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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

Sabancaya (Peru) Explosions, ash and SO2 plumes, thermal anomalies, and lava dome growth during June-November 2019

Karangetang (Indonesia) Lava flows, strong thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and ash plumes during May-November 2019

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) New vent, lava fountaining, lava flow, and ash plumes in late September-October 2019

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Strong thermal anomalies and fumaroles within the summit crater during June-November 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sabancaya (Peru) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W; summit elev. 5960 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions, ash and SO2 plumes, thermal anomalies, and lava dome growth during June-November 2019

Sabancaya is an andesitic stratovolcano located in Peru. The most recent eruptive episode began in early November 2016, which is characterized by gas-and-steam and ash emissions, seismicity, and explosive events (BGVN 44:06). The ash plumes are dispersed by wind with a typical radius of 30 km, which occasionally results in ashfall. Current volcanism includes high seismicity, gas-and-steam emissions, ash and SO2 plumes, numerous thermal anomalies, and explosive events. This report updates information from June through November 2019 using information primarily from the Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP) and Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico) (OVI-INGEMMET).

Table 5. Summary of eruptive activity at Sabancaya during June-November 2019 based on IGP weekly reports, the Buenos Aires VAAC advisories, the HIGP MODVOLC hotspot monitoring algorithm, and Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data.

Month Avg. Daily Explosions by week Max plume Heights (km above crater) Plume drift MODVOLC Alerts Min Days with SO2 over 2 DU
Jun 2019 12, 13, 16, 17 2.6-3.8 30 km S, SW, E, SE, NW, NE 15 20
Jul 2019 23, 22, 16, 13 2.3-3.7 E, SE, S, NE 7 25
Aug 2019 12, 30, 25, 26 2-4.5 30 km NW, W S, NE, SE, SW 7 25
Sep 2019 29, 32, 24, 15 1.5-2.5 S, SE, E, W, NW, SW 14 26
Oct 2019 32, 36, 44, 48, 28 2.5-3.5 S, SE, SW, W 11 25
Nov 2019 58, 50, 47, 17 2-4 W, SW, S, NE, E 13 22

Explosions, ash emissions, thermal signatures, and high concentrations of SO2 were reported each week during June-November 2019 by IGP, the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), HIGP MODVOLC, and Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data (table 5). Thermal anomalies were visible in the summit crater, even in the presence of meteoric clouds and ash plumes were occasionally visible rising from the summit in clear weather (figure 68). The maximum plume height reached 4.5 km above the crater drifting NW, W, and S the week of 29 July-4 August, according to IGP who used surveillance cameras to visually monitor the plume (figure 69). This ash plume had a radius of 30 km, which resulted in ashfall in Colca (NW) and Huambo (W). On 27 July the SO2 levels reached a high of 12,814 tons/day, according to INGEMMET. An average of 58 daily explosions occurred in early November, which is the largest average of this reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery detected ash plumes, gas-and-steam emissions, and multiple thermal signatures (bright yellow-orange) in the crater at Sabancaya during June-November 2019. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. A webcam image of an ash plume rising from Sabancaya on 1 August 2019 at least 4 km above the crater. Courtesy of IGP.

Seismicity was also particularly high between August and September 2019, according to INGEMMET. On 14 August, roughly 850 earthquakes were detected. There were 280 earthquakes reported on 15 September, located 6 km NE of the crater. Both seismic events were characterized as seismic swarms. Seismicity decreased afterward but continued through the reporting period.

In February 2017, a lava dome was established inside the crater. Since then, it has been growing slowly, filling the N area of the crater and producing thermal anomalies. On 26 October 2019, OVI-INGEMMET conducted a drone overflight and captured video of the lava dome (figure 70). According to IGP, this lava dome is approximately 4.6 million cubic meters with a growth rate of 0.05 m3/s.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Drone images of the lava dome and degassing inside the crater at Sabancaya on 26 (top) and 27 (bottom) October 2019. Courtesy of INGEMMET (Informe Ténico No A6969).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows strong, consistent thermal anomalies occurring all throughout June through November 2019 (figure 71). In conjunction with these thermal anomalies, the October 2019 special issue report by INGEMMET showed new hotspots forming along the crater rim in July 2018 and August 2019 (figure 72).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Thermal anomalies at Sabancaya for 3 January through November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent, strong, and consistent. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Thermal hotspots on the NW section of the crater at Sabancaya using MIROVA images. These images show the progression of the formation of at least two new hotspots between February 2017 to August 2019. Courtesy of INGEMMET, Informe Técnico No A6969.

Sulfur dioxide emissions also persisted at significant levels from June through November 2019, as detected by Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data (figure 73). The satellite measurements of the SO2 emissions exceeded 2 DU (Dobson Units) at least 20 days each month during this time. These SO2 plumes sometimes occurred for multiple consecutive days (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Consistent, large SO2 plumes from Sabancaya were seen in TROPOMI instrument satellite data throughout June-November 2019, many of which drifted in different directions based on the prevailing winds. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Persistent SO2 plumes from Sabancaya appeared daily during 13-16 September 2019 in the TROPOMI instrument satellite data. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Geologic Background. Sabancaya, located in the saddle NE of Ampato and SE of Hualca Hualca volcanoes, is the youngest of these volcanic centers and the only one to have erupted in historical time. The oldest of the three, Nevado Hualca Hualca, is of probable late-Pliocene to early Pleistocene age. The name Sabancaya (meaning "tongue of fire" in the Quechua language) first appeared in records in 1595 CE, suggesting activity prior to that date. Holocene activity has consisted of Plinian eruptions followed by emission of voluminous andesitic and dacitic lava flows, which form an extensive apron around the volcano on all sides but the south. Records of historical eruptions date back to 1750.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URL: https://www.gob.pe/igp); Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); 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/); 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/); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows, strong thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and ash plumes during May-November 2019

Karangetang (also known as Api Siau), located on the island of Siau in the Sitaro Regency, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, has experienced more than 40 recorded eruptions since 1675 in addition to many smaller undocumented eruptions. In early February 2019, a lava flow originated from the N crater (Kawah Dua) traveling NNW and reaching a distance over 3 km. Recent monitoring showed a lava flow from the S crater (Kawah Utama, also considered the "Main Crater") traveling toward the Kahetang and Batuawang River drainages on 15 April 2019. Gas-and-steam emissions, ash plumes, moderate seismicity, and thermal anomalies including lava flow activity define this current reporting period for May through November 2019. The primary source of information for this report comes from daily and weekly reports by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

PVMBG reported that white gas-and-steam emissions were visible rising above both craters consistently between May through November 2019 (figures 30 and 31). The maximum altitude for these emissions was 400 m above the Dua Crater on 27 May and 700 m above the Main Crater on 12 June. Throughout the reporting period PVMBG noted that moderate seismicity occurred, which included both shallow and deep volcanic earthquakes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. A Sentinel-2 image of Karangetang showing two active craters producing gas-and-steam emissions with a small amount of ash on 7 August 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Webcam images of gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Karangetang on 14 (top) and 25 (bottom) October 2019. Courtesy of PVMBG via Øystein Lund Andersen.

Activity was relatively low between May and June 2019, consisting mostly of gas-and-steam emissions. On 26-27 May 2019 crater incandescence was observed above the Main Crater; white gas-and-steam emissions were rising from both craters (figures 32 and 33). At 1858 on 20 July, incandescent avalanches of material originating from the Main Crater traveled as far as 1 km W toward the Pangi and Kinali River drainages. By 22 July the incandescent material had traveled another 500 m in the same direction as well as 1 km in the direction of the Nanitu and Beha River drainages. According to a Darwin VAAC report, discreet, intermittent ash eruptions on 30 July resulted in plumes drifting W at 7.6 km altitude and SE at 3 km, as observed in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photograph of summit crater incandescence at Karangetang on 12 May 2019. Courtesy of Dominik Derek.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Photograph of both summit crater incandescence at Karangetang on 12 May 2019 accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of Dominik Derek.

On 5 August 2019 a minor eruption produced an ash cloud that rose 3 km and drifted E. PVMBG reported in the weekly report for 5-11 August that an incandescent lava flow from the Main Crater was traveling W and SW on the slopes of Karangetang and producing incandescent avalanches (figure 34). During 12 August through 1 September lava continued to effuse from both the Main and Dua craters. Avalanches of material traveled as far as 1.5 km SW toward the Nanitu and Pangi River drainages, 1.4-2 km to the W of Pangi, and 1.8 km down the Sense River drainage. Lava fountaining was observed occurring up to 10 m above the summit on 14-20 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Photograph of summit crater incandescence and a lava flow from Karangetang on 7 August 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

PVMBG reported that during 2-22 September lava continued to effuse from both craters, traveling SW toward the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense River drainages as far as 1.5 km. On 24 September the lava flow occasionally traveled 0.8-1.5 km toward the West Beha River drainage. The lava flow from the Main Crater continued through at least the end of November, moving SW and W as far as 1.5 km toward the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense River drainages. In late October and onwards, incandescence from both summit craters was observed at night. The lava flow often traveled as far as 1 km toward the Batang and East Beha River drainage on 12 November, the West Beha River drainage on 15, 22, 24, and 29 November, and the Batang and West Beha River drainages on 25-27 November (figure 35). On 30 November a Strombolian eruption occurred in the Main Crater accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions rising 100 m above the Main Crater and 50 m above the Dua Crater. Lava flows traveled SW and W toward the Nanitu, Sense, and Pangi River drainages as far as 1.5 km, the West Beha and Batang River drainages as far as 1 km, and occasionally the Batu Awang and Kahetang River drainages as far as 2 km. Lava fountaining was reported occurring 10-25 m above the Main Crater and 10 m above the Dua Crater on 6, 8-12, 15, 21-30 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Webcam image of gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Karangetang accompanied by incandescence and lava flows at night on 27 November 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia via Øystein Lund Andersen.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed consistent and strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit craters from late July through November 2019 (figure 36). Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 corroborated this data, showing strong thermal anomalies and lava flows originating from both craters during this same timeframe (figure 37). In addition to these lava flows, satellite imagery also captured intermittent gas-and-steam emissions from May through November (figure 38). MODVOLC thermal alerts registered 165 thermal hotspots near Karangetang's summit between May and November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Frequent and strong thermal anomalies at Karangetang between 3 January through November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) began in late July and were recorded within 5 km of the summit craters. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed ongoing thermal activity (bright orange) at Karangetang from July into November 2019. The lava flows traveled dominantly in the W direction from the Main Crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showing gas-and-steam emissions with a small amount of ash (middle and right) rising from both craters of Karangetang during May through November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data detected multiple sulfur dioxide plumes between May and November 2019 (figure 39). These emissions occasionally exceeded 2 Dobson Units (DU) and drifted in different directions based on the dominant wind pattern.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. SO2 emissions from Karangetang (indicated by the red box) were seen in TROPOMI instrument satellite data during May through November 2019, many of which drifted in different directions based on the prevailing winds. Top left: 27 May 2019. Top middle: 26 July 2019. Top right: 17 August 2019. Bottom left: 27 September 2019. Bottom middle: 3 October 2019. Bottom right: 21 November 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/); 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); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Dominik Derek (URL: https://www.facebook.com/07dominikderek/).


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New vent, lava fountaining, lava flow, and ash plumes in late September-October 2019

Ulawun is a basaltic-to-andesitic stratovolcano located in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea, with typical activity consisting of seismicity, gas-and-steam plumes, and ash emissions. The most recent eruption began in late June 2019 involving ash and gas-and-steam emissions, increased seismicity, and a pyroclastic flow (BGVN 44:09). This report includes volcanism from September to October 2019 with primary source information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Activity remained low through 26 September 2019, mainly consisting of variable amounts of gas-and-steam emissions and low seismicity. Between 26 and 29 September RVO reported that the seismicity increased slightly and included low-level volcanic tremors and Real-Time Seismic Amplitude Measurement (RSAM) values in the 200-400 range on 19, 20, and 22 September. On 30 September small volcanic earthquakes began around 1000 and continued to increase in frequency; by 1220, they were characterized as a seismic swarm. The Darwin VAAC advisory noted that an ash plume rose to 4.6-6 km altitude, drifting SW and W, based on ground reports.

On 1 October 2019 the seismicity increased, reaching RSAM values up to 10,000 units between 0130 and 0200, according to RVO. These events preceded an eruption which originated from a new vent that opened on the SW flank at 700 m elevation, about three-quarters of the way down the flank from the summit. The eruption started between 0430 and 0500 and was defined by incandescence and lava fountaining to less than 100 m. In addition to lava fountaining, light- to dark-gray ash plumes were visible rising several kilometers above the vent and drifting NW and W (figure 21). On 2 October, as the lava fountaining continued, ash-and-steam plumes rose to variable heights between 2 and 5.2 km (figures 22 and 23), resulting in ashfall to the W in Navo. Seismicity remained high, with RSAM values passing 12,000. A lava flow also emerged during the night which traveled 1-2 km NW. The main summit crater produced white gas-and-steam emissions, but no incandescence or other signs of activity were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Photographs of incandescence and lava fountaining from Ulawun during 1-2 October 2019. A) Lava fountains along with ash plumes that rose several kilometers above the vent. B) Incandescence and lava fountaining seen from offshore. Courtesy of Christopher Lagisa.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Photographs of an ash plume rising from Ulawun on 1 October 2019. In the right photo, lava fountaining is visible. Courtesy of Christopher Lagisa.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Photograph of lava fountaining and an ash plume rising from Ulawun on 1 October 2019. Courtesy of Joe Metto, WNB Provincial Disaster Office (RVO Report 2019100101).

Ash emissions began to decrease by 3 October 2019; satellite imagery and ground observations showed an ash cloud rising to 3 km altitude and drifting N, according to the Darwin VAAC report. RVO reported that the fissure eruption on the SW flank stopped on 4 October, but gas-and-steam emissions and weak incandescence were still visible. The lava flow slowed, advancing 3-5 m/day, while declining seismicity was reflected in RSAM values fluctuating around 1,000. RVO reported that between 23 and 31 October the main summit crater continued to produce variable amounts of white gas-and-steam emissions (figure 24) and that no incandescence was observed after 5 October. Gas-and-steam emissions were also observed around the new SW vent and along the lava flow. Seismicity remained low until 27-29 October; it increased again and peaked on 30 October, reaching an RSAM value of 1,700 before dropping and fluctuating around 1,200-1,500.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Webcam photo of a gas-and-steam plume rising from Ulawun on 30 October 2019. Courtesy of the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO).

In addition to ash plumes, SO2 plumes were also detected between September and October 2019. Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI data showed SO2 plumes, some of which exceeded 2 Dobson Units (DU) drifting in different directions (figure 25). MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed strong, frequent thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit beginning in early October 2019 and throughout the rest of the month (figure 26). Only one thermal anomaly was detected in early December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI data showing a high concentration of SO2 plumes rising from Ulawun between late September-early October 2019. Top left: 11 September 2019. Top right: 1 October 2019. Bottom left: 2 October 2019. Bottom right: 3 October 2019. Courtesy of the NASA Space Goddard Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Frequent and strong thermal anomalies at Ulawun for February through December 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) began in early October and continued throughout the month. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity in November was relatively low, with only a variable amount of white gas-and-steam emissions visible and low (less than 200 RSAM units) seismicity with sporadic volcanic earthquakes. Between 9-22 December, a webcam showed intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions were observed at the main crater, accompanied by some incandescence at night. Some gas-and-steam emissions were also observed rising from the new SW vent along the lava flow.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the N coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1,000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; 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/); 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/); Christopher Lagisa, West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea (URL: https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa, images posted at https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa/posts/730662937360239 and https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa/posts/730215604071639).


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — December 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)


Strong thermal anomalies and fumaroles within the summit crater during June-November 2019

Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira) is a high-potassium basaltic shield volcano located in the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Previous volcanism consisted of the reappearance of a lava lake in the summit crater in mid-April 2018, lava emissions, and high seismicity (BGVN 44:05). Current activity includes strong thermal signatures, continued inner crater wall collapses, and continued moderate seismicity. The primary source of information for this June-November 2019 report comes from the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data and imagery from multiple sources.

OVG reported in the July 2019 monthly that the inner crater wall collapses that were observed in May continued to occur. During this month, there was a sharp decrease in the lava lake level, and it is no longer visible. However, the report stated that lava fountaining was visible from a small cone within this crater, though its activity has also decreased since 2014. In late July, a thermal anomaly and fumaroles were observed originating from this cone (figure 85). Seismicity remained moderate throughout this reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Photograph showing the small active cone within the crater of Nyamuragira in late July 2019. Fumaroles are also observed within the crater originating from the small cone. Courtesy of Sergio Maguna.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit between June through November (figure 86). The strength of these thermal anomalies noticeably decreases briefly in September. MODVOLC thermal alerts registered 54 thermal hotspots dominantly near the N area of the crater during June through November 2019. Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 corroborated this data, showing strong thermal anomalies within the summit crater during this same timeframe (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira during 30 January through November 2019 shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies through November with a brief decrease in activity in late April-early May and early September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed ongoing thermal activity at Nyamuragira into November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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; 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/); Sergio Maguna (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sergio.maguna.9, images posted at https://www.facebook.com/sergio.maguna.9/posts/1267625096730837).


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

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Brendan McCormick Kilbride, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/brendan.mccormickkilbride.html, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrendanVolc); Kieran Wood, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1QU, United Kingdom (URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/engineering/people/kieran-t-wood/index.html, Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrKieranWood, video posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Hx645v0eU); University of Bristol Flight Laboratory, Bristol BS8 1QU, United Kingdom (Twitter: https://twitter.com/UOBFlightLab).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Bezymianny (Russia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Mayon (Philippines) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

Geologic Background. Beautifully symmetrical Mayon, which rises above the Albay Gulf NW of Legazpi City, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple edifice has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions date back to 1616 and range from Strombolian to basaltic Plinian, with cyclical activity beginning with basaltic eruptions, followed by longer term andesitic lava flows. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas. A violent eruption in 1814 killed more than 1,200 people and devastated several towns.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BNPB_Indonesia); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN); Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY, USA (URL: https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/user/bcarr).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Manam

Papua New Guinea

4.08°S, 145.037°E; summit elev. 1807 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Office of the Resident Coordinator, United Nations, Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea (URL: https://papuanewguinea.un.org/en/about/about-the-resident-coordinator-office, https://reliefweb.int/report/papua-new-guinea/papua-new-guinea-volcanic-activity-office-resident-coordinator-flash-2); Himawari-8 Real-time Web, developed by the NICT Science Cloud project in NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology), Japan, in collaboration with JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency) and CEReS (Center of Environmental Remote Sensing, Chiba University) (URL: https://himawari8.nict.go.jp/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn); Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado, USA (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/en?type=1, Twitter: @COweatherman, URL: https://twitter.com/COweatherman); Emma Liu, University College London Earth Sciences, London WC1E 6BS (URL: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/earth-sciences/people/academic/dr-emma-liu); Matthew Wordell, Boise, ID, USA (URL: https://www.matthhew.com/biocontact); Julian Rüdiger, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Saarstr. 21, 55122 Mainz, Germany (URL: https://www.uni-mainz.de/).


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

Tangkuban Parahu

Indonesia

6.77°S, 107.6°E; summit elev. 2084 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://www.oysteinlundandersen.com/tangkuban-prahu/tangkuban-prahu-volcano-west-java-one-day-after-the-26th-july-phreatic-eruption/); Reuters (URL: https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/editors-choice-pictures-idUSRTX71F3E).


Sheveluch (Russia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash explosions and lava dome growth continue through October 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 20, Number 04 (April 1995)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Gas analysis; high tremor and a large explosion

Asamayama (Japan)

First month with over 1,000 earthquakes since 1991

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown)

Lidar data from Cuba

Barren Island (India)

Ash plumes from three vents; fire fountaining and lava flows

Deception Island (Antarctica)

Report from a 1994-95 austral summer survey

Fogo (Cape Verde)

Fire fountains continue but lava extrusion rate declines

Galeras (Colombia)

Earthquake swarm continues; higher pressure gas emissions

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Rainfall-induced mass wasting and three seismic events

Kanaga (United States)

Occasional mild steam plumes

Kilauea (United States)

Lava flows, breakouts, tremor, and more

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Ash clouds to several hundred meters above the crater

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Both seismicity and tilt low; gently steaming

Momotombo (Nicaragua)

Fumarole chemistry and temperature data for 1983 and 1995

Poas (Costa Rica)

Two new hot springs; moderate number of earthquakes and tremor

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Located seismic events and summit crater observations

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Tavurvur explosions stop on 16 April

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

Description of the crater lake and fumaroles

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Crater lake temperature drops 10°C from 13-year high

Stromboli (Italy)

Explosion on 5 March and tremor; crater observations

Unzendake (Japan)

No lava dome growth, small rockfalls, rare tremors

Veniaminof (United States)

Small plumes seen; warm spots identified from satellite images

Villarrica (Chile)

Tremor, mild explosions, and a new pyroclastic cone

Vulcano (Italy)

Fumaroles at Fossa Grande and Forgia Vecchia craters

White Island (New Zealand)

Currently non-eruptive but 2-year-long inflation continues



Arenal (Costa Rica) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Arenal

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas analysis; high tremor and a large explosion

During April, Crater C continued its ongoing emission of gas, lava flows, and small Strombolian eruptions. The lava flow that started in October 1994, reached 1,100 m elevation along the W arm and at 850 m elevation along the NW arm. On Arenal's NW, W, and SW flanks the tips and borders of tree leaves showed signs of scalding by acidic rain; some species were merely discolored, others were dying.

During April, a total of 484 low-frequency seismic events took place (figure 72); the majority of these events correlated with Strombolian eruptions; some events were registered as far away as 30 km SW of the active crater (station JTS). In terms of total (broad-band) seismicity, the most seismically active single day was 30 April, with 53 events registered.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Arenal low-frequency seismicity for 1994 and January-April 1995. Data courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

According to OVSICORI-UNA, tremor prevailed during April for a total of 326 hours, 160% larger than any month (with data) in 1994 and thus far in 1995 (figure 72). At station JTS the tremor's dominant frequency fell between 2.0 and 3.2 Hz, its amplitude was as large as 101 mm.

ICE reported that average daily ashfall near the vent fluctuated significantly in the past few collection intervals (table 10). In three of the four collection intervals, the percentage of material above and below a quarter of a millimeter (250 µm) typically broke down in a roughly 40:60 ratio (coarse to fine).

Table 10. Ash collected 1.8 km W of Arenal's active vent, 19 October 1994 through 21 April 1995. Courtesy of ICE.

Collection Interval Avg daily ashfall (grams/m2) Ash % 300+µ Ash % less than 300µ
19 Oct-23 Jan 1995 7.6 38.0 62.0
23 Jan-03 Mar 1995 8.2 54.7 45.3
03 Mar-30 Mar 1995 22.7 42.2 57.8
30 Mar-21 Apr 1995 16.3 39.5 60.5

On 9 May at 2003, one of the biggest explosions in the last year and a half took place--sufficiently large to capture the attention of local newspapers. The amplitude of the accompanying seismic signal recorded 23 km W of Arenal reached ~20x larger than a "normal explosion"; the signal took ~0.3 seconds to grow to maximum amplitude. The elevated signal from the 9 May seismic event lasted >1.2 minutes; in contrast, at this same station the elevated signal from a normal explosion lasts perhaps 0.1 minute.

Robust, monochromatic, 2.5 Hz tremor took place at least 40 minutes prior to the 9 May event. After the event, the tremor became spasmodic, and although the bulk of the energy remained at 2.5 Hz, there was also some centered around 2.0 and 3.2 Hz.

Glyn Williams-Jones and John Stix sent the following. "During the period from 20 February to 20 April 1995, CO2 and Rn soil gas samples and correlation spectrometer SO2 fluxes were measured on Arenal. Four lines of 19 soil gas stations consisting of meter-long, 7.6-cm-diameter PVC tubes and 1-cm-diameter metal tubes, buried to approximately 75 cm in the ground, were installed on the N, S, W, and E flanks of the volcano.

"Radon values are extremely low, ranging from 2values show a similar pattern, with proximal stations starting at 0.01% to a maximum of ~8% for the more distal stations. The more developed organic-rich soils appear to show higher values of CO2 and Rn, implying a possible organic or soil influence.

"The SO2 flux in the volcanic plume was measured using a Plume Tracker instrument, similar to a COSPEC correlation spectrometer. The instrument was mounted 'looking up' on a moving motor vehicle passing under the plume. Eleven days of SO2 data were collected, resulting in more than 100 measurements. The flux appears to be small but highly variable, with the highest measured value at 370 metric tons/day (t/d). The highest values were associated with explosive eruptions. Following eruptions, SO2 flux dropped to background levels of about 60 +- 10 t/d. Less apparent from the data is a possible gradual increase in SO2 output prior to an eruption.

"The values that we measured are comparable to those measured by Casadevall and others (1984) in 1 February 1982 (210 +- 30 t/d) and by Stoiber and others (SEAN 07:11) in November 1982 (~50 t/d). It is likely that these variations are related to changes in the volcano's activity."

Arenal's first chronicled eruption, in 1968, began an unbroken sequence of Strombolian explosions, and basaltic andesite discharges from multiple vents (see map in BGVN 18:08). The volcano lies adjacent to Lake Arenal, a dammed reservoir for generating hydroelectric power.

References. Casadevall, T.J., Rose, W.I., Fuller, W.H., Hunt, W.H., Hart, M.A., Moyers, J.L., Woods, D.C., Chuan, R.L., and Friend, J.P., 1984, Sulfur dioxide and particles in quiescent volcanic plumes from Póas, Arenal, and Colima volcanoes, Costa Rica and Mexico: J. Geophys. Res., v. 89, p. 9633-9641.

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: Erick Fernandez, Vilma Barboza, and Jorge Barquero, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; G.E. Alvarado, Waldo Taylor, and Gerardo J. Soto, Oficina de Sismologia y Vulcanologia del Arenal y Miravalles: OSIVAM; Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San José, Costa Rica; Glyn Williams-Jones and John Stix, Departement de Geologie, Universite de Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3C 3J7.


Asamayama (Japan) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Asamayama

Japan

36.406°N, 138.523°E; summit elev. 2568 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


First month with over 1,000 earthquakes since 1991

Last reported on in 1991 (BGVN 16:04), but one of Japan's most active volcanoes, Asama had an increase in seismicity during mid-April. On 17 April the seismic system at station B, 2 km S of the summit, recorded 107 earthquakes. After that, the daily number of earthquakes dropped to between about 10 and 80. The total number of April earthquakes at station B was 1031; the last month with over 1,000 detected earthquakes was April 1991 (1,051).

Asama has had over 100 explosive eruptions since ~350 AD. The vast majority of these eruptions have been assigned Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) values of 2-3, but several had VEI values of 4 or 5.

Geologic Background. Asamayama, Honshu's most active volcano, overlooks the resort town of Karuizawa, 140 km NW of Tokyo. The volcano is located at the junction of the Izu-Marianas and NE Japan volcanic arcs. The modern Maekake cone forms the summit and is situated east of the horseshoe-shaped remnant of an older andesitic volcano, Kurofuyama, which was destroyed by a late-Pleistocene landslide about 20,000 years before present (BP). Growth of a dacitic shield volcano was accompanied by pumiceous pyroclastic flows, the largest of which occurred about 14,000-11,000 BP, and by growth of the Ko-Asama-yama lava dome on the east flank. Maekake, capped by the Kamayama pyroclastic cone that forms the present summit, is probably only a few thousand years old and has an historical record dating back at least to the 11th century CE. Maekake has had several major plinian eruptions, the last two of which occurred in 1108 (Asamayama's largest Holocene eruption) and 1783 CE.

Information Contacts: Volcanological Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 Japan.


Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001)

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lidar data from Cuba

At Camaguey, Cuba, a volcanic aerosol layer was detected at 19-23 km altitude from 18 November through 28 December 1994 (table 2). Backscatter ratios (0.53 µm) were in the 1.26-1.40 range, with integrated backscatter values of 0.18-0.29 x 10-3. These data are similar to those acquired in Cuba during July-October 1994 (Bulletin v. 19, v. 10).

Table 2. Lidar data from Cuba showing altitudes of aerosol layers (bases only). Backscattering ratios are for the Nd-YAG wavelength of 0.53 µm. The integrated value shows total backscatter, expressed in steradians^-1, integrated over 300-m intervals from 16-33 km.

DATE LAYER ALTITUDE (km) (peak) BACKSCATTERING RATIO BACKSCATTERING INTEGRATED
Camaguey, Cuba (21.2°N, 77.5°W)
05 Nov 1994 18.1 (23.2) 1.38 0.22 x 10-3
09 Nov 1994 16.3 (25.0) 1.41 0.28 x 10-3
18 Nov 1994 18.4 (23.8) 1.40 0.25 x 10-3
24 Nov 1994 18.1 (22.6) 1.40 0.29 x 10-3
29 Nov 1994 17.5 (21.6) 1.42 0.29 x 10-3
03 Dec 1994 18.1 (22.0) 1.33 0.23 x 10-3
07 Dec 1994 18.4 (22.0) 1.33 0.18 x 10-3
17 Dec 1994 18.4 (22.6) 1.26 0.19 x 10-3
24 Dec 1994 17.8 (21.1) 1.39 0.22 x 10-3
28 Dec 1994 17.8 (19.0) 1.28 0.20 x 10-3

Information Contacts: Juan Carlos Antuna, Centro Meteorologico de Camaguey, Apartado 134, Camaguey 70100, Cuba.


Barren Island (India) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Barren Island

India

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes from three vents; fire fountaining and lava flows

The GSI made an aerial survey on 2 March and a land survey on 8 March 1995 to monitor the ongoing eruption . . . . Surveys in late January revealed mainly Strombolian emissions from two vents near the S crater wall (figure 3; vents A and B). Lava flows had reached the sea by the end of January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Geologic sketch map of Barren Island showing lava flows and distribution of volcanic products from the 1995 and 1991 eruptions. Modified from Haldar and others (1992); courtesy of the GSI.

The GSI Photogeology and Remote Sensing Division analyzed seven Landsat TM IRS images . . . from November 1994 through February 1995. No signs of eruption were seen on 6 November or 8 December, but conspicuous activity was present on 29 December 1994. Vigorous activity was noted on 9 January. An image from 20 January showed decreasing emissions, but on 25 January the eruption was increasing again. Billowing smoke could be seen through gaps in the cloud cover on 11 February. The lava surface temperature was estimated to be well above 1,000°C on 9 and 25 January, based on preliminary analysis of a few thermally radiant pixels.

On 2 March aerial observers noted thick columns of dark to yellowish gray gas followed by white fumes gushing vigorously from the two vents active in late January. The gas column was rising ~1 km, and the eruption was confined to the S side of the summit crater. Denser air containing volcanic aerosols was encountered ~90 km WSW of the volcano at an altitude of ~2,100 m. Very dense air was noticed ~35 km W, and a very thick gas and smoke cloud was encountered ~15 km W at a height of ~1,500 m.

On 8 March the eruption was largely characterized by phreatomagmatic explosions. In addition to the two previously mentioned vents, the pre-existing conduit in the center of the 1991 crater (figure 3; vent C) was vigorously active. Huge billowing dark emissions from all three summit vents were followed by thick jets of white fumes at intervals of 30-60 seconds, with deep thundering explosions. The combined eruption column rose ~1.5 km before being blown SW by the wind into a horizontal plume. Space Shuttle astronauts observed this plume blowing generally W on 9 and 14 March (20:02).

A fourth vent had also opened at the S foot of the existing volcanic cone by 8 March (figure 3; vent D). It had constructed a small spatter cone from which thick lava was pouring out and a fire fountain was rising ~30 m. Ground temperature ~100-300 m from the foot of the cone was 62-83°C. Hot lava was cascading into the sea along the NW shore, ~200 m S of the landing site, causing the seawater to boil profusely. The lava front thickness had increased from ~6 m on 24 January to ~10 m on 8 March. Ejecta ranged in size up to 10 x 18 x 25 cm. Extensive ashfalls covered the S and W parts of the island, and ash was seen falling as far as 10 km S of the island. Marine life has not been seriously affected; fish were observed ~500 m from shore. Birds were also seen flying over the N part of the island.

Reference. Haldar, D., Laskar, T., Bandyopadhyay, P.C., Sarkar, N.K., and Biswas, J.K., 1992, Volcanic eruption of the Barren Island volcano, Andaman Sea: Journal of the Geological Society of India, v. 39, p. 411-419.

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

Information Contacts: Director General, GSI; Deputy Director General, GSI Eastern Region.


Deception Island (Antarctica) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Deception Island

Antarctica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Report from a 1994-95 austral summer survey

Deception has been monitored every austral summer since 1986; its flooded caldera forms a 5 x 9 km bay breached to the SW, giving Deception Island a ring shape. This report describes the 1994-95 summer survey, which included geophysical, geochemical, and volcanological work.

Near the Spanish Antarctic station "Gabriel de Castilla" a 500 x 600 m seismic array was deployed. Composed of three, 16-bit digital acquisition systems, the seismic array incorporated the following: 1) a Marck L15B with flat response between 1-48 Hz (12 vertical geophones and 4 horizontal geophones), 2) a Marck L4C with flat response between 0.1-48 Hz (two vertical geophones and four horizontal geophones), and 3) a broad-band, three-component Guralp CMG-3ESP with response between 0.033 and 48 Hz.

Figure 10 shows the acquired seismic data, which were collected from 7 December 1994 through 23 February 1995. The seismic data were subdivided into several groups on the basis of their time-domain and frequency-domain appearance. The resulting groups consisted of 262 volcanic tremors, 145 hybrid events, 300 low-frequency events, and 18 high-frequency (local) events (S - P time under 4 seconds). Applying classical array techniques, the preliminary locations for these events suggested that many came from two areas near 'Vapour Hill' (presumably located on the W side of the island at a spot previously designated 'Steaming Hill' on the map in BGVN 19:09).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Deception Island seismicity, December 1994-February 1995. Courtesy of Alicia Garcia.

A summary of seismic events detected during previous surveys appears in table 2. Although seismic parameters were not always clearly delineated in previous BGVN reports, the seismic events registered in 1991 and 1992 were thought to have been less energetic than in 1994-95. Although the occurrence of earthquake activity was distributed throughout December, January, and February, the team observed at least 10 days with a notable increase in seismicity, days when volcanic swarms had average durations of ~3-6 hours. Given the absence of volcanic activity the researchers suggested that some of the seismicity may be contributed by thermally driven seasonal change.

Table 2. A summary of detected seismic events at Deception Island during austral summer surveys. "--" = not reported.

Season Duration (months) Total events recorded Magnitude SEAN/BGVN (Vol:No)
1987 2 -- ~0.5 mb 13:02
1988 2 -- ~0.5 mb 13:02
1988-89 3 more than 2,000 -- 14:03
1989-90 3 1,000 0.5-2.1 mb 15:03
1989-90 3 -- M 3.2 16:05
1991-92 3 766 0.8-2 (4 of M greater than 3) 17:04
1992-93 3 (?) 135 0.3-0.9 18:03
1993-94 3 "a few" 1.5-2 19:09
1994-95 3 725 -- 20:04

Although no data were presented, in addition to reoccupying the local gravimetric net, the magnetic field intensity was continuously recorded using three proton precession magnetometers.

Temperatures of fumaroles and hot soils remained stable with respect to those measured in the last survey. The anhydrous component of gases were mainly CO2 (96-99%) and H2S (0.2- 3.9%); SO2 was not detected.

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

Information Contacts: J.M. Ibanez and J. Morales; Instituto Andaluz de Geofísica, Apartado 2145, Univ. Granada, Granada, Spain; A. Garcia and R. Ortiz, Dpto. Volcanologia. Museo Nac. Ciencias Naturales, C.S.I.C., Jose Gutierrez Abascal no. 2, 28006-Madrid, Spain; E. del Pezzo, Dpto. Fisica, Univ. Salerno, Salerno, Italy; C. Risso, Instituto Antartico Argentino, Cerrito 1248, Buenas Aires, Argentina.


Fogo (Cape Verde) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Fogo

Cape Verde

14.95°N, 24.35°W; summit elev. 2829 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fire fountains continue but lava extrusion rate declines

On 2-3 April a fissure eruption began on Fogo Island from the SW flank of Pico cone (Fogo Peak) within the 8-km-diameter Cha Caldera (BGVN 20:03). During the initial stage of the eruption there was a burst or jetting of gas, followed by ejection of large blocks and fire fountaining. A lava flow cut off the main road to local villages by the morning of 3 April, and ash fell on the island. Approximately 1,300 residents in the caldera were evacuated.

Volcanologists from the United States, Portugal, and France were requested by the Cape Verdean government to help monitor and evaluate the activity. João Gaspar (Universidade dos Açores) and colleagues observed the activity until 11 April. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) volcanologists, assisted by Cape Verdean geologists, installed a seismic station and monitored the eruption during 10-25 April. Additional information about the vent activity during 14-19 April was provided by Henry Gaudru and members of the Société Volcanologique Européenne who visited the volcano. François Le Guern (CNRS France) monitored the volcano on 25-27 April.

Summary of activity, 3-16 April. Detailed activity reports through 16 April have already been published (BGVN 20:03). Seven vents were active on the first day of the eruption, with fire-fountains feeding pahoehoe lava flows, ejection of volcanic bombs, and a gas-and-ash plume 2,000 m high. A scoria cone was soon built, from which lava flows were directed SW before turning NW towards the caldera wall. As the main aa flow approached the caldera scarp it turned N, covering the settlement of Boca de Fonte by 9 April and approaching Portela and Bangaeira (see map in BGVN 20:03). Less vigorous fire fountaining continued on 12-16 April, and fed new lava flows on top of the previous aa flow. There were occasional periods of Strombolian spatter ejections. By late on 16 April the remobilized flow-front was ~4 km from the source vent and only a little more than 500 m from the nearest house in Portela.

Activity during 17-25 April. Except where noted otherwise, the following observations are from the USGS team and their Cape Verdean colleagues. Activity continued on 17 April with little change at the vent. Spatter fountains rose 100-150 m, and the cone was ~150 m high. Volcanic tremor amplitude remained moderate to strong. The N end of the aa flow advanced ~150 m during 16-17 April, to ~420 m SW of the nearest house in Portela, and the E side of the flow moved 20-50 m ENE. The W side of the flow advanced >100 m and by 1430 had crushed half of the winery at Boca de Fonte. After these breakouts blocked the access road a new road was created through agricultural fields, forcing residents rescuing belongings to walk an additional 500 m. Flow movement was barely perceptible after 1430 and largely restricted to short spiny pahoehoe and aa oozes at flow margins, although lava output at the vent was unchanged.

Between 1630 and 2030 on 17 April, Gaudru noted that Strombolian explosions were less vigorous and that the main lava channel had widened from 2-3 m to 5-6 m because of lava-block obstructions. The W flank of the cone was also covered by cinders. Explosive activity increased at 1900, sending incandescent ejecta 150-200 m above the rim of the cone. A flame visible behind the E part of the cone was apparently coming from a small vent on the upper E flank. At 2000 explosions began ejecting material >300 m W instead of vertically.

Tremor amplitude began to increase around 0650 on 18 April, and at 0740 became continuous at about twice the previous amplitude. Eruptive style changed from fire fountaining to Strombolian activity, with spatter discharged by loud gas bursts every 3-8 seconds. Lava production increased during the morning; by noon the lava was largely pahoehoe in the upper 300 m of the channel. Estimated channel dimensions and the speed of lava in it yielded production rates of 4-8.5 x 106 m3/day. Microearthquakes were intermittent, with three larger events (all M <1) at 1314 and 1803 on 18 April, and at 0426 on 19 April.

Seismograph records showed that activity during 0110-0320 and 0426-0610 on 19 April was characterized by strong explosive bursts, which were interpreted to be vent clearing episodes after pieces of the cone and newly erupted spatter closed the conduit. After 0610 the seismicity indicated a return to fire-fountaining. A favorable wind direction permitted a close approach to the vent and lava channel to verify the volume estimate, but the lava appeared somewhat more viscous/sluggish. There was no measureable movement at the edges of the aa flow on 19 April after <3 m of movement the day before, however, lava continued ponding in its channel near the middle of the flow.

Observations made by Gaudru from 1230 on 18 April until 1230 on 19 April indicated that activity remained strong with incandescent fragments rising >200 m and loud detonations. Explosions every 1-2 seconds, accompanied by earthquakes, ejected particles ranging in size up to >1 m3. Gas outbursts were more intense, and black plumes hovered over the active cone. Partial obstruction of the crater caused a larger explosion at 1745 on 18 April that sent gas and cinders 500-600 m high. After several seconds of quiet, stronger explosive activity began again with sounds that shook the ground. The upper E flank crater sent an intermittent orange-red flame 10-15 m high for several hours during this period, higher than previous days. Eruptive activity observed by the Gaudru group became more regular at 0100 on 19 April, when an intense episode began that sent lava fountains >300 m high for several hours. Explosive activity began again at dawn that lasted throughout the morning of 19 April.

Tremor amplitude on 19 April changed from moderate-strong to moderate around 1500, when Strombolian activity reverted back to fire fountains. Fire fountain heights diminished somewhat on 20 April, rising generally 20-50 m above the vent. Intermittent Strombolian activity continued with more energetic bursts that sent viscous lava clots >160 m high. A full lava channel 200 m W of the vent appeared much like it did the day before. A new aa lobe was moving sluggishly on top of the earlier flow, and by 1700 its distal end was ~600 m from the N end of the flow, nearest to Portela.

Strong Strombolian activity on 21 April produced loud bursts of viscous spatter 50-150 m high. A levee formed on top of the spillway adjacent to the vent behind which fountains rose 10-20 m, often interrupted by explosions. Lava exited through a hole in the bottom of the levee into a W-flank channel roofed over in two places. At the bottom of the spillway the lava entered a sinuous channel, moving W and NW on top of the previously emplaced flow; this channel remained full all day. The volume of lava erupted was similar to values for the past several days, 4-8 x 106 m3/day. The 160-m-high cinder cone was no longer increasing significantly in height, but impact craters as large as 5 m wide and 1 m deep, created by fall of spatter bombs 0.5-2 m across, littered its flanks and parts of the cinder-mantled caldera floor up to 200 from the vent. As is common during eruptions of viscous mafic lava, the inner walls of the cone collapsed into the conduit, resulting in explosive vent-clearing episodes. The overriding aa flow on the E side of the N flow moved another 6 m N during 21 April.

Volcanic tremor on 21-22 April continued at moderate to strong levels, punctuated by frequent sonic bursts. Noisy Strombolian bursts sent clots of spatter over the top of the cone and onto its flanks. The volume of lava flowing into the channel was similar to that of 21 April. At noon, lava from a new crack on the N flank of the cone flowed 150 m N and soon stagnated. The aa flow advanced 2 m W near the new end of the road (150 m S of Boca de Fonte), and ~3 m NE on the E side of the N flow. Most of the volume of lava was concentrated in an aa lobe that was very slowly overriding the earlier flow. This lobe locally was at least 15 m thick and covered an estimated 75% of the existing flow field.

Activity on 23 April was spectacular. Deafening explosions from four discrete vents rocked the caldera all day; at times the ground was in continuous motion from concussion waves. The overriding aa lobe only moved ~4 m N on the E side of the main aa flow. However, early in the afternoon a new vent opened at the NW base of the cone. By 1700 lava was flowing W from this vent, and by 1807 spatter ejected to heights of 10-15 m was visible. Pahoehoe lava flowed on top of older aa and soon joined the large stagnating aa channel 500-700 m from the main cone. For the preceding 4 days the seismograph had recorded sonic bursts and microseisms. It was believed that shock waves associated with the bursts caused several fractures on the cone. One of these cracks provided a new pathway for lava to exit the cone, thus robbing the main channel of most of its lava. Strong volcanic tremor was interrupted by frequent sonic bursts.

Moderate to strong tremor continued on 24 April. At the main cone in the morning, Strombolian bursts every few seconds sent spatter fragments onto the cone's flanks. In the afternoon, the intense sonic bursts and Strombolian activity that had characterized the past few days were absent. A gray-black plume, laden with fine-grained (<1 mm) juvenile particles and volcanic gases, rose to heights approaching 1.5 km above the caldera floor. Lava in relatively low volumes continued to erupt from the NW base of the cone, moving horizontally from the cone into a tear-shaped cavity. Once the lava reached the surface, degassing occurred, at times intensely enough to drive low-level Strombolian activity. The amount of visible degassing rivaled the plume from the main vent. The depression and lava chute were 25-35 m long and 1-2 m wide. Lava moving at 1 m/s then spilled out of the chute and entered a channel, which was 3-5 m wide, with a speed of 6 m/minute. The flow in the chute and lava channel was initially pahoehoe, changing to aa with increasing distance. The new lava channel joined the former channel, now stagnant in its upper part, 500-700 m below the cone. This new channel caused the hydraulic head within the main cone to be lowered, resulting in decreased Strombolian activity.

By 25 April the lava extrusion rate slowed to ~250,000 m3/day, and tremor amplitude was somewhat diminished. Spatter generally was not visible within the cone and only rarely did isolated fragments clear its top. However, lava that had ponded in the aa channel advanced on the S side of the earlier large flow. This advance, which probably began late on 24 April, moved as much as 0.5 m/minute during the afternoon. Most of the new lobe was aa, with minor pahoehoe. The thermocouple temperature was 1,065°C (steady for several minutes) in the pahoehoe. At about 1500-1700 loud explosions at vents within the main cone increased in frequency, although spatter output did not change.

Activity in late April-early May. At the request of the Cape Verde government, the French Embassy in Praia and the Ministere de l' Environnement in Paris arranged for François Le Guern (CNRS) to observe the activity during 25-27 April. Incandescent scoria fountains rose 50 m over the crater 5-10 times/day followed by quiet periods. Sometimes explosions with black ash or transparent brown or blue haze lasted a few tens of minutes. Lava output was estimated to be 1 x 106 m3/day on 26 April with a lava front 300 m long, decreasing by 10-15% on the following days. On 27 April lava advanced <0.5 m/hour.

From late April through 2 May a team from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported that lava continued to flow from the crater, though at a much reduced rate, and had already covered 5 km2 of cultivated land including five houses and a winery that was a major source of income for the displaced. At that time the flow was contained inside the existing banks of lava. News reports indicated that after a period of non-explosive emissions and weak lava flow production, the eruption strengthened slightly on 7 May with greater lava output. On 8 May the United Nations coordinator in Praia reported decreased activity with some explosions and moderate to strong tremor. The lava emission rate was relatively low, coming from vents at the NW base of the cone.

Displaced persons and future plans. Apart from the destruction to outlying buildings, the villages themselves remained intact but largely deserted in early May. During the day there was regular foot traffic as people removed items of use to the camps, including livestock. The Red Cross of Cape Verde has volunteers in four camps containing 157 families. The camps are: Sao Filipe, population 534 (including 313 children); Patim, population 88 (53 children); Achada Furna, population 156 (90 children); and Mosteiros, population 90 (55 children). Adding the ~150 people living with friends and relatives, the total number of displaced person comes to 1,014. These numbers fluctuate as people return to the area and re-evacuate following felt earthquakes.

With emergency needs met, government officials believe that the focus should be on the resettlement of displaced persons. The United Nations DHA-Disaster Mitigation Branch was focusing on civil protection preparedness planning for future volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters.

On 10 May, at the request of the Cape Verde government, a team of four geologists and two students from the Universidade dos Açores went to Fogo to study the eruption. Their objectives are to monitor the progress of the eruption and to begin research related to gas release and the risks of contamination of public water supplies.

Geologic Background. The island of Fogo consists of a single massive stratovolcano that is the most prominent of the Cape Verde Islands. The roughly circular 25-km-wide island is truncated by a large 9-km-wide caldera that is breached to the east and has a headwall 1 km high. The caldera is located asymmetrically NE of the center of the island and was formed as a result of massive lateral collapse of the ancestral Monte Armarelo edifice. A very youthful steep-sided central cone, Pico, rises more than 1 km above the caldera floor to about 100 m above the caldera rim, forming the 2829 m high point of the island. Pico, which is capped by a 500-m-wide, 150-m-deep summit crater, was apparently in almost continuous activity from the time of Portuguese settlement in 1500 CE until around 1760. Later historical lava flows, some from vents on the caldera floor, reached the eastern coast below the breached caldera.

Information Contacts: R. Moore, U.S. Geological Survey, Mail Stop 903, Federal Center Box 25046, Denver, CO 80225 USA; Frank Trusdell, U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718, USA; Veronica Carvalho Martins, U.S. Embassy, Rua Hoji Ya Henda 81, C.P. 201, Praia, Cape Verde; Arrigo Querido and Helena Tatiana Osorio, INGRH Servicos Estudos Hidrologicos, C.P. 367, Praia, Cape Verde; François LeGuern, CNRS Centre des Faibles Radioactivités, 91190 Gif-sur-Yvette, France; João Gaspar and Nicolau Wallenstein, Departamento Geociências, Universidad dos Açores, rue da Mae de Deus 58, 9500 Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal; Henry Gaudru, Christine Pittet, Patrick Barois, and Marc Sagot, Société Volcanologique Européenne (SVE), C.P. 1, 1211 Geneva 17, Switzerland; United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs, Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, C.P. 372, 1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland.


Galeras (Colombia) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquake swarm continues; higher pressure gas emissions

Volcanic activity was relatively low in April. During approximately 1-20 April there was an increase in the pressure of gas emissions. Heavy rains on 12 and 18 April caused mudflows along the W-flank Azufral river that reached heights of 5 and 15 m, respectively, above the usual water level in narrow sections of the canyon. These two events were detected by the seismic network at Galeras.

A high-frequency earthquake swarm (magnitudes up to 2.3) on 14 April associated with rock fracturing (15 events within 100 minutes) was located at depths of 1.5-4 km below the summit. Ten other high-frequency events had dispersed epicenters at depths of <5 km. Four nearly monochromatic long-duration earthquakes with slowly decaying codas (screw-type events) occurred during 19-20 April. Screws were not detected after increased gas emissions on 22 April sent a plume ~2 km high that was seen from Pasto (~9 km E).

The earthquake swarm NNE of the active crater that began in March continued in April, but with fewer and lower-magnitude events. However, there were two events felt in Pasto and in the towns of Jenoy and Narino on 3 and 27 April. By the end of April there had been 1,967 events from this source since 4 March, of which 67 were felt in small towns near the epicenter.

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 Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Pasto (OVP), Apartado Aereo 1795, San Juan de Pasto (Narino), Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html).


Irazu (Costa Rica) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Irazu

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Rainfall-induced mass wasting and three seismic events

OVSICORI-UNA reported that, with respect to January, the lake level in April dropped 50 cm. The greenish yellow lake constantly bubbled on its N, NE, W, and SW shores. Small landslides took place along the crater's N, E, and SW walls.

On the NW flank, where there had been a small phreatic eruption vented from a well-established fumarole in December 1994, fumaroles remained active at both the eruption site and on the adjacent crater's N wall. Rainfall caused new mass wasting that sent debris into the Rio Sucio.

ICE reported that Mauricio Mora recorded three seismic events in the vicinity of the volcano. These appeared similar to tectonic earthquakes; their hypocenters fell within about 10 km of Irazú's main crater.

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: Erick Fernandez, Vilma Barboza, and Jorge Barquero, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Gerardo J. Soto, Oficina de Sismologia y Vulcanologia del Arenal y Miravalles (OSIVAM), Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San Jose, Costa Rica; Mauricio Mora, Escuela Centroamericana de Geologia, Universidad de Costa Rica.


Kanaga (United States) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Kanaga

United States

51.923°N, 177.168°W; summit elev. 1307 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional mild steam plumes

As of 31 March, observers in Adak (33 km E) continued to report occasional mild steam plumes above the summit. Through 31 March no thermal anomaly had been detected since 13 October 1994 when eruptive activity that began in December 1993 apparently ceased (BGVN 18:12 and 19:11). That eruption was characterized by intermittent, low-level steam and ash emissions producing plumes rarely rising over 3,000-4,500 m altitude and drifting a few tens of kilometers downwind. There are no seismometers on Kanaga, located 965 km WSW of the tip of the Alaska Peninsula on Kanaga Island, and monitoring is done through a combination of satellite image analysis and observations by pilots and residents of Adak.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical Kanaga stratovolcano is situated within the Kanaton caldera at the northern tip of Kanaga Island. The caldera rim forms a 760-m-high arcuate ridge south and east of Kanaga; a lake occupies part of the SE caldera floor. The volume of subaerial dacitic tuff is smaller than would typically be associated with caldera collapse, and deposits of a massive submarine debris avalanche associated with edifice collapse extend nearly 30 km to the NNW. Several fresh lava flows from historical or late prehistorical time descend the flanks of Kanaga, in some cases to the sea. Historical eruptions, most of which are poorly documented, have been recorded since 1763. Kanaga is also noted petrologically for ultramafic inclusions within an outcrop of alkaline basalt SW of the volcano. Fumarolic activity occurs in a circular, 200-m-wide, 60-m-deep summit crater and produces vapor plumes sometimes seen on clear days from Adak, 50 km to the east.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA, 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.


Kilauea (United States) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows, breakouts, tremor, and more

The 12-year-long eruption on Kilauea's E rift zone continued in March-April, with vents on the SW flank of the Pu`u `O`o cone feeding directly into lava tubes. Recent heights of the lava lake are at the bottom of table 4 and a map showing recent flows appears on figure 97 (for comparison, the previous map appeared in BGVN 20:02).

Table 4. Summary of Kilauea seismic data, lava flux rate, and lava pond heights for stated dates or intervals in 1995. Courtesy of HVO.

Date/Interval Observation Type Comment
Late Feb-03 Mar 1995 Earthquakes Intermediate depth activity remained high, slowly decaying to background levels.
Late Feb-10 Mar 1995 East Rift Zone Tremor Tremor with stable amplitudes ~3-4x background.
03 Mar 1995 Pu`u `O`o lava pond 79 m below rim.
10 Mar 1995 East Rift Zone Tremor Tremor dropped to 2x background with intermittent bursts of higher amplitude (similar to banded tremor) at 1900.
14 Mar-15 Mar 1995 Earthquakes In a 37-hour period beginning at 0900 on 14 March there were 134 intermediate-depth events.
14 Mar-27 Mar 1995 East Rift Zone Tremor Tremor continued.
19 Mar 1995 Earthquakes M 4.3 earthquake at ~50 km depth, W of the Island of Hawaii.
21 Mar 1995 Pu`u `O`o lava pond 75 m below rim.
27 Mar 1995 Earthquakes M 4.1 earthquake at 25 km depth beneath the upper E rift zone.
28 Mar-10 Apr 1995 East Rift Zone Tremor Tremor fairly constant at 2-3x background.
28 Mar-10 Apr 1995 Pu`u `O`o lava pond 75-81 m below rim.
11 Apr-24 Apr 1995 Earthquakes Shallow, long-period microearthquake counts were slightly above average. The number of short-period events was low.
11 Apr-24 Apr 1995 East Rift Zone Tremor Tremor continued, amplitudes were low, ~1.5-2x background. Shallow, long-period microearthquake counts were slightly above average.
11 Apr-24 Apr 1995 Pu`u `O`o lava pond 90-86 m below rim. Continued lava circulation from W to E in the pond.
03 May 1995 Earthquakes Swarm of 13 located earthquakes, the largest M 3.9; they were interpreted as shallow crustal adjustments beneath Hilina Pali.
10-30 Apr 1995 Lava flux rate ~400,000 m3/day (Volcano Watch, 1995).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Kilauea lava flows grouped into three time intervals: 1983 to 1992; 1992 to April 1995; and 11-20 April 1995. Heavy dashed line indicates lava tubes, and the contour interval is 500 m. Courtesy of USGS.

During 28 February-13 March fluid pahoehoe breakouts spread W and covered more of the Chain of Craters road. The eruption slowed during 14-16 March. Flows became more viscous and the amount of lava entering the ocean dwindled. On 16 March, cooler temperatures were measured on a thermocouple hanging through an opening in the roof of an active lava tube. By the morning of 17 March all flows entering the sea had temporarily stopped, but temperatures rose to normal values in the active tube and by early afternoon lava began escaping the tube system at three elevations; one reached within 500 m of the highway by 27 March.

In the 24 March-10 April interval, two tubes diverging toward the E and W sides of the flow field, the Kamoamoa and the Lae'apuki tubes, respectively, continued to feed flows on the coastal plain. The Highcastle lava flow escaped from the E tube (figure 97), advancing toward the ocean as a sheet flow, covering the lower part of another recent flow (the Jason flow), and reaching the ocean on 29 March. By 6 April, the Highcastle flows had built a 500-m-wide lava bench 20-30 m oceanward. On 7 April, a large breakout from the 104-m elevation on Paliuli headed towards the ocean on top of previously emplaced flows. By 8 April, flows on the coastal plain had stilled and the amount of lava entering the ocean decreased. The east rift zone eruption paused briefly on 11 April and flows on the coastal plain stagnated.

When the eruption later resumed, lava broke out of the tube system on Pulama pali, feeding numerous aa and pahoehoe flows. Two lava flows entered the ocean on about 18-20 April. Pahoehoe lava engulfed an older cone that had been created by littoral explosions in July 1994, leaving only a remnant of the cone visible on 20 April. The following day, a seismic station in the coastal area recorded a bench collapse-littoral explosion and at the same time observers saw the steam plume abruptly increase in size.

On the topic of a public policy issue relevant to volcanologists and public access to volcanoes, in 1992 US and local government personnel rescued a movie cameraman trapped on a ledge above Pu`u O`o lava lake. Although rescue workers were cited for valor, an Associated Press news report (Miller, 1995) also mentions how local authorities made subsequent attempts to gain partial reimbursement for $75,000 in rescue expenses. These latter efforts were unsuccessful. According to the news story, in the United States two strategies appear to have emerged for dealing with rescue and related costs: 1) stiff fees paid by park users (eg. $150 for a climbing permit in Denali National Park, Alaska), and 2) rules or laws that specifically dictate that fees be billed to those rescued.

References. Miller, Angela S., 1995, When Risk Leads to Rescue, Who Pays the Cost?: Associated Press, 10 February 1995.

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: Tari Mattox and Paul Okubo, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718, USA.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — April 1995 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)


Ash clouds to several hundred meters above the crater

Monitoring of Langila resumed on 3 April following a lapse from 18 March to 2 April. Up to that time, activity at Crater 3 remained low and activity at Crater 2 continued at a moderate level. After the lapse in monitoring, Crater 2 continued to emit white vapors in low to moderate volumes. Gray ash clouds were occasionally emitted to several hundred meters above the crater. Occasional rumbling sounds and night time glows were normally associated with the ash emissions. Loud explosions were heard on 3 and 30 April. Ashfall NW of the volcano (in the Kilenge area) was reported on 11 April. Crater 3 released thin white vapor accompanied by wisps of blue vapor on 12, 14, 21, and 27 April. There were neither audible sounds nor night glows. Both seismographs remained inoperative during 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: David Lolok and Ben Talai, RVO.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — April 1995 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)


Both seismicity and tilt low; gently steaming

Although activity at Manam remained low in April, throughout the month both Main and Southern Craters infrequently discharged white vapor. Southern Crater discharged wispy blue vapor on the 11th; faint rumbling sounds were heard on one occasion only (at 2330 on 23 April); weak night glow was seen mainly during the 2nd and 4th weeks of April, when then summit was clearly visible. Main Crater issued occasional, thin to thick white vapors. These emissions were gentle and were not accompanied by night glow or audible sounds. The seismicity fluctuated at a low level throughout the month. No significant change was shown by the water-tube tiltmeter located about 4 km SW from the summit.

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: David Lolok and Ben Talai, RVO.


Momotombo (Nicaragua) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Momotombo

Nicaragua

12.423°N, 86.539°W; summit elev. 1270 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarole chemistry and temperature data for 1983 and 1995

On 25 February 1995 Lucano Giannini and Orlando Vaselli (University of Florence) visited the crater of Momotombo to collect fumarolic gas samples. The chemical composition of the gases at the highest observed temperature is shown on table 4. Also shown for comparison are values obtained in 1983, when seismic activity, ground deformation, and subsurface basaltic magma emplacement took place. The temperature decrease and gas compositional changes were thought to mainly reflect the twelve years of cooling.

Table 4. Chemical analyses on Momotombo fumaroles, 1983 and 1995. Courtesy of Marino Martini, University of Florence.

Component 1983 1995
Temperature (°C) 835 660
H2O (volume %) 94.00 91.18
CO2 (dry gas %) 56.95 72.79
SO2 (dry gas %) 22.33 8.72
H2S (dry gas %) 5.00 3.87
HCl (dry gas %) 5.83 6.25
HF (dry gas %) 0.30 0.36
B (dry gas %) 0.081 0.018
Br (dry gas %) 0.0088 0.0073
NH4 (dry gas %) 0.0088 0.0038
H2 (dry gas %) 8.47 5.12
N2 (dry gas %) 0.78 2.73
CO (dry gas %) 0.25 0.12

Geologic Background. Momotombo is a young stratovolcano that rises prominently above the NW shore of Lake Managua, forming one of Nicaragua's most familiar landmarks. Momotombo began growing about 4500 years ago at the SE end of the Marrabios Range and consists of a somma from an older edifice that is surmounted by a symmetrical younger cone with a 150 x 250 m wide summit crater. Young lava flows extend down the NW flank into the 4-km-wide Monte Galán caldera. The youthful cone of Momotombito forms an island offshore in Lake Managua. Momotombo has a long record of Strombolian eruptions, punctuated by occasional stronger explosive activity. The latest eruption, in 1905, produced a lava flow that traveled from the summit to the lower NE base. A small black plume was seen above the crater after a 10 April 1996 earthquake, but later observations noted no significant changes in the crater. A major geothermal field is located on the south flank.

Information Contacts: Marino Martini, University of Florence, Italy.


Poas (Costa Rica) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Two new hot springs; moderate number of earthquakes and tremor

Fumarolic activity continued at Poás in the active, northern crater lake. OVSICORI-UNA reported the lake level rose 50 cm in April with respect to March. When observed in April, the lake appeared light green and had a temperature of 41°C. On small areas along the lake's NW and W shore, small bubbles escaped continually. A low (less than 50-m tall) steam cloud hovered over the lake.

On the lake's SW terrace there were two new intermittent springs (74°C and 64°C) that were light-gray in color, presumably caused by suspended sediment. On the S terrace, fumaroles continued to emit gases and on the SW side there appeared a new fumarole with a 74°C temperature. The pyroclastic cone gave off gas that had a 89°C temperature.

Low-frequency seismicity at Poás in April declined by about 15% compared to March (table 6). Tremor began on about 8 March and the monthly duration reached 11 hours, more than the past few months but significantly less than the tens or hundreds of hours recorded during the months of May-September 1994.

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: Erick Fernandez, Vilma Barboza, and Jorge Barquero, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA); Gerardo J. Soto, Oficina de Sismologia y Vulcanologia del Arenal y Miravalles: OSIVAM; Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE); Mauricio Mora, Escuela Centroamericana de Geologia, Universidad de Costa Rica.


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Located seismic events and summit crater observations

"We report on Popocatepetl seismic activity during the interval 21 December 1994 to 2 May 1995. Activity was monitored using seven seismic stations located around to the volcano above 2,600 m elevation (figure 9). These stations are part of the Popocatepetl Seismic Network. Beginning 21 December, the volcano changed dramatically in its seismic and fumarolic activity. Several explosions emitted ash that fell on Puebla City, an area located about 50 km away. About 22 hours after this activity, seismic tremor was observed for the first time at several stations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Stations of the Popocatepetl Seismic Network (triangles) and epicenters for located events detected 21 December to 2 May 1995 (dots). Courtesy of Instituto de Geofisica, UNAM.

"In the 21 December-2 May interval we located 75 seismic events in the vicinity of the volcano (figure 9). We used arrival times from digital records from at least three stations and located the events using Hypocenter software. The average standard location errors in the horizontal and vertical directions do not exceed 1 km with a standard deviation of 0.14 km (figure 10). Earthquake magnitudes (calculated using a coda length magnitude for tectonic events in Mexico) ranged between 1.4 and 3.4 (as represented by different sized dots on figure 10). The E-W cross section of the hypocenters (figure 10) shows a concentration of seismic events in a circle of 3.0 km diameter and in a conduit that connects to the overlying crater. These results crudely suggest a magma chamber located below sea level and connected to the volcano crater. A N-S cross section suggests the same findings.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. An E-W cross section of the hypocenters beneath Popocatepetl for the interval 21 December 1994 to 2 May 1995. Earthquake magnitudes are shown by dot sizes; the size of error bars are discussed in the text. Courtesy of Instituto de Geofisica, UNAM.

"During the first four days (21-24 December) seismic tremor was continuous and of high amplitude. During the following 20 days (25 December-13 January) tremor was also continuous, but the amplitude diminished five-fold compared to the first four days. After that, in the next 45 days (14 January-28 February), tremor turned sporadic with durations of about 10 minutes and with amplitudes comparable to those in the first four days. During the last 60 days, tremor became more sporadic with smaller durations, but it still had amplitudes similar to, and in some cases exceeding, those of the first four days.

"On 12 March an expedition lead by Enrique Chaves-Popuard reached the volcano's summit. The meteorological conditions allowed the team to videotape the interior of the crater. The following observations were made: a) the crater lake disappeared, b) three new craters appeared at the foot of the main crater's E wall, c) most of the fumarolic emissions came from these new craters, d) the number of small fumarolic vents has increased in the older inner crater, and e) several fumarolic vents were observed in the S and E walls of the main crater."

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

Information Contacts: Carlos Valdes-Gonzalez, Guillermo Gonzalez-Pomposo, and A. Arciniega-Ceballos, Departamento de Sismologia y Volcanologia, Instituto de Geofisica, UNAM, Ciudad Universitaria 04510 D.F., Mexico.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — April 1995 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)


Tavurvur explosions stop on 16 April

Two strong explosions took place at the intra-caldera cone Tavurvur on 30 March; after that, the repose intervals between explosions at Tavurvur lengthened, lasting from several hours to more than 24 hours. Tavurvur discharged several noteworthy explosions on 13-15 April; explosions ceased on 16 April.

During the first half of April, explosions sent ash clouds 1-2 km above the crater, but they were typically spasmodic and relatively mild. Ash predominantly fell to the SE (mainly over Talwatt and occasionally at Kokopo, with smaller amounts in Rabaul on a few days). Accompanying the normally gray ash emissions were weak roaring sounds heard late on the 3rd, low rumbling sounds on the 9th, and lightning seen in and around the billowing ash column on the 11th.

At 1206 on 13 April an impressive explosion occurred. It began with fast-rising, spear-headed jets of dark ash, which fed a billowing ash cloud that rose to about 2 km above the crater. Some ballistic blocks landed in the bay immediately W and NW of Tavurvur. On 14 April, moderate-to-strong explosions started at about 0920, with the most intense activity occurring between 1030 and 1040. Resulting eruption clouds were dark gray and quite dense; fallout was heavy at Tavurvur and immediately downwind (SE). In and around the eruption column, lightning was noted. The activity declined slowly through the day and stopped at about 2320.

Strong explosions resumed at about 1320 on 15 April. During a roughly 1 hour period, several large eruption clouds rose to about 2 km. These ash clouds remained intact as they drifted to the SE. Prolonged moderate ash emission also took place from early to mid-afternoon. During the early hours of 16 April, mild explosive activity took place; it stopped at about 0600. From that time onward activity chiefly consisted of weak white vapor emissions. Following a period of heavy rainfall on the 24th, however, these emissions again became more voluminous, but by the next day they returned to a very low level.

Seismicity in the first half of April, until the 16th, partly consisted of low-frequency earthquakes associated with Tavurvur's explosions. Explosion sizes appeared to correspond to earthquake amplitudes. Six high-frequency earthquakes also occurred (compared to 5 in March and 4 in February). These earthquakes all had epicenters outside the caldera--five to the N-NE and one to the SW.

During April, electronically measured tilt in the interior of the caldera at Matupit Island continued to show a trend of very slow deflation. Other ground deformation measurements failed to show significant trends.

An aerial inspection, on 8 April, revealed that Tavurvur's surface was covered with fresh black ash. Numerous gray blocks had also landed, mainly on the S flank and inside the old crater. The fumarole previously emitting blue-vapor (located about 1/3 of the way down the 1994 lava flow) was inactive. One white-vapor fumarole was noted where the lava had advanced over the crater rim. The crater displayed variably colored sublimate deposits and small erosional gullies. A step-like structural form was seen on the crater's E side, and a smooth, bowl shape was seen on its W side. Inside the crater there were neither visible vents nor a lava mound.

Vulcan continued weak white vapor emissions, coming mainly from the crater of the 1994 cone. Fumaroles at the base of the 1994 crater had been mostly buried by mud leaving only one on the W side of the crater. The upper one of the two pit craters on the N flank of the 1994 cone had caved in. Temperature of hot springs along the N shore were consistent with previous months' readings at ~100°C.

The State of Emergency in Rabaul was lifted on 10 April, making way for the Gazelle Restoration Authority to promote the rehabilitation process.

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: David Lolok and Ben Talai, RVO


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — April 1995 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)


Description of the crater lake and fumaroles

The remote Rincón de la Vieja volcanic complex continues to display unsettled seismic and fumarolic activity. OVSICORI-UNA reported that during April fumarolic venting continued from the W wall, creating noise audible from the crater's rim. Escaping gases stung the skin. Radial fractures encircled the crater on its NE, N, and NW sides.

G. Soto (ICE), Jean-Philippe Rancon, and Gorges Boudon climbed the volcano on 1 May and reported that the lake contained a scum of floating sulfur and was pale turquoise in color. No lake temperature measurements were made but the entire surface steamed slightly. In contrast to a previous visit in March 1994, the lake level seemed significantly higher, although the amount has yet to be quantified from photographic records; zones of bubbling (previously several meters across) were absent.

Fumaroles on the crater's inner SE wall were quite active and fumed noiselessly. Gas plumes, clearly visible from the volcano's N flank, rose up to 100 m above the crater before being blown by the wind. Small, steam-rich fumaroles adjacent to concentric fractures surrounded the crater, typically near the 1,640 m contour. These fumaroles were also active last year.

At least two other noteworthy fumaroles, expelling steam and sulfurous gases, sit on the N flank (along the valley called Quebrada Azumicrorada at around 1,200- and 1,300-m elevation). In clear weather, these fumaroles are visible from local villages and residents stated that they had been active for the past several years.

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: Erick Fernandez, Vilma Barboza, and Jorge Barquero, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Gerardo J. Soto, Oficina de Sismologia y Vulcanologia del Arenal y Miravalles: OSIVAM; Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San José, Costa Rica; Jean-Philippe Rancon, BRGM, Orleans, France (presently at USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, 5400 MacArthur Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98661-7095 USA); Georges Boudon, Observatoires Volcanologiques, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 4 Place Jussieu, 75252 Paris 05, France.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruapehu

New Zealand

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Crater lake temperature drops 10°C from 13-year high

The following was extracted from the IGNS Ruapehu Immediate Report (RUA 95/02). Peaks on the crater lake temperature versus time curve have often correlated to small vent-clearing eruptions (see figure 16).

"Crater Lake has been in a heating phase since late November, reaching the highest temperature (55°C) in 13 years by 12 February, but a 10°C decline since then and a reduction in volume suggest this phase has peaked. Minor phreatic eruptions have been occurring since early January but appear to have become infrequent, or may have even ceased, during February. Despite the relatively high heat output, the recent activity has so far followed the cycle of heating and cooling typical of Ruapehu since at least 1985."

There were several reports of steam clouds and other phenomena after 20 January. A hiker on 24 January described the crater lake seen through the clouds as "a seething surface" that made "roaring sounds" lasting 1 to 2 minutes.

Two or more observers on 29 January described the crater lake, which was visible for almost 2 hours, as "pale gray, almost white" and two, 1.5 m (or smaller) upwelling and splashing episodes were seen. The report also mentioned "pure yellow styrofoam-sulfur" littering the Outlet area. The water temperature, measured with two calibrated thermometers, was 51.4°C.

Hikers in cloudy weather on 30 January witnessed a "small hydrothermal eruption up to 10-20 m." Hikers in cloudy weather on 5 February heard sloshing noises from the crater lake followed by two "loud explosions." On 15 February observers saw a 3 km tall, stationary steam plume over the crater lake; on 25 and 27 February observers also saw steam clouds. These clouds were undoubtedly steam, but they may have arisen from "atmospheric enhancement" due to a rise in relative humidity rather than from definite eruptions. Their interpretation thus remains ambiguous. A ground inspection on 2 March failed to confirm any significant surging took place around the shore of Lake Wade.

In the interval 31 January-early March there were few discrete earthquakes and mainly background tremor was detected on the volcano's Dome seismograph. On the other hand, there were short intervals of strong, high frequency tremor, an unusual occurrence for Ruapehu.

Although in the latest crater visit on 2 March all deformation survey stations were accessible and clear of snow, most of the length changes seen since 13 January were insignificant (<= 5 mm). Station I (see map, BGVN 19:12) appeared to have moved 18 mm ENE relative to all other stations since May 1994--a motion consistent with moderate deflation seen in the past 10 months, but also possibly due to displacement by local snow loading or other factors.

Mg and Cl analyses of lake water were made on 18 and 29 January, and on 2 March, but showed relatively change. The Mg/Cl ratio changed only about 4% (shifting downward from an 18 January value of 0.036 to a 2 March value of 0.035). The Mg/Cl ratios were interpreted to indicate that the heating event was driven by convective flow of lake water through the upper portion of the vent. Thus, the heating event was regarded as mainly due to fluid flow rather than heat input from magmatic sources within the edifice.

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

Information Contacts: P.M. Otway, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand.


Stromboli (Italy) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 5 March and tremor; crater observations

Due to funding problems, the power supply to the 3-component summit seismic station maintained by the University of Udine was interrupted from 10 December 1994 until 13 January 1995. The previous report (BGVN 20:01) described seismic activity through 9 December. This station has been operating since 1989, but may be permanently shut down in June if funding is not continued.

Stromboli island was visited by Giada Giuntoli and Boris Behncke on 19-24 April. Generally, the volcano showed much less activity than during a previous visit in August 1994, but an increase was evident on 23 April, resulting in the resumption of eruptions from Crater 1, which had been inactive for several weeks. Behncke also provided a review of crater morphology changes since 1989.

Seismicity, early 1995. Throughout 13 January-4 April the daily number of shocks remained roughly constant at 200-400 (figure 39). On 26 February tremor intensity began to decrease, and for a few days its average value remained stable below 3 Volts x seconds (Vs). However, the number of major shocks remained high. On 5 March a large explosion accompanied the return of tremor intensity to more usual values of around 5 Vs. The explosion threw pyroclastic material towards Forgia Vecchia and Fossetta, a depression SW of the crater area. The ejecta rose high enough to be clearly seen from the village of Stromboli, where the explosion was strongly felt. Tremor level continued to increase following the explosion; after a short decrease it quickly increased again to a peak of 10.8 Vs on 30 March. The number of major shocks decreased after 13 March. The increase in tremor intensity after the 5 March event did not match the behavior recorded after the explosions of 10 February 1993 and 16 October 1993 (BGVN 18:01, 18:02, and 18:09). On those occasions a remarkable decrease of all seismicity, and of the tremor level in particular, was noted immediately afterwards.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Seismicity recorded at Stromboli, 13 January-4 April 1995. Open bars show the number of recorded events/day, the solid bars those with ground velocities >100 micron/s (instrument saturation level). The line shows daily tremor energy computed by averaging hourly 60-second samples. The seismic station is located 300 m from the craters at 800 m elevation. Courtesy of Roberto Carniel.

Activity on 20 April 1995. During a summit visit on 20 April between 0000 and 1500, activity was low compared to previous visits (September 1989, March and November 1990, August 1991, and March and August 1994); only three vents were erupting, in contrast to 10 in August. A detailed record of the eruptions was made for ~4 hours (table 2). The most notable change was the almost complete inactivity of Crater 1 (figures 40 and 41), which had contained at least six erupting vents in August 1994. Only vent 1/3 displayed some brief weak explosions, mostly of burning gas carrying a few incandescent fragments from the conduit walls. Crater 2 was not erupting, as in March and August 1994, but was the site of loud gas emissions.

Table 2. Eruptive activity at Stromboli observed between 0800 and 1210 on 20 April 1995, from Pizzo sopra la Fossa. Courtesy of Boris Behncke.

Time Crater-Vent Description
0800 1-3 Brief (1 sec) gas explosion.
0810 1-3 Explosion (2 sec) with dark fumes.
0811 3-2 Very small explosion, no bombs visible.
0811 3-1 Strong bomb ejection to ~30 m.
0813 3-2 Lava fountain (15 sec) with some ash, to ~60 m above crater terrace.
0816 1-3 Brief thud with gas puff.
0825 3-2 Small, low fountain inside crater (5 sec).
0830 2-? Loud gas emission, no solid ejections (2-3 sec).
0845 3-2 Small ash explosion (10 sec) to 30 m.
0857 3-2 Small ash explosion (5 sec).
0859 3-2 Large bomb and ash fountain to 80 m (10 sec).
0902 3-2 Small bomb fountain with no ash to 30 m (5 sec).
0906 3-2 Very small explosion (mainly gas) inside crater (4 sec).
0908 3-2 Large bomb and ash fountain to 50 m, ash plume to 250 m (10 sec).
0912 1-3 Small gas explosion (2 sec).
0937 3-1 Single burst of large bombs to 30 m.
0944 3-1 Bomb ejection to ~20 m.
0952 1-3 Brief (1 sec) gas burst.
0954 3-1 Large bomb ejection with very large (up to 5 m) clots to ~30 m.
1010 3-2 Ash fountain to 150 m.
1043 3-2 Vigorous bomb and ash fountain; bombs to 80 m; dense ash column to >200 m (~30 sec).
1045 1-3 Small gas explosion (1 sec).
1110 3-2 Large bomb and ash fountain similar to that of 1043.
1124 1-3 Small gas explosion (1 sec).
1132 1-3 Small gas explosion (1 sec).
1136 3-2 Bomb and ash fountain, ash to >200 m.
1148 3-1 Abundant very large bombs to ~25 m; "whooshing" sound.
1152 3-1 Similar to 1148 but with less bombs.
1155 3-1 Similar to 1148 but with less bombs.
1207 1-3 Small gas explosion (1 sec).
1208 3-2 Bomb fountain to

The most active vents were in Crater 3. Vent 3/1 activity consisted of almost continuous low spattering from a small lava pond with occasional bursts to ~60 m above the vent; similar activity was seen in March 1994 (BGVN 19:03). Rare bursts of large incandescent lava clots (up to 5 m in diameter) were accompanied by faint "whooshing" noises. Only twice were bombs ejected beyond the pit of 3/1, onto the NE wall of Crater 3. Eruptions from vent 3/2 occurred at intervals ranging from 2 minutes to >1 hour (see table 1), with periods of more frequent eruptions alternating with periods of very low activity. For example, six eruptions occurred during a 25-minute period (0845-0910), while from 0910 until 1210 there were only five more. Some of these eruptions consisted of loud gas emissions with very low spatter fountains, but most produced incandescent fountains 80-100 m high. Between sunrise on 20 April (at about 0700) and noon, the eruptions produced ash plumes up to 250 m high. Most of the ejected material fell back into the pit, but sometimes the entire NW rim of Crater 3 was covered with pyroclastics, and bombs rolled down the Sciara del Fuoco.

Activity on 21 and 23 April 1995. When observed from Punta Labronzo, on the N side of the island, on the evening of 21 April activity consisted of frequent low lava fountains from vent 3/2 and fluctuating incandescence over vent 3/1. Small ash plumes produced by eruptions from 3/2 were driven down the Sciara del Fuoco by strong winds. A dramatic change was evident late on 23 April, when the volcano was again observed from Punta Labronzo. Crater glow was much more intense, though still intermittent, and a persistent glow was visible at a small spot in the gap on the NE rim of Crater 1 (formed by the 5 March explosion). Vent 3/2 erupted as during the preceding days with somewhat larger ash plumes. However, a vent in the N part of Crater 1 ended the period of unusual inactivity of this crater, erupting spectacularly at intervals of 10-25 minutes. These eruptions were very brief (< 5 seconds) and produced cannon-shot-like bangs. Narrow incandescent columns rose obliquely to at least 150 m above the vent before falling onto the Sciara del Fuoco, depositing abundant incandescent material on the steep slope. For 3-5 minutes, incandescent material would cascade down to about half of the Sciara's extension, with a few large blocks tumbling farther. None appeared to reach the sea during the 1-hour observation period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sketch map of the summit area of Stromboli, April 1995, showing the three craters and locations of vents. Courtesy of Boris Behncke.

Morphologic changes occur almost continuously, with alternating constructive and destructive processes. Periods of spatter-cone growth and crater filling usually last from a few months to several years and are followed by either crater-floor subsidence or explosive disruption of the cones. Cone growth was continuous from at least 1989 (maybe 1986) until October 1993, interrupted only by small-scale cone collapse and minor explosions. At the same time, the craters were filled to their rims with tephra and minor lava flows (as in May 1993; BGVN 18:04). Two large explosions in October 1993 blew out all of the material from the craters, leaving deep (>60 m) and wide chasms with near-vertical walls, still present in March 1994 (BGVN 19:03). New spatter cones grew rapidly during unusually vigorous activity in the summer and autumn of 1994, reaching much larger dimensions than the 1989-93 cones. In March 1995, parts of these cones were again removed by powerful explosions similar to, but smaller than, the October 1993 explosions. Also during early 1995, subsidence in Crater 3 created two pits at least 50 m deep.

Crater 1 has been the site of the most pronounced spatter-cone growth during 1989-95. Very small cones rarely formed at vent 3/1 and within the one vent of Crater 2. Most of the filling of craters 2 and 3 was due to the accumulation of pyroclastics. Three large, steep-sided cones and several smaller ones grew within Crater 1 between March and August 1994, the largest at vent 1/2 in the central portion of the crater, reaching ~30 m above its base. A powerful explosion in March 1995 blew out a pit 60-70 m in diameter and some 40 m deep with vertical walls, removing half of the cone (figure 41), and exposing the now-inactive conduit. Some of the smaller 1994 cones were also destroyed during the March explosion. The "twin cones" above vents 1/4 and 1/5 had grown much larger since August 1994, reaching ~25 m above their bases. Crater 2 had changed little since the summer of 1994. The small (~5 m high) hornito in its center, first observed in October 1994 (BGVN 19:10) was still present.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. View of the crater terrace from Pizzo Sopra la Fossa, 20 April 1995. Courtesy of Boris Behncke.

Crater 3, which had been filled with pyroclastics in August 1994, had two major depressions at the sites of vents 3/1 and 3/2. These depressions differ from the explosion pit in Crater 1, lacking its vertical walls and sharp rim, and may have formed in response to the lowering of the magmatic column sometime during November 1994 when the period of high-level activity ended. Another major change since 1989 is the significant upward growth of the entire crater terrace, most notable on the NW side facing the Sciara del Fuoco. This change is also evident on the profile views of Crater 1 taken from an observation point ~400 m NW (figure 42). Since the early and mid-20th century, the crater terrace has grown upwards by 50-100 m, completely burying the formerly conspicuous Filo di Baraona (figure 40), a frequently cited reference point in older literature at the SW end of the crater terrace. The highest point of the crater terrace is the SW rim of Crater 3, lying at ~780-800 m elevation (some 40 m above its NE rim), at the site of the former Filo di Baraona. This is significantly higher than the ~725 m estimated by Hornig-Kjarsgaard and others (1993).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Comparative profile views of Crater 1 from the NE, illustrating the repeated growth and destruction of spatter cones between September 1989 and April 1995. The June 1993 sketch is based on photographs taken by Jon Dehn (Geological Survey of Japan, Hokkaido) and shows two lava lobes (arrows) from the vigorous May 1993 activity extending downslope. Courtesy of Boris Behncke.

Reference. Hornig-Kjarsgaard, I., Keller, J., Koberski, K., Stadlbauer, E., Francalanci, L., and Lenhart, R., 1993, Geology, stratigraphy and volcanological evolution of the island of Stromboli, Aeolian arc, Italy: Acta Vulcanologica, v. 3, p. 21-68.

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: Roberto Carniel, Dipartimento di Georisorse e Territorio, via Cotonificio 114, I-33100 Udine, Italy; Giada Giuntoli and Boris Behncke, GEOMAR Research Center, Dept. of Volcanology and Petrology, Christian-Albrechts-Universitat zu Kiel, Wischhofstr. 1-3, 24148 Kiel, Germany.


Unzendake (Japan) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Unzendake

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


No lava dome growth, small rockfalls, rare tremors

No lava dome growth was revealed by theodolite surveys, helicopter inspections, or fieldwork during March and April. Rare rockfalls in March, 1-2/week, traveled 5m3. However, little lava was supplied after mid-February (figure 79). Theodolite survey results indicated that the endogenous dome started to shrink a little (1-2 m maximum) in April, compared with the data from February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Daily eruption volume at Unzen, May 1991-April 1995, showing two distinct pulses of magma-supply. No effusion of lava has been observed since mid-February 1995. The total volume of magma erupted during this 4-year period was ~0.20 km3. Eruption volumes were estimated by Geological Party, Joint University Research Group (JURG), using photographs from daily helicopter inspections and theodolite surveys. Only aerial photographs were used by the Geographical Survey Institute (GSI), the Public Works Research Institute (PWRI), and the Geological Survey of Japan (GSJ) to calculate the volume changes. Courtesy of Setsuya Nakada.

Volcanic gas emission decreased in April, such that no fume was observed from distant sites. Scientists from the Shimabara Earthquake and Volcano Observatory (SEVO), Kyushu University, installed mirrors for EDM and GPS stations near the top of the endogenous dome during April fieldwork. A sample from the dike on the top of the endogenous dome, which extruded at the end of 1994 and is the latest juvenile material, had a composition similar to lobe-13 samples collected in August 1994 (~65 wt.% SiO2); the specific gravity was ~2.46.

Only 15 microearthquakes beneath the dome and 10 tremor events were detected in March at the Japan Meteorological Agency seismograph 3.6 km SW of the dome. The same station detected 29 earthquakes and 18 tremor events in April. No pyroclastic flows were detected in March or April, but tiltmeters recorded upward movement of the summit on 9 and 24 March. SEVO noted small tremors on 8 and 15 April that were associated with minor tiltmeter changes; epicenters were several hundred meters W of the dome.

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: Setsuya Nakada, Volcano Research Center - Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan; Volcanological Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 Japan.


Veniaminof (United States) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Veniaminof

United States

56.17°N, 159.38°W; summit elev. 2507 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small plumes seen; warm spots identified from satellite images

During the first quarter of 1995, thermal anomalies were detected on satellite images of Veniaminof intermittently through 13 March. However, because neither ground observers nor pilots reported eruptive activity, these anomalies were thought to be related to the cooling lava flow in the summit caldera. On 17 April an observer in Port Heiden (97 km NE) saw small, dark plumes from Veniaminof. Observers from Perryville (32 km S) reported on 21 April that there had been a small steam plume during the preceding several days. This activity coincided with warm spots near the active vent seen on satellite images from 14, 21, and 22 April.

Geologic Background. Veniaminof, on the Alaska Peninsula, is truncated by a steep-walled, 8 x 11 km, glacier-filled caldera that formed around 3,700 years ago. The caldera rim is up to 520 m high on the north, is deeply notched on the west by Cone Glacier, and is covered by an ice sheet on the south. Post-caldera vents are located along a NW-SE zone bisecting the caldera that extends 55 km from near the Bering Sea coast, across the caldera, and down the Pacific flank. Historical eruptions probably all originated from the westernmost and most prominent of two intra-caldera cones, which rises about 300 m above the surrounding icefield. The other cone is larger, and has a summit crater or caldera that may reach 2.5 km in diameter, but is more subdued and barely rises above the glacier surface.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA, 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.


Villarrica (Chile) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tremor, mild explosions, and a new pyroclastic cone

Gustavo Fuentealba contributed the following on 4 May. "Seismic activity has increased in the past few days compared to March. In mid-April explosions were visible to the level of the crater rim and these explosions coincided with seismicity registered on portable instruments 15 km from the crater. The seismic signals arrived at 90-second intervals.

"In agreement with mid-April explosions and seismic data, aerial observations and photos around that time (taken by members of the Corporacion Nacional Forestal) revealed the growth of a new pyroclastic cone. Starting on 28 April and 1 May, there were intervals of poor visibility, but a new increase in seismic activity included tremor at 30-second intervals. Seismic activity declined suddenly, starting about 1915 on 1 May, but it reappeared ~8 hours later with tremor at 60-second intervals. Although continued poor visibility thwarted direct observations, it was thought probable that the April pyroclastic cone had collapsed."

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

Information Contacts: Gustavo Fuentealba1 and Paola Pena, Observatorio Volcanologico de los Andes del Sur. 1 Also at Universidad de la Frontera, Ciencias Fisicas, Avenida Francisco Salazar 01145, Casilla 54-D A 238, Temuco, Chile.


Vulcano (Italy) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Vulcano

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles at Fossa Grande and Forgia Vecchia craters

During an 18 Apri visit by Boris Behncke to the Fossa Grande crater the most vigorous fumaroles were present on the N inner crater rim and near its bottom. The main focus of fumarolic activity had shifted notably from the crater rim towards its center since his March 1992 visit (BGVN 17:03). Some of the spectacular fissures on the outer N crater wall were inactive, but several large fumaroles had formed near the crater floor. Molten sulfur was present in many fumaroles on the crater rim. Fumarolic activity on the oversteepened S part of the 18th century Forgia Vecchia craters and on the upper SE slope of the cone has changed little since 1992. Fumaroles were also active at Gran Cratere in October 1994.

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

Information Contacts: Giada Giuntoli and Boris Behncke, GEOMAR Research Center, Dept. of Volcanology and Petrology, Christian-Albrechts-Universitat zu Kiel, Wischhofstr. 1-3, 24148 Kiel, Germany.


White Island (New Zealand) — April 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Currently non-eruptive but 2-year-long inflation continues

No eruptive activity occurred during January-March 1995. Wade Crater's floor remained occupied by an aqua-blue lake; photographs taken on 11 November 1994 and 27 February 1995 disclosed a lake-level rise of ~15-20 m. The lake appeared free of convection, but did contain conspicuous orange-colored material floating on its surface. The lake surface in March was thus considerably above the floors of Wade and Princess craters.

Dominant locations of fumaroles in or adjacent to Wade Crater included those high on the W wall, on the W side of the May 1991 embayment (particularly large and conspicuous fumaroles), and NE of Wade Lake on the divide between Wade and TV1 craters.

A 4 March leveling survey had a low error of closure (<=1.5 mm). The survey detected continued uplift, apparent since at least early 1993 (figure 23), with a maximum rate of 4.8 mm/month (58 mm/year) centered about 250 m SE of the middle of Wade Crater (Peg N). An area of shorter-term relative subsidence, apparent since at least August 1994, persists in the TV1-Donald Duck Crater area.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. White Island deformation at leveling Peg C, ~750 m SE of the shore of Lake Wade, 1967-1995. Courtesy of IGNS.

The magnitudes of these upward and downward motions were as follows. For the interval 21 November 1994 to 4 March 1995 the motion was 15 mm (up at Peg N) and -1 to -16 mm (down near TV1). For the interval 19 January 1994 to 4 March 1995 the motion was about 64 mm (up at peg N) and 26 mm (up near TV1).

Continued uplift of the crater floor suggested a crater-wide inflation that has been in progress for more than 2 years (figure 23). This inflation bears a close resemblance to the 5-year inflation that led up to a noteworthy eruption beginning in December 1976. An early phase of the 1976 eruption "sprinkled mustard-green colored ash" up to 1 m or more thick, over the crater and lesser thickness over the E part of the Island (SEAN 02:01).

Geologic Background. The uninhabited White Island, also known as Whakaari in the Maori language, is the 2 x 2.4 km emergent summit of a 16 x 18 km submarine volcano in the Bay of Plenty about 50 km offshore of North Island. The island consists of two overlapping andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcanoes. The summit crater appears to be breached to the SE, because the shoreline corresponds to the level of several notches in the SE crater wall. Volckner Rocks, sea stacks that are remnants of a lava dome, lie 5 km NW. Descriptions of eruptions since 1826 have included intermittent moderate phreatic, phreatomagmatic, and Strombolian eruptions; activity there also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. Formation of many new vents during the 19th and 20th centuries has produced rapid changes in crater floor topography. Collapse of the crater wall in 1914 produced a debris avalanche that buried buildings and workers at a sulfur-mining project. Explosive activity in December 2019 took place while tourists were present, resulting in many fatalities.

Information Contacts: B.J. Scott, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand.

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/).