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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Pacaya (Guatemala) Lava flows and Strombolian explosions continued during February-July 2019

Colima (Mexico) Renewed volcanism after two years of quiet; explosion on 11 May 2019

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake activity declined during March-July 2019

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Occasional weak phreatic explosions during March-July 2019

Aira (Japan) Explosions with ejecta and ash plumes continue weekly during January-June 2019

Agung (Indonesia) Continued explosions with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta, February-May 2019

Kerinci (Indonesia) Intermittent explosions with ash plumes, February-May 2019

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

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

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

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

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



Pacaya (Guatemala) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

14.382°N, 90.601°W; summit elev. 2569 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows and Strombolian explosions continued during February-July 2019

Pacaya is one of the most active volcanoes in Guatemala, with activity largely consisting of frequent lava flows and Strombolian activity at the Mackenney crater. This report summarizes continued activity during February through July 2019 based on reports by Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH) and Sistema de la Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), visiting scientists, and satellite data.

At the beginning of February activity included Strombolian explosions ejecting material up to 5 to 30 m above the Mackenney crater and a degassing plume up to 300 m. Multiple lava flows were observed throughout the month on the N, NW, and W flanks, reaching 350 m from the crater and resulting in avalanches from the flow fronts. Strombolian activity continued with sporadic to continuous explosions ejecting material 5-75 m above the Mackenney crater. Degassing produced plumes up to 300 m above the crater, and incandescence from the crater and lava flows were seen at night. Daniel Sturgess of Bristol University observed activity on the 24th, noting a 70-m-long lava flow with individual blocks from the front of the flow rolling down the flanks (figure 108). He reported that mild Strombolian explosions occurred every 10-20 minutes and ejected blocks, up to approximately 4 m in diameter, as high as 5-30 m above the crater and towards the northern flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. An active lava flow on the NW flank of Pacaya on 24 February 2019 with incandescence visible in lower light conditions. Courtesy of Daniel Sturgess, University of Bristol.

Similar activity continued through March with multiple lava flows reaching a maximum of 200 m N and NW, and avalanches descending from the flow fronts. Ongoing Strombolian explosions expelled material up to 75 m above the Mackenney crater. Degassing produced a white-blue plume to a maximum of 900 m above the crater (figure 109) and incandescence was noted some nights.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. A degassing plume at Pacaya reaching 350 m above the crater and dispersing to the S on 19 March 2019. Courtesy of CONRED.

During April lava flows continued on the N and NW flanks, reaching a maximum length of 300 m, with avalanches forming from the flow fronts. Degassing formed plumes up to 600 m above the crater that dispersed with various wind directions. Strombolian activity continued with explosions ejecting material up to 40 m above the crater. On the 2nd and 3rd weak rumbles were heard at distances of 4-5 km. Similar activity continued through May with lava flows reaching 300 m to the N, degassing producing plumes up to 600 m above the crater, and Strombolian explosions ejecting material up to 15 m above the crater.

Lava flows continued out to 300 m in length to the N and NW during June (figures 110 and 111). Strombolian activity ejected material up to 30 m above the crater and degassing resulted in plumes that reached 300 m. During July there were multiple active lava flows that reached a maximum of 300 m in length on the N and NW flanks (figure 112). Avalanches generated by the collapse of material at the front of the lava flows were accompanied by explosions ejecting material up to 30 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. An active lava flow on Pacaya on 9 June 2019 with incandescent blocks rolling down the flank from the flow front. Courtesy of Paul Wallace, University of Liverpool.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Activity at Pacaya on 22 June 2019 with a degassing plume dispersed to the W and a 300-m-long lava flow. Photos by Miguel Morales, courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. Two lava flows were active to the N and NW at Pacaya on 20 July 2019. Photos courtesy of CONRED.

During February through July multiple lava flows and crater activity were detected in Sentinel-2 satellite thermal images (figures 113 and 114) and relatively constant thermal energy was detected by the MIROVA system with a slight decrease in the energy and frequency of anomalies during June (figure 115). The thermal anomalies detected by the MODVOLC system for each month from February through July spanned 6-30, with six during June and 30 during April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya show lava flows to the N and NW during February through April 2019. There was a reduction in visible activity in early March. False color (urban) satellite images (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya showing lava flow and hot avalanche activity during June and July 2019. False color (urban) satellite images (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Pacaya during October 2018 through July 2019. Detected thermal energy is relatively stable with a decrease through June and subsequent increase during July. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Eruptions from Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, are frequently visible from Guatemala City, the nation's capital. This complex basaltic volcano was constructed just outside the southern topographic rim of the 14 x 16 km Pleistocene Amatitlán caldera. A cluster of dacitic lava domes occupies the southern caldera floor. The post-caldera Pacaya massif includes the ancestral Pacaya Viejo and Cerro Grande stratovolcanoes and the currently active Mackenney stratovolcano. Collapse of Pacaya Viejo between 600 and 1500 years ago produced a debris-avalanche deposit that extends 25 km onto the Pacific coastal plain and left an arcuate somma rim inside which the modern Pacaya volcano (Mackenney cone) grew. A subsidiary crater, Cerro Chino, was constructed on the NW somma rim and was last active in the 19th century. During the past several decades, activity has consisted of frequent strombolian eruptions with intermittent lava flow extrusion that has partially filled in the caldera moat and armored the flanks of Mackenney cone, punctuated by occasional larger explosive eruptions that partially destroy the summit of the growing young stratovolcano.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php); 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/); Daniel Sturgess, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ, United Kingdom (URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/earthsciences/); Paul Wallace, Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, 4 Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GP, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/environmental-sciences/staff/paul-wallace/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Colima (Mexico) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Renewed volcanism after two years of quiet; explosion on 11 May 2019

Frequent historical eruptions at Volcán de Colima date back to the 16th century and include explosive activity, lava flows, and large debris avalanches. The most recent eruptive episode began in January 2013 and continued through March 2017. Previous reports have covered activity involving ash plumes with extensive ashfall, lava flows, lahars, and pyroclastic flows (BGVN 41:01 and 42:08). In late April 2019, increased seismicity related to volcanic activity began again. This report covers activity through July 2019. The primary source of information was the Centro Universitario de Estudios e Investigaciones de Vulcanologia, Universidad de Colima (CUEIV-UdC).

On 11 May 2019, CUEIV-UdC reported an explosion that was recorded by several monitoring stations. A thermal camera located south of Colima captured thermal anomalies associated with the explosion as well as intermittent degassing, which mainly consisted of water vapor (figure 131). A report from the Unidad Estatal de Protección Civil de Colima (UEPCC), and seismic and infrasound network data from CUEIV-UdC, recorded about 60 high-frequency events, 16 landslides, and 14 low-magnitude explosions occurring on the NE side of the crater during 11-24 May. Drone imagery showed fumarolic activity occurring on the inner wall of this crater on 22 May (figure 132).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 131. Gas emissions from Colima during the 11 May 2019 eruption as seen from the Naranjal station. Courtesy of CUEIV-UdC (Boletin Seminal de la Actividad del Volcan de Colima 17 mayo 2019 no 121).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 132. A drone photo showing fumarolic activity occurring within the NE wall of the crater at Colima on 22 May 2019. Courtesy of CUEIV-UdC (Boletin Seminal de la Actividad del Volcan de Colima 24 mayo 2019 no 122).

Small explosions and gas-and-steam emissions continued intermittently through mid-July 2019 concentrated on the NE side of the crater. An overflight on 9 July 2019 revealed that subsidence from the consistent activity slightly increased the diameter of the vent; other areas within the crater also showed evidence of subsidence and some collapsed material on the outer W wall (figure 133). During the weeks of 19 and 26 July 2019, monitoring cameras and seismic data recorded eight lahars.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 133. A drone photo of the crater at Colima on 8 July 2019 shows continuing fumarolic activity and evidence of a collapsed wall on the W exterior side. Courtesy of CUEIV-UdC (Boletin Seminal de la Actividad del Volcan de Colima 12 julio 2019 no 129).

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

Information Contacts: Centro Universitario de Estudios e Investigaciones de Vulcanologia, Universidad de Colima (CUEIV-UdC), Colima, Col. 28045, Mexico; Centro Universitario de Estudios Vulcanologicos y Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Colima, Avenida Universidad 333, Colima, Col. 28045, Mexico (URL: http://portal.ucol.mx/cueiv/); Unidad Estatal de Protección Civil, Colima, Roberto Esperón No. 1170 Col. de los Trabajadores, C.P. 28020, Mexico (URL: http://www.proteccioncivil.col.gob.mx/).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

11.984°N, 86.161°W; summit elev. 635 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake activity declined during March-July 2019

Masaya, in Nicaragua, contains a lava lake found in the Santiago Crater which has remained active since its return in December 2015 (BGVN 41:08). In addition to this lava lake, previous volcanism included explosive eruptions, lava flows, and gas emissions. Activity generally decreased during March-July 2019, including the number and frequency of thermal anomalies, lava lake levels, and gas emissions. The primary source of information for this report comes from the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER).

On 21 July 2019 a small explosion in the Santiago Crater resulted in some gas emissions and an ash cloud drifting WNW. In addition to the active lava lake (figure 77), monthly reports from INETER noted that thermal activity and gas emissions (figure 78) were decreasing.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Active lava lake visible in the Santiago Crater at Masaya on 27 June 2019. Photo by Sheila DeForest (Creative Commons BY-SA license).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Gas emissions coming from the Santiago Crater at Masaya on 29 June 2019. Photo by Sheila DeForest (Creative Commons BY-SA license).

On 15 May and 22 July 2019, INETER scientists used a FLIR SC620 thermal infrared camera to measure temperatures of fumaroles on the Santiago Crater. In May 2019 the temperature of fumaroles had decreased by 48°C since the previous month. Between May and July 2019 fumarole temperatures continued to decline; temperatures ranged from 90° to 136°C (figure 79). Compared to May 2019 these temperatures are 3°C lower. INETER reports that the level of the lava lake has been slowly dropping during this reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. FLIR (forward-looking infrared) and visible images of the Santiago Crater at Masaya showing fumarole temperatures ranging from 90° to 136°C. The scale in the center shows the range of temperatures in the FLIR image. Courtesy of INETER (March 2019 report).

According to MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) data from MODIS satellite instruments, frequent thermal anomalies were recorded from mid-March through early May 2019, with little to no activity from mid-May to July 2019 (figure 80). Sentinel-2 thermal images show high temperatures in the active lava lake on 10 March 2019 (figure 81). Thermal energy detected by the MODVOLC algorithm showed 14 hotspot pixels with the most number of hotspots (7) occurring in March 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Thermal anomalies were relatively constant at Masaya from early September 2018 through early May 2019 and then abruptly decreased until mid-June 2019 as recorded by MIROVA. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image showing a detected heat signature from the active lava lake at Masaya on 10 March 2019. The lava lake is visible (bright yellow-orange). Approximate diameter of the crater containing the lava lake is 500 m. Thermal (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. It lies within the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras pyroclastic shield volcano and is a broad, 6 x 11 km basaltic caldera with steep-sided walls up to 300 m high. The caldera is filled on its NW end by more than a dozen vents that erupted along a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. The twin volcanoes of Nindirí and Masaya, the source of historical eruptions, were constructed at the southern end of the fracture system and contain multiple summit craters, including the currently active Santiago crater. A major basaltic Plinian tephra erupted from Masaya about 6500 years ago. Historical lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and have confined a lake to the far eastern end of the caldera. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption overtopped the north caldera rim. Masaya has been frequently active since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold." Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals cause health hazards and crop damage.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Sheila DeForest (URL: https://www.facebook.com/sheila.deforest).


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

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional weak phreatic explosions during March-July 2019

The acid lake of Rincón de la Vieja's active crater has generated intermittent weak phreatic explosions regularly since 2011, continuing during the past year through at least August 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), and the information below comes from its weekly bulletins between 4 March and 2 September 2019. Clouds often prevented webcam and satellite views. The current report describes activity from March through July 2019.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that weak events occurred on 19 March at 1851 and on 29 March 2019 at 2043. A two-minute-long phreatic explosion on 1 April at 0802 produced a plume that rose 600 m above the crater rim. Continuous emissions were visible during 3-4 April, rising 200 m above the crater rim. On 3 April, at 1437, a small explosion was detected. An explosion on 10 April at 0617 produced a gas-and-steam plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim and drifted SE. On 12 April at 0643, a plume rose 500 m. Another event took place at 0700 on 13 April, although poor weather conditions prevented visual observations. On 14 April, OVSICORI-UNA noted that aerial photographs showed a milky-gray acid lake at a relatively low water level with convection cells of several tens meters of diameter in the center and eastern parts of the lake.

According to an OVSICORI-UNA bulletin, a small phreatic explosion occurred on 1 May. Another explosion on 11 May at 0720 produced a white gas-and-steam plume that rose 600 m above the crater rim. Phreatic explosions were recorded on 14 May at 1703 and on 17 May at 0357, though dense fog prevented visual confirmation of both events with webcams. On 15 May a local observer noted a diffuse plume of steam and gas, material rising from the crater, and photographed milky-gray deposits on the N part of the crater rim ejected from the event the day before. A major explosion occurred on 24 May.

OVSICORI-UNA recorded a significant phreatic 10-minute-long explosion that began on 11 June at 0343, but plumes were not visible due to weather conditions. No further phreatic events were reported in July.

Seismic activity was very low during the reporting period, and there was no significant deformation. Short tremors were frequent toward the end of April, but were only periodic in May and June; tremor almost disappeared in July. A few long-period earthquakes were recorded, and volcano-tectonic earthquakes were even less frequent.

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

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


Aira (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions with ejecta and ash plumes continue weekly during January-June 2019

Sakurajima rises from Kagoshima Bay, which fills the Aira Caldera near the southern tip of Japan's Kyushu Island. Frequent explosive and occasional effusive activity has been ongoing for centuries. The Minamidake summit cone has been the location of persistent activity since 1955; the Showa crater on its E flank has also been intermittently active since 2006. Numerous explosions and ash-bearing emissions have been occurring each month at either Minamidake or Showa crater since the latest eruptive episode began in late March 2017. This report covers ongoing activity from January through June 2019; the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides regular reports on activity, and the Tokyo VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center) issues tens of reports each month about the frequent ash plumes.

From January to June 2019, ash plumes and explosions were usually reported multiple times each week. The quietest month was June with only five eruptive events; the most active was March with 29 (table 21). Ash plumes rose from a few hundred meters to 3,500 m above the summit during the period. Large blocks of incandescent ejecta traveled as far as 1,700 m from the Minamidake crater during explosions in February and April. All the activity originated in the Minamidake crater; the adjacent Showa crater only had a mild thermal anomaly and fumarole throughout the period. Satellite imagery identified thermal anomalies inside the Minamidake crater several times each month.

Table 21. Monthly summary of eruptive events recorded at Sakurajima's Minamidake crater in Aira caldera, January-June 2019. The number of events that were explosive in nature are in parentheses. No events were recorded at the Showa crater during this time. Data courtesy of JMA (January to June 2019 monthly reports).

Month Ash emissions (explosive) Max. plume height above crater Max. ejecta distance from crater
Jan 2019 8 (6) 2.1 km 1.1 km
Feb 2019 15 (11) 2.3 km 1.7 km
Mar 2019 29 (12) 3.5 km 1.3 km
Apr 2019 10 (5) 2.2 km 1.7 km
May 2019 15 (9) 2.9 km 1.3 km
Jun 2019 5 (2) 2.2 km 1.3 km

There were eight eruptive events reported by JMA during January 2019 at the Minamidake summit crater of Sakurajima. They occurred on 3, 6, 7, 9, 17, and 19 January (figure 76). Ash plume heights ranged from 600 to 2,100 m above the summit. The largest explosion, on 9 January, generated an ash plume that rose 2,100 m above the summit crater and drifted E. In addition, incandescent ejecta was sent 800-1,100 m from the summit. Incandescence was visible at the summit on most clear nights. During an overflight on 18 January no significant changes were noted at the crater (figure 77). Infrared thermal imaging done on 29 January indicated a weak thermal anomaly in the vicinity of the Showa crater on the SE side of Minamidake crater. The Kagoshima Regional Meteorological Observatory (KRMO) (11 km WSW) recorded ashfall there during four days of the month. Satellite imagery indicated thermal anomalies inside Minamidake on 7 and 27 January (figure 77).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Incandescent ejecta and ash emissions characterized activity from Sakurajima volcano at Aira during January 2019. Left: A webcam image showed incandescent ejecta on the flanks on 9 January 2019, courtesy of JMA (Explanation of volcanic activity in Sakurajima, January 2019). Right: An ash plume rose hundreds of meters above the summit, likely also on 9 January, posted on 10 January 2019, courtesy of Mike Day.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. The summit of Sakurajima consists of the larger Minamidake crater and the smaller Showa crater on the E flank. Left: The Minamidake crater at the summit of Sakurajima volcano at Aira on 18 January 2019 seen in an overflight courtesy of JMA (Explanation of volcanic activity in Sakurajima, March 2019). Right: Two areas of thermal anomaly were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 27 January 2019. "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, and 2) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity increased during February 2019, with 15 eruptive events reported on days 1, 3, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14, 17, 22, 24, and 27. Ash plume heights ranged from 600-2,300 m above the summit, and ejecta was reported 300 to 1,700 m from the crater in various events (figure 78). KRMO reported two days of ashfall during February. Satellite imagery identified thermal anomalies at the crater on 6 and 26 February, and ash plumes on 21 and 26 February (figure 79).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. An explosion from Sakurajima at Aira on 7 February 2019 sent ejecta up to 1,700 m from the Minamidake summit crater. Courtesy of JMA (Explanation of volcanic activity in Sakurajima, February 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Thermal anomalies and ash emissions were captured in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 6, 21, and 26 February 2019 originating from Sakurajima volcano at Aira. Top: Thermal anomalies within the summit crater were visible underneath steam and ash plumes on 6 and 26 February (closeup of bottom right photo). Bottom: Ash emissions on 21 and 26 February drifted SE from the volcano. "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, and 2) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The number of eruptive events continued to increase during March 2019; there were 29 events reported on numerous days (figures 80 and 81). An explosion on 14 March produced an ash plume that rose 3,500 m above the summit and drifted E. It also produced ejecta that landed 800-1,100 m from the crater. During an overflight on 26 March a fumarole was the only activity in Showa crater. KRMO reported 14 days of ashfall during the month. Satellite imagery identified an ash plume on 13 March and a thermal anomaly on 18 March (figure 82).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A large ash emission from Sakurajima volcano at Aira was photographed by a tourist on the W flank and posted on 1 March 2019. Courtesy of Kratü.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. An ash plume from Sakurajima volcano at Aira on 18 March 2019 produced enough ashfall to disrupt the trains in the nearby city of Kagoshima according to the photographer. Image taken from about 20 km away. Courtesy of Tim Board.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. An ash plume drifted SE from the summit of Sakurajima volcano at Aira on 13 March (left) and a thermal anomaly was visible inside the Minamidake crater on 18 March 2019 (right). "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, and 2) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A decline in activity to only ten eruptive events on days 7, 13, 17, 22, and 25 was reported by JMA for April 2019. An explosion on 7 April sent ejecta up to 1,700 m from the crater. Another explosion on 13 April produced an ash plume that rose 2,200 m above the summit. Most of the eruptive events at Sakurajima last for less than 30 minutes; on 22 April two events lasted for almost an hour each producing ash plumes that rose 1,400 m above the summit. Ashfall at KRMO was reported during seven days in April. Two distinct thermal anomalies were visible inside the Minamidake crater on both 12 and 27 April (figure 83).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Two thermal anomalies were present inside Minamidake crater at the summit of Sakurajima volcano at Aira on 12 (left) and 27 (right) April 2019. "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, and 2) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

There were 15 eruptive events during May 2019. An event that lasted for two hours on 12 May produced an ash plume that rose 2,900 m from the summit and drifted NE (figure 84). The Meteorological Observatory reported 14 days with ashfall during the month. Two thermal anomalies were present in satellite imagery in the Minamidake crater on both 17 and 22 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. An ash plume rose 2,900 m above the summit of Sakurajima at Aira on 12 May 2019 (left); incandescent ejecta went 1,300 m from the summit crater on 13 May. Courtesy of JMA (Explanation of volcanic activity in Sakurajima, May 2019).

During June 2019 five eruptive events were reported, on 11, 13, and 24 June; the event on 11 June lasted for almost two hours, sent ash 2,200 m above the summit, and produced ejecta that landed up to 1,100 m from the crater (figure 85). Five days of ashfall were reported by KRMO.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. A large ash plume on 11 June 2019 rose 2,200 m above the summit of Sakurajima volcano at Aira. Courtesy of Aone Wakatsuki.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Mike Day, Minnesota, Twitter (URL: https://twitter.com/MikeDaySMM, photo at https://twitter.com/MikeDaySMM/status/1083489400451989505/photo/1); Kratü, Twitter (URL: https://twitter.com/TalesOfKratue, photo at https://twitter.com/TalesOfKratue/status/1101469595414589441/photo/1); Tim Board, Japan, Twitter (URL: https://twitter.com/Hawkworld_, photo at https://twitter.com/Hawkworld_/status/1107789108754038789); Aone Wakatsuke, Twitter (URL: https://twitter.com/AoneWakatsuki, photo at https://twitter.com/AoneWakatsuki/status/1138420031258210305/photo/3).


Agung (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

8.343°S, 115.508°E; summit elev. 2997 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued explosions with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta, February-May 2019

After a large, deadly explosive and effusive eruption during 1963-64, Indonesia's Mount Agung on Bali remained quiet until a new eruption began in November 2017 (BGVN 43:01). Lava emerged into the summit crater at the end of November and intermittent ash plumes rose as high as 3 km above the summit through the end of the year. Activity continued throughout 2018 with explosions that produced ash plumes rising multiple kilometers above the summit, and the slow effusion of the lava within the summit crater (BGVN 43:08, 44:02). Information about the ongoing eruptive episode comes from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and multiple sources of satellite data. This report covers the ongoing eruption from February through May 2019.

Intermittent but increasingly frequent and intense explosions with ash emissions and incandescent ejecta characterized activity at Agung during February through May 2019. During February, explosions were reported three times; events on seven days in March were documented with ash plumes and ashfall in surrounding villages. Five significant events occurred during April; two involved incandescent ejecta that traveled several kilometers from the summit, and ashfall tens of kilometers from the volcano. Most of the five significant events reported in May involved incandescent ejecta and ashfall in adjacent villages; air traffic was disrupted during the 24 May event. Ash plumes in May reached altitudes over 7 km multiple times. Thermal activity increased steadily during the period, according to both the MIROVA project (figure 44) and MODVOLC thermal alert data. MAGMA Indonesia reported at the end of May 2019 that the volume of lava within the summit crater remained at about 25 million m3; satellite information indicated continued thermal activity within the crater. Alert Level III (of four levels) remained in effect throughout the period with a 4 km exclusion radius around the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Thermal activity at Agung from 4 September 2018 through May 2019 was variable. The increasing frequency and intensity of thermal events was apparent from February-May. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Steam plumes rose 30-300 m high daily during February 2019. The Agung Volcano Observatory (AVO) and PVMBG issued a VONA on 7 February (UTC) reporting an ash plume, although it was not visible due to meteoric cloud cover. Incandescence, however, was observed at the summit from webcams in both Rendang and Karangasem City (16 km SE). The seismic event associated with the explosion lasted for 97 seconds. A similar event on 13 February was also obscured by clouds but produced a seismic event that lasted for 3 minutes and 40 seconds, and ashfall was reported in the village of Bugbug, about 20 km SE. On 22 February a gray ash plume rose 700 m from the summit during a seismic event that lasted for 6 minutes and 20 seconds (figure 45). The Darwin VAAC reported the plume visible in satellite imagery moving W at 4.3 km altitude. It dissipated after a few hours, but a hotspot remained visible about 10 hours later.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. An ash plume rose from the summit of Agung on 22 February 2019, viewed from the Besakih temple, 7 km SW of the summit. Courtesy of PunapiBali.

Persistent steam plumes rose 50-500 m from the summit during March 2019. An explosion on 4 March was recorded for just under three minutes and produced ashfall in Besakih (7 km SW); no ash plume was observed due to fog. A short-lived ash plume rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted SE on 8 March (UTC) 2019. The seismic event lasted for just under 4 minutes. Ash emissions were reported on 15 and 17 March to 4.3 and 3.7 km altitude, respectively, drifting W (figure 46). Ashfall from the 15 March event spread NNW and was reported in the villages of Kubu (6 km N), Tianyar (14 km NNW), Ban, Kadundung, and Sukadana. MAGMA Indonesia noted that two explosions on the morning of 17 March (local time) produced gray plumes; the first sent a plume to 500 m above the summit drifting E and lasted for about 40 seconds, while the second plume a few hours later rose 600 m above the crater and lasted for 1 minute and 16 seconds. On 18 March an ash plume rose 1 km and drifted W and NW. An event on 20 March was measured only seismically by PVMBG because fog prevented observations. An eruption on 28 March produced an ash plume 2 km high that drifted W and NW. The seismic signal for this event lasted for about two and a half minutes. The Darwin VAAC reported the ash plume at 5.5 km altitude, dissipating quickly to the NW. No ash was visible four hours later, but a thermal anomaly remained at the summit (figure 47). Ashfall was reported in nearby villages.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Ash plumes from Agung on 15 (left) and 17 (right) March 2019 resulted in ashfall in communities 10-20 km from the volcano. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia (Information on G. Agung Eruption, 15 March 2019 and Gunung Agung Eruption Press Release March 17, 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. A thermal anomaly was visible through thick cloud cover at the summit of Agung on 29 March 2019 less than 24 hours after a gray ash plume was reported 2,000 m above the summit. "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The first explosion of April 2019 occurred on the 3rd (UTC); PVMBG reported the dense gray ash plume 2 km above the summit drifting W. A few hours later the Darwin VAAC raised the altitude to 6.1 km based on infrared temperatures in satellite imagery. The seismic signal lasted for three and a half minutes and the explosion was heard at the PGA Post in Rendang (12 km SW). Incandescent material fell within a radius of 2-3 km, mainly on the S flank (figure 48). Ashfall was reported in the villages of Telungbuana, Badeg, Besakih, Pempatan, Teges, and Puregai on the W and S flanks (figure 49). An explosion on 11 April also produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 2 km above the summit and drifted W. A hotspot remained about six hours later after the ash dissipated.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Incandescent ejecta appeared on the flanks of Agung after an eruption on 4 April 2019 (local time) as viewed from the observation post in Rendang (8 km SW). Courtesy of Jamie Sincioco.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Ashfall in a nearby town dusted mustard plants on 4 April 2019 from an explosion at Agung the previous day. Courtesy of Pantau.com (Photo: Antara / Nyoman Hendra).

PVMBG reported an eruption visible in the webcam early on 21 April (local time) that rose to 5.5 km altitude and drifted SW. The ash spread W and S and ash fell around Besakih (7 km SW), Rendang (8 km SW), Klungkung (25 km S), Gianyar (20 km WSW), Bangli (17 km WNW), Tabanan (50 km WSW), and at the Ngurah Rai-Denpasar Airport (60 km SW). About 15 hours later a new explosion produced a dense gray ash plume that rose to 3 km above the summit and produced incandescent ejecta in all directions as far as 3 km away (figure 50). The ash spread to the S and ashfall was reported in Besakih, Rendang, Sebudi (6 km SW), and Selat (12 km SSW). Both of the explosions were heard in Rendang and Batulompeh. The incandescent ejecta from the explosions remained within the 4-km exclusion zone. A satellite image on 23 April showed multiple thermal anomalies within the summit crater (figure 51). A dense gray plume drifted E from Agung on 29 April (30 April local time) at 4.6 km altitude. It was initially reported by ground observers, but was also visible in multispectral satellite imagery for about six hours before dissipating.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. An explosion at Agung on 21 April 2019 sent incandescent eject 3,000 m from the summit. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia (Gunung Agung Eruption Press Release April 21, 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Multiple thermal anomalies were still present within the summit crater of Agung on 23 April 2019 after two substantial explosions produced ash and incandescent ejecta around the summit two days earlier. "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

PVMBG reported an eruption on 3 May 2019 that was recorded on a seismogram with a signal that lasted for about a minute. Satellite imagery reported by the Darwin VAAC showed a growing hotspot and possible ash near the summit at 4.3 km altitude moving NE. A few days later, on 6 May, a gray ash plume rose to 5.2 km altitude and drifted slowly W before dissipating; it was accompanied by a seismic signal that lasted for about two minutes. Explosions on 12 and 18 May produced significant amounts of incandescent ejecta (figure 52). The seismic signal for the 12 May event lasted for about two minutes; no plume was observed due to fog, but incandescent ejecta was visible on the flanks and the explosion was heard at Rendang. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume from the explosion on 17 May (18 May local time) at 6.1 km altitude in satellite imagery moving E. They revised the altitude a short while later to 7.6 km based on IR temperature and movement; the plume drifted N, NE, and E in light and variable winds. A few hours after that it was moving NE at 7.6 km altitude and SE at 5.5 km altitude; this lasted for about 12 hours until it dissipated. Ashfall was reported in villages downwind including Cutcut, Tongtongan, Bonyoh (20 km WNW), and Temakung.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Explosions on 12 (left) and 18 (right) May (local time) 2019 produced substantial ejecta on the flanks of Agung visible from a distance of 10 km or more in PVMBG webcams. The ash plume from the 18 May event resulted in ashfall in numerous communities downwind. Courtesy of PVMBG (Information Eruption G. Agung, May 13, 2019, Information Eruption G. Agung, May 18, 2019).

The initial explosion on 18 May was captured by a webcam at a nearby resort and sent incandescent ejecta hundreds of meters down the NE flank within 20 seconds (figure 53). Satellite imagery on 3, 8, 13, and 18 May indicated multiple thermal anomalies growing stronger at the summit. All of the images were captured within 24 hours of an explosive event reported by PVMBG (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. The 18 May 2019 explosion at Agung produced an ash plume that rose to over 7 km altitude and large bombs of incandescent material that traveled hundreds of meters down the NE flank within the first 20 seconds of the explosion. Images taken from a private webcam located 12 km NE. Courtesy of Volcanoverse, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Satellite images from 3, 8, 13, and 18 May 2019 at Agung showed persistent and increasing thermal anomalies within the summit crater. All images were captured within 24 hours of explosions reported by PVMBG. "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

PVMBG issued a VONA on 24 May 2019 reporting a new ash emission. They indicated that incandescent fragments were ejected 2.5-3 km in all directions from the summit, and the seismic signal lasted for four and a half minutes (figure 55). A dense gray ash plume was observed from Tulamben on the NE flank rising 2 km above the summit. Satellite imagery indicated that the plume drifted SW and ashfall was reported in the villages of Besakih, Pempatan, Menanga, Sebudi, Muncan, Amerta Bhuana, Nongan, Rendang, and at the Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpassar. Additionally, ashfall was reported in the districts of Tembuku, Bangli, and Susut (20 km SW). The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery at 4.6 km altitude along with a thermal anomaly and incandescent lava visible in webcam imagery. The remains of the ash plume were about 170 km S of the airport in Denpasar (60 km SW) and had nearly dissipated 18 hours after the event. According to a news article several flights to and from Australia were cancelled or diverted, though the International Gusti Ngurah Rai (IGNR) airport was not closed. On 31 May another large explosion produced the largest ash plume of the report period, rising more than 2 km above the summit (figure 56). The Darwin VAAC reported its altitude as 8.2 km drifting ESE visible in satellite data. It split into two plumes, one drifted E at 8.2 km and the other ESE at 6.1 km altitude, dissipating after about 20 hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. A large explosion at Agung on 24 May 2019 produced incandescent ejecta that covered all the flanks and dispersed ash to many communities to the SW. Courtesy of PVMBG (Gunung Agung Eruption Press Release 24 May 2019 20:38 WIB, Kasbani, Ir., M.Sc.).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. An explosion at Agung on 31 May 2019 sent an ash plume to 8.2 km altitude, the highest for the report period. Courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical Agung stratovolcano, Bali's highest and most sacred mountain, towers over the eastern end of the island. The volcano, whose name means "Paramount," rises above the SE caldera rim of neighboring Batur volcano, and the northern and southern flanks extend to the coast. The summit area extends 1.5 km E-W, with the high point on the W and a steep-walled 800-m-wide crater on the E. The Pawon cone is located low on the SE flank. Only a few eruptions dating back to the early 19th century have been recorded in historical time. The 1963-64 eruption, one of the largest in the 20th century, produced voluminous ashfall along with devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused extensive damage and many fatalities.

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/); 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); The Jakarta Post, Mount Agung eruption disrupts Australian flights, (URL: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/05/25/mount-agung-eruption-disrupts-australian-flights.html); PunapiBali (URL: http://punapibali.com/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/punapibali, image at https://twitter.com/punapibali/status/1098869352588288000/photo/1); Jamie S. Sincioco, Phillipines (URL: Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco. Image at https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco/status/1113765842557104130/photo/1); Pantau.com (URL: https://www.pantau.com/berita/erupsi-gunung-agung-sebagian-wilayah-bali-terpapar-hujan-abu?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter); Volcanoverse (URL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi3T_esus8Sr9I-3W5teVQQ); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN ).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — June 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 explosions with ash plumes, February-May 2019

Frequently active, Indonesia's Mount Kerinci on Sumatra has been the source of numerous moderate explosive eruptions since its first recorded eruption in 1838. Intermittent explosions with ash plumes, usually multiple times per month, have characterized activity since April 2018. Similar activity continued during February-May 2019, the period covered in this report with information provided primarily by the Indonesian volcano monitoring agency, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), MAGMA Indonesia, notices from the Darwin Volcano Ash Advisory Center (Darwin VAAC), and satellite data. PVMBG has maintained an Alert Level II (of 4) at Kerinci for several years.

On 13 February 2019 the Kerinci Volcano Observatory (KVO), part of PVMBG, noted a brownish-white ash emission that was drifting NE about 400 m above the summit. The seismicity during the event was dominated by continuous volcanic tremor. A brown ash emission was reported on 7 March 2019 that rose to 3.9 km altitude and drifted NE. Ash also drifted 1,300 m down the SE flank. Another ash plume the next morning drifted W at 4.5 km altitude, according to KVO. On 10, 11, and 13 March KVO reported brown ash plumes drifting NE from the summit at about 4.0-4.3 km altitude. The Darwin VAAC observed continuous ash emissions in satellite imagery on 15 March drifting W at 4.3 m altitude that dissipated after about 3 hours (figure 10). A gray ash emission was reported on 19 March about 600 m above the summit drifting NE; local news media noted that residents of Kayo Aro reported emissions on both 18 and 19 March (figure 11). An ash emission appeared in satellite imagery on 25 March (figure 10). On 30 March the observatory reported two ash plumes; a brown emission at 0351 UTC and a gray emission at 0746 UTC that both drifted NE at about 4.4 km altitude and dissipated within a few hours. PVMBG reported another gray ash plume the following day at a similar altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Kerinci from 15 (left) and 25 (right) March 2019 showed evidence of ash plumes rising from the summit. Kerinci's summit crater is about 500 m wide. "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Dense ash plumes from Kerinci were reported by local news media on 18 and 19 March 2019. Courtesy of Nusana Jambi.

Activity continued during April with a brown ash emission reported on 3 April by several different agencies; the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG daily reports noted that the plume was about 500 m above the summit (4.3 km altitude) drifting NE. KVO observed two brown ash emissions on 13 April (UTC) that rose to 4.2 km altitude and drifted NE. Satellite imagery showed minor ash emissions from the summit on 14 April; steam plumes 100-500 m above the summit characterized activity for the remainder of April (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. A dilute ash emission rose from the summit of Kerinci on 14 April 2019 (left); only steam emissions were present on a clear 29 April in Sentinel-2 imagery (right). "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Ashfall on the NE and S flanks within 7 km of the volcano was reported on 2 May 2019. According to a news article, at least five villages were affected late on 2 May, including Tanjung Bungo, Sangir, Sangir Tengah, Sungai Rumpun, and Bendung Air (figures 13 and 14). The smell of sulfur was apparent in the villages. Brown ash emissions were observed on 3 and 4 May that rose to 4.6 and 4.1 km altitude and drifted SE. The Darwin VAAC reported an emission on 5 May, based on a pilot report, that rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted NE for about an hour before dissipating. A brown ash emission on 10 May rose 700 m above the summit and drifted SE. Satellite imagery captured ash emissions from the summit on 14 and 24 May (figure 15). For the remainder of the month, 300-700-m-high dense steam plumes were noted daily until PVMBG reported white and brown plumes on 26 and 27 May rising 500-1,000 m above the summit. Although thermal anomalies were not reported during the period, persistent weak SO2 emissions were identified in TROPOMI instrument satellite data multiple times per month (figure 16).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Ashfall was reported from five villages on the flanks of Kerinci on 2 May 2019. Courtesy of Uzone.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. An ash plume at Kerinci rose hundreds of meters on 2 May 2019; ashfall was reported in several nearby villages. Courtesy of Kerinci Time.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Ash emissions from Kerinci were captured in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 14 (left) and 24 (right) May 2019. The summit crater is about 500 m wide. "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Weak SO2 anomalies from Kerinci emissions were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite multiple times each month from February to May 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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/); 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); 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/); Nuansa Jambi, Informasi Utama Jambi: (URL: https://nuansajambi.com/2019/03/20/gunung-kerinci-semburkan-asap-tebal/); Kerinci Time (URL: https://kerincitime.co.id/gunung-kerinci-semburkan-abu-vulkanik.html); Uzone.id (URL: https://news.uzone.id/gunung-kerinci-erupsi-5-desa-tertutup-abu-tebal).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash plumes continued during January through June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Great Sitkin

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small steam explosions in early June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ibu (Indonesia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ebeko (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 27, Number 06 (June 2002)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Asamayama (Japan)

Periods of heightened seismicity during September 2000 and June 2002

Chiliques (Chile)

Signs of awakening despite recent dormancy

Colima (Mexico)

Perilous summit visits during 2001 and 2002

Great Sitkin (United States)

Abnormal tremor and earthquake swarms in May 2002

Karymsky (Russia)

Explosions eject ash to 3 km above summit during April and July 2002

Kick 'em Jenny (Grenada)

Bathymetry indicates circular summit crater with dome missing

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Increased seismicity prompts KVERT to raise hazard status to Yellow

Merapi (Indonesia)

Pyroclastic flows and lava avalanches occur during February-June 2002

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Dome extrusions continue, accompanied by minor explosions

Semeru (Indonesia)

Seismicity increases beginning in March 2002; Alert Level increased to 2

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

During 19-29 February large spines and plumes occurred at tidal maxima

Talang (Indonesia)

Small explosion earthquakes dominate through June 2002

Three Sisters (United States)

Studies suggest magma slowly accumulating at depth

Villarrica (Chile)

General decrease in activity during February-May 2002



Asamayama (Japan) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Asamayama

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Periods of heightened seismicity during September 2000 and June 2002

Asama has a history of periodic heightened seismicity; the last reported seismicity increase occurred in September 1996 (BGVN 21:11). A previously unreported seismic increase began on 18 September 2000. During 18-24 September the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) recorded 138, 431, 310, 243, 96, 33, and 14 earthquakes per day, respectively.

During 22-23 June 2002 another period of heightened seismicity occurred at Asama that was similar to the September 2000 activity (figure 15). The earthquakes began at 0100 on 22 June and at 0900 JMA issued a Volcanic Advisory stating that 210 volcanic tremor events had occurred during 0100-0800. The report also stated that the temperature of the crater floor had increased since May 2002; on 19 June the floor was at 180°C. Prior to the heightened seismicity, on 2 and 4 June plumes rose 700 and 1,000 m above Asama's summit, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Plot showing volcanic earthquakes registered at Asama during 22-24 June 2002. The number of earthquakes peaked on 22 June around 0300 and gradually decreased, reaching background levels on 24 June. Courtesy of Asama Volcano Observatory, ERI-University of Tokyo.

The Asama Volcano Observatory (ERI, University of Tokyo) reported that the number of B-type earthquakes peaked around 0300 on 22 June, with more than 30 earthquakes recorded per hour at a station located on the middle of Asama's eastern slope. Several A-type earthquakes, with a maximum magnitude of 2.1, occurred during 0300-0700. The B- and A-type earthquakes occurred 1.5 and 3.5 km beneath the volcano, respectively.

The restricted area surrounding Asama's summit was increased from 2 km to a 4-km radius on 22 June. After the 22nd, seismicity gradually decreased and JMA reported that by the afternoon of 24 June neither volcanic tremor nor notable changes in ground deformation had been recorded.

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

Information Contacts: Tsuneomi Kagiyama, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo; Yukio Hayakawa, Gunma University, Japan (URL: http://www.hayakawayukio.jp/).


Chiliques (Chile) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Chiliques

Chile

23.58°S, 67.7°W; summit elev. 5778 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Signs of awakening despite recent dormancy

On 12 April 2002, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported that new images taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (Aster) on NASA's Terra satellite showed signs of activity at Chiliques. This volcano was previously considered to be dormant; however, on 6 January, a nighttime thermal infrared image from Aster showed a hot spot in the summit crater, as well as several others along the upper flanks, indicating new volcanic activity (figure 1). Examination of an earlier nighttime thermal infrared image from 24 May 2000 showed no such hot spots.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Aster images of Chiliques. The larger view is a daytime image acquired on 19 November 2000, created by displaying ASTER bands 1, 2, and 3. The inset is a nighttime thermal infrared image of Chiliques on 6 January 2002. Both images cover an area of 7.5 x 7.5 km and are centered at 23.6°S latitude, 67.6°W longitude. Courtesy Michael Abrams, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

General Reference. de Silva, S.L., and Francis, P.W., 1991, Volcanoes of the Central Andes: Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 216 p.

Geologic Background. Volcán Chiliques is a structurally simple stratovolcano located immediately south of Laguna Lejía. The summit contains a 500-m-wide crater. Several youthful lava flows, some of which are considered to be of possible Holocene age (de Silva, 2007 pers. comm.), descend its flanks. The largest of these extends 5 km NW. Older lava flows reach up to 10 km from the summit on the N flank. This volcano had previously been considered to be dormant; however, in 2002 a NASA nighttime thermal infrared satellite image from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) showed low-level hot spots in the summit crater and upper flanks.

Information Contacts: Michael Abrams, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Pasadena, CA 91109 (URL: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/).


Colima (Mexico) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Perilous summit visits during 2001 and 2002

The following report documents several climbs to the summit of Volcán de Colima, carried out in order to accurately measure the size of the growing lava dome, measure fumarole temperatures, and sample gases when possible. Strict safety precautions were followed and climbs were only undertaken during periods of low seismicity. Time is local (calibrated to RESCO seismographic clock). Coordinates and most calculations were obtained by GPS navigator (accuracies of 3-6 m indicated by the instrument) and GARMIN software.

Between 19 August 2001 and 29 June 2002, Nick Varley, Juan Carlos Gavilanes-Ruiz, Mitchell Ventura-Fishgold, Philippa Swannell, and Ruri Ursúa-Calvario performed four ascents to the growing dome, obtaining fresh lava samples, as well as ballistic-projectile samples ejected by the pre-extrusion explosion that occurred on 22 February 2001 (table 12). The lava sample of 18 February 2002 was obtained by Carlos Navarro-Ochoa (a block from a rockfall at the active lava front).

Table 12. The authors took fresh lava samples at Colima at these specified dates and locations. Latitude and longitude are given in degrees, minutes, and decimal minutes. Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.

Date Sample Sampling site Coordinates
22 Feb 2001 1 El Playon, 1.72 km to the NE of the crater (ballistic projectile). 19°31.607'N, 103°36.645'W
19 Aug 2001 2 Growing dome (1 meter from a glowing fumarole at 808°C). 19°30.773'N, 103°37.013'W
26 Nov 2001 3 Growing dome (andesitic spine). 19°30.747'N, 103°36.983'W
18 Feb 2002 A W face, ~1.2 km below the lava flow's active front. [location unknown?]
22 Feb 2002 4 Growing dome (see figure 57). 19°30.788'N, 103°37.021'W
29 Jun 2002 5 Growing dome SE part. 19°30.755'N, 103°36.904'W

During each ascent GPS and geometric measurements were taken in order to calculate the volume of the dome and the current rate of extrusion. Figures 53 and 54 show the preliminary calculations of these variations. The samples collected during the ascents were analyzed by Juan Carlos Mora-Chaparro.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Increase in volume of lava dome and flows measured at Colima during May 2001-April 2002. Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Variation in effusion rates seen at Colima from May 2001 to April 2002. Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.

Ascent to the crater, 19 August 2001. On this occasion Varley and Gavilanes descended into the crater and circumnavigated the dome discovered on 26 May 2001. The volume of the dome had increased by ~77% since then, and a new lobe had appeared. The GPS tracks recorded around the dome revealed a maximum distance of 103 m in its N-S axis, and a maximum of 122 m in the E-W axis. A zone of incandescent fumaroles (with temperatures up to 877°C) was found on the NE slope of the dome and on the adjacent crater floor (figure 55). This high-temperature zone was located in the same position as the high-temperature group of fumaroles that existed above the previous dome and was monitored between 1995 and 1998. This suggests that the location of the main conduit has not changed since then. During the nearly 4-hour-long stay (0950-1400) on the crater rim and inside the crater, only two small rockfalls were heard.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Incandescent fumarole on the E flank of the growing dome inside the major crater on 19 August 2001. A lava sample was obtained 1 m to the left. Photo taken by J.C. Gavilanes-Ruiz. Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.

Samples of high-temperature fumarolic gases were taken during this ascent. Unlike previous samples from Colima, they were relatively uncontaminated by atmospheric air. The results of the analyses are shown in table 13. The temperature ranges recorded in the N crater-floor field and in the N and NE crater-rim field are shown in table 14.

Table 13. Volume of gases of high-temperature fumarolic gas collected on 19 August 2001 at Colima. R/Ra represents the isotopic ratio of helium normalized to the atmospheric ratio. (Gas volumes are in mol%). Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.

H2O H2 CO2 CO Stot HCl HF N2 CH4 He R/Ra He/Ne
95.22 0.75 0.99 0.006 2.04 0.42 0.010 0.39 0 0.0001 6.2 48

Table 14. Temperature ranges of fumarole fields at Colima during 19 August 2001-26 November 2002. Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.

Date Fumarole field Temperature range
19 Aug 2001 N and NE rim 122-330°C
26 Nov 2001 N and NE rim 100-295°C
22 Feb 2002 N and NE rim 128-221°C
29 Jun 2002 N and NE rim 162-272°C
19 Aug 2001 NE crater-floor 590-877°C
26 Nov 2002 South side of the dome 80-140°C

Ascent to the crater and to the base of the active dome, 26 Nov 2001. During this excursion Varley and Ventura descended into the crater and measured temperatures of the new fumarole field on the S border of the growing dome (figure 56). Meanwhile, Gavilanes and Ursúa measured the fields located on the N and NE borders of the main crater and performed GPS measurements. Gas condensates were sampled from the NE fumarole field. Rock samples were taken from the andesitic spine (figure 57) first observed almost one month previously by personnel of Proteccion Civil of the State of Jalisco. The spine was located in the same area where the maximum temperatures were found on 19 August 2001. The mean frequency of rockfalls from the active dome caused by the lava effusion was once every 5 minutes, with larger events occurring approximately once every 30 minutes. Ranges of fumarole temperatures measured on the S side of the dome and in the NE field are shown in table 14.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Composite photos giving a wide-angle view of the growing dome and collapsing spine from the E border of the main crater on 26 November 2001. The circle (left) locates Nick Varley and Mitch Ventura who were measuring fumarole temperatures in the S sector of the main crater. GPS data indicated that by this day the dome measured 98 m along its N-S axis. Photo taken by J.C. Gavilanes-Ruiz. Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Photo taken on 26 November 2001 showing Ruri Ursúa standing on the E inner border of the main crater of Colima. The highest part of the growing dome can be seen in the background, the andesitic spine in the center of the photo (~ 10 m high in the visible part). Photo taken by J.C. Gavilanes-Ruiz. Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.

Ascent to the dome, 22 Feb 2002. During this ascent several light ashfall-producing, small explosive events were observed (figure 58). One event expelled several bombs (up to 20 cm in diameter) to a height of ~20 m above the dome. The explosions appeared to originate from the central to W side of the dome. Small rockfalls were occurring approximately once every 15 to 20 minutes on the E side of the dome. Due to the potential of rockfalls, a temperature was only obtained from the fumarole field to the N. There had been an increase in the size of this field, which was located outside of the crater, high on the N flank. The temperature range is shown in table 14.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. The ~10 m-high E border of the growing dome at Colima on 22 February 2002. The area covered by the outermost blocks is the remaining ~ 20 m-wide part of the 1987 crater. Photo taken by Nick Varley. Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.

Ascent to the lava flow's front, 7 June 2002. On this ascent Varley and Gavilanes, climbing the S flank of the volcano, reached a point (19°30.218N, 103°37.392W) located at the same elevation (3,090 m) and approximately 75 m to the E of the front of the active lava flow emplaced on the upper part of the Cordobán Central ravine. The maximum length of the Cordobán Central 2002 lava flow was estimated to be 1,290 m on 7 June 2002. During this 6-hour-long ascent, the average frequency of rockfalls originating from both the lava flow front and the active dome was on the order of one rockfall every 10 minutes. No pyroclastic flows were observed.

Ascent to El Volcancito. On 11 June 2001 Juan Carlos Gavilanes and Alejandro Elizalde ascended to the dome formed in 1869-1872 called El Volcancito in order to repair the meteorological station (19°30.996 N, 103°36.511 W). El Volcancito is located on Colima's E summit (1,010 m horizontal distance, and N62°E of the center of the active dome of Volcán de Colima at 19°30.746 N, 103°37.020 W). Only one rockfall was observed on the E face while the team was 1,750 m from the dome, during the period from 1200-1545. In comparison to the 22 February 2001 observations performed from the same distance, no substantial changes in the size of the dome were apparent from El Volcancito (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Alejandro Elizalde repairing the meteorological station located on El Volcancito dome. Volcancito sits ~1 km NE of Volcán de Colima's active summit dome, which can be seen capping the summit in the background. Photo taken by J.C. Gavilanes-Ruiz. Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.

Ascent to the dome, 29 June 2002. Varley and Gavilanes remained on the N (figure 60), NE, and E borders of the active dome during 1147-1540. On the NE and N borders they measured angular heights and distances between the crater's lip and the upper part of the new dome borders. Only a small volume of lava blocks was observed to have fallen outside of the crater rim on the N border, extending only 4 m. No rockfalls were observed. The team tried to reach the center of the dome, but the complicated array of big scoriaceous and fragile new lava blocks, with abundant 3-to 7-m-deep void spaces between them (figure 61), impeded movement. They measured temperatures at the N fumarole field (table 14) and obtained a condensate gas sample. They also saw and/or heard several short-lived and high-pressure emissions of volcanic gas (table 15).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Photo on 29 June 2002 showing Nick Varley walking adjacent to the crater's N rim. The dark blocks of lava (on the right) represent loose debris that has fallen from the active dome. Photo taken by J.C. Gavilanes-Ruiz. Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Photo on 29 June 2002 showing J.C. Gavilanes-Ruiz (enclosed by the circle) walking on the NE border of the active dome. Photo taken by Nick Varley. Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.

Table 15. High-pressure emissions of volcanic gas at Colima on 29 June 2002. Courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.

Date Time Observations
29 June 2002 1252 Observed and heard at 40 m (white/bluish gas discharges ~30 m high)
29 June 2002 1420 Observed and heard at 50 m (white/bluish gas discharges ~30 m high)
29 June 2002 1520 Heard at 250 m
29 June 2002 1603 Heard at 250 m
29 June 2002 1857 Heard at 1,800 m

Petrographical and chemical analyses were conducted on recent rock samples from Volcán de Colima at the Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM. The results were compared with similar analyses reported by Mora et al. (2002) from the 1998, 1999, and 2001 samples (table 16).

Table 16. Chemical composition of Colima lava. Numbers in parentheses correspond to the sample numbers in table 12. Fe2O3t = Fe total (except 1913). References: 1Mora et al. (2002), 2Luhr and Carmichael (1982). New data courtesy Universidad de Colima and Instituto de Geofísica.

Sample/wt. % 1818 1818 18182 19132 19981 19981 19991 19991 20001 2001 (1) 2001 (2) 2001 (3) 2002 (A) 2002 (4) 2002 (5)
SiO2 58.71 57.70 58.52 57.57 60.44 61.00 60.59 59.83 60.77 59.53 59.81 59.60 60.67 59.10 59.70
TiO2 0.66 0.79 0.83 0.79 0.62 0.55 0.64 0.63 0.61 0.63 0.64 0.64 0.61 0.64 0.64
Al2O3 17.88 17.71 17.53 17.42 18.10 18.06 18.29 18.83 18.08 16.84 17.14 16.90 17.23 17.01 17.32
Fe2O3t 6.25 6.78 6.89 2.64 5.28 4.91 5.09 5.99 5.85 6.14 6.08 6.31 5.83 6.20 6.07
FeO -- -- -- 3.74 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
MnO 0.11 0.12 0.12 0.12 0.10 0.09 0.08 0.11 0.11 0.11 0.11 0.11 0.11 0.11 0.11
MgO 3.82 4.26 3.77 4.14 3.22 3.42 3.07 3.70 2.54 4.13 3.96 4.60 2.91 4.35 3.99
CaO 6.54 6.96 7.11 7.02 6.04 5.88 6.56 6.33 6.16 6.18 6.23 6.22 5.76 6.26 6.13
Na2O 4.50 4.49 4.46 4.40 4.69 4.56 4.53 4.68 4.47 4.53 4.56 4.43 4.72 4.51 4.59
K2O 1.22 1.32 1.23 1.16 1.35 1.37 1.12 1.31 1.28 1.30 1.27 1.29 1.36 1.29 1.38
P2O5 0.19 0.24 0.20 0.19 0.13 0.12 0.18 0.20 0.13 0.20 0.20 0.19 0.23 0.19 0.19
LOI 0.19 -0.03 -- 0.49 0.34 0.36 0.12 0.16 0.41 -0.25 -0.24 -0.12 -0.04 0.04 0.02
Total 100.07 100.34 101.66 99.68 100.31 100.32 100.27 100.77 100.91 99.34 99.76 100.17 99.39 99.70 100.14

Chemical analyses indicated that the new rocks registered a slight decrease in SiO2 and Al2O3 contents, and a slight increase in MgO with respect to the 1998 samples. Trace elements registered a decrease of Ba, and increases of Cu, Cr, and Ni (table 16).

Chemical analyses of rocks from 1818 to 2002 eruptions (Luhr, J.F. and Carmichael, I.S.E., 1982; Mora et al. 2002), show maximum variations of ~4 wt.% SiO2 (57 to 61 wt.%), and ~1.6 wt.% MgO (3.0 to 4.6 wt.%). The most mafic compositions were recorded in the products of the largest explosive eruptions (1818 and 1913). Notable disequilibrium textures observed in phenocrysts, as well as the shift to less evolved compositions in the new dome (2002 samples) with respect to the 1998 eruptive products may indicate an input of magma from a deeper chamber or an injection of new magma into the more shallow magma chamber. Therefore, we think that these detailed petrographic and chemical studies of the more recent eruptive products may provide valuable information for the monitoring of this volcano.

References. Luhr, J.F., and Carmichael, I.S.E., 1982, The Colima Volcanic Complex, Mexico: Part III, Ash and scoria-fall deposits from the upper slopes of Volcán Colima: Contrib. Mineral. Petrol., v. 80, p. 262-275.

Mora, J.C., Macías, J.L., Saucedo, R., Orlando A., Manetti, P., and Vaselli, O., 2002, Petrology of the 1998-2000 products of Volcán de Colima, Mexico: Accepted in the Special Issue of the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research "Volcán de Colima, México, and its Activity in 1997-2000" (in press).

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

Information Contacts: N. Varley, J. C. Gavilanes-Ruiz, Facultad de Ciencias and Centro Universitario de Investigaciones en Ciencias del Ambiente, Universidad de Colima; J.C. Mora, J.L. Macias, R. Castro, R. Arias, Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM.


Great Sitkin (United States) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Great Sitkin

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Abnormal tremor and earthquake swarms in May 2002

On 27 and 28 May the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) detected anomalous seismicity at Great Sitkin, a volcano located 1,895 km SW of Anchorage, Alaska. On 27 May two periods of seismic tremor lasted for 20 and 55 minutes and on 28 May earthquake swarms began at 0306 and 1228. The earthquake swarms each began with a relatively large event (ML 2.2 and ML 4.3) followed by tens to hundreds of smaller aftershocks, most located 5-6 km SE of the crater at depths of 0-5 km. Both the tremor and earthquake swarms represent significant changes from background seismicity at Great Sitkin. However, aftershocks declined significantly overnight, and seismicity returned to background levels with a lack of recorded tremor since 27 May. Satellite imagery showed no signs of surface volcanic activity, and no reports of anomalous activity were received by AVO.

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

Information Contacts: Tom Murray and John Eichelberger, Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/).


Karymsky (Russia) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions eject ash to 3 km above summit during April and July 2002

Seismicity at Karymsky was above background during late March through at least mid-July 2002. Local shallow events occurred at the same rate previously reported in BGVN 27:03 (~10 events per hour). The rate increased briefly during mid-May to ~10-15 events per hour. The character of the seismicity indicated that weak gas-and-ash explosions and avalanches possibly occurred. Thermal anomalies and occasional plumes were visible on satellite imagery throughout the report period (table 2).

Table 2. Thermal anomalies and plumes visible on AVHRR satellite imagery at Karymsky during 30 March-9 July 2002. No airborne ash was detected in any image. Courtesy KVERT.

Date Time (local) Size (pixels) Max. band-3 temperature Background temperature Visible plume
30 Mar 2002 -- -- 13°C -15 to -20°C --
31 Mar 2002 -- -- -- -- Faint thermal anomaly visible through cloud cover.
09 Apr 2002 -- 4 29°C 0°C --
12 Apr-19 Apr 2002 -- 2-5 -- -- --
17 Apr 2002 1807 2 29°C -3°C Faint aerosol/steam plume trended SE.
20 Apr 2002 -- 3 23°C -5 to -20°C --
22 Apr 2002 -- 5 30°C 3°C --
26 Apr-03 May 2002 -- 1-6 42°C 0- ~10°C Possible faint aerosol/steam plume trended SE, visible at 1704 on 28 April.
03 May 2002 -- 3-4 13.4°C -8°C --
04 May 2002 -- 3-4 40°C -1°C Small aerosol/steam plume visible trended S at 1800.
09 May 2002 1740 2 37.5°C 4°C Faint ash-and-gas plume visible extended 20 km to the SE.
10 May-17 May 2002 -- 2-4 ~50°C 2-7°C --
10 May 2002 0727 -- -- -- Ash-and-steam plume visible trended 50 km to the S.
13 May 2002 1744 -- -- -- Faint steam/aerosol plume extended ~60 km to the SE.
20 May 2002 -- 1 16°C -2°C Faint plume extended 30 km to the SE at 0647.
22 May 2002 -- 2 ~49°C 7°C --
24 May 2002 0651 3 16.4°C -2°C --
01 Jun 2002 -- 1 11°C 0°C --
02 Jun 2002 -- 3 49°C 6°C --
09 Jun 2002 0708 2-4 43.5°C -1.5°C --
15 Jun 2002 -- 3 ~49°C 17°C Karymsky lake visible on image at temperature of 33.6°C, six pixels square, warmest to the W.
20 Jun 2002 -- 3 38°C 17°C --
23, 25, 27 Jun 2002 -- 1-3 10 - ~49°C 1 - 18°C Steam/gas plume extended 35 km to the W on 25 June.
29 Jun-30 Jun 2002 -- 1-4 15 - ~49°C -4 - 25°C --
01 Jul-02 Jul 2002 -- -- -- -- Small steam plume extended ~50 km to the NE on 1 July.
06, 08-09 Jul 2002 -- 1-3 ~25 - 31°C 5 - 11.5°C --

According to a pilot's report, at 1115 on 15 April an explosion ejected ash to a height of 3.0 km above the volcano. MODIS imagery on 17 April revealed at least five traces of ashfall extending to ~25 km in various directions.

During a helicopter flight on 28 April, observers reported an ash explosion to 500 m above the crater. Ash deposits were visible on the W (most intense) and E flanks of the volcano. A new ~100-m-high cone was visible on 28 April inside the active crater.

On 10 May the new cone was visible along with a lava flow 1.3 km down the S-SW slope of the volcano (figure 9). It reached ~300 m wide. The flow was unusual because it had an andesitic composition, rather than the typical basaltic composition that was common in lava flows down the SW flank during 1996-2000. Seismic data on 29 June indicated a possible ash-and-gas explosion to a height of ~4.0 km at 1631. On 9 July at 1032, a helicopter pilot reported a plume to a height of 3.0 km. The Concern Color Code remained at Yellow throughout the report period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. View of Karymsky from a helicopter on 10 May 2002. The billowing plume at the time of this photo concealed the new intracrater cone at the summit; winds carried the plume approximately ENE. The active crater generated a conspicuous lava flow down the S-SW slope that reached ~1.3 km long and ~300 m wide (~ 20% of its length continued beyond the lower right-hand margin of this photo). Caption help courtesy of Victor Ivanov (Institute of Volcanology). Photo by Nikolay I. Seliverstov (Institute of Volcanology); provided courtesy of KVERT.

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; Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC),Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/).


Kick 'em Jenny (Grenada) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Kick 'em Jenny

Grenada

12.3°N, 61.64°W; summit elev. -185 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Bathymetry indicates circular summit crater with dome missing

Submarine volcanic eruptions occurred at Kick-'em-Jenny during 4-6 December 2001 (BGVN 26:11). Following the 6 December seismicity, no further volcanic or seismic activity were recorded. On 8 December the Alert Level was reduced from Orange to Yellow.

On 12 March 2002, the NOAA Research Vessel Ronald H. Brown conducted extensive mapping of Kick-'em Jenny using the SeaBeam® sonar mapping system (SeaBeam® is a registered trademark of L-3 Communications SeaBeam Instruments). The resulting bathymetric map (figure 3) shows several interesting features.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Bathymetric sonar map of the Kick-'em-Jenny created on 12 March 2002. Courtesy Seismic Research Unit, University of the West Indies.

The volcano's crater is clearly visible (immediately right of center on the image) on top of a symmetrical cone of about 1 km diameter. The crater is nearly perfectly circular with a diameter of ~330 m and a maximum depth of ~80 m. The crater center is located precisely at 12.3004° N, 61.6378° W. The dome, first noticed in 1978 when it almost filled the crater, has now disappeared except for a few remnants on the crater floor. The sonar image shows a breach of the crater to the NE. A prominent escarpment arcs around the E side of the cone and extends at least a few kilometers to the NE and S of the volcano. A series of ridges, principally in the cone's N to W sectors, trend radial or sub-radial to the cone's crater.

The topographic image furnished a bases for some new studies. Temperature-depth profiles were obtained within the crater and on the flanks, water samples were collected at a range of depths, and rock samples were collected from the summit region.

The Seismic Research Unit of the University of the West Indies reported that complete analysis of the results will take some time but preliminary analysis of the bathymetry confirms that the depth to the summit of the volcano has increased since the last detailed survey in 1989. Depth to the highest point on the crater rim is now ~183 m. The difference between this depth and the depths of ~160 m measured from 1978 to 1989 is probably accounted for by the fact that the dome that filled the crater beginning in 1977 has now completely disappeared.

Geologic Background. Kick 'em Jenny, a historically active submarine volcano 8 km off the N shore of Grenada, rises 1300 m from the sea floor. Recent bathymetric surveys have shown evidence for a major arcuate collapse structure, which was the source of a submarine debris avalanche that traveled more than 15 km W. Bathymetry also revealed another submarine cone to the SE, Kick 'em Jack, and submarine lava domes to its S. These and subaerial tuff rings and lava flows at Ile de Caille and other nearby islands may represent a single large volcanic complex. Numerous historical eruptions, mostly documented by acoustic signals, have occurred since 1939, when an eruption cloud rose 275 m above the sea. Prior to the 1939 eruption, which was witnessed by a large number of people in northern Grenada, there had been no written mention of the volcano. Eruptions have involved both explosive activity and the quiet extrusion of lava flows and lava domes in the summit crater; deep rumbling noises have sometimes been heard onshore. Historical eruptions have modified the morphology of the summit crater.

Information Contacts: John Shepard, Richie Robertson, Jan Lindsay, and Joan Latchman, Seismic Research Unit, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, W.I. (URL: http://www.uwiseismic.com/).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased seismicity prompts KVERT to raise hazard status to Yellow

During mid-September 2001 through at least mid-June 2002 activity at Kliuchevskoi was characterized by brief periods of increased seismicity and minor surface activity. Earthquakes up to M 3 occurred (table 3) along with weak spasmodic tremor with a maximum amplitude up to 1.5 x 10-6 m/s (table 4). Gas-and-steam plumes often accompanied the increased seismicity and were visible reaching up to 2.0 km above the crater (table 5).

Table 3. Seismicity at Kliuchevskoi during mid-September 2001 through mid-June 2002. Courtesy KVERT.

Date Event Magnitude
13 Sep 2001 Two earthquakes M ~2 and ~1.7
01 Oct-02 Oct 2001 Eleven earthquakes five M ~2, six ~1.7
18 Oct 2001 Series of large earthquakes within the edifice --
26 Oct-09 Nov 2001 Series of earthquakes within the edifice and ~30 km depth --
13 Nov 2001 Swarm of shallow earthquakes ~M 3
13 Nov-15 Nov 2001 150+ earthquakes M 1.7
07 Apr 2002 Series of shallow earthquakes began M 2.3
24 May-31 May 2002 Weak earthquakes at a depth of ~30 km --
31 May-07 Jun 2002 ~20 earthquakes/day at a depth of ~30 km M 2.3
11 Jun 2002 ~30 min series of shallow earthquakes M 2.8
07 Jun-14 Jun 2002 22-48 earthquakes/day at a depth of ~30 km --

Table 4. Tremor recorded at Kliuchevskoi during mid-September through mid-June 2002. Courtesy KVERT.

Date Event Magnitude/amplitude (µm/s)
20 Sep 2001 Volcanic tremor 0.15
21 Sep-22 Sep 2001 Volcanic tremor 0.23-0.21
23 Sep 2001 Volcanic tremor 0.28
24 Sep 2001 Volcanic tremor 0.4
25 Sep-26 Sep 2001 Volcanic tremor 0.23-0.27
27 Sep-29 Sep 2001 Weak, continuous volcanic tremor 0.22-0.32
01 Oct 2001 Intermittent weak spasmodic volcanic tremor 0.19
02 Oct-04 Oct 2001 Intermittent weak spasmodic volcanic tremor 0.30
05 Oct 2001 Continuous, spasmodic tremor 0.30
06 Oct 2001 Continuous, spasmodic tremor 0.18
09 Oct 2001 Continuous, spasmodic tremor 0.26
10 Oct 2001 Continuous, spasmodic tremor 0.51
11 Oct 2001 Continuous, spasmodic tremor 0.47
12 Oct 2001 Continuous, spasmodic tremor 0.51
13 Oct 2001 Continuous, spasmodic tremor 0.54
14 Oct 2001 Volcanic tremor 0.13
15 Oct-17 Oct 2001 Volcanic tremor 0.15-0.17
Nov 2001 Episodes of weak volcanic tremor --
Apr-May 2002 Weak volcanic tremor --
30 May 2002 Volcanic tremor 1.5

Table 5. Plumes visible at Kliuchevskoi during 13 September 2001 to 20 June 2002. Plumes were visible from Klyuchi town unless noted otherwise. Heights are above the crater. Courtesy KVERT.

Date Time Plume details
13, 17, 19-20 Sep 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plumes rose 50-100 m.
19 Sep 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 1.0 km and extended 20 km to the S.
23 Sep 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 100 m.
24 Sep 2001 1828 Possible gas-and-steam plume observed in satellite image.
01 Oct 2001 0810 Gas-and-steam plume up to 1.0 km extending 30 km to the NW.
01 Oct 2001 1150 Gas-and-steam plume up to 2.0 km extending 15 km to the NW.
01 Oct 2001 1400 Gas-and-steam plume up to 1.5-2.0 km extending 10 km to the W.
01 Oct 2001 1730 Gas-and-steam plume up to 800 m extending 5 km to the S visible from Kozyurevsk.
02 Oct 2001 ~0830 Gas-and-steam plume up to 300 m extending 3 km to the S visible from Kozyurevsk and Klyuchi.
05 Oct 2001 0850 Gas-and-steam plume rose 300 m and extended 3 km to the S visible from Kozyurevsk.
05 Oct 2001 1200 Gas-and-steam plume rose 100 m.
10 Oct 2001 0815 Gas-and-steam plume rose 500 m and extended 5 km to the S.
12, 14, 16, 27-29 Oct 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plumes rose 50-100 m.
30 Oct 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 700 m and extended 5 km to the SE.
31 Oct 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 50-100 m and extended 5 km to the SE.
01 Nov 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 50-100 m.
02 Nov 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 50-200 m and extended 3 km to the SE.
06 Nov 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 50-200 m and extended 20 km to the NE.
08 Nov 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 50-200 m.
09 Nov 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 600 m.
11-13, 18 Nov 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 50-100 m.
19 Nov 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 700 m and extended 10 km to the SE.
21 Nov 2001 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 500 m and extended to the SW.
09 Apr 2002 2038 Explosion sent a gas-and-steam plume with possible ash to 1.0 km.
06, 09-10 Apr; 24, 27 May 2002 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 100 m.
31 May; 1-3, 6, 9 15-16, 20 Jun 2002 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 100-300 m.

On 13 November a swarm of shallow M 3 earthquakes caused the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) to increase the Alert Level from Green to Yellow. According to a pilot's report, at 1315 on 19 November powerful fumarolic activity was observed. Seismicity decreased during the following days and on 23 November KVERT decreased the Color Code to Green. Seismicity remained at or near background levels with only slight increases in activity until 31 May when a series of earthquakes (up to M 2.3) was recorded in the volcano's edifice. As a result, the Color Code was increased to Yellow.

During 31 May-7 June ~20 earthquakes occurred daily at a depth of ~30 km (table 3). Overflight observations on 9 June indicated fresh ash on the volcano's slopes. The deposits were not accompanied by visually or seismically detected explosions. At the end of the report period, seismicity was slightly above background with a small gas-and-steam plume visible from nearby villages.

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

Information Contacts: 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 and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.


Merapi (Indonesia) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Pyroclastic flows and lava avalanches occur during February-June 2002

From 25 February through 16 June 2002 a generally white, variably dense, low-pressure plume rose 150-820 m above the summit of Merapi. Seismicity was dominated by avalanche earthquakes (table 14). During the week of 25-31 March, one shallow volcanic earthquake was reported. The Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) reported that Merapi emitted varying amounts of SO2 (table 15).

Table 14. Seismicity (low-frequency, avalanche, and multiphase) and crater characteristics at Merapi during 25 February-16 June 2002. Magnetic field strength was measured at Pusang-Lempong and is reported in nanoteslas (nT). "--" indicates that the information was not reported. Courtesy VSI.

Date Low-frequency events Avalanche events Multiphase events Magnetic field strength Gendol crater Woro crater
25 Feb-03 Mar 2002 -- -- -- -- -- 571°C
04 Mar-10 Mar 2002 -- 666 -- -- -- --
11 Mar-17 Mar 2002 5 652 -- -- -- --
18 Mar-24 Mar 2002 1 609 -- -- -- --
25 Mar-31 Mar 2002 60 575 -- -- -- --
01 Apr-07 Apr 2002 135 539 1 -- -- --
15 Apr-21 Apr 2002 46 364 -- 3.09 nT -- --
22 Apr-28 Apr 2002 19 367 1 0.32 nT -- --
29 Apr-05 May 2002 9 383 13 -3.22 nT 737-742°C 421-434°C
06 May-12 May 2002 13 353 -- 4.64 nT 737-746°C 398-431°C
13 May-19 May 2002 2 345 2 8.28 nT 734-748°C 406-430°C
20 May-26 May 2002 -- 308 15 -1.02 nT 734-749°C 421-431°C
27 May-02 Jun 2002 8 310 6 -1.47 nT 620-750°C 354-430°C
03 Jun-09 Jun 2002 9 268 6 -1.65 nT 741-756°C 423-435°C
10 Jun-16 Jun 2002 -- 281 5 1.65 nT 736-755°C 423-434°C

Table 15. COSPEC-measured SO2 gas emission at Merapi during 3 March-16 June 2002. "--" indicates that the information was not reported. Courtesy VSI.

Date Average SO2 emission (ton/day) Range (ton/day) Max. avg. (ton/day)
03 Mar-10 Mar 2002 156 96-254 196
11 Mar-17 Mar 2002 131 87-173 138
18 Mar-24 Mar 2002 146 103-206 --
25 Mar-31 Mar 2002 133 74-172 136
01 Apr-07 Apr 2002 107 73-145 108
15 Apr-21 Apr 2002 124 105-167 --
22 Apr-28 Apr 2002 155 97-219 182
29 Apr-05 May 2002 156 109-245 173
06 May-12 May 2002 166 123-210 169
13 May-19 May 2002 90 43-182 145
20 May-26 May 2002 140 64-206 160
27 May-02 Jun 2002 131 62-216 167
03 Jun-09 Jun 2002 141 85-196 167
10 Jun-16 Ju 2002 125 42-218 161

In total, 69-108 lava avalanches per week were observed during mid-February through late March. The avalanches generally traveled 2.5-2.75 km towards the upstream ends of the Senowo, Sat, and Lamat rivers, and partly to the Bebeng river. During 25 February-3 March, a total of four minor pyroclastic flows traveled to the upstream part of the Bebeng river to a maximum distance of 1.0 km (3 on 25 February and 1 on 3 March). Field observations of the summit on 28 February revealed very thin solfatara sublimation at Gendol and Woro craters. Temperatures at the craters were 354-755°C (table 14). No further pyroclastic flows occurred until 29 and 30 March, when 7 and 2 flows, respectively, traveled 1.8 km down to the upstream ends of the Sat and Senowo rivers. Low-frequency (LF) earthquakes, which had been recorded during the previous few weeks, increased (table 14), and high-intensity rain fell but did not trigger lahars.

Table 15 shows Merapi's SO2 fluxes. The molar concentrations of volcanic gases from Gendol crater on 28 February were as follows: 0.21% H2, 0.02% (O2 + Ar), 0.54% N2, 3.87% CO2, 0.01% CO, 1.00% H2S, 5.49% HCl, 88.86% H2O. One pyroclastic flow was reported during 25-31 March.

During early April, two minor pyroclastic flows traveled 1.3 km toward the Sat river. Activity at Merapi increased significantly; LF earthquakes reached 135 events within the week. The most intense rain was ~65 mm/hour near the Babadan post observatory on 4 April, but it did not trigger lahars. On 14 April, two minor pyroclastic flows reached 1.8 km maximum distance. Seismicity began to decrease but was still higher than normal. Deformation data from Reflector 4 at the Babadan post observatory indicated 7 mm of deflation, and the lava dome morphology did not change.

No further pyroclastic flows were reported through at least mid-June. Seismicity and general activity at Merapi was reportedly decreasing. Merapi remained at Alert Level 2 throughout the report period.

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


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome extrusions continue, accompanied by minor explosions

During March through at least late June 2002, volcanic activity at Popocatépetl consisted of small-to-moderate, but at times explosive, eruptions of steam, gas, and generally minor amounts of ash, along with episodes of harmonic tremor. Ash clouds rose up to ~2 km above the summit. Because of the remote location and high elevation of the summit, the dome growth within the crater was often hard to constrain, although seismicity and occasional flights over the summit did shed light on the situation. The following report is compiled from updates from the Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED) and from reports issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

March began with activity at low and steady levels with up to 18 small steam-and-gas emissions per day and occasional episodes of harmonic tremor. The amount of ash emitted was generally minor. Occasional M 3 volcano-tectonic (VT) events were recorded. Low fumarolic activity began on 4 March and was frequently visible throughout the report period. Overflight observations on 7 March confirmed the presence of a lava dome in the crater (figure 44). A gas-and-steam plume reached ~2 km above the crater on 9 March. According to CENAPRED, the activity implied the possibility of low-level explosive activity in the coming days or weeks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Aerial view from the NE on 7 March 2002 of the crater of Popocatépetl. The darkest circle in the center of the crater represents the newest lava-dome growth. Courtesy CENAPRED.

Activity increased during 26-27 March when 42 gas and steam emissions reached 200-500 m above the crater, accompanied by small amounts of ash and low-amplitude harmonic tremor. The Washington VAAC issued a volcanic ash warning based upon seismic observations that indicated a possible ash-bearing eruption, but no ash was visible in satellite images. Activity decreased to levels similar to earlier in the month and continued at those levels through early April.

At 0438 on 8 April, observers recorded a moderate eruption with explosive characteristics accompanied by some visible incandescence. An accompanying ash cloud moved E towards the coastline and diffused within 24 hours. After a M 2.3 VT earthquake was recorded at 0545 on 8 April, activity returned to steady levels.

Activity remained low through mid-April, with the exception of a brief period around 11 April when observers detected a slight increase in low-amplitude tremor and fumarolic activity. An increased number of small-to-moderate exhalations per day (up to 52) accompanied by episodes of low-level harmonic and high-frequency tremor, and weak VT earthquakes characterized increased activity that began in late April and lasted through early May. According to CENAPRED, this activity was most likely related to motion of small amounts of magma towards the surface and growth of the lava dome within the crater.

An air photo taken on 29 April (figure 45) by the Department of Federal Roads showed a small dome ~170 m in diameter. On 1 May CENAPRED reported an ash plume moving W at 1.0 km above the summit. No ash was visible on satellite imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Air photo of the Popocatépetl crater taken by the Department of Federal Roads on 29 April 2002. The darkest circle in the left-center of the photo is the newest lava dome, measuring 170 m across. Subsequent flights indicated that explosive activity on 12 May destroyed part of this dome. Courtesy CENAPRED.

Activity increased slightly during mid-May with 33 small-to-moderate exhalations and 1 hour of low-amplitude tremor on 10 May. At 0609 on 12 May, a small explosive eruption occurred, ejecting incandescent fragments on the N flank up to 500 m from the crater. During the next few days, CENAPRED reported increased numbers of exhalations per day (up to 124 on 14 May) of steam, gas, and sometimes small amounts of ash. It was later determined from overflight observations that this explosive activity destroyed part of the growing dome.

This period of increased activity decreased beginning around 17 May. During the rest of May, activity was again characterized by numerous (up to 66) small-to-moderate gas-and-steam exhalations accompanied by small amounts of ash and periods of harmonic tremor. Fumarolic activity continued at the surface. A pilot reported an ash cloud in the region on 21 May.

Activity declined to steady, low levels through June with the average number of exhalations per day dropping to less than 10, occasional isolated harmonic tremor episodes of ~15 minutes duration, and as many as five VT earthquakes per day (M 2.5).

On 17 June at 1136 an ash plume extended up to 2 km above the summit and drifted to the WSW. Shortly thereafter, CENAPRED recorded high-frequency tremor for almost 8 hours and four VT events (M 2.0-2.2). The resulting ash cloud moved across Mexico to the SW. During the following days the volcano quieted but continued to emit gas, steam, and ash in small quantities with episodes of harmonic tremor lasting less than an hour. On 27 and 29 June ash plumes reaching up to 2 km above the summit were accompanied by periods of harmonic tremor lasting up to 2 hours. The Alert Level remained at Yellow throughout the report period.

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: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Delfin Madrigal 665, Col. Pedregal de Santo Domingo, Coyoacán, 04360, México D.F. (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (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/).


Semeru (Indonesia) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity increases beginning in March 2002; Alert Level increased to 2

Since mid-July 2001, Semeru was at Alert Level 1 (on a scale of 1-4). On 8 March 2002 two pyroclastic flows traveled 2.5 km downslope to the Besuk Kembar river. The same day, tectonic and volcanic earthquakes increased, prompting the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) to raise the Alert Level to 2. Tectonic and volcanic earthquakes continued, along with explosions, avalanches, pyroclastic flows, and tremor (table 7). Plumes, sometimes containing ash, were visible reaching up to 500 m above the summit (table 8).

Table 7. Seismicity registered at Semeru during 3 March-16 June 2002. "--" indicates that information was not reported. Courtesy VSI.

Date Deep volcanic Shallow volcanic Explosion Avalanche Local tectonic Pyroclastic flow Tremor Far tremor
03 Mar-10 Mar 2002 8 1 479 22 2 2 -- --
11 Mar-17 Mar 2002 1 2 444 21 -- -- 3 --
18 Mar-24 Mar 2002 2 -- 514 10 1 -- -- --
25 Mar-31 Mar 2002 9 6 302 171 1 -- 2 --
01 Apr-07 Apr 2002 26 2 415 278 -- -- -- --
08 Apr-14 Apr 2002 9 -- 509 141 3 -- 1 --
15 Apr-21 Apr 2002 16 4 791 194 -- -- -- --
22 Apr-28 Apr 2002 6 0 585 64 3 0 5 14
29 Apr-05 May 2002 0 0 664 52 0 0 3 14
06 May-12 May 2002 5 0 783 62 0 0 0 15
13 May-19 May 2002 1 0 575 146 0 0 0 13
20 May-26 May 2002 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
27 May-02 Jun 2002 2 1 556 90 1 -- 2 --
03 Jun-09 Jun 2002 2 -- 556 45 -- -- 1 --
10 Jun-16 Jun 2002 2 -- 637 31 -- -- -- --

Table 8. Plumes observed at Semeru during 8 March-16 June 2002. Courtesy VSI.

Date Plume Type Plume height (above the summit)
08 Mar 2002 White-gray 400 m
12, 14, and 17 Mar 2002 White-gray 300-400 m
19-23 Mar 2002 White-gray ~300-500 m
25-31 Mar 2002 White-gray 300-500 m
15-21 Apr 2002 White-gray, medium pressure 400 m
22 Apr-26 May 2002 White-gray, medium pressure 400 m
10-16 Jun 2002 White-gray ash 200-400 m

On 31 March two tremor earthquakes occurred with amplitudes of ~3-17 mm. During mid-April, a tremor earthquake occurred with an amplitude of 0.2 mm. Lava avalanches continued to travel up to 750 m down to Besuk Kembar. Seismic signals thought to indicate local floods registered 15-21 April. Incandescence was observed up to 25 m above the crater rim during 1820-2025 on 18 April. During that time, seismicity was dominated by low-frequency earthquakes, with amplitudes of 2-3 mm. During 27 May-2 June ash explosions produced white-gray plumes that reached ~200-400 m above the summit, while lava avalanches traveled ~100 m away. Semeru remained at Alert Level 2 through at least 16 June 2002.

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/).


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Soufriere Hills

United Kingdom

16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


During 19-29 February large spines and plumes occurred at tidal maxima

Stephen O'Meara and four Volcano Watch International (VWI) team members (Robert Benward, Tippy D'Auria, Scott Ireland, and Larry Mitchell) visually monitored Soufrière Hills for 10 days beginning on 19 February 2002. The observations took place on Jack Boy Hill, a spot at ~180 m elevation 6 km N of the volcano. In addition, for 3 hours on the night of 25 February, the group joined Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) scientists Peter Dunkley and Richard Herd on the runway at Bramble Airport. Except for a storm on 20 February, the weather facilitated exceptionally clear views of the dome during both day and night. The team employed a variety of telescopes and other optical equipment and had an interest in astronomy as well as the volcano (O'Meara, 2002).

Benward brought along a homemade night-vision scope (near-infrared image intensifier) that captured images of the dome, even through local atmospheric conditions where visible light was weakened or scattered. The intensifier was coupled to camera lenses. It could be used visually or attached to a video camera (figure 47). The camera's phosphor viewing screen yielded green-colored images of the hot portions of the dome.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. The night-vision scope (image intensifier) put together by Robert Benward and used to obtain images of Soufriere Hills' growing dome. In this configuration the intensifier lies between two other components: a telephoto camera lens (left) and a video camera (right). Courtesy of Steve O'Meara, Robert Benward, and Sky and Telescope magazine.

One purpose of the VWI team's visit to Montserrat was to chronicle changes in the volcano's visible behavior with approach to the time of the full Moon and its perigee (when the Moon is closest to the Earth). The idea was that the tidal influence associated with the full Moon and its perigee might lead to enhanced activity. With approach of the full Moon, there did seem to be a rise in visible indicators, particularly plume height, a strong pulse of extruded spines, and less-substantial increases in the numbers of rockfalls and pyroclastic flows.

As background on tidal forces, the paths of both the Moon around the Earth, and Earth around the Sun are elliptical throughout the lunar cycle (29.53 days) and solar cycle (the year), meaning that the separations and resulting gravitational forces vary with time. The Earth-Moon separations change by ~50,000 km; when they are smallest (perigee) and largest (apogee) the respective tidal forces are higher or lower than usual. In addition, the gravitational attractions of Moon and Sun on the Earth may act along a common line or at changing angles relative to each other. Particularly large tides affect the Earth's crust and oceans when the Sun and the Moon are lined up with the Earth; this occurs at the new and full phases of the Moon. These orientations lead to what are called spring tides (a name not associated with the season of Spring, but which implies a "welling up"). The amount of tidal enhancement is roughly the same whether the Sun and Moon are lined up on opposite sides of the Earth (full Moon) or on the same side of the Earth (new Moon). In contrast, when the Moon is at first quarter or last quarter (meaning that it is located at right angles to the Earth-Sun line), the Sun and Moon produce tidal bulges called neap tides. These are generally weaker than the above-described spring tides.

A two-month record of seismicity and tides at the volcanically active Axial seamount on the Juan de Fuca ridge during 1994 found both bi-weekly and diurnal patterns in earthquakes and volcanic tremor (Tolstoy and others, 2002). The authors concluded that microearthquakes took place at tidal minima.

Montserrat, Moon, and magma. The full Moon occurred at 0518 on 27 February; perigee, ~11 hours later, at 1630. The team's 10-day stay was too short to see more than a partial lunar cycle, but soon after full Moon and perigee, the numbers for the observed visible indicators appeared to drop considerably.

After an initial study of dome activity on 19 February and a storm on 20 February, the group began taking regular visible observations on 21 February. At that time, activity appeared to be on the increase and a high-level of activity was sustained throughout the observation period. According to MVO: "The level of volcanism at Soufrière Hills during 22 February-1 March was higher than it had been in previous weeks." The growing dome was quite active, displaying near continuous rockfall and small pyroclastic flows, most of which traveled E to the Tar River Valley, though some activity was directed to the S and W. During the 10-day observation interval, the dome also rapidly extruded very large spines.

By midnight on 27 February the team had recorded and tabulated 440 observations of notable rockfalls and pyroclastic flows. On the whole during this interval, the number of these events per hour stood well below 10, typically ranging from ~4 to ~8. One low, late on 23 February, only reached 1 event per hour. The average number of these events per hour reached a low of ~5 during 21-23 February rising to ~8 on 27 February. The highest hourly total recorded during the observing period occurred on 27 February with 13 of these events during 0000-0100 and 10 during 1120-1320. These times fall on either side of the full Moon; the second total lies at the midpoint between the full Moon and lunar perigee.

Visible activity decreased sharply on 28 February. The team, which departed on 3 March, made sporadic observations until 1 March. Their observations on and after 28 February suggested dome activity had remained substantially lower than during 21-27 February.

During their interval of observation the team found a direct correlation between the number of large visible events and the size of the dome's emerging and collapsing spines. The mass of each spine also increased during the observation period; the largest spine was observed on 26 February, the day before the full Moon and perigee.

Each of the spines collapsed in less than a day, only to regrow rapidly. The largest (shown on figures 48-53) reached 90 m tall; it enabled the summit to attain 1,080-m elevation, the highest the summit has been during the entire eruption to date (according to the MVO weekly update). It grew rapidly; specifically, it was not present from 1830 to 2100 on the evening of 25 February, but was fully grown by 0600 the following morning. When seen at 0330 on 26 February the new spine appeared as an incandescent obelisk about one-fifth its maximum size. The majority of this massive spine then grew to its record height in 3 hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. A S-view taken from Jack Boy Hill of Soufrière Hills dome shown with the yet-highest-reaching spine seen to date, which was photographed shortly after sunrise on 26 February 2002. The spine appears as a triangular peak at the summit; it soon began to collapse. Courtesy of Steve and Donna O'Meara, Volcano Watch International.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. A S-looking night shot taken from Jack Boy Hill at 0300 on 26 February that depicts Soufriere Hills in a highly incandescent state, with a large and growing spine extruding out of the top of the dome. Disrupted and displaced dome materials, including falling blocks, incandescent rockfalls, and pyroclastic flows, have left a conspicuous apron of hot material on the dome's left (W) side. Surprisingly little ash and steam appear to be present. Courtesy of Steve and Donna O'Meara, Volcano Watch International.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. A daytime shot taken from Jack Boy Hill showing part of a comparatively large pyroclastic flow at Soufriere Hills on 24 February 2002. Courtesy of Steve and Donna O'Meara, Volcano Watch International.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. The ragged summit of the dome at Soufriere Hills as it lies beneath a small plume at sunset. Taken from Jack Boy Hill looking S on 25 February 2002. Courtesy of Steve and Donna O'Meara, Volcano Watch International.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. A night shot of the dome at Soufriere Hills showing the summit dome that was soon to extrude a large spine (not yet visible). This photo was taken from the airport (several kilometers NE of the dome) in conditions of moonlight on 25 February at about 2100. Courtesy of Steve and Donna O'Meara, Volcano Watch International.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Soufriere Hills' glowing dome showing triangular spine in the moonlight with stars in the night sky. Taken from the airport (several kilometers NE of the dome). Courtesy of Steve and Donna O'Meara, Volcano Watch International.

Figure 54 is one of several plots constructed to illustrate the results. It was made by omitting the smaller events, which the team judged from small to medium using a qualitative visual scale that ran from S1 to S3 and continued upwards from M1 to M3 (where event sizes are abbreviated as S for "small" and M for "medium" and termed as S-class or M-class, respectively). Thus, the largest events seen were M3 (i.e., they saw no events in these time periods that they classified as "large"). On their scale, events of size S3 and M1 were judged to be of very similar magnitude. Figure 54 shows the increase in larger event size seen during 21-26 February, culminating in the highest numbers late on 26 February to early on 27 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. A plot of the number of larger observed rockfall and pyroclastic-flow events seen at Soufrière Hills during 21-27 February 2002. The events counted in this plot excluded the smallest two categories (S1 and S2 classes, see text). High tides were shown (thin vertical lines) for those cases where they occurred during an interval in which observations were conducted; otherwise they are absent. The symbols along the top of the plot indicate processes described in the key. The symbol sizes were increased or reduced for events judged to be of larger or smaller size. For example, the largest spine grew on 26 February (large dark triangle). Courtesy of Steve and Donna O'Meara, Volcano Watch International.

Figure 54 shows six high tides that occurred at times when observations were conducted (on 21, 22, 24, 26 and 27 February). Five of the six of these tides coincided with observation intervals with the day's highest number of the largest events (the M-class events).

Plume height. As shown on figure 55, an increase in plume height took place around the time of first quarter Moon followed by a decrease, then a gradual rise in plume height, until it reached a maximum at the time of perigee on 27 February. Although atmospheric conditions could clearly affect the extent and height of a plume, the team found the pattern of the plotted data compelling. The plot may disclose tidal effects.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Plume heights (in degrees above a reference horizon) at Soufriere Hills plotted against time as observed during 19-28 February 2002. Courtesy of Steve and Donna O'Meara, Volcano Watch International.

References. O'Meara, S., 2002, Firelight nights: Stargazing from the Caribbean's Emerald Isle; A group of American amateur astronomers helps residents of Montserrat and its neighboring island explore the universe: Sky & Telescope, August 2002, p. 79-83.

Tolstoy, M., Vernon, F.L., Orcutt, J.A., and Wyatt, F.K., 2002, Breathing of the seafloor, tidal correlations of seismicity at Axial Volcano: Geological Society of America (GSA), Geology, v. 30, no. 6, p. 503-506.

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

Information Contacts: Steve and Donna O'Meara, Robert Benward, Tippy D'Auria, Scott Ireland, and Larry Mitchell, Volcano Watch International, PO Box 218, Volcano, Hawaii 96785.


Talang (Indonesia) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Talang

Indonesia

0.979°S, 100.681°E; summit elev. 2575 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small explosion earthquakes dominate through June 2002

During 11 March-16 June 2002 at Talang, seismicity was dominated by small explosion earthquakes (table 4). A thin white plume reached 50-100 m above the summit and sometimes drifted E. Hotspring temperatures were 42-64°C. As of 13 May, the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) reported that no seismic data were available because of a broken seismograph. During April and early May seismicity had been decreasing. Talang remained at Alert Level 2 (on a scale of 1-4) throughout the report period.

Table 4. Earthquakes at Talang during 11 March-12 May 2002. The seismograph was broken as of 13 May, so no seismicity data was available through at least 16 June. Courtesy VSI.

Date Deep volcanic (A-type) Shallow volcanic (B-type) Small explosion Tectonic
11 Mar-17 Mar 2002 1 17 61 14
18 Mar-24 Mar 2002 2 -- 120 9
25 Mar-31 Mar 2002 2 -- 120 13
01 Apr-07 Apr 2002 2 -- 63 5
08 Apr-14 Apr 2002 1 -- 23 12
15 Apr-21 Apr 2002 3 -- -- 6
22 Apr-28 Apr 2002 6 -- -- 7
29 Apr-05 May 2002 4 -- -- 14
06 May-12 May 2002 3 -- -- 3

Geologic Background. Talang, which forms a twin volcano with the extinct Pasar Arbaa volcano, lies ESE of the major city of Padang and rises NW of Dibawah Lake. Talang has two crater lakes on its flanks; the largest of these is 1 x 2 km wide Danau Talang. The summit exhibits fumarolic activity, but which lacks a crater. Historical eruptions have mostly involved small-to-moderate explosive activity first documented in the 19th century that originated from a series of small craters in a valley on the upper NE flank.

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


Three Sisters (United States) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Three Sisters

United States

44.133°N, 121.767°W; summit elev. 3159 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Studies suggest magma slowly accumulating at depth

Uplift (up to ~10 cm) occurred during 1996-2000 over a broad region centered 5 km W of South Sister in the Three Sisters region (BGVN 26:05). At the time scientists did not know exactly when the uplift had occurred, whether it would continue, or its specific cause. Although most of these questions remain, some new data are available.

On 18 March 2002 scientists from the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory and Central Washington University reported that they, in cooperation with staff from the U.S. Forest Service's (USFS) Willamette and Deschutes National Forests, confirmed that slow uplift of the area was continuing at approximately the same rate as previously reported (i.e., a maximum rate of ~2.5 cm/year).

About a month later NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) released a simulated natural-color image from the Aster high-resolution imaging instrument on the satellite Terra. Aster uses 14 spectral bands, at wavelengths from visible to thermal-infrared, and it has a spatial resolution of 15-90 m. By draping the Aster data over digital topography from the U.S. Geological Survey's National Elevation Dataset, they created a new perspective view of the Three Sisters and adjacent Cascade volcanoes (figure 2). The image was timely because of concerns about continued uplift in the area. BGVN 26:05 included a radar interferogram showing ground uplift pattern during 1996-2000, movement centered ~ 5 km W of South Sister.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. The Three Sisters volcanic area appears in this perspective view from the SW quadrant. The view uses a simulated natural-color image from the satellite-borne Aster imaging system, which has been draped over digital topography taken from the U.S. Geological Survey's National Elevation Dataset. N lies to the upper-right; the distance between the summits of North Sister and South Sister is ~ 7 km. The image was released on 12 April 2002. Courtesy NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Analyses of spring water samples collected during late summer 2001 were similar to those from earlier surveys but isotopic studies of carbon and helium in the most recent samples, which were not done previously, suggested a magmatic source. Taken together, the ground deformation, seismic, spring water chemistry, and gas emission results suggest that uplift was caused by slow accumulation of magma at a depth of 6-7 km beneath the surface. If magma intrusion were to continue, it could eventually lead to a volcanic eruption; however, an eruption is unlikely without months to years of precursory activity. In addition to continued or accelerating uplift, precursors to an eruption would include earthquakes, typically swarms of small events generated by fracturing of rock as magma moves upward, and large emissions of volcanic gases, such as carbon dioxide, which is released from the magma.

The Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network (PNSN) has reported three earthquakes in the Three Sisters region since January 2001. On 21 August 2001 a M 1.9 earthquake occurred at a depth of 4.9 km; on 5 November 2001 a M 1 earthquake occurred at a depth of 1 km; and on 18 January 2002 an M 2.4 earthquake occurred at a depth of 3.0 km. The recent earthquakes are consistent with background seismicity at Three Sisters. As of mid-July 2002, the number of earthquakes and gas emissions remained at low-t-obackground levels while steady uplift continued.

General Reference. Scott, W.E., 1987, Holocene rhyodacite eruptions on the flanks of South Sister volcano, Oregon: Geol Soc Amer Spec Pap, v. 212, p. 35-53.

Geologic Background. The north-south-trending Three Sisters volcano group dominates the landscape of the Central Oregon Cascades. All Three Sisters stratovolcanoes ceased activity during the late Pleistocene, but basaltic-to-rhyolitic flank vents erupted during the Holocene, producing both blocky lava flows north of North Sister and rhyolitic lava domes and flows south of South Sister volcano. Glaciers have deeply eroded the Pleistocene andesitic-dacitic North Sister stratovolcano, exposing the volcano's central plug. Construction of the main edifice ceased at about 55,000 yrs ago, but north-flank vents produced blocky lava flows in the McKenzie Pass area as recently as about 1600 years ago. Middle Sister volcano is located only 2 km to the SW and was active largely contemporaneously with South Sister until about 14,000 years ago. South Sister is the highest of the Three Sisters. It was constructed beginning about 50,000 years ago and was capped by a symmetrical summit cinder cone formed about 22,000 years ago. The late Pleistocene or early Holocene Cayuse Crater on the SW flank of Broken Top volcano and other flank vents such as Le Conte Crater on the SW flank of South Sister mark mafic vents that have erupted at considerable distances from South Sister itself, and a chain of dike-fed rhyolitic lava domes and flows at Rock Mesa and Devils Chain south of South Sister erupted about 2000 years ago.

Information Contacts: Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Building 10, Suite 100, 1300 SE Cardinal Court, Vancouver, WA 98683 (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/cvo/); Volcano Hazards Team, USGS, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025-3591 USA (URL: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/); Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network (PNSN), University of Washington Geophysics Program, Box 351650, Seattle, WA 98195-1650 USA (URL: http://www.geophys.washington.edu/SEIS/PNSN/); Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Pasadena, CA 91109 (URL: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/).


Villarrica (Chile) — June 2002 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


General decrease in activity during February-May 2002

Our last report described activity at Villarrica during January 2001 (BGVN 27:02) through January 2002, when incandescent lava was observed in the crater and ballistics were ejected ~80-150 m. At that time explosions generally occurred every ~1-10 minutes and degassing sounds were occasionally heard.

During February through at least May 2002, sporadic observations showed a general decrease in activity. Degassing noises were sometimes heard; however, no incandescence or ballistics were reported. A crater visit on 9 April revealed that no incandescence or explosive noises occurred. The surface of the lava lake, last seen on 19 January, remained low (~200 m below the crater rim). On 10 April, explosions occurred every ~10-13 minutes.

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

Information Contacts: Proyecto de Observacion Villarrica (POVI), Wiesenstrasse 8, 86438 Kissing, Germany (URL: http://www.povi.cl/).

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/).