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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

Sheveluch (Russia) Renewed activity with lava dome growth and ash explosions starting in late December 2018

Mayon (Philippines) Intermittent ash emissions; persistent summit incandescence, October 2018-April 2019

Tinakula (Solomon Islands) Thermal anomalies in satellite data December 2018-June 2019; ship visit January 2019

Piton de la Fournaise (France) Eruptive episodes in February-March and June 2019; multiple fissures and lava flows

Heard (Australia) Thermal hotspots continue during October 2018-March 2019 at the summit and on the upper flanks

Semeru (Indonesia) Decreased activity after October 2018

Dukono (Indonesia) Numerous ash explosions from October 2018 through March 2019

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Occasional weak phreatic explosions continue through February 2019

Turrialba (Costa Rica) Frequent passive ash emissions continue through February 2019

San Cristobal (Nicaragua) Weak ash explosions in January and March 2019

Semisopochnoi (United States) Minor ash explosions during September and October 2018

Asosan (Japan) Multiple brief ash emission events during April and May 2019; minor ashfall in adjacent villages



Sheveluch (Russia) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Renewed activity with lava dome growth and ash explosions starting in late December 2018

Volcanism at Sheveluch has been ongoing for the past 20 years. Previous activity consisted of pyroclastic flows, explosions, moderate gas-and-steam emissions, and lava dome growth, according to the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). Between May 2018 and mid-December 2018 activity levels were low, with intermittent low-power thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam emissions. Activity increased in the second half of December 2018, remaining high through at least April 2019.

Activity intensified beginning in late December through April 2019, which included increased and more frequent thermal anomalies, according to KVERT and the MIROVA system (figure 50). On 30 December 2018, video data from KVERT showed explosions producing an ash cloud that rose up to 11 km altitude and drifted 244 km WSW and 35 km NE. Eruptive activity included incandescent lava flows and hot avalanches. The ash cloud that drifted WSW resulted in ashfall over Klyuchi Village (50 km SW) and Kozyrevsk (100 km SW).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Thermal anomalies at Sheveluch increased in late December 2018, as seen on this MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph for the year ending 5 April 2019. The elevated thermal activity continued through March 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Beginning in early January and going through April 2019, the lava dome at the northern part of the volcano continued to grow, extruding incandescent, viscous lava blocks (figure 51). Throughout these months, KVERT reported that satellite imagery and video data showed strong fumarolic activity, as well as strong gas-and-steam plumes containing some amount of ash; gas-and-steam plumes rose as high as 7 km. According to the KVERT Daily Reports on 3 and 4 January 2019, a gas-and-steam plume containing ash drifted NE up to about 600 and 400 km, respectively. Gas-and-steam plumes noted in the KVERT Daily Report, Weekly Releases, and Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA), drifted 50-263 km in different directions. On 9 November 2018, the KVERT Daily Report recorded an ash plume drifting 461 km E from the volcano and on 26 December 2018, the KVERT Weekly Information Release recorded an ash cloud drifting 300 km NW. The KVERT Weekly Information Release reported that on 10 April 2019 an ash cloud drifted up to 1,300 km SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Incandescent avalanches from the lava dome and an ash plume can be seen in this photo of Sheveluch on 22 February 2019. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk; courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

Thermal anomalies based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm were frequent beginning on 28 December 2018. In just three days in late December (28-31 December 2018) there were 34 thermal alerts. Hotspots were detected 21-27 days each month between January-April 2019. A majority of these hotspot pixels occurred within the summit crater.

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

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


Mayon (Philippines) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash emissions; persistent summit incandescence, October 2018-April 2019

Steep-sloped and symmetrical Mayon has recorded historical eruptions back to 1616 that range from Strombolian fountaining to basaltic and andesitic flows, as well as large ash plumes, and devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars. A phreatic explosion with an ash plume in mid-January 2018 began the latest eruptive episode which included the growth of a lava dome with pyroclastic flows down the flanks and lava fountaining (BGVN 43:04). Activity tapered off during March; occasional ash emissions continued through August 2018. Minor ash emissions and summit incandescence were intermittent from October 2018-April 2019, the period covered in this report. Information is provided primarily by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

Pyroclastic density currents were reported in early November 2018; ash plumes were produced from phreatic events a few times during both November and December 2018. Emissions produced SO2 anomalies during January-March 2019; a series of events in early March generated several small ash plumes. Satellite images showing a thermal anomaly at the summit were recorded multiple times each month from October 2018-April 2019 (figure 44).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Small but distinct persistent thermal anomalies were recorded in satellite imagery from the summit of Mayon during October 2018-April 2019. Top left: 12 October 2018. Top right: 26 November 2018. Middle left: 11 December 2018. Middle right: 30 January 2019. Bottom left: 14 February 2019. Bottom right: 25 April 2019. All images are using the "Atmospheric penetration" filter (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Very little activity was reported at Mayon during October 2018. Steam plumes rose daily from 250-750 m above the summit before drifting with the prevailing winds and dissipating. Incandescence was observed at the summit most nights during the month, and seismicity remained low with only a few earthquakes reported. Leveling data obtained during 30 August-3 September indicated significant short-term deflation of the volcano relative to 17-24 July 2018. New leveling data obtained on 22-31 October indicated inflation of the SE quadrant and short-term deflation on the N flank relative to the 30 August-3 September data. The volcano remained inflated compared with 2010 baseline data. Electronic tilt data showed pronounced inflation of the mid-slopes beginning 25 June 2018.

Activity increased during November 2018. In addition to steam plumes rising to 750 m and an incandescent glow at the summit most nights, pyroclastic density currents and ash plumes were reported. The seismic monitoring network recorded pyroclastic density currents on 5 and 6 November. On 8 November around noontime, a small, short-lived brownish ash plume, associated with degassing, drifted WSW from the summit. A seismic event on the morning of 11 November was associated with a short-lived fountaining event that produced a brownish-gray ash plume that drifted SW. Another similar plume was reported on the morning of 12 November, also drifting SW before dissipating. Two phreatic events were observed on the morning of 26 November. They produced grayish to grayish-white ash plumes that rose 300-500 m above the summit before drifting SW. The following morning, another event produced a grayish ash plume 500 m above the summit that drifted SW. On 30 November a 1-minute-long ash emission event produced a grayish white plume that also drifted SW.

Steam plume emissions and incandescence at night continued at Mayon during December 2018. The seismic network recorded a four-minute-long event shortly after noon on 9 December that produced a grayish-brown ash plume which drifted W. Precise leveling data obtained on 8-13 December 2018 indicated a slight inflation of the volcano relative to 22-31 October 2018. A 30-second-long ash emission event in the afternoon on 18 December produced a brownish ash plume. Two phreatic events were observed on the morning of 27 December. They produced grayish to grayish-white ash plumes that rose 600 and 200 m above the summit, before drifting SW (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Ash plumes rose a few hundred m from the summit of Mayon on 27 December 2018. Courtesy of Twitter users "k i t" (left) and "georgianne" (right).

Very little surface activity except for white steam-laden plumes that crept downslope and drifted NW or SW was noted during January 2019. Incandescence at the summit, visible with the naked eye, became more frequent during February 2019, along with continued steam plumes. Precise leveling data obtained on 25 January-3 February 2019 indicated a slight deflation relative to 8-13 December 2018. However, continuous GPS and electronic tilt data showed inflation of the mid-slopes since June 2018. Small SO2 plumes were detected by the TROPOMI satellite instrument a few times during January-March 2019 (figure 46).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Emissions of SO2 that exceeded 2 DU (Dobson Units) occurred a few times at Mayon during January-March 2019. Top left: 25 January. Top right: 16 February. Lower left: 4 March. Lower right: 15 March. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Steam plumes rose 250-500 m above the summit and drifted generally W in early March 2019; incandescence continued daily at the summit. Phreatic events occurred on 7 and 8 March, producing ash plumes that rose 500 and 300 m from the summit before drifting SW (figure 47). Three more phreatic events occurred on the afternoon of 12 March; they produced light brown to grayish ash plumes that rose 500, 1,000, and 500 m, respectively, and drifted SW. Six phreatic events occurred throughout the day on 13 March, producing ash plumes that rose 200-700 m above the summit and drifted W. A single explosion the next day produced a 500-m-tall ash plume. The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible for several hours in satellite imagery drifting W at 3.7 km altitude on 13 March (UTC). An increase in the daily number of rockfall events from 1-2 per day to 5-10 per day was noted during the second half of March. Precise leveling data obtained on 20-26 March 2019 indicated a slight inflation relative to 25 January-3 February 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. A small ash emission at Mayon was reported by PHIVOLCS on 8 March 3019; the plume rose 300 m from the summit and drifted SW. Courtesy of PHOVOLCS.

Steam plumes drifted SW or NW throughout April, rising 200-400 m from the summit. Incandescence could be observed at night for the first half of the month. Leveling data obtained during 9-17 April 2019 indicated a slight inflation relative to 20-26 March 2019. Seismicity remained low during the month with only occasional volcanic earthquakes and rockfall events. Lenticular clouds around the summit were observed (figure 48), but these are an unusual meteorological occurrence caused by weather conditions not related to volcanic activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. A double lenticular cloud surrounded the summit of Mayon early in the morning on 23 April 2019 and was captured by a local observer; it was not related to volcanic activity. Courtesy of Twitter user Ivan.

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

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); 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/); 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); Twitter user "Ivan", Naga City, Philippines (URL: https://twitter.com/ivanxlcsn); Twitter user "k i t", Legazpi City, Philippines (URL: https://twitter.com/jddmgc); Twitter user "georgianne", Costa Leona, Philippines (URL: https://twitter.com/xolovesgia_).


Tinakula (Solomon Islands) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

10.386°S, 165.804°E; summit elev. 796 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies in satellite data December 2018-June 2019; ship visit January 2019

Remote Tinakula lies 100 km NE of the Solomon Trench at the N end of the Santa Cruz Islands, which are part of the country of the Solomon Islands located 400 km to the W. It has been uninhabited since an eruption with lava flows and ash explosions in 1971 when the small population was evacuated (CSLP 87-71). The nearest communities live on Te Motu (Trevanion) Island (about 30 km S), Nupani (40 km N), and the Reef Islands (60 km E); residents occasionally report noises from explosions at Tinakula. Ashfall from larger explosions has historically reached these islands. The most recent eruptive episode was a large ash explosion and substantial SO2 plume during 21-26 October 2017; satellite imagery suggested that a flow of some type traveled down the scarp on the W flank. Renewed thermal activity that was recognized in satellite imagery beginning in December 2018 continued intermittently through June 2019 and is covered in this report. Satellite imagery and thermal data are the primary sources of information for this volcano. It is occasionally visited by members of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) of the Solomon Islands Government, tourists, and research vessels who are able to capture ground-based information.

Satellite images from December 2018 to February 2019 show thermal anomalies at the summit vent. Excellent ship-based photographs of the island on 24-25 January 2019 provided by a crewmember from the R/V Petrel identify numerous volcanic features and show a steam-and-gas plume at the vent. Satellite images from April and May 2019 show thermal anomalies at both the summit vent and along the W flank scarp suggesting flow activity during that time.

A stream of incandescence on the NW flank of Tinakula in a Sentinel 2 satellite image on 24 October 2017 confirmed that some type of high-temperature flow accompanied the explosions and eruptive activity of 21-25 October 2017 (BGVN 43:02). Satellite imagery during most of 2018 recorded steam plumes drifting in several directions from the summit, but no thermal activity (figure 24). There was no further evidence of activity in satellite visible or thermal data until almost exactly one year later when the MIROVA project recorded two thermal alerts in the third week of October 2018 (figure 25). Satellite images from that week were cloudy and did not confirm any surface activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Tinakula provides valuable information about activity at this remote volcano in the South Pacific. A large explosion with ash plumes and flows occurred during 21-26 October 2017. Top left: a strong E-W linear thermal anomaly suggesting a flow event from the summit was evident on the NW flank on 24 October 2017. Top right: a small steam plume rose from the summit vent on a cloudless 11 February 2018. Bottom left: a dense steam plume drifted SE from the summit vent on 4 September 2018. Bottom right: clouds and dense steam obscure the summit on 24 October 2018, about the same time that MIROVA reported a thermal anomaly. Top left image uses bands 12, 11, 8A, others use 12, 4, 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. The MIROVA project recorded the first thermal anomaly in a year from Tinakula during the third week of October 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The first satellite imagery confirming renewed thermal activity appeared on 8 December 2018, around the same time as a small MIROVA anomaly. After that, several images during January and February 2019 confirmed moderately strong thermal activity at the summit (figure 26). Whether the anomalies were the result of active lava effusion or strong incandescent gases from the summit vent is uncertain.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Thermal anomalies at the summit vent of Tinakula were recorded six times between early December 2018 and early February 2019 with Sentinel-2 satellite images. Top row: 8 December 2018 and 2 January 2019. Middle row: 12 (anomaly is just below date) and 27 January 2019. Bottom row: 1 and 6 February 2019. All images are bands 12, 4, 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Visual confirmation of activity at Tinakula is rare, but the research vessel R/V Petrel sailed past the volcano on 24 and 25 January 2019 and a crewmember provided detailed images of the W flank and vent area. The summit vent is located at the top of a W facing scarp, and steam is frequently observed rising from the vent (figures 27). Recent flows and volcaniclastic deposits were visible in the ravine on the W flank (figures 28 and 29). Fresh-looking lava was also visible near the summit vent on top of older deposits (figure 30). Eroded volcaniclastic deposits near the base of the scarp on the W flank were visible on top of older veined and layered volcanic rocks (figure 31). Crewmembers on the vessel R/V Petrel could clearly see an incandescent glow from the summit crater at night (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. A view from the SW of the W flank of Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. The summit vent is at the top of a W facing scarp, the steam plume drifted E. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. The W flank of Tinakula as seen from the W on 24-25 January 2019. The steam plume drifted E. Recent flows and volcaniclastic deposits appeared dark in the steep ravine on the W face (left side). Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Steam and gas rose from the summit vent at Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. Recent lava deposits are visible in front of the plume and in the ravine on the left (the W flank). Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The edge of the summit vent of Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019 had recent lava on older deposits; steam and gas is rising from the vent in the background. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. The W flank of Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. Eroded volcaniclastic deposits overlie older veined and layered volcanic rocks. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Incandescence was clearly visible from the summit vent at Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.

During April and May 2019, both the MIROVA project and MODVOLC measured a number of thermal anomalies (figure 33) using MODIS satellite data. MODVOLC alerts were issued on 4 and 20 April, and 11, 18, and 27 May. Sentinel-2 satellite images during the period confirmed that a flow on the W flank was a likely source of the thermal energy in addition to the summit vent (figure 34). Thermal anomalies appeared again at the end of June in MIROVA data, but no satellite images showed anomalies at that time.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. The number and intensity of MIROVA thermal anomalies increased at Tinakula during April and May 2019. After a short pause, they returned at the end of June. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 satellite images captured thermal anomalies at the summit and on the W flank of Tinakula during April and May 2019 suggesting the presence of an incandescent flow down the W scarp. Top row: 7 and 22 April 2019 (bands 12, 8, 4). Bottom row: 27 April and 12 May 2019 (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The small 3.5-km-wide island of Tinakula is the exposed summit of a massive stratovolcano at the NW end of the Santa Cruz islands. Similar to Stromboli, it has a breached summit crater that extends from the summit to below sea level. Landslides enlarged this scarp in 1965, creating an embayment on the NW coast. The satellitic cone of Mendana is located on the SE side. The dominantly andesitic volcano has frequently been observed in eruption since the era of Spanish exploration began in 1595. In about 1840, an explosive eruption apparently produced pyroclastic flows that swept all sides of the island, killing its inhabitants. Frequent historical eruptions have originated from a cone constructed within the large breached crater. These have left the upper flanks and the steep apron of lava flows and volcaniclastic debris within the breach unvegetated.

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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); Vulcan Inc. (URL: https://www.vulcan.com/), additional details about the R/V Petrel (URL: https://www.paulallen.com/).


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

21.244°S, 55.708°E; summit elev. 2632 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptive episodes in February-March and June 2019; multiple fissures and lava flows

Short pulses of intermittent eruptive activity have characterized Piton de la Fournaise, the large basaltic shield volcano on La Réunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, for several thousand years. For the last 20 years, frequent effusive basaltic eruptions have occurred on average twice per year. The activity is characterized by lava fountains and lava flows, and occasional explosive eruptions that shower blocks over the summit area and produce ash plumes. Almost all of the recent activity has occurred within the Enclos Fouqué caldera, although past eruptions in 1977, 1986, and 1998 have occurred at vents outside of the caldera. Four separate eruptive episodes were reported during 2018; from 3-4 April, 27 April-1 June, 13 July, and 15 September-1 November (BGVN 43:12, 43:09). Two episodes from 2019 during February-March and June are covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) as well as satellite instruments.

Piton de la Fournaise experienced two eruptions during November 2018-June 2019. The first lasted from 18 February to 10 March 2019, and the second episode was 11-13 June. The episode in February-March started consisted of multiple fissures opening on the E flank of the Dolomieu crater on 18 February with lava flows that traveled several hundred meters. After a brief pause, one new fissure opened nearby on 19 February and produced up to 3 million m3 of lava in a little over four days. Although the flow rate then declined, the eruption continued until 10 March. During the last three days, 7-10 March, two new fissures opened nearby and produced large volumes of lava, bringing the total eruptive volume to about 14.5 million m3. After little activity during April and May, a small eruption occurred on the SSE outer slope of Dolomieu crater that lasted for about 48 hours on 11-13 June; multiple small flows traveled about 1,000 m down the steep flank before ceasing. The MIROVA thermal anomaly graph of log radiative power clearly showed the abruptness of the beginning and ends of the last three eruptive episodes at Piton de la Fournaise from August 2018 through June 2019 (figure 165).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 165. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy from Piton de la Fournaise from 30 July 2018 through June 2019 shows the last three eruptive episodes at the volcano. From 15 September through 1 November 2018 fissures and flows were active on the SW flank of Dolomieu crater near Rivals crater (BGVN 43:12). Fissures opened on the E flank of the crater on 18 February 2019, and after a brief pause resumed on 19 February at the foot of Piton Madoré. Lava flows remained active until 10 March 2019. A short episode of lava effusion occurred on 11-12 June 2019 on the SSE outer slope of Dolomieu crater. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during November 2018-March 2019. Following the end of the 15 September-1 November 2018 eruption, seismic activity immediately below the summit remained low (with only 20 shallow and two deep earthquakes during November). The inflationary signal recorded since the beginning of September stopped, and the OVPF deformation networks did not record any significant deformation. There were 35 shallow earthquakes (0-2 km depth) below the summit crater during December, and one deep earthquake. Only 12 shallow earthquakes and one deep earthquake (greater than 2 km below the surface) were reported in January.

OVPF reported an increase in CO2 concentrations beginning in December 2018, and noted the beginning of inflation on 13 February 2019. A seismic swarm of 379 earthquakes accompanied by minor but rapid deformation (less than 1 cm) was reported on 16 February 2019. A new seismic swarm of 208 earthquakes began early on 18 February with a much larger ground deformation (10 cm of elongation of the summit zone). A volcanic tremor indicative of the arrival of magma near the surface began at 0948 that morning. Webcams indicated that eruptive fissures had opened in the NE part of the Enclos Fouqué caldera. The onset of the eruption was marked by a sudden drop in CO2 flux which then stabilized. The eruptive sites were confirmed visually around 1130. Three fissures with actively flowing lava opened on the E flank of Dolomieu Crater; the fountains of lava were less than 30 m high. The front of the longest flow had reached 1,900 m elevation after one hour. The eruption lasted a little over 12 hours and was over by 2200 that evening; it covered about 150-200 m of the hiking trail to the summit.

Seismicity remained high after the event ended, and at 1500 on 19 February 2019 another seismic swarm of 511 deep earthquakes located under the E flank at about 2.5 km depth occurred. It was not accompanied by a significant amount of deformation. At 1710 tremor signals appeared on the observatory seismographs and the first gas plumes and lava ejection were observed at 1750 and 1912, respectively. During an overflight the next day (20 February), OVPF team members observed the new eruptive site at an elevation of 1,800 m at the foot of Piton Madoré. One fissure and one fountain were active at 0620 on 20 February and the flow front was at 1,300 m elevation (figure 166). During the night of 20-21 February the flow front crossed over the "Grandes Pentes" area in the eastern half of the Enclos Fouque (figure 167).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 166. The eruption which began on 19 February 2019 on the E flank of Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise produced a lava fountain and flow which traveled down at least 500 m of elevation by the next morning when this photo was taken at 0620 local time. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du mercredi 20 février 2019 à 11h00, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 167. The active fissure at Piton de la Fournaise was producing lava fountains and an active flow during the evening of 20 February 2019. Overnight the flow crossed over the "Grandes Pentes" area of the caldera. Photo courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 21 février 2019 à 14H00, Heure locale).

OVPF reported on 22 February 2019 that 22 shallow earthquakes had been reported since the eruption began on 19 February. Surface flow rates estimated from satellite data, via the HOTVOLC system (OPGC - University of Auvergne), were between 2.5 and 15 m3/s. The quantity of lava emitted between 19 and 22 February was between 1 and 3 million m3. OVPF observed the growth of an eruptive cone that was filled with a small lava lake producing ejecta during a morning overflight on 22 February. A channelized flow moved downstream from the cone and split into two lobes about 1 km from (and 200 m below) the cone (figure 168). The split in the flow occurred near the Guyanin crater. The N flowing lobe, about 50 m wide, had an actively flowing front located at 1,320 m elevation; the incandescent flow was travelling over a recent flow (likely from the previous night). The S-flowing lobe spread to 200 m wide and split into two tongues 300 m SE of Guyanin crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. During an overflight on the morning of 22 February 2019 scientists from OVPF observed a growing spatter cone with a small lava lake at Piton de la Fournaise. A channelized flow moved downstream from the fissure and split into two flows. Photo courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 22 février 2019 à 13h30, Heure locale).

Incandescent ejecta from the cone was captured in a webcam image overnight on 22-23 February 2019 (figure 169). The rate of advance of the flow slowed significantly by 24 February, but the intensity of the eruptive tremor remained relatively constant. Mapping of the lava flow on 28 February carried out by the OI2 platform (OPGC - University Clermont Auvergne) from satellite data confirmed the slow progress of the flow after 24 February (300 m in 5 days) (figure 170). The flow front was located at 1,200 m elevation, and only the N arm was active; the lava had traveled about 2.2 km from the vent by 28 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 169. Incandescent ejecta from the eruptive cone at Piton de la Fournaise was captured in the webcam in the early hours of 23 February 2019. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du samedi 23 février 2019 à 13h30, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 170. Contours of the lava flows at Piton de la Fournaise from 18-28 February 2019 were determined from satellite data by the OI2 platform (Université Clermont Auvergne), dated 18 (red) and 19 (blue) February (top image); 20 (green), 21 (red), 22 (blue), 27 (turquoise), and 28 (pink) February (bottom image). Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP. Top: Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 22 février 2019 à 13h30 (Heure locale); bottom: Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 28 février 2019 à 16h30 (Heure locale).

Between 28 February and 1 March 2019 a third lobe of lava appeared flowing NE from the vent on the N side of the new flow area; it split into two lobes sometime on 1 March. Very little new lava was recorded on the other lobes. By 4 March the flow rate estimated by satellite data was about 7.5 m3/s. During a site visit on the morning of 5 March OVPF scientists sampled the N lobe of the flow and bombs and tephra near the cone, and acquired infrared and visible images. They noted the continued growth of the cone which still had an open vent at the summit and a base 100 m in diameter. It was 25 m high with a 50-m-wide eruptive vent at the top (figure 171). High-temperature gas emissions and strong Strombolian activity issued from the vent. Steam emissions were present around the base of the cone, suggesting the presence of lava tunnels. A single lobe of lava flowed N from the cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 171. The eruptive cone at Piton de la Fournaise on 5 March 2019 had a 100-m-diameter base, 25 m of vertical height, and 50-m-wide vent at the summit. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP, (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 5 mars 2019 à 17h30, Heure locale).

A new fissure that opened about 150 m from the main vent on the NW flank of Piton Madoré was first observed on the morning of 6 March (figure 172); OVPF concluded that it had opened late on 5 March. A small cone was forming and a new flow traveled N from the main eruptive site. At least six new emission points were noted the following morning (7 March) around the Piton Madoré. Poor weather prevented confirmation by aerial reconnaissance that day, but in a site visit on 8 March OVPF scientists determined that the new fissure from 5 March remained active; a small cone about 10 m high had two flow lobes on the W and N sides (figure 173). A fissure that opened on 7 March was located 300 m S of the 19 February vent and oriented E-W. It was very active on the morning of 8 March with two 50-m-high lava fountains (figure 174). Samples collected by OVPF indicated that the vents of 5 and 7 March produced lava of different compositions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 172. A new fissure that opened about 150 m from the main vent on the NW flank of Piton Madoré at Piton de la Fournaise was first observed on the morning of 6 March 2019; OVPF concluded that it had opened late on 5 March. A small cone was forming on the flank of an old one and a new flow traveled N from the main eruptive site. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP, copyright by Helicopter Coral (Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 7 mars 2019 à 15h00 Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. The 5 March 2019 fissure at Piton de la Fournaise on the NW flank of Piton Madoré still had two active flow lobes emerging from it and heading N and W on 8 March 2019. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, March 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. A fissure that opened on 7 March 2019 at Piton de la Fournaise was located 300 m S of the 19 February vent and oriented E-W. It was very active on the morning of 8 March 2019 with two 50-m-high lava fountains. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, March 2019).

There was a strong increase in the eruptive tremor intensity on 7 March, related to the opening of the two new fissures on 5 and 7 March (figure 175). As a result, the surface flow estimates made from satellite data increased significantly to high values greater than 50 m3/s, with the average values on 7-8 March of around 20-25 m3/s. The increased flow rates resulted in the flows traveling much greater distances. By the morning of 9 March the active flow had reached 650-700 m above sea level. The flow front had traveled about 1 km in 24 hours. Strong seismicity had been increasing under the summit zone for the previous 48 hours. After a phase of very strong surface activity observed overnight on 9-10 March that included lava fountains 50-100 m high (figure 176), surface activity ceased around 0630 on 10 March, and seismic activity decreased significantly. OVPF noted that sudden increases in seismicity and flow rates near the end of an eruption have occurred at about half of the eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise in recent years. Lava volumes emitted on the surface between 18 February and 10 March 2019 were estimated at about 14.5 million m3 (figure 177).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. An infrared view of the eruptive site on the E flank of Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise on 8 March 2019 clearly showed the original fissure from 19 February (bottom right of center), the fissure on Piton Madore that opened on 5 March (right) and the fissures that opened on 7 March (upper, right of center). The combined activity produced significant thermal and seismic activity at the volcano. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 8 mars 2019 à 17h00, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 176. Lava fountains 50-100 m high were the result of very strong surface activity observed overnight on 9-10 March 2019 at Piton de la Fournaise. Surface activity ceased around 0630 on 10 March, and seismic activity decreased significantly. Photo taken on 9 March 2019 around midnight from the RN2. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP, copyright by A. Finizola LGSR/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du dimanche 10 mars 2019 à 19h30 Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 177. A sudden increase in the flow rate at the end of the 18 February-10 March 2019 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise was recorded by researchers at the Université Clermont Auvergne. OVPF noted this was typical of about half of the eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP, copyright by HOTVOLC, Université Clermont Auvergne (OVPF Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, March 2019).

Significant SO2 plumes were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite throughout the 18 February-10 March eruption (figure 178). After the surface eruption ceased, shallow seismicity continued at a lower rate of about 12 earthquakes per day. The end of the eruption (7-10 March) was accompanied by a marked deflation, interpreted by OVPF as the rapid emptying of the magma reservoir. Following the end of the eruption, inflation resumed for the rest of March but then ceased. Seismicity continued at a lower level during April with an average of six shallow earthquakes per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 178. Multiple days of high DU value SO2 plumes were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite during the 18 February-10 March 2019 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise. Top row: during 18, 21, and 22 February SO2 plumes drifted SE. Middle row: during 23, 24, and 25 February the wind direction changed from SE through S to SW and left a curling trail of SO2. Bottom row: 5, 7, and 8 March showed an increase in SO2 emissions that corresponded with increased seismicity and lava flow output before the eruption ceased.

Activity during May-June 2019. OVPF reported slight inflation near the summit beginning in early May, and an increase in CO2 concentration in the soil near Plaine des Cafres and Plaine des Palmistes. Strong shallow seismicity reappeared on 27 May 2019 and recurred on 30 and 31 May. Two small seismic swarms were measured on 31 May in the early morning. A new seismic swarm beginning at 0603 on 11 June accompanied by rapid deformation suggested a new eruption was imminent. A tremor near the summit area was first noted at 0635 local time; the webcams indicated a plume of gas, but poor visibility prevented evidence of fresh lava. Around 0930 that morning OVPF confirmed that five fissures had opened on the outer SSE slope of Dolomieu crater at elevations ranging from 2480 to 2025 m (figure 179). The flow fronts were not visible due to weather. Lava fountains under 30 m in height and lava flows were present in the three lowest fissures. The flows traveled rapidly down the steep flank of the crater (figure 180).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 179. Around 0930 on the morning of 11 June 2019 OVPF confirmed that five fissures had opened on the outer SSE slope of Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise at elevations ranging from 2480 to 2025 m. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF-IPGP and Imazpress (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 11 juin 2019 à 11h00).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 180. Thermal imaging of the 11-12 June 2019 eruptive site at Piton de la Fournaise showed multiple streams of lava traveling rapidly down the steep flank from several fissures on 11 June 2019. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF-IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 11 juin 2019 à 11h00).

The intensity of the eruptive tremor decreased throughout the day, and by 1530 only the lowest elevation fissure was still active (figure 181). The next afternoon (12 June) images in the OVPF webcam located in Piton des Cascades indicated the flow front was at about 1,200-1,300 m elevation. Seismographs indicated that the eruption stopped around 1200 on 13 June. Poor weather obscured visibility of the flow activity. Seismic activity decreased following the eruption, but appeared to increase again beginning on 21 June, with 10 events detected on 30 June. SO2 plumes were recorded in satellite data on 11 and 12 June 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 181. The intensity of the eruptive activity at Piton de la Fournaise on 11 June 2019 decreased throughout the day, and by 1530 only the lowest elevation fissure was still active. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF-IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 11 juin 2019 à 17h45 Heure locale).

Geologic Background. The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Much of its more than 530,000-year history overlapped with eruptions of the deeply dissected Piton des Neiges shield volcano to the NW. Three calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern side. More than 150 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Heard (Australia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

53.106°S, 73.513°E; summit elev. 2745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal hotspots continue during October 2018-March 2019 at the summit and on the upper flanks

Heard Island, in the Southern Indian Ocean, includes the large Big Ben stratovolcano and the smaller, apparently inactive, Mt. Dixon. Because of the island's remoteness, satellites are the primary monitoring tool. Big Ben has been active intermittently since 1910, and was active during October 2017-September 2018 (BGVN 43:10). Activity continued during October 2018-March 2019.

Satellite photos using Sentinel Hub showed hotspots every month between October 2018 and March 2019. Because the area was frequently covered by a heavy cloud layer, most of the hotspot signals were partially obscured. Though thermal anomalies are usually seen at summit vents, on 18 October 2018 an anomaly was present about 300 m down the E flank. Similarly, on 1 January 2019, a weak anomaly beginning about 200 m down the NW flank was about 300 m long (figure 40).

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected three hotspots, two in October and one in early November 2018, all of low radiative power. There were no MODVOLC alert pixels during this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sentinel-2 L1C image of Heard Island's Big Ben volcano on 1 January 2019 one summit hotspot and an elongated thermal anomaly to the NW. Scale bar (bottom right) is 200 m. The photo was taken in atmospheric penetration view (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Heard Island on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean consists primarily of the emergent portion of two volcanic structures. The large glacier-covered composite basaltic-to-trachytic cone of Big Ben comprises most of the island, and the smaller Mt. Dixon volcano lies at the NW tip of the island across a narrow isthmus. Little is known about the structure of Big Ben volcano because of its extensive ice cover. The historically active Mawson Peak forms the island's 2745-m high point and lies within a 5-6 km wide caldera breached to the SW side of Big Ben. Small satellitic scoria cones are mostly located on the northern coast. Several subglacial eruptions have been reported in historical time at this isolated volcano, but observations are infrequent and additional activity may have occurred.

Information Contacts: Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/).


Semeru (Indonesia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Decreased activity after October 2018

The ongoing eruption at Semeru has been characterized by numerous ash explosions and thermal anomalies, but activity apparently diminished in 2018 (BGVN 43:01 and 43:09); this decreased activity continued through at least February 2019. The current report summarizes activity from 24 August 2018 to 28 February 2019.

The Indonesian volcano monitoring agency, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), reported ongoing daily seismicity, dominated by explosion earthquakes and emission-related events from late November through February (figure 35). Ash plumes resulting in aviation advisories by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) were reported on 4, 6-7, and 19 September, and 12 October 2018. The next significant ash plume reported by the VAAC wasn't until 24 February 2019 (table 23).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Seismicity recorded at Semeru during 28 November 2018-26 February 2019. Plot shows explosion earthquakes ('Letusan'), emission-related events ('Hembusan'), felt earthquakes ('Gempa Terasa'), local tectonic events ('Tektonic Lokal'), and distant tectonic events ('Tektonic Jauh'). Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.

Table 23. Summary of ash plumes at Semeru during 25 August 2018 through February 2019. The summit is at 3,657 m elevation. Data courtesy of Darwin VAAC.

Date Plume altitude (km) Plume drift Remarks
04 Sep 2018 4.3 W --
06-07 Sep 2018 4.3 SW --
19 Sep 2018 4 SSW Possible ash-and-steam plume.
12 Oct 2018 4.5 W Discrete eruption.
24 Feb 2019 4.3 W Discrete volcanic ash eruption.

Thermal anomalies using MODIS satellite instruments processed by the MODVOLC algorithm were only recorded on 26, 28, and 30 August 2018, and 22 and 31 October 2018. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected numerous hotspots within 5 km of the volcano during August and early September, with a significant decrease in frequency through October (figure 36); only a few scattered hotspots were recorded from November 2018 through February 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. MIROVA plot of thermal anomalies (Log Radiative Power) at Semeru during July 2018-February 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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


Dukono (Indonesia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous ash explosions from October 2018 through March 2019

The eruption at Dukono that began in 1933 has showered the area with ash from frequent explosions (BGVN 43:04, 43:12). The Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), is responsible for monitoring this volcano.

This long-term pattern of intermittent ash explosions continued during October 2018-March 2019, with ash plumes rising to between 1.5 and 2.7 km altitude, or about 300-1,500 m above the summit (table 19). Although meteorological clouds often obscured views, satellite imagery captured typical ash plumes on 28 September 2018 (figure 10) and 5 February 2019 (figure 11). Instruments aboard NASA satellites (TROPOMI and OMPS) detected high levels of sulfur dioxide near or directly above the volcano on multiple days during January-March 2019. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and visitors were warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Table 19. Monthly summary of reported ash plumes from Dukono for October 2018-March 2019. The direction of drift for the ash plume through each month was highly variable. Data courtesy of the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG.

Month Plume Altitude (km) Notable Plume Drift
Oct 2018 1.5-2.1 --
Nov 2018 1.5-2.1 --
Dec 2018 1.5-2.4 --
Jan 2019 1.8-2.1 --
Feb 2019 1.8-2.7 --
Mar 2019 1.5-2.4 --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Satellite image from Sentinel-2 (LC1 natural color) of an ash plume at Dukono on 28 September 2018 with the plume blowing towards the NE. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Satellite image from Sentinel-2 (LC1 natural color) of an ash plume at Dukono on 5 February 2019, with the plume blowing SW. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — April 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 continue through February 2019

Intermittent small phreatic explosions from the acid lake of Rincón de la Vieja's active crater has most recently occurred since 2011 (BGVN 42:08, 43:03, and 43:09). This activity continued through at least February 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 18 August 2018 and 28 February 2019. Weather conditions often prevented webcam views and estimates of plume heights. The volcano was in Activity Level 3 throughout the reporting period (volcano erupting, steady state).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, two distinct, 2-minute-long explosions occurred on 31 August 2018 beginning at 0434 and 1305. Several hours after the eruption tremor became continuous but low-frequency long-period (LP) earthquakes ceased. OVSICORI-UNA reported a gas emission late on 7 September. An unconfirmed small phreatic explosion occurred on 11 September at 0634, and another on 17 September at 1014. The seismic record showed continuous background tremor and very sporadic LP earthquakes.

Intermittent background tremor was recorded during the first half of October, along with a few emissions and phreatic explosions. Deformation measurements during October showed a contraction between the N and S of the volcano, with subsidence. On 17 October there was another phreatic explosion, and thereafter tremor disappeared and seismicity decreased. On 23 and 27 October seismic stations signaled additional possible phreatic explosions.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that a series of explosions began at 1945 on 4 November and consisted of at least three 2-minute-long episodes. The next day at 1511 a plume of water vapor and diffuse gas, recorded by a webcam and visible to residents to the N, rose about 100 m above the crater rim and drifted W. On 9 November a 2-minute-long explosion began at 1703. Another explosion on 27 November at 0237 produced a plume of water vapor and gas that rose 600 m above the crater rim and drifted SW. A short 1-minute explosion began at 1054 on 3 December.

Based on OVSICORI-UNA weekly bulletins, activity remained stable in January 2019 with small-amplitude phreatic explosions on 11, 12, and 14 January. More energetic phreatomagmatic explosions on 17 and 20 January produced lahars. Several small-amplitude explosions were detected at the end of the month. During January, a few LPs, no VTs, and intermittent tremor were recorded.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that two small-scale explosions occurred on 1 February, along with possible events at 1906 and 1950 on 5 February and at 0120 on 6 February. An event at 0000 on 6 February was also recorded; the report noted that poor weather conditions prevented visual observations of the crater. On 16 and 17 February strong degassing was observed. No LPs were recorded, but two significant VTs were detected on 17 and 22 February near or under the crater.

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/).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent passive ash emissions continue through February 2019

This report summarizes activity at Turrialba during September 2018-February 2019. During this period there was similar activity as described earlier in 2018 (BGVN 43:09), with occasional ash explosions and numerous, sometimes continuous, periods of gas-and-ash emissions (table 8). Data were provided by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA).

Table 8. Ash emissions at Turrialba, September 2018-February 2019. Cloudy weather sometimes obscured observations. Maximum plume height is above the crater rim. Information courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Date Time Max plume height Plume drift Remarks
27 Aug-05 Sep 2018 -- 100 m SW, W Continuous gas-and-ash emissions.
06 Sep 2018 -- -- -- Mostly gas, punctuated by small sporadic ash plumes.
10 Sep 2018 1210 300 m NW --
01-13 Sep 2018 -- -- -- Continuous gas-and-ash emissions.
17-18 Sep 2018 -- 300 m SW, NW --
27 Sep 2018 0915 200 m NW --
30 Sep-01 Oct 2018 -- 500 m NW, NE --
03 Oct 2018 -- -- -- Incandescence.
08 Oct 2018 0800 500 m N --
10-16 Oct 2018 -- 1,000 m Various Intermittent emissions; some explosions, including an energetic one on 14 Oct at 1712. Clouds prevented estimate of plume height.
17-23 Oct 2018 -- 200-500 m E, NW, SW Periodic gas-and-ash emissions. Frequent Strombolian events since 5 Oct.
25-30 Oct 2018 -- -- -- Periodic ash emissions when weather conditions allowed observations.
26 Oct 2018 0134 500 m NE Ashfall in neighborhoods of Coronado (San José, 35 km WSW) and San Isidro de Heredia (Heredia, 38 km W).
29 Oct 2018 0231 500 m NW --
30 Oct 2018 1406 500 m W --
24 Oct-01 Nov 2018 -- 500 m -- Continuous emissions.
01-06 Nov 2018 0530-0640 500 m SW --
02 Nov 2018 1523, 1703 500 m -- --
03 Nov 2018 0109 500 m -- Short (2-3 minutes) duration events. Ashfall reported in Coronado.
05 Nov 2018 0620 600 m NW --
06-11 Nov 2018 -- 500 m -- Low-level, continuous gas-and-ash emissions occasionally punctuated by energetic explosions that sent plumes as high as 500 m and caused ashfall in several areas downwind, including Cascajal de Coronado, Desamparados (35 km WSW), San Antonio, Guadalupe (32 km WSW), Sabanilla, San Pedro Montes de Oca, Moravia (31 km WSW), Heredia, and Coronado (San José, 35 km WSW). Weather prevented observations on 12 Nov.
13-19 Nov 2018 -- -- -- Periodic, passive ash emissions visible in webcam images or during cloudy conditions inferred from the seismic data.
22 Nov 2018 0710 100 m W --
23 Nov 2018 -- -- -- Frequent pulses of ash.
23-25 Nov 2018 -- 500 m -- Occasional Strombolian explosions ejected lava bombs deposited near the crater; residents of Cascajal de Coronado reported hearing several booming sounds.
26-27 Nov 2018 -- -- -- Passive emissions with small quantities of ash visible. Minor ashfall in San Jose (Cascajal de Coronado and Dulce Nombre), San Pedro Montes de Oca, and neighborhoods of Heredia.
28 Nov-03 Dec 2018 -- 500 m N, NW, SW Ashfall in Santo Domingo (36 km WSW) on 2 Dec.
05 Dec 2018 -- -- -- Minor emission.
06 Dec 2018 -- -- S Emission.
08 Dec 2018 0749 500 m NW --
09 Dec 2018 -- 1,000 m -- Ashfall in areas of Valle Central.
10 Dec 2018 -- -- -- Emissions periodically observed during periods of clear viewing. Ashfall in Moravia (31 km WSW) and Santa Ana, and residents of Heredia noted a sulfur odor.
11-12 Dec 2018 -- 500 m NW, SW The Tico Times stated some flights were delayed at San Jose airport, 67 km away.
13 Dec 2018 -- -- -- Pulsing ash emissions; ashfall in Guadalupe (32 km WSW) and Valle Central.
14-16 Dec 2018 -- -- W, SW Emissions with diffuse amounts of ash.
05-06 Jan 2019 0815 -- -- Increased after midnight on 6 Jan.
28 Jan-04 Feb 2019 -- -- -- Minor, sporadic ash emissions rose to low heights during most days.
01 Feb 2019 0640 1,500 m NW --
08 Feb 2019 0540 200 m -- Sporadic ash emissions for more than one hour.
11 Feb 2019 -- -- -- Very small ash emission.
13-15 Feb 2019 200-300 m NW, W, SW Almost continuous gas emissions with minor ash content.
15 Feb 2019 1330 1,000 m W --
18 Feb 2019 1310 500 m W --
21 Feb 2019 -- 300 m NW Frequent ash pulses.
22-24 Feb 2019 -- 300 m NW, SW Frequent ash emissions of variable intensity and duration. On 22 Feb ash fell in Santa Cruz (31 km WSW) and Santa Ana, and a sulfur odor was evident in Moravia.
28 Feb 2019 1050 500 m SW Ash pulses.

According to OVSICORI-UNA's annual summary for 2018, a slow decline in activity occurred after the volcano reached its highest emission rate during 2016. Activity during 2018 was consistent with an open system, generating frequent passive ash emissions. The volcano emitted ash on 58% of the days during the year. Some explosions were large enough to eject ballistics more than 400 m around the crater. Typical activity can be seen in a photo from 11 September 2018 (figure 50) and satellite imagery on 7 November 2018 (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Photo of an ash explosion at Turrialba taken on 11 September 2018. Courtesy of Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN: UCR-ICE), Universidad de Costa Rica.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Sentinel-2 satellite image of an ash emission from Turrialba on 7 November 2018, taken in natural color (gamma adjusted). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During January into early February 2019, passive ash emissions continued irregularly and with less intensity and duration. Emissions sometimes lacked ash. In their report of 4 February 2019, OVSICORI-UNA indicated that passive ash emissions were weak and slow. For the rest of February, they characterized ash emissions as frequent, but of low intensity.

Seismic activity. On 1 November 2018 OVSICORI-UNA reported that seismicity remained high, and involved low-amplitude banded volcanic tremor along with long-period (LP) and volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes. In late January-early February 2019, OVSICORI-UNA reported that seismicity remained relatively stable, although a small increase was associated with the hydrothermal system. VT earthquakes were absent, and tremors had decreased in both energy and duration. The number of low-frequency LP volcanic earthquakes remained stable, although they had decreasing amplitudes. No explosions were documented, and emissions were weak and had short durations and very dilute ash content.

Thermal anomalies. No thermal anomalies were recorded during the reporting period using MODIS satellite instruments processed by MODVOLC algorithm. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected five scattered hotspots during September-October 2018, none during November-December 2018, and two during January-February 2019. All were within 2 km of the volcano and of low radiative power.

Gas measurements. Significant sulfur dioxide levels near the volcano were recorded by NASA's satellite-borne ozone instruments only on 29 September 2018 (both NPP/OMPS and Aura/OMI instruments) and on 11 February 2019 (Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument). OVSICORI-UNA's gas measuring instruments were compromised in September 2018 through January 2019 due to vandalism. In early February, however, they detected hydrogen sulfide for the first time since 2016.

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/); Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN) a collaboration between a) the Sección de Sismología, Vulcanología y Exploración Geofísica de la Escuela Centroamericana de Geología de la Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), and b) the Área de Amenazas y Auscultación Sismológica y Volcánica del Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica (URL: https://rsn.ucr.ac.cr/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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://hotspot.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/); 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/); Costa Rica Star (URL: https://news.co.cr); The Tico Times (URL: https://ticotimes.net).


San Cristobal (Nicaragua) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

San Cristobal

Nicaragua

12.702°N, 87.004°W; summit elev. 1745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak ash explosions in January and March 2019

San Cristóbal has produced occasional weak explosions since 1999, with intermittent gas-and-ash emissions. The only reported explosion during the first half of 2018 was on 22 April, the first since November 2017 (BGVN 43:03). The current report covers activity between 1 August 2018 and 1 May 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER).

According to INETER, a series of explosions occurred on 9 January 2019 that lasted several hours. INETER stated that one explosion occurred at 1643; the Washington VAAC's first advisory stated that an explosion occurred at 1145 (local time). The weak explosions, which occurred after a period of heightened seismic activity, generated an ash plume that reached 200 m above the edge of the crater and drifted W. The Washington VAAC reported volcanic ash plumes on 10-11 January extending about 92 km SW, and on 24-25 January extending about 185 km WSW. A low-energy explosion was detected by the seismic network at 1550 on 4 March 2019. The event produced a gas-and-ash plume that rose 400 m above the crater rim and drifted SW.

Monitoring data reported by INETER (table 6) showed elevated levels of seismicity during October 2018 through January 2019. Sulfur dioxide was also measured at higher levels in January 2019.

Table 6. Monthly sulfur dioxide measurements and seismicity reported at San Cristóbal during August 2018-March 2019. "Most" indicates that type of seismicity was dominant that month. Data courtesy of INETER.

Month Average SO2 Total earthquakes Degassing-type earthquakes Volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes
Aug 2018 461 t/d 6,464 6,147 251
Sep 2018 893 t/d 9,659 9,586 73
Oct 2018 269 t/d 11,698 3,509 8,189
Nov 2018 -- 19,593 19,586 7
Dec 2018 -- 30,901 -- Most
Jan 2019 1,286 t/d 11,504 Most Very few
Feb 2019 695 t/d 3,470 Most Very few
Mar 2019 -- 3,882 Most Very few

Geologic Background. The San Cristóbal volcanic complex, consisting of five principal volcanic edifices, forms the NW end of the Marrabios Range. The symmetrical 1745-m-high youngest cone, named San Cristóbal (also known as El Viejo), is Nicaragua's highest volcano and is capped by a 500 x 600 m wide crater. El Chonco, with several flank lava domes, is located 4 km W of San Cristóbal; it and the eroded Moyotepe volcano, 4 km NE of San Cristóbal, are of Pleistocene age. Volcán Casita, containing an elongated summit crater, lies immediately east of San Cristóbal and was the site of a catastrophic landslide and lahar in 1998. The Plio-Pleistocene La Pelona caldera is located at the eastern end of the complex. Historical eruptions from San Cristóbal, consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been reported since the 16th century. Some other 16th-century eruptions attributed to Casita volcano are uncertain and may pertain to other Marrabios Range volcanoes.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://webserver2.ineter.gob.ni/vol/dep-vol.html); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html).


Semisopochnoi (United States) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Semisopochnoi

United States

51.93°N, 179.58°E; summit elev. 1221 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash explosions during September and October 2018

The remote Semisopochnoi comprises the uninhabited volcanic island of the same name, ~20 km in diameter, in the Rat Islands group of the western Aleutians (figure 1). Plumes had been reported several times in the 18th and 19th centuries, and most recently observed in April 1987 from Sugarloaf Peak (SEAN 12:04). The volcano is dominated by an 8-km diameter caldera that contains a small lake (Fenner Lake) and a number of post-caldera cones and craters. Monitoring is done by the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) using an on-island seismic network along with satellite observations and lightning sensors. An infrasound array on Adak Island, about 200 km E, may detect explosive emissions with a 13 minute delay if atmospheric conditions permit.

On 16 September 2018 increased seismicity was detected at 0831, prompting AVO to raise the Aviation Color Code (ACC) to Yellow and Volcano Alert Level (VAL) to Advisory. Retrospective analysis of satellite data acquired on 10 September revealed small ash deposits on the N flank of Mount Cerberus, possibly associated with two bursts of tremor recorded on 8 September (figure 5). This new information, coupled with intensifying seismicity and a strong tremor signal recorded at 1249 on 17 September, resulted in AVO raising the ACC to Orange and the VAL to Watch. Seismicity remained elevated on 18 September with nearly constant tremor recorded by local sensors. At the same time, no ash emissions were observed in cloudy satellite images and no eruptive activity was recorded on regional pressure sensors at Adak.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Minor ash deposits can be seen on the south and west flanks of the N cone of Mount Cerberus, Semisopochnoi Island, in this ESA Sentinel-2 image from 1200 on 10 September 2018. Also note probable minor steam emissions obscuring the crater of the N cone. Image courtesy of AVO.

During 19-25 September 2018 seismicity remained elevated, alternating between periods of continuous and intermittent bursts of tremor. Tremor bursts at 1319 on 21 September and at 1034 on 22 September produced airwaves detected on a regional infrasound array on Adak Island; no ash emissions were identified above the low cloud deck in satellite data, and the infrasound detections likely reflected an atmospheric change instead of volcanic activity.

Seismicity remained elevated during 3-9 October 2018, with intermittent bursts of tremor. No volcanic activity was detected in infrasound or satellite data. On 11 October satellite data indicated partial erosion of a tephra cone in the crater of Cerberus's N cone. A crater lake about 90 m in diameter filled the vent. The data also suggested that the vent had not erupted since 1 October. Seismicity remained elevated and above background levels. The next day AVO lowered the Aviation Color Code to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory, noting the recent satellite data results and lack of tremor recorded during the previous week. AVO reported that unrest continued during 11-24 October.

An eruptive event began at 2047 on 25 October 2018, identified based on seismic data; strong volcanic tremor lasted about 20 minutes and was followed by 40 minutes of weak tremor pulses. A weak infrasound signal was detected by instruments on Adak Island. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) and Volcano Alert Level was raised to Watch (the second highest level on a four-level scale). A dense meteorological cloud deck prevented observations below 3 km, but a diffuse cloud was observed in satellite data rising briefly above the cloud deck, though it was unclear if it was related to eruptive activity. Tremor ended after the event, and seismicity returned to low levels.

Small explosions were detected by the seismic network at 2110 and 2246 on 26 October 2018, and 0057 and 0603 on 27 October. No ash clouds were identified in satellite data, but the volcano was obscured by high meteorological clouds. Additional small explosions were detected in seismic and infrasound data during 28-29 October; no ash clouds were observed in partly-cloudy-to-cloudy satellite images.

AVO reported on 31 October 2018 that unrest continued. Two small explosions were detected, one just before 0400 and the other around 1000. Satellite views were obscured by clouds at the time, and no ash clouds were observed. Unrest continued through 1 November, at which time the satellite link and the seismic line failed. On 21 November the ACC was lowered to Yellow and the VAL was lowered to Advisory.

Geologic Background. Semisopochnoi, the largest subaerial volcano of the western Aleutians, is 20 km wide at sea level and contains an 8-km-wide caldera. It formed as a result of collapse of a low-angle, dominantly basaltic volcano following the eruption of a large volume of dacitic pumice. The high point of the island is 1221-m-high Anvil Peak, a double-peaked late-Pleistocene cone that forms much of the island's northern part. The three-peaked 774-m-high Mount Cerberus volcano was constructed during the Holocene within the caldera. Each of the peaks contains a summit crater; lava flows on the northern flank of Cerberus appear younger than those on the southern side. Other post-caldera volcanoes include the symmetrical 855-m-high Sugarloaf Peak SSE of the caldera and Lakeshore Cone, a small cinder cone at the edge of Fenner Lake in the NE part of the caldera. Most documented historical eruptions have originated from Cerberus, although Coats (1950) considered that both Sugarloaf and Lakeshore Cone within the caldera could have been active during historical time.

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/).


Asosan (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple brief ash emission events during April and May 2019; minor ashfall in adjacent villages

Japan's 24-km-wide Asosan caldera on the island of Kyushu has been active throughout the Holocene. Nakadake has been the most active of 17 central cones within the caldera for 2,000 years. Historical eruptions have been primarily basaltic to basaltic-andesitic ash eruptions, with periodic Strombolian activity, all from Nakadake Crater 1. The most recent major eruptive episode began in late November 2014 and continued through 1 May 2016. Another eruption, with the largest ash plume in 20 years, occurred on 8 October 2016. Asosan remained quiet until renewed activity from Crater 1 began in mid-April 2019; it is covered in this report, through the end of June 2019. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides monthly reports of activity; the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issues aviation alerts reporting on possible ash plumes.

Asosan remained quiet during 2017 and 2018 with steam plumes rising a few hundred meters from Crater 1 and low levels of SO2 emissions; a warm acidic lake was present within the crater. Fumarolic activity from two areas on the S and SW wall of the crater rim generated occasional thermal anomalies in satellite data and incandescence at night. A brief period of increased seismicity was reported in mid-March 2019. An increase in seismic amplitude on 14 April 2019 preceded a small explosion on 16 April; it produced an ash plume which rose 200 m above the crater rim and drifted NW. It was followed by additional small explosions on 19 April. A new explosion on 3 May produced minor ashfall in adjacent communities; ash emissions were reported multiple times during May with plumes reaching 1,400 m above the crater rim. No additional ash emissions were reported in June.

Activity during 2017 and 2018. JMA reported that no eruptions occurred during 2017. Amplitudes of volcanic tremor increased somewhat during March but were generally low for the rest of the year. The earthquake hypocenters were mostly located near the active crater at around sea level. SO2 emissions were slightly less than 1,000 tons per day (t/d) from January through April; for the rest of the year they ranged from 600 to 2,500 t/d. The Alert Level had been lowered from 2 to 1 on 7 February 2017 where it remained throughout the year. Steam plumes generally rose no more than 600 m above the active crater rim (figure 42). JMA noted that from January to June they often observed crater incandescence at night with a high-sensitivity surveillance camera; Sentinel-2 satellite images also captured thermal anomalies a few times (figure 43). The green lake inside the crater persisted throughout the year with water temperatures of 50-60°C. Two fumaroles were present with high-temperature gas emissions on the SW and S crater walls. Temperatures at the S crater wall were over 600°C from February to May; they decreased to 320-560°C during the rest of the year (figure 44). Sulfur deposits were visible around the SW crater wall fumarole during July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Steam plumes that rose around 600 m above Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan were typical activity throughout 2017. Images taken with JMA webcam on 9 June (top left), 22 August (top right), 12 November (bottom left), and 20 December (bottom right) 2017. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 images captured thermal anomalies at the S rim of the green lake at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 16 February (left) and 27 May 2017 (right). JMA reported that incandescence was occasionally visible during the night from January-June from the same area. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. High-temperature gas and steam from fumaroles on the S wall of the Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan on 24 August (top) and 17 November 2017 (bottom) were persistent all year, with temperatures ranging from 300 to over 600°C. The green lake inside the crater persisted throughout the year as well with water temperatures of 50-60°C. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

The Alert Level did not change at Asosan during 2018, and no eruptions were reported. Sulfur dioxide emissions fluctuated between 400 and 1,800 t/d throughout the year. Steam plumes generally rose less than 500 m above the active crater (figure 45); incandescence was observed at night during May-October and sometimes observed in satellite imagery as thermal anomalies (figure 46). The temperature of the green lake inside the crater ranged from 58 to 75°C throughout the year. The thermal anomaly on the S wall of the crater was consistently in the 300-500°C range, and had a high temperature in April of 580°C; in December the high temperature had risen to 738°C (figure 47). A brief increase in the number of isolated tremors occurred during March, with 1,044 reported on 4 March, exceeding the previous maximum of 1,000 on 27 October 2014. Seismicity also increased briefly during June, with more than 400 events reported each day on 8, 18, and 20 June. The Minami Aso village Yoshioka fumarole zone, located about 5 km W of Nakadake Crater 1, continued to produce modest steam plumes throughout 2017 and 2018 (figure 48).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Typical steam plumes at Asosan during 2018 rose around 500 m above the Nakadake Crater 1. Images are from 4 March (top left), 22 July (top right), 17 August (lower left), and 13 September 2018 (lower right). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Nighttime incandescence was reported by JMA during May-October 2018 from the S rim of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan; Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 4, 2) captured thermal anomalies from the same area numerous times during 2018 including on 16 June (top left), 26 July and 19 September (middle row), and 18 and 23 November (bottom row). JMA photographed incandescence at night on 17 July 2018 at the S fumarole area (top right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground and JMA (Aso volcano Monthly Report for July 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. The "Green Tea Pond" inside Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan had temperatures that ranged from 58 to 75°C during 2018 (top row, 26 March 2018); the thermal anomaly on the S wall of the crater consistently had temperatures measured in the 300-500°C range and the SW fumarole area had somewhat lower temperatures (bottom row, 22 June 2018). Courtesy of JMA (monthly Asosan reports for March, May, and June 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. The Minami Aso village Yoshioka fumarole zone, located about 5 km W of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan, continued to produce modest steam plumes throughout 2017 and 2018. It is shown here on 20 December 2017 (top) and 12 March 2018 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (December 2017 and March 2018 monthly volcano reports).

Activity during 2019. Steam plumes rose to 800 m above the crater rim during January 2019. Overall activity increased slightly during February; SO2 emissions peaked at 2,200 t/d early in the month; they ranged from 800 to 1,800 t/d for most of the month. The amplitude of volcanic tremor also increased slightly during February. A further increase in tremor amplitude on 11 March 2019 prompted JMA to raise the Alert Level from 1 to 2 the following morning. Volcanic tremor amplitude decreased on 15 March; JMA determined that activity had decreased, and the Alert Level was lowered back to 1 on 29 March 2019. The amount of water in the crater decreased significantly between 27 February and 20 March, exposing part of the crater floor.

The surface temperature of the lake rose during the first part of 2019; it was 78°C in February and 84°C in March. Steam plumes rose to 1,200 m above the crater rim during March and April. SO2 emissions rose to 4,500 t/d on 12 March but dropped to a lower range of 1,300-2,400 for the rest of the month. Another surge in SO2 emissions on 12 April 2019 to 3,600 t/d prompted a special report from JMA the following day. SO2 emissions varied from about 1,700 to 4,100 t/d during the month; values remained high during the second half of the month. JMA noted that the color of the water in the lake inside Nakadake Crater 1 changed from green to gray after 4 April. Fountains of muddy water were periodically observed; they reached 15 m high on 9 April. The temperatures of both the lake (82°C) and around the two fumarole areas (S area about 530°C, SW area about 310°C) remained constant during April and similar to March.

A large increase in the amplitude of volcanic tremor early on 14 April 2019 prompted JMA to raise the Alert Level from 1 to 2 later in the day. The epicenters of the earthquakes were very shallow, located within 1 km beneath the crater. A small eruption occurred at 1828 on 16 April at Nakadake Crater 1; it produced a gray and white plume that rose 200 m above the crater rim and was the first eruption since 8 October 2016 (figure 49). Incandescence was observed inside the crater on 3 and 17 April. The amplitude of seismic tremors decreased on 18 April. Three very small eruptions on 19 April produced ash and steam plumes that rose 500 m above the crater rim. During a site visit that day JMA measured a high-temperature area that produced incandescence from the bottom of the crater at night (figure 50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. The first eruption since October 2016 at Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan on 16 April 2019 sent an ash plume 200 m above the crater rim (top). Incandescent gas appeared on the crater floor the next day (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, April 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Three small explosions on 19 April 2019 at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 produced small ash emissions that rose 500 m above the crater rim (top). A strong thermal signal also appeared from the bottom of the crater. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, April 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

A new eruption began at 1540 on 3 May that lasted until 0620 on 5 May (figure 51). Initially the ash plume rose 600 m above the crater rim, but a few hours later the volume of ash increased, and the plume reached 2 km above the crater rim for a brief period. Incandescence was visible from the webcam. The Tokyo VAAC reported the ash plume at 3 km altitude drifting SE on 3 May. Later in the day it rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted SW. During a field survey the following day (4 May) JMA reported a steam and ash plume rising from the center of the active crater. The infrared thermal imaging camera recorded the temperature of the plume at about 500°C (figure 52).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. An explosion at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 3 May 2019 produced an ash plume that reached 2 km above the crater rim (top) and incandescence visible from the webcam (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, April 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. During a site visit on 4 May 2019, staff from JMA witnessed an ash and steam plume rising from the bottom of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan (top). The infrared thermal imaging camera recorded the temperature of the plume at about 500°C (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, May 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

Ash fell on the S flank, and a small amount of ashfall on 4 May was confirmed by evidence on a car windshield in Takamori Town (6 km S), Kumamoto Prefecture (figure 53). Ashfall was also reported in Takamori-machi, Minami Aso village (9 km SW), and part of Yamato-cho (25 km SW), also in the Kumamoto Prefecture. SO2 emissions were measured as high as 4,000 t/d on 4 May. Additional explosions with ash plumes were reported from Asosan on 9, 12-16, 29, and 31 May; the plumes rose from 200 to 1,400 m above the crater rim but were not visible in satellite imagery. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5 satellite captured SO2 plumes on 3 and 26 May 2019 (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Ashfall was reported on 4 May 2019 in Takamori Town, Kumamoto Prefecture, from the eruption at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 3 May 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, May 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Plumes of SO2 from Asosan were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 3 (left) and 26 (right) May 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Steam plumes rose to 1,700 m above the crater rim during June 2019 (figure 55). During field visits on 6 and 25 June diffuse ash emissions were observed rising from the center of the active crater, but they did not extend significantly above the crater rim (figure 56). The maximum temperature of the plume was measured at about 340°C with a thermal imaging camera. Almost all of the water in the crater bottom had evaporated since early May; incandescence continued to be observed within the crater at night with the high-resolution webcam (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Steam plumes rose to 1,700 m above the crater rim at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 10 June 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, June 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Plumes of gas and minor ash were visible at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 during site visits by JMA on 6 (left) and 25 (right) June 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, June 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Incandescent gas was visible from the vent at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 18 (left) and 25 (right) June 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, June 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

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

Information Contacts: 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); 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/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 28, Number 07 (July 2003)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Anatahan (United States)

Observations of deposits from the eruptive sequence that began 10 May 2003

Arenal (Costa Rica)

September 2000-October 2001 eruptions include pyroclastic flows

Awu (Indonesia)

Elevated seismicity during last half of 2000

Bezymianny (Russia)

26 July 2003 ash plume to 8-11 km altitude

Chikurachki (Russia)

Infrequent observations suggest weaker eruptions continued in July 2003

Colima (Mexico)

Small explosions produced, including two on 17 July; absence of lava flows

Dieng Volcanic Complex (Indonesia)

Mud bubbling and outflows at Sileri crater that reached 50 m beyond crater rim

Gamalama (Indonesia)

Ashfall from 31 July eruption coats Ternate; pyroclastic flow

Kanlaon (Philippines)

1-km-high plume of ash-laden steam on 10-11 July 2003

Karangetang (Indonesia)

June 2003 ash plumes and two lava avalanches

Karymsky (Russia)

May-July ash plumes; affiliated seismicity and satellite thermal anomalies

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Gas-and-steam plumes June-August with occassional ash plumes

Krakatau (Indonesia)

Foggy weather and low seismicity

Leroboleng (Indonesia)

June-July ash plumes reported by pilots may be the first eruptions in 122 years

Negro, Cerro (Nicaragua)

Slumbering volcano yields uneventful seismic and fumarolic temperature data

Papandayan (Indonesia)

After the explosions of November 2002, seismicity and eruptions waned

Semeru (Indonesia)

Ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, and high seismicity continue through June

Sheveluch (Russia)

Lava dome growth and ash-and-gas plumes to 5 km high

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Changes in activity style and dome growth since February 2002

Stromboli (Italy)

Flank eruption finished as of 22 July; activity resumed at summit craters on 17 April

Yellowstone (United States)

Geyser basin heats up, affecting thermal features



Anatahan (United States) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Anatahan

United States

16.35°N, 145.67°E; summit elev. 790 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Observations of deposits from the eruptive sequence that began 10 May 2003

Anatahan erupted on the evening of 10 May 2003 (BGVN 28:04). The volcano, which forms the uninhabited Anatahan Island in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), had no recorded historical eruptions. This report provides observations from a 25 July 2003 report (updated 31 July 2003) by the University of Tokyo Earthquake Research Institute (ERI) documenting fieldwork by their team during 16-19 July 2003. During the inspection, the volcano was quiet, with only weak steaming at the active crater. Seismicity reported by the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Emergency Management Office continued into early August.

Tephra deposits. The recent eruption left recognizable tephra deposits consisting mainly of pumice-bearing brown ash in a lower unit and fine gray ash in an upper unit (figure 10). Both the upper and lower units consist of many sub-layers. At the village (NW end of the island) the total thickness of brown ash was 20 cm and gray ash was 3 cm.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Section of tephra seen just S of Anatahan's active crater on 18 July showing deposits laid down in the eruptions that began in May 2003. The section contains a lower (brown) pumice-fall deposit (~ 25 cm thick) covered by multiple layers (~ 20 cm thick) of gray ash from phreatic eruptions. Courtesy of S. Nakada, University of Tokyo.

At the SE part of the island tephra deposits were less than 3 cm thick. Although grass and trees did not show heat damage, plastic bottles had melted. The outer S slope of the active crater in the E caldera was thickly covered by gray ash. Many rills and gullies developed on these deposits due to the impermeable nature of the gray ash, which typically consisted of very fine particles. Occasionally the observers noted partly broken, stripped trees on the slopes, with a thick cover of gray tephra accumulated on the side facing the active crater. Tephra was ~20 cm thick near the crater rim and pumice-bearing tephra below was ~25 cm thick. The latter included blocks and fragments of pumice.

Inside the W caldera, tephra deposits reached a thickness of up to 1 m. Gray ash was deposited most thickly NW of the crater. Pumice-bearing tephra was thickest in the WSW direction from the crater. The latter is consistent with the drift direction of eruption plumes in the earliest stage shown by satellite images (BGVN 28:06). Although most of the trees had survived falling pumice early during the eruption, they were toppled by the strong lateral movement of gray ash during the phreatic phase.

Crater observations. The mid-July fieldwork included two days of helicopter inspection; observers saw only steaming at the active crater. That crater occupied the S part of the E crater, which lies inside the E caldera. The S wall of the active crater extended directly into the wall of the E crater. The new crater was ~300 m across and ~100 m deep, with the deepest part in the S containing a dried-out mud pool.

A mound-like but rugged-ridged lava dome protruded along the active crater's inner N periphery (figure 11). The surface of this recently erupted dome lay beneath a thick cover of gray ash associated with the phreatic eruption. Infrared camera images indicate that it remained at higher temperature than deposits outside the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Aerial view showing the steaming crater at Anatahan from the NW on 19 July 2003. The lava dome (center left) lies inside the crater. A pyroclastic cone had developed on the N side, surrounding the crater. Courtesy of S. Nakada, University of Tokyo.

The dome may have been broken by explosive eruptions in mid-June when high seismic and visual activities were reported. Products of a reamed-out dome may have been broken into small clasts, widely dispersed, and buried by later deposits. On the other hand, neither bombs nor blocks were clearly visible on the floors of either the E crater (outside the pyroclastic cone) or in the E caldera. Thus, the absence of large blocks of lava dome around the active crater could suggest that the original dimensions of the lava dome may have been small and that the dome had undergone comparatively little sculpting by later explosions.

A low pyroclastic cone developed on the crater's N side (figure 11). The maximum thickness of newly deposited tephra exposed in a gully through this cone reached ~20 m.

Chemistry and degassing of magma. Pumice from this eruption was crystal-poor and light to dark brown in color. A pumice block with a light-brown crust and dark-brown vesicular core collected from the pumice-fall layer just S of the active crater was analyzed by x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy at ERI. The crust and core parts were separately analyzed; each contained 61 weight percent SiO2.

Observers saw blue- to purple-colored gas escaping the active crater and smelled a strong rotten-egg near the S rim of the E caldera on 18 July. Instrumental concentration estimates measured 2-4 ppm SO2 and 0.5 ppm H2S. The SO2 emission rate remained moderate to low throughout the inspection; the total SO2 flux was probably less than several thousand tons a day, similar to that at Sakurajima, Japan.

Ongoing activity, July into early August. According to CNMI reports, volcanic tremor and other seismicity at Anatahan persisted through July and into August 2003 at a relatively low level. On 1 August the Anatahan seismic station registered a small swarm of a dozen or so long-period (LP) events of approximate magnitude 1; similar swarms occurred on 4 and 5 August. Several hundred small (LP) events occurred during 5-6 August. The number of small LP events was greater than that of previous days, but the overall energy release appears not to have increased significantly. No LP events were recorded on 7 August.

Geologic Background. The elongate, 9-km-long island of Anatahan in the central Mariana Islands consists of a large stratovolcano with a 2.3 x 5 km compound summit caldera. The larger western portion of the caldera is 2.3 x 3 km wide, and its western rim forms the island's high point. Ponded lava flows overlain by pyroclastic deposits fill the floor of the western caldera, whose SW side is cut by a fresh-looking smaller crater. The 2-km-wide eastern portion of the caldera contained a steep-walled inner crater whose floor prior to the 2003 eruption was only 68 m above sea level. A submarine cone, named NE Anatahan, rises to within 460 m of the sea surface on the NE flank, and numerous other submarine vents are found on the NE-to-SE flanks. Sparseness of vegetation on the most recent lava flows had indicated that they were of Holocene age, but the first historical eruption did not occur until May 2003, when a large explosive eruption took place forming a new crater inside the eastern caldera.

Information Contacts: Setsuya Nakada and Teruyuki Kato, Volcano Research Center, Earthquake Research Institute (ERI), University of Tokyo (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/VRC/index_E.html); Takeshi Matsushima, Institute of Seismology and Volcanology (SEVO), Kyushu University, Japan; Juan Takai Camacho and Ramon Chong, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Emergency Management Office, P.O. Box 10007, Saipan, MP 96950, USA (URL: http://www.cnmihsem.gov.mp/).


Arenal (Costa Rica) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Arenal

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


September 2000-October 2001 eruptions include pyroclastic flows

During September 2000-October 2001 Arenal issued frequent Strombolian eruptions, occasional avalanches, and several episodes with sizable pyroclastic flows (PFs). Crater D remained fumarolic, with the eruptive activity centered at crater C. Crater C also emitted lava flows (as many as three simultaneously) down Arenal's NE-NW sides. In some cases the site of pyroclastic-flow (PF) generation came from outside crater C, emerging where lava flows perched on the slopes, broke open, and violently released blocks, ash, and gas (block-and-ash flows).

In September-November 2000, OVSICORI-UNA reports noted that the lava flows that began after the 23 August PFs descended the N flank, and during that month had fronts at ~900 m elevation. Sporadic avalanches broke off the lava flow fronts. One such episode at 0630 on 11 September 2000 produced a small ash column. September-November ash columns remained under 500 m above crater C. In September and later months cold loose debris came down parts of the edifice, entering the drainages Calle de Arenas, Manolo, Guillermina, and the larger Tabacón and Agua Caliente rivers.

Deformation, as measured by surveys of the distance network, lacked significant changes during August 2000-November 2000. However, between December and April 2001 there were sudden changes in line length, on the order of a centimeter on all lines, and most appreciable on NE-sector lines. The N-NE sectors are also where most of the lava flows and avalanche instability has occurred. Deformation and tilt changes through 2001 were otherwise described as minor.

Two noteworthy PFs, in August 2000 and March 2001, did not correlate with short-term increases in precursory seismicity. Crater C emitted Strombolian eruptions and N-directed lava flows in late February, and produced PFs during March 2001.

Eruptive episode of late March 2001. During 24 and 26 March 2001 PFs descended Arenal (figure 95) in a series of pulses traveling NNE towards Cedeño lake. Both reports from ICE and OVSICORI-UNA presented the eruptive time as about 1245 on the 24th and continuing until about 1600, with OVSICORI-UNA reporting under six pulses and ICE reporting under 10 pulses. ICE reported that the strongest pulses took place at 1258, 1331, and 1400. After that, the pulses became more frequent but of minor size.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Annotated photograph of Arenal's N flanks showing the sketched-in outline of March 2001 pyroclastic-flow (PF) paths. The lower margins of the March 2001 PFs branched into transverse lobes, but the "main lobe" contained the bulk of the deposited material. The 23 August 2000 PFs descended to 620 m elevation, ~ 40-100 m lower, but Cedeño lake and the distal ends of the various PF deposits are absent from this photo. The PFs of March 2001 also produced some erosion on the upper walls of crater C. At the distal end, fine material was deposited atop the August 2000 PF deposits. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

ICE reports concluded that PFs reappeared on the 25th, with four pulses between 1348 and 1430. In contrast, OVSICORI-UNA's March report did not conclude that PFs occurred on the 25th and only described pulses on 24 and 26 March. ICE described PFs on the 26th as occurring in fewer than 8 pulses, between the hours of 0917 and 1400. OVSICORI-UNA stated that on the 26th there were fewer than three pulses in the early afternoon. It is clear that a series of PFs occurred over the 3-day (24-26 March) period, with few or none on the 25th.

Seismic signals interpreted by OVSICORI-UNA as PFs typically had durations lasting 100-200 seconds. This provided some measure of their time of origin and descent. These workers found that some very large (up to 36 x 17 x 5 m) incandescent blocks yielded temperatures of over 700°C two days after emplacement. They also reported that on Arenal's slopes the PFs excavated a gully 4 m wide by 500 m long. Field observations also disclosed that PFs or other processes removed part of the summit area, including segments of the cone's upper raised walls.

OVSICORI-UNA noted that the largest PFs accompanied dense clouds of lofted fine ash carried SW. The most distant ash fell over the main entrance to the park, in a pueblo known as El Castillo, and as far as 12 km from the source. OVSICORI-UNA scientists reported the lowest margins of the PFs reached ~660 m elevation.

Field work by ICE scientists Guillermo Alvarado and Francisco Arias revealed PF deposits forming three lobes. The main one was 10-50 m wide and reached 2 km in length. It reached down to 720 m elevation and covered 240,000 m3. When investigated (at an unstated date), its temperature measured over 200°C. The PFs had devastated 6-10 hectares (1 hectare is 104 m2) of primary forest, and the PFs, or related ash fall, heat, or singeing gases, had affected another 15 hectares. After the PFs diminished, lava flows began to escape following the same channel, their fronts later attaining ~1,400 m elevation.

This 24-26 March 2001 episode of PFs was judged to have been of smaller magnitude than the episode of 23 August 2000, a day when 27 pulses of PFs were observed, also directed towards lake Cedeño (BGVN 25:07 and 25:08). On that occasion two people died and another was seriously injured. The March 2001 PFs were without reported injuries or fatalities, although the affected zone was somewhat similar.

According to the ICE report, Alvarado and Arroyo (2000) listed five occasions when Arenal discharged a sequence of PFs for longer than one day (17-21 June 1975, 21-22 February 1989, 9-10 December 1991, 29-30 September 1996, and 19-20 August 1997). Only the sequence during 17-21 June 1975 and their interpretation of one during 24-26 March 2001 lasted more than 2 days. PFs in both of these multi-day sequences attained runout distances of over 1 km; by comparison, the flows during 1989 and 1996 did not surpass half kilometer runout distances. The longest PF occurred in 1975, reaching a 3.5 km runout distance, with the PF's distal portions following the Tabacón river.

April-December 2001. In their report for April 2001 OVSICORI-UNA reported that a lava flow had emerged from crater C decending along the path of the previous month's PFs, with lavas extending from the crater rim to the lava's front at ~1,400 m elevation. Blocks falling off the front reached 950 m elevation in N and NE directions. By the end of May 2001 OVSICORI-UNA noted the descending lavas took the form of three distinct flows that each crossed a different portion of crater C's rim. The three flows continued during June. At that time a sudden change was noted at a thermal spring along the Tabacón valley (NW of Arenal's summit). Its surface dropped by ~60 cm; the temperature of the spring remained stable, however, at 52°C. Deformation in the first half of 2001 showed only minor changes in both surveyed lines and tilt meters. The precise leveling lines on the W flank continued to show deflation on the order of 7 µrad/year.

OVSICORI-UNA stated that on 16 June at 0610 a small PF erupted. Although it failed to cause reported damage, it descended the NW flank in the direction of Balneario de Tabacón (a popular lodging and spa complex with thermal pools) situated farther downslope. During July two of the lava flows (the N- and NE-flank lavas) erupted during May and June stopped progressing. Meanwhile, the third lava flow, which exited crater C on the NW flank, remained active and mobile. During July and August, the eruptive vigor stood at modest levels; still, some eruption columns during July rose 500 m. The August and September reports stated that the one remaining actively progressing lava flow reached 950 and then 900 m elevation, respectively. It descended the same channel followed by the 16 July PF but had advanced little if any farther through October.

More PFs on 19 September 2001, during 1633-1640, and at 1646, were generated by lateral loosening of the lava flow at ~1,300 m elevation; it reached ~900 m elevation. The larger had an associated coffee-colored, mushroom-shaped cloud reaching more than 1 km in height. The associated ash cloud blew SE. PFs descended again on 18 October at 1035 from ~1,200 m elevation NE to 900 m elevation. Winds carried the associated ash cloud W.

Reference. Alvarado, G.E., and Arroyo, I., 2000, The pyroclastic flows of Arenal (Costa Rica) between 1975 and 2000: Origin, frequency, distribution and related hazards: Bulletin Osivam, v. 12, no. 23-24, p. 39-53.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, E. Duarte, E. Malavassi, R. Sáenz, V. Barboza, R. Van der Laat, T. Marino, E. Hernández, and F. Chavarría, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (OVSICORI-UNA); Jorge Barquero and Wendy Sáenz, Laboratorio de Química de la Atmósfera (LAQAT), Depto. de Química, Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica; María Martínez (at both affiliations above); Orlando Vaselli and Franco Tassi, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Florence, Via La Pira 4, 50121 Florence, Italy; Ivonne Arroyo and Guillermo Alvarado, Observatorio Sismológico y Vulcanológico de Arenal y Miravalles (OSIVAM) Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apdo 10032-San José, Costa Rica; Mauricio Mora, Sección de Sismología, Vulcanología y Exploración Geofísica, Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), Apdo. 214-2060 San José, Costa Rica.


Awu (Indonesia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Awu

Indonesia

3.689°N, 125.447°E; summit elev. 1318 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elevated seismicity during last half of 2000

The Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) issued reports of activity at Awu during June-July 2000, November-December 2002, and more recently during January-early March 2003, all of which are summarized here.

During June 2000, VSI reported an increase in seismicity, especially deep volcanic earthquakes (table 1). Satellite-relayed monitoring (by ARGOS) showed an increase in seismic energy beginning on 18 May 2000; deformation data showed inflation of ~800 µrad since 23 May.

Table 1. Seismicity reported at Awu during 13 June 2000-2 March 2003. Courtesy VSI.

Date Deep Volcanic (A-type) Shallow Volcanic (B-type) Tectonic
13 Jun-19 Jun 2000 21 -- 161
25 Jul-30 Jul 2000 389 -- 135
17 Oct 2002 3 -- --
20 Oct 2002 1 -- --
05 Nov 2002 1 -- --
07 Nov 2002 1 -- --
09 Nov-12 Nov 2002 ~2/day -- --
11 Nov 2002 2 -- 33
12 Nov 2002 2 -- 28
13 Nov 2002 -- -- 22
14 Nov 2002 -- -- 23
15 Nov 2002 56 25 18
16 Nov 2002 2 12 26
17 Nov 2002 1 1 36
19 Nov-24 Nov 2002 12 5 129
23 Dec-29 Dec 2002 1 -- 196
06 Jan-12 Jan 2003 4 -- 161
13 Jan-19 Jan 2003 2 -- 114
20 Jan-26 Jan 2003 3 -- 151
27 Jan-02 Feb 2003 4 -- 121
03 Feb-09 Feb 2003 5 -- 125
10 Feb-16 Feb 2003 1 -- 95
17 Feb-23 Feb 2003 2 -- 155

During 14-16 October 2002, tremor was recorded and was followed by a felt tectonic earthquake with an amplitude of I-II MMI on 10 October. Soon after the tremor activity decreased, volcanic earthquakes began to be recorded (table 1). VSI reported a significant increase in seismicity during mid-November 2002; volcanic earthquakes that normally occurred less than five times per day occurred 81 times on 15 November. Activity decreased to normal levels by late 2002. Visual observations of the summit did not reveal significant changes. Volcanic earthquakes continued during January-early March 2003 (table 1). Awu remained at Alert Level 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Geologic Background. The massive Gunung Awu stratovolcano occupies the northern end of Great Sangihe Island, the largest of the Sangihe arc. Deep valleys that form passageways for lahars dissect the flanks of the volcano, which was constructed within a 4.5-km-wide caldera. Powerful explosive eruptions in 1711, 1812, 1856, 1892, and 1966 produced devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused more than 8000 cumulative fatalities. Awu contained a summit crater lake that was 1 km wide and 172 m deep in 1922, but was largely ejected during the 1966 eruption.

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


Bezymianny (Russia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


26 July 2003 ash plume to 8-11 km altitude

According to visual observation from the city of Klyuchi by Yu. Demyanchuk, a large explosive eruption of Bezymianny began at 2120 on 26 July 2003; a later report from KVERT (Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team) indicated that the eruption began at 2057. An ash plume rose up to 8-11 km and extended to the W, WNW, and SW. A large pyroclastic flow probably formed.

Prior to the eruption, a weak thermal anomaly was noted on satellite images from 6 July. Two shallow earthquakes of M 1.8 registered on 23 and 25 July.

Satellite data revealed plumes extending WNW at 2122 and 2300 on 26 July, to distances of 31 km and 86 km, respectively. Longer plumes were reported on 27 July to 192 km at 0305 and 217 km at 0445. At 1102 on 27 July, an 8-pixel thermal anomaly was observed with a temperature of 31°C on a background of 10°C. The ash cloud was ~250-300 km W of the vent. At 1258 that day a 5-pixel thermal anomaly was noted with a temperature of 50°C on a background of 35°C. The ash cloud was unchanged, and was also detected at 1325. At 1240 probable pyroclastic deposits were identified on the SE flank.

Satellite observations also noted that at 2058 on 27 July, a 10-pixel thermal anomaly yielded a temperature of 29°C on a background of 9°C. At 0246 on 28 July a 2-to 6-pixel thermal anomaly yielded a temperature of 33°C on a background of 5°C. At 2216 there was a 1-pixel thermal anomaly without accompanying ash. At 0246 and 0715 on 28 July, 2-to 6-pixel thermal anomalies were noted, with temperatures of 33° and 39°C on a background of 5° and 16°C, respectively. No ash was recorded for either event.

No seismicity was registered on 27-30 July, and no visual information was available because of meteorological clouds. Thermal anomalies of 1-to 3-pixels with a temperature of 16-25°C on backgrounds from -3° to 5° C, were observed on 28-29 July, 31 July, and 1 August. No seismicity was registered from 31 July-3 August, in part because of the seismicity due to a large volcanic tremor at nearby Klyuchevskoy. According to visual data, gas-steam plumes extended ~15 km to the NW on 2 August. Clouds obscured the volcano on other days.

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

Information Contacts: Olga Girina, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), a cooperative program of the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia, the Kamchatka Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department (KEMSD), GS RAS (Russia), and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (USA); Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.


Chikurachki (Russia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Chikurachki

Russia

50.324°N, 155.461°E; summit elev. 1781 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrequent observations suggest weaker eruptions continued in July 2003

The eruption of the Chikurachki volcano that began on 18 April 2003 continued into mid-July. Ash explosions, possibly up to 4 km above the crater, diminished, and by 3 July only rose up to 2 km above the crater. The volcano is remote, being ~60 km from Severo-Kurilsk on Paramushir Island. It also lacks seismic instruments, and the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) receives only occasional reports from Severo-Kurilsk.

According to a report from Leonid Kotenko of Severo-Kurilsk, ash explosions up to 500 m above the crater were observed from Shelekhov bay during 1930-2310 on 27 May. Ash plumes extended 70-80 km to the NE. At 0900 on 28 May, an ash plume rose 4 km above the crater and extended over 100 km to the NE. From 1030 on the same day, the plume heights decreased to 500 m above the crater. On 29 May, low-level ash plumes extended 15-20 km to the NE. In the afternoon of 29 May, an ash plume rose ~1.2 km above the crater, extended over Severo-Kurilsk, and ash fell on the town. Explosions occurred continually.

MODIS (moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer) Terra and Aqua Goddard images from 1105 and 1235 on 30 May, depicted a faint, small ash cloud trending to the E. Clouds obscured the volcano on the other days in later May.

Kotenko reported on 6 June that the eruption continued. On 8 June, an ash plume extended 25-30 km to the SSE. On 9-10 June, the plume did not rise more than 500 m above the volcano and extended SSE. Ash fell on the Podgorny settlement, located at a distance of ~20 km SSE of the volcano. The observers from Shelekhov bay had noted more strong explosions during the night than in the day-time.

In the AVHRR (advanced very-high resolution radiometer) image at 1308 on 6 June, a narrow weak ash plume was observed extending to the SE for about 100 km from the volcano. In MODIS Goddard Terra images at 1100 on 8 June and at 1145 on 9 June, a narrow plume was seen extending to the SE for ~100 km. In the AVHRR image at 1245 on 9 June, this plume was also seen, but no ash was detected. Clouds obscured the volcano on the other days.

According to observers from Shelekhov settlement, on 15-16 June an ash plume was observed constantly at the volcano summit. The plume did not rise upwards, but was bent down the flanks of the volcano by a strong wind. On 17 June, observers saw a short gas-steam plume bent by a gale-force wind. On 18 June, Kotenko reported that the eruption continued. On other days, clouds obscured the volcano and prevented observation. According to the last report from Severo-Kurilsk, on 17-25 June, when the weather was good, fishermen from Shelekhovo bay observed only gas-steam activity from the volcano.

By 3 July, KVERT reported that the eruption of Chikurachki had possibly finished. According to satellite data from the USA and Russia, no activity of the volcano was noted from 25 June through 11 July.

Geologic Background. Chikurachki, the highest volcano on Paramushir Island in the northern Kuriles, is actually a relatively small cone constructed on a high Pleistocene volcanic edifice. Oxidized basaltic-to-andesitic scoria deposits covering the upper part of the young cone give it a distinctive red color. Frequent basaltic plinian eruptions have occurred during the Holocene. Lava flows from 1781-m-high Chikurachki reached the sea and form capes on the NW coast; several young lava flows also emerge from beneath the scoria blanket on the eastern flank. The Tatarinov group of six volcanic centers is located immediately to the south of Chikurachki, and the Lomonosov cinder cone group, the source of an early Holocene lava flow that reached the saddle between it and Fuss Peak to the west, lies at the southern end of the N-S-trending Chikurachki-Tatarinov complex. In contrast to the frequently active Chikurachki, the Tatarinov volcanoes are extensively modified by erosion and have a more complex structure. Tephrochronology gives evidence of only one eruption in historical time from Tatarinov, although its southern cone contains a sulfur-encrusted crater with fumaroles that were active along the margin of a crater lake until 1959.

Information Contacts: Olga Girina, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), a cooperative program of the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia, the Kamchatka Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department (KEMSD), GS RAS (Russia), and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (USA); Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.


Colima (Mexico) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small explosions produced, including two on 17 July; absence of lava flows

Explosive activity at Colima continued in May and July 2003. A small explosive eruption reported at 1024 on 2 May 2003 produced an ash cloud visible on satellite imagery and monitoring cameras, but rising to no more than 500 m above the crater. The Mexico City Meteorological Watch Office stated that the plume moved SW of the summit at 5-10 knots (9-18 km/hour). The Washington VAAC described the plume as very small.

Nick Varley pointed out on 18 May that the GVP / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 7-13 May 2003 incorrectly reported lava flows at Colima. He noted that "No lava has been produced since the beginning of March [2003]. The current activity comprises small explosions, on average some 25 per day, some containing ash. The dispersal of the ash is limited to approximately 7 km from the summit."

More significant explosions were reported on 17 July 2003. The first, at 0527, threw incandescent material 500 m high and an ash column to ~3 km height that blew SW . Small forest fires caused by the incandescent material 2.5-4 km SW of the crater suggested that the explosion was also directed to this sector. An explosion at 1400 on 17 July, produced an ash-laden cloud 1,000 m high, again dispersing SW. The seismic energy released by the 0527 explosion was reported to be less than half that released in the 1999 explosions.

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: Observatorio Vulcanologico de la Universidad de Colima, Colima, Col., 28045, México (URL: https://portal.ucol.mx/cueiv/); Nick Varley, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Colima Av. 25 de Julio 965, Col. San Sebastian Apdo. postal 25, Colima, CP 28045, México.


Dieng Volcanic Complex (Indonesia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Dieng Volcanic Complex

Indonesia

7.2°S, 109.879°E; summit elev. 2565 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mud bubbling and outflows at Sileri crater that reached 50 m beyond crater rim

According to the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), on 20 July 2003 mud poured from Sileri crater. The crater contains a lake and boiling mud pots, and has been the site of small-to-moderate historical eruptions. The incident of 20 July occurred at night and sent mud as far as 25 m S of the crater rim. On 21 July, a temperature measurement of the crater recorded 74°C, no striking increase from earlier measurements.

On the morning of 24 July, another mud outpouring from the crater covered an area up to 50 m N and E of the crater rim. Activity then continued with small areas of mud bubbling and ejecta thrown 1 m high at the middle of the crater. Neither of the mud-outpouring events were recorded on the seismometer 1.1 km S of the crater. The volcano's hazard status was raised to level 2 on 22 July.

Geologic Background. The Dieng plateau in the highlands of central Java is renowned both for the variety of its volcanic scenery and as a sacred area housing Java's oldest Hindu temples, dating back to the 9th century CE. The Dieng volcanic complex consists of two or more stratovolcanoes and more than 20 small craters and cones of Pleistocene-to-Holocene age over a 6 x 14 km area. Prahu stratovolcano was truncated by a large Pleistocene caldera, which was subsequently filled by a series of dissected to youthful cones, lava domes, and craters, many containing lakes. Lava flows cover much of the plateau, but have not occurred in historical time, when activity has been restricted to minor phreatic eruptions. Toxic gas emissions are a hazard at several craters and have caused fatalities. The abundant thermal features and high heat flow make Dieng a major geothermal prospect.

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


Gamalama (Indonesia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Gamalama

Indonesia

0.8°N, 127.33°E; summit elev. 1715 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ashfall from 31 July eruption coats Ternate; pyroclastic flow

According to the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), at 0300 on 31 July 2003, six type-A volcanic earthquakes were recorded. At 0600 the cloud issuing from the crater became thicker, but the gas pressure remained modest and similar to that normally seen. A series of explosive eruptions that began at 1434 sent a dark gray ash column 500-1,000 m high that drifted E toward Sultan Baabulah airport. A second explosion at 1625 produced a dark-gray ash column with strong gas pressure. The ash column rose 1-2 km above rim and drifted E carrying glowing material.

At 1627 a pyroclastic flow into Togorar valley on the NE flank traveled as much as 1 km but did not reach the village. A continuous blasting sound accompanied a series of ash emissions. Between 1704-1812, a dark gray ash column rose to 1,000-1,500 m, then during 1850-2200 a white-gray ash plume rose to 500 m. Several white gas plumes rose 10-150 m from 2209 through 0600 on 1 August. A steady glow was observed from 0200-0400.

After the initial outbursts, during 0000-1430 on 1 August, seismometers registered seven tectonic earthquakes, 16 shallow volcanic earthquakes, and two deep volcanic earthquakes. Continuous tremor also registered, with a maximum amplitude of 29-30 mm. Ashfall was 1-3 cm thick in the E part of the area, and some of the local population was evacuated.

According to local officials, Ternate (the regional capital, ~7 km E of Gamalama) was covered with thick ash. There were no reports of casualties or damage. The hazard status was set at level 3 starting at 1250 on 31 July and raised to the maximum, level 4, at 0000 the next day.

VSI reported that the last eruption occurred in 1996 from the main crater, followed by a pyroclastic flow to the E.

Geologic Background. Gamalama is a near-conical stratovolcano that comprises the entire island of Ternate off the western coast of Halmahera, and is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. The island was a major regional center in the Portuguese and Dutch spice trade for several centuries, which contributed to the thorough documentation of Gamalama's historical activity. Three cones, progressively younger to the north, form the summit. Several maars and vents define a rift zone, parallel to the Halmahera island arc, that cuts the volcano. Eruptions, recorded frequently since the 16th century, typically originated from the summit craters, although flank eruptions have occurred in 1763, 1770, 1775, and 1962-63.

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


Kanlaon (Philippines) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Kanlaon

Philippines

10.412°N, 123.132°E; summit elev. 2435 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


1-km-high plume of ash-laden steam on 10-11 July 2003

Ash ejections were reported at Canlaon (also spelled Kanlaon) on 10 and 11 July 2003. At 1735 on 10 July a column of ash-laden steam, described as a moderate to strong dirty white color, was seen rising from the volcano to a height of 1 km by observers in Kanlaon City. The cloud drifted to the NW, SW, and NE, with an area within a 4-km radius from the crater affected by ashfall. The explosion registered as a low-frequency volcanic earthquake. Prior to this activity, two low-frequency volcanic earthquakes and two low-frequency short-duration harmonic tremors were recorded by the seismograph at Kanlaon Volcano Station. The phreatic activity continued as of 2000 that night.

Two ash ejections were reported on 11 July, from 0620 to 0624 and 0658 to 0705. Dirty white steam rose up to 1.3 km above the crater and drifted to the SW. The seismic network recorded six low-frequency volcanic earthquakes and three low-frequency short-duration harmonic tremors.

The alert status remained at Level 1 and PHIVOLCS reiterated its warning to the public not to venture within the 4 km radius Permanent Danger Zone.

Geologic Background. Kanlaon volcano (also spelled Canlaon), the most active of the central Philippines, forms the highest point on the island of Negros. The massive andesitic stratovolcano is dotted with fissure-controlled pyroclastic cones and craters, many of which are filled by lakes. The largest debris avalanche known in the Philippines traveled 33 km SW from Kanlaon. The summit contains a 2-km-wide, elongated northern caldera with a crater lake and a smaller, but higher, historically active vent, Lugud crater, to the south. Historical eruptions, recorded since 1866, have typically consisted of phreatic explosions of small-to-moderate size that produce minor ashfalls near the volcano.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, PHIVOLCS Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue, Univ. of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


June 2003 ash plumes and two lava avalanches

Karangetang was the scene of volcanic and seismic unrest during early June 2003. The volcano produced ash plumes up to 400 m high and two lava avalanches.

In reports from the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), activity for the week of 2-8 June 2003 was characterized by emissions of white-to-dark gray colored ash from the S crater, rising to 400 m. Observers at night noted a red glow up to 25 m over the crater. In the N crater, a white-colored gas emission rose to 150 m. During this week, a lava avalanche that occurred in the direction of the Batang river reached as far as 1000 m from the crater. There was a decrease in multiphase earthquakes compared to the previous week, but an increase in shallow volcanic earthquakes.

During the week of 9-15 June, white-colored gas emissions came from both the N and the S craters. Observers at night noted a continued red glow up to 25 m over the crater. Another lava avalanche occurred, this time traveling in the direction of the Beha river as far as 1000 m and toward the Batu Awang river as far as 250 m from the crater. There were increases in volcanic earthquakes and avalanche events.

The seismic record for 2-8 June suggested 11 deep volcanic earthquakes, 348 shallow volcanic earthquakes, 233 multiphase earthquakes, 46 emission earthquakes, 110 avalanches, and 26 tectonic earthquakes. The seismic record for 9-15 June noted 32 deep volcanic earthquakes, 438 shallow volcanic earthquakes, one explosion event, 228 multiphase earthquakes, 21 emission earthquakes, 447 avalanches, and 20 tectonic events. The volcano remained at alert level 2 (on a scale reaching a maximum of 4).

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

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


Karymsky (Russia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


May-July ash plumes; affiliated seismicity and satellite thermal anomalies

Dark ash was observed on the NE, SE, and W flanks of the volcano on 30 May in a MODIS (moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer) Terra image. Intermittent explosive eruptive activity at Karymsky occurred from early June into mid-August 2003, with seismic activity above background levels. Between 90 and 270 local shallow events occurred per day. The character of the seismicity indicated that ash-and-gas explosions to heights of 1,000-2,000 m above the volcano (2,500-3,500 m altitude) and gas blow-outs possibly occurred. On the morning of 17 July a strong, long duration (86 minutes), seismic event occurred that possibly resulted from a large pyroclastic flow or the onset of a new lava emission. Satellite data confirmed the continuing activity (table 3).

Table 3. Thermal anomalies at Karymsky from AVHHR (advanced very-high resolution radiometer) satellite images and visual observation during June and July 2003. Courtesy Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT).

Date(s) Thermal Anomaly (pixels) Comments
03 Jun 2003 2 (faint) No ash plume observed
22-24 Jun 2003 1-4 --
27 Jun 2003 -- Short narrow plume to NE
28-30 Jun 2003 1-4 --
04, 06-09 Jul 2003 1-4 --
14-15 Jul 2003 2-3 --
13, 16 Jul 2003 2-5 No ash plumes observed
19 Jul 2003 -- Ash plume to SW
25, 27-29 Jul 2003 1-3 --

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 Girina, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), a cooperative program of the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia, the Kamchatka Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department (KEMSD), GS RAS (Russia), and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (USA); Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas-and-steam plumes June-August with occassional ash plumes

Eruptions continued at Kliuchevskoi during late 2002 through mid-2003, with typical plume heights estimated at several hundred meters and occasionally reaching ~2 km above the volcano (eg., early July and August 2003). Above-background seismicity prevailed during most or all the reporting interval.

The volcano (also spelled Klyuchevskoy) was last reported on in BGVN 28:02, and vol. 27, no. 11, issues discussing events through 4 March 2003. This report relies heavily on tabled data to convey observations from as far back as 3 December 2002, providing some further details during the 3 December-4 March 2003 interval of overlap with the earlier reports. The source reports came from the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) and were communicated via the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO). Table 9 summarizes recent plume observations, while table 10 summarizes recent earthquake and intermittent spasmodic volcanic tremor, basically above-background seismicity affiliated with ongoing eruptive unrest.

Table 9. Plumes visible at Kliuchevskoi during December 2002 through mid-April 2003. Courtesy KVERT.

Date Plume details
30 Nov-2 and 4 Dec 2002 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 100-400 m above crater and extended 10 km SE, E, W, and N.
03 Dec 2002 Gas-and-steam plumes rose ~1,300 m above crater and extended N and NE (NNE ~15 km from Russian satellite data).
05, 09, 12 Dec 2002 Gas-and-steam plumes rose ~100 m above crater and extended 3-10 km E and SE.
10-11 Dec 2002 Gas-and-steam plumes rose ~1,500 m above crater and extended N and NE.
13-16, 18 Dec 2002 Gas-and-steam plumes rose ~100-800 m above crater and extended 5-10 km E and SE.
17, 19 Dec 2002 Gas-and-steam plumes rose ~1,000-1,500 m above crater and extended 10 km E.
19, 21, 23 Dec 2002 Gas-and-steam plumes rose ~1,000-2,000 m above crater and extended to E, S, and N.
24 Dec 2002 (0100 UTC) Gas-and-ash explosion rose ~4,000 m above crater and plume extended WSW.
04 Jan 2003 (2125 UTC) Gas-and-steam plume rose ~1,000 m above crater and extended 20 km NE.
05, 07, 09 Jan 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 10 m above crater.
08 Jan 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 1,000 m above crater.
11-13, 15 Jan 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 50-300 m above crater (very narrow plume extended 30-50 km NNE from US satellite data).
24, 27 Jan 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 1,000 m above crater and extended 10 km NE (24 Jan) and SE (27 Jan).
25-26, 28-29 Jan 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 100-300 m above crater.
01-03 Feb 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 100-300 m above crater (extended 30 km NNE from Russian satellite data).
04 Feb 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 1,300 m above crater and extended 10 km NE.
09 Feb 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 1,500 m above crater and extended 10 km N.
10 Feb 2003 Narrow gas-and-steam plume extending 25 km N.
11, 13, 18-19 Feb 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 50 m above crater.
15-17 Feb 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 1,000 m above crater.
22-26 Feb 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 200 m above crater.
23 Feb 2003 Gray sector (perhaps ash deposits) showed up on MODIS satellite data from Russia on the SE part of summit.
05 Mar 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 300 m above crater.
10-13 Mar 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 50 m above crater.
16 Mar 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes extended 25-40 km W (from US and Russian satellite data).
18-19 Mar 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 700-1,500 m above crater (extended less than 30 km W on 19 Mar, from US and Russian satellite data).
21-22 and 24-25 Mar 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose up to 300-1,000 m above crater and and extended 5-30 km in all directions (extended 30 km NNW on 21 Mar and 100 km NNE on 24 Mar, from US and Russian satellite data).
22 Mar 2003 Gas-and-steam explosions with ash-poor plumes that rose up to 200 m above the crater.
28-30 Mar, 02 Apr 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose up to 50-300 m above crater and extended in all directions 5-20 km (10 km NW on 28 Mar, from US and Russian satellite data).
05 Apr 2003 Gas-and-steam plumes rose up to 300 m above crater and extended 10 km E.
07 Apr 2003 Weak fumarolic activity observed.
15-16 Apr 2003 Series of ash plumes rose up to 300 m above crater and extended 10 km E.

Table 10. Earthquakes and intermittent spasmodic volcanic tremor registered at Kliuchevskoi during December 2002 through mid-April 2003. Courtesy of KVERT.

Date Earthquakes per day (~30 km depth) Intermittent tremor (in terms of geophone velocity)
28 Nov-01 Dec 2002 8-13 ~0.8 x 10-6 m/s.
02-04 Dec 2002 24-33 ~0.8 x 10-6 m/s.
05-12 Dec 2002 12-24 ~0.5-0.7 x 10-6 m/s.
13-19 Dec 2002 6-12 0.5-0.7 x 10-6 m/s.
19-25 Dec 2002 6-9 ~0.6-0.7 x 10-6 m/s.
24 Dec 2002 -- Gas-and-ash explosion at 0010 UTC.
03-04 Jan 2003 9, 10 ~0.5-0.7 x 10-6 m/s.
05-09 Jan 2003 10-13; one M 1.75 earthquake Increased from 0.55 x 10-6 m/s on 5-7 Jan to 0.7 x 10-6 m/s on 8 Jan.
10-12 Jan 2003 12-18 0.4-0.75 x 10-6 m/s.
13-15 Jan 2003 33-35 0.4-0.75 x 10-6 m/s.
16-23 Jan 2003 -- 0.4-0.6 x 10-6 m/s.
16-19 Jan 2003 Increased from 44 to 90 --
20-22 Jan 2003 Gradually decreased from 35 to 21 --
24-31 Jan 2003 10-22; 18 M 1.25 earthquakes 0.3-0.5 x 10-6 m/s.
01-06 Feb 2003 16-39; 15 M 2.0-2.2 earthquakes 0.4-0.6 x 10-6 m/s.
01 Feb 2003 -- 1.26 x 10-6 m/s from 0311 to 2400 UTC.
06-12 Feb 2003 17-30; 17 M 2.0-2.1 earthquakes 0.5-0.7 x 10-6 m/s.
13-20 Feb 2003 14-81; six M 2.0-2.2 earthquakes 0.4-0.7 x 10-6 m/s (on 14 Feb, continuous tremor increased to 0.9 x 10-6 m/s).
20-27 Feb 2003 10-14; 16 M 2.0-2.2 earthquakes 0.4-0.6 x 10-6 m/s (from 1140 UTC 26 Feb, continuous tremor increased to 0.95 x 10-6 m/s).
28 Feb-06 Mar 2003 5-11; three M 2.0-2.2 earthquakes 0.5-0.8 x 10-6 m/s.
06-13 Mar 2003 6-11; 12 M 2.0-2.2 earthquakes 0.5-0.8 x 10-6 m/s (6-9 Mar)
10-13 Mar 2003 -- 1.1-1.3 x 10-6 m/s.
13-20 Mar 2003 7-9; seven M 2.0-2.1 earthquakes 0.5-1.5 x 10-6 m/s.
14 Mar 2003 -- 1.5 x 10-6 m/s.
20-24 Mar 2003 6-9 --
20-26 Mar 2003 26 on 25 Mar, 41 on 26 Mar; 16 M 2.0-2.2 earthquakes 1.0-2.8 x 10-6 m/s.
28 Mar-03 Apr 2003 24-63 0.7-1.4 x 10-6 m/s.
04-10 Apr 2003 10-15; 14 M 2.0-2.2 earthquakes 1.5-3.7 x 10-6 m/s.
15 Apr 2003 ~70 Up to 4.0 x 10-6 m/s.

Unrest continued during June 2003. Seismicity was above background and continuous spasmodic volcanic tremor tended to increase slowly and consistently. Earthquakes, both at 30 km and shallow depths, continued to register. The character of seismicity also indicated that weak gas-ash explosions possibly occurred. Table 11 summarizes thermal observations.

Table 11. Kliuchevskoi thermal anomalies and plumes observed via Russian and United States satellites, 2 June-11 August 2003. Courtesy of KVERT.

Date Thermal Anomaly (pixels) Comments
02 Jun 2003 -- Gas-and-steam plume rose 400 m above volcano.
03 Jun 2003 3 --
06-07 Jun 2003 -- Ash-poor plume extending S 30-80 km; explosions sent ash-gas plumes to 50-500 m above volcano.
07-08 Jun 2003 weak --
09 Jun 2003 -- Ash on NNE flank.
13, 16, 19 Jun 2003 1-4 Four-pixel anomaly with max temp of 46°C in a background of -1°C; ash-poor plumes 50-500 m above volcano.
23 Jun 2003 3 Possible ash deposits on SE flank; gas-and-steam plumes to 50-700 m above volcano.
28 Jun, 02 Jul 2003 3 Ash-poor plumes to 100 m above volcano); separate and continuous ash plumes to 1,000 m above volcano; plumes extended to E.
04-06 Jul 2003 1-2 Gas-and-steam with ash-poor plume extending 100 km to ESE; separate ash explosions to 2,000 m above volcano.
15-16 Jul 2003 1-2 Separate or series ash explosions to 1,000 m above volcano; strong ash explosions to 2,000 m above volcano.
20-24 Jul 2003 1-4 Gas-and-steam plumes rose from 100-1,000 m above volcano and extended 15 km to SW.
27-29 Jul,01 Aug 2003 1-4 Temperature from 12 to 50°C in a background of -5 to 20°C; gas and steam plumes rose 500-700 m and extended 5 km SW.
01, 04-07 Aug 2003 2-6 Gas-and-steam plumes rose 800-2,000 m above volcano and extended to NW and, later, S.
09, 11 Aug 2003 2-3 --

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 Girina, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), a cooperative program of the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia, the Kamchatka Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department (KEMSD), GS RAS (Russia), and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (USA); Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.


Krakatau (Indonesia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

6.102°S, 105.423°E; summit elev. 813 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Foggy weather and low seismicity

According to reports from the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), no visual observations were made this month due to foggy weather. The volcano remained at alert level 2 for the month. They also noted that relatively few volcanic and tectonic earthquakes were recorded during the weeks of 2-8 and 9-15 June 2003. Specifically, the 2-8 June record consisted of 9 deep volcanic earthquakes, 19 shallow volcanic earthquakes, and 5 tectonic earthquakes; the record of 9-15 June consisted of 6 deep volcanic earthquakes, 17 shallow volcanic earthquakes, and 4 tectonic earthquakes.

In the week of 16-22 June, a significant increase in shallow volcanic earthquakes was observed, although no tectonic earthquakes were recorded. The sesimic record for that week showed 11 deep volcanic earthquakes and 63 shallow volcanic earthquakes. Both volcanic and tectonic earthquakes were recorded for the week of 23-29 June, with 7 deep volcanic earthquakes, 61 shallow volcanic earthquakes, and 2 tectonic earthquakes detected.

Geologic Background. The renowned volcano Krakatau (frequently misstated as Krakatoa) lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. Collapse of the ancestral Krakatau edifice, perhaps in 416 or 535 CE, formed a 7-km-wide caldera. Remnants of this ancestral volcano are preserved in Verlaten and Lang Islands; subsequently Rakata, Danan, and Perbuwatan volcanoes were formed, coalescing to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island. Caldera collapse during the catastrophic 1883 eruption destroyed Danan and Perbuwatan, and left only a remnant of Rakata. This eruption, the 2nd largest in Indonesia during historical time, caused more than 36,000 fatalities, most as a result of devastating tsunamis that swept the adjacent coastlines of Sumatra and Java. Pyroclastic surges traveled 40 km across the Sunda Strait and reached the Sumatra coast. After a quiescence of less than a half century, the post-collapse cone of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) was constructed within the 1883 caldera at a point between the former cones of Danan and Perbuwatan. Anak Krakatau has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927.

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


Leroboleng (Indonesia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Leroboleng

Indonesia

8.365°S, 122.833°E; summit elev. 1095 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


June-July ash plumes reported by pilots may be the first eruptions in 122 years

The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) provided a series of pilot reports on Leroboleng. Confirmation from observers on the ground are pending.

At 1038 on 26 June 2003 aviators reportedly saw an ash plume rise to ~1.8 km altitude. An aircraft crew advised that the activity appeared to be increasing. Ash was not visible on satellite imagery. Another report stated that an ash plume was visible above Leroboleng at 1606 on 14 July at ~2.5 km altitude. Ash was not visible on satellite imagery and at that time VSI personnel could not observe the volcano. An alleged eruption on 29 July at 0900 lasted 10 minutes and sent an ash cloud to ~7.3 km altitude.

Geologic Background. Leroboleng volcano, also known as Lereboleng or Lewono, lies at the eastern end of a 4.5-km-long, WSW-ESE-trending chain of three volcanoes straddling a narrow peninsula in NE Flores Island. The summit of Gunung Leroboleng contains 29 small fissure-controlled craters, two containing lakes. A small lava dome occupies one of the craters. Most of the craters originated along three N-S-trending fissures immediately east of the summit of the volcano. The largest crater, 250-m-wide Ili Gelimun, is located SSE of the summit and fed lava flows from a lower south-flank vent. Explosive eruptions were reported from Burak crater during the 19th century.

Information Contacts: 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/).


Cerro Negro (Nicaragua) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Cerro Negro

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Slumbering volcano yields uneventful seismic and fumarolic temperature data

Seismic activity has been monitored at Cerro Negro for the past 15 months. From April 2002 seismicity remained low with eight earthquakes registered in May and June. Earthquake activity was moderate in August (32), September (28), and October (28); no earthquakes were registered in November or December. Activity increased again in January 2003, when 91 tectonic events were registered. Activity dropped in February to 14 tectonic events but increased again in March (44 tectonic earthquakes, two of which were located underneath Cerro Negro), April (45), and May (41 volcano-tectonic earthquakes). Tremors remained low (5 RSAM units).

Gas emissions and fumarole temperatures measured by hand-held infrared instrument (table 3) were also monitored over this period. A visit on 12 April 2002 by Pedro Perez of INETER, Eliecer Duarte and Eric Fernandez of OVSICORI-UNA, Costa Rica, and Franco Tassi and Orlando Vaselli of the University of Florence, Italy, found that fumarole temperatures were down from February. Monthly visits to the volcano started in June 2002.

Table 3. Temperatures (°C) of fumaroles (identified by number) at Cerro Negro, June 2002-May 2003. Fumaroles 2-4 are in the crater formed in 1995. Courtesy of INETER.

Date Fumarole 1 Fumarole 2 Fumarole 3 Fumarole 4 Fumarole 6 Fumarole 7 Fumarole 8
05 Jun 2002 252 -- -- -- -- -- --
28 Aug 2002 255 -- -- -- -- 184 189
09 Sep 2002 257 -- -- -- 175 184 189
18 Oct 2002 326 -- -- -- 157 223 188
21 Nov 2002 475 564 245 475 -- -- --
22 Nov 2002 448 479 200 207 -- -- --
05 Dec 2002 403 508 385 208 -- -- 316 / 278
09 Jan 2003 402 486 494 402 -- -- --
10 Feb 2003 402 486 494 402 -- -- --
21 Mar 2003 468 -- -- -- -- -- --
04 Apr 2003 388 -- -- -- -- -- --
03 May 2003 399 78.6 226 -- 239 203 255

On 5 June, following heavy rain, steam was observed exiting the fissure SE of the volcano. Observations on 18 July noted abundant gas emissions at all fumaroles and a strong scent of sulfur around the entire crater. Emissions continued on the SE fissure and in Este del Cerro La Mula. On 28 August, Perez observed gas emissions at fumarole 4 and a continued sulfur odor. Falling rocks were observed in the inner crater. Few gas emissions were observed on 9 September and 18 October, but the strong scent of sulfur persisted. No landslides were observed. Gas emissions were observed at the fumaroles of Este del Cerro La Mula with greater abundance than in previous months.

Perez visited again on 21 November and during 25-27 November, accompanied by Matthias Frische, Kris Garofalo, Thor Hansten, and Boo Gall (GEOMAR Germany). The maximum measured temperature in the new crater was 564°C and for fumarole 1 of the old crater the temperature was 334°C.

The sampling that began in November continued in the following months. On 5 December temperatures continued to be high in the cone formed in 1995. The maximum fumarole temperature on the new cone was 494°C. The visit on 10 February included more sampling, but no physical change was observed at the volcano. Recorded temperatures did not vary from those made in January. Temperature measurements at fumarole 1 on 21 March 2003 revealed an increase of 66°C from February. On 30 and 31 March there was a slight increase of 20 RSAM units and officials observed the volcano for several hours, witnessing no anomolies. On 4 April more temperature measurements and gas sampling were performed and rock was noted to be loosening in fumarole 4. On 3 May the temperatures of the fumaroles located within the crater were constant with respect to the previous months, with the exception of fumarole 6, which had an increase of 100°C. Strong gas emissions were observed in parts of the inner crater.

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

Information Contacts: Pedro Perez, Armando Saballos, and Aduardo Mayorga, Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado 1761, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/).


Papandayan (Indonesia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Papandayan

Indonesia

7.32°S, 107.73°E; summit elev. 2665 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


After the explosions of November 2002, seismicity and eruptions waned

On 11 November 2002, ash eruptions occurred at Papandayan (BGVN 27:11 and figure 8). Subsequently, seismic and eruptive activity waned, although gas emission continued (ending 4 May 2003). Lessening seismicity and volcanism in January 2003 resulted in a reduction of the hazard status from 3 to 2 (on a scale of 1 to 4, where 4 is the highest). Reduction in the activity continued through the beginning of May 2003 at which time the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) terminated its weekly reporting on Papandayan.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Photograph of the new crater at Papandayan formed on 11 November 2002; by 8 December it was no longer active and was filled by water. The crater diameter is ~ 300 m. Courtesy of VSI.

During December 2002, white-gray ash plume was emitted continually from Baru crater and rose 150-400 m to the NE. [After the week of 16-22 December only gas plumes were emitted (described as "white ash emission").] As the activity level reduced (table 2) the typical height of the plume dropped from 150-400 m during December and early January 2003 to 75-250 m by late-January.

Table 2. Weekly seismic events at Papandayan from 2 December 2002 to 4 May 2003. Courtesy of VSI.

Date Deep Shallow Tectonic Avalanches
02 Dec-08 Dec 2002 9 10 17 --
09 Dec-15 Dec 2002 1 25 -- --
16 Dec-22 Dec 2002 1 20 21 --
23 Dec-29 Dec 2002 3 16 12 --
30 Dec-05 Jan 2003 28 42 29 --
06 Jan-12 Jan 2003 11 21 33 7
13 Jan-19 Jan 2003 7 11 16 12
20 Jan-26 Jan 2003 14 30 29 --
27 Jan-02 Feb 2003 8 25 30 --
03 Feb-09 Feb 2003 3 18 12 1
10 Feb-16 Feb 2003 -- 14 18 2
17 Feb-23 Feb 2003 3 24 17 3
24 Feb-02 Mar 2003 2 1 3 --
03 Mar-09 Mar 2003 -- 1 -- 7
10 Mar-16 Mar 2003 1 10 16 --
17 Mar-23 Mar 2003 2 8 24 --
24 Mar-30 Mar 2003 2 10 14 --
31 Mar-06 Apr 2003 3 15 33 --
07 Apr-13 Apr 2003 1 8 9 --
14 Apr-20 Apr 2003 2 12 16 --
21 Apr-27 Apr 2003 8 5 23 --
28 Apr-04 May 2003 2 7 3 --

Two explosions occurred at 0700 on 4 December and at 1758 on 8 December 2002, and another occurred at 1758 on 12 December. During the week of 2-8 December, shallow volcanic earthquakes decreased, while deep volcanic and tectonic earthquakes increased. During the subsequent week, shallow earthquakes increased, while deep earthquakes decreased (table 2). Insignificant lahars occurred at Cibeureum Gede and Ciparugpug rivers at 1600 on 13 December and at 1700 on 14 December. The movement of stepped landslides on the wall of Nangklak crater were recorded on the seismograph throughout most of December; the last landslide occurred at 1154 on 21 December. The hazard level was reduced to 2 by the week of 13-19 January 2003.

Geologic Background. Papandayan is a complex stratovolcano with four large summit craters, the youngest of which was breached to the NE by collapse during a brief eruption in 1772 and contains active fumarole fields. The broad 1.1-km-wide, flat-floored Alun-Alun crater truncates the summit of Papandayan, and Gunung Puntang to the north gives a twin-peaked appearance. Several episodes of collapse have created an irregular profile and produced debris avalanches that have impacted lowland areas. A sulfur-encrusted fumarole field occupies historically active Kawah Mas ("Golden Crater"). After its first historical eruption in 1772, in which collapse of the NE flank produced a catastrophic debris avalanche that destroyed 40 villages and killed nearly 3000 people, only small phreatic eruptions had occurred prior to an explosive eruption that began in November 2002.

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


Semeru (Indonesia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, and high seismicity continue through June

According to the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI), activity during 24 March-29 June 2003 was continually at a high level. Explosions produced white-gray ash plumes several times per week that rose 300-600 m over the summit. Pyroclastic flows on 27 March had a run-out distance of 3,750 m toward Besuk Bang. More pyroclastic-flow events on 14 and 18 April traveled toward Besuk Bang (3,500 m) and Besuk Kembar (2,500 m). On 11 May a pyroclastic flow entered Besuk Kembar and extended 1,500 m. Seismographs continually recorded earthquake activity (table 12). The hazard status remained at Level 2 (on a scale of 1-4) throughout the report period.

Table 12. Seismicity at Semeru, 24 March-29 June 2003. Courtesy of VSI.

Date Explosion Avalanche Tremor Other Tectonic
24 Mar-30 Mar 2003 794 48 17 1 flood; 12 PF 6
31 Mar-06 Apr 2003 738 28 12 2 shallow; 2 PF 6
07 Apr-13 Apr 2003 698 33 11 7 PF 6
14 Apr-20 Apr 2003 697 70 20 12 PF 7
21 Apr-27 Apr 2003 713 82 16 1 deep volc 9
28 Apr-04 May 2003 651 36 31 1 deep volc 2
05 May-11 May 2003 846 37 27 2 shallow volc; 1 PF 5
12 May-18 May 2003 730 41 38 1 shallow volc 3
19 May-25 May 2003 748 17 17 -- 8
26 May-01 Jun 2003 585 27 26 -- 8
02 Jun-08 Jun 2003 758 29 24 -- 4
09 Jun-15 Jun 2003 600 27 63 2 deep volc 13
16 Jun-22 Jun 2003 711 20 13 1 shallow volc 8
23 Jun-29 Jun 2003 838 33 -- -- 4

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


Sheveluch (Russia) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome growth and ash-and-gas plumes to 5 km high

Eruptive activity continued during May-August 2003, including growth of a lava dome in the active crater. Seismic activity continued to remain above background levels, and shallow earthquakes at a depth of 5 km were recorded with magnitudes in the range of 1.8-2.8. Several short-lived explosive eruptions each week sent ash-gas plumes to heights of 2,500-5,000 m above the dome. Intermittent spasmodic volcanic tremor was registered. Satellite data on thermal anomalies are shown in table 7.

Table 7. US and Russian satellite data summarizing thermal anomalies associated with Sheveluch from late May to early August 2003. Courtesy of Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT).

Date(s) Thermal Anomaly (pixels) Comments
30 May 2003 1-4 No ash plumes observed.
06-09 Jun 2003 1-6 Gas/steam plumes rose 100-700 m above dome and extended E.
13-14, 16-17 Jun 2003 1-6 Gas/steam plume rose 100 m above dome and extended 5 km NE.
21-22 Jun 2003 1-4 Gas/steam plumes rose 100 m above dome.
28-30 Jun, 02 Jul 2003 1-5 Gas/steam plumes rose 100 m above dome.
05-06, 10 Jul 2003 1-2 Gas/steam plumes rose 500 m above dome.
11, 13-16 Jul 2003 1-2 Gas/steam plumes rose 200-800 m above dome.
19-22, 24 Jul 2003 1-2 Gas/steam plumes rose 500-600 m above dome.
27, 31 Jul, 01 Aug 2003 1-3 Temperatures of 10-19°C in background of 0-5°C; gas/steam plumes rose 100 m above dome.
08-10 Aug 2003 2-3 --

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

Information Contacts: Olga Girina, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), a cooperative program of the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia, the Kamchatka Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department (KEMSD), GS RAS (Russia), and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (USA); Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — July 2003 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)


Changes in activity style and dome growth since February 2002

Although detailed reports about the activity and monitoring of Soufrière Hills are provided on a regular basis by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, this report contains observations made by visitors Stephen O'Meara and Robert Benward. They monitored Soufrière Hills visually and, using some novel electronics, collected data and images for 12 days beginning on 7 February 2003. This visit was similar to one in February 2002 (BGVN 27:06).

The visual observations took place primarily on Jack Boy Hill, 6 km N of the volcano. At the new Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Benward set up a black and white CCD video camera that took a frame every eight (8) seconds and relayed it to a digital video recorder. The camera's low-light sensitivity provided round-the-clock surveillance of dome activity. However, orographic and rain clouds caused problems, and much of the volcanic activity was away from the camera view.

Since the visit in 2002, the dome had increased significantly in size (figure 56). The rockfalls and pyroclastic flows that dominated the activity in February 2002 were concentrated in the E portions of the dome and the Tar River Valley. In 2003, activity occurred in a broader arc that extended from Tar River in the E to Farrell's Plain in the N. Several pyroclastic flows traveled into Tuitt's Ghaut and the upper reaches of Tyre's Ghaut, and onto Farrell's Plain. These events were captured on the surveillance camera and in higher-definition color video taken from Jack Boy Hill.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Illustration of dome growth at Soufriere Hills between February 2002 and February 2003. The outline of the volcano's profile in February 2002 is superimposed on a photograph taken at the same location in February 2003. Courtesy of Robert Benward, Volcano Watch International.

The dome was impressive at night. The summit was often crowned with thick, blocky spines and sharp pinnacles. An array of spiny ridges (speckled with incandescence) that lined the upper portions of the dome helped channelize many of the rockfalls and pyroclastic flows, the flow channels remaining incandescent. The glow was strong throughout the observation period, but especially during 13-19 February, when episodes of prolonged activity made the dome appear to be melting like candle wax. The glowing dome could be seen from the northernmost reaches of the island at night. Its light was so intense that a homemade spectrograph (attached to a 3-inch telescope brought by Benward) revealed a continuous spectrum.

O'Meara visually observed the dome through a 60 power, 60 mm refractor scope and noticed two curious phenomena. At one point, a mass of viscous, but mobile, lava pushed out of the downslope edge of an incandescent ridge. It slumped onto the dome and formed a pad of molten material that quickly cooled and solidified into linear veins. The behavior was similar to that of a budding toe of pahoehoe lava where internal pressure forces fluid lava through its cooling skin. O'Meara also observed what appeared to be a tiny lateral explosion from the downslope edge of an incandescent ridge which shot out glowing gas and rock fragments like buckshot from a gun.

A significant difference in the style of eruption from that reported in 2002 was the periodic mass dumping of dome material. During these episodes, dome material calved off the highest portions of the dome, creating a wide avalanche of incandescent material which flowed down much of the dome's visible face in a matter of seconds. These episodes differed from the classical pyroclastic flows in that they produced comparatively little ash, being comprised principally of extremely massive and widespread rock and block fall.

A dramatic episode of rockfall and pyroclastic-flow activity occurred during 1745-2000 on 13 February. Massive movement of large, house-sized blocks, many of which self-destructed during their descent, preceded the pyroclastic flows. The subsequent pyroclastic flow activity was accompanied by roiling steel-gray ash clouds that drifted N. One particularly strong pyroclastic flow created an incandescent channel in Tuitt's Ghaut that glowed long into the night. Smaller pyroclastic flows followed this channel downslope, while larger ones overflowed the channel's levees or changed course. Often, when one flow slowed, another would push through it. At times pieces of incandescent rocks appeared to be sliding down the dome in the flow with no detectable rolling motion. At other times, linear threads of glowing gases appeared to advance like the treads of a tank. Another series of pyroclastic flows during 0614-0730 on 14 February were directed N, and spread out across Farrell's Plain. As in February 2002, the night activity was most spectacular when viewed and videotaped in the near-IR using Benward's homemade nightscope.

One purpose of the visit was to chronicle changes in visible behavior when the full Moon approached Earth and at perigee. With the approach of the full Moon, the team reported an apparent rise in the number of visible indicators, particularly an increase in the number of large and prolonged rockfalls and pyroclastic flows, and in the average number of events per hour. There was an impressive episode of spine growth in the 24 hours near the time of full Moon, similar to that in 2002. The limited duration of the observations, however, thwart conclusions about the relationships between lunar positions and volcanism. Convincing theories require baseline data over a considerably longer time period.

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, and Robert Benward, Volcano Watch International, PO Box 218, Volcano, HI 96785, USA.


Stromboli (Italy) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Flank eruption finished as of 22 July; activity resumed at summit craters on 17 April

Effusion of lava from vents located at about 600 m elevation on the upper eastern corner of the Sciara del Fuoco decreased in early June and completely stopped between 21 and 22 July. The decreasing effusion rate caused shorter lava flows, which during July did not spread below 600 m elevation. The upper part of the lava flow field, formed since 15 February on the upper Sciara del Fuoco, reached an estimated thickness of more than 50 m as a result of the slower rate.

[After] the 5 April eruption (BGVN 28:04), the summit craters of the volcano [were] blocked by fallout debris obstructing the conduit. [By 17 April the blockage was apparently cleared because] small, occasional, and short-lived explosions of juvenile, hot material were observed at Crater 3 (the SW crater) [that day] during a helicopter survey with a hand-held thermal camera, and at Crater 1 (the NE crater) on 3 May from the SAR fixed camera located at 400 m on the eastern rim of the Sciara del Fuoco.

Strombolian activity from Crater 1 (NE crater) became more frequent and intense in June, and almost continuous in July, with spatter often falling outside the crater. In July, Crater 3 (SW crater) activity consisted mainly of degassing and sporadic ash emissions, with Strombolian explosions becoming more common in the second half of July.

Erosion of the N flank of Crater 1 by landslides in the upper Sciara del Fuoco increased in July, with the 30 December 2002 landslide scar extending backward and upslope, cutting the flank of the cone 50 m below the crater rim.

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

Information Contacts: Sonia Calvari, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/).


Yellowstone (United States) — July 2003 Citation iconCite this Report

Yellowstone

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Geyser basin heats up, affecting thermal features

Yellowstone National Park press releases indicated unusual hydrothermal activity at the Norris geyser basin in the NW-central portion of the Park. A press release on 22 July 2003 announced that high ground temperatures and increased thermal activity had resulted in the temporary closure of a portion of the Back Basin.

The press release noted "Norris is the hottest and most seismically active geyser basin in Yellowstone. Recent activity in the Norris geyser basin has included formation of new mud pots, an eruption of Porkchop geyser (dormant since 1989), the draining of several geysers, creating steam vents and significantly increased measured ground temperatures (up to 200°F [93°C]). Additional observations include vegetation dying due to thermal activity and the changing of several geysers' eruption intervals. Vixen geyser has become more frequent and Echinus geyser has become more regular."

A press release on 7 August advised of a hydrothermal monitoring program by the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory to begin at Norris geyser basin. The Observatory is a collaborative partnership between the US Geological Survey, the University of Utah, and Yellowstone National Park. It was deploying a temporary network of seismographs, Global Positioning System receivers, and temperature loggers. Goals included identification of hydrothermal steam sources, the relationship of the behavior of Norris geyser basin to the general seismicity, and locating crustal deformation in the caldera.

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

Information Contacts: Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, a cooperative arrangement that includesRobert L. Christiansen, U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025; Robert B. Smith, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112 USA; Henry Heasler, National Park Service, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168 USA; and others (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/yvo/).

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/).