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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

Suwanosejima (Japan) Small ash plumes continued during January through June 2019

Great Sitkin (United States) Small steam explosions in early June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Suwanosejima (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash plumes continued during January through June 2019

Suwanosejima is an active volcanic island south of Japan in the Ryuku islands with recent activity centered at Otake crater. The current eruption began in October 2004 and activity has mostly consisted of small ash plumes, ballistic ejecta, and visible incandescence at night. This report summarizes activity during January through June 2019 and is based on reports by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), and various satellite data.

Thermal activity recorded by the MIROVA system was low through January and February after a decline in November (figure 36), shown in Sentined-2 thermal infrared imagery as originating at a vent in the Otake crater (figure 37). During January an explosive event was observed at 1727 on the 3rd, producing a gray plume that rose 600 m above the crater. A white gas-and-steam plume rose to 1.5 km above the crater and nighttime incandescence was observed throughout the month. Reduced activity continued through February with no reported explosive eruptions and light gray plumes up to 900 m above the crater. Incandescence continued to be recorded at night using a sensitive surveillance camera.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared data at Suwanosejima during September 2018 through June 2019. There was reduced activity in 2019 with periods of more frequent anomalies during March and June. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. A Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image shows Suwanosejima with the active Otake crater in the center with elevated temperatures shown as bright orange/yellow. There is a light area next to the vent that may be a gas plume. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

There was an increase in thermal energy detected by the MIROVA system in mid-March and there was a MODVOLC thermal alert on the 15th. Occasional small explosions occurred but no larger explosive events were recorded. A white plume was noted on the 27th rising to 900 m above the crater and an event at 1048 on the 30th produced a light-gray plume that rose to 800 m. Incandescence was only observed using a sensitive camera at night (figure 38).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Incandescence from the Suwanosejima Otake crater reflecting in clouds above the volcano. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity of Suwanosejima March 2019).

No explosive events were observed through April. A white gas-and-steam plume rose to 1,200 m above the crater on the 19th and incandescence continued intermittently. Minor explosions were recorded on 5, 30, and 31 May, but no larger explosive events were observed during the month. The event on the 30th produced ash plume that reached 1.1 km above the crater. Similar activity continued through June with one explosive event occurring on the 2nd. Overall, there was a reduction in the number of ash plumes erupted during this period compared to previous months (figure 39).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Observed activity at Suwanosejima for the year ending in July 2019. The black vertical bars represent steam, gas, or ash plume heights (scale in meters on the left axis), yellow diamonds represent incandescence observed in webcams, gray volcano symbols along the top are explosions accompanied by ash plumes, red volcano symbols represent large explosions with ash plumes. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity of Suwanosejima June 2019).

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Great Sitkin (United States) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Great Sitkin

United States

52.076°N, 176.13°W; summit elev. 1740 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small steam explosions in early June 2019

The Great Sitkin volcano is located about 40 km NE of Adak Island in the Aleutian Islands and has had a few short-lived eruptions over the past 100 years. Prior to the latest activity in early June 2019 described below, small phreatic explosions occurred in June and August 2018 (BGVN 43:09). An eruption in 1974 produced a lava dome in the center of the crater. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is the primary source of information for this September 2018-June 2019 reporting period.

Low-level unrest occurred from September 2018 through February 2019 with slightly elevated seismic activity (figure 6). Small explosions were seismically detected by AVO on 30 October, 5 and 16 November, and 11 December 2018, but they were not seen in regional infrasound data and satellite data did not show an ash cloud.

On 1, 7, and 9 June 2019, AVO reported small steam explosions as well as slightly elevated seismic activity. Steam plumes and surficial evidence of an explosion were not observed during these events. On 18 June 2019 weakly elevated surface temperatures were recorded, field crews working on Adak observed some steam emissions, and a gas flight was conducted. Elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide detected above the lava dome were likely associated with the steam explosions earlier in the month (figures 7 and 8). From 23 June through the end of the month seismicity began to decline back to background levels.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. A steam plume was seen at the summit of Great Sitkin on 7 December 2018. Photo by Andy Lewis and Bob Boyd; courtesy of AVO/USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Some degassing was observed on the southern flank of the Great Sitkin during an overflight on 18 June 2019. Photo by Laura Clor; image courtesy of AVO/USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. View of Great Sitkin with white plumes rising from the summit on 20 June 2019. Photo by Laura Clor, courtesy of AVO/USGS.

Geologic Background. The Great Sitkin volcano forms much of the northern side of Great Sitkin Island. A younger parasitic volcano capped by a small, 0.8 x 1.2 km ice-filled summit caldera was constructed within a large late-Pleistocene or early Holocene scarp formed by massive edifice failure that truncated an ancestral volcano and produced a submarine debris avalanche. Deposits from this and an older debris avalanche from a source to the south cover a broad area of the ocean floor north of the volcano. The summit lies along the eastern rim of the younger collapse scarp. Deposits from an earlier caldera-forming eruption of unknown age cover the flanks of the island to a depth up to 6 m. The small younger caldera was partially filled by lava domes emplaced in 1945 and 1974, and five small older flank lava domes, two of which lie on the coastline, were constructed along northwest- and NNW-trending lines. Hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles occur near the head of Big Fox Creek, south of the volcano. Historical eruptions have been recorded since the late-19th century.

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


Ibu (Indonesia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/).


Ebeko (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

Geologic Background. Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka's highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank craters.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); The Captain Cook Society (URL: https://www.captaincooksociety.com/home/detail/225-years-ago-july-september-1774); Royal Museums Greenwich (URL: https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/13383.html); Wikimedia Commons, (URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Landing_at_Tana_one_of_the_New_Hebrides,_by_William_Hodges.jpg); Nick Page, Australia,Flickr: (URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/152585166@N08/).


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

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Emily Stanford (Twitter: https://twitter.com/NerdyBatLady, image posted at https://twitter.com/NerdyBatLady/status/1098052063009792001/photo/1).


Ambae (Vanuatu) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Declining thermal activity and no explosions during February-May 2019

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

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

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

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

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


Sangay (Ecuador) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Tico Liu, Hong Kong (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tico.liu. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155389178192793&set=pcb.10155389178372793&type=3&theater); Shari Kalt (Instagram user LuxuryTravelAdvisor: https://www.instagram.com/luxurytraveladviser/, https://www.instagram.com/p/BkhalnuHu2j/); Coral Expeditions, Australia (URL: https://www.coralexpeditions.com/, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coralexpeditions); Philip Stern (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sternph, https://www.facebook.com/sternph/posts/2167501866616908); Brad Scott, GNS Science Volcanologist at GNS Science, New Zealand (Twitter: https://twitter.com/Eruptn); Chaiyasit Saengsirirak, Bangkok, Thailand (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chaiyasit.saengsirirak, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2197513186969355).


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

Sarychev Peak

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief ash emission reported on 16 May 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Goma, North Kivu, DR Congo (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Observatoire-Volcanologique-de-Goma-OVG-180016145663568/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 24, Number 06 (June 1999)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Comparatively weak explosive activity during past 1.5 years

Batur (Indonesia)

New eruption beginning in March; frequent explosions

Colima (Mexico)

Diminished activity during much of June; a large explosion on 17 July

Etna (Italy)

Lava-flow temperature measurements

Guagua Pichincha (Ecuador)

Continued frequent steam-and-ash explosions

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Occasional earthquakes and 5-70 microseisms a month during last 1.5 years

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Mild emissions with rare ash-bearing outbursts

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Ongoing intracrater activity; fresh extra-crater lava flows; wet vs. dry carbonatites

Long Valley (United States)

Continued dome inflation and persistent earthquake swarms through 1998

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Ashfalls and infrequent explosions

Mayon (Philippines)

Explosion on 22 June sends a plume to ~10-12 km altitude

Momotombo (Nicaragua)

Fumarole temperatures remain high in April 1999

Monowai (New Zealand)

Strong acoustic crisis recorded during 5-10 June

Negro, Cerro (Nicaragua)

New map of changes to crater after 1992 and 1995 eruptions

Poas (Costa Rica)

Strong drop in tremor duration and mid-frequency earthquakes in early 1998

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Small exhalations, minor fumarolic activity, and variable seismicity

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

The active intracaldera cone (Tavurvur) continues mild emissions through June

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

1.5-year record of seismicity and eruptions through May 1999

Stromboli (Italy)

Vents in summit craters still active; variable seismicity

Turrialba (Costa Rica)

A 4-fold increase in microseisms during December-April 1999

White Island (New Zealand)

Visit on 30 June reveals decreased activity



Arenal (Costa Rica) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Arenal

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Comparatively weak explosive activity during past 1.5 years

In November 1998-May 1999, Arenal's explosive activity continued, although at a reduced pace compared with past years. Crater C continued to emit gases, lava flows, and sporadic Strombolian eruptions. Fumarolic activity persisted at Crater D.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, V. Barboza, E. Duarte, R. Saenz, E. Malavassi, M. Martinez, and R. Van der Laat, T. Marino, and E. Hernandez, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Wendy Perez Fernandez, Seccion de Seismologia, Vulcanologia y Exploracion Geofisica, Escuela Centroamericana de Geologia, Universidad de Costa Rica, POB 35-2060, San José, Costa Rica.


Batur (Indonesia) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Batur

Indonesia

8.242°S, 115.375°E; summit elev. 1717 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption beginning in March; frequent explosions

During the week of 9-15 March, white ash plumes rose 10-100 m above the crater. Booming noises were heard six times, and volcanic earthquakes increased drastically compared to the previous week (table 1). It was later determined that an ash eruption had begun on 15 March, sending bluish-white plumes 10-50 m high. On 17 March, two relatively recent craters merged when a connecting ridge collapsed as a result of earthquakes and small eruptions.

Table 1. Weekly seismicity recorded at Batur, March-July 1999. Types of events include volcanic A-type, volcanic B-type, tectonic, explosion earthquakes, and ash emissions (small explosion earthquakes). No data were available for the period 30 March-19 April. Maximum explosion amplitudes were reported as 2-26 mm during May; more typical, smaller amplitudes were 1.5-24 mm during May-July. Courtesy of VSI.

Date A-type B-type Tectonic Explosion Emission
02-08 Mar 1999 2 0 1 0 2
09-15 Mar 1999 106 241 1 0 26
16-22 Mar 1999 0 14 1 270 5
23-29 Mar 1999 -- -- 1 299 --
30 Mar-05 Apr 1999 -- -- -- -- --
06-12 Apr 1999 -- -- -- -- --
13-19 Apr 1999 -- -- -- -- --
20-26 Apr 1999 1 2 2 79 35
27 Apr-03 May 1999 0 0 0 42 21
04-10 May 1999 0 0 0 26 39
11-17 May 1999 8 3 6 68 21
18-24 May 1999 0 0 3 337 47
25-31 May 1999 1 6 0 112 31
01-07 Jun 1999 3 4 1 6 19
08-14 Jun 1999 12 5 4 0 52
15-21 Jun 1999 4 6 4 85 48
22-28 Jun 1999 5 13 1 141 31
29 Jun-05 Jul 1999 10 10 2 171 50
06-12 Jul 1999 1 6 1 122 32
13-19 Jul 1999 0 0 1 206 14

Volcanic activity was dominated by emission events (small explosions) during the week of 23-29 March; the eruption plume was white-blue in color, rising 10-100 m above crater rim. Booming noises were heard three times on 22 March, but no glow was observed. Reports are not available for most of April, but during late April through the middle of May the seismic record was dominated by explosion events. Ash plumes, described as "white" or "white-bluish" were observed rising 50-100 m above the crater. Neither explosion sounds nor glow was observed.

Six explosions on 17 May ejected materials that fell around the crater. Another explosion on 25 May was accompanied by incandescent ejections that fell around the crater. Explosion sounds were heard on 17 occasions during the week of 25-31 May. "White ash emissions" rose only to 25 m during 1-14 June, but varied between 10 and 100 m the rest of the month. Similar activity continued through mid-July, and a variable rumbling noise was heard the week of 13-19 July.

Geologic Background. The historically active Batur is located at the center of two concentric calderas NW of Agung volcano. The outer 10 x 13.5 km wide caldera was formed during eruption of the Bali (or Ubud) Ignimbrite about 29,300 years ago and now contains a caldera lake on its SE side, opposite the satellitic Gunung Abang cone, the topographic high of the complex. The inner 6.4 x 9.4 km wide caldera was formed about 20,150 years ago during eruption of the Gunungkawi Ignimbrite. The SE wall of the inner caldera lies beneath Lake Batur; Batur cone has been constructed within the inner caldera to a height above the outer caldera rim. The Batur stratovolcano has produced vents over much of the inner caldera, but a NE-SW fissure system has localized the Batur I, II, and III craters along the summit ridge. Historical eruptions have been characterized by mild-to-moderate explosive activity sometimes accompanied by lava emission. Basaltic lava flows from both summit and flank vents have reached the caldera floor and the shores of Lake Batur in historical time.

Information Contacts: Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), Jalan Diponegoro No. 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).


Colima (Mexico) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Diminished activity during much of June; a large explosion on 17 July

Details about another large explosion on 17 July that sent a plume to over 10 km altitude will be reported in a future issue. Prior to that, during the month of June, degassing and explosions continued. The highest level of activity in 13 days was recorded on 1 June, but by 4 June activity had dropped to the lowest level in a month and it remained low through the end of June. Accordingly, during June explosions and degassing events became less frequent, shorter in duration, and of lower intensity. On 5 July one of two explosions sent an ash column to ~2,500 m and produced ashfall 10-20 km W of the summit.

A 3 June aerial inspection verified that no new summit crater has been formed, but did record a recent increase in the size of the crater formed during the 10 February and 10 May explosions. The crater diameter is now 180-200 m, with the deepest sector measuring 70 m.

Early in June authorities continued the evacuation of La Yerbabuena, in the state of Colima, and Juan Barragán, Los Machos, El Borbollón, and Durazno, in the state of Jalisco. The Observatory recommended controlled access to areas within 8.5 km of the summit and alert to persons within 11.5 km. People in other high-risk areas were told to be prepared to evacuate. By 10 June, however, reduced activity enabled authorities to relax restrictions. They trimmed the evacuated zone to within 6.5 km of the summit and maintained immediate response capacity to 8.5 km (including the villages of La Yerbabuena, Juan Barragán, El Agostadero, Los Machos, Borbollón, and El Durazno). Radio alert was maintained to a 11.5 km radius of the summit (encompassing the settlements of Causentla, Cofradía de Tonila, Atenguillo, Saucillo, El Fresnal, El Embudo). Authorities allowed residents to return to evacuated communities in both Colima and Jalisco. On 2 July, due to recent rain and the potential for lahars, authorities recommended avoiding the bed of the Cordobán river.

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

Information Contacts: Colima Volcano Observatory, University of Colima, Ave. 25 de Julio 965, Colima 28045 México (URL: https://portal.ucol.mx/cueiv/).


Etna (Italy) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava-flow temperature measurements

During the winter of 1998-99, Southeast Crater underwent a series of short eruptions. On 4 February 1999 a similar outbreak led to fracturing of the SE cone with subsequent lava flows to the NNE and SSE (observation by Giuseppe Scarpinati). The SE flow developed a lava field between 2,900 and 2,800 m elevation on the rim of the Valle del Bove (BGVN 24:05), with numerous branches that nearly reached its bottom at about 2,000 m elevation. This mild effusive activity was characterized by very small and slow degassed lava flows coming from ephemeral vents through the superficially congealed crust of the field.

Temperature measurements were carried out on lavas from several of these effusive vents during the first days of April. Special thanks are due to Antonio and Orazio Nicoloso and the Etnean Guides for assistance in the field. Consumable "Temtip" Pt / Pt-10%Rh thermocouples were used following a procedure described in Archambault and Tanguy (1976). The maximum lava temperature recorded at depths of 40-60 cm within the fluid lava was 1,085 ± 5°C (figure 78), slightly higher than that measured during the last two major flank eruptions of 1983 and 1991-93 (1,070-1,080°C). As already shown in Archambault and Tanguy (1976), such small lava flows showed a strong thermal gradients, so that measurements made at 5-15 cm depth give results 10-15°C lower than the true internal temperature (figure 79). This means that devices reaching only the superficial parts of the flows are unsuitable for such temperature measurements.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Histogram showing the number of Etna lava measurements at each temperature; the 16 measurements were taken at depth on fluid lava.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Lava flow temperatures measured at Etna during early April plotted versus depth. Different symbols (circles, squares, and triangles) represent different sets of measurements.

Although relatively low for a trachybasalt (or basaltic hawaiite) lava, the temperature of 1,085°C is consistent with their high crystal content of ~40% phenocrysts. As usual in recent Etna lavas, these phenocrysts consist of plagioclase, clinopyroxene, olivine and titanomagnetite lying in a glassy alkaline groundmass.

Reference. Archambault, C., and Tanguy, J.C., 1976, Comparative temperature measurements on Mount Etna lavas: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 1, 113-125.

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: Roberto Clocchiatti, Lab. Pierre Sue, CEA Saclay, France; Charles Rivière, CGE, France; Santo La Delfa, Giuseppe Patanè, and Jean-Claude Tanguy, University of Catania, Italy.


Guagua Pichincha (Ecuador) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Guagua Pichincha

Ecuador

0.171°S, 78.598°W; summit elev. 4784 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued frequent steam-and-ash explosions

The "yellow alert" status was uninterrupted as Guagua Pichincha expelled steam and ash throughout June. Explosions occurred on 31 May and on 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 24, 28, and 30 June. Explosions were more frequent in early-to mid-June, but the 28 June explosion was the largest in three months. A large explosion on 11 June sent a steam-and-ash column to ~5 km that lasted for about 5 minutes before dispersing to the south. Explosions were usually accompanied by long periods of tremor. A sulfur smell persisted throughout June and loud noises were also common. Steam frequently escaped to heights between 15 and 1,200 m from vents known as Alineadas, 1981 Crater, and Locomotora, along with those in the NW area of the summit. Alineadas discharged the highest plumes. Phreatic explosions as well as volcano-tectonic (VT), long-period (LP), and hybrid earthquakes occurred almost daily throughout June at levels similar to the last few months (figures 14 and 15). In addition to activity on the volcano, the seismic swarm N of Quito has altered. This may reflect changes in the regional stress field.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Monthly totals at Guagua Pichincha for phreatic explosions from August 1998 through June 1999. Courtesy of Instituto Geofisico.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Monthly totals at Guagua Pichincha for seismic events (LP, VT, and hybrid) from August 1998 through June 1999. Courtesy of Instituto Geofisico.

Geologic Background. Guagua Pichincha and the older Pleistocene Rucu Pichincha stratovolcanoes form a broad volcanic massif that rises immediately to the W of Ecuador's capital city, Quito. A lava dome is located at the head of a 6-km-wide breached caldera that formed during a late-Pleistocene slope failure ~50,000 years ago. Subsequent late-Pleistocene and Holocene eruptions from the central vent in the breached caldera consisted of explosive activity with pyroclastic flows accompanied by periodic growth and destruction of the central lava dome. One of Ecuador's most active volcanoes, it is the site of many minor eruptions since the beginning of the Spanish era. The largest historical eruption took place in 1660, when ash fell over a 1000 km radius, accumulating to 30 cm depth in Quito. Pyroclastic flows and surges also occurred, primarily to then W, and affected agricultural activity, causing great economic losses.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Apartado 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador.


Irazu (Costa Rica) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Irazu

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional earthquakes and 5-70 microseisms a month during last 1.5 years

In late 1998 and early 1999, seismographic station IRZ2 continued to register a few microseisms and occasional earthquakes (figure 13). During February and March, the color of the lake was clear yellow; in May, green. As is typical, the lake contained zones of constant bubbling. Weak fumarolic activity continued on the NE flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Monthly seismicity at Irazú, January 1998-April 1999. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, V. Barboza, E. Duarte, R. Saenz, E. Malavassi, M. Martinez, and R. Van der Laat, T. Marino, and E. Hernandez, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Wendy Perez Fernandez, Seccion de Seismologia, Vulcanologia y Exploracion Geofisica, Escuela Centroamericana de Geologia, Universidad de Costa Rica, POB 35-2060, San Jose, Costa Rica.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — June 1999 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)


Mild emissions with rare ash-bearing outbursts

Crater 2 exhibited mild, continuous volcanic activity during May and very low activity during June. The May activity primarily consisted of the escape of moderately thick gray to brown ash clouds. Weak rumbling and roaring noises occasionally accompanied the emissions and fairly significant ash columns were forcefully ejected to 2 km height on 4, 9, 11, and 30 May. The ash clouds drifted NW, resulting in downwind ashfall. The June activity was summarized as the escape of mostly small to moderate amounts of vapor. Occasional ash-bearing (gray-brown) ash clouds were seen. In both months, there was no visible night glow, Crater 3 remained quiet and only occasionally released thin white vapor. The seismograph remained inoperative.

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, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — June 1999 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)


Ongoing intracrater activity; fresh extra-crater lava flows; wet vs. dry carbonatites

Eruptions from the summit crater continued at a steady state. The activity level was low, but new observations during the rainy season conflicted with previous assumptions of color and age relationships among the natrocarbonatite flows. On 3 April two fresh flows, each having volumes of ~30 m3, had apparently issued from two separate hornitos in the summit crater. The pahoehoe flows were extruded over older lavas saturated with water from recent rainfall and earlier that day had generated a prominent steam plume many hundreds of meters high and visible from Engare Sero, 10 km N of the volcano. Large areas of the highest part of the N crater floor remained unusually hot (>150°C) throughout the day and sounds of sloshing magma suggest that substantial collapse of this region might be imminent. Small amounts of lapilli surrounding a hornito indicated a recent small scale (~10 m) lava fountain.

Cross-sections cut through the strongly porphyritic ~0.5 m flows (gregoryite and neyereite) revealed compact non-vesicular interiors and a near-glassy crystal-supported matrix. During a rain squall individual rain drops were observed whitening the flow surface (perhaps 50-150°C) in seconds. The margins of the recent flows also had turned white during cooling (figure 60). Clearly the timing between eruption and direct precipitation can change the age/color relationship previously established for Lengai, and is unreliable during the rainy season, an important consideration for photo-reconnaissance interpretations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. View of lava flows at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 3 April 1999 showing alteration of the flow margins from dark gray to white due to hydration during cooling. Courtesy of Matthew Genge.

Intense fumarole activity from at least five of the larger hornitos, and from crater-rim fissures and cooling cracks on the lava flows, continued throughout 3-4 April (figure 61). Hornitos produced continuous steam and/or H2S gas, although one emanated blue and then black smoke. Another large hornito produced substantial heat haze but no visible gas. Fumaroles from cooling cracks in the fresh lava were associated with delicate salt deposits (figure 62).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Fumarolic activity from hornitos in the crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai on 3 April 1999. Courtesy of Matthew Genge.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Salt deposits lining cooling cracks on recent lava flows at Ol Doinyo Lengai, 3 April 1999. Courtesy of Matthew Genge.

At the time of the visit lava that flowed over the crater rim in the N and E (see BGVN 24:02) extended many hundreds of meters down the flanks of the volcano. The state of weathering of these flows suggested they were 1-2 weeks old, consistent with reports that glowing lava could be observed on the flanks of the volcano from Engare Sero at night during this period. Lava was also close to the NW rim of the crater. During this rainy season (as in the last one) vigorous flowing streams of water delivered both volcanic solutes (soda-rich) and volcanic detritus directly to Lake Natron, which was wet from shore to shore.

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: Matthew J. Genge, Department of Mineralogy, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom; Matt Balme and Adrian P. Jones, Department of Geological Sciences, University College, London, United Kingdom.


Long Valley (United States) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Long Valley

United States

37.7°N, 118.87°W; summit elev. 3390 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued dome inflation and persistent earthquake swarms through 1998

The following summarizes activity at Long Valley during the second half of 1997 and all of 1998 (Hill, 1998). A summary of activity during 1996 and the first half of 1997 can be found in BGVN 22:11 and 22:12.

Summary of activity during July-December, 1997.After nearly a year of relative seismic quiescence within the caldera, earthquake swarm activity returned in early July. The deeper focus (>10 km) , long-period (LP) earthquakes centered beneath the SW flank of Mammoth Mountain and the Devil's Postpile area, which had increased in early 1997, continued at an elevated rate through the end of the year. Altogether over 200 of these events were detected during 1997, all M <2.0 (figure 21). This exceeded the total number of deep LP events detected from their onset in 1989 through 1996. Earthquake activity in the shallow crust beneath Mammoth Mountain (depths <10 km) at the SW margin of the caldera remained low throughout 1997.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Earthquake epicenters in the Long Valley region during 1997. Courtesy of USGS.

The gradual increase in the inflation rate of the resurgent dome begun in late May 1997 marked the onset of an episode of unrest in the caldera that intensified at an accelerating rate through the summer and fall, culminating in a series of strong earthquake swarms from mid-November through early January 1998. The extension rate of an 8-km baseline spanning the resurgent dome peaked at over 20 cm/year during the second week of November. Following a strong earthquake swarm on 22 November that included three M >4.5 earthquakes, the deformation pattern briefly changed to one dominated by right-oblique slip along the WNW-striking "S-moat fault zone." In early December and through the rest of 1997, the deformation resumed the earlier pattern of dome inflation with a relatively steady 12-15 cm/year extension rate. By the end of 1997, the 8-km baseline was 7 cm longer than in late May.

The earthquake activity associated with the swarms begun in early July developed over a broad 15-km zone spanning the S-moat and southern margin of the resurgent dome. Typically, several areas within this zone were active simultaneously. This swarm activity, which included more than 12,000 M >1.2 and 120 M >3.0 earthquakes over a 7-month period through mid-January 1998, had a cumulative seismic moment of 3.3 x 1024 dyne-cm, equivalent to a single earthquake of M 5.4. The peak in seismicity from mid-November through early January included eight M >4.0 earthquakes. Focal mechanism data for the larger earthquakes indicated a dominantly right-lateral slip along a WNW-trending fault zone within the S-moat, although broadband seismograms admit the possibility of a dilatational component (volume increase) in the source mechanism for some of the M >4 earthquakes. The great majority of earthquakes had the broadband character of brittle, double-couple events (tectonic or volcano-tectonic earthquakes). A few shallow (<3 km) events beneath the southern half of the resurgent dome had energy concentrated in the 1-3 Hz band typical of shallow LP earthquakes. Whether the unusual appearance of the seismograms can be attributed to the earthquake source or wave propagation effects remains to be determined.

Monitoring of the gases around Mammoth Mountain showed two noteworthy changes in 1997, both more likely related to the increased deep LP earthquake activity beneath the SW flank of the mountain than to the much stronger activity within the caldera. The helium isotope ratio, 3He/4He, in samples collected in May and October from the MMF fumarole on the NE flank of Mammoth Mountain showed an increase with respect to the gradually declining values measured in late 1995 through early 1997. Continuous CO2 monitors in tree-kill areas on opposite sides of Mammoth Mountain detected an abrupt increase in CO2 soil-gas concentrations beginning in late September and ending in early December before significant snow accumulations.

The episode of persistent unrest during the second half of 1997 is the third most energetic activity in the caldera since the intense earthquake swarms of May 1980 (which included four M 6 earthquakes) and January 1983 (which included two M 5.3 earthquakes). The strongest seismic activity in the 1980 and 1983 episodes occurred within the first few days of the swarm sequences. The 1997 activity level accelerated gradually over a 4-month period prior to the strongest seismicity, which then spread out over nearly an additional 3 months. This activity provided the first test of the color-code notification system for ranking activity levels within the caldera. "Condition Green" (no immediate risk) remained throughout the year but the activity peaks on 22 and 30 November came close to meeting the guidelines for "Condition Yellow" (watch).

Summary of activity during 1998. Three events dominated activity during 1998. First, a decline in the acceleration of the resurgent dome uplift and the persistent earthquake swarm activity in the S-moat, which began in June-July 1997 and peaked in November-December 1998. Second and third, M 5.1 earthquakes on 8 June and 14 July 1998, centered W of the Hilton Creek fault and 2-4 km S of the caldera, together with their aftershock sequences.

In the S-moat of the caldera, the final phase of the strong earthquake swarms that dominated activity through the second half of 1997 extended into January 1998. An earthquake (M 4.8) on 31 December marked a shift in the center of the most intense activity from beneath the western part to the eastern-central section. A strong swarm burst occurred during 1-5 January in which >2,000 earthquakes were detected and located, including more than a dozen with M >3. On 6 January, a M 4.1 earthquake was the last of nine earthquakes with magnitudes of 4.0-4.9 in the S-moat since 13 November 1997.

Activity in the S-moat area declined to background levels by midsummer, interrupted by occasional M >3 earthquakes and brief swarms, particularly in February and March. The latter period included several days with 80-180 small swarm events. A M 3.2 earthquake occurred on 13 February, and swarm events on 2, 6-7, and 15-16 March included earthquakes of M >2.5. The last six months of 1998 included five M >3.0 caldera earthquakes. The two largest, on 14 July and 7 December, had magnitudes of 3.7 (the 14 July event occurred 2 hours after the M 5.1 earthquake).

Geodimeter measurements confirmed that the inflation rate of the resurgent dome gradually slowed from a peak of 30 cm/year in November 1997 to ~15 cm/year in early 1998 and by mid-May had dropped to 1-2 cm/year, a rate that persisted through the end of 1998.

Long-period earthquake activity 10-25 km beneath Devil's Postpile and the SW flank of Mammoth Mountain continued through 1998 (figure 22). Some 140 of the LP events were detected in 1998, just over half the 1997 number (250 events). That rate is still higher than any time since the mid-1989 onset of LP activity; during 1989-96 a total of only 165 LP events were detected. In 1998, many of the LP earthquakes were preceded by several tens of seconds of a tremor-like signal with a dominant frequency around 1 Hz. This was a change from the character of the LP activity in earlier years, when the tremor-like signals were generally of shorter duration and the dominant frequency was 2-3 Hz.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Earthquake epicenters in the Long Valley region during 1998. Courtesy of USGS.

An event of M 1.8 at a depth of 12 km on 11 November was the largest LP event recorded since the initial activity in 1989; it was followed by a week of ~25 smaller events. Occasional LP earthquakes continued to occur through 1998 at depths between 15 and 30 km centered beneath an area roughly 7 km W of Mono Craters. One of the largest in this area, M ~2.4, occurred at a depth of 24 km on 26 September.

Over the summer months, field studies around the flanks of Mammoth Mountain suggested that the CO2 flux rate had been slowly decreasing over the past 3 years. Airborne measurements in September and November detected a CO2 plume downwind, consistent with the multiple sources around the flanks of the mountain.

The first of the two M 5.1 earthquakes occurred on 8 June just 1.5 km S of the caldera at a depth of 6.7 km. The second occurred on 14 July and was centered 3 km to the SSE at 6.2 km depth. Both earthquakes were located within the footwall of the E-dipping Hilton Creek fault; neither appeared to have involved slip on the fault itself. Both earthquakes were followed by rich aftershock sequences that tailed off though the end of the year and, together, included nine earthquakes with magnitudes between 4.0 and 4.5. The aftershock epicenters defined a nearly orthogonal pattern in map view. Those of the 8 June event were confined to a WNW lineation through the mainshock epicenter, whereas those of the 14 July event were confined to a more diffuse SSW lineation through the mainshock epicenter. Both lineations cut across the Hilton Creek fault and intersect just E of the 8 June epicenter.

Earthquake activity elsewhere in the region showed no significant variation from background activity over the past several years.

References. Hill, David P., 1997, Long Valley Caldera monitoring report (July-December 1997): U.S. Geological Survey, Volcano Hazards Program.

Hill, David P., 1998, Long Valley Caldera monitoring report (October- December 1998): U.S. Geological Survey, Volcano Hazards Program.

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

Information Contacts: David Hill, U.S. Geological Survey, MS 977, 345 Middlefield Rd., Menlo Park, CA 94025 USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/calvo/).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — June 1999 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)


Ashfalls and infrequent explosions

Mild to weak eruptive activity from Main Crater continued in May and June. During May there were small to moderate pale gray ash emissions. Ash clouds then rose 500-600 m above the summit before being blown NW with resulting light ashfall on 1, 22, 26-27, and 31 May. A slight wind change on 15 and 25 May caused the ash clouds to drift SW and the ashfall to move downwind. There were no noises or night glow observed in May. A weak, steady glow was visible between 2 and 5 May.

Although Southern Crater was generally quiet with only thin white emissions, a small explosion took place on 10 June. A weak discharge of lava fragments accompanied loud noises that lasted only a short time. Later, on 26 June, Main Crater vented gray-brown ash clouds resulting in ash fall over some parts of the island.

During May-June, seismicity remained low. Evidence for deformation was absent at the water-tube tiltmeter located at Tabele Observatory, 4 km from the summit on the SW flank.

Inhabitants of the 10-km-wide island of Manam reside on one of Papua New Guinea's most active volcanoes. Four large radial valleys extend from the unvegetated summit of the conical stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys," regularly spaced 90 degrees apart, channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline. Two summit craters are present and both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater and drained into the SE avalanche valley. Frequent historical eruptions have been recorded since 1616.

More recent activity began in December 1956 and lasted through January 1966. Lava flows and a nuee ardente from the South Crater occurred in June and December 1974, and intermittent moderate explosive activity has continued into 1993, with peaks of activity in 1982 and 1984.

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, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Mayon (Philippines) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 22 June sends a plume to ~10-12 km altitude

At 1658 on 22 June Mayon emitted an ash column that rose 7-10 km above the vent (figure 8). The emission was recorded by the seismic network of the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) as an explosion that lasted for 10 minutes. No volcanic earthquakes nor other visible signs of abnormal activity were observed before the explosion. During May, however, low-frequency volcanic earthquakes had been recorded intermittently, accompanied by faint crater glow.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. A column of steam and ash rising from Mayon's crater and a pyroclastic flow descending its SE flank during its sudden isolated explosion on 22 June. Photograph courtesy of PHILVOCS.

The explosion represented an isolated event as activity immediately declined to typical incidents of weak steaming without measurable seismicity. Faint glow was seen the next day at the summit crater. An aerial survey noted a new explosion pit at the summit; the small diameter pit was later described as a deep hole lined with sulfur deposits (figure 9). The presence of sulfur suggested that lava had not yet ascended to the surface.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. The crater of Mayon as it appeared after the 22 June explosion. A new, circular explosion pit developed on the crater floor; the shadow formed along the rim of this pit can be seen in this NW-looking photo shot through the breech. Courtesy of PHILVOCS.

Beginning at 0700 on 25 June there was a slight increase in seismicity and SO2 emission. The COSPEC measured an SO2 flux of 4,800 tons/day, compared with 4,200 tons/day the previous day. SO2 fluxes normally average 500 tons/day. A short interval of high-frequency tremor was also recorded.

Tremor, light steaming, low-frequency volcanic earthquakes, and elevated SO2 fluxes continued for several days. Also, deformation surveys conducted with laser-ranging EDM equipment indicated sustained inflation on the SE slope.

PHIVOLCS maintained an alert status of "Level 1," advising the public not to venture within 6 km of the summit area (figure 10). In particular, residents were advised to avoid the Bonga pyroclastic fan, an area on the SE side of the volcano that contains a deep canyon and lies directly below the crater rim notch. This fan was the site of most of the fatalities in the 1993 eruption and is considered the area most vulnerable to future pyroclastic flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Details on Mayon and vicinity taken from a volcanic hazards map (PHILVOCS, 1999). The legend describes some effects of the 1993 eruption. The solid black circle represents the 6-km-radius safety zone currently in effect. An additional 1-km-wide precautionary zone lies to the SE of the volcano below the Bonga Pyroclastic Fan. Some local cities and river drainage are also shown. Courtesy of PHILVOCS.

Reference. Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), 1999, 1999 Mayon permanent danger & high susceptibility areas (map), URL: http://www.philonline.com/~seismo/Volcanoes/Mayon/MayonHazMaps.htm.

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: Raymundo S. Punongbayan and Ronnie Torres, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), C.P. Garcia St. Diliman, Quezon City Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/).


Momotombo (Nicaragua) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Momotombo

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarole temperatures remain high in April 1999

Fumarole temperatures have been rising on Momotombo since 1996. An April 1996 summit visit reported that temperatures were unchanged over the past year (BGVN 21:04), but by November of that year the temperatures had begun to fluctuate (BGVN 21:11). Fumarole temperatures in November 1996 registered between 130 and 677°C, higher than those recorded in October but lower than those in April. The flux was attributed to seasonal change; an intense rainy season and associated erosion accounted for the October lows. Temperatures had increased again by July 1997 to 232-773°C (BGVN 22:07).

In October 1997 higher than normal fumarole temperatures were attributed to arid conditions. During a 1 September visit to the summit area, fumarole temperatures were measured at their usual points and found escalated. The maximum temperature was 740°C. Because the temperature increase coincided with a dry spell, the heightened fumarolic activity was not deemed alarming.

Elevated temperatures were also reported in March 1998 (BGVN 23:03). Measurements during a 28 February visit revealed higher-than-normal fumarolic temperatures in the summit area. The high temperatures were again associated with a recent period of aridity, during which time fumarolic activity increased. Temperatures ranged from 318 to 748°C.

On 24 April 1999 the summit area was visited and temperatures again found inflated in the five areas of fumarolic activity. The maximum temperatures were, in the south area of the crater, 725°C and, in the north, 550°C. Significant changes in the crater morphology were noted and attributed to the strong erosion induced by Hurricane Mitch in October 1998.

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

Information Contacts: Alain Creusot, Instituto Nicaraguense de Energía, Managua, Nicaragua.


Monowai (New Zealand) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Monowai

New Zealand

25.887°S, 177.188°W; summit elev. -132 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong acoustic crisis recorded during 5-10 June

The French Polynesian Seismic Network recorded a strong acoustic crisis originating from Kermadec, very near Monowai Seamount, during 5-10 June. The acoustic crisis started at 0300 on 6 June (1500 on 5 June GMT) and ended at 0100 on 11 June (1300 on 10 June GMT) with no precursory activity (figure 7). Two distinct episodes were separated by a 4-hour period of inactivity. The network recorded more than 394 strong acoustic T-waves; the strongest took place at 1115 on 6 June (2315 on 5 June GMT). The first signal received on 6 June began with an impulse and lasted more than 12 minutes. Many of them had explosive characteristics, short and strong. The activity stopped with a small explosive T-wave. No tremor was recorded.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Acoustic wave amplitudes recorded by the French Polynesian Seismic Network during 5-10 June. The source of these waves was near the Monowai Seamount. Courtesy of Olivier Hyvernaud.

Monowai Seamount lies midway between the Kermadec and Tonga Islands, ~1,400 km NE of New Zealand. The adjacent trench is much shallower (~4 km) compared with the Tonga and Kermadec trenches (9-11 km deep). There was a T-wave swarm in November 1995 (BGVN 20:11/12). Other noteworthy recent activity at Monowai included a possible eruption in 1944, and about seven documented eruptions during 1977-90 (BGVN 16:03).

Geologic Background. Monowai, also known as Orion seamount, rises to within 100 m of the sea surface about halfway between the Kermadec and Tonga island groups. The volcano lies at the southern end of the Tonga Ridge and is slightly offset from the Kermadec volcanoes. Small parasitic cones occur on the N and W flanks of the basaltic submarine volcano, which rises from a depth of about 1500 m and was named for one of the New Zealand Navy bathymetric survey ships that documented its morphology. A large 8.5 x 11 km wide submarine caldera with a depth of more than 1500 m lies to the NNE. Numerous eruptions from Monowai have been detected from submarine acoustic signals since it was first recognized as a volcano in 1977. A shoal that had been reported in 1944 may have been a pumice raft or water disturbance due to degassing. Surface observations have included water discoloration, vigorous gas bubbling, and areas of upwelling water, sometimes accompanied by rumbling noises.

Information Contacts: Olivier Hyvernaud, Laboratoire de Géophysique, BP 640 Pamatai, Tahiti, French Polynesia.


Cerro Negro (Nicaragua) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Cerro Negro

Nicaragua

12.506°N, 86.702°W; summit elev. 728 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New map of changes to crater after 1992 and 1995 eruptions

A team from Southwest Research Institute and Arizona State University visited Cerro Negro during 24 February-2 March. Their objectives were to map geomorphologic changes to the cone resulting from the 1995 eruption, estimate the respirable fraction of ash suspended above the 1992 and 1995 tephra blankets, and perform stratigraphic studies of tephra deposits.

A topographic map was prepared from 8,700 GPS measurements collected on and around the cinder cone (figures 12 and 13). Precision of individual measurements was within 1 cm and the survey had gross precision within 0.5 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Topographic map of Cerro Negro volcano, prepared during 24 February-2 March. The contour interval is 10 m. Shaded triangles indicate the 1995 eruption vents, arrows show the direction of 1995 lava flows from the crater, shaded circles show positions of active fumarole areas, and the shaded square indicates the position of the INETER seismic station. Courtesy of Chuck Conner.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Color-shaded topographic map of Cerro Negro volcano, prepared during 24 February-2 March. The contour interval is 10 m. The black square indicates the position of the INETER seismic station. Courtesy of Chuck Conner.

The cinder cone's morphology was changed significantly by the 1992 and 1995 eruptions. During the 1992 eruption the crater widened and now has an average diameter of 340 m. It was widest, 418 m, along its NE-SW axis because of a broad shoulder of tephra deposited on the SW side of the cone (during the 1992 and 1995 eruptions prevailing wind directions were from the NE). The diameter of the base of the cone was 945 m, measured between Cerro La Mula Ridge to the N of the cone and the Cristo Rey vent on the S. Data derived from air photos taken in 1986 revealed that this basal diameter had not changed substantially since then despite the 1992 and 1995 eruptions. The high point on Cerro Negro was measured at 728 m elevation, giving the cone a height of 258 m when measured relative to a topographic break in slope at the cone base, just west of Cristo Rey vent.

A small pyroclastic cone within the 1992 crater was created during the 1995 eruption. This new cone had a rim diameter of 124-130 m. Its crater depth was 94 m from the W rim (corresponding to the high point on Cerro Negro) and 44 m from the low point on the E side. Lava flows, emitted from at least two boccas on the 1992 crater floor during the 1995 activity, breached the N side of the 1992 cone. Because of this breach the low point on the 1992 crater rim was 9 m below the average rim elevation of 625 m.

No substantial degassing or other signs of volcanic unrest were observed during the seven days that the team was on-site and the area seemed unchanged since the cessation of the 1995 eruption. No thermal activity was observed on the 1995 lava flows, even on flow levees thicker than 3 m. These lava flows appeared to have cooled substantially as a result of the more than 3 m rainfall the region received during Hurricane Mitch in the Fall of 1998. Two fumarole areas were active; one fumarole area on the E of the crater has likely persisted since before the 1992 eruption. These fumaroles were easily accessible due to the breaching of the N crater rim by the 1992 lava flows. A new fumarole area had been established high on the W rim of the 1995 pyroclastic cone, just below the high point on Cerro Negro. Sulfur, anhydrite, and halite were deposited in these areas. Low-temperature fumaroles (<100°C) were found along arcuate fractures that paralleled the 1992 cone rim. These fractures were most prominent on the S side of the cone where they were faulted with 0.1-1.0 m displacements, down toward the outer cone flank and up toward the crater, because of slumping on the outer flank. They were radial on the SW of the cone, where the outer cone slope was buttressed by 1992 and 1995 tephra accumulations. Similar fractures and small faults also occurred on the NW rim and around the 1995 pyroclastic cone. Low-temperature fumaroles were also found on the southernmost 1995 bocca and a small mound within the 1992 crater. Fumaroles and steaming ground persisted on Cerro La Mula Ridge.

Crater fumarole measurements. The temperature of crater fumaroles has been measured during visits by Alain Creusot since 1995 (BGVN 21:11, 21:12, and 23:03). From November 1995, when a significant eruption took place, to October 1996, fumarole temperatures were as high as 700°C. On 27 November 1996, a visit to the crater found that fumarole temperatures had generally decreased by 80-100°C and the maximum temperature was only 630°C. On 23 December 1996 the maximum fumarole temperature was only 606°C. An additional decrease of fumarole temperatures was noted on a 5 September 1997 visit; the maximum temperature measured was only 405°C (previously unreported). The highest temperature found on 14 February 1998 was 340°C.

References. Hill and others, 1998, Eruptions of Cerro Negro volcano, Nicaragua, and risk assessment for future eruptions, Geological Society of America, Bulletin, v. 110, p. 1231-1241.

Connor and others, 1996, Soil 222Rn pulse during the initial phase of the June-August 1995 eruption of Cerro Negro, Nicaragua, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, vol. 73, p.119-127.

Geologic Background. Nicaragua's youngest volcano, Cerro Negro, was created following an eruption that began in April 1850 about 2 km NW of the summit of Las Pilas volcano. It is the largest, southernmost, and most recent of a group of four youthful cinder cones constructed along a NNW-SSE-trending line in the central Marrabios Range. Strombolian-to-subplinian eruptions at intervals of a few years to several decades have constructed a roughly 250-m-high basaltic cone and an associated lava field constrained by topography to extend primarily NE and SW. Cone and crater morphology have varied significantly during its short eruptive history. Although it lies in a relatively unpopulated area, occasional heavy ashfalls have damaged crops and buildings.

Information Contacts: Chuck Connor, Peter La Femina, Brittain Hill, James Weldy, Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Rd, San Antonio, TX, 78238-5166; Kurt Roggensack and Berry Cameron, Department of Geological Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ; Alain Creusot, Instituto Nicaraguense de Energía, Managua, Nicaragua.


Poas (Costa Rica) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong drop in tremor duration and mid-frequency earthquakes in early 1998

Seismicity registered at station POA2, located 2.8 km SW of the active crater, has declined since early 1998 (figures 71 and 72). Since then, gas columns continued to reach altitudes between 500 and 600 m above the floor of the crater as they had during the interval of greater seismicity. The pyroclastic cone remained the focus of fumarolic activity. The crater's W, E, and SE walls continued to slip into the lake. The lake maintained a constant bubbling on its S and SE edges. The active lake's color varied considerably; for example, at various times during April 1999, the ~32°C lake water appeared green, turquoise, or light blue. In November 1998, the lake appeared greenish turquoise and had a temperature of 29°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Low-frequency earthquakes at Poás each month during January 1998-May 1999. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Monthly earthquakes of medium- and high-frequency (number of events on y-axis scale) at Poás and the tremor duration (in hours on y-axis scale). The plot covers the interval January 1998-February 1999. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

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, V. Barboza, E. Duarte, R. Saenz, E. Malavassi, M. Martinez, and R. Van der Laat, T. Marino, and E. Hernandez, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Wendy Perez Fernandez, Seccion de Seismologia, Vulcanologia y Exploracion Geofisica, Escuela Centroamericana de Geologia, Universidad de Costa Rica, POB 35-2060, San Jose, Costa Rica.


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small exhalations, minor fumarolic activity, and variable seismicity

The low level of activity displayed in May continued, with small exhalations and minor fumarolic emissions until 12 June. However, seismic activity increased on 12 June and continued for the next 10 or 11 days. At 1209 and 1600 on 12 June, two M 2.2 volcano-tectonic events occurred under the crater and SW of the volcano. At 1542 on 15 June, a large earthquake (M 6.7) centered between the states of Puebla and Oaxaca did not affect the volcano. Bad weather had obstructed visibility earlier, but that afternoon observers saw small fumarolic emissions of steam and gas.

Seismicity increased on 16 June as several volcano-tectonic events were recorded in the morning, most with magnitudes between 2.5 and 3 and two larger ones with M >3. These events were located 4-7 km below the summit crater. The last event occurred at 0206 on 17 June. This seismicity did not produce any important external manifestations except a small exhalation on the morning of 17 June accompanied by a light ash puff blown to the W.

On 21 June two earthquakes in Guerrero did not effect the volcano. No other events were reported for the month and by 30 June the radius of restricted access was reduced to 5 km from the 7 km previously recommended.

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

Information Contacts: Servando De la Cruz-Reyna1,2, Roberto Quaas1,2; Carlos Valdés G.2, and Alicia Martinez Bringas1. 1-Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Delfin Madrigal 665, Col. Pedregal de Santo Domingo, Coyoacán, 04360, México D.F. (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/); 2-Instituto de Geofisica, UNAM, Coyoacán 04510, México D.F., México.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — June 1999 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)


The active intracaldera cone (Tavurvur) continues mild emissions through June

The mild Vulcanian activity continuing since November 1998 continued through June 1999. With time, the eruption's from Rabaul's Tavurvur cone appeared to be progressively waning in intensity. Still, during May and June several moderate explosions occurred.

Some May and June explosions sent ash clouds 1 km above the summit. The ash clouds drifted NW, some resulted in light ashfall over Rabaul Town. The mild ash-bearing outbursts in June occurred with very long intervals (sometimes 24 hours) between them. Notable outbursts took place on 9 days during the month (3, 5, 6, 9, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19, 23 and 25 June); although many only lasted 2-10 minutes, the last one of the set prevailed for 25 minutes. Typical plumes rose to 500 m high; SE winds typically blew these plumes and fine ash fell, including some on Rabaul Town.

In accord with these visual observations, both deformation and caldera seismicity remained low. Although during May, April, and March there had been 150, 142, and 120 low-frequency earthquakes, respectively, during June there occurred only 38 such earthquakes. The two located earthquakes appeared to the NE of the main ring fault. Anomalously, during the past 2 years there has been an absence of recorded high-frequency earthquakes on the ring fault. Instead, located earthquakes have consistently struck NE of the ring-fault system.

On the 16th a regional earthquake directly E of Wide Bay triggered a 31-cm tsunami. Since then, more than 20 regional events have occurred within a 20 km radius of the initial quake.

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, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — June 1999 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)


1.5-year record of seismicity and eruptions through May 1999

Seismicity during 17 months through April 1999 (figure 14) showed pronounced peaks at over 100 events/month in one parameter, microseisms, during September- October 1998. Otherwise, relative quiet prevailed; microseisms, high-frequency, and low-frequency events all generally took place fewer than 20 times/month. Tremor was nearly absent during roughly half the months of 1998 and in 1999 during January, February, and April. Months with 2-10 hours of tremor included February, August, September 1998 and March and May 1999.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Selected seismic parameters at Rincón de la Vieja during January 1998-May 1999. The arrows indicate months with detected eruptions (mainly in February 1998, a month with ~10; the other indicated months with fewer than 2). Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

In March, fumarolic activity continued on the NE, S, and SW walls of the main crater. The lake had a gray color and contained suspended particles of sulfur. The temperature of the lake was 35.5°C.

During May, the main crater's N-flank fumarolic activity fluctuated in temperature between 68°C and 92°C. The lake in the crater was light blue with particles of sulfur, and a temperature of 37°C. On the S and N walls, there were columns of gases that irritated eyes and skin.

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, V. Barboza, E. Duarte, R. Sáenz, E. Malavassi, M. Martinez, and R. Van der Laat, T. Marino, and E. Hernandez, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Wendy Perez Fernandez, Seccion de Seismologia, Vulcanologia y Exploracion Geofisica, Escuela Centroamericana de Geologia, Universidad de Costa Rica, POB 35-2060, San José, Costa Rica.


Stromboli (Italy) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Vents in summit craters still active; variable seismicity

After the strong summit explosions of 23 August and 8 September 1998 (BGVN 23:10), at least two others followed during 1998: the first at 1805 on 24 November, the second at 0245 on 28 December. Both were reported by Pierre Cottens from the village of Stromboli, with pyroclasts clearly seen from the village, reaching estimated heights of at least 700 m over the craters in November and 500 m in December, but with little ashfall over the village. Technical problems kept the seismic station maintained by the University of Udine out of service through the end of January 1999.

Seismicity during February-June 1999. The seismic station was restored on 1 February 1999, and in the first part of the month the daily number of events declined from 130 to 50-80/day (figure 58). Saturating events showed a similar trend. The second half of February was characterized by an increasing number of events, reaching a maximum of 275 events on 2 March. During this period the tremor intensity showed fluctuations around an average of 3.6 V s, with an isolated peak on 23 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Seismicity detected at the summit of Stromboli from February through June 1999. The gray bars show the number of recorded events/day, and the black bars those saturating the instrument (ground velocity exceeding 100 µm/s). The line shows daily tremor intensity computed by averaging hourly 60-second samples. The seismic station is located 300 m from the craters at 800 m elevation. Courtesy of Roberto Carniel.

During 12-20 March there was a general decrease in activity, with a minimum number of 52 seismic events recorded on 16 March, and a minimum tremor intensity of 1.8 V s on 15 March. The gain in activity was observed first in the tremor intensity, with a local maximum of 4.7 V s on 29 March, then in the number of events, which reached a high of 208 events on 30 March.

A sharp decline was observed on 7 April both in the tremor intensity (from 3.0 to 1.2) and in the number of events (from 180 to 76). Saturating events also stopped, after an average of five saturated events during the three preceding days. Seismic activity increased slightly during the following two days, and on 9 April Cottens reported two strong blasts at about 0300, separated by a few minutes. Bad weather did not allow observation of the summit area, but the noise was similar to that produced by the strong eruptions of 1998. The seismic station recorded an event with greater than usual energy, which may have been from one of the explosions. Another decrease of activity was observed the day after the explosion, with the number of daily events falling to 83 and the tremor intensity to 1.9. The following days were characterized by a slow increase in seismicity, but activity remained low to moderate for the rest of the month.

After another gap in the seismic acquisition, the activity was still low after mid-May 1999, with <100 events/day between 20-24 May. The last week of May showed a rise in the number of events, with a maximum of 183 events on 26 May. A relatively high number of saturating events was also observed, starting on 23 May and peaking on 27 May (21 saturating events) and 30 May (23 saturating events). Another minimum in the number of events (66), number of saturating events (0) and tremor intensity (1.6) was recorded on 5-6 June 1999. During several days on the island in the second half of June, seismic activity remained at low to moderate levels, with a short duration increase in the tremor intensity on 21-22 June.

Observations during 17-20 June 1999. Observations during 17-20 June allowed mapping of the crater terrace (figure 59). Observations were made over two 3-4 hour periods: 2109-0100 (18-19 June), and 2030-2320 (19 June).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Sketch map of Stromboli's Crater Terrace drawn on 18-19 June 1999 from Pizzo sopra la Fossa and fitted to the map produced from a September 1995 EDM survey of the Crater Terrace (BGVN 20:11/12). Courtesy of Andy Harris and Roberto Carniel

Crater 1 contained four active vents (figure 59). During the first observation period, the vicinity of Vent 1/2 was the source of persistent widespread glow; but no ejecta was observed. Vent 1/1, however, was the source of glow and near-persistent low-energy activity, characterized by repeated phases of ejecta emission separated by periods of little or no emissions. Each phase consisted of numerous pulses of ejecta. During each pulse a few (typically 1-10) bombs were ejected <10 m above the crater rim, with pulses every few seconds. Around 11 periods of this persistent, pulsing emission were observed. Each period lasted 2-29 minutes and was separated by intervals of 3-28 minutes with occasional bomb emissions. This pattern at Vent 1/1 was broken by 16 high-energy events during which explosions sent ejecta ~100 m high.

Vent 1/3 produced high-energy events only, with 18 observed during the first period. High energy events from vents 1/1, 1/3, and 1/4 were synchronized. It was difficult to distinguish eruptions from 1/4 and 1/1 from the viewing angle, so eruptions from these two vents may have been occasionally assigned to the wrong vent; the eruption counts for 1/1 and 1/4 together were therefore combined. Vents 1/3, 1/1, and/or 1/4 erupted together on 11 occasions. On these occasions ejection from each vent was either synchronous or closely linked. During such synchronized events there appeared to be no set order in terms of which of the three vents started erupting and which followed. Vents 1/1 (and/or 1/4) and 1/3 erupted on their own on 5 and 7 occasions, respectively.

As in the first observation period, glow persisted above Vent 1/2 throughout the second period. Unlike the previous evening, however, ejecta was observed from Vent 1/2, where activity followed the style observed at Vent 1/1 during the previous evening. Around eight periods of low-energy but persistent pulsing activity were observed. These lasted 3-33 minutes and were separated by 2-23-minute-long periods of apparently no emission. This pattern of activity from Vent 1/2 was interrupted by five high-energy events lasting 4-6 seconds.

Vent 1/1 issued regular gas puffs (typically one puff every 1-2 seconds), but the frequency of ejecta emission had declined, with the periods of persistent, pulsing activity observed the previous evening replaced by discrete emissions. Ejections were observed from 1/1 on nine occasions, where only one event was of the high-energy type, and the remainder were short (<40-second-long) periods during which 1-10 bombs were ejected <10 m above the rim in pulses. As in the previous period, Vent 1/3 was characterized by high-energy events only. Seven occurred during the second period, of which three were synchronous with high energy events from 1/2 or 1/1.

Although no activity or glow was observed from Crater 2, a hornito (figure 59) had grown in the vicinity of the low cone observed during May 1997 (BGVN 22:05). The area surrounding Crater 2 no longer seemed to be marked by a crater-like feature. The subsidence bowl observed SE of Crater 2 in May 1997 had developed into a deep, funnel-shaped pit, which was the source of faint glow. On a previous map (BGVN 22:05), the vent numbering indicated that this area was part of Crater 2; this interpretation is questionable and this feature could be considered a crater by itself now. On figure 59 we denote this vent as 3/3 (therefore part of Crater 3) in order to allow for easy comparison with older maps of the crater terrace (e.g., BGVN 22:03).

Crater 3 was the location of two additional active vents (figure 59). Glow was observed from vent 3/1 only after an eruption at 2317 on 18 June. Eruptions from Crater 3 were high-energy only, and typically larger (in terms of volume and height, attaining heights of 150 ± 50 m) and longer (lasting 8-23 seconds) than those from Crater 1. Nine and eleven eruptions, respectively, occurred from Crater 3 during the two observation periods.

During our descent in the early hours of 19 June there was a rock fall/slide at about 0200 lasting 1-2 minutes. Boulders from the cliffs on the N edge of the Rina Grande rolled and bounced down the Rina Grande. Owing to the steepness of this flank, once in motion the rocks probably did not stop until they reached the sea in the direction of Forgia Vecchia, crossing the route that descends the Rina Grande ash slope within seconds. Such events pose a very serious hazard to anyone using this route, especially at night.

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

Information Contacts: Andy Harris and Dawn Pirie, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom; Sarah Sherman, 41-485D Kalanianaole Hwy., Waimanolo, HI 96795 USA; Roberto Carniel, Dipartimento di Georisorse e Territorio, Università di Udine, Via Cotonificio, 114, I-33100 Udine (URL: http://www.swisseduc.ch/stromboli/).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


A 4-fold increase in microseisms during December-April 1999

During the 17 months ending in May 1999, microseisms varied from ~30 to ~180 a month (figure 5). A 4-fold progressive increase began after December 1998.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. A histogram showing Turrialba's monthly microseisms during January 1998- April 1998. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

In March 1999, the main crater's fumaroles were visible on the NE, N, NW, E and SW walls. Escaping gases appeared constant and had a temperature of 89°C. During March, the seismographic station VTU, located 0.5 km NE of the active crater registered a total of 252 earthquakes. Of those 81 had high frequency, with S-P duration of less than 1.5 seconds and frequencies greater than 3.0 Hz. The 166 microseisms registered had amplitudes under 10 mm, short durations, and frequencies between 2.1 and 3.0 Hz. An earthquake registered at 1846 on 7 March, with a Richter magnitude of 2.3, a depth of 7 km, and an epicenter 4 km NE of the main crater.

During April, the station VTU registered 287 earthquakes. Of those, 105 were of high frequency (with S-P of less than 1.5 seconds and frequencies above 3.0 Hz), and 4 were of low frequency. The 178 microseisms registered were of short duration; their dominant frequencies were between 2.1 and 3.0 Hz.

During May, a total of 309 events were recorded, of which 120 were type AB with S-P less than 1.5 seconds and frequencies less than 3.0 Hz. There were 3 low-frequency events. The 186 microseisms registered had amplitudes under 10 mm.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernandez, V. Barboza, E. Duarte, R. Saenz, E. Malavassi, M. Martinez, and R. Van der Laat, T. Marino, and E. Hernandez, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Wendy Perez Fernandez, Seccion de Seismologia, Vulcanologia y Exploracion Geofisica, Escuela Centroamericana de Geologia, Universidad de Costa Rica, POB 35-2060, San Jose, Costa Rica.


White Island (New Zealand) — June 1999 Citation iconCite this Report

White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 321 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Visit on 30 June reveals decreased activity

White Island was visited on 30 June by IGNS scientists who reported that no significant eruptive activity had occurred since the explosive activity in April (BGVN 24:04). PeeJay vent was inactive and the only significant emissions of steam and gas came from the vent that formed in early May (at a spot E of PeeJay vent).

As the group arrived on 30 June a weak white steam-and-gas plume was rising 500-700 m above the volcano and moving ENE (figure 43). The plume was being fed by emissions from within the 1978/90 Crater Complex; the new vent E of PeeJay was the plume's strongest contributing source. Most of the gas and steam emitted (at high velocity) from this vent was from an inclined orifice near the S side of the vent. Other prominent sources included fumaroles near the lakeshore and in the valley wall W of the lake. PeeJay vent was inactive and had been filled by sediment that formed a flat floor about 3 m below the vent's rim. Activity had stopped in late May or early June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. View of the 1978/90 Crater complex at White Island looking toward the NW on 30 June. Photograph courtesy of IGNS.

The light-green colored lake within Metra Crater had enlarged and flooded into the NNE embayments of this crater. There was no evidence of further explosive activity from Metra Crater. No strong ebullition or convection was observed in the lake.

Geologic Background. Uninhabited 2 x 2.4 km White Island, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is the emergent summit of a 16 x 18 km submarine volcano in the Bay of Plenty about 50 km offshore of North Island. The island consists of two overlapping andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcanoes; the summit crater appears to be breached to the SE, because the shoreline corresponds to the level of several notches in the SE crater wall. Volckner Rocks, four sea stacks that are remnants of a lava dome, lie 5 km NNE. Intermittent moderate phreatomagmatic and strombolian eruptions have occurred throughout the short historical period beginning in 1826, but its activity also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. Formation of many new vents during the 19th and 20th centuries has produced rapid changes in crater floor topography. Collapse of the crater wall in 1914 produced a debris avalanche that buried buildings and workers at a sulfur-mining project.

Information Contacts: Brad Scott, Wairakei Research Centre, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (IGNS) Limited, Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/).

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/).