy rains had occurred the previous day, and the lahar apparently began to form after about 2 hours of heavy precipitation, accompanied by loud thunder. The nearest meteorological station (Cofradía de Suchitlán), about 12 km from the lahar's most likely source area, recorded 50 mm of rain on 25 June. By 3 July, a ravine had developed in the new lahar that was as deep (4.6 m) but not as wide as the present channel, which now spans 10.6 m of the 38-m-wide deposit. Five kilometers downstream, the lahar overran and destroyed a 2-m-high stone wall at El Jabalí and clogged the existing channel, but 2 km farther downslope, residents of La Becerrera noticed nothing unusual. Larger sediment flows reported at La Becerrera in January may have been related to breaching of a small earthen dam.

Warnings of future lahar flows and the hazards within Barranca El Cordobán were reiterated to authorities in 1992, as abundant loose material remains from the 1991 eruption and recently exposed 1913 pyroclastic units. The El Jabalí basin is filled with old mass-flow deposits that have traveled down several steep, deeply incised barrancas. On 12 June, CICT organized a meeting that included civil protection authorities to discuss these hazards.

Reference. Rodríguez-Elizarrarás, C., Siebe, C., Komorowski, J.-C., Espindola, J.M., and Saucedo, R., 1991, Field observations of pristine block-and-ash flow deposits emplaced April 16-17, 1991 at Volcán de Colima, México: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 48, no. 3/4, p. 399-412.

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

Information Contacts: Carlos Navarro, Abel Cortés, I. Galindo, José J. Hernández, and Ricardo Saucedo, CICT, Universidad de Colima; Jean-Christophe Komorowski and Claus Siebe, Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM.


Etna (Italy) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued flank lava production

Lava production continued from the fissure that opened in the W wall of the Valle del Bove on 15 December. Gas emission from 4 vents in the upper part of the fissure (2,215-2,235 m altitude; figure 52) fluctuated daily, probably with changes in weather conditions. However, gas emission has diminished since the eruption's initial months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Sketch map of the fissure system and the upper part of the lava field at Etna, June 1992. Contour interval, 50 m. Courtesy of Romolo Romano.

No variation was evident in the movement of lava visible through a skylight high in the main channel, at 2,205 m altitude. Lava was also seen flowing through a skylight in lava tubes that formed in June along the channel into which lava was artificially diverted on 27 May (~ 1,980 m elevation) (17:05). From there, lava advanced through a complex series of tubes past the field that had formed in recent months. Lava again reached the surface around 1,800 m altitude from a changing number (generally 3-4) of ephemeral vents at varying locations representing tube bases. Lava flows extruded from these vents have generally been modest, have remained in the center of the lava field, and have not advanced beyond 1,600 m asl. As of the morning of 9 July, only one flow was active within the Valle del Bove, near the center at around 1,670 m altitude, with a fairly well-fed front. The volume of lava produced during ~7 months of eruption is estimated to be around 165 x 106 m3.

Seismic activity during the period was characterized by low energy release. Significant increases were observed 8-9 July, when events of 2-4 Hz were recorded. The most significant perturbations were detected on 8 July at 1554, for 180 seconds, and at 1601 for 130 seconds. Tremor was almost nonexistent, obscured by seismic noise that characterizes periods of low activity at the volcano.

More or less voluminous gas emissions occurred from two vents at the bottom (~100 m from the rim) of the two central craters (Bocca Nuova and La Voragine). Incandescence caused by superheated gases (>1,000°C) from the vent in La Voragine was sometimes visible. Gas also emerged from a vent that has opened in Southeast Crater. Northeast Crater appeared to have been completely obstructed by internal collapse. COSPEC measurements of SO2 flux from the summit crater showed relatively high values of ~ 8,000 t/d.

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

Information Contacts: R. Romano and T. Caltabiano, IIV; P. Carveni, M. Grasso, and C. Monaco, Univ di Catania; G. Luongo, OV.


Farallon de Pajaros (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Farallon de Pajaros

United States

20.546°N, 144.893°E; summit elev. 337 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Vigorous fuming

When observed from an airplane on 13 May, the volcano continued to fume vigorously, but no active lava was seen.

Geologic Background. The small 2-km-wide island of Farallon de Pajaros (also known as Uracas) is the northernmost and most active volcano of the Mariana Islands. Its relatively frequent historical eruptions dating back to the mid-19th century have caused the andesitic volcano to be referred to as the "Lighthouse of the western Pacific." The symmetrical, sparsely vegetated summit is the central cone within a small caldera cutting an older edifice, remnants of which are seen on the SE and southern sides near the coast. Flank fissures have fed lava flows during historical time that form platforms along the coast. Both summit and flank vents have been active during historical time. Eruptions have also been observed from nearby submarine vents, and Makhahnas seamount, which rises to within 640 m of the sea surface, lies about 10 km to the SW.

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi, M. Sako, and F. Trusdell, HVO.


Galeras (Colombia) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong explosion destroys most of summit lava dome

An explosion on 16 July, the largest since activity began in 1989, ejected large tephra and may have generated a small pyroclastic flow. Partial collapse of the summit crater's lava dome occurred in June, and minor seismicity had been recorded a few days before the explosion.

June activity. The NW portion of the 1991 lava dome collapsed during June, and explosions and ash emissions occurred from the collapsed area. Las Portillas fumarole, formerly just NW of the dome, was larger after the collapse, and a line of new vents had opened nearby. The fracture on the NW crater wall remained active, and it and Las Portillas appeared to be the highest temperature vents in the crater. Gas columns were generally small, and were dispersed to the N and W. The number and energy release of long-period events (figure 55) and high-frequency earthquakes were low. Ten high-frequency earthquakes occurred in the NW part of the crater, with magnitudes of 0.3-1.7. The amplitude and period of background tremor showed small variations on 15 and 30 June. The maximum rate of SO2 emission measured by COSPEC was ~5,500 t/d.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Daily number of long-period seismic events at Galeras, 1 January 1991-30 June 1992. The first observation of the summit lava dome is marked by an arrow. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Precursory seismicity and tilt. Banded tremor episodes of moderate to high energy occurred 11-12 July, accompanied by a small inflationary tilt event recorded on both instruments near the summit. Between 14 and 16 July, six monochromatic long-period events were recorded, with durations on the order of 80 seconds. On 15 July, there was a small swarm of high-frequency events with magnitudes of 0-0.5.

16 July explosion. The explosion began at 1740 with a strong shock felt in Pasto . . . . More than 90% of the summit lava dome was destroyed as at least 120,000 m3 of blocks were ejected, falling primarily on the E and NE flanks. Blocks 30 cm in diameter fell 2.3 km from the crater, and impact craters to 3.5 m across were found 400 m away. Incandescent blocks started fires 2 km from the crater on the NE flank. The tephra severely damaged a small military facility on the crater rim, and dropped 40-cm blocks on telephone and television facilities near the summit. Roughly 30,000 m3 of ash were dispersed in a narrow band to the W, with the 1-mm isopach extending ~10 km. The dark-gray cauliflower-shaped eruption column reached ~4 km altitude. Reports from observers 10 km WSW of the crater (in Consacá) suggested that small pyroclastic flows may have descended the W flank. A powerful sonic wave generated by the explosion broke windows in Pasto, and reportedly in Consacá.

A seismic signal lasting ~8 minutes accompanied the explosion, saturating instruments for the first 37 seconds. Two distinct signals were recognized, one with a frequency of 1 Hz and a duration magnitude of 3, the other a 1.3-Hz tremor episode that lasted 4 minutes. A high-frequency, M 3.2-3.5 event occurred 26 hours after the explosion, in the S part of the volcano at ~5 km depth.

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

Information Contacts: INGEOMINAS-Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur.


Guguan (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Guguan

United States

17.307°N, 145.845°E; summit elev. 287 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


No gas emission

A six-member team of USGS volcanologists visited the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 11-27 May 1992 at the request of the CNMI Office of Civil Defense. Observations [of Guguan] from an airplane on 13 May and a helicopter on 21 May revealed no gas emission.

Geologic Background. The small island of Guguan, only 2.8 km wide, is composed of an eroded volcano on the south, a caldera with a post-caldera cone, and a northern volcano. The latter has three coalescing cones and a breached summit crater that fed lava flows to the west and NW. The 287-m high point of the island is the south rim of the caldera. Freycinet misidentifed Guguan with Alamagan; reported eruptions in 1819 and 1901 (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World) actually refer to solfataric activity on Alamagan (Corwin, 1971). The only known historical eruption of Guguan took place between 1882 and 1884 and produced the northern volcano and lava flows that reached the coast.

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi, M. Sako, and F. Trusdell, HVO.


Irazu (Costa Rica) — June 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 and seismicity continue

Fumarolic activity continued in the main crater. Its lime-green lake had a mean temperature of 28°C and a minimum pH of 4.9 on 3 June. Fumaroles persisted in the area NE of the lake, with temperatures of 84-90°C. Areas of bubbling to the NE remained vigorous, with strong emission of cold gas, perhaps CO2. Hot bubbling areas were stable at temperatures <=91°C. Fumarolic vents in the sedimentary fan N of the lake were buried by new sedimentation triggered by heavy rains. The resulting zone of steaming ground had surface temperatures of up to 90°C.

Seismicity continued, with 48 events recorded during June at a station (ICR) 2.2 km E of the active crater and 36 low-frequency microseisms registered 5 km WSW of the crater (at station IRZ2). The largest daily earthquake count was 7 on 2 June (at ICR). On 30 June, a M 1.9 event occurred 6.7 km SW of the main crater, at 3 km depth.

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; G.J. Soto, ICE; Mario Fernández, Escuela Centroamericana de Geología, Univ de Costa Rica.


Karangetang (Indonesia) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Some decline in explosive activity, lava production, and seismicity, but glowing rockfalls advance 1.5 km

Activity began to increase in February 1992. Glowing rockfalls on 18 May filled the upper Keting river valley to 4 km from the crater. The volume of the deposit was estimated at 1.2 x 106 m3, ~ 20% of the dome (17:04). Since then, the eruption has fluctuated, but a general decrease in intensity was indicated by declines in the height of the ash plume, the behavior of the glowing lava flow, and the vigor of incandescent tephra ejection. In July, glowing rockfalls advanced down the Keting river to 1,500 m from the crater. The number of volcanic and local tectonic earthquakes decreased in June and July compared to previous months. June-July seismicity was dominated by surface activity, such as explosion earthquakes and rockfalls (figure 2).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Tectonic seismicity (top) and volcanic earthquakes (bottom) at Karangetang, June-July 1992. Courtesy of VSI.

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

Information Contacts: W. Modjo, VSI.


Kilauea (United States) — June 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)


Continued east rift lava production

Lava production continued through early July from the E-51 vent . . . (figure 85), but was interrupted by several brief pauses. With each resumption in activity, lava reoccupied tubes on the S flank of the E-51 shield. Flows emerged from the tubes under some pressure, creating small, meter-high dome fountains at their heads. The lava pond at the top of the E-51 shield drained and refilled with changing lava supply, sustaining frequent overflows that did not advance far. Some lava also ponded at the base of the shield before flows advanced S and E. The small lava lake in Pu`u `O`o crater remained active, fluctuating between 38 and 55 m below the crater rim in June. The lake surface rose during pauses in activity at the episode-51 vent and dropped when lava production resumed there. By early July, it had dropped farther, to 65 m below the rim.

Activity resumed on 2 June, after a 3-day pause (17:5), while harmonic tremor began a gradual increase to about twice background levels at 0000. Large flows advanced N along the W flank of Pu`u `O`o cinder cone. These shelly pahoehoe flows formed shallow tubes and stagnated within a few days. The eruption stopped briefly on 5 June, as tremor dropped to near background at 1800, resumed the next day accompanied by a tremor increase at about 0700, and halted again ~24 hours later on the 7th, when lava drained slowly from the pond atop the shield.

Another increase in tremor began early on 9 June, reaching about twice background levels by noon on the 10th. Shallow, long-period microearthquakes (LPC-A, 3-5 Hz) were frequent on 9 June, as were upper east rift events on 9-10 June. Lava started to emerge from the E-51 vent at 1325 on 10 June, re-entering the tube system on the S flank of the E-51 shield. The lava lake in Pu`u `O`o crater had been nearly level with the crater floor when E-51 activity resumed, but had dropped ~9 m by the next day.

A small spatter cone formed 3-11 June over a weak point in the tube on the N flank of the E-51 shield. This tube had fed numerous aa ooze-outs that spread out around the shield's N flank in past months. On 13 June, an aa flow was active on the shield's N flank, appearing to originate from the new spatter cone.

Lava production stopped again on 16 June, the pond at the top of the shield drained, and flows slowed their advance. The eruption restarted during the morning of 21 June, continuing through the end of the month. Pahoehoe flows extended N and SE from the vent. Through 25 June, the shield's pond was full and intermittently overflowing, but by 1 July it had drained to ~15 m depth with a solid crust at the bottom. However, lava continued to ooze into the S-flank tube system and to break out at the base of the shield. Tremor amplitudes gradually declined to near background by 2000 on 29 June, and remained at low levels into early July.

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.


Kozushima (Japan) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Kozushima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquake and aftershocks

A M 5.2 earthquake, centered in the sea 8 km SW of the volcano at 9 km depth, occurred on 15 June at 1046. Island residents felt the shock at intensity 5 on the JMA scale of 0-7. Data from 30 stations of the Worldwide Standardized Seismic Network yielded magnitudes of 4.9 (mb) and 4.7 (Ms). One person was slightly injured by a rockfall, and wallrock collapse at 10 sites closed 5 roads to traffic. Aftershocks continued until 17 June off the island's SW coast. The event was the second largest since . . . April 1991 (figure 1). No surface anomalies were observed on the island or on the sea-surface nearby.

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; NEIC.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — June 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)


Strombolian explosions and lava flow

"A new phase of eruptive activity that started on 30 May lasted until 8 June. From 1 to 4 June, both Crater 2 and Crater 3 produced ash-rich Strombolian explosions to 500-700 m height. A new, short lava flow was emplaced on the NW flank of Crater 3. Emissions from Crater 2 became markedly ash-laden 4-7 June, with a plume rising a few kilometers above the crater and ashfalls on coastal areas 10 km NW. After the 7th, only weak to moderate vapour emissions and occasional Vulcanian explosions were noted from Crater 2.

"Activity at Crater 3 also waned after the first week in June, although more progressively. On the night of 7 June, intermittent explosions projected incandescent lava fragments to 250 m above the crater, while on 8 June there was weak steady glow over the crater. Intermittent explosions still occurred daily until the 24th, producing dark convoluting ash clouds that rose a few hundred meters above the crater.

"Seismic monitoring resumed on 11 June and showed only low-level activity throughout the rest of the month."

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, D. Lolok, and C. McKee, RVO.


Lascar (Chile) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Lascar

Chile

23.37°S, 67.73°W; summit elev. 5592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Satellite data show heat from lava dome

"A Landsat TM image recorded the night of 15 April 1992 shows the most intense thermal anomaly of a dataset extending back to December 1984. The thermal signature, in the short-wavelength infrared bands 5 (1.55-1.75 mm) and 7 (2.08-2.35 mm), represents the active lava dome in the central crater. Comparison with the previous image (night of 7 January 1991) shows a marked increase in the anomaly's area (figure 11). In the April 1992 scene, the core of the anomaly occupies an irregular area of ~7 x 6 pixels (equivalent to 210 x 180 m). These dimensions correspond closely with the 180-190 m dome diameter estimated from 20 March airphotos (17:5). The increase in area of the TM anomaly may be explained, at least in part, by the growth of a subsidiary lava dome first sighted on 4 March. The summed thermal radiance from the whole hot spot shows a corresponding increase in the April Landsat image (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. 15 x 15 pixel maps (equivalent to 450 x 450 m) of the signal recorded in band 7 of the Landsat TM over Lascar at night on 7 January 1991 (left) and 15 April 1992 (right). The vertical axis represents the number between 0 and 255 proportional to the spectral radiance. In each case, several pixels are saturated. Courtesy of C. Oppenheimer.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Summed spectral radiance in bands 5 and 7 for fifteen images acquired over Lascar since December 1984. The dataset includes several processing formats, and images acquired during the day and night. Only pixels with a thermal signal >=10 were included. The total was then converted to spectral radiance using calibration coefficients supplied with the digital data. Arrows mark the explosive eruptions of September 1986 and February 1990 (12:4-5 and 15:2-3). Courtesy of C. Oppenheimer.

"An interesting feature of the two most recent TM acquisitions is the persistence of a discrete hot site ~200 m W of the centre of the main anomaly (figure 11). This is very likely the expression of incandescent fumarole vent(s) beyond the steep margin of the extruded lava."

Reference. Oppenheimer, C., Francis, P.W., Rothery, D.A., Carlton, R.W., and Glaze, L.S., Analysis of Volcanic Thermal Features in Infrared Images: Lascar Volcano, Chile, 1984-1992; Journal of Geophysical Research, in press.

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: C. Oppenheimer, D. Rothery, P. Francis, and R. Carlton, Open Univ.


Lassen Volcanic Center (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Lassen Volcanic Center

United States

40.492°N, 121.508°W; summit elev. 3187 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity apparently triggered by M 7.5 earthquake hundreds of kilometers away

Southern California's largest earthquake since 1952, M 7.5 on 28 June, appeared to trigger seismicity at several volcanic centers in California. It was centered roughly 200 km E of Los Angeles. In the following, David Hill describes post-earthquake activity at Long Valley caldera, and Stephen Walter discusses the USGS's seismic network, and the changes it detected at Lassen, Shasta, Medicine Lake, and the Geysers.

In recent years, the USGS northern California seismic network has relied upon Real-Time Processors (RTPs) to detect, record, and locate earthquakes. However, a film recorder (develocorder) collects data from 18 stations in volcanic areas, primarily to detect long-period earthquakes missed by RTPs. The film recorders proved useful in counting the post-M 7.5 earthquakes, most of which were too small to trigger the RTPs.

The film record was scanned for the 24 hours after the M 7.5 earthquake, noting the average coda duration for each identified event. Some events may have been missed because of seismogram saturation by the M 7.5 earthquake. Marked increases in microseismicity were observed at Lassen Peak, Medicine Lake caldera, and the Geysers (table 1). No earthquakes were observed at Shasta, but the lack of operating stations on the volcano limited the capability to observe small events.

Table 1. Number of earthquakes at northern California volcanic centers during 24-hour periods following major earthquakes on 25 April (40.37°N, 124.32°W; M 7.0) and 28 June (34.18°N, 116.47°W; M 7.5) 1992. Events with coda durations less than or equal to 10 seconds and greater than 10 seconds are tallied separately. Earthquakes were identified from film records of seismograms from nearby stations. Courtesy of Stephen Walter.

Date Lassen Shasta Medicine Lake Geysers
Codas (seconds) <= 10 > 10 <= 10 > 10 <= 10 > 10 <= 10 > 10
25 Apr 1992 0 0 0 1 0 0 7 2
28 Jun 1992 8 14 1 5 12 0 46 4

Film was also scanned for the 24 hours following the M 7.0 earthquake at 40.37°N, 124.32°W (near Cape Mendocino) on 25 April. Although smaller than the 28 June earthquake, its epicenter was only 20-25% as far from the volcanoes. Furthermore, both the 25 April main shock and a M 6.5 aftershock were felt at the volcanic centers, but no felt reports were received from these areas after the 28 June earthquake. Only the Geysers showed any possible triggered events after the 25 April shock. However, background seismicity at the Geysers is higher than at the other centers, and is influenced by fluid injection and withdrawal associated with intensive geothermal development.

Lassen Report. Of the three major Holocene volcanoes in the California Cascades, Lassen (~800 km NNW of the epicenter) had the strongest response to the 28 June earthquake (figure 1). About 10 minutes after the S-wave's arrival and while surface waves were still being recorded, a M 2.8 event occurred south of Lassen Peak. Film records showed 9 more earthquakes in the first hour, and 22 events were identified during the first 24 hours. Although most were M 1 or smaller, at least two and perhaps as many as four were of magnitude greater than or equal to 2. Nine were detected by the RTP system. The best preliminary locations were concentrated ~3 km SW of Lassen Peak at

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Seismic events in the Lassen area that were apparently triggered by the M 7.5 southern California earthquake of 28 June 1992 (circles) compared to 1978-90 seismicity in the region (crosses). Squares mark seismic stations. Courtesy of S. Walter.

Geologic Background. The Lassen volcanic center consists of the andesitic Brokeoff stratovolcano SW of Lassen Peak, a dacitic lava dome field, and peripheral small andesitic shield volcanoes and large lava flows, primarily on the Central Plateau NE of Lassen Peak. A series of eruptions from Lassen Peak from 1914 to 1917 marks the most recent eruptive activity in the southern Cascade Range. Activity spanning about 825,000 years began with eruptions of the Rockland caldera complex and was followed beginning about 590,000 years ago by construction of Brokeoff stratovolcano. Beginning about 310,000 years ago activity shifted to the north flank of Brokeoff, where episodic, more silicic eruptions produced the Lassen dome field, a group of 30 dacitic lava domes including Bumpass Mountain, Mount Helen, Ski Heil Peak, and Reading Peak. At least 12 eruptive episodes took place during the past 100,000 years, with Lassen Peak being constructed about 27,000 years ago. The Chaos Crags dome complex was constructed about 1100-1000 years ago north of Lassen Peak. The Cinder Cone complex NE of Lassen Peak was erupted in a single episode several hundred years before present and is considered part of the Lassen volcanic center (Clynne et al., 2000). The 1914-1917 eruptions of Lassen Peak began with phreatic eruptions and included emplacement of a small summit lava dome, subplinian explosions, mudflows, and pyroclastic flows.

Information Contacts: Stephen Walter and David Hill, MS 977, U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, California 94025 USA.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava ejection from small crater-floor vent

During a previously unreported 26 February climb by David Peterson, Howard Brown, and students from St. Lawrence Univ, activity was continuing from one cone (T20) . . . . Periodic gurgling and rumbling noises from the cone were audible from the crater rim. As Peterson and several students approached the active cone, lava fragments were ejected, one of which struck a student on the leg, causing a small burn. Crater photographs show a small dark vent at the summit of T20, but no dark (fresh) lava was evident on its flanks. However, by . . . 12 March, T20 had extruded a lava flow that covered much of the W part of the crater floor (17:03).

Brown's 26 February photographs show . . . T5/T9 as tall but pale gray, with no fresh, dark patches of lava. T15 was composed of jagged dark-gray pinnacles with medium-brown lower slopes and no sign of fresh lava. T8 and T8A seemed little changed from recent photographs, with slight yellow coloring at T8's summit. T14 appeared to have been surrounded by younger lava, which had turned pale gray to white. Some dark patches were visible around its summit vent. No dark fresh flows were evident on the crater floor.

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

Information Contacts: C. Nyamweru, St. Lawrence Univ; D. Peterson, Arusha; H. Brown, Nairobi, Kenya.


Long Valley (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Long Valley

United States

37.7°N, 118.87°W; summit elev. 3390 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Abrupt increase in seismicity triggered by M 7.5 earthquake hundreds of kilometers away

Southern California's largest earthquake since 1952, M 7.5 on 28 June, appeared to trigger seismicity at several volcanic centers in California. It was centered roughly 200 km E of Los Angeles. In the following, David Hill describes post-earthquake activity at Long Valley caldera, and Stephen Walter discusses the USGS's seismic network, and the changes it detected at Lassen, Shasta, Medicine Lake, and the Geysers.

In recent years, the USGS northern California seismic network has relied upon Real-Time Processors (RTPs) to detect, record, and locate earthquakes. However, a film recorder (develocorder) collects data from 18 stations in volcanic areas, primarily to detect long-period earthquakes missed by RTPs. The film recorders proved useful in counting the post-M 7.5 earthquakes, most of which were too small to trigger the RTPs.

The film record was scanned for the 24 hours after the M 7.5 earthquake, noting the average coda duration for each identified event. Some events may have been missed because of seismogram saturation by the M 7.5 earthquake. Marked increases in microseismicity were observed at Lassen Peak, Medicine Lake caldera, and the Geysers. No earthquakes were observed at Shasta, but the lack of operating stations on the volcano limited the capability to observe small events.

Film was also scanned for the 24 hours following the M 7.0 earthquake at 40.37°N, 124.32°W (near Cape Mendocino) on 25 April. Although smaller than the 28 June earthquake, its epicenter was only 20-25% as far from the volcanoes. Furthermore, both the 25 April main shock and a M 6.5 aftershock were felt at the volcanic centers, but no felt reports were received from these areas after the 28 June earthquake. Only the Geysers showed any possible triggered events after the 25 April shock. However, background seismicity at the Geysers is higher than at the other centers, and is influenced by fluid injection and withdrawal associated with intensive geothermal development.

Long Valley Report. Within eight minutes of the major earthquake's origin time, seismic activity within Long Valley caldera (400 km NNW of the epicenter) increased abruptly (figure 15). Of the >260 events located by the RTP system during the next three days, three were of M 3 or greater. The first event within the caldera located by the RTP system was a M 1.4 earthquake at 1207, but develocorder film from caldera stations provides evidence of local earthquakes beginning at least a minute earlier within the strong coda waves from the M 7.5 event. The P-wave travel-time from the epicenter is just over 1 minute, and the S-wave travel-time just under two minutes, so it appears that local earthquake activity began no later than six minutes after the S-wave arrival.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Earthquakes >M 1.5 in the Long Valley area, 25 June-1 July 1992. Larger events are identified by numbered triangular labels beside earthquake symbols: (1) 25 June, 2143 GMT, M 2.4; (2) 28 June, 1214, 1230, 1232, M 2.6, 3.0, 2.5; (3) 29 June, 0103, M 3.1; (4) 29 June, 0537, 0638, M 3.7, 2.3; (5) 29 June, 0758, M 3.4; (6) 29 June, 0834, 0838, 0839, M 2.0, 2.1, 2.0. Courtesy of D. Hill.

Earthquake activity within Long Valley caldera had persisted, but at relatively low levels, through the first half of 1992, averaging

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

Information Contacts: D. Hill, USGS Menlo Park.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — June 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 ash ejections; Strombolian explosions; lava and pyroclastic flows

"The eruption . . . ended on 15 June after another paroxysmal phase from Main Crater (on 7 June). Following the paroxysmal phase of 31 May from Southern Crater, the level of activity was moderate in the first days of June. Both craters were emitting white and blue vapours in weak to moderate amounts, with occasional explosions of ash-laden vapour rising a few hundred meters above the craters, weak roaring noises, and weak fluctuating glow at night.

"On the afternoon of 5 June, Southern Crater entered a phase of intermittent Strombolian activity that sprayed incandescent spatter to as much as 300 m above the crater at intervals of 30-40 minutes. At 1600, Main Crater emitted a dark ash column to ~1,000 m above the crater. Strombolian explosions within the crater must have started soon afterwards, as suggested by fluctuating night glow and roaring sounds. On the 6th, the level of activity remained moderate at Southern Crater while it strengthened at Main Crater. The forceful emissions of grey-brown ash from the latter were identified as Strombolian projections at night. From 0025 until about 1830 on 7 June, this crater produced continuous incandescent projections to 600 m above the rim in an ash column that rose 2-3 km. New lava flows were erupted into the NE Valley and followed the path of the previous flows (4-6 May) on the southern side of the valley, down to 110 m asl.

"Pyroclastic flows were also produced, scorching vegetation and some garden areas on the southern side of the NE Valley to about 1 km from Bokure Village. Downwind from the crater, on the NW side of the island, the sustained dark ash cloud overhead, the fall of ash and lapilli, and roaring sounds of the eruption caused some concern to the population.

"This paroxysmal eruption phase ended with loud explosions from 1817 to 1830 on 7 June. In the following days there was hardly any visible activity from either crater, apart from weak-to-moderate vapour emission. However, the seismicity, which had increased dramatically during the eruptive phase of 6-7 June, remained moderately high. On 12 June, occasional dull explosion sounds were heard again from Main Crater with occasional brown ash clouds and incandescent projections at night. This activity lasted until the 14th, becoming more and more intermittent. The last significant event from Main Crater observed in this eruption was a moderately strong Vulcanian explosion at 0800 on 14 June, which projected a convoluting cloud to 2-3 km above the crater. Likewise, Southern Crater was somewhat reactivated 13-15 June, with occasional weak explosions, a fluctuating night glow, and incandescent projections to 250 m above the crater rim. From 16 June onward, the seismicity dropped markedly and neither crater showed further signs of activity apart from weak, fumarolic emission. The Stage 2 volcanic alert that had applied since 13 April was dropped to Stage 1 (i.e. non-threatening, background level) on 25 June.

"This eruption of Manam is among the most significant since 1958, and can be compared with the eruption of 1974 (Palfreyman and Cooke, 1976; Cooke et al., 1976) as it involved both craters, produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows of significant volume, and affected all but one of the main valleys. However, the 1992 eruption appears to have been larger than the 1974 event. A preliminary estimate of the 1992 lava-flow volume is 17 x 106 m3, compared with only 3 x 106 m3 of lava flows in 1974."

References. Cooke, R.J.S., McKee, C.O., Dent, V.F., and Wallace, D.A., 1976, Striking Sequence of Volcanic Eruptions in the Bismarck Volcanic Arc, Papua New Guinea, in 1972-75; in Johnson, R.W, ed., Volcanism in Australasia, Elsevier, p. 149-172.

Palfreyman, W.D. and Cooke, R.J.S., 1976, Eruptive History of Manam Volcano, Papua New Guinea; Ibid., p. 117-131.

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, D. Lolok, and C. McKee, RVO.


Marapi (Indonesia) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Marapi

Indonesia

0.38°S, 100.474°E; summit elev. 2885 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion kills one person and injures five others

An explosion on 5 July killed one person and injured five others. Marapi has been erupting since 1987, with explosions typically occurring about once every 1-7 days. Material ejected by the smaller explosions rises 100-800 m, whereas ejecta from larger explosions reach 800-2,000 m above the summit. The recent explosions, which produce ash and lapilli, have originated from Verbeek Crater in the summit complex. Ashfalls have been frequent NW of the volcano in Bukittinggi (roughly 15 km NW of the summit), Sungai Puar (30 km NW), and the Agam district (>30 km NW), depending on wind direction. Fluctuations in Marapi's explosions seem to parallel shallow volcanic earthquakes (figure 2), suggesting that the activity is primarily caused by degassing from a relatively shallow source through an open vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Number of explosion, A-, and B-type earthquakes at Marapi, January 1991-June 1992. Courtesy of VSI.

Activity in June began with an explosion on the 1st. Continuous tremor followed, and on 6 June at 0227 another explosion occurred. Repeated explosions then deposited ~0.5 mm of ash on Bukittinggi. On 25 June, witnesses 2 km from the volcano (at the Batu Palano Volcano Observatory) heard a detonation and saw glow. A brownish-black cauliflower-shaped plume rose 1,800 m above the summit. During June, 45 deep and 312 shallow volcanic earthquakes, 108 volcanic tremor episodes, and 2,104 explosion earthquakes were recorded.

The strongest explosion occurred on 5 July at 0912. Bukittinggi and vicinity were covered by 0.5-1.5 mm of ash several hours later, with ash in some areas reaching 2 mm thickness. Ash also extended to Padang, ~10 km SW of the crater. Bombs killed one person, seriously injured three, and caused minor injuries to two others. The victims had climbed to the summit without consultation with the Mt. Marapi Volcano Observatory or local authorities, although a hazard warning had been in effect since 1987.

Geologic Background. Gunung Marapi, not to be confused with the better-known Merapi volcano on Java, is Sumatra's most active volcano. This massive complex stratovolcano rises 2000 m above the Bukittinggi plain in the Padang Highlands. A broad summit contains multiple partially overlapping summit craters constructed within the small 1.4-km-wide Bancah caldera. The summit craters are located along an ENE-WSW line, with volcanism migrating to the west. More than 50 eruptions, typically consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been recorded since the end of the 18th century; no lava flows outside the summit craters have been reported in historical time.

Information Contacts: W. Modjo, VSI.


Maug Islands (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Maug Islands

United States

20.02°N, 145.22°E; summit elev. 227 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


No activity evident

A six-member team of USGS volcanologists visited the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 11-27 May 1992 at the request of the CNMI Office of Civil Defense. Aerial observations [of Maug] on 13 May revealed no signs of steaming or other evidence of recent volcanic activity.

Geologic Background. Three small elongated islands up to 2.3 km long mark the northern, western, and eastern rims of a largely submerged 2.5-km-wide caldera. The highest point of the Maug Islands reaches only 227 m above sea level; the submerged southern notch on the caldera rim lies about 140 m below sea level. The caldera has an average submarine depth of about 200 m and contains a twin-peaked central lava dome that rises to within about 20 m of the sea surface. The Maug Islands form a twin volcanic massif with Supply Reef, about 11 km N. The truncated inner walls of the caldera on all three islands expose lava flows and pyroclastic deposits that are cut by radial dikes; bedded ash deposits overlie the outer flanks of the islands. No eruptions are known since the discovery of the islands by Espinosa in 1522. The presence of poorly developed coral reefs and coral on the central lava dome suggests a long period of general quiescence, although it does not exclude mild eruptions (Corwin, 1971). A 2003 NOAA expedition detected possible evidence of submarine geothermal activity.

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi, M. Sako, and F. Trusdell, HVO.


Medicine Lake (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Medicine Lake

United States

41.611°N, 121.554°W; summit elev. 2412 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity apparently triggered by M 7.5 earthquake hundreds of kilometers away

Southern California's largest earthquake since 1952, M 7.5 on 28 June, appeared to trigger seismicity at several volcanic centers in California. It was centered roughly 200 km E of Los Angeles. In the following, David Hill describes post-earthquake activity at Long Valley caldera, and Stephen Walter discusses the USGS's seismic network, and the changes it detected at Lassen, Shasta, Medicine Lake, and the Geysers.

In recent years, the USGS northern California seismic network has relied upon Real-Time Processors (RTPs) to detect, record, and locate earthquakes. However, a film recorder (develocorder) collects data from 18 stations in volcanic areas, primarily to detect long-period earthquakes missed by RTPs. The film recorders proved useful in counting the post-M 7.5 earthquakes, most of which were too small to trigger the RTPs.

The film record was scanned for the 24 hours after the M 7.5 earthquake, noting the average coda duration for each identified event. Some events may have been missed because of seismogram saturation by the M 7.5 earthquake. Marked increases in microseismicity were observed at Lassen Peak, Medicine Lake caldera, and the Geysers (table 1). No earthquakes were observed at Shasta, but the lack of operating stations on the volcano limited the capability to observe small events.

Table 1. Number of earthquakes at northern California volcanic centers during 24-hour periods following major earthquakes on 25 April (40.37°N, 124.32°W; M 7.0) and 28 June (34.18°N, 116.47°W; M 7.5) 1992. Events with coda durations less than or equal to 10 seconds and greater than 10 seconds are tallied separately. Earthquakes were identified from film records of seismograms from nearby stations. Courtesy of Stephen Walter.

Date Lassen Shasta Medicine Lake Geysers
Codas (seconds) <= 10 > 10 <= 10 > 10 <= 10 > 10 <= 10 > 10
25 Apr 1992 0 0 0 1 0 0 7 2
28 Jun 1992 8 14 1 5 12 0 46 4

Film was also scanned for the 24 hours following the M 7.0 earthquake at 40.37°N, 124.32°W (near Cape Mendocino) on 25 April. Although smaller than the 28 June earthquake, its epicenter was only 20-25% as far from the volcanoes. Furthermore, both the 25 April main shock and a M 6.5 aftershock were felt at the volcanic centers, but no felt reports were received from these areas after the 28 June earthquake. Only the Geysers showed any possible triggered events after the 25 April shock. However, background seismicity at the Geysers is higher than at the other centers, and is influenced by fluid injection and withdrawal associated with intensive geothermal development.

Medicine Lake Report. Twelve events were detected in the Medicine Lake area (~900 km NNW of the epicenter) in the 30 minutes after the M 7.5 earthquake. All had coda durations less than or equal to 10 seconds. The lack of any S-P separation indicated that they were centered very close to the single seismic station, near the center of the caldera. All known historical seismicity had occurred in the central caldera as part of a mainshock/aftershock sequence during the fall and winter of 1988-89.

Geologic Background. Medicine Lake is a large Pleistocene-to-Holocene, basaltic-to-rhyolitic shield volcano east of the main axis of the Cascade Range. Volcanism, similar in style to that of Newberry volcano in Oregon, began less than one million years ago. A roughly 7 x 12 km caldera truncating the summit contains a lake that gives the volcano its name. A series of young eruptions lasting a few hundred years began about 10,500 years before present (BP) and produced 5 km3 of basaltic lava. Nine Holocene eruptions clustered during three eruptive episodes at about 5000, 3000, and 1000 years ago produced a chemically varied group of basaltic lava flows from flank vents and silicic obsidian flows from vents within the caldera and on the upper flanks. The last eruption produced the massive Glass Mountain obsidian flow on the E flank about 900 years BP. Lava Beds National Monument on the N flank of Medicine Lake shield volcano contains hundreds of lava-tube caves displaying a variety of spectacular lava-flow features, most of which are found in the voluminous Mammoth Crater lava flow, which extends in several lobes up to 24 km from the vent.

Information Contacts: S. Walter and D. Hill, USGS Menlo Park.


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued lava production from fissure vents

Vigorous lava production continued through June . . . . The eruption has built 23 cinder cones along a 2.5-km zone that trends generally NE, ~15 km NE of Nyamuragira caldera and 5 km ENE of the 1957 Kitsimbanyi vent (figure 12 and table 1). The eruption's early phases produced substantial lava flows, but since 20 November activity has been characterized by vigorous ejection of bombs, lava fragments, and ash, with lava flows of only limited extent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Schematic map of cones built by the 1991-92 eruption of Nyamuragira, in a zone ~15 km NE of the caldera. Vent 20, shown in black, opened on 14 July, and remained active in August 1992. Courtesy of N. Zana.

Table 1. Sequence of activity at Nyamuragira's 1991-92 eruption vents. Locations are shown on figure 12. Some small, short-lived vents removed by subsequent lava flows are not listed.

Cone First Activity Comments
1 24 Sep 1991 Named Mikombe.
2 24 Oct 1991 --
3 25 Oct 1991 Through 3 Feb 1992.
4a, b 07 Nov 1991 --
5a, b, c 08 Nov 1991 On 24 November 1991 only cone 5 was active.
6 10 Nov 1991 --
7 11 Nov 1991 --
8 23 Dec 1991 --
9 06 Feb 1992 --
10a, b 26 Feb 1992 --
11 08 Mar 1992 --
12 10 Mar 1992 --
13 12 Mar 1992 --
14 16 Mar 1992 Still active in May.
15 08 May 1992 --
16a, b 10 May 1992 Cones 14-17 still active through the end of May.
16b 10 May 1992 --
17 11 May 1992 --
18 24 May 1992 --
19 05 Jul 1992 Cones 19-21 still intermittently active through August 1992.
20 14 Jul 1992 --
21 19 Jul 1992 --

From 20 September until 5 February, activity was confined to a N32-34°E fissure (cones 1-8). The most persistent activity at a single vent, 25 October-3 February, has made Cone 3 the largest of the eruption, rising ~80 m above the surrounding lava plain. Three new cones developed in February, nos. 9 (6 February), 10a and 10b (26 February). In March, activity resumed at the S end of the fissure along a branch that trended E from the initial vent, successively building cones 11, 12, and 14. Vent 13, 1 km to the N, erupted during the same period.

In early May, activity moved to the N end of the fissure, as a NE branch developed and formed vents 15-17. These vents remained active at the end of May, as did no. 14 at the S end of the fissure, producing intermittent lava fountains. Vent 18, near the middle of the fissure, began to erupt at about 1100 on 24 May. By 8 June it had grown to ~25 m height and its lava flows had extended ~3 km N, eroding away cones 10a and 10b. Activity at the new vent was preceded by an increase in microtremor amplitude recorded at a seismic station (Katale) 12 km E. Amplitude increased significantly from 8 June, indicating movement of new magma from a deeper source. As of 1 July, there was no indication that the eruption was nearing its end. Lava production remained vigorous, with high lava fountains, and strong emission of bombs and other tephra.

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

Information Contacts: N. Zana, CRSN, Bukavu.


Pagan (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Pagan

United States

18.13°N, 145.8°E; summit elev. 570 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Recent small ash eruption; long-period earthquakes and tremor; inflation

A six-member team of USGS volcanologists visited the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 11-27 May 1992 at the request of the CNMI Office of Civil Defense. The team observed all of the islands in the chain N of Saipan, installed a new seismic station at the base of frequently active Pagan, remeasured existing EDM networks, mapped the geology of Alamagan, sampled fumaroles and hot springs, and collected rocks and charcoal for radiocarbon dating. No volcanoes in the chain erupted during the observation period.

Reports from brief visits to Pagan indicate that the most recent small ash eruption occurred on 13 April. Continuing seismicity was dominated by short bursts of long-period earthquakes and volcanic tremor. The highest measured steam temperature was 76°C; solfataras that are probably hotter are inaccessible deep within the crater. Episodic fuming, marked by periods of relatively high SO2 outgassing followed by quiescence, was observed continuously 13-21 May. EDM lines from the coast to reflectors on the flanks had shortened by as much as 11.3 cm since September 1990. These lines had shown no significant changes between 1983 and 1990, a period characterized by frequent small ash eruptions following the large Plinian eruption of 15 May 1981 (Banks and others, 1984). After the first remeasurement on 17 May, no large changes in line lengths were detected during the next 3 days.

The team collected three charcoal samples on Pagan. Two of the units to be dated are relatively old, and their ages should help to constrain the age of the caldera.

South Pagan . . . has several steaming fumaroles, but no temperatures were measured. No shallow earthquake swarms have been recorded since the installation of the seismic station in 1990.

Reference. Banks, N.G., Koyanagi, R.Y., Sinton, J.M., and Honma, K.T., 1984, The eruption of Mount Pagan volcano, Mariana Islands, 15 May 1981: JVGR, v. 22, p. 225-269.

Geologic Background. Pagan Island, the largest and one of the most active of the Mariana Islands volcanoes, consists of two stratovolcanoes connected by a narrow isthmus. Both North and South Pagan stratovolcanoes were constructed within calderas, 7 and 4 km in diameter, respectively. The 570-m-high Mount Pagan at the NE end of the island rises above the flat floor of the northern caldera, which may have formed less than 1000 years ago. South Pagan is a 548-m-high stratovolcano with an elongated summit containing four distinct craters. Almost all of the historical eruptions of Pagan, which date back to the 17th century, have originated from North Pagan volcano. The largest eruption of Pagan during historical time took place in 1981 and prompted the evacuation of the sparsely populated island.

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi, M. Sako, and F. Trusdell, HVO.


Pinatubo (Philippines) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Pinatubo

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome extruded into caldera lake; small steam-and-ash ejections; lahars and secondary explosions

Increased seismicity preceded the emergence of a lava dome into the center of the caldera lake. Moderate steam-and-ash emission was associated with the lava extrusion.

Long-period earthquakes and tremor began to be recorded on 6 July. An aerial survey during the morning of 7 July showed no visible change in steaming from crater vents, although the caldera lake was convecting and somewhat muddier than normal. A small island was reported in the caldera lake early on 9 July. An overflight that day at 1500 revealed a mud cone about 100 m in diameter near the center of the lake, protruding about 5 m above the lake surface. Small phreatic explosions to about 100 m height occurred near the side of the island. PHIVOLCS raised the official alert level to 3, indicating the possibility of an eruption within weeks. The announcement described possible activity as quiet extrusion of a lava dome or moderately explosive phreatomagmatic eruptions. A danger zone of 10-km radius was being enforced.

The cone had reportedly reached 200-300 m in diameter by 12 July. A lava dome 100-150 m in diameter was visible near the center of the island during an aerial survey on 14 July at 0900-1000. The island had grown to around 250-300 m across and was 8-10 m above lake level. A continuous dirty white steam column that included some ash was emerging from the dome and drifting SW during the overflight. Ashfall was reported on two towns ~30 km SW of the summit (San Marcelino and Castillejos) at about 0600 and 1300. The alert level was raised to 5 (eruption in progress).

On the flanks of the volcano, monsoon rains triggered secondary explosions and lahars that forced the evacuation of thousands of people living along rivers. Two people were reported killed by lahars on 12 July. The Department of Social Welfare said that about 70,000 people remained in evacuation centers and resettlement sites in the aftermath of the June 1991 eruption.

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: PHIVOLCS; UPI; Reuters; AP.


Poas (Costa Rica) — June 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)


Vigorous gas emission in and around crater lake; continued seismicity

Water level in the crater lake had dropped at least 3 m since April, shrinking it substantially by early June (figure 41). Its color was lime green to sky blue, and the temperature in accessible areas reached 85.8°C. Numerous cones and miniature mud volcanoes were visible within the lake. The nine main fumaroles emitted water vapor with yellowish and bluish gases (sulfur and SO2). Bluish gases and orange flames, probably caused by combustion of sulfur, emerged from the northernmost fumarole. The fumaroles to the SE occurred among collapsed sulfur-and-mud cones, as in the past 3 years.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sketch map of the crater at Poás, 10 June 1992. Courtesy of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

As the rainy season began, fumaroles exposed by the shrinkage of the crater lake were covered by water. The resulting continuous phreatic activity produced plumes 1-2 m high. As the lake rose, it cooled to 64-73°C, with a pH of 1.1. Weak fumarolic activity continued on the 1953-55 dome, with a maximum measured temperature of 89°C and a condensate pH of 4.4.

A daily average of 200 low-frequency events and 24 A-B-type (medium-frequency) events were recorded 2.7 km SW of the summit (by station POA2) in June (figure 42). Highest seismicity was on 2 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Daily number of seismic events recorded at a station (POA2) 2.7 km SW of the summit of Poás, June 1992. Courtesy of the Univ Nacional.

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, OVSCIORI; G. Soto, ICE; M. Fernández, UCR.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — June 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)


Uplift and seismicity increase slightly

"Seismic activity . . . has shown a slight increase over the last 2 months (June: 410 caldera earthquakes, May: 425) compared with activity over the last 2.5 years (100-300 events/month). Less than 1% of the recorded earthquakes in June could be located. Most were from the NW part of the caldera seismic zone. Similarly, levelling measurements showed a slight uplift of the central part of the caldera during the last two months (20 mm, 11 May-4 June; and an additional 13 mm by 8 July)."

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, D. Lolok, and C. McKee, RVO.


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — June 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)


Continued fumarolic activity

Fumarolic activity continued through June in the active crater, where it had fed a plume more than 100 m high during May fieldwork. Chemical analyses of water collected 13 May showed pH values of less than 3 in two of the three N-flank rivers sampled, and some enhancement in sulfate and chloride concentrations (table 2). A seismographic station 5 km SW of the crater (RIN3) registered seven low-frequency earthquakes in June.

Table 2. Chemistry of water collected 13 May 1992 from three rivers on the N flank of Rincón de la Vieja. Data courtesy of the Univ. de Costa Rica.

River pH Cl- (ppm) SO4-2 (ppm)
Pénjamo 2.9 1.5 392
Blanco 5.8 2.1 122
Azul 2.4 10.0 384

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


Rumble III (New Zealand) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Rumble III

New Zealand

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas bubbles detected; summit 140 m below surface

Three previously unknown submarine arc stratovolcanoes have been identified at the S end of the Kermadec Ridge: Rumble V (36.140°S, 178.195°E, summit 700 m below sea level); Tangaroa (36.318°S, 178.031°E, summit 1,350 m below sea level); and Clark (36.423°S, 177.845°E, summit 1,150 m below sea level) (figure 1). All three have basal diameters of 16-18 km and rise from the seafloor at ~2,300 m depth. The first evidence of the volcanoes was from GLORIA side-scan mapping of the southern Havre Trough-Kermadec Ridge region in 1988 (Wright, 1990). Later investigations, including a photographic and rock-dredge study during the 3-week Rapuhia cruise (early 1992), confirmed previous interpretations. Side-scan and photographic data show a complex terrain of lava flows and talus fans on the flanks of all three volcanoes, with the most pristine-looking morphology at Rumble V. During the 1992 cruise, gas bubbles were detected acoustically, rising from the crests of Rumble III, IV, and V. No gas bubbling was evident from Tangaroa or Clark. Bathymetric surveys indicated that the summits of the shallowest volcanoes, Rumble III and IV, were at ~140 and 450 m, respectively, below the sea surface.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Sketch map of New Zealand's North Island and the southern Kermadec Ridge area, with locations of young volcanoes. Courtesy of Ian Wright.

Reference. Wright, I.C., 1990, Bay of Plenty-Southern Havre Trough physiography, 1:400,000: New Zealand Oceanographic Institute Chart, Miscellaneous Series no. 68.

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

Information Contacts: I. Wright, New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington.


Rumble IV (New Zealand) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Rumble IV

New Zealand

36.13°S, 178.05°E; summit elev. -500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas bubbles detected; summit 450 m below surface

Three previously unknown submarine arc stratovolcanoes have been identified at the S end of the Kermadec Ridge: Rumble V (36.140°S, 178.195°E, summit 700 m below sea level); Tangaroa (36.318°S, 178.031°E, summit 1,350 m below sea level); and Clark (36.423°S, 177.845°E, summit 1,150 m below sea level) (figure 1). All three have basal diameters of 16-18 km and rise from the seafloor at ~2,300 m depth. The first evidence of the volcanoes was from GLORIA side-scan mapping of the southern Havre Trough-Kermadec Ridge region in 1988 (Wright, 1990). Later investigations, including a photographic and rock-dredge study during the 3-week Rapuhia cruise (early 1992), confirmed previous interpretations. Side-scan and photographic data show a complex terrain of lava flows and talus fans on the flanks of all three volcanoes, with the most pristine-looking morphology at Rumble V. During the 1992 cruise, gas bubbles were detected acoustically, rising from the crests of Rumble III, IV, and V. No gas bubbling was evident from Tangaroa or Clark. Bathymetric surveys indicated that the summits of the shallowest volcanoes, Rumble III and IV, were at ~140 and 450 m, respectively, below the sea surface.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Sketch map of New Zealand's North Island and the southern Kermadec Ridge area, with locations of young volcanoes. Courtesy of Ian Wright.

Reference. Wright, I.C., 1990, Bay of Plenty-Southern Havre Trough physiography, 1:400,000: New Zealand Oceanographic Institute Chart, Miscellaneous Series no. 68.

Geologic Background. The submarine volcano Rumble IV was thought to have been active from April to December 1966, based on hydrophone signals (Kibblewhite, 1967), but later evidence indicates that the hydrophone array had been damaged and that the signals originated from Rumble III (Hall, 1985). Fresh, glassy andesitic lava was dredged from the summit in 1992 during a New Zealand Oceanographic Institute cruise, and gas bubbles were acoustically detected rising from Rumble IV.

Information Contacts: I. Wright, New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington.


Rumble V (New Zealand) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Rumble V

New Zealand

36.142°S, 178.196°E; summit elev. -400 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New submarine volcano identified; rising gas bubbles

Three previously unknown submarine arc stratovolcanoes have been identified at the S end of the Kermadec Ridge: Rumble V (36.140°S, 178.195°E, summit 700 m below sea level); Tangaroa (36.318°S, 178.031°E, summit 1,350 m below sea level); and Clark (36.423°S, 177.845°E, summit 1,150 m below sea level) (figure 1). All three have basal diameters of 16-18 km and rise from the seafloor at ~2,300 m depth. The first evidence of the volcanoes was from GLORIA side-scan mapping of the southern Havre Trough-Kermadec Ridge region in 1988 (Wright, 1990). Later investigations, including a photographic and rock-dredge study during the 3-week Rapuhia cruise (early 1992), confirmed previous interpretations. Side-scan and photographic data show a complex terrain of lava flows and talus fans on the flanks of all three volcanoes, with the most pristine-looking morphology at Rumble V. During the 1992 cruise, gas bubbles were detected acoustically, rising from the crests of Rumble III, IV, and V. No gas bubbling was evident from Tangaroa or Clark. Bathymetric surveys indicated that the summits of the shallowest volcanoes, Rumble III and IV, were at ~140 and 450 m, respectively, below the sea surface.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Sketch map of New Zealand's North Island and the southern Kermadec Ridge area, with locations of young volcanoes. Courtesy of Ian Wright.

Reference. Wright, I.C., 1990, Bay of Plenty-Southern Havre Trough physiography, 1:400,000: New Zealand Oceanographic Institute Chart, Miscellaneous Series no. 68.

Geologic Background. A previously unknown submarine volcano, Rumble V was discovered in 1992 at the southernmost of a group of seamounts on the southern Kermadec Ridge, known as the Rumbles. It rises more than 2,000 m to nearly 400 m below the sea surface and shows a pristine morphology. Andesitic and basaltic-andesite rocks have been dredged from Rumble V, which lies 17 km ESE of Rumble IV. A large plume of gas bubbles was acoustically detected rising from the summit of Rumble V in 1992, and subsequent expeditions detected evidence of vigorous hydrothermal activity.

Information Contacts: I. Wright, New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington.


Sarigan (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Sarigan

United States

16.708°N, 145.78°E; summit elev. 538 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


No activity evident

A six-member team of USGS volcanologists visited the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 11-27 May 1992 at the request of the CNMI Office of Civil Defense. Gas emission [from Sarigan] was not evident during overflights in an airplane on 13 May and a helicopter on 21 May.

Geologic Background. Sarigan volcano forms a 3-km-long, roughly triangular island. A low truncated cone with a 750-m-wide summit crater contains a small ash cone. The youngest eruptions produced two lava domes from vents above and near the south crater rim. Lava flows from each dome reached the coast and extended out to sea, forming irregular shorelines. The northern flow overtopped the crater rim on the north and NW sides. The sparse vegetation on the flows indicates they are of Holocene age (Meijer and Reagan, 1981).

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi, M. Sako, and F. Trusdell, HVO.


Shasta (United States) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Shasta

United States

41.409°N, 122.193°W; summit elev. 4317 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


No seismicity triggered by M 7.5 earthquake hundreds of kilometers away

Southern California's largest earthquake since 1952, M 7.5 on 28 June, appeared to trigger seismicity at several volcanic centers in California. It was centered roughly 200 km E of Los Angeles. In the following, David Hill describes post-earthquake activity at Long Valley caldera, and Stephen Walter discusses the USGS's seismic network, and the changes it detected at Lassen, Shasta, Medicine Lake, and the Geysers.

In recent years, the USGS northern California seismic network has relied upon Real-Time Processors (RTPs) to detect, record, and locate earthquakes. However, a film recorder (develocorder) collects data from 18 stations in volcanic areas, primarily to detect long-period earthquakes missed by RTPs. The film recorders proved useful in counting the post-M 7.5 earthquakes, most of which were too small to trigger the RTPs.

The film record was scanned for the 24 hours after the M 7.5 earthquake, noting the average coda duration for each identified event. Some events may have been missed because of seismogram saturation by the M 7.5 earthquake. Marked increases in microseismicity were observed at Lassen Peak, Medicine Lake caldera, and the Geysers (table 1). No earthquakes were observed at Shasta, but the lack of operating stations on the volcano limited the capability to observe small events.

Table 1. Number of earthquakes at northern California volcanic centers during 24-hour periods following major earthquakes on 25 April (40.37°N, 124.32°W; M 7.0) and 28 June (34.18°N, 116.47°W; M 7.5) 1992. Events with coda durations less than or equal to 10 seconds and greater than 10 seconds are tallied separately. Earthquakes were identified from film records of seismograms from nearby stations. Courtesy of Stephen Walter.

Date Lassen Shasta Medicine Lake Geysers
Codas (seconds) <= 10 > 10 <= 10 > 10 <= 10 > 10 <= 10 > 10
25 Apr 1992 0 0 0 1 0 0 7 2
28 Jun 1992 8 14 1 5 12 0 46 4

Film was also scanned for the 24 hours following the M 7.0 earthquake at 40.37°N, 124.32°W (near Cape Mendocino) on 25 April. Although smaller than the 28 June earthquake, its epicenter was only 20-25% as far from the volcanoes. Furthermore, both the 25 April main shock and a M 6.5 aftershock were felt at the volcanic centers, but no felt reports were received from these areas after the 28 June earthquake. Only the Geysers showed any possible triggered events after the 25 April shock. However, background seismicity at the Geysers is higher than at the other centers, and is influenced by fluid injection and withdrawal associated with intensive geothermal development.

Shasta report. The film record showed no earthquake activity beneath Shasta (~900 km NNW of the epicenter), although telemetry problems limited the ability to detect events below M 2. Of the six earthquakes in the 24 hours following the M 7.5 shock, two were large enough to be recorded by the RTP system. These were centered about 60 km SE of Shasta and about equidistant from Lassen (figure 1). Because the arrival times and S-P sequences of the other four events were similar to those of the two located shocks, it is likely that all had similar epicenters. Occasional M 2 earthquakes have previously occurred in this area, which includes several mapped N-trending normal faults with Quaternary movement. Three days after the M 7.5 earthquake, a M 2.0 shock occurred beneath Shasta's SE flank, followed by a M 2.7 event the next day. Both were centered at about 15 km depth, similar to most earthquakes beneath Shasta in the last decade.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Seismic events in the Shasta/Medicine Lake area that were apparently triggered by the M 7.5 southern California earthquake of 28 June 1992 (circles) compared to 1978-90 seismicity in the region (crosses). Squares mark seismic stations. Courtesy of Stephen Walter.

Geologic Background. The most voluminous of the Cascade volcanoes, northern California's Mount Shasta is a massive compound stratovolcano composed of at least four main edifices constructed over a period of at least 590,000 years. An ancestral edifice was destroyed by one of Earth's largest known Quaternary subaerial debris avalanches, which filled the Shasta River valley NW of the volcano. The Hotlum cone, forming the present summit, the Shastina lava dome complex, and the SW flank Black Butte lava dome, were constructed during the early Holocene. Eruptions from these vents have produced pyroclastic flows and mudflows that affected areas as far as 20 km from the summit. Eruptions from Hotlum cone continued throughout the Holocene.

Information Contacts: Stephen Walter and David Hill, MS 977, U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, California 94025 USA.


Spurr (United States) — June 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)


Details of 27 June eruptive cloud

Increased seismicity preceded a brief eruption of Spurr that began on 27 June at 0704, producing an eruption cloud that was carried rapidly NNE. Seismic data suggested that the eruption ended at about 1100, after apparent eruptive pulses at 0814 and 0904. By 1049, shortly before feeding of the plume stopped, data from the Nimbus-7 satellite's TOMS showed its leading edge roughly 500 km from the volcano, near Fairbanks (figure 3), with an apparent SO2 content of 35 kilotons. The next day, the cloud was detached from the volcano but still clearly visible on weather satellite imagery, extending in a 2,000-km arc E and SE over NE Alaska and NW Canada (figures 3 and 4). As the plume elongated, SO2 detected by the TOMS instrument increased to a maximum of 185 kilotons on 28 June at 1125, then decreased slightly to 160 kilotons as it started to dissipate on 29 June. The cloud remained visible on both TOMS data and weather satellite imagery for several more days.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Three overlain images of the SO2 cloud from Spurr, as detected by the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer on the Nimbus-7 satellite. Values of SO2 in each 50 x 50-km pixel are shown on a relative scale of 0-9, then upward through alphabetic characters with increasing concentration. The cloud slowly dispersed until 3 July, when it could no longer be distinguished above background. Courtesy of Gregg Bluth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Image from the NOAA 11 polar-orbiting weather satellite on 29 June at about 0600, showing the plume from Spurr over the Beaufort Sea and western Canada. Courtesy of NOAA/NESDIS.

The maximum eruption cloud altitude reported by pilots was about 12 km. However, radar installed on the Kenai Peninsula after the Redoubt eruption, to monitor nearby volcanic activity, measured higher altitudes. At 0803, radar detected a vertical cloud to about 9 km altitude; at 0840, strong returns to 9 km and some material to 14.5 km; at 0950 and 1004, columns to 16 km altitude; and at 1018, to 18 km (figure 5).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. One of several radar images of the eruption column from Spurr on 27 June. This image, at 1018, shows echoes from the plume to about 18 km altitude. The instrument, an Enterprise Electronics WSR74C, 5-cm radar, is at Kenai, Alaska, about 80 km away. Vertical scans were used to maximize detection of the vertical cloud; the plume extending downwind is not visible. Courtesy of Joel Curtis and Dale Eubanks.

Because the plume was carried northward, major air routes to Asia that extend along the Aleutian chain from Anchorage were not affected. A Notice to Airmen warned aircraft to avoid the immediate vicinity of the volcano. No routes were officially closed, but airlines avoided using routes N and NW of the volcano (J501, 111, 133, 120, and 122; and V319, 444, and 480) during the eruption. Flights arriving in Anchorage, 120 km E of Spurr, were routed along normal approaches from the south.

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; G. Bluth, NASA GSFC; SAB, NOAA/NESDIS; Joel Curtis and Dale Eubanks, NWS Alaska Region, Anchorage; Darla Gerlach, Air Traffic Division, FAA, Anchorage.


Stromboli (Italy) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small explosions and seismicity continue

Fieldwork during the first week in June revealed that eruptive activity was mainly concentrated in craters C1 (vent 1) and C3 (vent 4), which fed black plumes no more than 100 m high. Seismicity remained high in June (figure 26), near the 180 events/day reached in the last third of May. A minimum of 108 events was recorded on 24 June. After declining rapidly about 20 May, tremor energy returned to levels characteristic of the period since November 1991.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Seismicity at Stromboli, June 1992. Open bars show the number of recorded events per day, black bars those with ground velocities exceeding 100 mm/s. The curve represents the each day's average of tremor energies on hourly 60-second samples. Courtesy of M. Riuscetti.

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.


Tangaroa (New Zealand) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Tangaroa

New Zealand

36.321°S, 178.028°E; summit elev. -600 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New submarine volcano identified; no gas bubbling

Three previously unknown submarine arc stratovolcanoes have been identified at the S end of the Kermadec Ridge: Rumble V (36.140°S, 178.195°E, summit 700 m below sea level); Tangaroa (36.318°S, 178.031°E, summit 1,350 m below sea level); and Clark (36.423°S, 177.845°E, summit 1,150 m below sea level) (figure 1). All three have basal diameters of 16-18 km and rise from the seafloor at ~2,300 m depth. The first evidence of the volcanoes was from GLORIA side-scan mapping of the southern Havre Trough-Kermadec Ridge region in 1988 (Wright, 1990). Later investigations, including a photographic and rock-dredge study during the 3-week Rapuhia cruise (early 1992), confirmed previous interpretations. Side-scan and photographic data show a complex terrain of lava flows and talus fans on the flanks of all three volcanoes, with the most pristine-looking morphology at Rumble V. During the 1992 cruise, gas bubbles were detected acoustically, rising from the crests of Rumble III, IV, and V. No gas bubbling was evident from Tangaroa or Clark. Bathymetric surveys indicated that the summits of the shallowest volcanoes, Rumble III and IV, were at ~140 and 450 m, respectively, below the sea surface.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Sketch map of New Zealand's North Island and the southern Kermadec Ridge area, with locations of young volcanoes. Courtesy of Ian Wright.

Reference. Wright, I.C., 1990, Bay of Plenty-Southern Havre Trough physiography, 1:400,000: New Zealand Oceanographic Institute Chart, Miscellaneous Series no. 68.

Geologic Background. Tangaroa submarine volcano in the southern Kermadec arc rises to within 600 m of the sea surface. The volcano is elongated in a NW-SE direction and contains smaller cones on its SE to eastern flanks. A larger edifice lies further to the SE. Tangaroa lies between Clark and Rumble V submarine volcanoes near the southern end of the Kermadec arc and is one of more than a half dozen volcanoes in this part of the arc showing evidence for active hydrothermal vent fields.

Information Contacts: I. Wright, New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington.


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional seismicity

A telemetering seismic station (VTU) 0.5 km E of the active crater recorded 17 events in June. The maximum daily number, 4, occurred on 13 June.

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

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


Unzendake (Japan) — June 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Unzendake

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued lava dome growth generates pyroclastic flows

Growth of the lava dome continued through early July. Partial collapses of the dome complex frequently generated pyroclastic flows. Dome 7, which had begun to emerge in late March, grew exogenously against dome 6 (figure 43), which was buried and eroded by dome 7's lava blocks. Frequent rockfalls from the front and margins of dome 7 reduced its length (to ~ 200 m) and height (to ~ 50 m). Petal or peel structures, which had always appeared on the dome's surface during periods of rapid lava extrusion, were not evident, perhaps indicating a declining magma supply rate. The cryptodome, including dome 5, grew endogenously, frequently generating small rockfalls that were probably triggered by earthquakes within or beneath the dome complex.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sketch of the dome complex at the summit of Unzen, 8 July 1992. Courtesy of Setsuya Nakada.

Volcanic gas was emitted continuously from the E part of dome 3, as well as from the depression between domes 3 and 7. The depression divides the cryptodome area into a conical NE section that includes the dome's summit, and a lower SW section with a flat top.

Deposits of the pyroclastic flows that cascade down the SE flank continue to bury the Akamatsu valley. The lowest saddle of the valley's southern cliff remains ~ 10 m high. On 23 June, the ash-cloud surge from a pyroclastic flow struck the saddle, but the main flow did not reach the cliff. The surge toppled brush on the saddle and to ~ 100 m distance, but small cedar trees remained standing. Bark and leaves were not burned, but leaves in the area died. About 10 cm of ash was deposited on the saddle. Thin lead foil, set in a stainless-steel hole to detect the pressure of the ash-cloud surge, was hollowed, and aluminum foil was broken.

Debris flows that have occasionally occurred during the current rainy season eroded pyroclastic flow deposits in the valley. Pyroclastic-flow material was deposited along the valley's N side and in its upper reaches. This deposition pattern, erosion by debris flows, and the declining magma-supply rate delayed the overflow of the lowest part of the saddle by southern-cliff pyroclastic flow deposits. In early July, the Nagasaki prefectural government began to construct a steel fence, 35 m wide and 10 m high, in a stream originating from the saddle, hoping to prevent ash-cloud surges from entering the stream.

JMA reported that the daily number of seismically detected pyroclastic flows ranged from 6 to 21 in June. The total of 373 in June was almost unchanged from previous months. The longest June flow extended 3 km SE from the dome. Most ash clouds generated by the flows rose about 1,000 m, with the highest, to 1,200 m, on 13 and 17 June.

Small earthquakes continued to occur within and beneath the dome complex, at rates of 50-200/day through mid-July. The June total, 3,671 recorded earthquakes, was similar to previous months.

Evacuated areas . . . were somewhat reduced on 11 July, decreasing the number of evacuees from 6,746 to 6,064.

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.

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/).