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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

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Lava lake persists during June-November 2019

Ebeko (Russia) Frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall continue through November 2019

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Intermittent ash plumes with significant gas and steam emissions during January 2016-December 2017

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



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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists during June-November 2019

Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano with a 1.2 km-wide summit crater containing an active lava lake that has been present since at least 1971. It is located the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of the western branch of the East African Rift System. Typical volcanism includes strong and frequent thermal anomalies, primarily due to the lava lake, incandescence, gas-and-steam plumes, and seismicity. This report updates activity during June through November 2019 with the primary source information from monthly reports by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data.

In the July 2019 monthly report, OVG stated that the lava lake level had dropped during the month, with incandescence only visible at night (figure 68). In addition, the small eruptive cone within the crater, which has been active since 2014, decreased in activity during this timeframe. A MONUSCO (United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) helicopter overflight took photos of the lava lake and observed that the level had begun to rise on 27 July. Seismicity was relatively moderate throughout this reporting period; however, on 9-16 July and 21 August strong seismic swarms were recorded.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Webcam images of Nyiragongo on 20 July 2019 where incandescence is not visible during the day (left) but is observed at night (right). Incandescence is accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of OVG.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data continued to show frequent and strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the crater summit through November 2019 (figure 69). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported almost daily thermal hotspots (more than 600) within the summit crater between June 2019 through November. These data are corroborated with Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery and a photo from OVG on 19 December 2019 showing the active lava lake (figures 70 and 71).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Thermal anomalies at Nyiragongo from 3 January through November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and strong. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) showed ongoing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) at Nyiragongo during June through November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Photo of the active lava lake in the summit crater at Nyiragongo on 19 December 2019. Incandescence is accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume. Courtesy of OVG via Charles Balagizi.

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Charles Balagizi (Twitter: @CharlesBalagizi, https://twitter.com/CharlesBalagizi).


Ebeko (Russia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall continue through November 2019

Activity at Ebeko includes frequent explosions that have generated ash plumes reaching altitudes of 1.5-6 km over the last several years, with the higher altitudes occurring since mid-2018 (BGVN 43:03, 43:06, 43:12, 44:07). Ash frequently falls in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE), which is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). This activity continued during June through November 2019; the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

Explosive activity during December 2018 through November 2019 often sent ash plumes to altitudes between 2.2 to 4.5 km, or heights of 1.1 to 3.4 km above the crater (table 8). Eruptions since 1967 have originated from the northern crater of the summit area (figure 20). Webcams occasionally captured ash explosions, as seen on 27 July 2019(figure 21). KVERT often reported the presence of thermal anomalies; particularly on 23 September 2019, a Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image showed a strong thermal signature at the crater summit accompanied by an ash plume (figure 22). Ashfall is relatively frequent in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE) and can drift in different direction based on the wind pattern, which can be seen in satellite imagery on 30 October 2019 deposited NE and SE from the crater(figure 23).

Table 8. Summary of activity at Ebeko, December 2018-November 2019. S-K is Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE of the volcano). TA is thermal anomaly in satellite images. Data courtesy of KVERT.

Date Plume Altitude (km) Plume Distance Plume Directions Other Observations
30 Nov-07 Dec 2018 3.6 -- E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 1, 4 Dec.
07-14 Dec 2018 3.5 -- E Explosions.
25 Jan-01 Feb 2019 2.3 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 27 Jan.
02-08 Feb 2019 2.3 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 4 Feb.
08-15 Feb 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 11 Feb.
15-22 Feb 2019 3.6 -- -- Explosions.
22-26 Feb 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 23-26 Feb.
01-02, 05 Mar 2019 -- -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 1, 5 Mar.
08-10 Mar 2019 4 30 km ENE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 9-10 Mar.
15-19, 21 Mar 2019 4.5 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 15-16, 21 Mar.
22, 24-25, 27-28 Mar 2019 4.2 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 24-25, 27 Mar.
29-31 Mar, 01, 04 Apr 2019 3.2 -- -- Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 31 Mar. TA on 31 Mar.
09 Apr 2019 2.2 -- -- Explosions.
12-15 Apr 2019 3.2 -- -- Explosions. TA on 13 Apr.
21-22, 24 Apr 2019 -- -- -- Explosions.
26 Apr-03 May 2019 3 -- -- Explosions.
04, 06-07 May 2019 3.5 -- -- Explosions. TA on 6 May.
12-13 May 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. TA 12-13 May.
16-20 May 2019 2.5 -- -- Explosions. TA on 16-17 May.
25-28 May 2019 3 -- -- Explosions. TA on 27-28 May.
03 Jun 2019 3 -- E Explosions.
12 Jun 2019 -- -- -- TA.
14-15 Jun 2019 2.5 -- NW, NE Explosions.
21-28 Jun 2019 -- -- -- TA on 23 June.
28 Jun-05 Jul 2019 4.5 -- Multiple Explosions. TA on 29 Jun, 1 Jul.
05-12 Jul 2019 3.5 -- S Explosions. TA on 11 Jul.
15-16 Jul 2019 2 -- S, SE Explosions. TA on 13-16, 18 Jul.
20-26 Jul 2019 4 -- Multiple Explosions. TA on 18, 20, 25 Jul
25-26, 29 Jul, 01 Aug 2019 2.5 -- Multiple Explosions.
02, 04 Aug 2019 3 -- SE Explosions. TA on 2, 4 Aug.
10-16 Aug 2019 3 -- SE Explosions. TA on 10, 12 Aug.
17-23 Aug 2019 3 -- SE Explosions. TA on 16 Aug.
23, 27-28 Aug 2019 3 -- E Explosions. TA on 23 Aug.
30-31 Aug, 03-05 Sep 2019 3 -- E, SE Explosions on 30 Aug, 3-5 Sep. TA on 30-31 Aug.
07-13 Sep 2019 3 -- S, SE, N Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 6 Sep. TA on 8 Sep.
13-15, 18 Sep 2019 2.5 -- E Explosions. TA on 15 Sep.
22-23 Sep 2019 3 -- E, NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K.
27 Sep-04 Oct 2019 4 -- SE, E, NE Explosions.
07-08, 10 Oct 2019 2.5 -- E, NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 4-5 Oct. Weak TA on 8 Oct.
11-18 Oct 2019 4 -- NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 15 Oct. Weak TA on 12 Oct.
18, 20-21, 23 Oct 2019 3 -- N, E, SE Explosions. Weak TA on 20 Oct.
25-26, 29-30 Oct 2019 2.5 -- E, NE Explosions. Weak TA on 29 Oct.
02-06 Nov 2019 3 -- N, E, SE Explosions.
11-12, 14 Nov 2019 3 -- E, NE Explosions.
15-17, 20 Nov 2019 3 -- SE, NE Explosions.
22-23, 28 Nov 2019 2.5 -- SE, E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 23 Nov.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Satellite image showing the summit crater complex at Ebeko, July 2019. Monthly mosaic image for July 2019, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Webcam photo of an explosion and ash plume at Ebeko on 27 July 2019. Videodata by IMGG FEB RAS and KB GS RAS (color adjusted and cropped); courtesy of Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Satellite images showing an ash explosion from Ebeko on 23 September 2019. Top image is in natural color (bands 4, 3, 2). Bottom image is using "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A) to show a thermal anomaly in the northern crater visible around the rising plume. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. A satellite image of Ebeko from Sentinel-2 (LC1 natural color, bands 4, 3, 2) on 30 October 2019 showing previous ashfall deposits on the snow going in multiple directions. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data detected four low-power thermal anomalies during the second half of July, and one each in the months of June, August, and October; no activity was recorded in September or November MODVOLC thermal alerts observed only one thermal anomaly between June through November 2019.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); 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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); 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/).


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

4.892°N, 75.324°W; summit elev. 5279 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes with significant gas and steam emissions during January 2016-December 2017

Nevado del Ruiz is a glaciated volcano in Colombia (figure 86). It is known for the 13 November 1985 eruption that produced an ash plume and associated pyroclastic flows onto the glacier, triggering a lahar that approximately 25,000 people in the towns of Armero (46 km west) and Chinchiná (34 km east). Since 1985 activity has intermittently occurred at the Arenas crater. The eruption that began on 18 November 2014 included ash plumes dominantly dispersed to the NW of Arenas crater (BGVN 42:06). This bulletin summarizes activity during January 2016 through December 2017 and is based on reports by Servicio Geologico Colombiano and Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) notices, and satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. A satellite image of Nevado del Ruiz showing the location of the active Arenas crater. September 2019 Monthly Mosaic image copyright Planet Labs 2019.

Activity during 2016. Throughout January 2016 ash and steam plumes were observed reaching up to a few kilometers. Significant water vapor and volcanic gases, especially SO2, were detected throughout the month. Thermal anomalies were detected in the crater on the 27th and 31st. Significant water vapor and volcanic gas plumes, in particular SO2, were frequently detected by the SCAN DOAS (Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy) station and satellite data (figure 87). A M3.2 earthquake was felt in the area on 18 January. Similar activity continued through February with notable ash plumes up to 1 km, and a M3.6 earthquake was felt on the 6th. Ash and gas-and-steam plumes were reported throughout March with a maximum of 3.5 km on the 31st (figure 88). Significant water vapor and gas plumes continued from the Arenas crater throughout the month, and a thermal anomaly was noted on the 28th. An increase in seismicity was reported on the 29th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Examples of SO2 plumes from Nevado del Ruiz detected by the Aura/OMI instrument on 10, 26, and 31 January 2019. Courtesy of Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz during March. Webcam images courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano, various 2016 reports.

The activity continued into April with a M 3.0 earthquake felt by nearby inhabitants on the 8th, an increase in seismicity reported in the week of 12-18, and another significant increase on the 28th with earthquakes felt around Manizales. Thermal anomalies were noted during 12-18 April with the largest on the 16th. Ash plumes continued through the month as well as significant steam-and-gas plumes. Ashfall was reported in Murillo on the 29th.

The elevated activity continued through May with significant steam plumes up to 1.7 km above the crater during the week of 10-16. Thermal anomalies were reported on the 11th and 12th. Steam, gas, and ash plumes reached 2.5 km above the crater and dispersed to the W and NW. Ashfall was reported in La Florida on the 20th (figure 89) and multiple ash plumes on the 22nd reached 2.5 km and resulted in the closure of the La Nubia airport in Manizales. Ash and gas-and-steam emission continued during June (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz on 17, 18, and 20 May 2016 with fine ash deposited on a car in La Florida, Manizales on the 20th. Webcams located in the NE Guali sector of the volcano, courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano 20 May 2016 report.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Examples of gas-and-steam and ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz during June and July 2016. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano (7 July 2016 report).

Similar activity was reported in July with gas-and-steam and ash plumes often dispersing to the NW and W. Ashfall was reported to the NW on 16 July (figure 91). Drumbeat seismicity was detected on 13, 15, 16, and 17 July, with two hours on the 16th being the longest duration episode do far. Drumbeat seismicity was noted by SGC as indicating dome growth. Significant water vapor and gas emissions continued through August. Ash plumes were reported through the month with plumes up to 1.3 km above the crater on 28 and 2.3 km on 29. Similar activity was reported through September as well as a thermal anomaly and ash deposition apparent in satellite data (figure 92). Drumbeat seismicity was noted again on the 17th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. The location of ashfall resulting from an explosion at Nevado del Ruiz on 16 July 2016 and a sample of the ash under a microscope. The ash is composed of lithics, plagioclase and pyroxene crystals, and minor volcanic glass. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano (16 July 2016 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. This Sentinel-2 thermal infrared satellite image shows elevated temperatures in the Nevado del Ruiz Arenas crater (yellow and orange) on 16 September 2016. Ash deposits are also visible to the NW of the crater. In this image blue is snow and ice. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the week of 4-10 October it was noted that activity consisting of regular ash plumes had been ongoing for 22 months. Ash plumes continued with reported plumes reaching 2.5 above the crater throughout October (figure 93), accompanied by significant steam and water vapor emissions. A M 4.4 earthquake was felt nearby on the 7th. Similar activity continued through November and December 2016 with plumes consisting of gas and steam, and sometimes ash reaching 2 km above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. An ash plume rising above Nevado del Ruiz on 27 October 2016. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano.

Activity during 2017. Significant steam and gas emissions, especially SO2, continued into early 2017. Ash plumes detected through seismicity were confirmed in webcam images and through local reports; the plumes reached a maximum height of 2.5 km above the volcano on the 6th (figure 94). Drumbeat seismicity was recorded during 3-9, and on 22 January. Inflation was detected early in the month and several thermal anomalies were noted.

Intermittent deformation continued into February. Significant steam-and-gas emissions continued with intermittent ash plumes reaching 1.5-2 km above the volcano. Thermal anomalies were noted throughout the month and there was a significant increase in seismicity during 23-26 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Ash plumes at Nevado del Ruiz on 6 January 2017. Courtesy of Servicio Geologico Colombiano.

Thermal anomalies continued to be detected through March. Ash plumes continued to be observed and recorded in seismicity and maximum heights of 2 km above the volcano were noted. Deflation continued after the intermittent inflation the previous month. On 10-11 April a period of short-duration and very low-energy drumbeat seismicity was recorded. Significant gas and steam emission continued through April with intermittent ash plumes reaching 1.5 km above the volcano. Thermal anomalies were detected early in the month.

Unrest continued through May with elevated seismicity, significant steam-and-gas emissions, and ash plumes reaching 1.7 km above the crater. Five episodes of drumbeat seismicity were recorded on 29 May and intermittent deformation continued. There were no available reports for June and July.

Variable seismicity was recorded during August and deflation was measured in the first week. Gas-and-steam plumes were observed rising to 850 m above the crater on the 3rd, and 450 m later in the month. A thermal anomaly was noted on the 14th. There were no available reports for September through December.

On 18 December 2017 the Washington VAAC issued an advisory for an ash plume to 6 km that was moving west and dispersing. The plume was described as a "thin veil of volcanic ash and gasses" that was seen in visible satellite imagery, NOAA/CIMSS, and supported by webcam imagery.

Geologic Background. Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers more than 200 km2. Three major edifices, composed of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastics, have been constructed since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The modern cone consists of a broad cluster of lava domes built within the caldera of an older edifice. The 1-km-wide, 240-m-deep Arenas crater occupies the summit. The prominent La Olleta pyroclastic cone located on the SW flank may also have been active in historical time. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut the flanks. Melting of its summit icecap during historical eruptions, which date back to the 16th century, has resulted in devastating lahars, including one in 1985 that was South America's deadliest eruption.

Information Contacts: Servicio Geologico Colombiano (SGC), Diagonal 53 No. 34-53 - Bogotá D.C., Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html); Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales (URL: https://www.facebook.com/ovsmanizales); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac); 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).


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).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 20, Number 10 (October 1995)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Adatarayama (Japan)

First tremor since 1965

Aira (Japan)

Explosive activity continues

Akan (Japan)

Continued elevated seismicity

Asosan (Japan)

Isolated tremor; ejections of mud and water

Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001) (Unknown)

Lidar data from Germany and Virginia

Dukono (Indonesia)

Pilot report of plume on 25 September

Etna (Italy)

Frequent Strombolian explosions and ash emissions from Northeast Crater and Bocca Nuova

Galeras (Colombia)

Minor seismicity and fumarolic emissions

Iwatesan (Japan)

Short tremor episode

Izu-Oshima (Japan)

Minor tremor and 48 earthquakes

Izu-Tobu (Japan)

Tremor observed again

Kozushima (Japan)

Earthquake swarm ends in mid-October

Kujusan (Japan)

Additional data on the sudden aseismic eruption of 11 October

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Ash-bearing eruption columns rise hundreds of meters

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

New hornitos and lava flows observed in July

Llaima (Chile)

Minor eruption just after a M 4.0 earthquake 160 km to the east

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Passive degassing

Merapi (Indonesia)

Pyroclastic flows travel down two river drainages

Poas (Costa Rica)

High seismicity

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Minor seismicity and vapor emission

Raung (Indonesia)

Aviation report of a plume, but not seen on satellite imagery

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

New eruption; lahars damage a bridge and lead to evacuations

Rinjani (Indonesia)

Small ash plume seen on 12 September

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Late September-early October eruptions rival those in 1945

Ruby (United States)

Submarine eruption

Semeru (Indonesia)

Explosions and pyroclastic flows continue

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Small ash explosions continue; three new vents form; September dome grows

Tengger Caldera (Indonesia)

Eruption from Bromo sends dark ash plume 700 m above the rim

Vulcano (Italy)

Fumarolic activity notably diminished from previous years

Yellowstone (United States)

New mud volcano, minor mud flow, and associated thermal features



Adatarayama (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Adatarayama

Japan

37.647°N, 140.281°E; summit elev. 1728 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


First tremor since 1965

During 27 October, volcanic tremor of about 3-minutes duration was recorded at a site 4.8 km NE of Adatara's summit (station A). This was the first case of tremor since the local observatory began observations in 1965.

Geologic Background. The broad forested massif of Adatarayama volcano is located E of Bandai volcano, about 15 km SW of Fukushima city. It consists of a group of dominantly andesitic stratovolcanoes and lava domes that rise above Tertiary rocks on the south and abut Azumayama volcano on the north. Construction took place in three main stages that began about 550,000, 350,000, and 200,000 years ago. The high point of the complex is 1728-m-high Minowasan, a dome-shaped stratovolcano north of Tetsuzan, the currently active stratovolcano. Numanotaira, the active summit crater, is surrounded by hot springs and fumaroles and is breached by the Iogawa river ("Sulfur River") on the west. Seventy-two workers of a sulfur mine in the summit crater were killed during an eruption in 1900. Historical eruptions have been restricted to the 1.2-km-wide, 350-m-deep Numonotaira crater.

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


Aira (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive activity continues

Activity at Minami-dake crater became high during both early and late October. On 28 October, 9 explosive eruptions occurred and significant volcanic ash fell in Kagoshima City. During October, seismic station B (2.3 km NE of Minami-dake crater) recorded 720 earthquakes and 1,206 tremors. On 27-28 October there were seismic swarms. During October the volcano produced 31 eruptions, 23 of them explosive; the highest ash plume, on 28 October, rose 3 km above the summit crater. October ashfall (measured 10 km W at the Kagoshima Meteorological Observatory) was 117 g/m2.

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

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


Akan (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Akan

Japan

43.384°N, 144.013°E; summit elev. 1499 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued elevated seismicity

Seismicity during October, and thus far in 1995, remained slightly higher than was typical for the past several years (figure 6). The highest daily number of earthquakes during the month took place on 2 October and consisted of 33 events (recorded at Station A, 2.3 km from Ponmachineshiri Crater). The monthly total for October consisted of 395 events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. The number of daily earthquakes at Akan's station A, 1 January 1987 through October 1995. Courtesy of JMA.

Geologic Background. Akan is a 13 x 24 km caldera located immediately SW of Kussharo caldera. The elongated, irregular outline of the caldera rim reflects its incremental formation during major explosive eruptions from the early to mid-Pleistocene. Growth of four post-caldera stratovolcanoes, three at the SW end of the caldera and the other at the NE side, has restricted the size of the caldera lake. Conical Oakandake was frequently active during the Holocene. The 1-km-wide Nakamachineshiri crater of Meakandake was formed during a major pumice-and-scoria eruption about 13,500 years ago. Within the Akan volcanic complex, only the Meakandake group, east of Lake Akan, has been historically active, producing mild phreatic eruptions since the beginning of the 19th century. Meakandake is composed of nine overlapping cones. The main cone of Meakandake proper has a triple crater at its summit. Historical eruptions at Meakandake have consisted of minor phreatic explosions, but four major magmatic eruptions including pyroclastic flows have occurred during the Holocene.

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


Asosan (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Isolated tremor; ejections of mud and water

During October the floor of Aso's active crater (Naka-dake Crater 1) remained covered by a pond of hot water. The pond's surface was disrupted by occasional fountaining up to 5-m high. Elevated tremor continued since last month, and some October days had over 200 earthquakes; the daily mean amplitude of continuous tremors sometimes reached over 0.5 þm. Personnel 800 m W of the crater (at Aso Weather Station) felt earthquakes at 1829 and 1909 on 11 and 22 October, respectively.

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

Information Contacts: 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) — October 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 Germany and Virginia

Lidar data from Germany for July and August (table 4) again revealed the presence of a volcanic aerosol layer centered at 17-19 km altitude. Backscattering ratios have decreased since the last reports (Bulletin v. 20, nos. 2 and 7). October lidar data from Hampton, Virginia, showed an aerosol layer at 18-19 km altitude; these values are similar to the previous report (Bulletin v. 19, no. 11). Backscatter data declined to the range of 1.22-1.25 from 1.38-1.50.

Table 4. Lidar data from Germany and Virginia, USA, showing altitudes of aerosol layers. Backscattering ratios are for the ruby wavelength of 0.69 microns. The integrated value shows total backscatter, expressed in steradians^-1, integrated over 300-m intervals from the tropopause to 30 km.

DATE LAYER ALTITUDE (km) (peak) BACKSCATTERING RATIO BACKSCATTERING INTEGRATED
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (47.5°N, 11.0°E)
07 Jul 1995 11-27 (19.7) 1.12 (1.3) --
19 Jul 1995 12-26 (19.8) 1.13 (1.3) --
21 Jul 1995 13-29 (18.0) 1.12 (1.3) --
26 Jul 1995 11-28 (19.1) 1.13 (1.3) --
31 Jul 1995 13-24 (18.8) 1.09 (1.2) --
03 Aug 1995 12-27 (17.5) 1.12 (1.3) --
Hampton, Virginia (37.1°N, 76.3°W)
23 Mar 1995 12-25 (17.8) 1.36 0.135 x 10-3
04 May 1995 12-25 (18.7) 1.3 0.104 x 10-3
19 Oct 1995 15-30 (18.1) 1.22 0.059 x 10-3
23 Oct 1995 15-30 (18.8) 1.25 0.065 x 10-3

Information Contacts: Horst Jager, Fraunhofer -- Institut fur Atmospharische Umweltforschung, Kreuzeckbahnstrasse 19, D-8100 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany; Mary Osborn, NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), Hampton VA 23665, USA.


Dukono (Indonesia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Pilot report of plume on 25 September

A pilot report from a Qantas flight on the morning of 25 September described a plume to 6 km altitude that was drifting ESE. Visible satellite imagery failed to detect volcanic ash, but weather clouds in the SE sector were identified with infrared imagery.

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

Information Contacts: BOM Darwin, Australia.


Etna (Italy) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent Strombolian explosions and ash emissions from Northeast Crater and Bocca Nuova

The Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia (IIV) report below provides an overview of activity during October. IIV reports generally summarize the temporal evolution of volcanic phenomena during the whole month, skipping some trivial details, and frame the ongoing activity in the context of phenomena over a period of years.

Reports detailing activity during short visits made by visiting volcanologists provide a different perspective on the volcanism. One such report for some days in October was provided by a team led by Open University (OU) volcanologists conducting routine deformation measurements during 9 September-14 October. Short visits to the summit craters on 7, 12, and 14 October were also made by Boris Behncke, with additional observations from Carmelo Monaco and Marcello Bianca (University of Catania), Maria Felicia Monaco (Bari University), and others.

Review of July-September 1995 activity. Strombolian activity resumed at Bocca Nuova on 30 July and in Northeast Crater on 2 August (BGVN 20:08). On 30 July spatter was observed inside Bocca Nuova from a new pit crater on the N part of the crater floor. The activity climaxed on 2 and 3 August, when lava jets rose above the crater rim, then stopped on the night of 4 August. Strombolian explosions during 2-3 August issued from a small vent in the lowest part of the crater. Two more Strombolian episodes occurred on 18 and 29 August. A strong explosion from Northeast Crater on 13 September sent an ash plume 100 m above the rim. Ash emissions from Bocca Nuova and Northeast Crater continued until about 20 September, but explosions were heard throughout the month (BGVN 20:09). The OU team noted light ashfall 2-3 km away in the third week of September, and heavier ashfall 50 m from the Bocca Nuova rim on 27 September.

Overview of October 1995 activity from IIV. After a short period of Strombolian activity at Bocca Nuova and Northeast Crater at the beginning of October, alternating mild Strombolian activity and ash emission characterized their activity for the rest of the month. On 8 October almost continuous rumbling noises (like roaring jets) were heard from both craters. On the morning of 12 October intense ash emissions took place from both craters. Bocca Nuova displayed small short-lived ash puffs (5-7/hour), while from the Northeast Crater a dense ash column rising as high as 900 m developed repeatedly (2/hour). IIV field parties working in the summit area reported that the ash emission were accompanied by falling rock noises. However, successive surveys observed neither juvenile nor lithic blocks on the crater rims.

After 12 October Strombolian activity progressively resumed at Northeast Crater and continued with variable intensity until the end of the month. On 19 October Strombolian activity was relatively vigorous and the scoria ejections, up to few tens of meters from the crater rim, were almost continuous. A survey on 25 October revealed an appreciable decrease of the explosion frequency. Bocca Nuova exhibited intermittent ash emissions after 12 October. As during previous activity, they originated in a depressed area of the NW crater floor. Explosions observed on 19 October were accompanied by ejection of a black (lithic?) block to a few tens of meters above the crater floor, but neither glowing at the vent or ejection of incandescent bombs were observed. After 19 October intermittent ash emission progressively decreased, and in the last week of the month weak Strombolian activity resumed at Bocca Nuova. Significant eruptions on 9 and 14 November will be reported in the next Bulletin.

Deformation measurements. Preliminary results from the OU team indicate little ground deformation since October 1994 over most of the network. Summit levelling showed insignificant movement (-5 mm near the summit, +7 mm on the N flank) apart from the area above the 1991-93 dike, which between the W side of Cisternazza and Belvedere showed a fairly consistent subsidence of 17-24 mm. Preliminary GPS computations suggested a radial expansion about the summit of ~15 mm. Dry-tilt stations showed no large tilts.

Details of 1-7 October activity. Observations from the Northeast Crater rim on the afternoon of 1 October by the OU team revealed two faintly glowing vents, ~3-5 m across, on the crater floor. The following night, bright summit glow was seen from Nicolosi (15 km S), and on the morning of 3 October loud explosions from Northeast Crater were heard from the trail 800 m W, which had been covered with a thin layer of red ash overnight. Explosions were again heard late in the afternoon from ~7 km away, and light ash fell near Monte Corbara (5 km NW). While approaching the crater at 1815 on 3 October, two guides and an Italian TV camera crew returning from the rim warned of bombs falling outside the crater. As the OU team moved towards the high ground behind the crater, a large explosion sent brightly-glowing juvenile bombs just over the rim, rolling toward them. A few seconds later a single bomb ~20 cm across landed 10 m away, 100-200 m from the rim. Similar bomb ejections to smaller distances occurred about every 2 minutes until the team descended at 1845. On 7 October, Behncke noted a dense steam-and-gas plume from Northeast Crater. Most of the plume and occasionally some ash rose from the SSE part of the crater floor; falling stones were frequently heard.

Detonations from within Bocca Nuova heard by the OU team on 1 October were only audible from the rim. One vent on 4 October was explosively exhaling gas, and the other was collapsing, producing brownish ash clouds. Behncke observed small Strombolian explosions from Bocca Nuova on 6 October, but only ash emissions the next day. On the 7 October visit, Behncke observed frequent ash plumes from Bocca Nuova accompanied by rumbling noises and the sound of falling stones; Strombolian explosions were frequent.

The Chasm (La Voragine) quietly emitted fumes on 1 October. On 4 October the OU team climbed into Southeast Crater to the edge of the vents, which emitted gas quietly and not under pressure, apart from one area just below the S rim. On 7 October, Behncke heard small explosions, but no ejections or incandescence were seen after sunset.

Details of 12-14 October activity. Between 0800 and 0900 on 12 October a series of collapses within Northeast Crater generated a thick ash cloud. Pulses of rapidly rising ash plumes resulted in a vertical column 800-1,000 m above the summit. After 0900, a dilute gas plume rose from Northeast Crater while Bocca Nuova sent frequent ash emissions 200-300 m above the summit. When Behncke reached the crater rim shortly after 1230, there were vigorous steam emission and explosions from Northeast Crater.

Behncke saw incandescent spots in the central Northeast Crater floor that gradually increased in number and intensity. Pyroclastic ejections became more frequent and vigorous, and soon the incandescent areas were hidden by gas and dilute ash plumes. The ash plumes first rose slowly to ~100 m above the crater floor, but gradually rose higher and became more heavily ash-laden. About 5 minutes after the onset of ash venting, dense convoluting ash clouds began to rise above the rim. Bomb and ash emission steadily increased. The high-pressure gas emission noise at the beginning of this activity changed to a dull rumbling connected with the ash emission. Short pulses of bomb emissions every 5-10 seconds were followed by a dark ash puff. After ~10 minutes, the ash puffs merged into a continuous column that rose hundreds of meters above the rim. Around 1345 vigorous emissions ejected black ash plumes ~1 km above the summit. Periodic ash emissions from Northeast Crater gradually became less vigorous before ceasing that evening.

On 12 October (0800-0900), the OU team heard detonations from Bocca Nuova, mainly from a vent on the E side of the floor, but the larger vent on the NW side occasionally threw 20-cm-diameter lithic blocks 30-50 m high. Ash emissions seen by Behncke after 1230 occurred every 2-5 minutes from the pit on the NW crater floor. Each emission began with block and/or bomb ejections followed by a dense ash plume. The bombs and blocks rose out of the ~50-m-deep pit but remained ~100 m below the rim, whereas the ash plumes rose 100-500 m above the summit. An open vent in the SE crater floor displayed continuous gas emission with occasional explosions that ejected dense gas clouds.

Shortly after 1700 on 14 October Behncke saw a central glowing vent in Northeast Crater. Vigorous high-pressure gas emission produced a roaring noise, and the plume was almost vapor-free. During the first 30 minutes of the visit, glowing spatter was occasionally ejected from the vent. As degassing increased, numerous incandescent spots became visible, aligned more or less concentrically around the vent. After the first half hour, Strombolian bursts became more vigorous, ejecting bombs ~50 m above the pit. About 10 minutes later, the explosions again intensified, and the crater floor around the vent, which appeared more funnel-shaped, was covered with incandescent bombs. Ejections rose ~100 m above the vent but remained far below the crater rim.

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

Information Contacts: Massimo Pompilio, CNR Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy; John B. Murray and Fiona McGibbon, Dept. of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, United Kingdom; Nicki Stevens, NUTIS, Reading University, Whiteknights, P.O. Box 227, Reading RG6 2AB, United Kingdom; Phil. Sargent, Sue Elwell, and Sarah Cooper, Civil Engineering Dept., Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4BU, United Kingdom; Boris Behncke, Dept. of Volcanology and Petrology, GEOMAR, Wischhofstr. 1-3, 24148 Kiel, Germany.


Galeras (Colombia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor seismicity and fumarolic emissions

Activity during August-October remained low. Fumarolic emissions continued from areas near the active cone, with a concentration of fumaroles on the W part of the summit. SO2 concentrations, obtained by the COSPEC method, remained generally low at 53-170 metric tons/day in August and < 100 t/d in September. No deformation was detected by electronic tiltmeters during August-October. Temperature measurements at La Joya and Chavas fumaroles, as well as radon measurements, have begun in order to improve the surveillance.

High-frequency seismicity during August was centered NNE of the active crater, and consisted of events of M < 2.2 Seismic activity in September was characterized by volcano-tectonic events, located mainly in three seismogenic regions: W, SW, and NNE of the active crater. Most active was the NNE source, which has shown signs of reactivation since last March. Most earthquakes had magnitudes < 1.5. Four events during September were felt by local residents, on 3, 12, 15, and 16 September, with magnitudes of 2.5, 2.0, 2.7, and 2.7, and depths of 12, 5, 8, and 8 km, respectively. The 16 September earthquake occurred in the SW region and the other three events in the NNE region.

The most significant October seismicity consisted of high-frequency events NNE of the active cone at depths of 3-7 km; magnitudes were < 3. The largest earthquake, on the morning of 15 October, was centered ~3 km NNE of the cone at 7 km depth. It had a magnitude of 3 and was felt in Pasto, Jenoy, Narino, and in other local towns.

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: Pablo Chamorro and Diego Gomez, INGEOMINAS - Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Pasto, A.A. 1795, San Juan de Pasto, Narino, Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html).


Iwatesan (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Iwatesan

Japan

39.853°N, 141.001°E; summit elev. 2038 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Short tremor episode

Tohoku University seismometers near Iwate volcano continued to register tremor (BGVN 20:09). Beginning at 0009 on 20th October, the tremor lasted ~25 minutes.

Geologic Background. Viewed from the east, Iwatesan volcano has a symmetrical profile that invites comparison with Fuji, but on the west an older cone is visible containing an oval-shaped, 1.8 x 3 km caldera. After the growth of Nishi-Iwate volcano beginning about 700,000 years ago, activity migrated eastward to form Higashi-Iwate volcano. Iwate has collapsed seven times during the past 230,000 years, most recently between 739 and 1615 CE. The dominantly basaltic summit cone of Higashi-Iwate volcano, Yakushidake, is truncated by a 500-m-wide crater. It rises well above and buries the eastern rim of the caldera, which is breached by a narrow gorge on the NW. A central cone containing a 500-m-wide crater partially filled by a lake is located in the center of the oval-shaped caldera. A young lava flow from Yakushidake descended into the caldera, and a fresh-looking lava flow from the 1732 eruption traveled down the NE flank.

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


Izu-Oshima (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Izu-Oshima

Japan

34.724°N, 139.394°E; summit elev. 758 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor tremor and 48 earthquakes

On 4 October, local instruments recorded volcanic tremor of short duration and small amplitude. Throughout the month a significant but undisclosed number of earthquakes occurred in the adjacent N and W coastal areas. During October there were 48 earthquakes beneath the cone.

Geologic Background. Izu-Oshima volcano in Sagami Bay, east of the Izu Peninsula, is the northernmost of the Izu Islands. The broad, low stratovolcano forms an 11 x 13 km island and was constructed over the remnants of three dissected stratovolcanoes. It is capped by a 4-km-wide caldera with a central cone, Miharayama, that has been the site of numerous historical eruptions. More than 40 cones are located within the caldera and along two parallel rift zones trending NNW-SSE. Although it is a dominantly basaltic volcano, strong explosive activity has occurred at intervals of 100-150 years throughout the past few thousand years. Historical activity dates back to the 7th century CE. A major eruption in 1986 produced spectacular lava fountains up to 1600 m height and a 16-km-high eruption column; more than 12,000 people were evacuated from the island.

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


Izu-Tobu (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Izu-Tobu

Japan

34.9°N, 139.098°E; summit elev. 1406 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tremor observed again

Mid- and late-September micro-earthquake swarms occurred offshore near Capes Kawana-zaki and Shiofuki-zaki (BGVN 20:09), an area adjacent Ito City on the E coast of the Izu Peninsula. In late September and early October pulses of seismicity continued off these Capes, trailing off toward mid-October (figure 16). Located ~5 km SW of the epicenters, Kamala Seismic Station recorded 5,881 October earthquakes. The largest earthquake struck at 1142 on 1 October with M 4.8; nearby Into City sustained a JMA-scale intensity of IV. Small-amplitude tremors occurred on both 4 October (four times), and 12 October (one time); low-frequency earthquakes took place on 4 October (four times) and 6 October (one time). Volumetric strain at Higashi-Izu and Ajiro acted in the sense of compression.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Hourly earthquakes at Izu-Tobu recorded ~5 km SW of the seismic sources, September-October 1995. Courtesy of JMA.

Geologic Background. The Izu-Tobu volcano group (Higashi-Izu volcano group) is scattered over a broad, plateau-like area of more than 400 km2 on the E side of the Izu Peninsula. Construction of several stratovolcanoes continued throughout much of the Pleistocene and overlapped with growth of smaller monogenetic volcanoes beginning about 300,000 years ago. About 70 subaerial monogenetic volcanoes formed during the last 140,000 years, and chemically similar submarine cones are located offshore. These volcanoes are located on a basement of late-Tertiary volcanic rocks and related sediments and on the flanks of three Quaternary stratovolcanoes: Amagi, Tenshi, and Usami. Some eruptive vents are controlled by fissure systems trending NW-SE or NE-SW. Thirteen eruptive episodes have been documented during the past 32,000 years. Kawagodaira maar produced pyroclastic flows during the largest Holocene eruption about 3000 years ago. The latest eruption occurred in 1989, when a small submarine crater was formed NE of Ito City.

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


Kozushima (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Kozushima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquake swarm ends in mid-October

As reported in BGVN 20:09, on 6 October a M 5.6 earthquake occurred adjacent to Kozu-shima and a seismic swarm followed for the next few days. After that, seismic events continued but decreased toward the end of October; in total, during October there were 246 felt earthquakes.

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

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


Kujusan (Japan) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Kujusan

Japan

33.086°N, 131.249°E; summit elev. 1791 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Additional data on the sudden aseismic eruption of 11 October

On 11 October, aseismic phreatic eruptions started within the Kuju volcanic group, on Hosho (Hosyo) dome's E side (BGVN 20:09). On 12 October observers found an E-W trending line of vents ~300-m long; also, at that time an ash-bearing plume rose to ~1 km above the crater.

The eruption deposited a 100 m2 blanket of fist-sized volcanic clasts; it also emitted mud that flowed down an adjacent valley. After that, the volume and height of the plume gradually decreased until finally ash-bearing eruptions ceased at the month's end. Seismicity stayed low during October.

Geologic Background. Kujusan is a complex of stratovolcanoes and lava domes lying NE of Aso caldera in north-central Kyushu. The group consists of 16 andesitic lava domes, five andesitic stratovolcanoes, and one basaltic cone. Activity dates back about 150,000 years. Six major andesitic-to-dacitic tephra deposits, many associated with the growth of lava domes, have been recorded during the Holocene. Eruptive activity has migrated systematically eastward during the past 5000 years. The latest magmatic activity occurred about 1600 years ago, when Kurodake lava dome at the E end of the complex was formed. The first reports of historical eruptions were in the 17th and 18th centuries, when phreatic or hydrothermal activity occurred. There are also many hot springs and hydrothermal fields. A fumarole on Hosho lava dome was the site of a sulfur mine for at least 500 years. Two geothermal power plants are in operation at Kuju.

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


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — October 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-bearing eruption columns rise hundreds of meters

The increased eruptive activity at Crater 2 that began during late September continued throughout October. The activity was marked by intermittent audible explosions. The bigger explosions developed plumes that rose several hundred meters above the summit crater, resulting in ashfalls on the volcano's N-NW side. Langila produced steady but weak crater glow on most nights during October; it threw incandescent lava fragments on 23-24, 26, and 31 October. Crater 3 was quiet, only giving off weak white emissions towards late October. Seismic recording restarted on 5 October after both seismographs had been inoperative since January 1995. October seismic activity was moderate.

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: Ben Talai, RVO.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New hornitos and lava flows observed in July

Intermittent explosive activity and extrusion of carbonititic lava on the crater floor began in January 1983 and continued for over ten years. Vigorous effusive and explosive activity in June 1993, perhaps the strongest of that eruptive episode, covered most of the crater floor and upper W flank with fresh lava flows and deposited ash on the flanks (BGVN 18:07-18:10). In September 1994 a deep central depression contained a hornito from which highly vesicular brown lava was erupting (BGVN 19:09).

Activity observed in mid-July 1995 was the first reported since September 1994, although the appearance of the recent flows indicated that they were a few months old. Members of the Societe de Volcanologie Geneve (SVG) visited the summit on 15 July 1995. A visit to the summit crater was also made by Celia Nyamweru on 19 July.

Activity on 15 July 1995. SVG observers reported a new active hornito (T36), ~4 m high, close to the S foot of T20 (figure 35). Fluid carbonatitic lava flows were emitted from its base through a channel in the direction of a rounded collapsed new opening ~15 m in diameter, close to T5/T9. The lava in the channel was pale brown and frothy, with a velocity estimated at 1.5 m/second; temperature was ~550 degrees C. At the end of the channel, the flow moved N through different tubes. Lava breakouts from some downstream openings were still very fluid and completely black. Both small pahoehoe and aa lava fronts were observed. Ejecta were rare from the summit vent of T36. The new lava field was mainly directed N, with one branch passing W of T20 and the other going through and filling the oval-shaped depression first noted in October 1993 (see BGVN 19:04).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Sketch of the Ol Doinyo Lengai crater (~300 m wide) looking SW from the NE rim, 19 July 1995. Courtesy of Celia Nyamweru.

Activity on 19 July. At 1000 the crater was full of cloud, hiding features on the crater floor, but frequent sharp cracks, bangs, and thumps were heard, as well as bubbling noises. Conditions improved so that activity could be observed after 1115. White to brown steam was escaping continuously from the top of T20, and a little from T5T9. Sulfurous fumes were emitted from cracks on the E crater rim and wall. The lower slopes of T23 were made up of many small parallel pahoehoe flows, now soft and pale brown; T23 was not emitting steam. The new cones, T34 to T37, lay W of the depression that had been virtually filled by lava flows from these centers. T34 was a double cone, pale gray, with an open vent on its upper slope from which no steam or heat was being emitted. T35 was light brown to white, with no sign of fresh lava. T37 was a shallow circular crater W of and close to the base of T5/T9; it appeared fresh but showed no activity on 19 July.

T36 was a compound cone of which T36A was the largest component; it was composed of cascades of pahoehoe lava, some whitened and others black and very fresh. T36B was a rounded dome with a small vent at its base from which lava was emitted. T36C appeared to have a crack along its crest that emitted gas-rich lava. T36B and T36C were ~5 m apart and very close in elevation. Activity from hornito cluster T36 (figure 36) consisted of clots of lava thrown ~1 m above T36B, gas-rich lava escaping from the top of hornito T36C and flowing down its N slope, and very fluid, black shiny lava escaping from a small crack (T36E) on the lower slopes of this feature and flowing N across very recent pahoehoe. At 1137 a small spray of gas-rich lava escaped from hornito T36D, on the W side of T36. Warm pahoehoe flows on the W slope of T36,

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Details of hornito cluster at Ol Doinyo Lengai. 19 July 1995. Asterisks indicate areas of active lava emission. Courtesy of Celia Nyamweru.

Crater morphology. Features from June 1993 and earlier (see map in BGVN 19:04) were still visible, but major new cones had formed in the area between T5/T9, T20, and T23 (figure 35). T5/T9 remained a very prominent feature, and the tops of the T8, T14, and T15 cones remained visible, although all were surrounded by many younger lava flows. T24, T26, and T30 were not inspected closely, but there seemed to be no change in these large features in the S part of the crater; they were gray and white, with no sign of recent activity. West of T36 were two low lava domes with pale brown open craters, now inactive. To the W of them, on the edge of F34, was a low wide feature, possibly a collapsed cone, probably the features identified as T22, T31, and T32 in September 1993 (BGVN 18:09). There was also a rather new hornito in this area.

Recent pahoehoe flows ~10 cm thick had reached the base of the E, N, and NW walls. Crater walls appeared lowest to the NW. The rugged F34 and F35 lava flows of June 1993 were heavily weathered and beginning to soften and crumble. They were quite dark gray; a great contrast to the flows that had formed over the last several months (thin pahoehoe flows that whiten within a few weeks of eruption). No recent ash was observed on the outer slopes of the cone, the crater rim, or the inner walls; the vegetation was green and healthy. Brown vegetation was observed in a few areas near the base of the inner wall, probably due to contact with hot lava reaching the wall, and on part of the S wall below the summit.

This symmetrical stratovolcano in the African Rift Valley rises abruptly above the plain S of Lake Natron. It is the only volcano known to have erupted carbonatite tephra and lavas in historical time. The cone-building stage of Ol Doinyo Lengai ended about 15,000 years ago and was followed by periodic Holocene ejections. Historical eruptions have consisted of smaller tephra ejections and emission of numerous natrocarbonatite lava flows on the floor of the summit crater.

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

Information Contacts: Celia Nyamweru, Department of Anthropology, St. Lawrence University, Canton NY 13617, USA; M. Vigny and P. Vetsch, Societe de Volcanologie Geneve, B.P. 298, CH-1225 Chenebourg, Switzerland.


Llaima (Chile) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Llaima

Chile

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor eruption just after a M 4.0 earthquake 160 km to the east

Beginning on 13 October 1995 Llaima started emitting gases and occasional ash; in addition, during the night the northern principal crater glowed a rose color. Dominant winds dispersed the eruptive columns toward the SE on 13 October. Three days later, Llaima started emitting a continuous, strong blast of steam that occasionally also contained dark-gray scrolls bearing fine-grained ash. The resulting plume blew NE.

On the night of 20-21 October, the principal crater discharged a strong explosion. Wind carried ash toward the SW, depositing it on the alpine ice. Some ash fell over the Trufultruful valley and the valley's most eastern flanking hills, forming a band or stripe up to 12 km in length.

On 21 October between 1600 and 1800 the volcano gave off a continuous, intense column of vapor and ash. That night, between 2300 and 0100 in the town of Conguillio, residents heard an explosion accompanied by subterranean noises. The following night, observers saw a "ring of fire" over the principal crater, an effect thought to indicate the presence of lava within the crater.

The Servicio Sismologico de la Universidad de Chile reported that seismic activity one day before the eruption, on 12 October, included a M 4.0 earthquake that struck the region; its depth was 70 km; its epicenter fell at the extreme S end of Lake Lieulleu in the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta (38.28°S, 73.408°W), a spot about 160 km E of Llaima. During 20 and 22 October, portable seismometers picked up 1.0-1.5 Hz tremor; on 20 October the tremor appeared about 15-20 seconds before the above-mentioned explosion. It should be noted that such sub-continuous episodes of 1.0-1.5 Hz tremor are relatively rare at Llaima.

The 13-22 October eruptions followed fumarolic activity (BGVN 20:02) and, before that, an outbreak of ash-bearing eruptions in late August 1994 (BGVN 19:08). On the basis of the above behavior, the 24 October SERNAGEOMIN report stated that the volcano had been assigned an alert status of yellow. Llaima, an ice- and snow-covered stratovolcano, is one of the largest and most active in Chile; it erupted in 1990, 1992, and 1994.

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

Information Contacts: Hugo Moreno1, Gustavo Fuentealba, and Paola Pena, Observatorio Volcanologico de los Andes del Sur, SERNAGEOMIN, Temuco, Chile.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 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)


Passive degassing

Activity was low during October. During the month, both summit craters released only white vapors at low to moderate rates and both audible sounds and summit-crater night glow were absent. During the first three weeks of October, the daily totals of low-frequency earthquakes were at 200-500, but by month's end they increased to 800-1,300. Coincident with the increase, earthquake amplitudes also rose by ~50%. No visual changes accompanied the increase in seismicity. However, data from tiltmeters (4 km SW of the summit) showed a deflation of approximately 1.5 m µrad beginning around the second half of the month.

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: Ben Talai, RVO.


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Pyroclastic flows travel down two river drainages

During August-October 1995 pyroclastic flows ("glowing avalanches") continued flowing down the Boyong River; others entered the Krasak River and reached ~1-1.5 km from the source. Seismic activity was dominated by multiphase and lava-avalanche (rockfall) earthquakes. The number of multiphase earthquakes increased in October to 793 events, compared to 186 in September. Earthquakes associated with lava avalanches or rock falls gradually decreased from 1,195 events in August to 806 in September and 605 in October (figure 16). Shallow volcanic (B-type) earthquakes (~1 km depth) were recorded on 25 October and a deep volcanic (A-type) earthquake (2.7 km depth) was detected on 30 October. Observations in October indicated an inflation associated with 40 µrad of tilt. Measurement of SO2 by COSPEC indicated that the emission rate during October fluctuated between 18 and 112 t/d (average 63).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Seismicity at Merapi, June-October 1995. Courtesy of VSI.

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: W. Tjetjep, VSI.


Poas (Costa Rica) — October 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)


High seismicity

During October, tremor at Poás reached 101 hours; the last time tremor rose over 12 hours/month was May-September 1994, an interval when tremor ranged between 49 and 307 hours/month. The number of minor earthquakes, which were predominantly of low frequency, continued to climb during the month of October, reaching 9,838 events. This was a value ~8% larger than the total for September, the previous month with the most seismic activity in 1995.

The crater lake has risen consistently: by ~5 m during June-October (ICE), and by ~30 cm in the last month (OVSICORI-UNA). During October 1995, the fumarole on the W terrace appeared to have decreased its emissions compared to recent months (< 50-m-high steam plumes), and others on the lake's NW and SW sides also had diminished output. Fumaroles on the S and SW crater wall produced steam columns reaching 100 m tall. During October, bubbling in the lake still continued. During October OVSICORI-UNA scientists measured the temperatures at several sites: pyroclastic cone, 93°C; fumaroles on the S and SW sides of the crater, 95-97°C; the lake in the inactive crater (Lake Botos), 15°C; and the lake in the active crater, 30°C.

Head scarps of landslides that emanate from the dome and flow toward the lake displayed ongoing mass wasting; ICE workers mentioned that this mass wasting may have been triggered by recent heavy rains. In addition, ICE reported that on 17 September (at 0548) a M 3.9 earthquake struck; it had a depth of 5 km and an epicenter 1.6 km SW of the main crater. At the summit, the earthquake's intensity was MM III-IV.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, E. Duarte, and V. Barboza, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA); Mauricio Mora, Escuela Centroamericana de Geologia, Universidad de Costa Rica; G.J. Soto, Oficina de Sismologia y Vulcanologia del Arenal y Miravalles: OSIVAM, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE).


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — October 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)


Minor seismicity and vapor emission

The volcanoes at Rabaul Caldera continued to remain quiet in October. Tavurvur's summit area released bluish white vapors at very low rates; however, the emission rates rose during rainy days at the end of the month. No emissions came from Vulcan.

Only 19 earthquakes were recorded in October. Two of the 13 low-frequency earthquakes originated from Tavurvur while the rest came from either within or just outside the caldera's N sector. The six high-frequency earthquakes took place on the 20th (2 earthquakes), 23rd (2), 26th (1), and 29th (1). Most of these high-frequency earthquakes occurred in the caldera's NE sector (Namanula area). One high-frequency earthquake (ML 1.9, on the 23rd) originated near Tavurvur at about 1 km depth. October ground deformation remained very low.

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: Ben Talai, RVO.


Raung (Indonesia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Aviation report of a plume, but not seen on satellite imagery

An aviation report stated that at 1705 on 15 August "smoke" from Raung at an altitude of 6 km was drifting W. Following this report, aviation notices were posted in Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia for the next 24 hours. No plume was observed by Australian meteorologists on satellite imagery from 1800 on 15 August through 2050 the next day.

The last reported eruption, which occurred sometime between January and June 1993, generated an ash column 600 m above the rim and caused ashfall in the surrounding area.

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

Information Contacts: BOM Darwin, Australia.


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — October 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)


New eruption; lahars damage a bridge and lead to evacuations

A new phreatomagmatic eruption followed three months of declining seismicity. During 1995 the number of local earthquakes peaked in July and then progressively decreased (figure 10). Prior to the eruption, during October, OVSICORI-UNA reported that park rangers who ascended to the main summit saw increased degassing and noted the appearance of fumaroles along cracks at the E and NE crater margins. Rangers described the crater lake's color as green and the smell as strong and sulfurous.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. The number of monthly earthquakes at Rincón de la Vieja volcanic complex recorded 5 km SW of the active crater (station RIN3), January-October 1995. The seismic system failed to operate on 29 October; the three events recorded during the rest of the month were all of low frequency (

ICE described the eruption as phreatomagmatic, beginning at 1504 on 6 November, and climaxing on 8 November with 25 explosions. They noted the ash-bearing and steam-rich columns rose to 1 and 4 km, respectively, above the crater. Ash blew WSW; medium- to fine-grained ash reached up to 30 km from the volcano (Santa Rosa National Park).

According to ICE, on 9 November the eruption entered a steam-rich phase. Columns typically rose 200 m, but sometimes as much as 1.5 km after some steam explosions.

During the course of the eruption, ballistic ejecta were thrown over a zone extending to ~1 km N. Ejecta formed lahars that followed two key rivers (Penjamo and Azul rivers) and their tributaries. Heavy rains beginning on 10 and continuing on 11 November triggered secondary lahars and associated floods; a bridge 7 km N of the crater (Penjamo bridge) was damaged but not destroyed, interrupting traffic flow. During this episode, lahars along a tributary of the Penjamo river produced a gully 8-m deep and 25-m wide, isolating some inhabitants.

Initial inspections of ash and the lahar matrix indicated that they mainly consisted of hydrothermally altered fragments, lake-sediment mud, and vesiculated glassy andesite fragments.

Some residents living near the volcano were evacuated to a safe village 9 km NW of the crater. News reports on 8 November by both Associated Press and Deutsche Presse-Agentur stated that about 100 families were evacuated. Two days later Enrique Coen reported relocation of 300 families.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, E. Duarte, and V. Barboza, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; G.J. Soto, Oficina de Sismologia y Vulcanologia del Arenal y Miravalles: OSIVAM, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San José, Costa Rica; Enrique Coen, Departamento de Fisica, University Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica; Associated Press; Deutsche Presse-Agentur.


Rinjani (Indonesia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Rinjani

Indonesia

8.42°S, 116.47°E; summit elev. 3726 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash plume seen on 12 September

A NOTAM about volcanic activity from Rinjani was issued by the Bali Flight Information Region on the morning of 12 September. An ash cloud was reportedly drifting SW with the cloud top around 4 km altitude. As of 1200 that day, Australian meteorologists had not observed a significant plume on satellite imagery. Synoptic Analysis Branch analysts detected no ash cloud on either visible or infrared GMS imagery. However, at 1600 the Bureau of Meteorology in Darwin advised aviators that a weak low-level plume was intermittently evident on satellite imagery as far as 28 km SW of the volcano.

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

Information Contacts: BOM Darwin, Australia; SAB.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — October 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)


Late September-early October eruptions rival those in 1945

Ruapehu's current eruptive period began with a vent-clearing blast on 29 June 1995 and a series of larger eruptions began on 23 September (BGVN 20:09). More recently available information (in Immediate Report RUA 95/06) highlighted 18 and 20 September observations summarized below. These are followed by brief comments on eruptions during October.

Activity during 18-20 September. An eruption at 0805 on 18 September was accompanied by a ML 3.6 earthquake; the eruption produced the largest lahar down the ESE flank since 1975. The ESE drainage is called the Whangaehu River. Two days later, at 0122 on 20 September, another eruption associated with a smaller earthquake (ML 3.2) also sent a smaller lahar down the Whangaehu River.

At roughly 0800 on 18 September the ski field manager heard what he initially thought was wind noise while he was inside a ski lodge building on Ruapehu's flanks, a spot 400 m N of the Whangaehu channel (Aorangi lodge at Tukino). He went closer to the river and saw a 12-18 m deep lahar in the narrow channel.

Later that day, a flood warning gauge 27 km downstream was triggered at 1123, suggesting the lahar moved at an average speed of roughly 2.3 m/s (8.3 km/hour). By around noon at Tukino the lahar was 40-m wide and had covered the snow up to 20-30 m above the Whangaehu valley floor. The lahar's surface rose about 11 m on the outside of one turn. A preliminary estimate of peak flow was >1,000 m3/s; the local velocity, 15 m/s. An early phase of the lahar had cut out 2-3 m of ice and snow formerly filling the valley.

The 18 September lahar arrived at a point 57 km downstream from Crater Lake (Karioi) at 1515, 7 hours after the eruption. Volume of the lahar at this point was estimated (by groups identified as NUWA Wanganui and ECNZ) at ~2 x 105 m3; the peak flow, at ~34 m3/s. The lahar destroyed a hiking bridge, leaving only its 0.2-m-high concrete abutments on either side of the river.

The smaller 20 September lahar arrived at 57 km downstream (Karioi) 8 hours after the eruption; its size there was estimated at ~0.9 x 105 m3; its peak flow, at ~21 m3/s. In an area above ~2,000 m elevation, the 18 and 20 September lahar deposits were separated by an intervening snow layer. Still higher, above ~2,400 m elevation, both lahars had emerged from the upper Whangaehu valley's snow and ice tunnel system. Lahars passing through and over the uppermost part of this system had produced considerable new crevasses and collapse features in the snow and ice. On 20 September, collapsed holes downstream of the large ice cave (located below the crater lake's drainage point at Outlet, figure 19) were filled with non-steaming water that had apparently cooled. The ice cave itself appeared largely intact.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. (above) Survey points for deformation studies at Ruapehu (prior to the disappearance of Crater Lake). (below) Summary of deformation between stated stations and given time intervals. Courtesy of IGNS.

A helicopter was used to visit the crater on 20 September. A large column of steam rose from the waterfall immediately below Outlet. A large volume of lake water continued to spill over the waterfall even though recent eruptions through the lake had expelled substantial lahar-forming discharges. Ash from the 18 September eruption was plastered on some steep slopes. Ash from the 20 September eruption was plastered on the new snow around the lake margins. On the E side of the lake there was a N-trending, 100-m-long lobe of ash on the glacier surface. Scoria clasts found near Outlet (the largest, 20-50 cm across) formed a continuous layer trapped behind a low lava ridge. Their distribution suggested they were deposited by a passing surge rather than as impacting ballistics. Absence of snow on the surface of the scoria indicated they had probably arrived during the 20 September eruption and some clasts still had warm interiors. Sampled clasts were black in color, and consisted of an unaltered plagioclase-, augite-, orthopyroxene-bearing andesite. The lack of Fe-Ti oxides makes them similar to 1966 ejecta; in contrast, ejecta from 1971 and 1975 did contain minor amounts of Fe-Ti oxides. Three ash samples collected from within the crater contained lapilli up to 25 mm in diameter and composed of angular lithic material. Ash finer than 2-mm diameter was dominated by gray shiny spheroids and globules of sulfur with lesser amounts of gray comminuted lake bed material.

In the interval 15 August-20 September the deformation of the area about Crater lake was significant and indicated moderate inflation (figures 19 and 20). The deformation survey was hampered by snow and ice, which deeply buried most survey stations. Survey mark D had been bent 70 mm out of position immediately prior to the August survey, but eccentricity corrections enable a valid comparison with all former observations at D. Maximum changes took place in the E-W direction. These changes were similar to those computed by comparing the mean of the five surveys made earlier this year to the September survey (first column, bottom of figure 19).

Non-elastic inflation of the style seen was previously noted as much as 2 weeks prior to eruptions on 8 May 1971 and 24 April 1975. This short-term inflation (lasting weeks) was also seen on 12 occasions during 1980-91; these occasions were tentatively correlated with intense heating and minor eruptions. Still, the relation between inflation magnitude and the corresponding eruption remains uncertain.

The 20 September crater visit yielded the following lake observations. The lake's temperature was 48.5°C (on 15 August it had been roughly 20 degrees C cooler, figure 20). There was a strong smell of SO2. The volume of water escaping at Outlet was estimated visually at 1 m3/s (on 15 August it was only ~50 l/s). This exceptional output was the largest seen in 24 years.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Plots of Ruapehu's cross-crater deformation, crater lake temperature, and Mg/Cl ratio for 1976 through late-1995. The cross-crater deformation is approximately E-W (between stations I and J, figure 19). Courtesy of IGNS.

Lake water sampled on 20 September showed clear increases in the concentrations of Mg, Cl, and SO4 ions, and in the ratio of Mg/Cl (figure 20). The observed concentrations for 15 August and 20 September, respectively, were as follows: Mg, 584 and 713 ppm; Cl, 8,154 and 8,619 ppm; and SO4, 26,600 and 30,600 ppm. Increases in Mg began in May and pointed to dissolution of fresh andesitic material into the hydrothermal system. Although previously it was not clear if the source of Mg was juvenile or older andesites, the increased amounts of Cl and SO4 firmly established the input of fresh magmatic material.

SO4 concentrations stand at the highest levels ever recorded at Ruapehu. In the absence of synchronous increases in K, and noting that Ca continues to be controlled by gypsum solubility, it is clear that the increases in SO4 were not attributable to dissolution of secondary hydrothermal minerals. Instead the SO4 increases indicated greater SO2 flux into the lake. Assuming a lake of 9 x 106 m3, the increase in SO4 from 15 August to 20 September equates to a minimum input of ~700 metric tons/day of SO2 into the lake. This behavior differs from that observed prior to the 1971 eruptions: The indication is that the quantity of magma involved in the current activity is larger than in the 1971. Taken with the rather moderate degree of cross-crater deformation seen, the quantity of SO2 discharged into the lake indicates connection to larger volumes of degassing magma at depth.

Volcanic tremor remained at background from early July until early September; its amplitude was ~1 µm/s for signals centered around 7 Hz, and at this value or slightly lower for signals centered around 2 Hz. During a five day interval starting on 6 September, the amplitude of 2-Hz tremor increased. During the 24 hours prior to the 18 September eruption and earthquake (BGVN 20:09), predominantly 7-Hz tremor occurred, at one point doubling in amplitude. Later, ~80 minutes prior to the eruption and earthquake, tremor again increased by a factor of 2-3, with 2-Hz tremor becoming dominant. Although dramatic, Ruapehu often displays wide-ranging shifts in tremor amplitude and, in retrospect, the increased amplitudes seen would not have been a useful way to predict the eruption.

The 18 September earthquake took place at 0805, continuing for 6 minutes. Analog seismograms from the three local stations (Dome, Chateau, and Ngauruhoe) were pegged, and the M 3.6 estimate was made based on amplitude recorded by the tremor-monitoring system. After the earthquake, predominantly 2-Hz tremor prevailed, remaining at or above the pre-earthquake amplitude. Later the same day (18 September), strong 1-Hz tremor occurred--for the first time at Ruapehu since the early 1970s.

Further minor earthquakes were recorded during the next few days. On 19 September seismometers registered a ML 2.2 earthquakes as well as four other discrete earthquakes; on 20 September there were ML 3.1 and 3.2 earthquakes followed by another interval of strong 1-Hz tremor until 0900.

October eruptions. At the time of this writing, IGNS reports for October are incomplete, but a brief survey of available "Science Alert Bulletins" and aviation reports suggested that minor eruptions continued and in mid-October moderate ash-rich eruptions took place. On 11 October a plume was seen in satellite imagery; on 12 and 14 October, pilot and associated aviation reports indicated ash to at least ~10 km altitude.

The 11 October eruption was described as near-continuous moderate eruptive activity that included hot ballistic blocks and lightning. Subsequent lower intensity eruptions presumably fed the plume so that its proximal end remained attached to the volcano. The eruption deposited ash in a blanket with a tentative volume between 0.01 and 0.05 km3. Thus, the steam-rich plumes seen in the 3 weeks prior to 11 October gave way to more ash-rich plumes during this eruption. A thin blanket of ash was also deposited during the 14 October eruption.

The absence of a crater lake was confirmed on 14 October. By 17 October, partly impeded views into the crater revealed steam and ash emitted from at least three vents, and a still-dry crater floor. COSPEC measurements around this time suggested the SO2 flux was over 10,000 metric tons/day. A COSPEC flight on 21 October gave viewers their first look at a possible new lava dome, however, there were no subsequent confirmations of the dome in available reports.

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: C.J.N. Wilson, B.J. Scott, P.M. Otway, and I.A. Nairn, Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand; Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, P.O. Box 735, Darwin, NT 0801, Australia.

Correction: The most recent analysis indicates that there were 18 hydrothermal eruptions recorded between 0600 and 1640 on 20 September. Table 7 indicated "15 small phreatic eruptions witnessed."


Ruby (United States) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruby

United States

15.62°N, 145.57°E; summit elev. -230 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Submarine eruption

Ruby is a prominent, active submarine volcano in the Mariana Arc (2,300 km S of Tokyo) located NW of the Island of Saipan (figure 1). Although signs of an eruption were first noted by fishermen about 11 October, initial attempts to confirm their early observations failed. On 23 October fishermen reported that they could hear submarine explosions in that vicinity. A vessel from the Wildlife and Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands confirmed these reports. An Associated Press news report stated that early on 25 October observers had seen dead fish and bubbles, and had smelled a sulfurous odor. On 27 October the Pacific Daily News reported the eruption site as 15°36'22"N, 145°34'33"E (15.6061°N, 145.5758°E). This spot clearly lies on the edifice identified by Bloomer and others (1985, p. 215) as Ruby (only ~1.7 km from the point specified in this report's heading).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Index map and bathymetric map (depths in meters) showing seamounts near Saipan Island, including the known active centers Esmeralda Bank and Ruby (after Bloomer and others, 1989).

Prior to the eruption, published estimates of the summit elevation suggested a 230-m depth, a refinement an earlier estimate of 549 m (Bloomer and others, 1985, p. 215). On 6 October 1995, the Pacific Daily News report stated the summit was measured at 185-m depth. This newly reported depth remains unconfirmed. According to Mike Blackford, on 23 October a marine depth finder reportedly measured a depth of ~60 m. Although this could be a reflection off the eruptive plume, in the absence of any discussion of instrument type and calibration, this depth remains equivocal.

According to Koyanagi and others (1993), the two seismic stations nearest the eruption were on Saipan (~50 km SE of Ruby) and Pagan islands (~130 km N of Saipan), both too distant to detect subtle seismic effects. Despite the lack of a nearby seismic station, tremor appeared on seismic records at the time of the eruption and the next day. Given the temporal coincidence between the eruption and the tremor, the two were probably associated.

A fish recovered at the eruption site was found to have small particles of ash in its gills and HVO researchers planned to analyze this ash. News of the eruption caused concern about a possible local tsunami and on 25 October, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands issued an alert.

Evidence for Ruby's active status came from 1966 hydrophone data, followed later by dredging of extremely fresh volcanic rocks bearing plagioclase, clinopyroxene, and olivine (Bloomer and others, 1985).

References. Bloomer, S.H., Stern, R.J., and Smoot, N.C., 1989, Physical volcanology of the submarine Mariana and Volcano arcs: Bull. Volcanol., no. 51, p. 210-234.

Koyanagi, R., Kojima, G., Chong, F., and Chong, R., 1993, Seismic monitoring of earthquakes and volcanoes in the Northern Mariana Islands: 1993 summary report: Prepared for the Office of the Governor, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Capitol Hill, Saipan MP 96950 (revised 21 February 1993), 34 p.

Geologic Background. Ruby, a basaltic submarine volcano that rises to within 230 m of the sea surface near the southern end of the Mariana arc NW of Saipan, was detected in eruption in 1966 by sonar signals (Norris and Johnson, 1969). In 1995 submarine explosions were heard, accompanied by a fish kill, sulfurous odors, bubbling water, and the detection of volcanic tremor.

Information Contacts: Robert J. Stern, Center for Lithospheric Studies, University of Texas at Dallas, Box 830688, Dallas, TX 75083-0688 USA; Robert Koyanagi, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718, USA; Ramon C. Chong, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Disaster Control Office, Capitol Hill, Saipan, MP 96950 USA; Mike Blackford, Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, 91-270 Fort Weaver Road, Ewa Beach HI 96706, USA; Associated Press; Pacific Daily News.


Semeru (Indonesia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions and pyroclastic flows continue

The VSI reported that by 3 August a tongue of glowing lava had reached 300 m long; at 1932 that evening the lava collapsed to feed lava avalanches. Qantas airlines reported additional activity at 1510 on 8 August, describing volcanic "smoke" near Semeru to above 4 km. Two days later, around 1530 on 10 August, a Qantas flight reported an ash cloud to 9 km altitude with a SW drift.

VSI noted that during August-October small-to-moderate explosions and avalanches continued from the Jonggring Seloko summit crater. Plumes rose to a maximum of 600 m above the summit; the average plume height was 300-500 m. In August and September, pyroclastic flows often traveled down the Kember River, then descended the Kobokan River, reaching a distance of 1-3 km. The frequency of lava avalanches increased in September, extending along the Kember River for up to 500 m from the summit.

Earthquakes associated with the pyroclastic flows were variable, with 1-16 events/day through early October; after that the frequency of earthquakes decreased. Increasing numbers of volcanic earthquakes (both A-and B-type) started on 11 October and continued until the end of the month, fluctuating at 1-14 events/day (figure 8). The number of explosion earthquakes was typically 45-109/day (figure 8), except on 26 and 27 September, when there were only 33 and 24 events, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Eruptive activity at Semeru as detected by seismograph, August-October 1995: pyroclastic flows and volcanic earthquakes (top), explosions and avalanche events (bottom). Courtesy of VSI.

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

Information Contacts: W. Tjetjep, VSI; BOM Darwin, Australia.


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Soufriere Hills

United Kingdom

16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash explosions continue; three new vents form; September dome grows

The observatory was moved on 1 October from the Vue Pointe Hotel to Eifel House on Bishop View Road in Old Towne. A phreatic eruption that day deposited ash across a large area, including the capital city of Plymouth. This eruption was followed by a volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquake swarm, with 70 events located beneath the volcano at depths of 1-6 km. Two of the earthquakes, at 2257 and 2319, had magnitudes of ~2.5 and were felt at the observatory; several were felt in the Long Ground area. After about 0500 on 2 October, the number of located earthquakes dropped to ~5/day. Two episodes of low-amplitude broadband tremor recorded during 1-3 October were related to steam emission. Electronic tiltmeter and EDM observations during that time revealed no significant deformation.

EDM measurements at Tar River completed on 3-4 October continued to show a shortening trend, signaling minor inflation. Shallow VT (12 located events) and long-period (2 events) seismicity continued. Moderate levels of seismicity prevailed during 4-8 October, with 30-40 shallow (< 6 km depth) VT earthquakes each day, rare felt events (M 2-2.5), and a few long-period events. No deformation was detected by electronic tiltmeter.

An explosion around 2355 on 5 October caused heavy ashfall in Plymouth and in the SW part of the island. On 5 October the government announced that over the next two days they would evacuate Plymouth's home for elderly people and the hospital, sending residents to the N part of the island.

Two eruption signals were recorded at 0235 and 0347 on 8 October, and the EDM line at Tar River continued to show minor inflation. Seismicity began decreasing on 8-9 October, when 24 earthquakes were located beneath the volcano, with a few in the Centre Hills area. A small eruption at 1356 on 9 October generated light ashfall in Amersham and Upper Gages. Vent 2 was emitting a small amount of steam again during 7-9 October. Several episodes of broadband tremor may have been caused by increased steam emission. There were only 6 located earthquakes during 9-10 October, but several episodes of broadband tremor. Another minor eruption around 0012 on 10 October caused light ashfall in Plymouth. Visual helicopter inspection of the crater revealed significant steam emission and an increase in the size of the 25 September dome (20:9).

Formation of Vent 5 on 11 October. An ash eruption at 0021 on 11 October came from a new vent on the Tar River side of the Castle Peak dome, and damaged the EDM reflector at Tar River. A small earthquake swarm accompanied this vent formation. There were two more small ash eruptions later that day at 1540 and 1700. Although no significant changes to the dome were noted, steaming continued from its top; Vent 1 was also steaming, and appeared to be larger and deeper. Scientists noted that steam emissions from the crater had generally increased.

Three more ash eruptions occurred on 12 October, at 0901, 0955, and 1114. Continuous steam emission came from several areas in the crater and Vent 5. Two episodes of broadband tremor during 12-13 October were attributed to increased steam emission. Seismicity was low, with only 22 events during 11-13 October. No deformation was detected following this latest series of explosions.

Formation of Vent 6 on 14 October. An eruption at 0708 on 14 October created another vent on the NE flank of Castle Peak dome, generated a significant amount of ash, and ejected blocks as far as the edge of Long Ground, ~1 km E of the vent. A pilot reported that the plume may have reached ~2 km altitude. Another eruption at 1058 caused no reported ashfall. Two gas venting episodes at 2200 and 2345 on the 14th were associated with a small earthquake swarm and broadband tremor episodes. Vent 2 again emitted moderate amounts of steam, accompanied by a loud roaring sound, and Vent 5 continued to emit small amounts of steam. Seismicity decreased from 18 events on 13-14 October to five events accompanied by broadband tremor on 15-16 October.

Seismicity increased again on 16-17 October with 22 events clustered in two areas: one beneath the volcano and the other just E of Windy Hill. Steam-and-ash eruptions were recorded by the seismic network at 1757 and 2245 on 16 October, and at 1150 and 1522 on the 17th. There were also several episodes of broadband tremor and ~30 minutes of low-frequency harmonic tremor starting around 0414 on 17 October. Later that morning an aerial inspection of the crater showed no significant changes and little steaming. During a second flight at 1145, a large mudflow originating within the crater moat beyond Vent 2 was seen running rapidly down the Hot River and reaching the sea. This was probably the largest mudflow (in terms of volume of material) since the current activity began.

During 17-18 October there were 12 scattered earthquakes, several periods of broadband tremor, and some intermediate-frequency tremor. Ash eruptions were recorded at 1739 on the 17th and at 0530 on the 18th. The dome area continued to emit steam, but did not increase in size.

Formation of Vent 7 on 18 October. The 31 earthquakes during 18-19 October were clustered beneath the volcano. Several broadband tremor episodes and one period of low-frequency tremor were also detected. An eruption at 1621 on the 18th was associated with the formation of a new vent within the moat area of English's Crater, just SW of Vent 1. Another eruption was recorded at 2207 on the 18th. An explosive event around 1516 on 19 October generated a mudflow down the Hot River. During 19-20 October there were 28 earthquakes located; the events were scattered throughout S Montserrat, with some clustered beneath Soufriere Hills and St. Georges Hill.

There were 15 VT earthquakes on 20-21 October concentrated around the Long Ground/Soufriere Hills area. Several eruption episodes on 21 October resulted in ashfall that affected villages in the E. Ash fell at the airport for the first time, closing it briefly. No deformation was detected at the Tar River EDM or Long Ground tilt stations. Helicopter observations revealed that Vent 1 had extended E and was responsible for the previous ashfall. There was a small mud flow down the Tar River.

An average of 35 earthquakes/day occurred during 21-23 October. They were scattered throughout S Montserrat with some concentrations in the Long Ground-Tar River area and beneath the volcano. Some broadband tremor was also recorded. Visual observation of English's Crater both from helicopter and Tar River on 22 October revealed light steam emission from vents 2 and 5. When observed on the morning of 23 October, the September dome continued to steam, and was covered with sulfur deposits; it may also have grown since last observed on 20 October. Only one other small area SE of the dome was steaming. An eruption at 1337 on 23 October produced ash deposits within the summit crater and at Tar River. Steam emission increased after this eruption.

Seismicity decreased following this eruption to 10-14 events/day through 29 October, except for 22 events on the 27th. Locations were mainly beneath the volcano, although some were centered in the Windy Hill area and other parts of S Montserrat. An eruption at 1325 on 25 October caused ashfall in the Tar River area. Eruption signals were again recorded at 2314, 2321, and 2347 on 25 October, and at 0447 on the 26th; no ashfall was reported. Several episodes of low-amplitude broadband tremor were recorded during 25-26 October. EDM measurements at Tar River on 26 October indicated a continuation of the minor inflation observed during the past several weeks.

A steam-and-ash eruption at 1317 on 27 October from Vent 1 was followed by more than 30 minutes of low-frequency tremor. Eruption signals were recorded at 0855 and 2018 on 28 October, but no ashfall was reported. Steam emission from Vent 2 was observed that afternoon. Eruptions occurred again at 0326 and 0857 on the 29th, both followed by broadband tremor. An ash-and-steam plume was seen from the observatory following the 0857 event. Steam was seen coming from Vent 1 during a helicopter flight, but no major changes were noted.

Seismicity increased on 29-30 October to 55 events; most were clustered in a region just W of Windy Hill, with some scattered in the Centre Hills and Soufriere Hills areas. Eruption signals were recorded at 2110 on the 29th, and at 0244 and 1310 on the 30th. Two small long-period events were recorded after the first eruption. Ash from the first two of these eruptions was observed in English's Crater by helicopter. The third eruption, witnessed by scientists at the Tar River EDM site, produced a high column that caused ashfall over a wide area. This ashfall was the most significant since 21 August, and was accompanied by a density current of ash in the Gages valley. The morning of 31 October visual observations revealed a significant increase in Vent 1's size, but the 25 September dome appeared unchanged.

Seismicity decreased again the next day to 23 events, but they were located in clusters in the Tar River-Long Ground area and W of Windy Hill. There were also four long-period events and several episodes of broadband tremor. One eruption at 1118 on 31 October had no reported associated ashfall. EDM measurements at Tar River again showed a slight shortening, associated with continued slow inflation of the upper part of the volcanic edifice.

Only 14 seismic events were recorded during 31 October-1 November; most were located beneath the volcano with a few in the Windy Hill and Fox's Bay area. There were three long-period events and several episodes of broadband tremor. A small eruption at 1129 on 1 November caused ashfall within the summit crater.

Geologic Background. The complex, dominantly andesitic Soufrière Hills volcano occupies the southern half of the island of Montserrat. The summit area consists primarily of a series of lava domes emplaced along an ESE-trending zone. The volcano is flanked by Pleistocene complexes to the north and south. English's Crater, a 1-km-wide crater breached widely to the east by edifice collapse, was formed about 2000 years ago as a result of the youngest of several collapse events producing submarine debris-avalanche deposits. Block-and-ash flow and surge deposits associated with dome growth predominate in flank deposits, including those from an eruption that likely preceded the 1632 CE settlement of the island, allowing cultivation on recently devegetated land to near the summit. Non-eruptive seismic swarms occurred at 30-year intervals in the 20th century, but no historical eruptions were recorded until 1995. Long-term small-to-moderate ash eruptions beginning in that year were later accompanied by lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows that forced evacuation of the southern half of the island and ultimately destroyed the capital city of Plymouth, causing major social and economic disruption.

Information Contacts: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Olde Towne.


Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Tengger Caldera

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption from Bromo sends dark ash plume 700 m above the rim

On 9 September, dark gray emissions were observed reaching a height of 70 m above the rim of Bromo Crater. Volcanic tremor associated with the emission events (maximum amplitude of 1-3 mm) was recorded continuously beginning on 8 September, using a PS-2 seismograph installed 750 m from the active crater. After 10 September the plume was denser than during the March-May 1995 activity (20:03). An international Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) on the morning of 22 September reported an ash cloud with a top at ~3 km altitude and a SW drift. The height of the ash column gradually increased, peaking at 700 m (~3 km altitude) on 25 September (figure 2); during the emission, maximum tremor amplitude was 49 mm. A thick dark gray ash cloud caused ashfall in nearby villages, reported as far away as ~20 km E (around the area of Sukapura). The eruption vent, with a diameter of ~25 m, was located on the N part of the crater floor, similar to the last eruption. Ash eruptions were continuing at the end of October, but the activity was gradually decreasing. In October the maximum plume height was 200-450 m above the crater rim; the maximum tremor amplitude was 8-40 mm.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Height of ash plume and maximum tremor amplitude at Bromo, Tengger Caldera, September-October 1995. Courtesy of VSI.

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

Information Contacts: W. Tjetjep, VSI; BOM Darwin, Australia.


Vulcano (Italy) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Vulcano

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity notably diminished from previous years

Fumarolic activity, vigorous in the late 1980s and through 1994, notably diminished in 1995 (BGVN 20:04 and 20:06). During observations in September, the steam and gas output of the most conspicuous fumaroles, at the N rim of the Fossa Grande crater, was back to pre-1985 levels, and no longer formed sizeable gas plumes. Some of the formerly most vigorous fumaroles and steaming cracks were no longer active. Strong gas emission still occurred from fumaroles in the oversteepened and unstable Forgia Vecchia area, below the N rim of the Fossa Grande, and hydrothermal alteration continued to weaken the rock. Several blocks of strongly altered rock with volumes of ~100-500 m3 each had already detached and subsided by 10-20 cm, and may fall. However, it was uncertain whether they would reach the S margin of the village below the Fossa cone. Fumarolic activity also continued from numerous places on the beach N of the "Faraglione" and on the low isthmus connecting Vulcanello to the main body of Vulcano island. During a visit to the western-most (and most recent) crater of Vulcanello on 13 September, no evidence of recent fumarolic activity was found in its NE part where intense fumarolic activity took place until the mid-19th century.

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: Boris Behncke and Giada Giuntoli, Department of Volcanology and Petrology, GEOMAR, Wischhofstr. 1-3, 24148 Kiel, Germany.


Yellowstone (United States) — October 1995 Citation iconCite this Report

Yellowstone

United States

44.43°N, 110.67°W; summit elev. 2805 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New mud volcano, minor mud flow, and associated thermal features

On the SW flank of Sour Creek resurgent dome W of Astringent Creek in the 0.6 Ma Yellowstone caldera, is an extensive, unnamed acid sulfate hydrothermal system (figures 2 and 3). Surface expression of the ~3 km2 thermal area consists of discontinuous high temperature altered ground, turbid springs, pools, seeps, fumaroles, mud pots, a large gas- and sulfur-rich acid lake, and numerous sublimated sulfur mound deposits interspersed among low-temperature forest-covered ground.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Index map of the western United States showing the location of Yellowstone Caldera.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Sketch map of Yellowstone Caldera indicating the location of the recent thermal features described in this and an earlier report.

During early 1990, a significant rise in temperature in the upper NW end of the hydrothermal system began killing old-growth pine trees. Within a year, a new super-heated fumarole emerged, blanketing the downed trees and roots with a layer of hydrothermally altered coarse sand from a directed blast to the N.

The temperature and volume of dry steam venting from the deep "shaft-like" vent steadily increased over the next three years, with the temperature reaching a maximum of 104.3°C on 8 October 1994, ~11°C higher than the local boiling point. The dynamic activity of the fumarole and surrounding hot ground was only monitored about twice a year over the three years following its 1990 inception due to its remote location and restricted access.

A similar progression was previously seen during 1985 in an area ~4.5 km to the E. This area, the upper E margin of the Mushpots thermal area, sits on the W flanks of Pelican Cone (BGVN 17:03). The progression went from new hot ground and dying mature forests, to the vigorous breakout of a dry, super-heated fumarole with progressively hotter temperatures over time, followed by sudden emergence of a large and violent mud volcano. Both the 1985 and recent thermal features had similar fluid compositions.

During 1992-94 the unnamed thermal area W of Astringent Creek developed a series of seven large craters that evolved as the Mushpots thermal area did in 1985. The craters were progressively younger towards the SW, ending at the site of the current new hot ground and fumarole (figure 4). In December 1993, National Park Service research geologist R. Hutchinson predicted that the newest superheated fumarole would soon evolve into a large mud volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Sketch map (scale approximate) showing the surface expression of an unnamed thermal area W of Astringent Creek in Yellowstone Caldera. Coordinates for map's center are at about 44°38'06"N, 110°16'44"W. Courtesy of R. Hutchinson.

As a part of routine monitoring, the thermal area W of Astringent Creek was inspected on 7 June 1995. The former 104.3°C fumarole was replaced by a large vigorous mud pot with ejecta extensively scattered around it. In addition, two new smaller roaring fumaroles at or slightly above boiling point, three new moderate-sized churning caldrons (pits containing hot, agitated aqueous fluids), numerous smaller muddy pools, collapse pits, and frying-pan springs (audibly degassing springs) were apparent then. Extensive areas of unstable quicksand-like saturated ground made up of scalding mud were found under the fallen trees. Some regions were heavily encrusted with sulfate minerals or sulfur crystals; others were covered by baked organic matter on the pine forest's floor.

Extending NW from the largest parasitic churning caldron, below the new mud volcano crater, was a spectacular white kaoline clay mud flow (figure 4, dark shading and arrow showing flow direction). It spread rapidly to reach an average width of 13.8 m in the first 55 meters of its length in dead forest grove and eventually terminated 114 m from its source on the open, acid thermal-basin floor.

The relative freshness of the ejected mud and incorporated semi-coarse sandy material indicated that the super-heated fumarole transformed into the powerful mud volcano between mid-April and mid-May. The distribution of large mud bombs suggested that their trajectories reached 20-30 m above the crater rim. Ejecta were seen along the following compass bearings with the stated maximum distances from the crater: N, 13.6 m; E, 30.2 m; S, 25.4 m; and W, 12.1 m.

When visited on both 7 June and 9 September, the mud volcano still continued to throw mud 0.5-1.5 m high from dozens of points around the crater floor. The mud volcano crater was 13.5-m long, 11.3-m wide, and 3.9-4.9 m deep. A conservative estimate of the crater volume was 315 m3. The total area covered by the ejecta and crater was ~2,100 m2. In the SW quarter of the crater a large, slightly elevated projection was visible with an arcuate line of dry, white, probably super-heated fumarole vents.

The largest parasitic caldron had numerous points of ebullition in its irregularly shaped pool (maximum dimensions of 10.8 x 7.9 m), with a water level 0.7-1.4 m below the former forest floor. The churning water was near boiling, opaque, light tan in color, and partially covered with brown organic-rich foam derived from cooked plant material.

Each of the caldrons were interpreted as being parasitic to the mud volcano crater because they appeared to have evolved shortly after the initial fumarole collapse and then subsequently drained much of its fluids. This relationship seems to have rapidly lowered the crater floor, preventing the accumulation of a thick ejecta cone on the crater rim.

The mud volcano crater, parasitic features, vents, and the associated hot ground remain extremely dangerous and unstable. Additional alterations in the creation of new or enlarged springs, and perhaps even another mud volcano crater are anticipated. With respect to geologic hazards, the acid sulfate thermal area should be checked again in the near future. Photographs were taken on 7 June.

The Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field developed through three volcanic cycles spanning two million years and included some of the world's largest known eruptions. Eruption of the > 2,500 km3 Huckleberry Ridge Tuff ~2.1 million years ago (Ma) created a caldera more than 75 km long. The Mesa Falls Tuff erupted around 1.3 Ma, forming the 25-km-wide Island Park Caldera at the first caldera's W end. A 0.6 Ma eruption deposited the 1,000 km3 Lava Creek Tuff and associated caldera collapse created the rest of the present 45 x 75 km caldera (figure 3). Resurgent doming then occurred; voluminous (1,000 km3) intercaldera rhyolitic lava flows were erupted between 150,000 and 70,000 years ago. Phreatic eruptions produced local tephra layers during the early Holocene. Distinctive geysers, mud pots, hot springs, and other hydrothermal features within Yellowstone caldera helped lead to the establishment of the National Park in 1872.

Geologic Background. The Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field developed through three volcanic cycles spanning two million years that included some of the world's largest known eruptions. Eruption of the over 2450 km3 Huckleberry Ridge Tuff about 2.1 million years ago created the more than 75-km-long Island Park caldera. The second cycle concluded with the eruption of the Mesa Falls Tuff around 1.3 million years ago, forming the 16-km-wide Henrys Fork caldera at the western end of the first caldera. Activity subsequently shifted to the present Yellowstone Plateau and culminated 640,000 years ago with the eruption of the over 1000 km3 Lava Creek Tuff and the formation of the present 45 x 85 km caldera. Resurgent doming subsequently occurred at both the NE and SW sides of the caldera and voluminous (1000 km3) intracaldera rhyolitic lava flows were erupted between 150,000 and 70,000 years ago. No magmatic eruptions have occurred since the late Pleistocene, but large hydrothermal eruptions took place near Yellowstone Lake during the Holocene. Yellowstone is presently the site of one of the world's largest hydrothermal systems including Earth's largest concentration of geysers.

Information Contacts: Roderick A. Hutchinson, National Park Service, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190, USA.

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/).