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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

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake persists with decreased thermal output, November 2018-February 2019

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Daily explosions cause steam-and-ash plumes and block avalanches, November 2018-February 2019

Reventador (Ecuador) Multiple daily explosions with ash plumes and incandescent blocks rolling down the flanks, October 2018-January 2019

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) Weak explosions and ash plumes beginning 21 October 2018

Kerinci (Indonesia) A persistent gas-and-steam plume and intermittent ash plumes occurred from July 2018 through January 2019

Yasur (Vanuatu) Eruption continues with ongoing explosions and multiple active crater vents, August 2018-January 2019

Ambae (Vanuatu) Ash plumes and lahars in July 2018 cause evacuation of the island; intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes through January 2019

Agung (Indonesia) Ongoing intermittent ash plumes and frequent gas-and-steam plumes during August 2018-January 2019

Erebus (Antarctica) Lava lakes persist through 2017 and 2018

Villarrica (Chile) Intermittent Strombolian activity ejects incandescent bombs around crater rim, September 2018-February 2019

Popocatepetl (Mexico) Explosions with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta continue during September 2018-February 2019

Pacaya (Guatemala) Continuous activity from the cone in Mackenney crater; daily lava flows on the NW flank during October 2018-January 2019



Masaya (Nicaragua) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists with decreased thermal output, November 2018-February 2019

Nicaragua's Volcan Masaya has an intermittent lava lake that has attracted visitors since the time of the Spanish Conquistadores; tephrochronology has dated eruptions back several thousand years. The unusual basaltic caldera has had historical explosive eruptions in addition to lava flows and an actively circulating lava lake. An explosion in 2012 ejected ash to several hundred meters above the volcano, bombs as large as 60 cm fell around the crater, and ash fell to a thickness of 2 mm in some areas of the park. The reemergence of the lava lake inside Santiago crater was reported in December 2015. By late March 2016 the lava lake had grown and intensified enough to generate a significant thermal anomaly signature which has varied in strength but continued at a moderate level into early 2019. Information for this report, which covers the period from November 2018 through February 2019, is provided by the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and satellite -based imagery and thermal data.

The lava lake in Santiago Crater remained visible and active throughout November 2018 to February 2019 with little change from the previous few months (figure 70). Seismic amplitude RSAM values remained steady, oscillating between 10 and 40 RSAM units during the period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. A small area of the lava lake inside Santiago Crater at Masaya was visible from the rim on 25 November 2018 (left) and 17 January 2019 (right). Left image courtesy of INETER webcam; right image courtesy of Alun Ebenezer.

Every few months INETER carries out SO2 measurements by making a transect using a mobile DOAS spectrometer that samples for gases downwind of the volcano. Transects were done on 9-10 October 2018, 21-24 January 2019, and 18-21 February 2019 (figure 71). Average values during the October transect were 1,454 tons per day, in January they were 1,007 tons per day, and in February they averaged 1,318 tons per day, all within a typical range of values for the last several months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. INETER carries out periodic transects to measure SO2 from Masaya with a mobile DOAS spectrometer. Transects taken along the Ticuantepe-La Concepcion highway on 9-10 October 2018 (left) and 21-24 January 2019 (right) showed modest levels of SO2 emissions downwind of the summit. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua. Octubre 2018 and Enero 2019).

During a visit by INETER technicians in early November 2018, the lens of the Mirador 1 webcam, that had water inside it and had been damaged by gases, was cleaned and repaired. During 21-24 January 2019 INETER made a site visit with scientists from the University of Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, to measure halogen species in gas plumes, and to test different sampling techniques for volcanic gases, including through spectroscopic observations with DOAS equipment, in-situ gas sampling (MultiGAS, denuders, alkaline traps), and using a Quadcopter UAV (drone) sampling system.

Periodic measurements of CO2 from the El Comalito crater have been taken by INETER for many years. The most recent observations on 19 February 2019 indicated an emission rate of 46 +/- 3 tons per day of CO2, only slightly higher than the average value over 16 measurements between 2008 and 2019 (figure 72).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. CO2 measurements taken at Masaya on 19 February 2019 were very close to the average value measured during 2008-2019. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua, Febrero 2019).

Satellite imagery (figure 73) and in-situ thermal measurements during November 2018-February 2019 indicated constant activity at the lava lake and no significant changes during the period. On 14 January 2019 temperatures were measured with the FLIR SC620 thermal camera, along with visual observations of the crater; abundant gas was noted, and no explosions from the lake were heard. The temperature at the lava lake was measured at 107°C, much cooler than the 340°C measured in September 2018 (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery (geology, bands 12, 4, and 2) clearly indicated the presence of the active lava lake inside Santiago crater at Masaya during November 2018-February 2019. North is to the top, and the Santigo crater is just under 1 km in diameter for scale. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Thermal measurements were made at Masaya on 14 January 2019 with a FLIR SC620 thermal camera that indicated temperatures over 200°C cooler than similar measurements made in September 2018.

Thermal anomaly data from satellite instruments also confirmed moderate levels of ongoing thermal activity. The MIROVA project plot indicated activity throughout the period (figure 75), and a plot of the number of MODVOLC thermal alerts by month since the lava lake first appeared in December 2015 suggests constant activity at a reduced thermal output level from the higher values in early 2017 (figure 76).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Thermal anomalies remained constant at Masaya during November 2018-February 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA project. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. The number of MODVOLC thermal alerts each month at Masaya since the lava lake first reappeared in late 2015 reached its peak in early 2017 and declined to low but persistent levels by early 2018 where they have remained for a year. Data courtesy of MODVOLC.

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

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


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions cause steam-and-ash plumes and block avalanches, November 2018-February 2019

The dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex on the W flank of Guatemala's Santa María volcano has been growing and actively erupting since 1922. The youngest of the four vents in the complex, Caliente, has been erupting with ash explosions, pyroclastic, and lava flows for more than 40 years. A lava dome that appeared within the summit crater of Caliente in October 2016 has continued to grow, producing frequent block avalanches down the flanks. Daily explosions of steam and ash also continued during November 2018-February 2019, the period covered in this report, with information primarily from Guatemala's INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meterologia e Hidrologia) and the Washington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center).

Activity at Santa Maria continued with little variation from previous months during November 2018-February 2019. Plumes of steam with minor magmatic gases rose continuously from the Caliente crater 100-500 m above the summit, generally drifting SW or SE before dissipating. In addition, daily explosions with varying amounts of ash rose to altitudes of around 2.8-3.5 km and usually extended 20-30 km before dissipating. Most of the plumes drifted SW or SE; minor ashfall occurred in the adjacent hills almost daily and was reported at the fincas located within 15 km in those directions several times each month. Continued growth of the Caliente lava dome resulted in daily block avalanches descending its flanks. The MIROVA plot of thermal energy during this time shows a consistent level of heat flow with minor variations throughout the period (figure 89).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Persistent thermal activity was recorded at Santa Maria from 6 June 2018 through February 2019 as seen in the MIROVA plot of thermal energy derived from satellite thermal data. Daily explosions produced ash plumes and block avalanches that were responsible for the continued heat flow at the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.

During November 2018 steam plumes rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.2 km from Caliente summit, usually drifting SW, sometimes SE. Several ash-bearing explosions were reported daily, rising to 3-3.2 km altitude and also drifting SW or SE. The highest plume reported by INSIVUMEH rose to 3.4 km on 25 November and drifted SW. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 9 November that rose to 4.3 km altitude and drifted W; it dissipated within a few hours about 35 km from the summit. On 11 November another plume rose to 4.9 km altitude and drifted NW. INSIVUMEH issued a special report on 2 November noting an increase in block avalanches on the S and SE flanks, many of which traveled from the crater dome to the base of the volcano. Nearly constant avalanche blocks descended the SE flank of the dome and occasionally traveled down the other flanks as well throughout the month. They reached the bottom of the cone again on 29 November. Ashfall was reported around the flanks more than once every week and at Finca Florida on 12 November. Finca San Jose reported ashfall on 11, 13, and 23 November, and Parcelamiento Monte Claro reported ashfall on 15, 24, 25, and 27 November.

Constant degassing from the Caliente dome during December 2018 formed white plumes of mostly steam that rose to 2.6-3.0 km altitude during the month. Weak explosions averaging 9-13 per day produced gray ash plumes that rose to 2.8-3.4 km altitude. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 4 December that extended 25 km SW of the summit at 3.0 km altitude and dissipated quickly. Small ash plumes were visible in satellite imagery a few kilometers WNW on 8, 12, 30, and 31 December at 4.3 km altitude; they each dissipated within a few hours. Ashfall was reported in Finca Monte Claro on 1 and 4 December, and in San Marcos Palajunoj on 26 and 30 December along with Loma Linda. On 28 December ashfall on the E flank affected the communities of Las Marías, Calahuache, and El Nuevo Palmar. Block avalanches occurred daily, sending large blocks to the base of the volcano that often stirred up small plumes of ash in the vicinity (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Activity during December 2018 at Santa Maria included constant degassing of steam plumes, weak explosions with ash plumes, and block avalanches rolling down the flanks to the base of the cone. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Diciembre 2018).

Multiple explosions daily during January 2019 produced steam-and-ash plumes (figure 91). Constant degassing rising 10-500 m emerged from the SSE part of the Caliente dome, and ashfall, mainly on the W and SW rim of the cone, was a daily feature. Seismic station STG-3 detected 10-18 explosions per day that produced ash plumes, which rose to between 2.7 and 3.5 km altitude. The Washington VAAC noted a faint ash emission in satellite imagery on 1 January that was about 25 km W of the summit at 4.3 km altitude. A new emission appeared at the same altitude on 4 January about 15 km NW of the summit. A low-density emission around midday on 5 January produced an ash plume that drifted NNE at 4.6 km altitude. Ash plumes drifted W at 4.3 km altitude on 11 and 14 January for short periods of time before dissipating.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Explosions during January produced numerous steam-and-ash plumes at the Santiaguito complex of Santa Maria. A moderate explosion on 31 January 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to about 3.1 km altitude (top). A thermal image and seismograph show another moderate explosion on 18 January 2019 that also rose nearly vertically from the summit of Caliente. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de actividad Volcanica enero 2019, Volcan Santiaguito).

Ash drifted mainly towards the W, SW, and S, causing ashfall in the villages of San Marcos Palajunoj, Loma Linda, Monte Bello, El Patrocinio, La Florida, El Faro, Patzulín and a few others several times during the month. The main places where daily ashfall was reported were near the complex, in the hilly crop areas of the El Faro and San José Patzulín farms (figure 92). Blocks up to 3 m in diameter reached the base of the complex, stirring up ash plumes that settled on the immediate flanks. Juvenile material continued to appear at the summit of the dome during January; the dome had risen above the edge of the crater created by the explosions of 2016. Changes in the size and shape of the dome between 23 November 2018 and 13 January 2019 showed the addition of material on the E and SE side of the dome, as well as a new effusive flow that travelled 200-300 m down the E flank (figure 93).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Near-daily ashfall affected the coffee plants at the El Faro and San José Patzulín farms (left) at Santiaguito during January 2019. Large avalanche blocks descending the flanks, seen here on 23 January 2018, often stirred up smaller ash plumes that settled out next to the cone. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de actividad Volcanica enero 2019, Volcan Santiaguito).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. A comparison of the growth at the Caliente dome of the Santiaguito complex at Santa Maria between 23 November 2018 (top) and 13 January 2019 (bottom) shows the emergence of juvenile material and a 200-300 m long effusive flow that has moved slowly down the E flank. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de actividad Volcanica enero 2019, Volcan Santiaguito).

Persistent steam rising 50-150 m above the crater was typical during February 2019 and accompanied weak and moderate explosions that averaged 12 per day throughout the month. White and gray ash plumes from the explosions rose to 2.8-3.3 km altitude; daily block avalanches usually reached the base of the dome (figure 94). Ashfall occurred around the complex, mainly on the W, SW, and NE flanks on a daily basis, but communities farther away were affected as well. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume on 7 February in visible satellite imagery moving SW from the summit at 4.9 km altitude. The next day a new ash plume was located about 20 km W of the summit, dissipating rapidly, at 4.3 km altitude. Ashfall drifting SW affected Palajuno Monte Claro on 5, 9, 15, and 16 February. Ash drifting E and SE affected Calaguache, Las Marías and surrounding farms on 14 and 17 February, and fine-grained ash drifting SE was reported at finca San José on 21 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Activity at the Caliente dome of the Santiaguito complex at Santa Maria included daily ash-and-steam explosions and block avalanches descending the sides of the dome in February 2019. A typical explosion on 2 February 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to about 3 km altitude and drifted SW (left). A block avalanche on 14 February descended the SE flank and stirred up small plumes of ash in the vicinity (right, top); the avalanche lasted for 88 seconds and registered with seismic frequencies between 3.46 and 7.64 Hz (right bottom). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 01 al 08 de febrero de 2019).

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is one of the most prominent of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit to the lower flank and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned Plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four westward-younging vents, the most recent of which is Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); 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); 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/).


Reventador (Ecuador) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

0.077°S, 77.656°W; summit elev. 3562 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple daily explosions with ash plumes and incandescent blocks rolling down the flanks, October 2018-January 2019

The andesitic Volcán El Reventador lies well east of the main volcanic axis of the Cordillera Real in Ecuador and has historical eruptions with numerous lava flows and explosive events going back to the 16th century. The eruption in November 2002 generated a 17-km-high eruption cloud, pyroclastic flows that traveled 8 km, and several lava flows. Eruptive activity has been continuous since 2008. Daily explosions with ash emissions and ejecta of incandescent blocks rolling hundreds of meters down the flanks have been typical for many years. Activity continued during October 2018-January 2019, the period covered in this report, with information provided by Ecuador's Instituto Geofisico (IG-EPN), the Washington Volcano Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and infrared satellite data.

Multiple daily reports were issued from the Washington VAAC throughout the entire October 2018-January 2019 period. Plumes of ash and gas usually rose to altitudes of 4.3-6.1 km and drifted about 20 km in prevailing wind directions before either dissipating or being obscured by meteoric clouds. The average number of daily explosions reported by IG-EPN for the second half of 2018 was more than 20 per day (figure 104). The many explosions during the period originated from multiple vents within a large scarp that formed on the W flank in mid-April (BGVN 43:11, figure 95) (figure 105). Incandescent blocks were observed often in the IG webcams; they traveled 400-1,000 m down the flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. The number of daily seismic events at El Reventador for 2018 indicated high activity during the first and last thirds of the year; more than 20 explosions per day were recorded many times during October-December 2018, the period covered in this report. LP seismic events are shown in orange, seismic tremor in pink, and seismic explosions with ash are shown in green. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Anual del Volcán El Reventador – 2018, Quito, 29 de marzo del 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Images from IG's REBECA thermal camera showed the thermal activity from multiple different vents at different times during the year (see BGVN 43:11, figure 95 for vent locations). Courtesy if IG (Informe Anual del Volcán El Reventador – 2018, Quito, 29 de marzo del 2019).

Activity during October 2018-January 2019. During most days of October 2018 plumes of gas, steam, and ash rose over 1,000 m above the summit of Reventador, and most commonly drifted W or NW. Incandescence was observed on all nights that were not cloudy; incandescent blocks rolled 400-800 m down the flanks during half of the nights. During episodes of increased activity, ash plumes rose over 1,200 m (8, 10-11, 18-19 October) and incandescent blocks rolled down multiple flanks (figure 106).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Ash emissions rose over 1,000 m above the summit of Reventador numerous times during October 2018, and large incandescent blocks traveled hundreds of meters down multiple flanks. The IG-EPN COPETE webcam that captured these images is located on the S caldera rim. Courtesy of IG Daily Reports (Informe diario del estado del Volcan Reventador, numbers 2018-282, 292, 295, 297).

Similar activity continued during November. IG reported 17 days of the month with steam, gas, and ash emissions rising more than 1,000 m above the summit. The other days were either cloudy or had emissions rising between 500 and 1,000 m. Incandescent blocks were usually observed on the S or SE flanks, generally travelling 400-600 m down the flanks. The Washington VAAC reported a discrete ash plume at 6.1 km altitude drifting WNW about 35 km from the summit on 15 November. The next day, intermittent puffs were noted moving W, and a bright hotspot at the summit was visible in satellite imagery. During the most intense activity of the month, incandescent blocks traveled 800 m down all the flanks (17-19 November) and ash plumes rose over 1,200 m (23 November) (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Ash plumes rose over 1,000 m above the summit on 17 days during November 2018 at Reventador, and incandescent blocks traveled 400-800 m down the flanks on many nights. Courtesy of IG Daily Reports (Informe diario del estado del Volcan Reventador, numbers 2018-306, 314, 318, 324).

Steam, gas, and ash plumes rose over 1,200 m above the summit on 1 December. The next day, there were reports of ashfall in San Rafael and Hosteria El Hotelito, where they reported an ash layer about 1 mm thick was deposited on vehicles during the night. Ash emissions exceeded 1,200 m above the summit on 5 and 6 December as well. Incandescent blocks traveled 800 m down all the flanks on 11, 22, 24, and 26 December, and reached 900 m on 21 December. Ash emissions rising 500 to over 1,000 m above the summit were a daily occurrence, and incandescent blocks descended 500 m or more down the flanks most days during the second half of the month (figure 108).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Ash plumes that rose 500 to over 1,000 m were a daily occurrence at Reventador during December 2018. Incandescent blocks traveled as far as 900 m down the flanks as well. Courtesy of IG Daily Reports (Informe diario del estado del Volcan Reventador, numbers 2018-340, 351, 353, 354, 358, 359).

During the first few days of January 2019 the ash and steam plumes did not rise over 800 m, and incandescent blocks were noted 300-500 m down the S flank. An increase in activity on 6 January sent ash-and-gas plumes over 1,000 m, drifting W, and incandescent blocks 1,000 m down many flanks. For multiple days in the middle of the month the volcano was completely obscured by clouds; only occasional observations of plumes of ash and steam were made, incandescence seen at night through the clouds confirmed ongoing activity. The Washington VAAC reported continuous ash emissions moving SE extending more than 100 km on 12 January. A significant explosion late on 20 January sent incandescent blocks 800 m down the S flank; although it was mostly cloudy for much of the second half of January, brief glimpses of ash plumes rising over 1,000 m and incandescent blocks traveling up to 800 m down numerous flanks were made almost daily (figure 109).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Even during the numerous cloudy days of January 2019, evidence of ash emissions and significant explosions at Reventador was captured in the Copete webcam located on the S rim of the caldera. Courtesy of IG Daily Reports (Informe diario del estado del Volcan Reventador, number 2019-6, 21, 26, 27).

Visual evidence from the webcams supports significant thermal activity at Reventador. Atmospheric conditions are often cloudy and thus the thermal signature recorded by satellite instruments is frequently diminished. In spite of this, the MODVOLC thermal alert system recorded seven thermal alerts on three days in October, four alerts on two days in November, six alerts on two days in December and three alerts on three days in January 2019. In addition, the MIROVA system measured moderate levels of radiative power intermittently throughout the period; the most intense anomalies of 2018 were recorded on 15 October and 6 December (figure 110).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Persistent thermal activity at Reventador was recorded by satellite instruments for the MIROVA system from 5 April 2018 through January 2019 in spite of frequent cloud cover over the volcano. The most intense anomalies of 2018 were recorded on 15 October and 6 December. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); 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/).


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

30.443°N, 130.217°E; summit elev. 657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak explosions and ash plumes beginning 21 October 2018

Activity at Kuchinoerabujima is exemplified by interim explosions and periods of high seismicity. A weak explosion occurred on 3 August 2014, the first since 1980, and was followed by several others during 29 May-19 June 2015 (BGVN 42:03). This report describes events through February 2019. Information is based on monthly and annual reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and advisories from the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Activity has been limited to Kuchinoerabujima's Shindake Crater.

Activity during 2016-2018. According to JMA, between July 2016 and August 2018, the volcano was relatively quiet. Deflation had occurred since January 2016. On 18 April 2018 the Alert Level was lowered from 3 to 2 (on a scale of 1-5). A low-temperature thermal anomaly persisted near the W fracture in Shindake crater. During January-March 2018, both the number of volcanic earthquakes (generally numerous and typically shallow) and sulfur dioxide flux remained slightly above baselines levels in August 2014 (60-500 tons/day compared tp generally less than 100 tons/day in August 2014).

JMA reported that on 15 August 2018 a swarm of deep volcanic earthquakes was recorded, prompting an increase in the Alert Level to 4. The earthquake hypocenters were about 5 km deep, below the SW flanks of Shindake, and the maximum magnitude was 1.9. They occurred at about the same place as the swarm that occurred just before the May 2015 eruption. Sulfur dioxide emissions had increased since the beginning of August; they were 1,600, 1,000, and 1,200 tons/day on 11, 13, and 17 August, respectively. No surficial changes in gas emissions or thermal areas were observed during 16-20 August. On 29 August, JMA downgraded the Alert Level to 3, after no further SO2 flux increase had occurred in recent days and GNSS measurements had not changed.

A very weak explosion was recorded at 1831 on 21 October, with additional activity between 2110 on 21 October and 1350 on 22 October; plumes rose 200 m above the crater rim. During an overflight on 22 October, observers noted ash in the emissions, though no morphological changes to the crater nor ash deposits were seen. Based on satellite images and information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 24-28 October ash plumes rose to altitudes of 0.9-1.5 km and drifted in multiple directions. During a field observation on 28 October, JMA scientists did not observe any changes in the thermal anomalies at the crater.

JMA reported that during 31 October-5 November 2018, very small events released plumes that rose 500-1,200 m above the crater rim. On 6 November, crater incandescence began to be periodically visible. During 12-19 November, ash plumes rose as high as 1.2 km above the crater rim and, according to the Tokyo VAAC, drifted in multiple directions. Observers doing fieldwork on 14 and 15 November noted that thermal measurements in the crater had not changed. Intermittent explosions during 22-26 November generated plumes that rose as high as 2.1 km above the crater rim. During 28 November-3 December the plumes rose as high as 1.5 km above the rim.

JMA reported that at 1637 on 18 December an explosion produced an ash plume that rose 2 km and then disappeared into a weather cloud. The event ejected material that fell in the crater area, and generated a pyroclastic flow that traveled 1 km W and 500 m E of the crater. Another weak explosion occurred on 28 December, scattering large cinders up to 500 m from the crater.

The Tokyo VAAC did not issue any ash advisories for aviation until 21 October 2018, when it issued at least one report every day through 13 December. It also issued advisories on 18-20 and 28 December.

Activity during January-early February 2019. JMA reported that at 0919 local time on 17 January 2019 an explosion generated a pyroclastic flow that reached about 1.9 km NW and 1 km E of the crater. It was the strongest explosion since October 2018. In addition, "large cinders" fell about 1-1.8 km from the crater.

Tokyo VAAC ash advisories were issued on 1, 17, 20, and 29 January 2018. An explosion at 1713-1915 on 29 January produced an ash plume that rose 4 km above the crater rim and drifted E, along with a pyroclastic flow. Ash fell in parts of Yakushima. During 30 January-1 February and 3-5 February, white plumes rose as high as 600 m. On 2 February, an explosion at 1141-1300 generated a plume that rose 600 m. No additional activity during February was reported by JMA. The Alert Level remained at 3.

Geologic Background. A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the eastern end of the irregularly shaped island of Kuchinoerabujima in the northern Ryukyu Islands, 15 km west of Yakushima. The Furudake, Shindake, and Noikeyama cones were erupted from south to north, respectively, forming a composite cone with multiple craters. The youngest cone, centrally-located Shintake, formed after the NW side of Furutake was breached by an explosion. All historical eruptions have occurred from Shintake, although a lava flow from the S flank of Furutake that reached the coast has a very fresh morphology. Frequent explosive eruptions have taken place from Shintake since 1840; the largest of these was in December 1933. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater and have suffered damage from eruptions.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


A persistent gas-and-steam plume and intermittent ash plumes occurred from July 2018 through January 2019

Kerinci is a frequently active volcano in Sumatra, Indonesia. Recent activity has consisted of intermittent explosions, ash, and gas-and-steam plumes. The volcano alert has been at Level II since 9 September 2007. This report summarizes activity during July 2018-January 2019 based on reports by The Indonesia volcano monitoring agency, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), MAGMA Indonesia, notices from the Darwin Volcano Ash Advisory Center (Darwin VAAC), and satellite data.

Throughout this period dilute gas-and-steam plumes rising about 300 m above the summit were frequently observed and seismicity continued (figure 6). During July through January ash plumes were observed by the Darwin VAAC up to 4.3 km altitude and dispersed in multiple directions (table 7 and figure 7).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Graph showing seismic activity at Kerinci from November 2018 through February 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Table 7. Summary of ash plumes (altitude and drift direction) for Kerinci during July 2018 through January 2019. The summit is at 3.5 km altitude. Data courtesy of the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) and MAGMA Indonesia.

Date Ash plume altitude (km) Ash plume drift direction
22 Jul 2018 4.3 SW
28-30 Sep 2018 4.3 SW, W
02 Oct 2018 4.3 SW, W
18-22 Oct 2018 4.3 N, W, WSW, SW
19 Jan 2019 4 E to SE
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Dilute ash plumes at Kerinci during July 2018-January 2019. Sentinel-2 natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Based on satellite data, a Darwin VAAC advisory reported an ash plume to 4.3 km altitude on 22 July that drifted to the SW and S. Only one day with elevated thermal emission was noted in Sentinel-2 satellite data for the entire reporting period, on 13 September 2018 (figure 8). No thermal signatures were detected by MODVOLC. On 28-29 September there was an ash plume observed to 500-600 m above the peak that dispersed to the W. Several VAAC reports on 2 and 18-22 October detected ash plumes that rose to 4.3 km altitude and drifted in different directions. On 19 January from 0734 to 1000 an ash plume rose to 200 m above the crater and dispersed to the E and SE (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Small thermal anomaly at Kerinci volcano on 13 September 2018. False color (urban) image (band 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Small ash plume at Kerinci on 19 January 2018 that reached 200 m above the crater and traveled west. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

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

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


Yasur (Vanuatu) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption continues with ongoing explosions and multiple active crater vents, August 2018-January 2019

According to the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), which monitors Yasur, the volcano has been in essentially continuous Strombolian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774, and undoubtedly before that time. VMGD reported that, based on visual observations and seismic data, activity continued through January 2019, with ongoing, sometimes strong, explosions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-4). VMGD reminded residents and tourists to remain outside the 395-m-radius permanent exclusion zone and warned that volcanic ash and gas could reach areas influenced by trade winds.

Thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were recorded 6-15 days per month during the reporting period, sometimes with multiple pixels. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected numerous hotspots every month. Active crater vents were also frequently visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery (figure 50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Sentinel-2 satellite color infrared image (bands 8, 4, 3) of Yasur on 17 November 2018 showing at least three distinct heat sources in the crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Ambae (Vanuatu) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes and lahars in July 2018 cause evacuation of the island; intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes through January 2019

Ambae is one of the active volcanoes of Vanuatu in the New Hebrides archipelago. Recent eruptions have resulted in multiple evacuations of the local population due to ashfall. The current eruption began in September 2017, with the initial episode ending in November that year. The second episode was from late December 2017 to early February 2018, and the third was during February-April 2018. The Alert Level was raised to 3 in March, then lowered to Level 2 again on 2 June 2018. Eruptive activity began again on 1 July and produced thick ash deposits that significantly impacted the population, resulting in the full evacuation of the Island of Ambae. This report summarizes activity from July 2018 through January 2019 and is based on reports by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department (VMGD), The Vanuatu Red Cross, posts on social media, and various satellite data.

On 1 July Ambae entered a new eruption phase, marked by an ash plume that resulted in ashfall on communities in the W to NW parts of Ambae Island and the NE part of Santo Island (figure 78). On 9-10 July VMGD reported that a small eruption continued with activity consisting of ongoing gas-and-steam emissions. An observation flight on 13 July confirmed that the eruption was centered at Lake Voui and consisted of explosions that ejected hot blocks with ongoing gas-and-steam and ash emissions. Populations on Ambae and a neighboring island could hear the eruption, smell the volcanic gases, and see incandescence at night.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Ash plume at Ambae on 1 July 2018 that resulted in ashfall on the W to NW parts of the island, and on the NE part of Santo Island. Courtesy of VMGD.

On 16 July the Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume to 9.1 km that drifted to the NE. During 16-24 July daily ash plumes from the Lake Voui vent rose to altitudes of 2.3-9.1 km and drifted N, NE, E, and SE (figure 79 and 80). Radio New Zealand reported that on the 16th significant ash emission blocked out sunlight, making the underlying area dark at around 1600 local time. Much of E and N Ambae Island experienced heavy ashfall and the eruption could be heard over 30 km away. The Vanuatu Red Cross Society reported worsening conditions in the south on 24 July with ashfall resulting in trees falling and very poor visibility of less than 2 m (figures 81, 82, and 83). The Daily Post reported that by 19 July lahars had washed away two roads and other roads were blocked to western Ambae. Volcanologists who made their way to the area reported widespread damage (figure 84). The Alert Level was raised from level 2 to 3 (on a scale of 0-5) on 21 July due to an increase in ash emission and more sustained plumes, similar to March 2018 activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Ash plumes produced by the Ambae eruption in July 2018 as seen in Terra/MODIS visible satellite images. Images courtesy of NASA Worldview.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Sentinel-2 satellite image of an ash plume from Ambae in Vanuatu on 23 July 2018 with the inset showing the ash plume at the vent. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Ashfall at Ambae, posted on 25 July 2018. Courtesy of the Vanuatu Red Cross Society.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. An ash plume at Ambae in July during a day and a half of constant ashfall, looking towards the volcano. Courtesy of Michael Rowe.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Ashfall from the eruption at Ambae blocked out the sun near the volcano on 24 July 2018. Courtesy of the Vanuatu Red Cross Society.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Impacts of ashfall near Ambae in July 2018. Photos by Nicholson Naki, courtesy of the Vanuatu Red Cross (posted on 22 July 2018).

At 2100 on 26 July the ongoing explosions produced an ash plume that rose to 12 km and spread NE, E, SE. A state of emergency was announced by the Government of Vanuatu with a call for mandatory evacuations of the island. Ash emissions continued through the next day (figure 85 and 86) with two episodes producing volcanic lightning at 1100-1237 and 1522-2029 on 27 July (figure 87). The Darwin VAAC reported ash plumes up to 2.4-6.4 km, drifting SE and NW, and pilots reported heavy ashfall in Fiji. Large SO2 plumes were detected accompanying the eruptions and moving towards the E (figure 88).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Ash plumes at Ambae at 0830 and 1129 local time on 27 July 2018. The ash plume is significantly larger in the later image. Webcam images from Saratamata courtesy of VMGD.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Two ash plumes from Ambae at 1200 on 27 July 2018 as seen in a Himawari-8 satellite image. Courtesy of Himawari-8 Real-time Web.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Lightning strokes detected at Ambae on 27 July 2018. There were two eruption pulses, 1100-1237 (blue) and 1522-2029 local time (red) that produced 185 and 87 lightning strokes, respectively. Courtesy of William A. Brook, Ronald L. Holle, and Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Aura/OMI data showing the large SO2 plumes produced by Ambae in Vanuatu during 22-31 July 2018. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Video footage showed a lahar blocking a road around 2 August. The government of Vanuatu told reporters that the island had been completely evacuated by 14 August. A VMGD bulletin on 22 August reported that activity continued with ongoing gas-and-steam and sometimes ash emissions; residents on neighboring islands could hear the eruption, smell volcanic gases, and see the plumes.

On 1 September at 2015 an explosion sent an ash plume to 4-11 km altitude, drifting E. Later observations in September showed a decrease in activity with no further explosions and plumes limited to white gas-and-steam plumes. On 21 September VMGD reported that the Lake Voui eruption had ceased and the Alert Level was lowered to 2.

Observed activity through October and November dominantly consisted of white gas-and-steam plumes. An explosion on 30 October at 1832 produced an ash plume that rose to 4-5 km and drifted E and SE. Satellite images acquired during July-November show the changing crater area and crater lake water color (figure 89). VMGD volcano alert bulletins on 6, 7, and 21 January 2019 reported that activity continued with gas-and-steam emissions (figure 90). Thermal energy continued to be detected by the MIROVA system through January (figure 91).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. The changing lakes of Ambae during volcanic activity in 2018. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. A steam plume at Ambae on 21 January 2019. Courtesy of VMGD.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Log radiative power MIROVA plot of MODIS infrared data at Ambae for April 2018 through January 2019 showing the increased thermal energy during the July 2018 eruption and continued activity. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/NZ/messages.html); 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/); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Himawari-8 Real-time Web, developed by the NICT Science Cloud project in NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology), Japan, in collaboration with JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency) and CEReS (Center of Environmental Remote Sensing, Chiba University) (URL: https://himawari8.nict.go.jp/); Vanuatu Red Cross Society (URL: https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuRedCross); William A. Brooks and Ronald L. Holle, Vaisala Inc., Tucson, Arizona, and Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/); Michael Rowe, The University of Auckland, 23 Symonds Street, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand (URL: https://unidirectory.auckland.ac.nz/profile/michael-rowe); Radio New Zealand, 155 The Terrace, Wellington 6011, New Zealand (URL: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/359231/vanuatu-provincial-capital-moves-due-to-volcano); Vanuatu Daily Post (URL: http://dailypost.vu/).


Agung (Indonesia) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing intermittent ash plumes and frequent gas-and-steam plumes during August 2018-January 2019

Agung is an active volcano in Bali, Indonesia, that began its current eruptive episode in September 2017. During this time activity has included ash plumes, gas-and-steam plumes, explosions ejecting ballistic blocks onto the flanks, and lava extrusion within the crater.

This report summarizes activity from August 2018 through January 2019 based on information from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), MAGMA Indonesia, the National Board for Disaster Management - Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

During August 2018 through January 2019 observed activity was largely gas-and steam plumes up to 700 m above the crater (figures 39 and 40). In late December and January there were several explosions that produced ash plumes up to 5.5 km altitude, and ejected ballistic blocks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Graph showing the observed white gas-and-steam plumes and gray ash plumes at Agung during August 2018 through January 2019. The dates showing no data points coincided with cloudy days where the summit was not visible. Data courtesy of PVMBG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A white gas-and-steam plume at Agung on 21 December 2018. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume on 8-9 August based on satellite data, webcam footage, and ground report information. The ash plume rose to 4.3 km and drifted to the W. They also reported a diffuse ash plume to 3.3 km altitude on 16-17 August based on satellite and webcam data. During September through November there were no ash plumes observed at Agung; activity consisted of white gas-and-steam plumes ranging from 10-500 m above the crater.

Throughout December, when observations could be made, activity mostly consisted of white gas-and-steam plumes up to 400 m above the crater. An explosion occurred at 0409 on 30 December that lasted 3 minutes 8 seconds produced an ash plume rose to an altitude of 5.5 km and moved to the SE and associated incandescence was observed at the crater. Light Ashfall was reported in the Karangasem regency to the NE, including Amlapura City and several villages such as in Seraya Barat Village, Seraya Tengah Village, and Tenggalinggah Village (figure 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. A webcam image of an explosion at Agung that began at 0409 on 30 December 2018. Light Ashfall was reported in the Karangasem regency. Courtesy of PVMBG.

White gas-and-steam plumes continued through January 2019 rising as much as 600 m above the crater. Several Volcano Observatory Notices for Aviation (VONAs) were issued during 18-22 January. An explosion was recorded at 0245 on 19 January that produced an ash plume to 700 m above the crater and ejected incandescent blocks out to 1 km from the crater. On 21 January another ash plume rose to an estimated plume altitude of 5.1 km. The next morning, at 0342 on the 22nd, an ash plume to an altitude of 2 km that dispersed to the E and SE.

Satellite data shows continued low-level thermal activity in the crater throughout this period. MIROVA thermal data showed activity declining after a peak in July, and a further decline in energy in September (figure 42). Low-level thermal activity continued through December. Sentinel-2 thermal data showed elevated temperatures within the ponded lava in the crater (figure 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Log radiative power MIROVA plot of MODIS infrared data for May 2018 through January 2019 showing thermal anomalies at Agung. The black data lines indicate anomalies more than 10 km from the crater, which are likely due to fires. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing areas of elevated temperatures within the lava ponded in the Agung crater during August 2018 through January 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Erebus (Antarctica) — January 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

77.53°S, 167.17°E; summit elev. 3794 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lakes persist through 2017 and 2018

Between the early 1980's through 2016, activity at Erebus was monitored by the Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory (MEVO), using seismometers, infrasonic recordings to measure eruption frequency, and annual scientific site visits. MEVO recorded occasional explosions propelling ash up to 2 km above the summit of this Antarctic volcano and the presence of two, sometimes three, lava lakes (figure 26). However, MEVO closed in 2016 (BGVN 42:06).

Activity at the lava lakes in the summit crater can be detected using MODIS infrared detectors aboard the Aqua and Terra satellites and analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm. A compilation of thermal alert pixels during 2017-2018 (table 4, a continuation of data in the previous report) shows a wide range of detected activity, with a high of 182 alert pixels in April 2018. Although no MODVOLC anomalies were recorded in January 2017, detectors on the Sentinel-2 satellite imaged two active lava lakes on 25 January.

Table 4. Number of MODVOLC thermal alert pixels recorded per month from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2018 for Erebus by the University of Hawaii's thermal alert system. Table compiled by GVP from data provided by MODVOLC.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec SUM
2017 0 21 9 0 0 1 11 61 76 52 0 3 234
2018 0 21 58 182 55 17 137 172 103 29 0 0 774
SUM 0 42 67 182 55 18 148 233 179 81 0 3 1008
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Sentinel-2 images of the summit crater area of Erebus on 25 January 2017. Top: Natural color filter (bands 4, 3, 2). Bottom: Atmospheric penetration filter (bands 12, 11, 8A) in which two distinct lava lakes can be observed. The main crater is 500 x 600 m wide. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost historically active volcano, overlooks the McMurdo research station on Ross Island. The 3794-m-high Erebus is the largest of three major volcanoes forming the crudely triangular Ross Island. The summit of the dominantly phonolitic volcano has been modified by one or two generations of caldera formation. A summit plateau at about 3200 m elevation marks the rim of the youngest caldera, which formed during the late-Pleistocene and within which the modern cone was constructed. An elliptical 500 x 600 m wide, 110-m-deep crater truncates the summit and contains an active lava lake within a 250-m-wide, 100-m-deep inner crater. The glacier-covered volcano was erupting when first sighted by Captain James Ross in 1841. Continuous lava-lake activity with minor explosions, punctuated by occasional larger strombolian explosions that eject bombs onto the crater rim, has been documented since 1972, but has probably been occurring for much of the volcano's recent history.

Information Contacts: 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).


Villarrica (Chile) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent Strombolian activity ejects incandescent bombs around crater rim, September 2018-February 2019

Historical eruptions at Chile's Villarrica, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. An intermittently active lava lake at the summit has been the source of explosive activity, incandescence, and thermal anomalies for several decades. Sporadic Strombolian activity at the lava lake and small ash emissions have continued since the last large explosion on 3 March 2015. Similar continuing activity during September 2018-February 2019 is covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Southern Andes Volcano Observatory (Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur, OVDAS), part of Chile's National Service of Geology and Mining (Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, SERNAGEOMIN), and Projecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI), part of the Fundacion Volcanes de Chile, a research group that studies volcanoes across Chile.

After ash emissions during July 2018 and an increase in of thermal activity from late July through early September 2018 (BGVN 43:10), Villarrica was much quieter through February 2019. Steam plumes rose no more than a few hundred meters above the summit and the number of thermal alerts decreased steadily. Intermittent Strombolian activity sent ejecta a few tens of meters above the summit crater, with larger bombs landing outside the crater rim. A small pyroclastic cone appeared at the surface of the lava lake, about 70 m below the rim, in November. The largest lava fountain rose 35 m above the crater rim in late January 2019.

Steam plumes rose no more than 300 m above the crater during September 2018 and were less than 150 m high in October; incandescence at the summit was visible during clear nights, although a gradual decrease in activity suggested a lowering of the lake level to SERNAGEOMIN. SERNAGEOMIN attributed an increase in LP seismic events from 1,503 in September to 5,279 in October to dynamics of the lava lake inside the summit crater; counts decreased gradually in the following months.

POVI reported webcam evidence of Strombolian activity with ejecta around the crater several times during November 2018. On 5 November the webcam captured an image of an incandescent bomb, more than a meter in diameter, that landed on the NW flank. The next day, explosions sent ejecta 50 m above the edge of the crater, and pyroclastic debris landed around the perimeter. Significant Strombolian explosions on 16 November sent incandescent bombs toward the W rim of the crater (figure 71). The POVI webcam in Pucón captured incandescent ejecta landing on the crater rim on 23 November. POVI scientists observed a small pyroclastic cone, about 10-12 m in diameter, at the bottom of the summit crater on 19 November (figure 72); it was still visible on 25 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Strombolian activity at the summit of Villarrica was captured several times in the POVI webcam located in Pucón. An explosion on 5 November 2018 ejected a meter-sized bomb onto the NW flank (left). On 16 November, incandescent bombs were thrown outside the W rim of the crater (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. A small pyroclastic cone was visible at the bottom of the summit crater at Villarrica (about 70 m deep) on 19 November 2018 (left); it was still visible on 25 November (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).

During December 2018 webcam images showed steam plumes rising less than 350 m above the crater. Infrasound instruments identified two small explosions related to lava lake surface activity. SERNAGEOMIN noted a minor variation in the baseline of the inclinometers; continued monitoring indicated the variation was seasonal. A compilation by POVI of images of the summit crater during 2018 showed the evolution of the lava lake level during the year. It had dropped out of sight early in the year, rose to its highest level in July, and then lowered slightly, remaining stable for the last several months of the year (figure 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Evolution of the lava pit at Villarrica during 2018. During July the lava lake level increased and for November and December no significant changes were observed. Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).

Between 25 December 2018 and 15 January 2019, financed with funds contributed by the Fundación Volcanes de Chile, POVI was able to install new HD webcams with continuous daily image recording, greatly improving the level of detail data available of the activity at the summit. POVI reported that after a five-week break, Strombolian explosions resumed on 3 January 2019; the lava fountains rose 20 m above the crater rim, and pyroclastic ejecta fell to the E. On 24 January the Strombolian explosions ejected ash, lapilli, and bombs up to 15 cm in diameter; the lava fountain was about 35 m high.

An explosion on 7 February reached about 29 m above the crater's edge; on 9 February a lava fountain three meters in diameter rose 17 m above the crater rim. Sporadic explosions were imaged on 12 February as well (figure 74). During a reconnaissance overflight on 24 February 2019, POVI scientists observed part of the lava pit at the bottom of the crater (figure 75). As of 28 February they noted a slight but sustained increase in the energy of the explosions. SERNAGEOMIN noted that steam plumes rose 400 m in January and 150 m during February, and incandescence was visible on clear nights during both months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Strombolian activity at Villarrica in January and February 2019 was imaged with a new HD webcam on several occasions. On 24 January 2019 explosions ejected ash, lapilli, and bombs up to 15 cm in diameter; the lava fountain was about 35 m high (left); on 12 February 2019 explosions rose about 19 m above the crater rim (right). Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. During a reconnaissance overflight on 24 February 2019, POVI scientists observed part of the lava pit at the bottom of the crater at Villarrica; gas and steam emissions and incandescence from small explosions were noted. Courtesy of POVI (Volcán Villarrica, Resumen Gráfico del Comportamiento, November 2017 a Febrero 2019).

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI) (URL: http://www.povi.cl/).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta continue during September 2018-February 2019

Frequent historical eruptions have been reported from Mexico's Popocatépetl going back to the 14th century. Activity increased in the mid-1990s after about 50 years of quiescence, and the current eruption, ongoing since January 2005, has included numerous episodes of lava-dome growth and destruction within the 500-m-wide summit caldera. Multiple emissions of steam and gas occur daily, rising generally 1-3 km above the 5.4-km-elevation summit; many contain small amounts of ash. Larger, more explosive events with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta landing on the flanks usually occur several times every week.

Activity through August 2018 was typical of the ongoing eruption with near-constant emissions of water vapor, gas, and minor ash, as well as multiple explosions every week with ash-plumes and incandescent blocks scattered on the flanks (BGVN 43:11). This report covers similar activity from September 2018 through February 2019. Information about Popocatépetl comes from daily reports provided by México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED); ash emissions are also reported by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite visible and thermal imagery and SO2 data also provide helpful observations of activity.

Near-constant emissions of steam and gas, often with minor ash content, were typical activity throughout September 2018-February 2019. Intermittent larger explosions with plumes of moderate ash content that generated ashfall in nearby communities were reported each month except November. Periods with increased explosive activity that consisted of multiple daily explosions included all of September into early October, early December 2018, and the second half of February 2019 (figure 116). Increased observations of incandescence at the summit generally coincided with increases in explosive activity. Increases in thermal anomalies measured by the MIROVA project during this time also correlated with times of increased explosive activity as reported by CENAPRED (figure 117).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. The numbers of low intensity emissions of steam and gas, often with minor amounts of ash ranged from a few tens to several hundred per day throughout September 2018-February 2019 (blue, left axis). Increases in the daily numbers of larger ash-bearing explosions occurred during September-early October 2018, early December, and the second half of February 2019 (orange, right axis). Data courtesy of CENEPRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Thermal anomalies registered by the MIROVA project from 5 April 2018 through February 2019 had periods of increased frequency and intensity during September-early October, early December 2018, and in the second half of February 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during September 2018. Multiple explosions with ash plumes were reported nearly every day in September (figure 118). The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery 15 km NW of the summit at 7.6 km altitude on 4 September. Most plumes reported by the VAAC during the month rose to 6.1-7.6 km and drifted up to 40 km in multiple directions. Two small episodes of ash emissions with tremor on 16 September were followed the next day by a series of emissions, explosions, and tremor that lasted for over six hours; incandescent blocks were visible on the flanks in the early morning. An increase in activity late on 18 September produced Strombolian eruptions that lasted for nearly eight hours along with ash emissions and incandescent blocks on the flanks. A plume on 19 September still had detectable ash 150 km NE of the summit; a smaller plume drifting E was responsible for ashfall reported in Tlaxcala.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. Multiple explosions with ash plumes were reported nearly every day in September at Popocatépetl, generating ash plumes that rose from 1.5-3 km above the crater and drifted in multiple directions. The CENAPRED webcams captured images of ash plumes on 8, 11, and 19 September, and the Sentinel-2 satellite (rendering is Atmospheric penetration, based on bands 12, 11 and 8A) imaged ash plumes from two of seven reported explosions on 24 September 2018. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 9, 11, y 20 de septiembre de 2018) and Sentinel Hub Playground (lower image).

Discrete puffs of ash were observed by the Washington VAAC on 20 September moving WSW extending around 200 km from the summit. Three explosions on 21 September ejected incandescent blocks onto the NE flank. During an overflight on 21 September, CENAPRED observed dome number 80, partly destroyed by the recent explosions (figure 119). The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 8.8 km altitude on 21 September 30 km WSW from the summit. Ashfall was reported by CENACOM (Mexican National Communications Center) on 29 September in Atlautla, Tehuixtitlan, and Cuecuecuautitla in the State of Mexico, and in the Tláhuac Delegation, Iztapalapa, and Xochimilco in Mexico City.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. During an overflight on 21 September 2018, CENAPRED observed dome number 80 at Popocatépetl, partly destroyed by the recent explosions. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 21 de septiembre de 2018).

Activity during October and November 2018. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 7 km altitude on 2 October, 35 km W of the summit. Numerous smaller plumes were reported by the VAAC during both months at about 6 km altitude drifting in multiple directions. Two larger explosions on 8 October produced ash plumes that rose to 3.5 and 2.4 km, respectively, above the summit, and drifted NE (figure 120). As a result, ashfall was reported at the Puebla airport. On 10 and 12 October, extended periods of LP tremor were accompanied by gas emissions, but otherwise lower levels of activity were noted for much of the month. An ash plume extended over 80 km NE at 7.6 km altitude on 10 November. An explosion on 13 November produced incandescent fragments on the flanks. During 19-21 November episodes of LP seismicity and tremors produced gas and ash emissions; some of the episodes lasted for as long as 13 hours; incandescent fragments were observed on the upper slopes during the more intense periods. On 22 November scientists on an overflight by CENAPRED observed dome 81 with a diameter of 175 m and an estimated depth of 30 m (figure 121).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. A large explosion early on 8 October 2018 at Popocatépetl sent an ash plume to 3.5 km above the summit crater that drifted NE. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 9 de Octubre de 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. On 22 November 2018 scientists on an overflight by CENAPRED observed dome 81 at Popocatépetl with a diameter of 175 m and an estimated depth of 30 m. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelos, herramienta útil para el monitoreo volcánico del Popocatépetl, jueves, 22 de noviembre de 2018).

Activity during December 2018. Increased ash emissions were reported in early December 2018, producing ash plumes that rose at least 1 km above the crater and drifted mostly E; incandescent blocks ejected on 5 December fell mostly back into the crater. Multiple explosions on 6 and 7 December produced ash plumes that rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater and resulted in ashfall in Amecameca and Tlalmanalco; they also produced incandescent blocks that traveled as far at 2.5 km from the crater, according to CENAPRED. An explosion on 9 December produced a 2-km-high ash plume that drifted NE (figure 122). Satellite images captured during clear skies on 18 December showed incandescence at the dome inside the summit crater, and dark ash and ejecta covering much of the upper flanks (figure 123). An ash plume was centered about 100 km NE of the summit on 24 December at 7.6 km altitude, and dissipating rapidly, according to the Washington VAAC. Incandescent blocks were ejected onto the flanks on 26 December during an evening explosion.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. An explosion on 9 December 2018 produced a 2-km-high ash plume at Popocatépetl that drifted NE. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 9 de diciembre de 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Clear skies on 18 December 2018 resulted in a Sentinel-2 satellite image of Popocatépetl that showed incandescence on the dome inside the summit crater, and dark tephra surrounding all the upper flanks. Rendering is Atmospheric penetration, based on bands 12, 11 and 8A. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January 2019. An explosion in the early morning of 16 January 2019 produced incandescent blocks that traveled 1.5 km down the slopes. It also produced an ash emission that lasted for 25 minutes; the seismic signal associated with the event was a mixture of harmonic tremor and high-frequency low-amplitude earthquakes. In the first minutes the height of the column reached 1,000 m above the crater, later it decreased to 500 m; ash was dispersed ENE. Late on 22 January a large explosion produced an ash plume that rose 3.5 km above the crater and numerous incandescent blocks that were observed as far as 2 km from the summit (figure 124); ashfall was reported in Santa Isabel Cholula, Santa Ana Xalmimilulco, Domingo Arenas, San Martin Texmelucan, Tlalancaleca, San Salvador el Verde, San Andres Calpan, San Nicolás de los Ranchos, and Huejotzingo, all in the state of Puebla. A large discrete ash plume was observed in satellite imagery by the Washington VAAC on 24 January at 6.7 km altitude moving NE to about 35 km distance before dissipating. In an overflight on 27 January CENAPRED noted that the internal crater remained about 300 m wide and 150 m deep, and no dome was visible (figure 125).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Late on 22 January 2019 a large explosion at Popocatépetl produced an ash plume that rose 3.5 km above the crater and produced numerous incandescent blocks that were observed as far as 2 km from the summit. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Actualización de Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 22 de enero de 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 125. During an overflight of Popocatépetl on 27 January 2019 observers from CENAPRED noted that the internal crater remained about 300 m wide and 150 m deep, and no dome was visible. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 27 de enero de 2019).

Activity during February 2019. Several days of increased activity of harmonic tremor and explosions were reported during 14-19 February 2019 (figure 126). Incandescent blocks from Strombolian activity appeared on the flanks late on 14 February traveling as far as 1.5 km, along with a continuous stream of ash and gas that drifted SW for seven hours. The initial ash plume rose 800 m, but by early the next day had risen to 2 km. Ashfall was reported in the communities of Hueyapan, Tetela del Volcán, Zacualpan, Temoac, Jantetelco, Cuautla, Ocuituco, and Yecapixtla, in the state of Morelos, and in Tochimilco, Puebla, on 15 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 126. Several days of increased activity at Popocatépetl, including harmonic tremor and explosions, were reported during 14-19 February 2019. Incandescent blocks from Strombolian activity appeared on the flanks late on 14 February traveling as far as 1.5 km, along with a continuous stream of ash and gas that drifted SW for seven hours (left). Steam and gas streamed continuously from the summit for many hours on 17 February (right); the plume drifted NNE at 1-1.5 km altitude. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 14 y 18 de febrero de 2019).

A new episode of Strombolian activity early on 16 February lasted for six hours and produced 2-km-high ash plumes that drifted SE. Later that afternoon, a new harmonic tremor episode, again lasting about six hours, was accompanied by water vapor and gas emissions that drifted NE and incandescent blocks ejected 400 m down the flanks. A Sentinel-2 satellite image that day recorded a significant thermal signature from the summit dome (figure 127).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 127. A Sentinel-2 satellite image on a clear 16 February 2019 recorded a significant thermal signature from the summit dome of Popocatépetl. Rendering is Atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Satellite instruments recorded a strong SO2 signature from the volcano during 15-18 February (figure 128). Multi-hour periods of harmonic tremor were recorded during 17-19 February, accompanied by gas-and-ash emissions. Ash plume heights were between 1 and 2 km above the crater, and minor ashfall was reported in Tlaxco and Xalostoc in Nativitas, and Hueyotlipan, Amaxac de Guerrero, Tepetitla de Lardizábal, and Texoloc in Tlaxcala, on 18 February. Two overflights on 18 and 19 February confirmed the formation of dome 82 inside the summit crater, estimated to be 200 m in diameter (figure 129).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 128. Significant SO2 plumes were measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during 15-18 February 2019 at Popocatépetl. The plume initially drifted SW (top left, 15 February); changes in the wind direction carried the plume to the N (top right, 16 February), then to the NE (bottom left, 17 February), and back to the N on 18 February (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 129. An overflight on 19 February by CENAPRED confirmed the formation of dome 82 inside the summit crater at Popocatépetl, estimated to be 200 m in diameter. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Actualización del reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 19 de febrero de 2019).

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/); 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); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous activity from the cone in Mackenney crater; daily lava flows on the NW flank during October 2018-January 2019

Extensive lava flows, bomb-laden Strombolian explosions, and ash plumes emerging from MacKenney crater have characterized the persistent activity at Pacaya since 1961. The latest eruptive episode began with intermittent ash plumes and incandescence in June 2015; the growth of a new pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater was confirmed in mid-December 2015. The pyroclastic cone has continued to grow, rising above the crater rim in late 2017 and sending numerous flows down the flanks of the crater throughout 2018 (BGVN 43:11). Similar activity continued during October 2018-January 2019, covered in this report, with information provided primarily by Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH).

There were few variations in the eruptive activity at Pacaya during October 2018-January 2019. Virtually constant Strombolian activity from the summit of the pyroclastic cone within Mackenney crater produced ejecta that rose 5-30 m daily. Periods of increased activity occasionally increased the height of the ejecta to 50 m. Lava flows descended the NW flank of Mackenney cone towards Cerro Chino crater, usually one or two a day, sometimes three or four. They travelled 50-300 m down the flank; the longest reached 600 m in mid-October and 500 m at the end of January. Steam and gas plumes persisted from the summit; a single VAAC report mentioned dilute ash in mid-October. Plumes generally rose a few hundred meters above the summit, occasionally reaching 700-800 m. Incandescent avalanche blocks at the heads of the flows were sometimes as large as a meter in diameter and traveled far down the flanks.

Constant Strombolian activity during October 2018 from the pyroclastic cone within Mackenney crater was ejected up to 30 m above the summit of the cone throughout the month, with occasional more intense episodes rising 50 m. Lava flows were reported daily by INSIVUMEH on the NW flank from 50 to 300 m long. White and blue gas-and-steam emissions generally rose a few hundred meters from the summit of the pyroclastic cone and usually drifted S or N. The highest rose 800 m on 26 and 27 October. In a special report issued late on 12 October INSIVUMEH noted that seismicity had increased during the day; Strombolian explosions also increased and ejected material 25-50 m above the summit, producing block avalanches in the vicinity of the flows (figure 103). The cone within Mackenney crater continued to grow, reaching 75 m above the rim and nearly filling the crater at its base. According to the Washington VAAC, on 14 October a pilot reported minor ash emissions moving W at an estimated 650 m above the summit. Multi-spectral imagery showed a faint ash plume moving W at 3.4 km altitude, and a well-defined hotspot was seen in short-wave infrared imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Strombolian activity sent ejecta 25-50 m above the summit of Pacaya on 12 October 2018, and lava flows traveled 600 m down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino, as seen from the community of Escuintla located about 20 km W. Courtesy of Carlos Barrios and INSIVUMEH.

Similar activity persisted throughout November 2018 (figures 104 and 105). The Strombolian activity usually rose 5-30 m high; on 24 November INSIVUMEH reported ejecta 75 m high and the presence of four lava flows on the NW flank that traveled distances ranging from 50 to 200 m. Steam-and-gas emissions rose no more than 500 m above the summit. On 24 and 28 November incandescent avalanche blocks were observed at the fronts of the lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Constant Strombolian activity rising 25-50 m above the summit of Pacaya was reported on 12 November 2018. In addition, a lava flow 150 m long traveled down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino, as seen in this image with incandescent blocks below the flow. A diffuse plume of mostly gas and steam rose 350 m above the crater. Courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Continuous lava flows up to 300 m long were observed during the last week of November 2018 at Pacaya. They traveled down the NW flank and often had large incandescent blocks that descended the flank beneath the flow. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Pacaya (1402-11), Semana del 24 al 30 de noviembre de 2018).

During December 2018, continuous Strombolian activity was observed 25 m high. Incandescent avalanche blocks were noted at the fronts of the lava flows more frequently than in previous months. One to three lava flows extending 50-300 m down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino were reported every day that the flanks were visible (figure 106). Late on 13 December INSIVUMEH released a special bulletin noting that explosions were heard as far as 8 km from Mackenney crater, and Strombolian activity rose 25-50 m. Constant tremor activity had been produced from the ongoing lava flows descending the flank; the incandescent avalanche blocks up to 1 m in diameter were falling from the front of the flows. By the end of December, the growing pyroclastic cone had filled the inside of Mackenney crater, reaching 75-100 m above the crater rim. In a special information report on 28 December, INSIVUMEH noted that changes in the eruptive patterns included an increase in seismic tremor along with more persistent and higher energy Strombolian activity from the active cone, which frequently sent material outside of the crater onto the flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Lava flows traveled down the NW flank of Pacaya on 7 December 2018. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de la actividad volcanica, diciembre 2018, Volcan de Pacaya).

There were no significant changes in activity during January 2019. Constant Strombolian activity rose 5-30 m above the summit; INSIVUMEH reported the height at 50 m on 7 January. Large incandescent avalanche blocks were noted at the front of the lava flows several times; one or two flows daily reached lengths of 100-300 m. The flow reported on 29 January reached 500 m, traveling down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino. Steam plumes, sometimes with bluish gas, rose generally to around 100 m above the summit, occasionally higher. Growth and destruction of the pyroclastic cone inside Mackenney crater continued as it had for the previous several months. The persistent Strombolian and lava flow activity was responsible for a strong thermal signature recorded in satellite data and plotted by the MIROVA project during the period (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. A MIROVA graph of thermal radiative power at Pacaya from 5 April 2018 through January 2019 showed little change during the period from October 2018-January 2019 covered in this report. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Carlos Barrios (Twitter: @shekano, URL: https://twitter.com/shekano).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 31, Number 05 (May 2006)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Ambae (Vanuatu)

During May-June 2006, Lake Voui's water rapidly turns from blue to red

Anatahan (United States)

Eruptions restarted in 2005 and continued until at least June 2006

Bagana (Papua New Guinea)

Lava flows and ash emission throughout March 2006

Bulusan (Philippines)

Explosive activity continues

Daikoku (United States)

Discovery of agitated pool of molten sulfur at 420 m ocean depth

Heard (Australia)

2006 imagery indicates renewed volcanism

Krummel-Garbuna-Welcker (Papua New Guinea)

Earthquakes continue while vents remain calm through April 2006

Lamington (Papua New Guinea)

Mild vapor emission and earthquakes through March 2006

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Moderate activity steady through March 2006

Merapi (Indonesia)

Mid-2006 brings multiple pyroclastic flows that kill two, and travel up to 7 km

NW Rota-1 (United States)

Views of submarine volcano ejecting lava and bombs

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

During first half of 2006, several ash plumes rose to ~ 7-8 km altitude

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Gas emissions and earthquakes during March-April 2006

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Big dome collapse and tall plume on 20 May 2006 leave a W-leaning crater

St. Helens (United States)

Intracrater lava dome continues to grow through at least May 2006

Ubinas (Peru)

Ash and steam emissions stir hazard and environmental concerns

Villarrica (Chile)

Unusual seismicity, minor pyroclastic, and gas explosions, January-April 2005



Ambae (Vanuatu) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


During May-June 2006, Lake Voui's water rapidly turns from blue to red

Alain Bernard reported that Lake Voui in Aoba-Ambae volcano (BGVN 31:01) was undergoing a spectacular change in its color?the previously aqua-colored lake was turning red (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Lake Voui at Aoba as seen from the air on 28 May (top) and 3 June 2006 (bottom). Images courtesy of Esline Garaebiti (top) and Philippe Métois (bottom).

Images of a pale reddish Lake Voui were obtained by Esline Garaebiti, who flew over the volcano 28 May 2006. Philippe Métois, who flew over on 3 June 2006, photographed a blood-red lake. These photos were are posted on the CVL website along with recent ASTER temperature data. This color change was tentatively attributed to a rapid shift in the lake water's redox state. The change might be linked to the ratio of SO2/H2S in the hydrothermal fluids.

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

Information Contacts: Alain Bernard, IAVCEI Commission on Volcanic Lakes (CVL), Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), CP160/02, avenue F.D. Roosevelt 50, Brussels, Belgium (URL: http://www.ulb.ac.be/sciences/cvl/aoba/Ambae1.html, http://www.ulb.ac.be/sciences/cvl/multispectral/multispectral2.htm); Esline Garaebiti, Department of Geology, Mines, and Water Resources (DGMWR), Port-Vila, Vanuatu; Philippe Métois, World of Wonders.


Anatahan (United States) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Anatahan

United States

16.35°N, 145.67°E; summit elev. 790 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions restarted in 2005 and continued until at least June 2006

Anatahan erupted almost continuously from 5 January 2005 until 3 September 2005 when eruptions suddenly ceased (BGVN 30:07, 30:08). Observations through 16 September indicated relative quiet. Indications from later reports (discussed below) are that this lull continued through at least mid- to late-February 2006. Eruptions resumed after that, although the observations suggest chiefly or entirely gas-rich plumes. Jenifer Piatt suggested that plumes after early September 2005 and through May 2006 rose only to low altitude, perhaps 2,500 m.

This report covers the period through early June 2006 and includes both field observations as well as several satellite-based SO2 measurements, and extensive satellite images of thin plumes assessed as vog (volcanic smog; table 5). Some of those plumes extended W to SW from Anatahan and had overall atmospheric SO2 masses on the order of up to 4 kilotons (kt).

Table 5. AURA/OMI SO2 from Anatahan plumes at stated dates in 2006 (the two indicated with asterisks ("**") shown as figures). The last column displays the plume's overall estimated SO2 mass. The second and third columns indicate, respectively, the area of the sulfurous plume, and the estimated maximum SO2 concentration (in DU) and its latitude and longitude. Courtesy of Simon Carn.

Date Time (UTC) Orbit Area of plume (km2) Highest concentration in Dobson Units (DU) Coordinates Atmospheric SO2 (kilotons)
15 Mar 2006 0400-0420** 08852 -- -- -- 1-2
12 Apr 2006 0249-0428** -- 9.1 x 104 1.9 DU 13.16°N, 137.26°E 2.2
16 Apr 2006 0401-0404 09318 9.8 x 104 6.7 DU 16.28°N, 145.39°E 3.9
23 Apr 2006 0407-0410 09420 11.0 x 104 4.6 DU 17.42°N, 143.06°E 3.5
31 May 2006 0331-0334 09979 4.8 x 104 3.0 DU 16.07°N, 145.24°E 1.4

During the week ending 19 September 2005, there were three periods of elevated tremor. On 13 September, technicians from the Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (EMO-CNMI) who were reinstalling seismic station ANA2 on Anatahan reported that the plume was gray, small, and moving to the NW. They heard no explosions and saw no craters or large ballistics in vicinity of ANA2.

CMNI-USGS reports for 3 September until at least 26 December 2005 noted an absence of erupted ash. At least as late as 27 February 2006, Anatahan lacked reported ash emissions. Also as late as the 27th, seismicity was at background levels, amounting to a few percent of the late June 2005 maximum, with occasional long-period earthquakes. On 27 February 2006, the Alert level was reduced to Normal and the Aviation Color Code to Green because of the continuing low levels of activity.

By the date of the next USGS update, on 20 March 2006, activity had increased somewhat and the Alert level was raised to Advisory and the Aviation Color Code to Yellow. A faint, thin plume of gas that was occasionally observable during January and February became continuous and slightly more dense on satellite imagery during the first three weeks of March.

Using the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's EOS/Aura satellite, Simon Carn imaged Anatahan's plume of 15 March 2006 (figure 27). Anatahan lies at the solid triangle; the plume blew largely SW. Carn found that the atmospheric SO2 mass was 1-2 kilotons. He noted that there had been an upsurge in satellite-detected SO2 output that began in mid-February 2006. The highest concentrations of several OMI analyses (table 6 and figure 28) were measured on 16 and 23 April (3.9 and 3.5 kilotons of SO2, respectively).

Table 6. A summary of Anatahan plume data based on US AFWA satellite observations during 15 March to 31 May 2006. DMSP stands for Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. Courtesy of Charles Holliday and Jenifer E. Piatt, AFWA.

Date Time (UTC) Satellite (resolution or wavelength) Observation
15 Mar 2006 0354 Aqua Modis (500 m res.) Faint vog plume seen drifting generally SSW
16 Mar 2006 0125 Terra Modis (500 m res.) Vog seen drifting generally to the SW
17 Mar 2006 0330 Aqua Modis (1 km res.) Cloud cover obscured visibility
18 Mar 2006 0415 Aqua Modis (500 m res.) Vog plume appears longer and more dense, drifting generally SW
19 Mar 2006 0320 Aqua Modis (500 m res.) Moderately dense vog plume, extending over 370 km SW. No signature has been visible on MTSAT split window IR imagery nor NOAA channel differencing images, suggesting minimal ash content in the plume.
19 Mar 2006 1606 NOAA-18 Shortwave IR (3.55-3.93 µm) Hot spot visible at island
19 Mar 2006 2221 DMSP F-16 Visible (566 m res.) A very faint plume discernable out to 230 km SW from source
20 Mar 2006 0400 Aqua Modis (500 m res.) Vog plume drifting S and SW
20 Mar 2006 2209 DMSP F-16 Visible (556 m res.) Very light vog drifting SSW
21 Mar 2006 0305 Aqua Modis (500 m res.) Distinct vog plume drifting SSW
21 Mar 2006 1546 NOAA-18 Shortwave IR (3.55-3.93 µm) Hot spot indicated at island
24 Mar 2006 0035 Terra Modis (500 m res.) Vog plume drifting W then NW
24 Mar 2006 0804 DMSP F-13 Visible (1.11 km res.) Plume extended at least 833 km W before curling N. Using shadows, the plume is estimated at below ~1.2 km (4,000 ft).
29 Mar 2006 1604 NOAA - 18 Shortwave IR (3.55-3.93 µm) Hot spot indicated at island
29 Mar 2006 2110 DMSP F-13 Visual (1.11 km res.) Steam measures 37 km W and vog measures ~320 km SW and ~670 km NNE of the summit. Tops are estimated below ~1.5 km (5,000 ft).
29 Mar 2006 2110 DSMP F-13 Visual (556 m res.) Steam and vog visible at island; greater detail of vog trending ~320 km to SW
30 Mar 2006 0820 DMSP F-13 Visual (1.11 km res.) Steam measured 56 km NW; vog measured ~600 km SW and ~670 km NNE of the summit. Tops are estimated below ~1.5 km (5,000 ft).
30 Mar 2006 1554 NOAA 18 Shortwave IR (3.55-3.93 µm) Hot spot detected at the island
02 Apr 2006 1953 NOAA18 Shortwaave IR (3.55-3.93 µm) Hot spot detected
04 Apr 2006 0320 Aqua Modis (500 m res.) Cloud formation along the vog plume with tops estimated at below ~3 km (10,000 ft)
04 Apr 2006 0559 DMSP-F-12 Visual (556 m res.) Vog measures 210 km SSW of the summit
14 Apr 2006 0355 Aqua Modis (500 m res.) Vog drifting over ~390 km SW
14 Apr 2006 0808 DMSP F-13 Visual (556 m res.) Vog seen drifting over ~ 500 km SW, expanding extensively as it spreads
17 Apr 2006 0125 Terra Modis (500 m res.) Light vog plume blown over 400 km WSW to W
17 Apr 2006 1612 NOAA-18 Shortwave IR (3.55-3.93 µm) Hot spot visible
17 Apr 2006 2143 DMSP F-13 Visual (556 m res.) Vog measures over 490 km WSW
22 Apr 2006 2153 DMSP F-16 Visual (556 m res.) Faint vog plume trended ~40 km NW
23 Apr 2006 0045 Terra Modis (250 m res.) Possible gray steam/ash plume extending under 28 km NW and vog extending over 155 km NW
23 Apr 2006 1954 NOAA-17 Shortwave IR (3.55-3.93 µm) Hot spot detected at island
24 Apr 2006 0130 Terra Modis (500 m res.) Visible vog trended ~325 km W then curved ~130 km NE and dissipated
23 May 2006 0430 Aqua Modis (500 m res.) Vog seen drifting generally W, then curving S and SW
23 May 2006 0710 NOAA 15 Visual (1.85 km res.) Vog trending generally SW then W for ~390 km
26 May 2006 0130 Terra Modis (500 m res.) Vog trending WNW(?)
26 May 2006 0800 DMSP F-16 Visual (2.78 km res.) Vog seen drifting WSW for up to 1,250 km
26 May 2006 1234 NOAA 17 Shortwave IR (3.55-3.93 µm) Hot spot detected at the island
30 May 2006 2120 DMSP F-14 Visible (2.77 km res.) Plume extends over 1,480 km to the WSW
30 May 2006 2120 DMSP F-14 Visible (556 m res.) Plume extends over 1,480 to the WSW. NASA Aura/OMI estimated the columnar SO2 concentration associated with the plume.
31 May 2006 0315 Aqua Modis (500 m res.) Vog seen drifting generally to the SW, with great dispersion
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. AURA/OMI image of SO2 from Anatahan at 0400-0420 UTC on 15 March 2006 (orbit 08852). The overall estimated SO2 mass in the 15 March plume was 1-2 kilotons. Concentration path-lengths for the atmospheric column are scaled in Dobson Units (DU). This is an example of a comparatively short plume, with greatest SO2 concentrations nearest the source, and blown somewhat more southerly than some of the later ones. Courtesy of Simon Carn.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. AURA/OMI image of SO2 from Anatahan at 0249-0428 UTC on 12 April 2006. The overall estimated SO2 mass in the 12 April plume was 2.2 kilotons (for other parameters and comparisons, see table 6). This is an example of a comparatively elongate plume, with highest SO2 registered in areas ~1,000 km ESE of the source. Courtesy of Simon Carn.

OMI is a Dutch-Finnish imaging spectrometer that measures ozone and other atmospheric trace gases such as SO2. OMI is a nadir-viewing imaging spectrometer that covers the ultraviolet and visible spectral range (270-500 nm). Its high spatial resolution increases the chance of observing cloud-free pixels, thereby enhancing the accuracy of the data products. OMI observes a strip of the Earth's surface about 2,600-2,800 km wide in one shot. The satellite's own movement along with Earth's rotation enables OMI to scan the entire globe. A two-dimensional CCD detector records both the complete swath and the spectrum of every ground pixel in the swath. The spatial information is imaged on one dimension of the CCD detector while the spectrum is projected along the other dimension of the CCD detector. OMI detects the total column amount of SO2 between the sensor and the Earth's surface and maps this quantity as it orbits.

On 17 March around 2200 UTC, the level of seismicity nearly doubled and continued at that level for 2 hours. On the 18th around 1400 UTC, the level of seismicity again nearly doubled and continued at that level for about 8 hours before returning to the baseline level prior to 17 March. The increased seismicity consisted of small (M 0-1) long-period earthquakes occurring approximately every minute, sometimes reaching two per minute. A total of about 600 such events were detected during 17 and 18 March. Volcanic Ash Advisories were issued by the Washington VAAC; plumes appeared to contain gas and only insignificant amounts of ash.

According to the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA), on 19 March a hot spot at Anatahan was visible on satellite imagery. Vog (volcanic smog) extended 200 km from the island (figure 29).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Anatahan's SW-drifting plume at 0320 UTC on 19 March as seen in a satellite image (AQUA MODIS, 500 m resolution) The US Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) analysts interpreted this plume as vog. Courtesy of AFWA and NASA.

On 24 March around 1330, seismicity at Anatahan abruptly increased to about twice the background level. The seismicity consisted of low-amplitude tremor and small, long-period earthquakes, similar to the seismicity on 17 and 18 March. On 24 March, vog from Anatahan was visible on satellite imagery extending W, then curling N. The plume was estimated to be below 1.2 km altitude, and no ash or hot spots were visible. Anatahan remained at Alert level Advisory; Aviation Color Code Yellow (Volcanic activity has increased somewhat, but remains fairly low and is being closely monitored).

From 28 March to 4 April, seismic levels fluctuated. Seismicity again jumped up to about double the background level for a few hours on 29 and 31 March and 2 April. Anatahan continued to produce a gas-and-steam plume visible in satellite imagery. On 4 April, Saipan residents reported smog and the smell of sulphur.

On 8 April a team from EMO-CNMI visited Anatahan and found steam and gas discharging from the E crater along the SW crater wall above a discolored lake. Testing confirmed the presence of SO2 and H2S in the plume. The plume rose to an altitude of less than 2 km and drifted to the NW as brownish vog. No ash fell from the plume onto the island. Based on these results and satellite surveillance, Anatahan was inferred to be emitting steam, gas, and vog.

Three long-period earthquakes occurred on 14 and 15 April. Each was preceded by several minutes of significantly reduced seismicity. AFWA reported that a hot spot was visible on NOAA shortwave IR imagery on 17 April at 1612 UTC, and vog extended over 490 km WSW in F-13 imagery on 17 April at 2143 UTC. SO2 mass values for 23 April were the second highest in this reporting interval. On 24 April 2006 AFWA reported that hot spots were occasionally visible and that vog was nearly always visible in satellite images.

Throughout May 2006, Anatahan's E crater continued to emit vog that was visible in MODIS imagery. Seismicity levels were low throughout April and May. A few to several microearthquakes occurred each day, all with magnitudes M 1 or smaller.

Ash may have erupted in late May. Although ash was indicated on radar on 27 May, and in a pilot's report for 29 May, those events took place during intervals of such low seismicity that people watching that data felt eruptions were unlikely to have occurred then.

On the other hand, based on a pilot report, the Washington VAAC declared that an ash plume from Anatahan reached an altitude of 3 km on 29 May and drifted W. Vog issuing from the E crater was visible on satellite imagery at about 1333 on 29 May 2006, and increased prior to emission of an ash plume. A report issued from the Washington VAAC on 30 May at 0535 indicated a faint, low-level gas-and-ash plume extending from the summit. At 2120 UTC on 30 May the plume extended over 1,480 km WSW.

By 19 June continued gas and steam emissions remained visible in satellite imagery. Seismicity dropped from recent levels and occasional microearthquakes were recorded locally.

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: Juan Takai Camacho and Ramon Chong, Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (EMO-CNMI), PO Box 100007, Saipan, MP 96950, USA (URL: http://www.cnmihsem.gov.mp/); Simon Carn, Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA; Charles Holliday and Jenifer E. Piatt, U.S. Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA)/XOGM, Offutt Air Force Base, NE 68113, USA.


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows and ash emission throughout March 2006

Little activity had been recorded at Bagana since 18 September 2005, when forceful emissions of whitish-brown ash occurred, accompanied by ash fall in downwind areas and large booming noises. From the end of January to mid-April 2006 there were brief periods of effusive activity. The summit crater released moderate to dense white vapor throughout this time.

Emissions were forceful on 27 February, and on 3, 5, 7, 13, 22, 24, and 29 March. Denser emissions of pale gray ash clouds were reported on 27 March. Rumbling and roaring noises were heard on 15-16, 22, and 26-28 March. Moderate to bright glow was accompanied by projections of lava fragments and the advance of a lava flow down the S-SW flank, which was visible from 15 March until the end of the month. During April, the summit crater continued to release white vapor. A forceful emission was recorded on 8 April. A weak glow was visible on 9 April. Occasional weak rumbling noises were heard on 12-13 and 15 April. On 4 May, there was an ash plume visible on satellite imagery at a height of ~ 3 km (10,000 ft) altitude that extended 4 km W. On 18 June there was an ash-and-steam plume drifting SW; the height of the plume was not recorded.

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

Information Contacts: Ima Itikarai and Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Bulusan (Philippines) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Bulusan

Philippines

12.769°N, 124.056°E; summit elev. 1535 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive activity continues

Bulusan erupted at 2258 on 21 March 2006, continuing into April 2006 (BGVN 31:04). Figure 2 shows the location of Bulusan volcano on the SE tip of Luzon. Figure 3 gives satellite measurements of SO2 one day after the eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Map of the Philippines showing the PHIVOLCS earthquake and volcano monitoring network, and Bulusan's location. Smaller inset focuses on the Bulusan region and indicates some settlements. The smaller map is from Encarta Maps; the larger map, courtesy of PHIVOLCS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions at 1345-1347 (local) on 22 March 2006 from Bulusan. The eruption was measured by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's EOS/Aura satellite [OMI detects the total column amount of SO2 between the sensor and the Earth's surface]. This cloud appeared quite significant (estimated total mass ~ 1,000 metric tons) considering that the event was reported as phreatic and that the image was collected about 15 hours after the eruption. Courtesy of Simon Carn.

An ash eruption on 29 April did not cause any damage, but authorities asked people to avoid the region near the crater (figure 4). The current report stems in large part from information coming from The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). Table 2 provides a brief summary of 2006 activity and resulting plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Image of a light ash plume snaking W from Bulusan acquired at 1250 on 29 April 2006. The image was made by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Terra satellite. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Table 2. Bulusan explosive plumes recorded during 2006. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

Date Local Time Plume character Plume height above summit Direction(s) of plume drift
21 Mar 2006 2258 ash 1.5 km N, W, SW
29 Apr 2006 1044 ash 1.5 km WSW, NW
25 May 2006 2117 ash -- W, SW
31 May 2006 1617 ash/steam 1.5 km W, WNW
07 Jun 2006 2017 ash/steam 2.0 km N, W, SW
10 Jun 2006 0018 ash/steam 1.0 km N, NE
13 Jun 2006 1904 ash/steam 1.5 km NW
18 Jun 2006 1556 ash/steam 1.5 km W
20 Jun 2006 2013 cloud-covered summit -- --
28 Jun 2006 0206 cloud-covered summit -- --

A phreatic ash explosion was recorded by the seismograph network at Bulusan between 2117 and 2130 on 25 May 2006. Light ashfall ranging from trace amounts to deposits 2 mm thick was reported from the W and SW villages of Bacolod, Sankayon, Puting Sapa, Rangas, Mapili, Caladgao, and Buraburan in the municipality of Juban, and Bolos in the municipality of Irosin, province of Sorsogon. PHIVOLCS reported that the ash explosion was more-or-less typical of activity at Bulusan during its current eruptive phase, and they expect more explosions to occur. Bulusan was at Alert Level 1, with a Permanent Danger Zone of 4 kilometers around the summit. The PHIVOLCS volcano alert signals range from Alert Level 1 (low-level unrest, no eruption imminent) through Alert Level 5 (hazardous explosive eruption in progress).

An ash-and-steam cloud emitted from the volcano on 31 May 2006 (figure 5) resulted in light ashfall, from trace amounts to 1.5 mm thickness, in areas W and NW of the volcano. An ash-and-steam cloud from Bulusan on 7 June 2006 resulted in light ashfall 5 km N and trace amounts as far as 20 km N. The Alert Level was raised to 2, which means restricted entry within 4 km of the summit. On 10 June, an ash-and-steam cloud reached a height of ~ 1 km above the summit and drifted N and NE. The Manila Standard Today reported one death caused by an asthma condition aggravated by exposure to ash.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. A Bulusan ash explosion seen at 1617 on 31 May 2006. The event was photographed from the foot of the volcano, 5- 6 km from the summit, in the town of Irosin. Courtesy of PHIVOLCS.

On 13 June 2006 at 1904, an explosion lasting ~13 minutes issued from a fissure W of the summit vent of Bulusan. It produced an ash-and-steam cloud (table 2). Ashfall up to 7 mm thick accumulated at the foot of the volcano in neighborhoods in the municipality of Juban.

On 18 June at 1556 , an explosion lasted ~11 minutes; it produced an ash-and-steam cloud (figure 6). This was the 8th explosion since Bulusan reactivated in March. Ash up to 5 mm thick fell on a W-flank village.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Mount Bulusan spews ash on 18 June 2006. Courtesy of Associated Press.

On 20 June, a mild ash-and-steam explosion lasted approximately 17 minutes. The seismic network around the volcano recorded only one high frequency volcanic earthquake prior to the explosion. The ash and steam emission coincided with heavy rains that generated some lahars and torrential flows. The sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rate that morning was 469 tons per day (t/d).

At 0800 on 26 June 2006, PHIVOLCS reported that the Bulusan seismic network had recorded four volcanic earthquakes during the past 24 hours. Steaming activity was wispy to moderate and reached an approximate height of 50 m above the summit before drifting WNW. On 28 June 2006, PHIVOLCS reported at 0800 that continuous seismic observation at Bulusan disclosed one small explosion-type earthquake and two volcanic earthquakes for the past 24 hours. The explosion occurred at 0206 on 28 June and lasted for about 4 minutes. However, the event was not observed because the summit was cloud covered all of 27 June until early in the morning of 28 June. No ashfall was reported following the explosion, and no lahar occurred at Gulang-gulang River in Cogon, Irosin. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates of the volcanic plume measured on 27 June decreased slightly, to 597 tons per day (t/d) in comparison to the 26 June 2006 rate of 942 t/d.

PHIVOLCS summarized the current 2006 activity as follows. In general, the character of explosions evolved only slightly, apparently becoming a little stronger later. The explosions in June were also somewhat longer in duration than earlier ash ejections, based on instrumental records and general visual monitoring. However, the absence of earthquakes, tremor, and generally low SO2 emission rates prior to each explosion suggested an absence of a large or active magmatic intrusion into shallow depths. Instead, they interpreted the sequence of explosions since March 2006 as pointing to interaction of small volumes of magma with an overlying water-saturated zone beneath the summit. These were thought to develop overpressures released during each explosion. It remains to be seen if the recent explosions would provide an "uncorking effect" and induce a major hazardous eruption. The very low earthquake activity was taken to suggests otherwise.

Geologic Background. Luzon's southernmost volcano, Bulusan, was constructed along the rim of the 11-km-diameter dacitic-to-rhyolitic Irosin caldera, which was formed about 36,000 years ago. It lies at the SE end of the Bicol volcanic arc occupying the peninsula of the same name that forms the elongated SE tip of Luzon. A broad, flat moat is located below the topographically prominent SW rim of Irosin caldera; the NE rim is buried by the andesitic complex. Bulusan is flanked by several other large intracaldera lava domes and cones, including the prominent Mount Jormajan lava dome on the SW flank and Sharp Peak to the NE. The summit is unvegetated and contains a 300-m-wide, 50-m-deep crater. Three small craters are located on the SE flank. Many moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the mid-19th century.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), PHIVOLCS Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue, U.P. Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); Earth Observatory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHarards/); The Manila Standard Today (URL: http://manilastandard.net/); Simon Carn, Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250.


Daikoku (United States) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Daikoku

United States

21.324°N, 144.194°E; summit elev. -323 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discovery of agitated pool of molten sulfur at 420 m ocean depth

Submarine exploration at Daikoku seamount has discovered a small pit or cauldron containing a pool of molten sulfur. During the period of 18 April-13 May 2006, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), aboard the research vessel Melville completed the 2006 Submarine Ring of Fire Expedition. This expedition was the third in a series exploring of the submarine volcanoes lying along the Mariana arc (figure 1). The arc extends from S of the island of Guam northward more than 1,450 km. Daily logs of the 2006 expedition, including photographs and video clips, can be viewed on the NOAA Ocean Explorer website (see Information Contacts below).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Bathymetric tectonic map of the Marianas arc showing islands and seamounts (with respective labels on backgrounds of dark and white). Reports in this issue discuss (from N to S), Diakoku, Anatahan, and NW Rotoa-1. Courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 Expedition, NOAA Vents Program.

William Chadwick reported on the 2006 expedition (Oregon State University press release, 25 May 2006) that ". . . on another volcano called Daikoku, in the northern part of the Mariana volcanic arc, the researchers discovered a pool of molten sulfur at a depth of 420 m. It was measured at 187°C. It was a sulfur pond with a flexible 'crust' that was moving in a wavelike motion. The movement was triggered by continuous gases being emitted from beneath the pool and passing through the sulfur." (figure 2).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. On 4 May 2006 scientists piloting the submersible Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Jason at Daikoku observed and photographed a convecting, black pool of liquid sulfur (inset, and upper image) with a partly solidified sulfur crust (bottom image). Gases, particulate with the appearance of smoke, and liquid sulfur were bubbling up from the back edge of the sulfur pool. The top image shows a zoomed-in view of the liquid sulfur extruding from a fracture in the solid crust. Image courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 Expedition, NOAA Vents Program.

In another pit on the summit of Daikoku, over 100 m deep and ~ 80 m in diameter, the scientists observed a large plume of slowly rising white fluid.

References. Embley, R.W., Baker, E.T., Chadwick, W.W., Jr., Lipton, J.E., Resing, J.A., Massoth, G.J., and Nakamura, K., 2004, Explorations of Mariana Arc volcanoes reveal new hydrothermal systems: EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, v. 85, no. 2, p. 37, 40.

Embley, R.W., Chadwick, W.W., Jr, Baker, E.T., Butterfield, D.A., Resing, J.A., de Ronde, C. E.J., Tunnicliffe, V., Lupton, J.E., Juniper, S.K., Rubin, K.H., Stern, R.J., Lebon, G.T., Nakamura, K., Merle, S.G., Hein, J.R., Wiens, D.A., and Tamura, Y., 2006, Long-term eruptive activity at a submarine arc volcano: Nature, v. 441, no. 7092, p. 494-497.

Oregon State University, 25 May 2006, Press Release: Nature paper details eruption activity at submarine volcano: College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Science (COAS), 104 COAS Admininstration Building, Corvallis, OR 97331.

Geologic Background. The conical summit of Daikoku seamount lies along an elongated E-W ridge SE of Eifuku submarine volcano and rises to within 323 m of the sea surface. It is one of about a dozen displaying hydrothermal activity in the southern part of the Izu-Marianas chain. A steep-walled, 50-m-wide cylindrical crater on the north flank, about 75 m below the summit, is at least 135 m deep and was observed to emit cloudy hydrothermal fluid. During a NOAA expedition in 2006, scientists observed a convecting, black pool of liquid sulfur with a partly solidified, undulating sulfur crust at a depth of 420 m below the summit. Gases, particulate with the appearance of smoke, and liquid sulfur were bubbling up from the back edge of the sulfur pool.

Information Contacts: William W. Chadwick, Jr., Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMRS), NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), 2115 SE OSU Drive, Newport, OR 97365 USA; NOAA Ocean Explorer (URL: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/06fire/welcome.html).


Heard (Australia) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


2006 imagery indicates renewed volcanism

Matt Patrick observed from MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) images analyzed by the HIGP MODVOLC algorithm that relatively new activity began in March 2006 at Heard Island. Two isolated alerts occurred on 11-12 March 2006, and sustained alerts occurred from 7-18 May, 28 May-5 June, and 13-20 June (table 1). Alerts were 1-3 pixels in size. The pixel locations all appeared to be clustered generally near the summit of Big Ben, suggesting central vent (lava lake?) activity rather than lava flows. Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) images over the last several months have all been cloudy and therefore unable to reinforce or support the MODVOLC results. However, a nighttime ASTER image on 29 May 2006 at 0110 showed the new activity (figure 9).

Table 1. MODVOLC alerts for 2006 through 21 June. Courtesy of Hawai'i Institute of Geophysical and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts Team.

Date Time (local) Pixels Satellite
11 Mar 2006 2315 1 Terra
12 Mar 2006 0100 2 Aqua
07 May 2006 0100 1 Terra
07 May 2006 2305 1 Terra
08 May 2006 0150 1 Aqua
09 May 2006 2255 1 Terra
10 May 2006 0140 1 Aqua
11 May 2006 2335 1 Terra
18 May 2006 2250 2 Terra
28 May 2006 2325 1 Terra
29 May 2006 0110 2 Aqua
02 Jun 2006 2345 3 Terra
03 Jun 2006 0130 2 Aqua
05 Jun 2006 0115 1 Aqua
13 Jun 2006 2325 2 Terra
14 Jun 2006 0110 4 Aqua
15 Jun 2006 0010 2 Terra
16 Jun 2006 0100 1 Aqua
20 Jun 2006 2330 1 Terra
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. ASTER image of Heard Island taken at 0110 on 29 May 2006. The main image is the thermal infrared Band 14 (90 m pixel size), with the inserts showing the shortwave infrared (SWIR Band 9; 30 m pixel size) and thermal infrared (TIR Band 14) closeups. This a nighttime image with no visible bands with 15 m pixel size was difficult to interpret. The N-most segment of the summit anomaly, seen clearly in the Band 9 image, may be the vent, with the remainder of the anomaly possibly representing a ~ 900-m-long lava flow to the S. Alternatively, the segmentation of the anomaly may reflect different vents. Courtesy Matt Patrick, HIGP Thermal Alert Team.

The previous phases of activity spanned May 2000-February 2001 and June 2003-June 2004 (BGVN 29:12).

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: Matt Patrick, HIGP Thermal Alerts Team, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) / School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Andrew Tupper, Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, Australia.


Krummel-Garbuna-Welcker (Papua New Guinea) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Krummel-Garbuna-Welcker

Papua New Guinea

5.416°S, 150.027°E; summit elev. 564 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquakes continue while vents remain calm through April 2006

Garbuna remained relatively quiet between mid-February and mid-April 2006. The two vents at the summit released weak to moderate volumes of white vapor during this time, but no glow was observed. There was a weak rumbling noise on 14 April. Seismic activity remained at a low level. Few earthquakes were recorded during February and March; the daily average number of high-frequency events was 3 and of low-frequency events between 0 and 5. In April, a few earthquake swarms were recorded with individual events every 1-2 minutes. These episodes lasted less than 20 minutes. Low-frequency earthquakes occurred at the rate of 3-5 times per day and the Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurement (RSAM) data was at background level fluctuating between 8 and 51 units.

Geologic Background. The basaltic-to-dacitic Krummel-Garbuna-Welcker Volcanic Complex consists of three volcanic peaks located along a 7-km N-S line above a shield-like foundation at the southern end of the Willaumez Peninsula. The central and lower peaks of the centrally located Garbuna contain a large vegetation-free area that is probably the most extensive thermal field in Papua New Guinea. A prominent lava dome and blocky lava flow in the center of thermal area have resisted destruction by thermal activity, and may be of Holocene age. Krummel volcano at the south end of the group contains a summit crater, breached to the NW. The highest peak of the group is Welcker volcano, which has fed blocky lava flows that extend to the eastern coast of the peninsula. The last major eruption from both it and Garbuna volcanoes took place about 1800 years ago. The first historical eruption took place at Garbuna in October 2005.

Information Contacts: Ima Itikarai and Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Lamington (Papua New Guinea) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Lamington

Papua New Guinea

8.95°S, 148.15°E; summit elev. 1680 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mild vapor emission and earthquakes through March 2006

Lamington has continued the trend of relative quiet during mid-January to the end of March 2006. Consistent reporting has been difficult due to overcast weather. Small volumes of thin white vapor were released during this time. No audible noises or glow were recorded. High frequency earthquakes continued to be recorded. The highest total was 25 recorded on 18 February.

Geologic Background. Lamington is an andesitic stratovolcano with a 1.3-km-wide breached summit crater containing a lava dome. Prior to its renowned devastating eruption in 1951, the forested peak had not been recognized as a volcano. Mount Lamington rises above the coastal plain north of the Owen Stanley Range. A summit complex of lava domes and crater remnants tops a low-angle base of volcaniclastic deposits dissected by radial valleys. A prominent broad "avalanche valley" extends northward from the breached crater. Ash layers from two early Holocene eruptions have been identified. After a long quiescent period, the volcano suddenly became active in 1951, producing a powerful explosive eruption during which devastating pyroclastic flows and surges swept all sides of the volcano, killing nearly 3000 people. The eruption concluded with growth of a 560-m-high lava dome in the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Ima Itikarai and Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Langila

Papua New Guinea

5.525°S, 148.42°E; summit elev. 1330 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Moderate activity steady through March 2006

Moderate activity took place at Langila during January 2006, including continuous ash fall, rumbling, and weak emissions of lava fragments. During 20 January to 7 February eruptive activity was characterized by thin, pale gray ash clouds. Minimal noises were heard on 26-27 February. A changing weak-to-bright glow accompanied by projections of glowing lava fragments were visible on the nights of 22-23 and 28 February, and 1-2, and 6 March. Moderate-to-thick dark gray ash clouds were reported on 1-2, 6-7, and 9 March. Ash plumes rose less than 2 km above the summit crater before drifting SW-W of the volcano. Crater 3 remained quiet.

Geologic Background. Langila, one of the most active volcanoes of New Britain, consists of a group of four small overlapping composite basaltic-andesitic cones on the lower eastern flank of the extinct Talawe volcano. Talawe is the highest volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila volcano was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the north and NE sides of Langila. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded since the 19th century from three active craters at the summit of Langila. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

Information Contacts: Ima Itikarai and Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Merapi (Indonesia) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mid-2006 brings multiple pyroclastic flows that kill two, and travel up to 7 km

Seismic activity at Merapi began to increase on 19 March 2006, leading the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) to raise the Alert Level from 1 to 2 (on a scale of 1-4). Ten thousand residents were warned to prepare for possible evacuation.

On 10 April, authorities banned mountain climbing due to reports of increased tremor. Unverified preliminary reports indicated "lava" reportedly flowing near Pasar Bubar village, ~ 350 m from the volcano's crater. At 1500 on 12 April, CVGHM raised the Alert Level from 2 to 3. No one was permitted within 8 km of the summit.

During 21-25 April, seismicity remained elevated; several seismic signals associated with rockfalls were recorded. The SO2 flux measured from Merapi was 175 metric tons on 22 April. On 22 and 23 April, fumarolic emissions rose 400 m above the summit. On 25 April, two rockslides from lava-flow fronts were heard from nearby observatories. According to news reports, about 600 of the approximately 14,000 people living near the volcano had been evacuated by 24 April.

According to news reports, on 27 April nearly 2,000 villagers were evacuated from Sidorejo and Tegalmulyo villages. That day, small amounts of ash fell in Gemer village about 5 km from the summit.

On 28 April, CVGHM reported volcanic material traveling ~ 1.5 km SW to the Lamat River. Seismicity that day was dominated by multi-phase earthquakes; but signals from landslides, rockfalls, and low-frequency events were also recorded.

On 6 May, gas plumes rose to 800 m above the summit and eighteen incandescent avalanches of volcanic material were observed. On 7 May, 26 incandescent avalanches that extended ~ 100 m were seen during the morning. On 6 and 7 May, the lava dome continued to grow and seismicity was dominated by multi-phase earthquakes. Shallow volcanic earthquakes and signals from landslides and rockfalls were also recorded. On 8 May, the Darwin VAAC reported that CVGHM warned of a plume rising to ~ 3.7 km, but no ash was visible on satellite imagery.

According to the Darwin VAAC, gas plumes that rose ~ 600 m above the summit were visible on satellite imagery on 11 May. Avalanches of incandescent material extended 200 m SE towards the Gendol River, and 1.5 km SW towards the Krasak River. Several small incandescent avalanches of volcanic material were visible from observatory posts. The new lava dome at the volcano's summit had grown to fill the gap between the 1997 and 2001 lava flows on the W side of the summit, and had reached a height about the same as the 1997 lava flows. Seismicity was dominated by multi-phase earthquakes and signals associated with avalanches.

At 0940 on 13 May, the Alert Level was raised from 3 to 4, the highest level, and ~ 4,500 people living near the volcano were evacuated.

On 15 May pyroclastic flows traveled as far as 4 km to the W. By 16 May, more than 22,000 people had been evacuated, according to figures posted at the district disaster center; about 16,870 people were evacuated from three districts in Central Java Province, and more than 5,600 others were evacuated from the Slemen district. On 17 May, pyroclastic flows traveled as far as 3 km. Local volcanologists reported that the lava dome continued to grow, but at a slower rate than during previous days.

Pyroclastic flows to the SW and SE reached 4 km on 19 May and 3 km on 20 May. On 22 May, the lava dome volume was estimated at ~ 2.3 million cubic meters. The Darwin VAAC reported that low-level emissions continued during 18-19 and 23 May. CVGHM recommended that residents who lived in valleys on the NNW flanks near Sat, Lamat, Senowo, Trising, and Apu Rivers and on the SE flank near Woro River be allowed to return to their homes. Residents remained evacuated from villages within a 7 km radius from the volcano's summit and within 300 m of the banks of the Krasak/Bebeng, Bedog, and Boyong Rivers to the SW, and the Gendol River to the SE.

According to news reports, an eruption produced a cloud of hot gas and ash on 17 May. Witnesses said the size of the plume was smaller than ash-and-gas plumes seen on 15 May. On 18 May, a representative for Merapi from the Center for Volcanological Research and Technology Development (part of CVGHM), reported new ashfall.

On 24-25 May, lava flows were observed moving SW towards the Krasak River and SE towards the Gendol River. News reports indicated that on 27 May a M 6.3 earthquake that killed about 5,400 people resulted in a three-fold increase in activity at Merapi. A M 5.9 earthquake coincided with pyroclastic flows of unknown origin that extended 3.8 km SW. During 28-30 May, multiple pyroclastic flows reached 3 km SE and 4 km SW. Gas plumes reached 500 m above the summit on 25 May, 1,200 m on 26 May, 100 m on 29 May, and 900 m on 30 May.

From 31 May to 6 June, SO2-bearing plumes were observed daily; on 1 June they reached 1.3 km above the summit. According to the Darwin VAAC, low-level emissions were visible on satellite imagery on 1 and 6 June. Multiple pyroclastic flows reached ~ 4 km SE toward the Gendol River and 3.5 km SW toward the Krasak and Boyong Rivers. CVGHM reported on 31 May that lava avalanches moved W for the first time during the recent eruption.

According to a volcanologist in Yogyakarta, lava-flow distances and dome volume had both approximately doubled since the 27 May M 6.2 earthquake. On 6 June, people living near the base of the volcano began to move into temporary shelters. Activities remain restricted within a 7 km radius from the volcano's summit and within 300 m of the banks of Krasak/Bebeng, Bedog, and Boyong Rivers to the SW, and Gendol River to the SE.

On 8 June, the lava-dome growth rate at Merapi was an estimated 100,000 cubic meters per day and the estimated volume was then ~ 4 million cubic meters. An estimated volume loss of 400,000 cubic meters on 4 June had been due to a partial collapse of the S part of the Geger Buaya crater wall, which was constructed from 1910 lava flows.

On 8 June, a pyroclastic flow, lasting 12 minutes, reached a distance of ~ 5 km SE toward the Gendol River, the predominant travel direction since the M 6.2 earthquake on 27 May. According to a news report, this event prompted approximately 15,500 people to evacuate from the Sleman district to the S and the Magelang district to the W. On 13 June, the Alert Level was lowered from 4 to 3 but renewed pyroclastic-flow activity the next day prompted a return to Alert Level 4.

Gas plumes were observed almost daily during 7-13 June and reached ~ 1.2 km above the summit on 10 June. The Darwin VAAC reported small ash plumes visible on satellite imagery; minor ashfall was reported to the S at an observatory outpost, and in Yogyakarta, about 32 km away.

Gas plumes emitted on 14 and 15 June reached 900 m above the summit. On 14 June a dome collapse lasting ~ 3.5 hours produced pyroclastic flows that reached 7 km SE. Two volunteers on a search-and-rescue team assisting with evacuation efforts were trapped in an underground refuge in Kaliadem village and died, the first fatalities of the current eruption. Stone (2006) wrote that the volunteers had ". . . sought refuge in a bunker, one of several on the mountain built for that contingency. The blast door was slightly ajar when rescuers dug down to the bunker the next day. The men had burned to death."

On 15 June, pyroclastic flows reached a distance of 4.5 km SE along the Gendol River. Pyroclastic flows continued during 16-19 June as a new dome grew. The Alert Level remained at 4.

During 21-25 June, seismic signals at Merapi indicated almost daily occurrences of rockfalls and pyroclastic flows. Due to inclement weather, pyroclastic flows were only observed on 24 June and reached a distance of 4 km SE along the Gendol River and 2.5 km SW along the Krasak River. Gas plumes were observed during 22-25 June and reached 1.5 km above the summit on 24 June.

Reference. Stone, Richard, 2006, Volcanology?Scientists steal a daring look at Merapi's explosive potential; Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), v. 312, pp. 1724-6.

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

Information Contacts: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Associated Press (URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/indonesia_volcano); Reuters (URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060418/wl_nm/indonesia_volcano_dc_2).


NW Rota-1 (United States) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

NW Rota-1

United States

14.601°N, 144.775°E; summit elev. -517 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Views of submarine volcano ejecting lava and bombs

During 18 April-13 May 2006, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) and Oregon State University completed the 2006 Submarine Ring of Fire Expedition aboard the research vessel Melville. This expedition was the third in a series of explorations of the submarine volcanoes lying along the Mariana intra-ocean volcanic arc. That arc extends from S of the island of Guam northward more than 1,450 km through the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (see map in above report on Daikoku). A previous expedition to Northwest Rota-1 in 2004 discovered and named this volcano and found it erupting (BGVN 29:03). Daily logs of the 2006 expedition, including photographs and video clips, can be viewed on the NOAA Ocean Explorer web site noted below, from which much of this report was taken.

On 23 and 24 April 2006, the unmanned (remotely operated vessel, ROV) submersible Jason 2 revisited Brimstone Pit, a spot on the volcano where an ash-and-gas plume was discovered in 2004 and observed again in 2005 (Embley and others, 2004 and 2006). The changes were striking. According to Robert Embley (Oregon State University press release, 25 May 2006), "we saw features of submarine volcanic activity never before directly observed, including explosions of lava from a crater accompanied by a red glow and voluminous volcanic gases and ejected rocks." A degassing event at Brimstone Pit began releasing bubbles that formed a growing submarine plume cloud. The Pit, at a depth of 560 m, was significantly deeper (by ~ 20 m) than it was in the previous visits and there appeared to have been a recent collapse of the summit area. The Pit exuded a sluggish pulsating cloud of white color along with some gas bubbles. Some time later, the pit was almost filled with the white cloud, which appeared to come from the lavas themselves. The observers concluded that they witnessed lava extruding on the seafloor.

Particle plumes were mapped using a light-scattering sensor (LSS), part of the CTD (conductivity-temperature-depth) instrument package towed over the summit and flanks of the volcano. The CTD revealed layers of turbid (cloudy) water extending as far as 8 km down the S flank, and to depths up to 2,900 m. The turbid layers may arise from periodic collapse of the unstable slopes of volcanic fallout material similar to that found in the white cloud observed at the summit.

Submersible dives on 25 April 2006 to the Brimstone Pit revealed a lava flow forming there. The initial approach to the Pit revealed a line of bubbles (mainly CO2) escaping from a fracture in the underlying rock. However, in place of the previously flat ground that described the Pit on 24 April, a small ash cone had formed. It was ~ 6 m in diameter with walls about 1 m high, made up entirely of fine-grained ash. As the submersible approached, observers saw a plume discharging out of the cone's center and, on closer inspection, it appeared that ash was raining out of the bottom of the plume and falling onto the flanks of the small cone.

Near Brimstone Pit, the submersible collected a piece of newly erupted andesite lava containing elemental sulfur filling vesicles. The lava flow advanced but slowly, traveling forward bit by bit, chunk by chunk. As the lava advanced, the flow's toe vigorously degassed. The emitted gas and the associated plume took on a yellow hue. Scientists interpreted the escaping gases as mainly sulfur-rich (SO2 and H2S), which can mix with and make the surrounding seawater strongly acidic and precipitate elemental sulfur, the source of the plume's yellow hue. Liquid native sulfur inside the plume was seen raining on the seafloor as small droplets and filled in the numerous holes in the lava where the gases escaped. Locally, carbon dioxide formed bubbles in front of the advancing lava. These different gases provided the force behind the vigorous 'mini-explosions' within the lava flow.

Finishing the last of six dives at Northwest Rota-1 on 29 April 2006, and combining observations from the two previous expeditions, scientists developed some conclusions about processes at this extremely dynamic site. Prior to arrival in 2006, a major landslide must have originated near Brimstone Pit. During the first day of 2006 submersible observations, a turbid layer generated by the slide surrounded the lower flanks. The next day, when the water had cleared, half of Brimstone Pit had fallen away and the seafloor around the vent was swept clean of recent lava. Over the next week, eruptive activity gradually increased in intensity and vigor. By the end of the week, a 5-m-high cone made of ash and lava blocks had built up over the vent, and the turbid layer on the flanks was almost gone. On the last dive, scientists saw glowing lava jetting from the vent (figure 5).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Glowing red lava jetting out of the vent at Northwest Rota-1 Brimstone Pit at depth of 560 m. Photo taken from the submersible Jason II, 29 April 2006. Image courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 Exploration, NOAA Vents Program.

The scientists concluded that observing explosive volcanic activity at a submarine volcano was easier and more revealing in many ways than on land, perhaps because the eruptive activity, although violent at times, is usually limited to a small area due to the dampening effect of the surrounding water (figure 6). For example, at Brimstone Pit the pressure of 560 m of water over the site reduced the power of the explosive bursts. Also, the water quickly slows down the rocks and ash violently thrown out of the vent. The scientists viewed the release of volcanic gases from the erupting lava with new clarity, with the help of the streams of bubbles and multicolored plumes as they were emitted. In addition, the scientists recorded the activity using a portable underwater microphone (hydrophone).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Eruption at Brimstone Pit in Northwest Rota-1 at a depth of 560 m. Photo taken by the submersible Jason II, 29 April 2006. Image courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 Exploration, NOAA Vents Program.

Chadwick and his associates at NOAA have identified and named 56 seamounts in the Mariana Arc, 11 of which show hydrothermal activity, based primarily on CTD instrument tows (table 1; see figure 5 for map showing locations).

Table 1. Seamounts in the Mariana arc that are active volcanos based on submersible observations and/or that registered signs of hydrothermal activity on CTD tows. Brief comments on noteworthy observations from several of those visited in 2006 are included. Courtesy of William Chadwick, NOAA, June 2006.

Seamounts (listed S to N) Shallowest summit depth Longitude Latitude Comments
[Seamount X] 1,230 m 144.0167°E 13.2500°N --
Northwest Rota-1 517 m 144.7750°E 14.6000°N --
Esmeralda Bank 54 m 145.2458°E 14.9583°N --
E. Diamante 127 m 145.6583°E 15.9167°N Active, metal-rich, ephemeral 'black smokers' shallowest yet discovered.
Zealandia Bank 144 m 145.8000°E 16.8833°N --
Maug 54 m 145.2217°E 20.0208°N --
NW Uracas 703 m 144.8400°E 20.5833°N --
Daikoku 323 m 144.1942°E 21.3242°N See report in this issue.
NW Eifuku 1,551 m 144.0433°E 21.4875°N Liquid CO2 venting from 'white smokers.'
Kasuga 297 m 143.6417°E 21.6100°N --
Nikko 392 m 142.3255°E 23.0784°N Sulfur chimneys, boiling pots of molten sulfur surrounded by a thin crust on a larger lava lake.

References. Embley, R.W., Baker, E.T., Chadwick, W.W., Jr., Lipton, J.E., Resing, J.A., Massoth, G.J., and Nakamura, K., 2004, Explorations of Mariana Arc volcanoes reveal new hydrothermal systems: EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, v. 85, no. 2, p. 37, 40.

Embley, R.W., Chadwick, W.W., Jr, Baker, E.T., Butterfield, D.A., Resing, J.A., de Ronde, C. E.J., Tunnicliffe, V., Lupton, J.E., Juniper, S.K., Rubin, K.H., Stern, R.J., Lebon, G.T., Nakamura, K., Merle, S.G., Hein, J.R., Wiens, D.A., and Tamura, Y., 2006, Long-term eruptive activity at a submarine arc volcano: Nature, v. 441, no. 7092, p. 494-497.

Oregon State University, 25 May 2006, Press Release: Nature paper details eruption activity at submarine volcano: College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Science (COAS), 104 COAS Admininstration Building, Corvallis, OR 97331.

Geologic Background. A submarine volcano detected during a 2003 NOAA bathymetric survey of the Mariana Island arc was found to be hydrothermally active and named NW Rota-1. The basaltic to basaltic-andesite seamount rises to within 517 m of the sea surface SW of Esmeralda Bank and lies 64 km NW of Rota Island and about 100 km north of Guam. When Northwest Rota-1 was revisited in 2004, a minor submarine eruption from a vent named Brimstone Pit on the upper south flank about 40 m below the summit intermittently ejected a plume several hundred meters high containing ash, rock particles, and molten sulfur droplets that adhered to the surface of the remotely operated submersible vehicle. The active vent was funnel-shaped, about 20 m wide and 12 m deep. NW Rota-1 is a large submarine volcano with prominent structural lineaments about a kilometer apart cutting across the summit of the edifice and down the NE and SW flanks.

Information Contacts: William W. Chadwick, Jr., Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMRS), NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), 2115 SE OSU Drive, Newport, OR 97365 USA; NOAA Ocean Explorer (URL: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/06fire/welcome.html).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


During first half of 2006, several ash plumes rose to ~ 7-8 km altitude

The last report on Popocatépetl covered February-December 2005 (BGVN 30:12). This report covers January-June 2006. Throughout this reporting interval, the warning level remained at Yellow. Seismicity is summarized on table 18.

Table 18. Recorded earthquakes near Popocatépetl during April-June 2006. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Date Local Time Depth (km) Magnitude
04 Apr 2006 1426 5.4 2.2
05 Apr 2006 0416 5.4 2.3
05 Apr 2006 1557 8.0 2.4
06 Apr 2006 0921 1.0 2.3
07 Apr 2006 0339 6.3 1.9
12 Apr 2006 0457 5 2.8
18 Apr 2006 0101 6.4 2.6
27 Apr 2006 1024 4.3 2.2
25 May 2006 2019 4.9 2.3
29 May 2006 1548 5.6 2.1
30 May 2006 1224 7.7 2.2
31 May 2006 0238 9.3 2.4
31 May 2006 1253 4.2 2.0
02 Jun 2006 0502 5.4 2.2
08 Jun 2006 0637 4.7 3.0

On 6 January 2006, a small explosion occurred at Popocatépetl around 0042. According to the Washington VAAC, the resultant ash plume was visible on satellite imagery and its top reached ~ 5.8 km altitude, extending NE. Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED) reported that after the explosion overall activity decreased to previous levels. During 24-30 January, several emissions of gas, steam, and small amounts of ash occurred. A moderate explosion on 26 January at 0957 produced an ash plume that rose to ~ 8.4 km altitude and drifted NE.

Throughout the month of February, several small-to-moderate emissions of steam, gas, and ash occurred. On the 4th, an explosion produced a plume that rose to ~ 6.7 km altitude. Aerial photos taken on 10 February showed a 130-m-diameter lava dome at the bottom of the crater. At 0528 on 24 February an M 2.3 earthquake was detected and was located 0.5 km to the N of the crater at a depth of 4.1 km.

During April-June, the volcano issued several small emissions of steam, gas, and ash; reports also noted several small coincident earthquakes. At 1807 on 23 May, an ash emission was observed that reached a height of ~ 7.4 km altitude. The ash column was dispersed towards the SE and was followed by a high-frequency, low-amplitude tremor signal that lasted 90 minutes and then returned to previous low levels.

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/).


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas emissions and earthquakes during March-April 2006

Despite minor inflationary movements that began in mid-February 2006, Tavurvur remained relatively quiet from the end of March to mid-April 2006. Variable amounts of white vapor were released from the summit area and from an active fumarole on the upper W flank during this period. Vapor emissions became denser during and after rainfall. There were no noises heard or visible glow detected at night. Seismic activity remained at a low level. A high-frequency earthquake that originated NE of the caldera was recorded on 22 March. No other distinct high-frequency events were recorded, but 53 low-frequency earthquakes were recorded during 1-14 April.

Geologic Background. The low-lying Rabaul caldera on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain forms a broad sheltered harbor utilized by what was the island's largest city prior to a major eruption in 1994. The outer flanks of the 688-m-high asymmetrical pyroclastic shield volcano are formed by thick pyroclastic-flow deposits. The 8 x 14 km caldera is widely breached on the east, where its floor is flooded by Blanche Bay and was formed about 1400 years ago. An earlier caldera-forming eruption about 7100 years ago is now considered to have originated from Tavui caldera, offshore to the north. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the northern and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and western caldera walls. Several of these, including Vulcan cone, which was formed during a large eruption in 1878, have produced major explosive activity during historical time. A powerful explosive eruption in 1994 occurred simultaneously from Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes and forced the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.

Information Contacts: Ima Itikarai and Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — May 2006 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)


Big dome collapse and tall plume on 20 May 2006 leave a W-leaning crater

Activity at Soufrière Hills remained at elevated levels (table 63), similar to that previously reported (BGVN 30:12), a state that culminated with a dome collapse on 20 May 2006. Although that event took away considerable portions of the dome (and caused a small tsunami), photographs revealed post-collapse dome growth focused over a broad SE sector extending from the SW around to the NE. Numerous rockfalls continued from the S, E, and NE flanks of the lava dome. The NE-side rockfalls added talus to the upper reaches of the Tar River valley and were visible at night.

Table 63. Soufrière Hills seismicity during 28 December 2005 to 12 May 2006. * Due to weather conditions, gas measurements were not made. ** As a result of the collapse, instrumentation was lost and gas measurements were not able to be measured. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Hybrid EQ's Volcano-tectonic EQ's Long-period EQ's Rockfall signals SO2 flux (metric tons/day)
28 Dec-06 Jan 2006 -- -- 11 37 522
06 Jan-13 Jan 2006 -- 1 30 116 724
13 Jan-20 Jan 2006 -- -- 17 61 767
20 Jan-27 Jan 2006 -- -- 11 60 470
27 Jan-03 Feb 2006 1 3 11 92 594
03 Feb-10 Feb 2006 2 39 61 84 465
10 Feb-17 Feb 2006 2 9 121 10 568
17 Feb-24 Feb 2006 1 3 26 30 286
22 Feb-03 Mar 2006 1 7 157 18 388
03 Mar-10 Mar 2006 2 2 148 282 454
10 Mar-17 Mar 2006 -- 4 115 319 480
17 Mar-24 Mar 2006 13 3 231 336 1,034
24 Mar-31 Mar 2006 12 1 230 316 523
31 Mar-07 Apr 2006 -- 3 38 507 578
07 Apr-14 Apr 2006 -- 3 99 620 540
14 Apr-21 Apr 2006 3 -- 80 100 *
21 Apr-28 Apr 2006 -- -- 30 589 521
28 Apr-05 May 2006 -- -- 109 279 310
05 May-12 May 2006 -- -- 74 571 702
12 May-19 May 2006 7 1 130 753 674
19 May-26 May 2006 89 11 229 373 **
26 May-02 Jun 2006 62 4 172 195 **
02 Jun-09 Jun 2006 20 -- 28 163 **

A central spine was first observed on 17 January 2006 when clouds briefly cleared from the dome. On 22 January, two new relatively thin, vertical planar spines were seen on the SE flank of the lava dome and collapsed on 29 January. Helicopter and field observations indicated continued dome growth, particularly in the SE (figure 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. A photo showing the growing dome on SoufriPre Hills as viewed from Tar River at the seaward (E) end of the delta. Photo taken 23 January 2006 along the SW coastline. Courtesy of Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO).

On 10 February, MVO reported increased activity to the Washington VAAC. Satellite imagery showed a prominent hotspot at the volcano and a NW-drifting ash plume at an altitude of ~3 km. A small dark lobe of lava was observed on the western side of the lava dome in the crater. Steaming and venting were observed throughout the day. A photo appears as figure 65.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. A 10 February 2006 photo taken at Soufriere Hills showing ash and steam venting from the dome. This view is from the SE; the ash cloud drifted N. Courtesy of MVO. Courtesy of MVO.

By early 11 February, this lobe had advanced rapidly towards the NE side of the dome and was visible as a steep-sided plateau of lava from inhabited areas around Salem. Photographs from fixed cameras showed continued changes to this lava lobe over the next few days, and the NE margin could be seen glowing at night and shedding rockfalls into the NE part of the crater. Ash-and-gas emissions continued through 15 February, producing plumes to an altitude of ~2.7 km. The initial growth rate of this lobe surpassed 5 cubic meters per second, but the rate declined around 17 February. The new lava lobe began to fill the gap between the lava dome and the N and W crater walls, raising the possibility that small rockfalls could spill over those areas in coming weeks. After 22 February, incandescent rockfalls were visible at night, coursing down the N, E, and SW sides of the dome and into the Tar River Valley (figure 66).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. A Soufriere Hills photo showing the incandescent rockfalls at night taken from Perches Mountain, SE of the volcano. This photo was taken on 22 February 2006. Courtesy of MVO.

On 26 February, rapid vertical growth of the lava dome at Soufrière Hills was visible on camera images, and by 27 February a large spine about 30 m wide and at least 30 m high had developed at the dome's summit. By 28 February this spine had split into two parts and was leaning precariously to the NE. At about 2115 on 28 February the overhanging parts of the spine disintegrated and generated pyroclastic flows that traveled down the Tar River Valley almost as far as the coast. A low-level ash cloud drifted W. Additional changes to the shape of the spines and the upper NE flank of the volcano were noted in the following days as they disintegrated further. Rockfalls were visible on the N, NE, and E flanks of the volcano. Some fumaroles were observed on the upper outside part of Gages Wall (W of the lava dome) on 27 February, suggesting movement of fluids in this area.

During 3-17 March, lava-dome growth continued and the dome reached an altitude of ~950 m. The active lava lobe shed rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows to the W, N, and E. A vigorous gas vent was seen on the W side of the lava dome on 8 March, above Gages valley. Small fumaroles were visible at the top of Gages valley and below the lava dome remnant that stands at the top of Gages Valley.

Observations during 17 March-7 April revealed that lava-dome growth was focused in the summit area and towards the E and NE (figure 67). The N side of the lava dome showed little change. Rockfalls and pyroclastic flows were restricted to the Tar River Valley and were numerous on 19-20 March. The largest pyroclastic flows traveled as far as 2 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. A Soufriere Hills photo of the growing lava dome taken on 30 March 2006. The photographer stood on Jack Boy Hill and looked NE. Courtesy of MVO.

Lava extrusion continued during 7-21 April. Growth occurred to the E and N, and an eastward-facing lobe developed on the NE side of the dome. Numerous small rockfalls continued from the active eastern flanks of the dome, adding to the talus in the upper reaches of the Tar River valley. Rockfalls were accompanied by minor ash venting. Due to unusual wind conditions, plumes were predominately transported N and NW, shifting to the E on 20 April. As a result of this process, light ashfall occurred over much of Montserrat. Thermal images taken on 27 April indicated some very hot areas on the E flank of the dome.

Deposits from a series of pyroclastic flows occurring on 4 May extended as far as the Tar River delta. Northerly directed winds during the reporting period resulted in light ashfall in areas north of the Belham valley. The dome volume was approximately 80 million cubic meters and the average growth rate through April was about 8 cubic meters per second.

On 18 May, a survey conducted on the southern half of the dome was carried out using a terrestrial laser scanner and showed that the summit of the dome had reached a height of 1,006 m, this is 83 m higher than Chance's Peak (figure 68).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. The SE side of the Soufriere Hills lava dome as viewed from Galways Mountain on 11 May 2006. A new shear lobe forms the highest point of the dome and is growing toward the S. Chance's Peak is in the back left and Centre Hills in the back right. Courtesy of MVO.

20 May collapse. A major lava dome collapse took place on the morning of 20 May (figure 69). A helicopter flight in the afternoon confirmed that most of the lava dome had gone, together with some remnants of the 2003 lava dome, leaving a broad, deep, eastward-sloping crater at the summit of the volcano. The volume of the lava dome was believed to be about 90 million cubic meters and most of this collapsed over a period of less than three hours. Views of the W part of the crater where ash venting is continuing were not possible but it is unlikely that there is significant dome material remaining there.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. A set of photos taken 1600 on 20 May 2006 after the lava dome collapse. (A) A shot taken from the E showing an overview of the delta, Tar River Valley, and dome complex. (B) The crater as viewed from the NE above the Tar River Valley. Ash emission continued from a vent on the W side of the crater and rose to an altitude of 1.8 km. (C) A photo taken from E of the steaming summit crater showing most of the lava dome, including parts of the remaining 2003 dome. (D) A photo shot from MVO showing the towns of Flemings, Hope, and Salem in the early afternoon as the ash-and-gas cloud dissipated. Belham River Valley, Old Towne, and Garibaldi Hill remained obscured by the cloud of ash and gas. Courtesy of MVO.

At 0222 on 20 May there was a single precursor, a long-period seismic event located 3 km below the dome. A brief episode of heightened seismic amplitude corresponding to ash venting occurred during 0300-0330. During heavy rain, another episode of increased seismic amplitude, interpreted as ash venting, began at 0552, and it developed into a high-amplitude seismic signal. The heavy rain caused mudflows in Belham River valley. By 0632 low-level ash clouds were drifting to the NW of the volcano from the crater area and a steam plume was rising to 6,000 ft (~1800 m). Unconfirmed reports suggested that pyroclastic flows first reached the sea at about 0645. Regular pulses of pyroclastic flows were reaching the sea down the Tar River valley by 0720 with major pulses recorded in seismic amplitude at 0736, 0743, and between 0801 and 0804. Also between 0730 and 0810 a number of long-period seismic events were detected. At 0740 an ash cloud was reported at nearly 17 km, altitude the highest reported ash cloud during the ten years of the eruption. At 0743, pyroclastic surges were observed spreading across the NE flanks of the volcano reaching the Spanish Point area. It was also estimated at this time that surges had spread 3 km offshore from Tar River valley, across the surface of the ocean.

By 0750, lithics were falling in areas NW of the volcano; most were less than 3.5 cm across, and the largest found in the inhabited area was 6 cm across. Six car windscreens were reported broken. The deepest ash fall in inhabited areas was about 3 cm. Activity began to reduce in intensity after 0815 and a high-amplitude seismic signal remained until 0900. At this time, residents in the Old Towne and Salem area were subjected to high levels of volcanic gases particularly hydrogen chloride causing some to move N (figure 69). Widespread and noisy mudflows were reported in the Trants area to the NE of the volcano. Ash venting from the W of the crater continued until about 1700 when it began to decline.

A 1-m-high tsunami was reported from Deshaies beach in Guadeloupe and swells were detected in Little Bay, Montserrat, and at Jolly and English Harbour, Antigua. Relatively light but continuous ash-and-steam venting followed the collapse.

The weeks after the 20 May collapse. Wind direction shifted towards the N late on 21 May causing ash fall and raining mud in most parts of the island. Scientists remained alert to the possibility of further explosive activity but seismic activity was at low levels after the event on 20 May.

Since the May collapse, the lava dome continued to grow. As of 9 June it was approximately 20 million cubic meters in size. This is similar to the size of the dome in early January 2006. The average growth rate since the dome collapsed on 20 May was close to 10 cubic meters per second, well above the average growth rate of 6 cubic meters per second noted between January and April 2006.

By the end of the report period the dome was broad and flat-topped with a growing talus slope extending E. The lava on the summit of the dome is blocky, which is typical of lava extruded at a high rate. Vigorous ash and gas emitted by a vent W of the lava dome occurred during the week of 2 June. The venting is accompanied by a roaring sound that is sometimes audible in the Salem area. Prevailing winds have taken most of this ash and gas to the west over Plymouth. Satellite imagery on 4 June showed a thin area of ash out to St. Croix. In addition, there were multiple SFC and pilot reports of ash over the E portion of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Mudflows were reported on the 11 and 13 June during heavy rainfall.

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

Information Contacts: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Fleming, Montserrat, West Indies (URL: http://www.mvo.ms/).


St. Helens (United States) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

St. Helens

United States

46.2°N, 122.18°W; summit elev. 2549 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intracrater lava dome continues to grow through at least May 2006

From August to December 2005, the lava dome inside the crater of Mount St. Helens continued to grow, accompanied by low rates of seismicity, low emissions of steam and volcanic gases, and minor production of ash (BGVN 30:12). The hazard status was at Volcano Advisory (Alert Level 2); aviation color code Orange.

Based on the online reports of the Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), this pattern of activity continued in January and February 2006 and suggests that the slow extrusion of dacite onto the crater floor at Mount St. Helens continued. Slight decreases in seismicity occurred on two occasions after larger than normal earthquakes. By mid-January the new dome was noticeably taller and broader than in December. Rockfalls from its summit generated small ash plumes that slowly rose above the crater rim and dissipated as they drifted E.

On 24 January a shallow M 2.7 earthquake triggered a rockfall from the new lava dome, which in turn produced an ash plume that filled the crater before dissipating and drifting N over the pumice plain. Analysis of recent photographs from cameras in the crater showed that the top of the new lava dome was at an elevation of ~ 2,240 m, about 90 m higher than it was in early November 2005.

In February, occasional clear views of the volcano revealed incandescence on the currently growing lava lobe and a few incandescent rockfalls. Comparison of photos taken between 17 December and 7 February showed that the base of the active lobe of the lava dome enlarged by about 100 m. Photographs taken during the week of 5 February showed that the active part of the new lava dome continued to extrude, with points on the surface of the dome moving a couple of meters per day (figure 61).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. High-angle view of Mount St. Helens new dome from the NNW, taken on 5 February 2006 by John Pallister. Photograph courtesy of USGS.

Gas measurements made on 15 February suggested that the volcanic-gas flux remained unchanged from recent measurements. Observations made on 17 February revealed that the active NE part of the new lava dome was developing a steeply inclined jagged spine. At its top, temperatures as high as 580°C were measured using a thermal sensor.

Growth of the new lava dome inside the crater of Mount St. Helens continued during March, April, and May 2006, accompanied by low rates of seismicity, low emissions of steam and volcanic gases, and minor production of ash. Small earthquakes occurred every several minutes, punctuated by occasional larger earthquakes. The Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver on the new lava dome showed that lava emerging from the vent was still advancing WNW at about a meter per day. Small rockfalls produced small ash clouds that rose from the dome's NW flank. The eruption of lava into the crater continued, shown by ongoing rockfalls and continuous GPS measurements made on the growing lava lobe.

Analysis of photographs revealed that a slab of rock approximately 50,000 cubic meters in volume was shed from the N margin of the growing spine during 6-7 May. This probably coincided with a large seismic signal recorded on the night of 7 May. Rock-avalanche deposits extended a few hundred meters to the NE. The avalanche was accompanied by an ash cloud. The spine continued to grow during 10-15 May, producing rockfalls that intensified on the evening of 14 May. Incandescence was visible on satellite imagery. On 17 May night-time incandescence from rockfalls was observed.

During 24-25 May, seismicity was at levels typical of the continuing lava-dome extrusion at Mount St. Helens. On 29 May, a M 3.1 earthquake and simultaneous large rockfall occurred. An ash plume produced at 0810 reached an altitude of 4.9 km - 6.1 km according to ground observations and pilot reports (figure 62). One pilot report suggested that the plume reached an altitude of 7.3 km. By 1308, ash from the event was no longer visible on satellite imagery. The rockfall originated primarily from the N side of the growing fin (figures 63 and 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. At Mt. St. Helens, a view from the Brutus camera at 0914 on 29 May 2006. Vapor with light ash obscures most of the extruding lava spine. The light gray swath in the center of the photograph shows the path of the rock avalanche as it flowed downhill. The dark areas adjacent to the rock-avalanche path shows the ash cloud (finer material) that accompanied the avalanche. Photograph courtesy USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Mount St. Helens crater and dome showing aftermath of rockfall event of 29 May 2006, seen from the N. Taken on 30 May 2006 by Willie Scott and Jim Vallance. Photograph courtesy USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Aerial view showing Mount St. Helens crater and dome as seen from the SW. Spirit Lake can just be seen in the upper right corner. Taken on 30 May 2006 by Willie Scott and Jim Vallance. Photograph courtesy USGS.

During June 2006, seismicity indicated that the lava spine continued to grow inside the crater of Mount St. Helens and occasionally produced minor rockfalls. On 9 June, pilots reported that an ash-and-steam plume, generated after a rockfall following a M 3.2 earthquake, reached an altitude of 4.6 km. According to seismic data, a medium-sized rockfall occurred on 13 June. Incandescence was observed on satellite imagery. A small steam plume from the lava dome and dust from minor rockfalls were visible from the US Forest Service's web camera at the Johnston Ridge Observatory on 25 and 26 June. On 26 June, a pilot reported that dust and ash reached an altitude of ~ 2.4 km and drifted W.

From January through June 2006, St Helens remained at Volcano Advisory (Alert Level 2); aviation color code Orange.

Geologic Background. Prior to 1980, Mount St. Helens formed a conical, youthful volcano sometimes known as the Fuji-san of America. During the 1980 eruption the upper 400 m of the summit was removed by slope failure, leaving a 2 x 3.5 km horseshoe-shaped crater now partially filled by a lava dome. Mount St. Helens was formed during nine eruptive periods beginning about 40-50,000 years ago and has been the most active volcano in the Cascade Range during the Holocene. Prior to 2200 years ago, tephra, lava domes, and pyroclastic flows were erupted, forming the older St. Helens edifice, but few lava flows extended beyond the base of the volcano. The modern edifice was constructed during the last 2200 years, when the volcano produced basaltic as well as andesitic and dacitic products from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions in the 19th century originated from the Goat Rocks area on the north flank, and were witnessed by early settlers.

Information Contacts: Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO), U.S. Geological Survey, 1300 SE Cardinal Court, Building 10, Suite 100, Vancouver, WA 98683-9589, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/cvo/).


Ubinas (Peru) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Ubinas

Peru

16.355°S, 70.903°W; summit elev. 5672 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash and steam emissions stir hazard and environmental concerns

Ubinas began erupting ash on 25 March 2006 (BGVN 31:03). Randall White from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported on 1 April that increased fumarolic activity occurred during the end of March. Victor Aguilar from the Universidad de San Agustint, visited the volcano on 31 March. He found strong steam-and-ash emissions occurring. Also, leaves of nearby crops were burned and a sound similar to a jet engine emanated from the vent area. Table 1 gives a summary of some recent plumes. Figure 3 contains an ASTER image of the volcano and surroundings on 8 May 2006.

Table 1. Summary of some recent plume activity from Ubinas. Courtesy of the Buenos Aires VAAC and INGEMMET; satellite imagery courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Date (time) Altitude Drift direction Comments
06 Apr (1220) 6.1-9.1 km -- Ash absent on satellite imagery
06 Apr (1900) 6.1-7.3 km NE --
08 Apr -- -- Volcanic activity ceased
09 Apr 6.1-7.3 km SW --
11 Apr -- -- Volcanic activity ceased
13 Apr -- -- Ash emissions increased, ashfall reached 7 km from volcano
15 Apr 6.1-9.1 km -- Ash cloud
16 Apr -- -- Volcanic activity ceased
18 Apr (0715-1600) 1-3 km -- Continuous emissions of ash and gas
19 Apr ~3 km -- Plume containing ash/lava fragments lasted 6-7 hours
20 Apr-22 Apr -- NW, W, SW Plume reached 60 km from the volcano; traces of ash reached the Arequipa airport.
25 Apr-26 Apr 0.2-0.7 km -- --
04 May-08 May ~6.7 km -- See fig. 15
9-11, 13-14 May 7.3 km (max) -- --
20 May-25 May 7.3 km (max) -- --
24 May 6.7 km E Plume reported by pilot
25 May 7 km NW --
30 May 7.9 km E Ash plume seen on satellite imagery
31 May-05 Jun 7.9 km N, NE, SE, S --
09 Jun-11 Jun 6.7 km E, SW Ash clouds reported by pilots
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A faint white plume rose from the summit of Ubinas on 8 May 2006, when the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this image. Courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

The Perú Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico (INGEMMET) reported that gas and ash were emitted from Ubinas from 27 March to at least 19 April. On 13 April, ash emissions increased noticeably in comparison to the previous days, with ashfall in the villages of Ubinas, Querapi, and Sacuaya, and as far as 7 km from the volcano. Acid rain was also noted in these villages, particularly between 1400 and 1600 hours on 14 April. Explosions on 13 and 14 April were heard in nearby villages. According to a news report on 18 April, however, officials urged residents of the town of Querapi ~ 5 km from the volcano to evacuate.

On 19 April, a lava dome was observed on the crater floor for the first time. It was incandescent, 60 m in diameter, and 4 m high. Explosions were heard as far as 6 km from the volcano and a plume composed of ash and lava fragments rose ~ 3 km above the volcano. Plumes lasted for 6-7 hours and hazard statements suggested significant danger within 4 km of the crater. The Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) released volcanic ash advisory statements during the report period.

According to news reports, as of 19 April at least 1,000 people living N of the volcano suffered respiratory problems, dozens of livestock died and many more were ill after eating ash-covered grass, and water sources were polluted with ash. Dozens of people from Querapi, the town closest to the volcano, began to evacuate on 21 April. On 22 April, officials declared a state of emergency for the area near the volcano and sent aid for evacuees.

During 25 and 26 April, the volume of ash emitted from the volcano decreased significantly. Gas plumes rose between 200 and 700 m above the volcano's caldera. Seismicity during 22-26 April was higher than normal. The Buenos Aires VAAC posted volcanic ash advisories during the report period.

Several thermal anomalies were observed by MODIS/MODVOLC in 2006 at the following local times: 0105 hours, 27 May; 2220 hours, 31 May; 2225 hours, 7 June; 2210 hours, 18 June; and 2235 hours, 30 June. On 3 June, the Alert Level for Ubinas was increased to Orange due to heightened explosive activity. According to a news report, on 5 June, officials in S Perú prepared to evacuate approximately 480 families; approximately 550 families were evacuated on 10 and 11 June. Ubinas emitted a plume of ash and/or steam on 24 June 2006. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying onboard NASA's Aqua satellite showed the plume moving E.

Geologic Background. A small, 1.4-km-wide caldera cuts the top of Ubinas, Peru's most active volcano, giving it a truncated appearance. It is the northernmost of three young volcanoes located along a regional structural lineament about 50 km behind the main volcanic front of Perú. The growth and destruction of Ubinas I was followed by construction of Ubinas II beginning in the mid-Pleistocene. The upper slopes of the andesitic-to-rhyolitic Ubinas II stratovolcano are composed primarily of andesitic and trachyandesitic lava flows and steepen to nearly 45 degrees. The steep-walled, 150-m-deep summit caldera contains an ash cone with a 500-m-wide funnel-shaped vent that is 200 m deep. Debris-avalanche deposits from the collapse of the SE flank about 3700 years ago extend 10 km from the volcano. Widespread plinian pumice-fall deposits include one of Holocene age about 1000 years ago. Holocene lava flows are visible on the flanks, but historical activity, documented since the 16th century, has consisted of intermittent minor-to-moderate explosive eruptions.

Information Contacts: Randall A. White, USGS/OFDA Volcano Disaster Assistance Program; Victor Aguilar, Universidad de San Agustin, Perú; Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center; Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico (INGEMMET ? Institution of Mining and Metallurgical Geology); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Observer (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHarards/).


Villarrica (Chile) — May 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Unusual seismicity, minor pyroclastic, and gas explosions, January-April 2005

Our last report on Villarrica, through January 2005, described plumes, the growth of a lava lake in the crater, and some night-time Strombolian explosions (BGVN 29:12). This report covers January to April 2005.

According to the March 2005 newsletter of the Multinational Andean Project: Geoscience for Andean Communities (MAP-GAC) produced by the Geological Survey of Canada, both seismic activity and degassing from the permanent fumarole increased in January. One of the early January explosions described above sent pyroclastic material (ash and scoriaceous lapilli) onto the flanks of the snow-and-ice covered volcano, covering an area 1 km wide and 3 km long. Subsequent minor explosions have sent pyroclastic material to estimated heights of 300 m above the crater. Onlookers have reported incandescent material within the gas-and-pyroclastic column.

On 19 January 2005, volcanologists Hugo Moreno and Edmundo Polanco of OVDAS–SERNAGEOMIN observed the lava lake actively spattering at a distance of 30 m below the edge of the principal crater; the crater interior and perimeter were covered in spatter. The glacier covering the cone had developed new fractures and crevasses. Activity in February 2005 lessened.

During 29 March to 3 April 2005, the lava lake inside Villarrica's crater remained active, with Strombolian explosions occurring. Some gas explosions were observed to hurl volcanic bombs as far as ~ 300 m. According to a news report on 12 April 2005, the Oficina Nacional de Emergencia reported that unusual seismicity was recorded at Villarrica during early April. Fresh ash deposits were seen outside of the volcano's crater. Visitors were banned from climbing the volcano.

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

Information Contacts: Werner Keller, Proyecto de Observacion Villarrica (POVI), Wiesenstrasse 8, 86438 Kissing, Germany (URL: http://www.povi.cl/); Hugo Moreno and Edmundo Polanco, Observatorio Volcanológico de los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, Casilla 23D, Temuco, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); MAP:GAC Newsletter, Geological Survey of Canada, 101-605 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC,V6B 5J3, Canada.

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.

View Atmospheric Effects Reports

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

View Special Announcements Reports

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/).