Logo link to homepage

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

All reports of volcanic activity published by the Smithsonian since 1968 are available through a monthly table of contents or by searching for a specific volcano. Until 1975, reports were issued for individual volcanoes as information became available; these have been organized by month for convenience. Later publications were done in a monthly newsletter format. Links go to the profile page for each volcano with the Bulletin tab open.

Information is preliminary at time of publication and subject to change.


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sabancaya (Peru) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URL: https://www.gob.pe/igp); Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Dominik Derek (URL: https://www.facebook.com/07dominikderek/).


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

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Christopher Lagisa, West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea (URL: https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa, images posted at https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa/posts/730662937360239 and https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa/posts/730215604071639).


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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sergio Maguna (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sergio.maguna.9, images posted at https://www.facebook.com/sergio.maguna.9/posts/1267625096730837).


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

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bezymianny (Russia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Mayon (Philippines) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Tangkuban Parahu

Indonesia

6.77°S, 107.6°E; summit elev. 2084 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sheveluch (Russia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash explosions and lava dome growth continue through October 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Search Bulletin Archive by Publication Date

Select a month and year from the drop-downs and click "Show Issue" to have that issue displayed in this tab.

   

The default month and year is the latest issue available.

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 26, Number 08 (August 2001)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Etna (Italy)

Strombolian activity during May and June 2001

Fuego (Guatemala)

Seismic activity during April and December, eruption in September 2000

Jackson Segment (Undersea Features)

Additional investigations show no evidence of April eruption

Karymsky (Russia)

Increased seismicity from December 2000 through September 2001

Lopevi (Vanuatu)

June 2001 lavas, debris avalanches, <= 1.5 m ashfall, and 7.5-km-high plume

Mayon (Philippines)

Two main episodes in 2001; quiet seen in late August

Okmok (United States)

Small earthquake swarm during 11-15 May 2001

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Steam-and-ash emissions, periods of dome growth during 2001

Semeru (Indonesia)

Continuous seismic activity, plumes to ~11.6 km

Sheveluch (Russia)

Eruption on 15 July, pyroclastic flows and explosion on 23 August 2001



Etna (Italy) — August 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity during May and June 2001

During 14-20 May 2000, lava emission continued from the N fissure of the Southeast Crater (SEC). At about 1900 on 17 May there was an increase in the intensity of Strombolian activity and lava began to flow in several directions, forming two sub-parallel tongues toward the E. On 18 May observers noted that the lava flow emerged from a single vent at 3,156 m elevation, with an effusion rate of 2.5-4.5 m3/s. A short distance below the effusive vent, the flow divided into three branches: one to the NE, whose front flowed at about 2,700 m and reached a distance of about 1 km from the vent; the central branch flowing to the E, widest of the three with some points wider than 20 m; and one to the S, flowing below 3,000 m elevation at about 700 m from the vent. The farthest lava front was estimated to reach ~2,700 m elevation, 1.2 km from the vent. During this period, the Bocca Nuova (BN) crater continued to degas, accompanied by occasional emissions of brown ash. Also noted were a further deepening and widening of the internal crater in the BN's SE quadrant.

During 21-27 May, lava flows from the N fissure of SEC continued intermittent and variably intense Strombolian activity. Sporadic emissions of brownish-reddish ash came from the N crater of BN. Problems with surveillance cameras precluded continuous observation of the summit craters; however, on the morning of 24 May, renewed explosive activity was seen. Observations from Belevedere showed three hornitos on the N flank of the SEC, which emitted pulsing pressurized gas. The lava flow was active and well fed, with branches of ~1.5-2 km in length.

Activity at SEC increased considerably during 28 May-3 June. On 28 May, the presence of a small cinder cone, possibly having formed slowly over recent months, was discovered at the base of Northeast Crater (NEC), occupying about 2/3 of the crater floor and at least 20 m high.

At SEC, evidence of Strombolian activity was masked by discrete flows of gas and steam. The active lava field on the N flank, emerged from a main vent at about 3155 m elevation, which fed two principal flows, one to the E and one to the NE (then turning E). The latter flow formed a lava tube and then re-emerged ~100 m downstream from a small tumulus from which spewed other lava flows, the longest of which extended more than 1.5 km. The S-most branch also initially flowed partly inside a lava tube.

During the evening of 28 May, between 2222 and 2242, Strombolian activity at SEC rose sharply, with ejecta reaching as high as 50 m above the crater rim and with materials occasionally falling on other flanks of the cone. Lava flow rates on 29 and 30 May were estimated at 6-8 m3/s. Temperatures measured using a K-type (Cr/Al) thermocouple showed a maximum temperature on the inside of an expansion bulb to be of 1,065°C at 5 cm depth. Intense degassing continued at SEC for the next several days.

On the evening of 3 June two sub-parallel lava flows descended to the E, of which the northernmost was the longest and reached at least 2,600 m elevation. A few hundred meters ahead of its front, a small branch flowed N but stopped soon after. The other flow was directed toward the Valle del Bove and its advances were discontinuous. Further deepening of the two interior Voragine vents was observed. Eruptive activity was not continuous.

The W rim of BN had a very warm fissure that ran to the N. The N vent was much widened, but it was not possible to observe the base. During observations, gas explosions occurred about every 15 minutes, but it was not possible to observe the fall of ejecta. The S vent had also widened and deepened. On its SE flank, a small semi-circular vent emitted rumbling explosions every 3-10 minutes, accompanied by mostly blue-colored gas mixed with brown ash.

Although intense degassing did not permit views of the interior of the NEC, an apparently recent fissure on the N side of the cone was very warm.

During 4-10 June, two episodes of lava fountaining occurred at the SEC. The first began during the night of 5-6 June, with modest Strombolian activity at the SEC's secondary vent. At 2136 on 6 June, Strombolian activity at the secondary vent reached a frequency of about one explosion per minute, which in successive hours included the main vent as well. The activity eventually climaxed at 0145 on 7 June, when the secondary vent produced a lava fountain whose altitude reached 50 m. Falling to the ground, the stream of lava formed a primary lava flow, which immediately divided into three branches and stopped at about 3,000 m elevation. A second stream flowed to the N before turning E, reaching 2,600 m and superimposing in part on earlier lava flows. The eruptive episode concluded about 0340, with copious ash emissions from the SEC and the BN.

On the night of 8-9 June, a new eruptive episode occurred at the SEC, also beginning with Strombolian activity at 2011 at the principal and secondary vents. The activity evolved into lava fountains which reached a maximum altitude of about 200 m at the principal vent and about 80 m at the secondary vent. The strong activity continued until about 0322 and was accompanied by sustained lava emissions from the secondary vent, which gave rise to two flows which spread to the E and N respectively, superimposing themselves over preceding lava flows.

Activity at the other craters during this period was characterized by continuous degassing at the Voragine and NEC, accompanied, as in the case of the BN, by frequent ash emissions in the SE sector of the crater.

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: Sistema Poseidon, a cooperative project supported by both the Italian and the Sicilian regional governments, and operated by several scientific institutions (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/chi-siamo/la-sezione.html).


Fuego (Guatemala) — August 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic activity during April and December, eruption in September 2000

Ash venting began at Fuego on 5 April 2000, followed by increased ash emissions and strong seismic signals during 7 and 8 April, according to the Guatemala Volcano Observatory and the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH) of Guatemala. On 8 April at 0215 a hot spot was visible in multi-spectral imagery. More hot spots were occasionally noted but there were no further reports of ash.

A news article from La Hora reported that a column of ash reached 1 km on 29 August 2000. According to the Guatemala Volcano Observatory, an eruption beginning on 6 September emitted an ash-and-steam plume that reached ~800 m. On 21 September a large amount of ash was emitted, blanketing nearby communities. Authorities considered evacuating residents and issued an Orange Alert for the area near the volcano.

Satellite imagery on 7 December showed an ash plume to the SW of the summit, extending 39 km and 11 km wide. According to ground observations the ash was centered at ~4.9 km elevation. INSIVUMEH reported that the volcano was producing loud rumbling sounds and a more significant eruption was likely. On 9 December 2000 satellite imagery confirmed a small eruption at about 1645. The eruption sent an ash cloud to ~4.5 km altitude, near the summit level. The ash cloud was initially dense, about 8 km wide, and drifted W and NW. By 2345, the cloud had dissipated and was no longer visible on satellite imagery. Occasional strong hot spots were visible on GOES-8 multi-spectral imagery throughout the day. That evening, volcanologists in Guatemala indicated that the volcano had become increasingly unstable with several explosions occurring within a few hours. Since then, no major activity has occurred.

Geologic Background. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is also one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between Fuego and Acatenango to the north. Construction of Meseta dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km onto the Pacific coastal plain. Growth of the modern Fuego volcano followed, continuing the southward migration of volcanism that began at the mostly andesitic Acatenango. Eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows.

Information Contacts: Otoniel Matías and Eddie Sánchez, Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Ministero de Communicaciones, Transporto, Obras Públicas y Vivienda, 7a. Av. 14-57, zona 13, Guatemala City 01013, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, NOAA Satellite Services Division, NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center, Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); La Hora (URL: http://www.lahora.com.gt/).


Jackson Segment (Undersea Features) — August 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Jackson Segment

Undersea Features

42.15°N, 127.05°W; summit elev. -3100 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Additional investigations show no evidence of April eruption

After a 3-9 April 2001 seismic swarm that was traced to the Jackson Segment of the Gorda Ridge (BGVN 26:03), seismically inferred volcanism remained unconfirmed. The signals detected on 3 April 2001 were located on the S side of the segment, and continued through 9 April. During a six-day period instruments detected over 3,500 earthquakes; 548 epicenters were located. By 11 April seismic activity was at very low levels, possibly below the detection threshold of the T-phase monitoring system.

On 10 April, an NSF- and NOAA-funded response team departed on the ship RV New Horizon to search for mega-plumes from the event, but no plumes were detected. On 26 April the U.S. Coast Guard ship Healy conducted conductivity, temperature, and depth (CTD) probes and took dredge samples on the site. A report made available in late May indicated that investigations from the Healy also failed to find evidence of an eruption at the Jackson Segment and detected no significant thermal anomalies from hydrothermal plumes. Rocks recovered by dredge from the sea floor were clearly old. The entire segment was also resurveyed with multibeam sonar to compare with bathymetry collected before the earthquake swarm. The early April earthquake swarm may have indicated moving magma that never made it up to the sea floor to erupt.

Geologic Background. The Jackson Segment of the Gorda Ridge more than 200 km off the coast of Oregon lies immediately SSW of the North Gorda Ridge, the northermost of five segments forming the Gorda Ridge spreading center. The first recorded activity took place in April 2001, when volcanic seismicity was detected by hydroacoustic monitoring. The seismicity indicated possible dike propagation to the south and was similar to that which was documented at the time of the eruption of a submarine lava flow from the adjacent North Gorda Ridge segment in 1996. The 2001 activity originated from the central axial valley of the Jackson Segment, near the "narrowgate" on the southern part of the segment. Later surveys, however, revealed no evidence for submarine eruptive activity in April 2001.

Information Contacts: Bob Embley (NOAA/PMEL) and Jim Cowen (SOEST, Univ. of Hawaii), NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), 2115 SE Osu Drive, Newport, OR 97365 USA (URL: https://www.pmel.noaa.gov/).


Karymsky (Russia) — August 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

54.049°N, 159.443°E; summit elev. 1513 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased seismicity from December 2000 through September 2001

Since the activity reported from June through mid-October 2000 (BGVN 25:09), the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) reported that seismic activity at Karymsky remained mostly at background levels, with a few episodes of increased seismicity.

On 20 December 2000 around 0915 shallow earthquakes under the volcano were accompanied by short-lived explosions. At 2150 the same day a pilot confirmed the presence of ash at the summit of the volcano and mud traces from melting snow on the edifice slopes. The Concern Color Code was increased from Green (volcano is dormant; normal seismicity and fumarolic activity) to Yellow (volcano is restless; eruption may occur) until 29 December.

On 2 and 28 February several shallow seismic events took place, including a 5-minute-long series of weak shallow earthquakes on 28 February. During March, small shallow earthquakes and one episode of weak high-frequency spasmodic tremor were registered. On 12 March a high-frequency signal lasted for 90 minutes. On 28 March, from 1205 to 1300, an intense series of earthquakes with magnitudes up to ~3 was registered. Several local low-frequency earthquakes occurred during the end of March and beginning of April. Around 20 April, more than 40 earthquakes with magnitudes up to ~2.5 occurred. Since then through at least September 2001, seismic activity at Karymsky has remained at background levels with the exception of 23 August, when 30 earthquakes were registered.

General Reference. Khrenov, A.P., and others, 1982, Eruptive activity of Karymsky Volcano over the period of 10 Years (1970-1980): Volcanology and Seismology, no. 4, p. 29-48. Tokarev, P.I., 1990, Eruptions and seismicity at Karymskii volcano in 1965-1986: Volcanology and Seismology, v. 11, p. 117-134 (in English).

Geologic Background. Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, located immediately south. The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the stratovolcano began about 2000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Olga Chubarova, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia; Tom Miller, Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.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.


Lopevi (Vanuatu) — August 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Lopevi

Vanuatu

16.507°S, 168.346°E; summit elev. 1413 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


June 2001 lavas, debris avalanches, <= 1.5 m ashfall, and 7.5-km-high plume

Lopevi erupted explosively on 8 June 2001, with additional eruptions at least through the 19th. The current eruptive period, which started in July 1998, continued during 1999 and 2000 (BGVN 24:02, 24:07, 25:04, and 26:06). This report covers June and July 2001.

The explosive eruption that began around 1100 on 8 June generated an eruptive plume, a lava flow on the NW flank, and two debris avalanches on the W flank (figure 12). During the explosive activity, a crater opened at ~200 m elevation on the NW flank along the SE-NW crack. The ash plume rose to ~7,500 m (as determined by NOAA satellite data analysis). The ash blew NW, carried by ~35-45 km/hour winds; tephra-fall deposits on Lopevi reached ~0.5-1.5 m thick. As much as 7 cm of ash fell on the E coast and middle of Paama Island, 5 km WNW with ~1,700 residents, reaching a thickness of 7 cm.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Sketch map of Lopevi showing the location of June 2001 deposits on the NW and NNW flanks. One lava flow and two debris avalanche deposits date from the 8 June 2001 eruption. Farther N, two lava flows date from the 15 June 2001 eruption. Produced from an original map by A-J. Warden including observations by A-J. Warden and R. Priam (Archive Service de Mines); revised and updated by S. Wallez and D. Charley; drafted by A. Mabonlala. Courtesy of IRD.

About 11 hours after the eruption the Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR-2) research instrument on the European Remote-Sensing Satellite (ERS-2) obtained data from which an image of the plume could be derived (figure 13). The instrument has infrared detection channels at ~11 and ~12 µm, which are used to discriminate ash from meteorological clouds. The image shows the temperature difference between the 11 and 12 µm channels. The greater this negative difference, the greater the likelihood that there is ash; larger negative differences usually mean more ash. A possible explanation of the complex plume structure shown on figure 13 is the presence of atmospheric water vapor, which would mask the ash signal over some parts of the plume. Water vapor has the opposite effect of ash on the image: a positive difference is created because water vapor tends to make the 11µm temperature larger than the 12 µm temperature.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Lopevi ash plume as imaged by the ATSR-2 instrument on 8 June 2001 at 1134Z. The unlabeled island SW of the plume is Lopevi. The areas with the most ash are in the center of the shaded plume area. Courtesy of Fred Prata, CSIRO.

The 8 June explosion caused instability on the W flank that produced two debris avalanches-unsorted deposits composed of older material (figures 14 and 15). The smaller of the two avalanches was composed of fine gray debris. It occurred next to the lava flow from the NW-flank crater. The larger avalanche, which reached the sea, was beige in color and included basaltic lava fragments, unburned vegetation, and red and black scoria of the sort commonly found on the steep (45°) upper slopes. The scoria and other observations were consistent with this debris avalanche resulting from a partial collapse of the active cone. Aa lava from the NW-flank crater spread out along the coastline (figure 14) on the SW side of the 2000 lava flows (figure 16). This flow had cooled by the time of a field visit on 11 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Lopevi's NW coastline showing the 8 June aa lavas and debris avalanches (barely visible); older lavas from 2000 also appear. The photograph was taken on 9 June 2001. Courtesy of S. Wallez.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Lopevi's two W-flank debris avalanches produced during the 8 June 2001 eruption (photographed 9 June 2001). Courtesy of S. Wallez.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Sub-vertical aerial photograph showing lava flows that reached the NNW coast of Lopevi during 2000. Additional lava flows from the June 2001 eruptions covered parts of the SW and NE areas of this delta. N is to the right. Courtesy of S. Wallez.

On a second visit during 14-17 June, geologists saw two new NW-flank flows, which they mapped and photographed (figures 12 and 17). Their guide said the lava flows were emplaced on 15 June 2001. These flows began at a height of ~400 m and added to a delta with a width of ~350 m at the coast.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. View of Lopevi from the ocean looking towards the NW coast towards the lava flows from 2000 and both 8 and 15 June 2001. Courtesy of S. Wallez.

According to United Nations reports, the strong SE trade winds had deposited ~18 cm of ash on Paama Island as of 20 June, and lesser ashfall on Ambrym and Malekula islands. The worst affected villages were Luli, Lulep, and Liro on Paama. Overall, it was estimated that 4,000-5,000 people were directly affected by the ashfall on Paama and SE Ambrym. The ashfall on Paama polluted open water-supplies, bringing the pH to 3-4, and caused darkness for a few hours beginning at about 1500 on 8 June. The 12 June report noted that the government of Vanuatu had approached the Australian High Commission in Port Vila and in response an Australian ship in the area, HMAS Kanimbla, was deployed to deliver drinking water from Red Cross stocks. The Vanuatu Red Cross Society provided water, blankets, and soap, as well as participating in assessment activities with government officials and scientists. The National Disaster Management Office reported to the UN that more ashfall occurred on the night of 19 June. As of 20 June sources of potable water had been identified, but there remained a shortage of cooking and wash water. As a precaution, 105 students and five teachers from Paama were evacuated to schools on other islands, but most residents remained and were occupied with clearing ash from roofs, water tanks, and gardens.

Geologic Background. The small 7-km-wide conical island of Lopevi, known locally as Vanei Vollohulu, is one of Vanuatu's most active volcanoes. A small summit crater containing a cinder cone is breached to the NW and tops an older cone that is rimmed by the remnant of a larger crater. The basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has been active during historical time at both summit and flank vents, primarily along a NW-SE-trending fissure that cuts across the island, producing moderate explosive eruptions and lava flows that reached the coast. Historical eruptions at the 1413-m-high volcano date back to the mid-19th century. The island was evacuated following major eruptions in 1939 and 1960. The latter eruption, from a NW-flank fissure vent, produced a pyroclastic flow that swept to the sea and a lava flow that formed a new peninsula on the western coast.

Information Contacts: Sandrine Wallez and Douglas Charley, Department of Geology, Mines & Water Resources (DGMWR), PMB 01, Port-Vila, Vanuatu; Michel Lardy, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Bondy, Paris, France; Fred Prata, Senior Principal Research Scientist, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Atmospheric Research, PB 1 Aspendale, Victoria 3195, Australia; United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), New York, NY 10017 USA (URL: https://reliefweb.int/).


Mayon (Philippines) — August 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Two main episodes in 2001; quiet seen in late August

Mayon has undergone two eruptive episodes thus far in 2001. The first episode began in January 2001 and involved a period of unrest that culminated in explosive eruptions on 24 and 29 June. The second episode took place on 20 July, climaxing on 26 July. Low-level lava spattering and active degassing continued for days after the latter climax but activity dropped in early August.

The stratovolcano was last reported on through 31 May 2001 (BGVN 26:05); the present report covers through mid-August 2001. The volcano's Alert Levels are discussed in more detail in the last section.

Precursors and minor explosive activity. Unrest during the year 2001 was first recognized on 8 January when the Lignon Hill Observatory (LHO) in Legaspi City (11.5 km SE of the summit) reported a blocky lava dome growing on top of the summit. Lava dome extrusions occurred before an explosive eruption the previous year, so the January 2001 dome was an ominous sign of renewed activity. From January to April 2001, the dome slowly grew and sporadic ash explosions accompanied or followed periods of seismic unrest. The hazard status was set at Alert Level 2, signifying the ascent of magma.

During the second week of May, LHO staff noticed that the growing summit lava dome overlapped the unconfined side of the SE crater rim. At 1752 on 11 May a minor explosion ejected ash and vapor to 50 m above the summit. A series of similar small explosions followed on 12 May that were likely triggered by magma intruding into the dome. As a result, the SE portion of the dome partially collapsed.

Subsequently, the SE flank of the dome facing the observatory glowed conspicuously and lava fragments began to detach from the summit lava dome. Rockfalls were episodic at first and it was not clear initially whether detaching lava was caused by instability of the growing dome or due to the effects of increased internal pressure.

In time, observations from Bonga, ~8 km SE of the summit, indicated that incandescent rockfalls were apparently caused by slowly ascending magma entering the dome. The magma was degassed but hot, presumably a remnant of magma erupted during 2000. PHIVOLCS later postulated that ascending magma punched an exit point on the SE flank of the growing lava dome. This material then spilled into the Bonga Gully, with hot lava boulders as big as trucks falling, rolling, and sliding to form a pyroclastic apron on slopes at 1,800-2,000 m elevation. Rockfall activity, monitored via the seismic network, progressively increased in frequency until magma discharge was sufficient to form a stubby lava flow on 17 June. By 20 June, the seismograms displayed more or less merging codas of high-frequency tremor, which suggested that lava extrusion dominated earlier rockfall activity. As seen earlier, the lava flow was thought to represent relatively fresh but still degassed magma.

Lava fills crater then extends 5 km. By 22 June, lava had already buried the summit dome and partially filled the crater. Lava was no longer exiting from a single patch at the side of the dome but from the whole breadth of the SE summit.

Episodes of conspicuous summit glow began on 23 June, and intensified to a pulsating light-yellow incandescence by early evening. The summit did not stay quiet for long because the crater began to vent voluminous gases and to shower spatter around the summit. COSPEC readings indicated an SO2 flux of ~7,000 metric tons per day (t/d), well above the baseline of ~500 t/d. At about 1909 on 23 June, a period of low-level lava fountaining began to feed lava flows that eventually descended from the summit elevation to ~500 m elevation-a distance of ~5 km.

When lava fountaining commenced the Alert Level rose from 3 to 4. This status meant that PHIVOLCS considered a hazardous eruption imminent, within hours to days. The corresponding Level 4 Bulletin carried with it a recommendation to evacuate areas within the 6-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) and a 7-km-radius Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) in the SE sector. The EDZ provided a buffer zone to the Bonga Gully, which descends from near the crater mouth to the lower mid-slopes (~600 m elevation) to the SE, a distance of ~4 km. By 0100 on 24 June the PDZ and EDZ were fully evacuated through the efforts of a group called "Task Force Mayon," a military and civilian organization charged with implementing the evacuation of the danger zones. Temporary shelters received ~25,000 people.

At 0317 on 24 June a series of explosions fed an ash column that rose to ~1 km above the volcano's summit. A thin blanket of ash fell mainly on the northern half of the volcano in the vicinity of barangays (hamlets) Amtic and Tambo of Ligao City and San Vicente, San Antonio, Quinastillojan, Bantayan, Tabiguian, and Buang of Tabaco City.

First substantial pyroclastic flows. Although lava fountaining and small ash puffs signaled the start of explosive activity, it was not until 1245 on 24 June that the first major pyroclastic flow occurred. It followed the eastern branch of the Bonga Gully in the general direction of Barangay Buyuan. PHIVOLCS promptly raised the status to the highest Alert Level, 5, first verbally to provincial disaster-mitigation officials shortly after 1245, followed by an official bulletin released by 1300. Alert Level 5 provided a reminder that hazardous eruptions were taking place. Although the 1245 pyroclastic flow was short-lived and ran down to the middle slopes only (~700-1,000 m elevation), this again-elevated status emphasized that more explosive eruptions were expected.

At 1444 on 24 June, large explosions commenced and generated multiple pyroclastic flows around the cone. Ash clouds from the eruption column and pyroclastic flows enveloped the volcano in ash and rose to ~10 km altitude. Although the volcano seemed to disappear within its own eruption clouds, giving the impression of massive explosions that might have threatened the lowlands, the pyroclastic flows and lava flows were all contained within the PDZ, with maximum runouts to only ~5.5 km.

Considerable airfall ash blanketed the northern areas, particularly the cities of Ligao and Tabaco, but this was chiefly a function of wind velocity and direction, because the wind mostly comes from the SW this time of the year.

Eruptions continued until 1921 on 24 June when seismographs began to record diminishing eruption intensity as indicated by decreasing harmonic tremor amplitudes. However, sporadic explosive eruptions continued throughout the evening as LHO noted light ashfall in Legaspi up to about 2135 that day. Thereafter, during 25-28 June, Mayon remained quiet, although Alert Level 5 was maintained in anticipation of more explosions.

At around 1605 and 1702 on 29 June, Mayon erupted again and sent relatively small pyroclastic flows down the Bonga Gully to the SE. Over the period 30 June to 19 July, Mayon's apparent activity waned and the hazard status was eventually lowered to level 3 (which states that an eruption may still be expected within the coming weeks). Observations in support of reduced activity included a general deflation of the edifice, decreased seismic activity, lowered gas emission rates, and the disappearance of summit incandescence. The first eruptive episode ended and scientists inferred that intrusions into the cone had ceased.

Activity during late July 2001. Mayon's eruptive episode during July 2001 was essentially a continuation of June's activity. On 20 July seismographs around the volcano recorded high-frequency, short-duration tremor associated with rockfalls. The number of seismically detected rockfalls had already declined from the pre-June 24 eruption level of more than 200 events per day to (by 19 July 2001) a post-eruption level of less than ~10 events per day. The latter number was attributed to unstable, freshly deposited lavas on steep upper slopes.

Scientists were alerted when the S-flank seismic station at ~800 m elevation registered an abrupt increase, from 5 rockfall events on 19 January to 48 events on 20 January. Over the same time period an upper seismic station (at 1,700 m elevation) recorded a jump from 25 to 142 events. Incandescent rockfalls became persistent.

Other striking changes soon occurred. On 21 July the SO2 flux tripled, to 7,400 t/d. The uppermost electronic tiltmeter (at 1,700 m elevation) fluctuated by ~20 µrad. Crater glow increased and rockfall occurrences peaked.

PHIVOLCS inferred that Mayon had again entered a mild eruptive stage. The character of unrest resembled activity observed between mid May and 20 June, prior to explosive eruptions on 24 June. Scientists recognized that an explosive and hazardous eruption could occur anytime. By 23 July, PHIVOLCS gave the Albay provincial government a notice of increasing unrest and by 25 July, the Municipal Mayors were informed of reactivation and possible explosive eruption of Mayon.

Overall, unrest was accelerating. On the morning on 25 July, the bulletin also added that the current extrusion of lava was clear evidence of eruption and that more explosive eruptions were expected. At 0418 on 25 July seismometers detected more or less continuous high-frequency tremor. Although clouds shrouded Mayon, volcanologists believed these signals indicated that a lava flow had extruded from the dome, an idea confirmed when observers saw a short lava tongue draping the SE slope just below the summit crater.

During 0219-0315 on 26 July, LHO staff saw mild lava fountaining that reached to ~70 m high. This prompted the return to Alert Level 4 at 0400 on 26 July and a rapid evacuation. During quiet times, farmers work portions of land within the 6-km-radius PDZ, but at Alert 4, people in this zone are required to evacuate as quickly as possible. As in the previous 24 June eruption, a 7-km-radius SE-flank EDZ was also declared (to include river gullies upstream of barangays Mabinit, Bonga, Buyuan and Matanag). But, lava fountaining declined at about 0400 and the volcano seemed quiet. This led some people to be initially lax, and some farmers viewed the lull as an opportunity to gather their livestock near the Bonga Gully. PHIVOLCS firmly advised not to proceed. This warning proved justified when at 0538 a brief burst from the crater sent an ash cloud to ~500 m above the summit. This was accompanied by a low-frequency type earthquake that lasted for about a minute. A lack of urgency towards evacuating may have been widespread. Legaspi City Mayor Rosal made the following admission, which appeared in The Philippine Star the next day. "We were surprised by its sudden explosion. We were told to evacuate last night but we did not know it would explode so fast."

At 0745 on 26 July there occurred another ash explosion with similar seismic signature. In retrospect, sequences of low-frequency seismic events were detected by the Mayon Resthouse station (780 m elevation) before the onset of explosive eruptions at 0756 on 26 July. These events were not detected at other stations or were obscured by high-frequency tremor associated with both lava flowing out at the uppermost elevations and lava fragments detaching from the advancing lava flow.

The 0756 eruption produced a turbulent head of steam and ash, followed by a column of roiling dark-gray ash clouds. The column convected to ~10 km altitude while pyroclastic flows descended the Bonga (SE flank) and Basud (E flank) gullies. Upper-level winds conveyed the topmost eruption column to the SW. Lower-level winds carried fine ash lofted upwards (elutriated) from pyroclastic flows to the SE. Accordingly, the main ashfall deposit reached ~7 mm or more in thickness to the SW (in Camalig); it included scoria up to 10 cm diameter and perhaps larger. Most scoria fragments broke up upon impact with hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt, but scoria clasts that landed on softer ground were preserved. A second ashfall deposit occurred to the S, SE, and ESE (in Legazpi, Daraga, and Lidong, respectively), amounting to ~5 mm thickness during this initial eruption. Additional lighter ashfalls occurred to the S (in Daraga) and to the SW (in Guinobatan).

A brief helicopter flight over Albay Gulf looking at Legaspi and Santo Domingo showed the dark curtain of ash progressively blanketing these localities. Pyroclastic flows remained well within the PDZ, a fact used to conclude that additional areas were not endangered. Only small-volume pyroclastic flows were seen descending the S-flank regions (Mi-isi and Anoling gullies).

The eruption that began on 0756 on 26 July lasted for about an hour. Ash clouds remained suspended throughout the day, even when Typhoon Feria's rains swept over Mayon. At 1420 that day another episode of eruptions began. Although the suspended ash and rain clouds covered Mayon, harmonic tremor and booming sounds signified explosive discharge until about 1500. A third and final eruption episode occurred from 1749 until 1810. Like the second period of eruptions, ash and rain clouds obscured much of the volcano from Legaspi. From Santo Domingo, however, pyroclastic flows were seen descending the Basud Gully. A ground survey to Bonga, facing this gully in the SE indicated that very small pyroclastic flows were passing here, yet there were large pyroclastic flows to the E.

When the eruption cleared the following day, observers recognized that the septum between the Bonga and Basud Gullies near the summit had breached. It is therefore very likely that late-stage pyroclastic flows during the third eruptive episode were funneled through Basud and little material was channeled along the Bonga Gully. This demonstrates the high probability that subsequent flows will also affect the eastern sector and not just the SE. Fortunately, flow runouts remained within defined danger zones.

On 27 July Mayon entered an effusive state as lava from the summit fed a flow that eventually reached ~3.75 km to the SE at an elevation of ~650 m. This was smaller than the lava flow extruded in June; it traveled farther and eventually reached ~5.5 km down the SE slope at ~500 m elevation. Hazy conditions in the SE foothills were caused by ash-and-steam plumes from the summit and from pyroclastic-and lava-flow deposits. Seismicity remained active, with signals from sporadic explosions and persistent background tremor related to lava flows and other surface events. Numerous (206) discrete rockfall signatures, for example, were detected by the seismic network and many of these were visually confirmed from LHO. The resumption of rockfalls was interpreted to not result from another intrusion but from loosened lava debris on steep slopes.

The SO2 flux at 6,450 t/d remained very high on 27 July and even on the following days, SO2 emission rates varied between 3,265 and 9,915 t/d. Voluminous degassing coincided with loud roaring from the crater, which caused some residents of Santo Domingo, at least 8 km E of the crater, to evacuate. According to residents, the last time they heard the crater degas loudly was prior to the resurgence on 23 September 1984, so that they were troubled when they heard another explosive eruption after 26 July 2001. The concern was not at all unfounded. Although incandescence of the summit already diminished to faint conditions as observed from LHO, some low-level fountaining became evident on video cameras with night vision. The cameras clearly showed blobs of lava thrown 100 m above the crater rim. This new observation, along with elevated seismic and SO2 levels, and other monitored parameters, kept the alert status at Level 5.

Waning activity. It was not until there were clearer signals of gradual decline of activity that PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level 5 status to Level 4. A bulletin on 9 August 2001 explicitly noted the cessation of explosive eruptions.

After 10 August seismic activity decreased. Background tremor associated with active magma transport had stopped and rockfall occurrences had become insignificant. The number of low-frequency volcanic earthquakes occurring daily was still above baseline, up to 22 events, but this is not unusual after an eruption of Mayon and was probably related to shallow magma degassing. The SO2 fluxes, up to 6,600 t/d, were still very high, presumably for the same reason. Electronic tiltmeters supported the idea of substantial degassing, showing a general deflation episode following the 26 July eruption. In summary, while various monitoring parameters continued to show significant unrest of Mayon, the general trend was one of declining activity. This information may be used to eventually lower alerts over the volcano and allow the return of evacuees to their homes by the end of August 2001.

June and July eruptions compared. The eruptions in June appeared to be more voluminous and produced more lavas than tephra. The estimated volume of 15 x 106 m3 was in the ratio 2/3 lava and 1/3 pyroclastics. The June eruptions also produced pyroclastic flows that ran through many gullies radiating around the cone. The 26 July eruption produced roughly similar proportions of lava and tephra (namely, 5 x 106 m3 lava; 6 x 106 m3 tephra).

When the 26 July pyroclastic flows poured down the SE and E flanks, the low-altitude SE winds caused Legaspi City to be enveloped in ashfall. Legaspi City generally remains ash-free due to seasonal wind patterns. Not fully prepared to cope with ashfall, many residents panicked even though the threats to life were virtually nil. Phone lines jammed and vehicle traffic was backed up for several kilometers on the highway from Rawis, Legaspi City to Padang, and Santo Domingo. Busy communication networks also prevented PHIVOLCS from relaying real-time information by telephone to the central office in Quezon City. Fortunately, anticipation of explosive eruptions earlier that day meant that warnings to local and national authorities were already sent out. A notice to the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center in Tokyo was also made that morning.

Another marked difference between the June and July 2001 unrest was the time interval between perceived disquiet to the day of explosive eruption. The 24 June eruption was preceded by over a month of seemingly increasing rockfall activity. In a sense, rockfalls were an indicator of magma-discharge rates and the number of rockfalls per day progressively increased up until lava-flow extrusion. In contrast, the period between the onset of rockfalls and the 26 July eruption was barely a week, so that magma-discharge rates jumped abruptly before the onset of lava extrusion and explosive discharge.

Background provided by PHIVOLCS. The towering Mayon stratovolcano is famous for its highly conical shape and its symmetry. It is the most active volcano in the Philippines, with 47 historical eruptions since 1616. The typical eruption episode lasting from a few days to about a month produces a sequence of basaltic andesite lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and tephra falls. Based on geological studies on the nature and extent of deposits, a 6-km-radius "Permanent Danger Zone" (PDZ) has been defined to discourage people from permanently occupying hazardous areas.

Table 6 shows the Mayon warning scheme devised by PHIVOLCS. It is similar to the one employed at Pinatubo. Six alert levels provide the general activity status.

Table 6. A simplified version of the current warning scheme used at Mayon. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

Alert Level Meaning
0 Volcano is quiet; no eruption in foreseeable future
1 Little unrest, possibly of hydrothermal, magmatic or tectonic activity
2 Moderate unrest of magmatic origin; may lead to an eruption
3 High unrest; tendency towards an eruption within weeks
4 Eruption imminent within days
5 Hazardous eruption in progress

It has been suggested that Mayon erupts every 10 years, referring to the eruptions of 1928, 1938, and 1947. Then there were the eruptions of 1968 and 1978 as well as the interval between 1984 and 1993 events. Yet in recent years, it seems that this general periodicity has changed. The Millennium eruption, 24 February to 7 March 2000, occurred just 7 years after the 1993 outbursts. A similar period of repose is evident in the interval 1978-84. In fact, close inspection of the historical record suggests other intervals with eruption repose periods of less than 10 years.

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: Ernesto Corpuz, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, C.P. Garcia Ave., Univ. Philippines Campus, U.P. Diliman, 1101 Quezon City.


Okmok (United States) — August 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Okmok

United States

53.43°N, 168.13°W; summit elev. 1073 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small earthquake swarm during 11-15 May 2001

Since the February 1997 eruption (BGVN 22:04) until at least September 2001, Okmok has remained relatively quiet, with one period of increased seismic activity. On 11 May 2001, from about 0800 to at least 1700, the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) detected a small earthquake swarm centered near the volcano. Earthquakes in the swarm had magnitudes ranging from ~2 to 3.6. The locations of the earthquakes could not be pinpointed because Okmok is not monitored by a local seismic network. AVO noted that the earthquakes may have been of volcanic origin, but swarms with similar characteristics are not uncommon at Aleutian arc volcanoes and do not necessarily lead to eruptive activity. The earthquake swarm ended by 15 May, and AVO has not reported any further activity at Okmok since then.

Geologic Background. The broad, basaltic Okmok shield volcano, which forms the NE end of Umnak Island, has a dramatically different profile than most other Aleutian volcanoes. The summit of the low, 35-km-wide volcano is cut by two overlapping 10-km-wide calderas formed during eruptions about 12,000 and 2050 years ago that produced dacitic pyroclastic flows that reached the coast. More than 60 tephra layers from Okmok have been found overlying the 12,000-year-old caldera-forming tephra layer. Numerous satellitic cones and lava domes dot the flanks of the volcano down to the coast, including 1253-m Mount Tulik on the SE flank, which is almost 200 m higher than the caldera rim. Some of the post-caldera cones show evidence of wave-cut lake terraces; the more recent cones, some of which have been active historically, were formed after the caldera lake, once 150 m deep, disappeared. Hot springs and fumaroles are found within the caldera. Historical eruptions have occurred since 1805 from cinder cones within the caldera.

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


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — August 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Steam-and-ash emissions, periods of dome growth during 2001

Following an episode of intense volcanic activity at Popocatépetl during December 2000 and January 2001 (BGVN 25:12) volcanic activity through September 2001 consisted of periods of small-to-moderate emissions of steam, gas, and ash, several ash cloud-producing eruptions, periods of many high-frequency volcanic earthquakes, and fumarolic activity. In addition, a new lava dome grew within the crater left after a lava dome was destroyed in December 2000.

The Centro Nacionale de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED) and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) noted several small-to-moderate sized eruptions during the report period. Large eruptions are discussed below, and others are in table 14.

Table 14. Eruptions at Popocatépetl during February-August 2001 not discussed in the report, based on information from CENAPRED, Washington VAAC, and the México City Meteorological Watch Office via the Washington VAAC. All heights are approximate values above the volcano.

Date Time Description of activity
01 Feb 2001 1345 Narrow ash plume visible in GOES-8 imagery rose to ~1 km, drifted NNE
08 Feb 2001 1921 Small ash cloud rose to 2 km, drifted NE
09 Feb 2001 1400 Ash cloud rose to 2 km
11 Feb 2001 1338 Ash cloud rose to 2.5 km, drifted S
11 Feb 2001 1348 Ash cloud rose to 2.5 km, drifted S
06 May 2001 1205 Steam-and-ash cloud rose to 1.5 km
14 May 2001 0939 Steam-and-ash cloud rose to 1.5 km
26 May 2001 1122 Steam-and-ash emission rose to 1.5 km
01 Jun 2001 0804 Steam-and-ash cloud rose to 1.5 km
09 Jun 2001 0424 Small explosion, most intense phase lasted 30 seconds
11 Jun 2001 1100 Ash cloud rose to 2 km, drifted W
12 Jun 2001 1648 Eruption occurred with the most intense phase lasting 30 seconds, too cloudy to observe ash cloud
24 Jun 2001 0900 Small ash cloud rose to 0.5 km, drifted SW
01 Jul 2001 0912 Ash cloud rose to 800 m, drifted SSW
14 Jul 2001 1045 Steam-and-ash cloud rose to 2 km, drifted W
14 Jul 2001 2303 Eruption occurred, but too cloudy to assign a height to the ash cloud
14 Jul 2001 2341 Ash cloud rose to 0.5 km, drifted NW
24 Jul 2001 0900 Summit-level emission, drifted W
09 Aug 2001 2300 Ash cloud rose to 2 km
17 Aug 2001 1514 Ash cloud rose to 2 km

Volcanic Activity during late January-February 2001. As of late January Popocatépetl was at Alert Level Yellow Phase Three, with a 12-km-radius restricted area. During the end of January through February several moderate-to-small eruptions occurred at Popocatépetl. On 30 January during 1530-1545 a moderate ash emission was visible on CENAPRED's video camera rising to ~1.5 km above the volcano's summit. The ~9-km-wide moderately-dense ash cloud extended from the summit to the N and NE. An eruption on 15 February at 1542 produced an ash cloud that rose to 2.5 km above the summit and drifted to the ENE. The intense phase of the eruption lasted about 15 minutes. The ash cloud was tracked using Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-8 (GOES-8) imagery as it drifted to the Gulf of México by 0102 the next day. The NOAA Operational Significant Event Imagery Support Team created a movie loop using images captured by GOES-8 that are available at http://www.osei.noaa.gov/.

New lava dome growth and destruction during March and April. Relatively low volcanic activity during the beginning of March consisted of small steam-and-ash emissions and periods of harmonic tremor. CENAPRED reported that beginning on 12 March volcanic activity rose to high levels, with harmonic tremor occurring for a cumulative hour and approximately 50 small emissions of steam, gas, and occasionally ash. An eruption at 2023 produced an ash column that rose 1 km above the summit and incandescent volcanic fragments were hurled up to 1 km away from the crater to the volcano's N flank.

On 13 March at 1953 another eruption produced an ash column that rose to 2 km. While flying over the volcano the same day CENAPRED personnel observed a new 100- to 150-m-diameter lava dome growing in the inner crater that was created after the December 2000 dome was destroyed. On both 14 and 15 March a cumulative hour-long period of harmonic tremor occurred and 55, and 73 emissions of steam, gas, and ash occurred, respectively. The lava dome was 200 m in diameter and about 40 m tall as of 15 March. On 16 March there was a larger number of volcanic emissions (95) than on the previous couple of days, but less harmonic tremor was registered (0.5 hour). Volcanic activity began to decrease on 17 March, with 38 emissions occurring and 15 minutes of harmonic tremor recorded.

During the remainder of March and early April volcanic activity related to the emplacement of the new lava dome occurred; there were episodes of harmonic tremor totaling up to 8 hours per day, a large amount of high-frequency tremor, an average of two tectono-volcanic earthquakes per day up to M 2.3, and fumarolic activity.

On 16 April at 1948 a moderate eruption produced an ash cloud that rose to 4 km above the volcano's summit and drifted to the SW (figure 37, a and b). The eruption also sent incandescent volcanic fragments up to 2 km from the crater to the volcano's NE and NW flanks. The 40-second-long eruption destroyed the lava dome that had formed within the crater over the course of the previous several weeks. After the eruption the level of volcanic activity stabilized, with a relatively low number of gas, steam, and ash emissions and episodes of harmonic tremor. On 17 April a small lahar traveled down the Achupashal Gorge.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. For Popocatépetl, (a) a photograph showing the 16 April 2001eruption at 1949, and (b) thermal image of the 16 April eruption at an unstated time. In the thermal image, the ash cloud is visible rising to 4 km above the volcano's summit. Higher temperatures are represented by red and pink color shades in the area of fresh tephra deposition. The N flank of the volcano is shown. Hot material is visible on the upper NE and NW flanks of the volcano. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Volcanic activity during late April-July. Following episodes of harmonic tremor during 28 April through early on 29 April a moderate eruption at 0819 produced an ash cloud that CENAPRED reported rose 2 km above the summit and quickly drifted to the ESE. A pilot reported that the ash cloud reached up to 3.5 km. The most intense phase of the eruption lasted approximately 1 minute. Extreme cloudiness obstructed clear views of the volcano, but scientist believe incandescent volcanic fragments were ejected during the eruption. Noise from the eruption was heard in San Pedro Benito Juárez (Puebla), 10 km SE of the volcano. By 0930 small amounts of ash fell in San Pedro Benito Juárez. Another small eruption occurred at 1310 and produced an ash cloud that rose 1.5-2 km above the volcano. After the eruptions volcanic activity returned to previous levels, with episodes of harmonic tremor and small volcanic emissions.

One of the many small eruptions during May occurred on the 13th at 2301 and ejected volcanic fragments up to 0.5 km away from the volcano's crater. Cloudy conditions prohibited observation of a possible accompanying ash cloud. The eruption was followed by an episode of harmonic tremor. A moderate-sized eruption on 31 May at 2136 sent incandescent material 2-3 km from the crater down the NE flank. The ash cloud produced from the eruption rose ~2 km above the volcano's summit and drifted to the W. The most intense phase of the eruption lasted approximately 1 minute. Harmonic tremor started about 90 seconds after the eruption began, and lasted about 5 hours. The following day a similar, but smaller, eruption at 0804 sent a steam-and-ash cloud to ~1.5 km.

Volcanic activity was relatively low in June, with small steam-and-ash emissions (table 4). CENAPRED reported that a moderate-sized eruption occurred on 3 July at 0410, which may have ejected incandescent volcanic fragments around the rim of the summit crater. Later that day, at 0648, a larger eruption produced an ash cloud that rose more than 4 km above the summit in a few minutes (figure 38). According to the Washington VAAC, at least three ash-producing eruptions occurred on 3 July; at 0425, 0648, and 0830. They reported that the 0425 eruption produced an ash cloud that was visible on GOES-8 imagery spreading in two directions at different heights; less than 1 km above the volcano one portion of the ash cloud drifted to the NW, and ~1-4 km above the summit it drifted to the SE (figure 39). Small amounts of ash fell NW of the volcano in the towns of San Pedro Nexapa, Amecameca, Tlalmanalco, San Rafael, Iztapaluc, and as far away as 35 km in Chalco.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Photograph of an eruption of Popocatépetl taken on 3 July 2001 at 0657. The northern side of the volcano is shown. Courtesy of CENAPRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sketch showing the distributions of two portions of a Popocatépetl ash cloud in GOES-8 imagery on 3 July 2001at 0515. The enclosed hatched areas depict the location of volcanic ash. The portion of the ash cloud that drifted to the NW was ~ 1 km above the volcano and the portion that drifted to the SE, ~ 1-4 km above the volcano. Courtesy of Washington VAAC.

Based on information from pilot reports and ground observations, the Washington VAAC reported that the ash cloud was 9.3 km SE of México City airport (~65 km NE of the volcano) at 0930. Very light ash fell on runways at the Mexico City Airport, causing some airlines to briefly suspend takeoffs. CENAPRED's seismic data revealed that the explosive event lasted ~10 minutes, after which volcanism returned to low levels.

On 23 July CENAPRED reduced the Alert Level from Yellow Phase Three to Phase Two because volcanism was lower than it had been in December 2000 when the Alert Level was originally raised (BGVN 25:12). Under the new Alert Level, activity continued to be prohibited within a 12 km radius around the volcano, but controlled travel was permitted on the road between Santiago Xalitzintla (Puebla) ~10 km NE of the volcano and San Pedro Nexapa (State of México) ~12 km NW of the volcano, including Paso de Cortés.

New dome growth episode during August. A new episode of dome growth was first detected at Popocatépetl on 9 August when a significant increase in seismicity at the volcano lasted for about 24 hours. The seismicity was much lower than that detected in the interval beginning on 13 December 2000, a time when the highest amplitude tremor was recorded at Popocatépetl to date. A high-altitude flight took place on 10 August (sponsored by the Secretary of Communication and Transportation); it revealed that a new dome had been emplaced. It emerged at the bottom of the inner crater that formed after the December 2000 dome was destroyed (figures 40 and 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sketch of Popocatépetl's summit crater and the new lava dome as they appeared on 10 August 2001. Courtesy of CENAPRED and Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Photograph of Popocatépetl's new lava dome taken on 20 August 2001. Courtesy of CENAPRED and the Secretary of Communication and Transportation.

The lava dome's volume was estimated to be slightly more than 0.5 million cubic meters. Based on the assumption that the period of dome growth coincided with the period of maximum seismicity, the rate of growth was estimated to be 7-8 m3/s; less than 5% of the rates measured in December 2000. On 13 August the dome was 190 m in diameter and 30 m tall, about 5% the size of the December 2000 dome.

On 15 August at 1545 a new episode of high seismic activity began at the volcano. This episode was similar to the 9 August episode, but more steam-and-ash emissions with higher intensities occurred on 15 August. Seismicity further increased at 1800. The entire episode was attributed to a higher rate of lava extrusion. The waveforms and amplitudes of seismic signals were similar to those recorded on 13 December 2000; however, the total seismic energy release was about 30 % of the energy released on 13 December.

Small amounts of ash from the emissions fell NW and W of the volcano in San Pedro Nexapa, Amecameca, Ozumba, Atlautla, and San Juan Tehuiztitlán. Volcanic activity decreased on 16 August around 0115. During the night incandescence was seen at the summit and at 0538 incandescent fragments were ejected more than 500 m down the volcano's N flank.

After the August 15 increase in seismicity, seismic and volcanic activity returned to normal levels, with small volcanic emissions and periods of high-frequency and low-amplitude tremor. On 9 September during 0815-1605 an episode of frequent small- to moderate-sized eruptions began at Popocatépetl. The eruptions produced steam-and-ash emissions that rose to a maximum height of 1 km above the dome and drifted to the NW. During the night a small eruption sent incandescent fragments up to 200 m from the crater. Small amounts of ash fell in Ozumba (~15 km W of the volcano) and in Yecapixtla (~25 km SW of the volcano). Aerial photographs taken on 20 September revealed that the lava dome was visible within the crater.

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

Information Contacts: Carlos Valdés González, Roberto Quass Weppen, Gilberto Castelan, Enrique Guevara Ortiz, and Angel Gómez-Vázquez, Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México. D.F. 04360 (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/); Servando de la Cruz-Reyna, Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM. Cd. Universitaria. Circuito Institutos. Coyoácan. México, D.F. 04510 (URL: http://www.geofisica.unam.mx/); Washington VAAC, Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/); NOAA Operational Significant Events Imagery Support Team (OSEI), NOAA/NESDIS, World Weather Building, Room 510, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20748 USA (URL: https://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/); Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, Xola Y Avenida Universidad, Cuerpo "C",Piso 1, Col. Navarte, Del. Benito Juarez, C. P. 03028, México (URL: http://www.sct.gob.mx/); Associated Press.


Semeru (Indonesia) — August 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous seismic activity, plumes to ~11.6 km

From August 2000 through August 2001, activity at Semeru was characterized by continuous seismic activity and ash-and-steam plumes of varying heights above the summit. The Alert Level at Semeru remained at level 2 (on a scale of 1-4) throughout the report period.

The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported volcanic ash plumes and clouds on several occasions throughout the year (table 5). The plumes ranged from ~4.6 to ~11.6 km altitude, and moved mainly SSE. On 8 July at 1503 a SE-drifting ash plume rose to ~2.5 km above the volcano. Ground-based reports prior to the eruption revealed that each day during 18-24 June Semeru emitted ash to ~0.6 km above the volcano.

Table 5. Summary of Volcanic Ash Advisories from the Darwin VAAC issued between August 2000 and August 2001. Note that heights are given in altitude. Semeru's summit lies at 3,767 m above sea level. Information sources include air reports (for example, routed via airlines, AIREPS), pilot reports (PIREPS), satellite data, and reports from ground observations), and information from the Meteorological and Geophysical Agency of Indonesia. Source date was provided by the Darwin VAAC.

Date Time Source Comment
19 Aug 2000 0653 PIREPS Possible smoke plume observed extending to ~10.6 km and moving S to SE.
19 Aug 2000 0812 PIREPS Possible smoke plume extending to ~4.6 km.
20 Aug 2000 0944 AIREP Smoke plume observed extending to ~7.3 km.
21 Aug 2000 0938 AIREP Smoke plume observed extending to ~7.3 km.
14 Sep 2000 1135 AIREP Stationary smoke plume at ~6 km.
10 Oct 2000 0333 AIREP Volcanic ash cloud at ~6 km and ascending.
10 Oct 2000 0433 AIREP Volcanic ash cloud at ~6 km and ascending.
10 Oct 2000 1030 AIREP Volcanic ash cloud at ~6 km and ascending.
11 Oct 2000 0216 AIREP Volcanic ash cloud at ~6 km and ascending.
11 Oct 2000 0435 AIREP Volcanic ash cloud at ~6 km, intermittent discharge extending to a maximum of 30 NM.
11 Oct 2000 0528 AIREP Volcanic ash cloud at ~6 km, intermittent discharge extending to a maximum of 30 NM.
11 Oct 2000 0925 AIREP Volcanic ash cloud at ~6 km, intermittent discharge extending to a maximum of 30 NM.
13 Oct 2000 0426 AIREP Volcanic ash cloud at ~6 to ~7.6 km drifting SW.
27 Oct 2000 0215 AIREP Volcanic ash cloud at ~7.6 km lasting for ~10 minutes.
30 Oct 2000 1055 AIREP Volcanic ash cloud at ~6 km.
11 Dec 2000 0508 AIREP Volcanic ash to ~7.6 km.
08 Jul 2001 0929 AIREP Ash plume reported to ~6 km drifting SE.
09 Jul 2001 0857 AIREP Ash plume to ~6 km drifting SE.
09 Jul 2001 2355 AIREP Volcanic ash at ~11.6 km.
09 Jul 2001 0857 AIREP Ash plume reported to ~6 km drifting SE.

Explosion earthquakes dominated the seismicity (table 6), and pyroclastic flows occurred 17 times between 31 July 2000 and 15 July 2001. The Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) reported that a significant change in seismic activity occurred during 3-9 October 2000, when the number of explosion earthquakes increased to more than 700. A pyroclastic flow that reached the Kembar Besuki river, as far as 2,500 m from the summit, occurred on 2 October.

Table 6. Summary of seismicity at Semeru, 31 July 2000-15 July 2001. Ash plume heights are distances above the summit unless otherwise noted. Courtesy of the Volcanic Survey of Indonesia (VSI).

Date Deep Volcanic (A-type) Shallow Volcanic (B-type) Explosion Avalanche Tectonic Comment
31 Jul-07 Aug 2000 4 5 657 64 22 Five pyroclastic flows. Five pyroclastic-flow earthquakes. Four tremor events.
08 Aug-14 Aug 2000 5 4 584 43 13 Two pyroclastic flows; ash plume ~600 m. Two tremor events.
15 Aug-21 Aug 2000 2 -- 420 17 5 Ash plume ~600 m.
22 Aug-29 Aug 2000 23 1 542 27 21 Ash plume ~600 m. Three pyroclastic-flow earthquakes.
29 Aug-04 Sep 2000 23 1 542 27 21 Ash cloud ~600 m. Three pyroclastic-flow earthquakes.
05 Sep-11 Sep 2000 -- 2 594 8 -- Ashfall (105 events); white cloud to ~700 m.
12 Sep-18 Sep 2000 -- -- 623 -- -- Three pyroclastic flows; ashfall (72 events); ash plume to ~600 m. Two tremor events.
19 Sep-25 Sep 2000 -- 3 556 98 16 Ash plume to ~600 m.
26 Sep-02 Oct 2000 2 2 582 19 1 Thin white ash plume. One pyroclastic-flow earthquake. 79 tremor events.
03 Oct-09 Oct 2000 1 1 707 80 14 One pyroclastic flow.
10 Oct-16 Oct 2000 1 3 592 41 13 One pyroclastic flow; ash plume to ~600 m.
17 Oct-23 Oct 2000 3 -- 607 25 -- --
24 Oct-30 Oct 2000 42 1 592 22 7 Volcano covered by haze. Four tremor events.
31 Oct-06 Nov 2000 16 1 561 48 13 Ash plume to ~600 m.
28 Nov-04 Dec 2000 8 -- 483 24 2 Thick white fume 600 m above Jonggring Seloko crater.
05 Dec-11 Dec 2000 1 1 513 16 6 Two pyroclastic flows; thick white fume 600 m above Jonggring Seloko crater.
12 Dec-18 Dec 2000 2 -- 598 38 5 Volcano covered by smog.
19 Dec-25 Dec 2000 -- 1 319 22 2 --
26 Dec-01 Jan 2001 1 -- 559 98 7 White-gray ash plume to 600 m.
02 Jan-08 Jan 2001 6 -- 579 80 10 --
09 Feb-15 Feb 2001 29 1 693 80 4 --
13 Feb-19 Feb 2001 1 -- 519 29 1 No visual observations because of cloudy weather.
20 Feb-26 Feb 2001 3 -- 702 58 5 White-thin plume to ~100 m.
27 Feb-05 Mar 2001 -- -- 249 27 2 White-gray plumes to ~600 m.
06 Mar-12 Mar 2001 6 -- 303 31 -- --
12 Mar-18 Mar 2001 4 -- 349 10 3 --
19 Mar-23 Mar 2001 2 -- 259 -- 1 --
02 Apr-09 Apr 2001 28 -- 305 248 3 --
09 Apr-15 Apr 2001 -- -- 339 51 3 --
16 Apr-22 Apr 2001 -- -- 550 -- -- --
23 Apr-29 Apr 2001 12 1 759 157 4 --
30 Apr-06 May 2001 -- -- 782 96 7 --
07 May-13 May 2001 2 -- 670 113 7 --
14 May-20 May 2001 1 -- 616 143 2 --
28 May-03 Jun 2001 -- -- 396 115 3 --
04 Jun-10 Jun 2001 3 -- 430 75 5 --
11 Jun-17 Jun 2001 2 -- 361 81 4 --
18 Jun-24 Jun 2001 8 -- 346 62 3 --
25 Jun-01 Jul 2001 2 -- 331 37 2 --
02 Jul-08 Jul 2001 -- -- 299 30 6 --
09 Jul-15 Jul 2001 -- -- 687 57 11 --

During 27 March-1 April 2001, VSI personnel observed several lava avalanches that traveled to Kembar River valley as far as 750 m S of the summit. No seismic data were available because the seismometers broke on 24 March 2001. They were repaired on 1 April.

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

Information Contacts: Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), Jalan Diponegoro No. 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/).


Sheveluch (Russia) — August 2001 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption on 15 July, pyroclastic flows and explosion on 23 August 2001

During 14-16 July 2001, spasmodic volcanic tremor increased several times. On 15 July at 1803 a three-pixel anomaly was visible on AVHRR satellite imagery near the SW flank of the volcano and at 2100 a gas-and-steam plume was observed rising to 1.5 km above the dome. A moderate-sized eruption took place on 19 July at 1033. KVERT raised the level of concern from Yellow (volcano is restless; eruption may occur) to Orange (volcano is in eruption or eruption may occur at any time). The eruption produced an ash plume that rose 3 km above the lava dome.

After the eruption through 15 August, seismic activity remained above background levels, with many small earthquakes occurring within the volcano's edifice and many different seismic signals (explosion, avalanche, collapse) recorded locally. Gas-and-steam plumes rose from the summit level to ~2 km above the dome. One- to three-pixel anomalies were occasionally visible on AVHRR imagery near the SW flank of the volcano. The level of continuous spasmodic volcanic tremor increased on 28 and 30 July. On the night of 1 August ash fell in the town of Klyuchi, 46 km S of the volcano. On 11 August several thermal anomalies were recorded on satellite imagery, as well as a gas-and-steam plume that extended 75 km SE. On 15 August volcanic tremor decreased gradually to background levels, but increased again soon after. Pyroclastic flows traveled down the flanks of the volcano following an explosion on 23 August. The volcano remained at concern level Orange throughout August.

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

Information Contacts: Olga Chubarova, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT); Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia; Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.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; Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), NOAA Alaska Aviation Weather Unit, 6930 Sand Lake Road, Anchorage, AK 99502-1845, USA (URL: http://vaac.arh.noaa.gov/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/).

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/).