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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sabancaya (Peru) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bezymianny (Russia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Mayon (Philippines) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Tangkuban Parahu

Indonesia

6.77°S, 107.6°E; summit elev. 2084 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sheveluch (Russia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash explosions and lava dome growth continue through October 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 31, Number 10 (October 2006)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Etna (Italy)

Lava flows from multiple vents during 22 September to 4 November

Home Reef (Tonga)

More details on the new island and drifting pumice rafts, including satellite data

Kilauea (United States)

PKK lava tube active August-November 2006; 10 October collapse pit at Pu`u `O`o

Likuruanga (Papua New Guinea)

Tragic CO2-gas accident in open hole at inactive volcano

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Eruptions of varying intensity at Tavurvur; explosion on 14 November 2006

San Miguel (El Salvador)

Restlessness persists during 2005-6; heavy tropical rains trigger lahars

Saunders (United Kingdom)

Clear IR satellite view on 28 October 2006 suggests lava inside the crater

Ubinas (Peru)

New reporting reveals ashfalls, large ballistic blocks, lahar hazards, and evacuations



Etna (Italy) — October 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows from multiple vents during 22 September to 4 November

The following Etna report from Sonia Calvari and Boris Behncke is based on daily observations by numerous staff members of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV). As previously reported here (BGVN 31:08), a 10-day-long eruption vented from the base of the Southeast Crater (SEC) in mid-July 2006. Eruptive activity then shifted to the crater's summit vent during 31 August-15 September, leading to lava overflows and repeated collapse on the SEC cone (BGVN 31:08).

This report discusses the time period 22 September to 4 November, an interval with multiple episodes of eruptive activity (roughly eight in all, seven of which involved a return of activity at the SEC summit). The activity typically included lava flows and Strombolian eruptions. In general, the eruptive episodes became increasingly brief and vigorous. Eruptions came from the SEC's summit as well as from multiple vents along fractures on the SEC's sides or adjacent to it that developed during the reporting interval.

As mentioned above, in general, during the reporting interval, the renowned SEC summit area was only episodically active. Since the SEC's collapse of September 2006, it has had a breached E wall. During this reporting interval, lava flows escaped the crater through the breach to form narrow rivulets down the steep upper SE flank. Ash from SEC fell on Catania on 30 October.

On 12 October a fissure opened at ~ 2,800-m elevation on the ESE base of the SEC cone, ~ 1 km from SEC's summit. Lava from this vent traveled SE, and a map showing the vents and pattern of flows through 20 November indicated lava extending ~ 2 km from the 2,800-m vent (Behncke and Neri, 2006). The 2,800-m vent also sits along the path of some of the SEC lavas from the summit crater. By late November, a complex flow field from both SEC summit and the 2,800-m vents lay on the SE side of the SEC. The field extended from the summit ~ 3 km, and its distal ends reached the W wall of the Valle del Bove.

Two other important vents began erupting in late October. One was on the SEC's upper S flank. The other, at 3,050 m elevation, stood ~ 1 km SW of the SEC's crater and at a spot ~ 0.5 km from the nearest margin of Bocca Nuova's crater. Although lava emissions from this vent at 3050-m elevation stopped, they later restarted and by 20 November the vent had created a large SW-trending field of lava flows roughly the size of those from the SEC summit and 2800-m vent.

Eruptive behavior 22 September-4 November. During this time interval, the seven episodes determined by eruptive activity at the SEC occurred as follows.

The first episode, which was five days long, started late 22 September from the summit of the SEC. Activity during the first two days was limited to mild Strombolian explosions, but lava began to overflow the SEC's crater on 24 September, spilling onto the cone's SE flank. This activity ceased sometime on 27 September.

The 2nd episode began late the afternoon of 3 October with Strombolian explosions from the SEC summit, which increased in vigor during the following hours. Late that evening lava began to spill down the SE side of the SEC cone adjacent to flows of the previous two episodes. Following a sharp decline in tremor amplitude on the afternoon of 5 October, the activity ended sometime between midnight and the early morning of 6 October.

The 3rd eruptive episode occurred between the evening of 10 October and the evening of the following day. The SEC's summit produced vigorous Strombolian activity and lava again descended the SEC cone's SE flank. A sharp drop in tremor amplitude on the afternoon of 11 October indicated the eruptions imminent cessation.

At the tail end of the 3rd episode, a short eruptive fissure opened with vents at ~ 2,800-m elevation. Monitoring cameras fixed the start of this activity at 2328 on 12 October. The SEC's summit was quiet throughout the following eight days, leaving this burst to be considered as activity late in the 3rd episode, rather than representing the start of the 4th episode in the SEC's sporadic on-and-off behavior.

Trending N90°E-N100°E, the new fissure resided on the ESE flank at the base of SEC, a spot also on the Valle del Bove's W wall. For the first few days, lava was emitted non-explosively, quietly spreading in the upper Valle del Bove and advancing a few hundred meters downslope. Mild spattering on 17 October resulted in the growth of three hornitos on the upper end of the eruptive fissure.

Summit SEC activity marked the 4th episode since 22 September. As lava effusion continued from the fissure vents at 2,800 m elevation, the SEC started a powerful eruption at 0600 on 20 October. Accompanied by a rapid increase in tremor amplitude, vigorous Strombolian eruptions occurred in the central portion of the SEC's summit. A vent near the E rim of the SEC's crater, in the notch created by the collapse events of early September, produced large explosions every few minutes and quickly built a new pyroclastic cone. Lava once more flowed down the SEC's SE side, stopping N of the 2,800-m fissure. At that fissure vent, lava emission continued but appeared reduced compared to the previous days. The SEC ceased issuing lava the same day it began, 20 October.

The 5th episode involving the SEC was preceded on 22 October with a few isolated bursts of ash from the SEC. The episode began with strong activity at 0700 the next day, when the SEC's summit generated vigorous Strombolian discharges and pulsating lava fountains from two vents. The new pyroclastic cone grew rapidly. Lava spilled down the ESE flank of the cone, to the N of the flows formed in the previous episodes.

Coincident with the above eruptions, INGV researchers noted an increased lava emission from the 2,800-m vents. This led to several lava overflows (in an area adjacent to the hornitos formed 17 October).

Although Strombolian activity and fountaining at the SEC diminished on the afternoon of 23 October, strong ash emissions began at around 1700, producing an ESE-drifting plume. Pulsating ash emissions and occasional bursts of glowing tephra continued and, at about 1750, the SEC cone's S flank fractured. Lava escaped from the fracture's lower end, forming two small lobes. The longer lobe reached the base of the cone and then traveled SE, ultimately to reach ~ 1 km from their source at the new fissure. The smaller lobe took a path down the cone slightly to the W, but halted before reaching the base of the cone. The new fissure's lava supply diminished early on 24 October, stopping around noon.

Coincident with the above events, effusive activity continued without significant variations at the 2,800-m vents. The farthest flow fronts reached an elevation of ~ 2,000 m to the NW of Monte Centenari, and extended ~ 2.5 km from their source.

Field observations made on 24 October revealed that part of the new pyroclastic cone had subsided and a new collapse pit, ~ 50 m wide, had opened on the SE flank of the SEC cone, roughly in the center of the largely obliterated collapse pit of 2004-2005.

The 6th episode of SEC activity began in the late afternoon on 25 October. Initially there was an increase in tremor amplitude, as well as both ash emissions and weak Strombolian activity from the SEC's summit. Both the tremor and Strombolian discharges decreased late that evening, but at 0054 on 26 November lava was emitted from a new fissure. This fissure, on the SEC cone's SSE flank, was active only for a few hours and produced a very small lava flow. As has often been the case during the reporting interval, the 2800-m vents continued to discharge lava toward the Valle del Bove.

What was to later become another important effusive vent opened at 0231 on 26 October. The vent developed at ~ 3,050 m elevation in an area ~ 700 m S of the center of Bocca Nuova's crater and ~ 500 m SW of the center of SEC's crater. This spot sits at the S base of the central summit cone below the Bocca Nuova, and ~ 700 m to the W of the fissure that had erupted 2 hours earlier.

Fieldwork carried out on 26 October by INGV researchers revealed that the vent at 3,050 m elevation had formed at the southern end of a fracture field. That field extended across the SE flank of Etna's central summit cone to the W flank of the SEC cone. Lava extruding at the 3050-m vent poured out at a decreasing rate before a pause began on the evening of 26 October.

The 7th episode, 27 October and into early November, was first associated with a new increase in tremor amplitude and corresponding SEC ash emissions on the afternoon of the 27th. These emissions were followed at 0206 on the 28th by the reactivation of the vent at 3050-m elevation. Ash emissions and Strombolian activity occurred from the SEC between 0830 and 1100, but no lava overflows were produced. On the evening of 28 October, both effusive vents at 3,050 and 2,800 m were active.

29 October ash emissions from the SEC became more vigorous during the early morning of the 30th and fine ash fell over inhabited areas to the S, including Catania (27 km from the SEC). Intermittent bursts of glowing tephra were recorded by INGV-CT surveillance cameras, although later analysis revealed that most of the tephra was lithic rather than juvenile. Ash emissions gradually diminished and ceased at around 0800 on 29 October.

Ash was again emitted from the SEC shortly before 1300 on 31 October, and in minor quantities at least once per day through 5 November. No incandescent ejections occurred from this crater after 28 October until the evening of 4 November (during 1830-2005) when weak Strombolian explosions were recorded by the INGV-CT surveillance cameras.

The vent at 3050-m elevation continued to emit lava on 29 October. The effusion rate was estimated as 1 to 5 m3 per second. Emitted lava descended SW to ~ 2,400 m elevation.

Lava also continued to flow from the 2,800-m vents on the 29th, but the associated lava flow front advancing from these vents had moved little since 24 October. Lava continued to flow from both vents during the first days of November, but the effusion rate had clearly dropped by the 3rd when active flows had retreated upslope from the distal fronts. Similarly, a helicopter overflight on the morning of 5 November disclosed actively flowing lava confined to the uppermost parts of the lava flow fields.

References. Behncke, B., and Neri, M., 2006, Mappa delle colate laviche aggiornata al 20 Novembre 2006 (PDF file on the INGV website).

Geologic Background. Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

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


Home Reef (Tonga) — October 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Home Reef

Tonga

18.992°S, 174.775°W; summit elev. -10 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


More details on the new island and drifting pumice rafts, including satellite data

An eruption from Home Reef in early August generated large volumes of pumice that floated to Fiji (over 700 km away) in the following two months; an island was also created (BGVN 31:09). Satellite data and imagery have been used to confirm these observations and provide additional information about this event.

Norman Kuring of the MODIS Ocean Color Team identified the earliest clear shot of the pumice raft in a Terra MODIS on 7 August at 2120 UTC (8 August at 1020 Tonga time). The image (figure 11) shows a circular patch of pumice over the eruption site with a small volcanic plume emerging from it. The first indication of pumice raft leaving the eruption site is in the Aqua MODIS image at 0132 UTC on 10 August, but the 9 August overpass was cloudy, so it could have happened earlier. Kuring also compiled other images showing the dispersion of the pumice through 22 August (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Terra MODIS image taken on 8 August 2006 (local time) showing the early stages of the eruption at Home Reef. A steam plume is visible rising from the southern end of a mass of floating pumice covering an area larger than Late Island to the NW. Courtesy of the NASA Ocean Color Group.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Terra and Aqua MODIS satellite images showing the dispersion of the pumice raft generated by the eruption at Home Reef during 7-8 August. By 10 August a large raft was NE of Late Island. Most of the material stayed in that area through 12 August before breaking up into elongate pieces that began moving W towards Fiji. Courtesy of the NASA Ocean Color Group.

Kuring also made a preliminary estimate of the area of the pumice raft on 11 August (10 August at 2150 UTC), previously encountered by the Maiken (BGVN 31:09). A mask was created to cover identifiable areas of pumice, resulting in an area of 9,338 pixels. Each pixel in the image used covers an area of 0.0468 km2. The calculated total area is approximately 440 km2 for that time. Note that this estimate does not take into account errors caused by pumice being a high-contrast target (allowing linear patches less than the pixel width to be seen), small isolated patches of pumice that could not be recognized, material hidden by clouds, or fragments suspended in the water column under the surface. In the 8 August MODIS image, the circular area was determined by Bulletin editors to be at least 8 km in diameter, so the area covered was more than 50 km2.

Simon Carn (UMBC) used the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite to constrain the timing of the eruption. OMI detected SO2 emissions from the vicinity of Home Reef beginning on 8 August. Emissions appear to have peaked sometime during 8-9 August. The total SO2 mass detected E of Tonga by OMI on 9 August was ~ 25 kilotons. By 12 August there were 3.3 kilotons of SO2 in the area (figure 13). The emission episode was over by 15 August. HYSPLIT forward trajectories indicated that the SO2 released on 8 August may have reached altitudes of 5 km or more. Carn also stated that "To our knowledge this is the first example of satellite detection of emissions from a submarine volcano. Significant scrubbing of SO2 and other soluble volcanic gases is likely during such events."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Sulfur-dioxide emissions in the vicinity of Home Reef, 12 August 2006 at 0140 UTC. Data obtained from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite. Courtesy of Simon Carn.

Terra MODIS data from 4 September 2006 provided by Alain Bernard showed pumice rafts moving SE from Home Reef (figure 14). Pumice that previously followed a similar path was found on beaches in southern Vava'u (BGVN 31:09) by 2 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Terra MODIS data from 4 September 2006 showing pumice rafts moving SE from Home Reef. Data was obtained with a simple processing of bands 1 and 2; pixel size is 250 meters. Courtesy of Alain Bernard.

Island evolution. No data or reports are available to determine when the island built by the 1984 eruption (SEAN 09:02 and 09:04) eroded below the ocean surface. Recent reports from mariners and local fishermen noted that this current eruption had built a new island, implying the absence of an island at that location. An ASTER image inspected by Matt Patrick from 18 November 2005 did not show an island.

An ASTER image of the new island taken on 4 October 2006 (figure 15) has been studied by a number of scientists, including Greg Vaughan (JPL), Matt Patrick (Michigan Tech), and Alain Bernard (Univ. of Brussels). The image clearly shows the island (at 18.991°S, 174.762°W) with large ? and NE-directed anomalous areas that are likely caused by volcanic material suspended in the water. The new island is warmer than adjacent Late island. Greg Vaughan provided an annotated version of the image zoomed in on the new island, which he computed then had an area of 0.245 km2. Vaughan also noted that the "daytime image shows considerable activity in the water around the new Home Reef island [and] a thermal plume in the same shape as the pink colored area in the attached VNIR images (ASTER channels 3-2-1 as R-G-B)." Work by Alain Bernard based on the ASTER thermal bands determined that the hot lake on the island had a maximum temperature of 64.7°C on 4 October. Bernard calculated the island area to be 0.230 km2 on 4 October. Comparison with another ASTER image from 12 November showed that the island had changed shape and covered an area of 0.146 km2, a decrease of 0.084 km2 (figure 16).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. ASTER VNIR image showing the new island at Home Reef on 4 October 2006. A volcanic lake is visible on the island, as are submarine plumes originating from the island. Some possible small pumice rafts can also be identified in this 15-m imagery. Modified from original provided courtesy of Greg Vaughan.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Comparison of the island at Home Reef on 4 October (left) and 12 November 2006 (right) using ASTER imagery. The size of the island decreased approximately 0.84 km2 over that time period. Courtesy of Alain Bernard.

Floating pumice observations. Additional pumice sightings have been reported that supplement those described earlier (BGVN 31:09). Areas known to have been impacted by the pumice now include Suva Point (where the capital of Fiji, Suva, is located) and Yasawa Island (N of Viti Levu and E of Vanua Levu). By early November pumice from Home Reef had reached Efate Island in Vanuatu.

Crew on the SV Sandpiper encountered pumice during transit from Tonga to northern Fiji on 12 September. They went through "large patches" of pumice "all afternoon" while traveling about 200 km over the course of the day. The next evening, after sunset on 13 September, the boat suddenly slowed and the water "looked like a thick chocolate shake." Lights shining down from the rigging (spreader lights) showed that they were surrounded by pumice. The crew observed pumice again on 23 September at the southern end of Vanua Levu.

Wally Johnson was flying from Suva to Taveuni on 19 September and observed large amounts of pumice in the Koro Sea, drawn out into numerous parallel strings in the direction of the prevailing wind and heading towards Taveuni. A fair bit of the pumice had been washed up into ridges on beaches on the NW coast of Taveuni, and up and into pockets on some of the recent basaltic lava flows to the SW. Bernie Joyce forwarded additional reports from Fiji. On 27 October 2006, Rebekah Mue-Soko reported that the Suva Point area of Viti Levu was filled with pumice as of 27 October, and that it had appeared sometime before 8 October. About 6 November 2006 Lyn and Darcy Smith were on the Fijian island of Yasawa, N of Viti Levu, and reported "a heap of pumice on the beach" which apparently arrived during their one-week visit.

While pumice has persisted in Fiji, some reached Vanuatu. Sandrine Wallez reported pumice on the W coast of Efate Island during the night of 4-5 November. A deposit around 10 cm thick was observed along 40 km of coastline. The largest pumice fragments were the size of a tennis ball. Pumice was still on the beaches in early December (figure 17). Shane Cronin was in Vanuatu in early October when a new batch of fresh pumice washed up on northern Efate beaches. Pumice is commonly being deposited on beaches around Vanuatu, and local residents told Cronin that they thought it was coming from up around the Ambrym-Lopevi area. Douglas Charley (DGMWR - Vanuatu) recorded explosion earthquakes on a portable geophone from south Epi (BGVN 29:04) at the beginning of September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Photograph showing beach deposits of pumice from the August eruption at Home Reef on western Efate, Vanuatu, on 3 December 2006. Courtesy of Sandrine Wallez.

Geologic Background. Home Reef, a submarine volcano midway between Metis Shoal and Late Island in the central Tonga islands, was first reported active in the mid-19th century, when an ephemeral island formed. An eruption in 1984 produced a 12-km-high eruption plume, copious amounts of floating pumice, and an ephemeral island 500 x 1500 m wide, with cliffs 30-50 m high that enclosed a water-filled crater. Another island-forming eruption in 2006 produced widespread dacitic pumice rafts that reached as far as Australia.

Information Contacts: Simon Carn, Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC), 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA (URL: https://jcet.umbc.edu/); Norman Kuring, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 970.2, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA; Greg Vaughan, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, CA 91109-8099, USA; 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/homereef/homereef.html); Sandrine Wallez, Department of Geology, Mines, and Water Resources (DGMWR), Port-Vila, Vanuatu; R. Wally Johnson, 45 Alroy Circuit, Hawker, ACT 2614, Australia; Shane Cronin, Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University, Palmerston, New Zealand; Tom and Amy Larson, SV Sandpiper (URL: http://sandpiper38.blogspot.com/2006_09_01_sandpiper38_archive.html); E.B. Joyce, School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia (URL: http://earthsci.unimelb.edu.au/home).


Kilauea (United States) — October 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


PKK lava tube active August-November 2006; 10 October collapse pit at Pu`u `O`o

-Lava from Kilauea continued to flow through the PKK lava tube from its source at Pu`u `O`o to the ocean during this reporting period from late August to the end of November 2006. About 1 km S of Pu`u `O`o, the Campout lava flow branches off from the PKK tube. Through November, the PKK and Campout systems fed two widely separated ocean entries named East Lae`apuki and East Ka`ili`ili, respectively. Kilauea's activity during this reporting period included numerous small breakouts from the Campout flow, new skylights along the PKK tube, and variable activity at the ocean entries, including small streams of lava crossing the coastal bench. Intermittant lava fountaining 15 m inland of the W edge of the East Lae`apuki bench was noted in late September-early October. Incandescence was also intermittently visible coming from the East Pond and January vents, the South Wall complex, and the Drainhole vent in Pu`u `O`o's crater. In general, during this reporting period the inflationary trend continued at the summit of Kilauea, in areas S of Halema`uma`u crater and tremors remained at a very typical moderate level at Pu`u `O`o.

During 30 August-12 September, crews reported visible lava streams on the W side of the East Lae'apuki delta and occasionally from the East Ka'ili'ili entry. On 1 September, the East Lae'apuki lava bench was an estimated 22 hectares (54 acres) and East Ka`ili`ili was an estimated 2.3 hectares (5.8 acres). On 30 August, and 1 and 6 September, the Campout flow escaped from the PKK tube. On 11 September, Park Service field crews reported two lava flows visible down the entire length of the pali. Incandescence was intermittently visible from the East Pond and January vents, the South Wall complex, and the Drainhole vent in Pu`u `O`o's crater.

During 13-23 September, lava from the Campout and PKK systems continued to flow off of a lava delta into the ocean and breakout flows were visible on the pali. On 20 September, a tour pilot reported seeing three large lava flows from a breakout 10 m inland from the old sea cliff at East Lae`apuki (figures 180 and 181). On 23 September, incandescence from above Pulama pali in the direction of Pu`u`O`o was likely due to several new and reactivated skylights on the upper PKK tube.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 180. Aerial view of the lava bench at East Lae`apuki, looking NE on 20 September 2006. An active lava flow is going over the sea cliff in roughly the center of the arcuate fault scarp in the widest part of the lava bench below it. White steam plumes from the ocean entry were blown towards along the coast towards the left. In the colored version of this shot the adjacent seawater contains a greenish hue. Courtesy of HVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 181. A lava flow at Kilauea breaks out to the surface 10 m inland from a sea cliff on 20 September 2006 . The lava pours over the cliff in places as thick curtains and elsewhere as smaller rivulets and dripping falls. After the fall the lava proceeded across the upper bench as a series of braided streams. Toward the left, some readers might claim they see a slender Pelé, dancing with arms upraised. Courtesy of HVO.

Littoral fountaining on 27 September was reported about 15 m inland of the W edge of the East Lae`apuki bench. Lava jetted about 30 m in the air accompanied by loud rumbling and jetting sounds. Observers reported ground shaking. Over the next couple of days, 3-4 lava streams were visible on the W side of East Lae`apuki entry, as were incidents of tephra jetting and lava fountaining 15-23 m (50-75 ft) high. Glow had been visible from the East Lae`apuki entry and the Campout flow breakout on the pali, but not from the Ka`ili`ili entry. The consistent lack of visible glow from the Ka`ili`ili entry was due to the absence of a very large bench, forcing lava to remain hidden at the base of the seacliff.

Observers reported that on 28 September the floor of the Drainhole vent had been replaced by an overturning lava pond. As of 29 September, a new tube and flow that formed on the E side of the Campout flow extended ~ 180 m. Another flow went W and butted up against the PKK tube. The USGS field crew also found a small stagnant breakout of lava at ~ 60 m elevation. It flowed E to cover a little more of the long-abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. In the Pu'u O'o vicinity, a new collapse pit photographed in early October had engulfed pre-existing spatter cones (figure 182).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 182. Two views of Kilauea's W gap area illustrating morphologic changes there. (top) Aerial view of Pu`u `O`o taken in July 2006 shows two spatter cones.. Note helicopter above label for scale. (bottom) An aerial photo taken on 13 October 2006 shows a new collapse pit that grew to engulf the spatter cones. The bottom of the pit, which formed on the night of 10 October, is hidden by fume. Courtesy of HVO.

During October and November, breakout flows were intermittently visible on the Pulama pali, at the base of the pali, or on the sea cliff and incandescence from vents in Pu`u`O`o was visible. For example, on 25 October, two separate break-out lava flows were visible on pali. The upper flow at about 320 m (1,050 ft) elevation consisted of 'a'a and pahoehoe and the lower flow at 114 m (375 ft) was solely pahoehoe. On 3 and 4 November, tephra jetted at the tip of the East Lae`apuki bench. On 15 November, breakouts resumed on top of the seacliff after a few weeks without activity. On 18 November, the Drainhole vent twice ejected spatter as high as 25 m above its rim. On 19 November, observers saw small explosions at East Lae`apuki ocean entry as well as well-defined streams of lava entering the ocean. The next evening, six rivers of lava flowed over the bench and into the ocean at the W entry. When weather permitted, incandescence was visible from the East Pond, the South Wall complex, the January vents, and Drainhole vent.

Geologic Background. Kilauea, which overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano's surface is younger than 600 years. A long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

Information Contacts: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, PO Box 51, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/).


Likuruanga (Papua New Guinea) — October 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Likuruanga

Papua New Guinea

4.953°S, 151.385°E; summit elev. 904 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tragic CO2-gas accident in open hole at inactive volcano

Although Likuruanga volcano in West New Britain is thought to be of Pleistocene age (i.e. without evidence of eruption in the past 10,000 years; Johnson, 1971, 1970a, b), a boy died of carbon-dioxide (CO2) asphyxiation in a hole at Bakada village on the volcano's N flank on 21 September 2006. Details of the follow-up investigation came out in a report of the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (Mulina and Taranu, 2006). This report is a condensation of that work. The event serves as a reminder of threats from gas release in volcanic regions, even those areas in repose or unlikely to erupt again. In this case, the linkage to biogenic versus volcanogenic origins of the gas remains equivocal. Likuranga's summit is ~ 13 km NNE of Ulawun's summit (figure 1). The volcano and Bakada village appear in several Google Earth images (figures 2 and 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Likuranga sits along the N coast of New Britain island (inset map). The larger figure comprises a sketch map of important features along the coast from Likuranga to the Sulu Range. By far the most frequently active and reported-on volcano on the map is Ulawun, although recent reports have discussed unrest at both Bamus and the Sulu Range (BGVN 31:09) and regional seismicity has been high in 2006. This figure was scanned from Johnson (1970b) and modified.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. The coastal village Bakada on Likuranga's N flanks. The village, which has few permanent residents but is used as a safe haven by nearby coastal villagers when Ulawun becomes restless. The linked line segments across the image crudely approximate the boundary between East and West New Britain. Courtesy of Google Earth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A closer view of Likuranga's N-flank village Bakada. Courtesy of Google Earth.

In 2004, a logging company dug a number of holes to build latrines but ceased after finding water at shallow depths. The company ultimately left the area without refilling the holes, which are behind some of the remaining buildings (figure 4). A conspicuous disturbed area corresponded with the reported coordinates of the hole on the zoomed-in image of the village ("hole," figure 4).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Although somewhat fuzzy, this zoomed-in view of Bakada shows the Likuranga hole, which was labeled based on coordinates provided in the RVO report . Courtesy of Google Earth.

Background on gas hazards. Natural sources of CO2 include volcanic outgassing, the combustion of organic matter, and the respiration processes of living aerobic organisms. CO2 gas is ~ 1.5 times heavier than air at the same temperature and can collect in depressions, and confined spaces such as caves and buildings. Without wind to ventilate an area, the denser CO2 displaces the typical atmosphere, causing an oxygen deficiency. For adult occupational exposure, one US agency recommends a ceiling limit of 3 percent CO2 for up to 10 minutes. Watanabe and Moritea (1998) studied responses of rats to various gases, including CO2. They discuss various types of asphyxia and the related diagnoses of causes of death.

Although the main component of volcanic gas is usually water vapor, other common volcanic gases can endanger life and property. These can include, as in this case, carbon dioxide (CO2); and, in an elevated temperature environment, a multitude of other gasses such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrogen (H2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon monoxide (CO), and hydrogen fluoride (HF). The main dangers to health and life results from the effects of the acids and ammonia compounds on eyes and respiratory systems. The volcanic gases that pose the greatest potential hazard to people, animals, agriculture, and property are sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen fluoride.

Tragedy at Bakada village. On 21 September 2006, an 8-year-old boy, with his mother nearby, went down a large (2.6 m deep and 3.4 m wide) hole. He entered the hole trying to rescue his dog, which had fallen in. Witnesses recalled that the boy soon started shaking and screamed for help. A nearby woman went down the hole to rescue the boy and she, too, fell unconscious. Both were pulled from the hole by people at the rim with the aid of a long stick and knotted rope. The boy was dead; his hands a pale color. The woman was still breathing but vomited blood. She was rushed to a health center where she soon recovered. It was estimated that the woman was in the hole for 15 minutes and the boy somewhat longer (though this estimation remains crude as it could not be confirmed by anyone with a watch during the incident).

The following day, 22 September, villagers threw five small animals into the hole and noted that they all died immediately. The villagers also recalled that the previous year an employee of the logging company attempted to burn dried vegetation in the same hole and failed, even after adding waste diesel fuel to assist the process.

Investigation and conclusions. On 25 September RVO scientists arrived in Bakada to investigate the incident. It should be noted that for two days before their arrival there was moderate rainfall in the area. The scientists found that a frog and a dog were moving freely in the hole alongside the remains of the original five animals. The RVO report did not indicate when the frog and dog were put into the hole. In addition, a burning paper lowered into the hole continued to burn on the bottom surface.

On 27 September a return visit by RVO with instruments permitted the measurement of CO2 emissions from adjacent soil. The results listed in tables 1 and 2 show that the rate of CO2 emission varied, but generally increased as they approached the hole.

Table 1. Preliminary CO2 soil flux made with approach to the hole where the child died at Bakada village, Likuranga volcano. The measurements were made ~ 6 days after the tragedy, on 27 September 2006. After Mulina and Taranu (2006).

Duration (minutes) Concentration of CO2 (ppm) over period of time (in minutes) as measured from varying distance away from the hole
1 m E 5 m E 100 m E 100 m W 250 m W
Soil temp=28°C Soil temp=28°C Soil temp=27.2°C Soil temp=29.5°C Soil temp=27°C
0.0 2000 1380 1130 910 850
0.5 2200 1490 1140 930 860
1.0 2350 1530 1160 950 870
1.5 2400 1570 1190 980 900
2.0 2550 1700 1220 990 920
2.5 2725 1730 1250 1010 940
3.0 -- 1860 1290 -- 970
3.5 -- -- -- -- 990

Table 2. Preliminary CO2 soil flux analyses at various distances from the hole; as measured on 27 September 2006. After Mulina and Taranu (2006).

Distance from the hole Soil CO2 flux (ppm per minute) Soil CO2 flux (ppm per second)
1 m 270 5.4
5 m 128 2.14
100 m E 54.2 0.9
100 m W 40.6 0.676
250 m W 41.9 0.698

The investigators concluded that CO2 in the 2.6-m-deep hole caused the boy to die of asphyxiation and the woman attempting to rescue him to enter a semi-conscious state. It was also noted that whereas air currents may keep CO2 concentrations acceptably low on the land surface, the same does not hold true for deep holes. A final conclusion was that external factors such as rain may be able to wash out trapped CO2 from the air, but the continuing emission of the gas from the soil may lead to further accumulations during dry spells.

The authors recommended that the logging company refill all the holes and that knowledge of this tragedy be made more-widely known to cope with the dangers of toxic gases in volcanic areas. The authors also suggests that carbon isotopic analyses be carried out on the CO2 released at Bakada to determine if it is of magmatic or biogenic origin.

References. Johnson, R.W., 1971, Bamus Volcano, Lake Hargy Area, and Sulu Range, New Britain: Volcanic Geology and Petrology: Bur. Miner. Resour. Aust. Rec. 1971/55.

Johnson, R.W., 1970a, Ulawan Volcano, New Britain: geology,petrology and eruptive history between 1915 and 1967: Bur. Miner. Resour. Aust. Rec. 1970/21.

Johnson, R.W., 1970b, Likuruanga volcano, Lolobau Island, and associated volcanic centres, New Britain: geology and petrology: Bur. Miner. Resour. Aust. Rec. 1970/42.

Mulina, K., and Taranu, F., 2006, Gas related deaths at Bakada village inside Likuranga volcano, West New Britain on 21st September 2006, report of Rabaul Volcano Observatory.

Watanabe, T. and Morita, M., 1998, Asphyxia due to oxygen deficiency by gaseous substances: Forensic Science International, v. 96, no. 1, p. 47-59.

Geologic Background. Likuruanga is a dissected, low stratovolcano with a large crater breached to the north. In September 2006, a boy died of carbon dioxide asphyxiation in a hole at Bakada village on the volcano's N flank.

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — October 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)


Eruptions of varying intensity at Tavurvur; explosion on 14 November 2006

The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported that a large, sustained Vulcanian eruption began at Rabaul at about 0845 on 7 October 2006 (BGVN 31:09). A further point regarding that eruption, absent from our previous report, was that some members of the Volcanic Clouds Group (a listserv discussion group) conducted significant observations and initial modeling of the 7 October eruption clouds, including mapping the cloud's sulfur dioxide content and making forecasts of their dispersion. In the Volcaniccloud listserv discussions of the 7 October clouds, Andrew Tupper noted the following: "The cloud was at 16 km (upper troposphere/lower stratosphere) when it passed over Manus on its way NW . . . . However, the north/northeastern parts were initially higher . . . , with the eastward bit clearly stratospheric. There were multiple flights under the cloud over Micronesia for [sic] that reported that was no ash or smell?this puts a lower boundary (~ 10 km) on the cloud, consistent with our view that the bits at cruising levels had gone to the SE."

Since that event and in reference to the time interval for this report, 4 November to early December 2006, RVO has noted that activity continued at Tavurvur at varying intensities. The largest event in the reporting interval took place at 0715 on 14 November 2006; Tavurvur produced a large explosion that rose several kilometers above the cone.

During 4-13 November, mild eruptive activity continued at Tavurvur, with occasional small-to-moderate ash emissions continuing and blowing to the SE. An emission on 11 November consisted of thick white vapor accompanied by occasional small-to-moderate ash clouds that drifted variably to the SE, S, and NW and resulting in fine ash fall downwind. On 12 November the emission was blown W and NW, and on the morning of 13 November the ash cloud drifted N of the volcano.

An explosion occurred at Tavurvur at 0715 on 14 November 2006, accompanied by a thick ash cloud that rose to about 2 km above the summit before drifting NW. The explosion showered the flanks of the volcano with lava fragments, some of which fell into the sea. Fine ash fall occurred at Rabaul Town areas and downwind to the Ratavul and Nonga areas. Continuous ash emission followed the explosion. Seismic activity continued at low levels; however, high-frequency earthquakes continued to occur within the Rabaul caldera. After the large explosion on 14 November, mild eruptive activity continued at Tavurvur, consisting of continuous thick white vapor accompanied by pale gray to gray ash clouds that rose ~ 1.5 km above the summit before drifting variably S and E of Tavurvur. During 16-17 November, continuous thick white vapor accompanied by pale gray ash clouds rose to about 2.5 km above the summit before drifting variably to the NW and E with fine ash falling on settlements downwind, including Rabaul Town. One high-frequency earthquake occurred on 16 November.

Mild eruptive activity continued at Tavurvur during 18-20 November. On 18 November and on the morning of 20 November continuous gray ash clouds rose less than 200 m above the summit before being blown N and NW. Fine ash continued to fall on villages downwind including Rabaul Town. Activity on 19 November consisted of emission of thick white vapor only, accompanied by roaring noises heard between 1130 and 1400.

Quiet generally prevailed at Tavurvur during 20-23 November. Emissions then consisted of thick white vapor accompanied by a small amount of pale gray ash clouds. On 21 November the emissions accumulated in the atmosphere around the caldera causing haze, and on 22 November the emissions rose less than 1,000 m above the summit before drifting W. Fine ash fell on villages downwind. On the morning of 23 November the emission consisted of white vapor rising more than a kilometer above the summit before drifting E.

On 26 and 27 November the activity consisted of gentle sporadic emission of subcontinuous, gray to pale gray ash clouds of varying thickness. The ash clouds drifted NW to W resulting in fine ash fall downwind. From November to 1 December the emission consisted of pale gray to dark gray ash clouds being released more forcefully. The ash clouds rose less than 200 m above the summit before drifting E. On the morning of 2 December the emission consisted thick white vapor and pale gray ash clouds that rose about 2 km before being blown ENE. On 3 December thick pale gray ash clouds that rose about 1 km above the summit were emitted. The ash clouds drifted NE in the morning and then slightly to the W in the afternoon. On the morning of 4 December the ash cloud rose about 2 km before drifting E. Fine ash fall occurred in downwind areas. There was no glow from the volcano visible at night. From late morning to the afternoon of 4 December the activity consisted of emission of thick pale gray ash clouds that rose about 500m above the summit before drifting NW. In the morning of 5 December the ash cloud rose 200 m before drifting E. By mid-morning the ash clouds were rising about 1 km above the summit before drifting NNW, and during the early afternoon the ash clouds drifted briefly to the E and then S before going back to the E by late afternoon. On the morning of 6 December the ash cloud rose about a km before drifting N-NW. The emission was accompanied by loud roaring noises. Fine ash fall occurred in downwind areas including Rabaul..

There was no significant deformation until 10 December. The RVO reported that loud and continual roaring was present from 8 December 2006 until the morning of 9 December, when the roaring became intermittent. The roaring ceased on 10 December and at that time parts of the caldera underwent a rapid ~ 1 cm uplift. On 11 December the volcano was quiet with very little fume. At 0400 on 12 December, a loud explosion occurred with an airwave which shook houses in Rabaul. This event generated a billowing gray column that rose to a maximum of 1,000 m before being blown to the E. Following the 12 December explosion subsidence returned the site's level to that of 9 December. Seismic activity continued at low levels. No high frequency earthquake was recorded.

Table 5 shows the MODIS thermal anomalies observed during 22 October-12 December 2006 (see BGVN 31:09 for earlier October anomalies).

Table 5. MODIS thermal Anomalies for Rabaul volcano for 24 October through 12 December 2006. Courtesy of the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.

Date Time (UTC) Pixels Satellite
22 Oct 2006 1220 2 Terra
22 Oct 2006 1520 1 Aqua
27 Oct 2006 1250 1 Terra
16 Nov 2006 1230 1 Terra

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: Steve Saunders and Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO), Department of Mining, Private Mail Bag, Port Moresby Post Office, National Capitol District, Papua, New Guinea; Andrew Tupper, Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Darwin, Australia; National Aeronautics and Space Administration Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/); HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), University of Hawaii at Manoa, 168 East-West Road, Post 602, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Volcanic Clouds Group (URL: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/volcanicclouds/).


San Miguel (El Salvador) — October 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

San Miguel

El Salvador

13.434°N, 88.269°W; summit elev. 2130 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Restlessness persists during 2005-6; heavy tropical rains trigger lahars

According to El Salvador's Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET) activity levels at San Miguel have generally remained similar to those during January 2002 when a minor plume rose above the summit crater (BGVN 27:02). The volcano's vigor continued into at least October 2006 at a level slightly at or above the base line of normal activity.

Recent publications have discussed the volcano and its lahar-hazard potential (Escobar, 2003; Chesner and others, 2003; Major and others, 2001). Figures 1 and 2 are taken from the latter publication.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Index map indicating El Salvador's volcanic front and the location of volcan San Miguel. Major cities are also shown (circles). From Major and others (2001).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. The lahar hazard map of San Miguel depicts likely lahar paths, which are shown as colored or shaded areas. The contour interval is 20 m; the urban center ~ 11 km NE of the summit is San Miguel. From Major and others (2001); their plate 1, cropped, highly reduced, and excluding the key.

In January 2005 observers saw new fumaroles as well as small landslides on the N and SW wall of the crater. The accumulation of mass-wasted material in the crater led to a rise in the elevation of the crater floor.

During February 2005, weak fumaroles and small rock landslides persisted in the central crater. Digital sensors installed there recorded fumarolic temperatures in real time. On the outer portions of the cone the terrain is steeply sloping and contains prominent gullies (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A photo of San Miguel taken from the N on 22 February 2005 showing the steep sides of the upper slopes and the incised drainages there. Although much of the area on the volcano is rural, hazards could easily affect 40,000 residents living nearby. Courtesy of Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET).

The SNET reports for March and April 2005 noted that the crater was structurally weak due to the fumarolic activity, ongoing rock alteration, occasional landslides, and fractures on the western plateau. Microseismicity had increased; but it did not exceed typical base-line levels. Workers at the Santa Isabel farm (finca) noted N-flank lahars after heavy rains during March. The N flank contains abundant fine-grained volcanic deposits of the sort easily swept away during times of heavy rain.

Intense rains during May 2005 were associated with tropical storm Adrian (over an unstated interval the meteorological station near the volcano, San Miguel UES, recorded 428 mm of rainfall). As a result of the deluge, fumarolic activity from the crater increased. The crater walls remained intact, but eroded material previously deposited in the central crater that was poorly consolidated had to some degree stabilized. Substantial further compaction, settling, or collapse in the central crater seemed to have ceased by July 2005. During August 2005 the crisis at volcan Santa Ana forestalled visits to San Miguel.

A spike in seismic activity occurred during August 2005, with 7,048 long-period earthquakes, compared to July 2005, with 2,239 long-period earthquakes. SNET reports noted that based on monitoring, San Miguel generally remained within its base-line of normal behavior during the reporting interval. Figure 4 shows a histogram of long-period and volcano-tectonic events from the SNET reports for the interval September 2005-June 2006.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. A plot of seismicity at San Miguel during September 2005-June 2006. Courtesy of SNET.

On 14 September 2005 a visiting group (OIKOS- Soliradaridad Internacional) made a trek to the summit and videotaped the scene there. SNET said the video disclosed a lack of significant changes in the crater; however, they saw debris-flow deposits in summit drainages on the volcano's outboard flanks. The visitors described both sounds of degassing and moderately intense odors of H2S. During the course of September the seismic system recorded several minutes of tremor.

The October 2005 SNET report noted that workers at the plantation Santa Isabel noted N-slope lahars associated with rainfall. The lahars were also described as small debris flows; they descended from the high-elevation headwater areas, which are steep sided and narrow. The November report commented about the quantity of debris-flow material accumulating at the base of some N-flank channels. The same report also mentioned that moderate degassing was seen in the crater leaving areas of abundant sulfur, which appeared as yellow zones in one or more fumarolic areas.

The November 2005 report of SNET also discussed substantial landslides inside the crater that were followed by widening of the funnel-shaped area of collapse in the central crater. The landslides had left three distinct perched remnants of the crater floor (small terraces) at various elevations on the crater walls. The crater's western plain (one such terrace of the sort mentioned above) was stable but showed areas of subsidence (figure 5).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. (top) A photo of San Miguel taken on 16 November 2005 showing the 'western plain' of San Miguel's crater (a terrace representing a remnant of a former crater floor). A considerable portion of the remaining terrace is in the process of subsidence (slumping). (bottom) A photo of the same area taken on 15 February 2006 (looking S). A zone of local subsidence, a pit along the head scarp, appears in the foreground but the subsidence also includes the region to the left of the large arcuate area extending well beyond the pit and still conspicuous in the upper left edge of the photograph. Courtesy of SNET.

Lahar monitoring during December 2005 disclosed erosion of easily mobilized cinders and scoria material on the N to NW flanks during the previous wet season. December seismicity was elevated, but cracks in the crater changed little compared to previous measurements. A field team visited the summit on 11 January 2006 and again in February and found few substantive changes in the crater. On the ascent route during January, the team saw a small recent "fall of material" reaching 40 cm thick. Some fumaroles discharged yellowish gases. During February the team conducted measurements of cracks on the western plain but found few changes, suggesting the headscarp had moved little if at all. February and March tremor episodes were centered at ~ 5 Hz and lasted 1-3 minutes.

The March 2006 SNET report noted small rockslides on the crater's N and S sides and, with the beginning of the rainy season in March 2006, there was a potential for the development of lahars. During the March visit the team found abundant granular material in the gullies on the NW flank, judged to be the result of debris flows. Monitored cracks remained stable.

With the arrival of the wet season in April, lahars and enhanced fumarolic output became apparent. One debris flow intersected a highway. On 23-24 April, 105 mm of rain was recorded at plantation (finca) Santa Isabel. Figure 6 shows the results of one lahar which left a trail of debris during the rainy interval. Earlier in the month on the 16th, a tremor or multi-phase episode lasted over an hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. A San Miguel photo showing a part of the freshly scoured upslope channel in the Gato erosional gully. The material deposited in the channel consisted of reworked volcanic rocks and must have descended as a small lahar or debris flow. Several such flows occurred during heavy late-April rains at the start of the rainy season, a few days before this picture was taken. Courtesy of SNET (from their April 2006 report).

In April 2006, an increase in fumarole degassing within the crater and small landslides contributed to the instability of the deposits on the NW flanks of the volcano. Steam emanated from the fumaroles occasionally forming a weak column that reached the edge of the crater. There was a slight increase in seismicity throughout the month. Seismic activity increased in March and April 2006 (figure 4). Rocks in the crater show intense hydrothermal alteration with a yellowish reddish color. Small rock landslides were observed in the N and S zone of the crater.

During June 2006, the temperature of the fumaroles, opening of cracks and the gas discharge by the crater of the volcano, remained stable. There was an increase of small landslides within the crater. The analysis of the seismicity indicates that the volcano is slightly above its base line of normal behavior. New landslides and cracked rock were observed in the walls of the crater (figure 7). Rains have transferred volcanic material down the NW flank. Seismicity gradually increased in both frequency and magnitude beginning on 16 June. 47 VT earthquakes and 7,505 LP earthquakes were recorded, an amount that surpasses those registered in May; but smaller than those registered in March and April (figure 4).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. San Miguel's S crater wall exposes zones of altered and fractured rocks. A planar zone of structural weakness appears towards the right. Photo taken on 22 June 2006. Courtesy of SNET.

During July 2006, stability continued with respect to fumarole temperatures, crack openings, and gas emissions around the crater. However, the seismicity increased by ~ 70%. Small and sporadic landslides took place inside the crater off the SE to SW walls. Intense hydrothermal alteration in the NW wall was also observed. SNET did not report any lahars during July 2006; however intense rains have continued to remove volcanic material from the NW flanks. The fumarolic field gave off weak emissions.

In August 2006, the monitored parameters such as fumarole temperature, crack opening, and visual estimates of gas discharge maintained normal levels. The seismicity diminished significantly in relation to July.

During September 2006, San Miguel reached a low level of activity. There were no significant changes in the morphology of the volcano as reported in previous months. At the S wall, there were evidence of small rock slides.

A sudden increase in seismicity occurred on 9 October 2006. Contact was made with other observatories and it was determined there were no landslides or rock falls associated with the event. Seismic increases such as 9 October had previously occurred, particularly on 19 June 2003 and from 2-6 May 2004. The 9 October increases were attributed to gas emission from the crater.

References. Chesner, C. A., Pullinger, C., Escobar, C. D., 2003, Physical and chemical evolution of San Miguel Volcano, El Salvador. GSA Special Paper 375.

Escobar, C.D., 2003, San Miguel Volcano and its Volcanic Hazards; MS thesis, Michigan Technological University, December 2003. 163 p.

Major, J.J.; Schilling, S.P., Pullinger, C.R., Escobar, C.D., Chesner, C.A, and Howell, M.M., 2001, Lahar-Hazard Zonation for San Miguel Volcano, El Salvador: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-395. (Available on-line.)

Geologic Background. The symmetrical cone of San Miguel volcano, one of the most active in El Salvador, rises from near sea level to form one of the country's most prominent landmarks. The unvegetated summit rises above slopes draped with coffee plantations. A broad, deep crater complex that has been frequently modified by historical eruptions (recorded since the early 16th century) caps the truncated summit, also known locally as Chaparrastique. Radial fissures on the flanks of the basaltic-andesitic volcano have fed a series of historical lava flows, including several erupted during the 17th-19th centuries that reached beyond the base of the volcano on the N, NE, and SE sides. The SE-flank flows are the largest and form broad, sparsely vegetated lava fields crossed by highways and a railroad skirting the base of the volcano. The location of flank vents has migrated higher on the edifice during historical time, and the most recent activity has consisted of minor ash eruptions from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Carlos Pullinger, Seccion Vulcanologia, Servicio Geológico de El Salvador, c/o Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales, Alameda Roosevelt y 55 Avenida Norte, Edificio Torre El Salvador, Quinta Planta, San Salvador, El Salvador (URL: http://www.snet.gob.sv/Geologia/Vulcanologia/).


Saunders (United Kingdom) — October 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Saunders

United Kingdom

57.8°S, 26.483°W; summit elev. 843 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Clear IR satellite view on 28 October 2006 suggests lava inside the crater

Matt Patrick sent a new Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) image, collected 28 October 2006 over Saunders Island . In his opinion this is the best image collected to date owing to the lack of a plume obscuring the summit crater, which was a problem in all previous images. The improved image provides a clear view of the crater (figures 5 and 6).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. An ASTER image of Mt. Michael created using energy in the visible near-infrared wavelength ("VNIR"; bands 3-2-1, RGB), with the inset showing a closer view of the summit crater. There are two small near-IR anomalies (band 3, 0.807 microns wavelength) in the otherwise dark center of the crater, shown as red spots in the colored image. The two anomalies suggest very high temperatures and support the idea that fresh lava may reside at the surface or a shallow level in the crater. Courtesy of Matt Patrick.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. The ASTER Short Wave Infrared (SWIR; band 9, 2.4 microns) image with a conspicuous anomaly at the summit, with numerous saturated pixels. Courtesy of Matt Patrick.

Analyzing the VNIR, SWIR, and Thermal Infrared (TIR) (not shown in figures 5 or 6) images together shows that the outer crater is 500-600 m wide, with a 180m high-temperature crater interior. The latter shows up as an SWIR anomaly and may indicate the rough extent of active lava flow being ~ 180 m wide. Matt Patrick chose Villarrica volcano in Chile for comparison to Mt. Michael (figure 7) since it presents a potentially good analogue in terms of morphology and activity style. Maximum radiant heat flux values were similar (up to ~ 150 MW), suggesting that the maximum intensity of activity may be similar. Mt. Michael shows a much lower frequency of thermal alerts, which may be the result of more frequent cloud cover in the South Sandwich Islands or a greater depth to molten lava in the Mt. Michael crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. The real-time satellite thermal monitoring (MODVOLC) radiant heat flux values for Michael and Villarrica volcanoes during the period 2000-11 November 2006. Courtesy of Matt Patrick.

Table 1 shows a summary of thermal anomalies and possible eruptions from Moderate Resolution Imagine Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellites since November 2005. The last reported activity of Mount Michael was noted in the SI/USGS (Smithsonian Institution/U.S. Geological Survey) Weekly Volcanic Activity Report of 12-18 October 2005 (see BGVN 31:04). At that time the first MODVOLC alerts for the volcano since May 2003 indicated an increased level of activity in the island's summit crater and a presumed semi-permanent lava lake that appeared confined to the summit crater. Those alerts occurred on 3, 5, and 6 October 2005.

Table 1. Thermal anomalies measured by MODIS satellites for Mount Michael for the period 3 October 2005 to 1 November 2006. All of the anomalies appeared on the SW side of the volcano. Courtesy of Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts Team.

Date Time (UTC) Number of pixels Satellite
01 Nov 2006 0125 1 Terra
31 Oct 2006 1600 1 Aqua
21 Oct 2006 1120 1 Terra
20 Oct 2006 0250 2 Aqua
20 Oct 2006 0100 3 Terra
21 Jul 2006 0120 1 Terra
09 Jun 2006 0920 2 Aqua
21 Jan 2006 0100 1 Terra
20 Dec 2005 0100 1 Terra
06 Oct 2005 0115 1 Terra
05 Oct 2005 0220 1 Aqua
03 Oct 2005 0045 1 Terra

References. Lachlan-Cope, T., Smellie, J.L., and Ladkin, R., 2001, Discovery of a recurrent lava lake on Saunders island (South Sandwich Islands) using AVHRR imagery: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, vol. 112, no. 1-4, p. 105-116 (authors are members of the British Antarctic Survey).

LeMasurier, W.E., and Thomson, J.W. (eds), 1990, Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Oceans: American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., AGU Monograph, Antarctic Research Series, v. 48.

Geologic Background. Saunders Island is a volcanic structure consisting of a large central edifice intersected by two seamount chains, as shown by bathymetric mapping (Leat et al., 2013). The young constructional Mount Michael stratovolcano dominates the glacier-covered island, while two submarine plateaus, Harpers Bank and Saunders Bank, extend north. The symmetrical Michael has a 500-m-wide summit crater and a remnant of a somma rim to the SE. Tephra layers visible in ice cliffs surrounding the island are evidence of recent eruptions. Ash clouds were reported from the summit crater in 1819, and an effusive eruption was inferred to have occurred from a N-flank fissure around the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. A low ice-free lava platform, Blackstone Plain, is located on the north coast, surrounding a group of former sea stacks. A cluster of parasitic cones on the SE flank, the Ashen Hills, appear to have been modified since 1820 (LeMasurier and Thomson, 1990). Analysis of satellite imagery available since 1989 (Gray et al., 2019; MODVOLC) suggests frequent eruptive activity (when weatehr conditions allow), volcanic clouds, steam plumes, and thermal anomalies indicative of a persistent, or at least frequently active, lava lake in the summit crater. Due to this observational bias, there has been a presumption when defining eruptive periods that activity has been ongoing unless there is no evidence for at least 10 months.

Information Contacts: Matt Patrick, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI; 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/); John Smellie, British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingly Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.bas.ac.uk/); ASTER Science Project Teams, United States and Japan (URL: https://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/).


Ubinas (Peru) — October 2006 Citation iconCite this Report

Ubinas

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New reporting reveals ashfalls, large ballistic blocks, lahar hazards, and evacuations

Ubinas began erupting ash on 25 March 2006 (BGVN 31:03 and 31:05); ash eruptions and steam emissions continued through at least 31 October 2006. Eruptive benchmarks during that period included a lava dome in the crater on 19 April. Ashfall in late April forced the evacuation of Querapi residents, who resided ~ 4.5 km SE of the crater's active vent, to Anascapa (S of the summit). Ash columns rose to almost 8 km altitude during May.

This report discusses ongoing eruptions through 31 October 2006 as drawn from Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reports and especially from an enlightening 26-page report published in Péru during September 2006 by the Institutio Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico?INGEMMET (Salazar and others, 2006). It includes a detailed digital elevation map with hazard zones.

Background. Ubinas lies 90 km N of the city of Moquegua and 65 km E of the city of Arequipa (figure 4). The bulk of adjacent settlements reside to the SE, and generally at more distance, towards the E. Figure 5 shows a shaded region where airfall deposits took place during the span 1550-1969. The zone of deposits includes some modern settlements.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Map indicating the geographic setting of the Perúvian volcanic front (inset) and the area around Ubinas. From Salazar and others (2006).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. The boundary of identified Ubinas ashfall from the years 1550 to 1969 appears as a curve across the S portion of this map, 10-12 km from the summit crater. Note the SE-sector settlements (and their respective distances from the summit crater) for the district capital Ubinas (6.5 km), Tonohaya (7 km), San Miguel (10 km), and Santa Cruz de Anascapa (~ 11 km), and Huarina (15 km). Map taken from Rivera (1998).

The geologic map on figure 6 shows the area of the settlements SE of the summit includes large Holocene deposits, including those from debris avalanche(s) at ~ 3.7 ka, and units containing pyroclastic flows. The map also indicates deposits of volcaniclasics, glacial moraines, airfall-ash layers, and lava flows. Extensive Miocene deposits envelope both the NE flanks (Pampa de Para) and SW flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Geologic map of Ubinas shown here without the key, which is available in the original report. From Salazar and others (2006).

The map of hazard zones (figure 7) indicates a nested, tear-drop shaped set of zones, with comparatively lower inferred hazard to the NE and NW. The SE-trending, elongate area of hazards follows the key drainage in that direction. Elevated hazard zones also follow many of the roads passing through the region.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. The SE corner of the Ubinas hazard map, showing the central crater, and the hazard zones that follow the main drainage (Rio Ubinas) leading SE through the most populated region close to the volcano. Map key is omitted. Margins of the map note that its construction was a partnership of numerous groups, including French collaborators at Blaise Pascal University and IRD. Taken from Salazar and others (2006).

Eruptions during 2006. Salazar and others (2006) reported that the current eruptive crisis could be divided into three stages. During July 2005-27 March 2006, the eruption was primarily gas discharge rising 100-300 m above the crater. During 27 March-8 April the eruptions consisted of ash emissions and gas produced by phreatic activity (figure 8). After a moderate explosion on 19 April, Ubinas produced ash and gas, and explosions ejected volcanic bombs. Several views into the crater appear on figure 9.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Ubinas gas emissions as seen from unstated direction on 4 April 2006. From Salazar and others (2006).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Views looking down into the Ubinas crater on 31 March, 19 April, and 26 May 2006. The former was taken in comparatively mild conditions. The 19 April photo was taken when a 60-m-diameter lava body was first seen on the crater floor (the color version of this photo shows faint red incandescence penetrating the steamy scene). The 26 May captured a relatively clear view of the steaming dome on the crater floor. March and April photos from and Salazar and others (2006); May photo from the INGEMMET website.

On 7 May 2006 a moderate explosion sent ash to ~ 3 km above the summit. Although the situation calmed in the following days, an impressive bomb fell 200 m from the crater on 24 May 2006 (figure 10). Larger outbursts occurred on 29 May and 2 June, prompting the civil defense decision to evacuate residents in the S-flank Ubinas valley, including the settlements of Ubinas, Tonohaya, San Miguel, Huatahua, and Escacha. Residents evacuated were lodged in refugee camps (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Ubinas eruptions in May 2006 ejected volcanic bombs, seen here in their impact craters. A 2-m-diameter bomb (top), struck ~ 200 m from the crater. A crater containing a large, partly buried, smooth-faced bomb is seen in the bottom photo. Numerous bucket-sized angular blocks appear on the far side of the impact crater. Two geologists stand adjacent a ~ 2-m-long block that ended up on the impact crater's rim. The bomb fragments were of andesitic composition. Top photo from Salazar and others (2006); bottom photo from INGEMMET website.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Settlement camp housing families taking refuge from Ubinas ash. This camp, named Chacchagen, housed people from the S-flank settlements of Ubinas, Tonohaya, San Miguel, Huatahua, and Escacha. Inset shows the ash-dusted face of a local child. Courtesy of Salazar and others (2006).

On 18 June instruments recorded two explosions. Ash clouds discharged; the second one also ejected incandescent blocks ~ 1 km SE of the crater. The early stages of a rising plume seen at 0822 on 18 July appears on figure 12. Similar magnitude ash emissions were noted on 23, 24, and 30 June 2006, and incandescent rocks fell up to 1.2 km from the summit crater. During 10, 17-19, 22, 27 July, and 7 August 2006 there were various explosions (figure 12). Resulting ash clouds extended more than 70 km SE or SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. A moderate Ubinas explosion on 18 July 2006 generated this rising ash plume. Courtesy of Salazar and others (2006).

In August 2006, ash plumes reached 4.6-7.6 km altitude and were occasionally visible on satellite imagery. The direction of drift of the ash varied widely. On 12 August, ash dispersed more than 100 km to the SE and S. On 14 August an astronaut on the International Space Station took a picture of the ash plume from Ubinas (figure 13).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. This image taken from the International Space Station (ISS) captures Ubinas discharging a light-colored ash cloud roughly to the S (N is up on this photo). The cloud had been observed earlier on satellite imagery at 0600 local (1100 UTC) on 14 August 2006. One-hour and 45-minutes later (at 1245 UTC), an ISS astronaut took this picture at non-vertical (oblique) angle to the Earth. Pumice and ash blanket the volcanic cone and surrounding area, giving this image an overall gray appearance. Shadows on the N flank throw several older lava flows into sharp relief. (Photograph ISS013-E-66488 acquired with a Kodak 760C digital camera using an 800 mm lens). Photo provided by the ISS Crew.

The most significant effect on people and the environment has come from ashfall (figure 14). GOES satellite images indicate visible airborne ash for distances greater than 60 km from the vent. Figure 14 indicates net ash accumulation through about August 2006, extrapolating sampling points with concentric circles. The report specifically noted ash thicknesses of 1.5 cm at ~ 4.5 km SE in Querapi, 0.1-0.8 cm in Sacoaya, 0.5-0.8 cm in Ubinas, 0.3-0.4 cm in Anascapa, 0.15 mm in Huatahua, and less than 0.1 cm in Chacchagén. The accumulation has apparently been due to ongoing ashfalls On 13 April, several millimeters of ash dusted all surfaces in Querapi, ~ 4.5 km from the center of the summit crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Net ash accumulation around Ubinas from start of eruption in March through about August 2006. Ash has covered agricultural fields in the valley and pastures in the highlands, seriously affecting the two main economic activities in the area, agriculture and cattle ranching; and has caused respiratory and skin problems. Courtesy of Salazar and others (2006).

Aviation reports of ash plumes. As summarized in table 2, ash clouds were reported by the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) on 2 May and then during 2 August through October on a nearly daily basis. The observation sources were usually pilot's reports (AIREPs) and/or satellite images (GOES 12). After 8 August, ash emissions were essentially continuous to 31 October. During the later interval, the aviation color code was generally Red. Plumes rose to 10 km and higher during 23-26 October.

Table 2.Compilation of aviation reports (specifically, 195 Volcanic Ash Advisories, VAAs) on Ubinas and its plumes during May through 31 October. The second column shows some contractions used in the table (eg., "VA CLD FL 160" means "Volcanic ash cloud at Flight Level 160"). Flight Level is an aviation term for altitude in feet divided by 100 (eg., FL 200 = 20,000 feet = ~ 7 km altitude). Courtesy of the Buenos Aires VAAC.

Observation date (2006) Eruption details: VA (Volcanic Ash), CLD (Cloud), OBS (Observed), FL (Flight Level)
02 May VA CLD FL180/200 MOV SE
02 Aug VA CLD DENSE ASH CLD FL160/230 MOV NE. ASH POORLY DEFINED VISIBLE GOES-12 SATELLITE IMAGE
03 Aug-04 Aug VA CLD FL220/240 MOV SW
05 Aug VA CLD OBS FL370 MOV NE
06 Aug-07 Aug VA CLD OBS. ACTIVITY REPORTED CONTINUOUS AND INCREASING EMISSION FL160/260 SNTR OVER PEAK SPREAD FROM THE SUMMIT IN ALL DIRECTIONS UP TO A DISTANCE OF 20 KM
07 Aug-08 Aug VA CLD OBS FL200 MOV E/NE
10 Aug-14 Aug VA CLD OBS FL180/245 MOV SE. ASH OBS IN SATELLITE IMAGE
17 Aug-18 Aug VA CLD FL 160-200 MOV SE/ESE APROX. 60NM
19 Aug VA CLD FL180/250 MOV SW
20 Aug-21 Aug VA CLD FL180/230 MOV ESE/SE APROX. 20NM
22 Aug VA CLD OBS FL180/300 STNR ~ MOV SE
25 Aug-26 Aug VA CLD OBS FL230/235 MOV S. ASH NOT IDENTIFIABLE ON SATELLITE IMAGERY
28 Aug-30 Aug VA CLD OBS FL160/250 MOV SE. SATELLITE IMAGERY REVEALED A LIGHT TRACE OF ASH EXTENDING TO SE OF THE SUMMIT
31 Aug VA CLD OBS FL 160/250 APROX MOV NE~E
01 Sep-23 Sep VA CLD OBS FL 160/250 MOV NE~E
24 Sep VA CLD FL300 MOV SSE
27 Sep VA CLD OBS FL180/230 and up to FL280
01 Oct-11 Oct VA CLD OBS FL160/180 MOV E~ S
12 Oct-14 Oct Emissions intermittent. VA CLD OBS FL160/220 MOV SE~NE~N
15 Oct-21 Oct VA CLD FL160~ 240 MOV S~ SE
23 Oct-26 Oct VA CLD FL180/350 (Unusually high altitude) MOV N~E~W
26 Oct-29 Oct VA CLD FL180/240 MOV N~NW swing to S
30 Oct-31 Oct VA CLD FL 280/300 MOV SW

References. Rivera, M., 1998, El volcán Ubinas (sur del Perú): geología, historia eruptiva y evaluación de las amenazas volcánicas actuales: Tesis Geólogo, UNMSM, 132 p.

Rivera, M., Thouret, J.C., Gourgaud, A., 1998, Ubinas, el volcán mas activo del sur del Perú desde 1550: Geología y evaluación de las amenazas volcánicas. Boletin de la Sociedad Geológica del Perú, v. 88, p. 53-71.

Salazar, J.M., Porras, M.R., Lourdes, C.D., and Pauccara, V.C., 2006, Evaluación de seguridad físca de áreas aledañas al volcán Ubinas: INGEMMET (Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico Dirección de Geología Ambiental, September 2006), 26 p.

Thouret, J.C., Rivera, M., Worner, G., Gerbe, M.C., Finizola, A., Fornari, M., and Gonzales, K., 2005, Ubinas: the evolution of the historically most active volcano in southern Perú: Bull. Volc., v. 67, p. 557-589.

Geologic Background. A small, 1.4-km-wide caldera cuts the top of Ubinas, Perú'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. 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 3,700 years ago extend 10 km from the volcano. Widespread Plinian pumice-fall deposits include one of Holocene age about 1,000 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: Jersy Mariño Salazar, Marco Rivera Porras, Lourdes Cacya Dueñas, Vicentina Cruz Pauccara, Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico (INGEMMET), Av. Canadá No 1470, Lima, Perú (URL: http://www.ingemmet.gob.pe/); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/productos.php); ISS Crew, Earth Observations Experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Group, NASA Johnson Space Center, 2101 NASA Parkway Houston, TX 77058, USA (URL: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/home/); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/).

Atmospheric Effects

The enormous aerosol cloud from the March-April 1982 eruption of Mexico's El Chichón persisted for years in the stratosphere, and led to the Atmospheric Effects section becoming a regular feature of the Bulletin. Descriptions of the initial dispersal of major eruption clouds remain with the individual eruption reports, but observations of long-term stratospheric aerosol loading will be found in this section.

Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989)  Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001)

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

Reports are sometimes published that are not related to a Holocene volcano. These might include observations of a Pleistocene volcano, earthquake swarms, or floating pumice. Reports are also sometimes published in which the source of the activity is unknown or the report is determined to be false. All of these types of additional reports are listed below by subregion and subject.

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

08/1997 (BGVN 22:08) False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

False report of volcanism intended to exclude would-be gold miners

12/1997 (BGVN 22:12) False Report of Somalia Eruption

Press reports of Somalia's first historical eruption were likely in error

11/1999 (BGVN 24:11) False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

05/2003 (BGVN 28:05) Har-Togoo

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

False report of activity; confusion caused by burning dung in a lava tube



False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption (Philippines) — August 1997

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

7.975°N, 123.23°E; summit elev. 1510 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


False report of volcanism intended to exclude would-be gold miners

In discussing the week ending on 12 September, "Earthweek" (Newman, 1997) incorrectly claimed that a volcano named "Mount Pinukis" had erupted. Widely read in the US, the dramatic Earthweek report described terrified farmers and a black mushroom cloud that resembled a nuclear explosion. The mountain's location was given as "200 km E of Zamboanga City," a spot well into the sea. The purported eruption had received mention in a Manila Bulletin newspaper report nine days earlier, on 4 September. Their comparatively understated report said that a local police director had disclosed that residents had seen a dormant volcano showing signs of activity.

In response to these news reports Emmanuel Ramos of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) sent a reply on 17 September. PHIVOLCS staff had initially heard that there were some 12 alleged families who fled the mountain and sought shelter in the lowlands. A PHIVOLCS investigation team later found that the reported "families" were actually individuals seeking respite from some politically motivated harassment. The story seems to have stemmed from a local gold rush and an influential politician who wanted to use volcanism as a ploy to exclude residents. PHIVOLCS concluded that no volcanic activity had occurred. They also added that this finding disappointed local politicians but was much welcomed by the residents.

PHIVOLCS spelled the mountain's name as "Pinokis" and from their report it seems that it might be an inactive volcano. There is no known Holocene volcano with a similar name (Simkin and Siebert, 1994). No similar names (Pinokis, Pinukis, Pinakis, etc.) were found listed in the National Imagery and Mapping Agency GEOnet Names Server (http://geonames.nga.mil/gns/html/index.html), a searchable database of 3.3 million non-US geographic-feature names.

The Manila Bulletin report suggested that Pinokis resides on the Zamboanga Peninsula. The Peninsula lies on Mindanao Island's extreme W side where it bounds the Moro Gulf, an arm of the Celebes Sea. The mountainous Peninsula trends NNE-SSW and contains peaks with summit elevations near 1,300 m. Zamboanga City sits at the extreme end of the Peninsula and operates both a major seaport and an international airport.

[Later investigation found that Mt. Pinokis is located in the Lison Valley on the Zamboanga Peninsula, about 170 km NE of Zamboanga City and 30 km NW of Pagadian City. It is adjacent to the two peaks of the Susong Dalaga (Maiden's Breast) and near Mt. Sugarloaf.]

References. Newman, S., 1997, Earthweek, a diary of the planet (week ending 12 September): syndicated newspaper column (URL: http://www.earthweek.com/).

Manila Bulletin, 4 Sept. 1997, Dante's Peak (URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/).

Simkin, T., and Siebert, L., 1994, Volcanoes of the world, 2nd edition: Geoscience Press in association with the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, Tucson AZ, 368 p.

Information Contacts: Emmanuel G. Ramos, Deputy Director, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Department of Science and Technology, PHIVOLCS Building, C. P. Garcia Ave., University of the Philippines, Diliman campus, Quezon City, Philippines.


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Press reports of Somalia's first historical eruption were likely in error

Xinhua News Agency filed a news report on 27 February under the headline "Volcano erupts in Somalia" but the veracity of the story now appears doubtful. The report disclosed the volcano's location as on the W side of the Gedo region, an area along the Ethiopian border just NE of Kenya. The report had relied on the commissioner of the town of Bohol Garas (a settlement described as 40 km NE of the main Al-Itihad headquarters of Luq town) and some or all of the information was relayed by journalists through VHF radio. The report claimed the disaster "wounded six herdsmen" and "claimed the lives of 290 goats grazing near the mountain when the incident took place." Further descriptions included such statements as "the volcano which erupted two days ago [25 February] has melted down the rocks and sand and spread . . . ."

Giday WoldeGabriel returned from three weeks of geological fieldwork in SW Ethiopia, near the Kenyan border, on 25 August. During his time there he inquired of many people, including geologists, if they had heard of a Somalian eruption in the Gedo area; no one had heard of the event. WoldeGabriel stated that he felt the news report could have described an old mine or bomb exploding. Heavy fighting took place in the Gedo region during the Ethio-Somalian war of 1977. Somalia lacks an embassy in Washington DC; when asked during late August, Ayalaw Yiman, an Ethiopian embassy staff member in Washington DC also lacked any knowledge of a Somalian eruption.

A Somalian eruption would be significant since the closest known Holocene volcanoes occur in the central Ethiopian segment of the East African rift system S of Addis Ababa, ~500 km NW of the Gedo area. These Ethiopian rift volcanoes include volcanic fields, shield volcanoes, cinder cones, and stratovolcanoes.

Information Contacts: Xinhua News Agency, 5 Sharp Street West, Wanchai, Hong Kong; Giday WoldeGabriel, EES-1/MS D462, Geology-Geochemistry Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545; Ayalaw Yiman, Ethiopian Embassy, 2134 Kalorama Rd. NW, Washington DC 20008.


False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption (Turkey) — November 1999

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

Following the Ms 7.8 earthquake in Turkey on 17 August (BGVN 24:08) an Email message originating in Turkey was circulated, claiming that volcanic activity was observed coincident with the earthquake and suggesting a new (magmatic) volcano in the Sea of Marmara. For reasons outlined below, and in the absence of further evidence, editors of the Bulletin consider this a false report.

The report stated that fishermen near the village of Cinarcik, at the E end of the Sea of Marmara "saw the sea turned red with fireballs" shortly after the onset of the earthquake. They later found dead fish that appeared "fried." Their nets were "burned" while under water and contained samples of rocks alleged to look "magmatic."

No samples of the fish were preserved. A tectonic scientist in Istanbul speculated that hot water released by the earthquake from the many hot springs along the coast in that area may have killed some fish (although they would be boiled rather than fried).

The phenomenon called earthquake lights could explain the "fireballs" reportedly seen by the fishermen. Such effects have been reasonably established associated with large earthquakes, although their origin remains poorly understood. In addition to deformation-triggered piezoelectric effects, earthquake lights have sometimes been explained as due to the release of methane gas in areas of mass wasting (even under water). Omlin and others (1999), for example, found gas hydrate and methane releases associated with mud volcanoes in coastal submarine environments.

The astronomer and author Thomas Gold (Gold, 1998) has a website (Gold, 2000) where he presents a series of alleged quotes from witnesses of earthquakes. We include three such quotes here (along with Gold's dates, attributions, and other comments):

(A) Lima, 30 March 1828. "Water in the bay 'hissed as if hot iron was immersed in it,' bubbles and dead fish rose to the surface, and the anchor chain of HMS Volage was partially fused while lying in the mud on the bottom." (Attributed to Bagnold, 1829; the anchor chain is reported to be on display in the London Navy Museum.)

(B) Romania, 10 November 1940. ". . . a thick layer like a translucid gas above the surface of the soil . . . irregular gas fires . . . flames in rhythm with the movements of the soil . . . flashes like lightning from the floor to the summit of Mt Tampa . . . flames issuing from rocks, which crumbled, with flashes also issuing from non-wooded mountainsides." (Phrases used in eyewitness accounts collected by Demetrescu and Petrescu, 1941).

(C) Sungpan-Pingwu (China), 16, 22, and 23 August 1976. "From March of 1976, various large anomalies were observed over a broad region. . . . At the Wanchia commune of Chungching County, outbursts of natural gas from rock fissures ignited and were difficult to extinguish even by dumping dirt over the fissures. . . . Chu Chieh Cho, of the Provincial Seismological Bureau, related personally seeing a fireball 75 km from the epicenter on the night of 21 July while in the company of three professional seismologists."

Yalciner and others (1999) made a study of coastal areas along the Sea of Marmara after the Izmet earthquake. They found evidence for one or more tsunamis with maximum runups of 2.0-2.5 m. Preliminary modeling of the earthquake's response failed to reproduce the observed runups; the areas of maximum runup instead appeared to correspond most closely with several local mass-failure events. This observation together with the magnitude of the earthquake, and bottom soundings from marine geophysical teams, suggested mass wasting may have been fairly common on the floor of the Sea of Marmara.

Despite a wide range of poorly understood, dramatic processes associated with earthquakes (Izmet 1999 apparently included), there remains little evidence for volcanism around the time of the earthquake. The nearest Holocene volcano lies ~200 km SW of the report location. Neither Turkish geologists nor scientists from other countries in Turkey to study the 17 August earthquake reported any volcanism. The report said the fisherman found "magmatic" rocks; it is unlikely they would be familiar with this term.

The motivation and credibility of the report's originator, Erol Erkmen, are unknown. Certainly, the difficulty in translating from Turkish to English may have caused some problems in understanding. Erkmen is associated with a website devoted to reporting UFO activity in Turkey. Photographs of a "magmatic rock" sample were sent to the Bulletin, but they only showed dark rocks photographed devoid of a scale on a featureless background. The rocks shown did not appear to be vesicular or glassy. What was most significant to Bulletin editors was the report author's progressive reluctance to provide samples or encourage follow-up investigation with local scientists. Without the collaboration of trained scientists on the scene this report cannot be validated.

References. Omlin, A, Damm, E., Mienert, J., and Lukas, D., 1999, In-situ detection of methane releases adjacent to gas hydrate fields on the Norwegian margin: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Yalciner, A.C., Borrero, J., Kukano, U., Watts, P., Synolakis, C. E., and Imamura, F., 1999, Field survey of 1999 Izmit tsunami and modeling effort of new tsunami generation mechanism: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Gold, T., 1998, The deep hot biosphere: Springer Verlag, 256 p., ISBN: 0387985468.

Gold, T., 2000, Eye-witness accounts of several major earthquakes (URL: http://www.people.cornell.edu/ pages/tg21/eyewit.html).

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

48.831°N, 101.626°E; summit elev. 1675 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

In December 2002 information appeared in Mongolian and Russian newspapers and on national TV that a volcano in Central Mongolia, the Har-Togoo volcano, was producing white vapors and constant acoustic noise. Because of the potential hazard posed to two nearby settlements, mainly with regard to potential blocking of rivers, the Director of the Research Center of Astronomy and Geophysics of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Bekhtur, organized a scientific expedition to the volcano on 19-20 March 2003. The scientific team also included M. Ulziibat, seismologist from the same Research Center, M. Ganzorig, the Director of the Institute of Informatics, and A. Ivanov from the Institute of the Earth's Crust, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Geological setting. The Miocene Har-Togoo shield volcano is situated on top of a vast volcanic plateau (figure 1). The 5,000-year-old Khorog (Horog) cone in the Taryatu-Chulutu volcanic field is located 135 km SW and the Quaternary Urun-Dush cone in the Khanuy Gol (Hanuy Gol) volcanic field is 95 km ENE. Pliocene and Quaternary volcanic rocks are also abundant in the vicinity of the Holocene volcanoes (Devyatkin and Smelov, 1979; Logatchev and others, 1982). Analysis of seismic activity recorded by a network of seismic stations across Mongolia shows that earthquakes of magnitude 2-3.5 are scattered around the Har-Togoo volcano at a distance of 10-15 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Photograph of the Har-Togoo volcano viewed from west, March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

Observations during March 2003. The name of the volcano in the Mongolian language means "black-pot" and through questioning of the local inhabitants, it was learned that there is a local myth that a dragon lived in the volcano. The local inhabitants also mentioned that marmots, previously abundant in the area, began to migrate westwards five years ago; they are now practically absent from the area.

Acoustic noise and venting of colorless warm gas from a small hole near the summit were noticed in October 2002 by local residents. In December 2002, while snow lay on the ground, the hole was clearly visible to local visitors, and a second hole could be seen a few meters away; it is unclear whether or not white vapors were noticed on this occasion. During the inspection in March 2003 a third hole was seen. The second hole is located within a 3 x 3 m outcrop of cinder and pumice (figure 2) whereas the first and the third holes are located within massive basalts. When close to the holes, constant noise resembled a rapid river heard from afar. The second hole was covered with plastic sheeting fixed at the margins, but the plastic was blown off within 2-3 seconds. Gas from the second hole was sampled in a mechanically pumped glass sampler. Analysis by gas chromatography, performed a week later at the Institute of the Earth's Crust, showed that nitrogen and atmospheric air were the major constituents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Photograph of the second hole sampled at Har-Togoo, with hammer for scale, March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

The temperature of the gas at the first, second, and third holes was +1.1, +1.4, and +2.7°C, respectively, while air temperature was -4.6 to -4.7°C (measured on 19 March 2003). Repeated measurements of the temperatures on the next day gave values of +1.1, +0.8, and -6.0°C at the first, second, and third holes, respectively. Air temperature was -9.4°C. To avoid bias due to direct heating from sunlight the measurements were performed under shadow. All measurements were done with Chechtemp2 digital thermometer with precision of ± 0.1°C and accuracy ± 0.3°C.

Inside the mouth of the first hole was 4-10-cm-thick ice with suspended gas bubbles (figure 5). The ice and snow were sampled in plastic bottles, melted, and tested for pH and Eh with digital meters. The pH-meter was calibrated by Horiba Ltd (Kyoto, Japan) standard solutions 4 and 7. Water from melted ice appeared to be slightly acidic (pH 6.52) in comparison to water of melted snow (pH 7.04). Both pH values were within neutral solution values. No prominent difference in Eh (108 and 117 for ice and snow, respectively) was revealed.

Two digital short-period three-component stations were installed on top of Har-Togoo, one 50 m from the degassing holes and one in a remote area on basement rocks, for monitoring during 19-20 March 2003. Every hour 1-3 microseismic events with magnitude <2 were recorded. All seismic events were virtually identical and resembled A-type volcano-tectonic earthquakes (figure 6). Arrival difference between S and P waves were around 0.06-0.3 seconds for the Har-Togoo station and 0.1-1.5 seconds for the remote station. Assuming that the Har-Togoo station was located in the epicentral zone, the events were located at ~1-3 km depth. Seismic episodes similar to volcanic tremors were also recorded (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Examples of an A-type volcano-tectonic earthquake and volcanic tremor episodes recorded at the Har-Togoo station on 19 March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

Conclusions. The abnormal thermal and seismic activities could be the result of either hydrothermal or volcanic processes. This activity could have started in the fall of 2002 when they were directly observed for the first time, or possibly up to five years earlier when marmots started migrating from the area. Further studies are planned to investigate the cause of the fumarolic and seismic activities.

At the end of a second visit in early July, gas venting had stopped, but seismicity was continuing. In August there will be a workshop on Russian-Mongolian cooperation between Institutions of the Russian and Mongolian Academies of Sciences (held in Ulan-Bator, Mongolia), where the work being done on this volcano will be presented.

References. Devyatkin, E.V. and Smelov, S.B., 1979, Position of basalts in sequence of Cenozoic sediments of Mongolia: Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences, geological series, no. 1, p. 16-29. (In Russian).

Logatchev, N.A., Devyatkin, E.V., Malaeva, E.M., and others, 1982, Cenozoic deposits of Taryat basin and Chulutu river valley (Central Hangai): Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences, geological series, no. 8, p. 76-86. (In Russian).

Geologic Background. The Miocene Har-Togoo shield volcano, also known as Togoo Tologoy, is situated on top of a vast volcanic plateau. The 5,000-year-old Khorog (Horog) cone in the Taryatu-Chulutu volcanic field is located 135 km SW and the Quaternary Urun-Dush cone in the Khanuy Gol (Hanuy Gol) volcanic field is 95 km ENE. Analysis of seismic activity recorded by a network of seismic stations across Mongolia shows that earthquakes of magnitude 2-3.5 are scattered around the Har-Togoo volcano at a distance of 10-15 km.

Information Contacts: Alexei V. Ivanov, Institute of the Earth Crust SB, Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk, Russia; Bekhtur andM. Ulziibat, Research Center of Astronomy and Geophysics, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia; M. Ganzorig, Institute of Informatics MAS, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia.


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

1.136°N, 34.559°E; summit elev. 3885 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


False report of activity; confusion caused by burning dung in a lava tube

An eruption at Mount Elgon was mistakenly inferred when fumes escaped from this otherwise quiet volcano. The fumes were eventually traced to dung burning in a lava-tube cave. The cave is home to, or visited by, wildlife ranging from bats to elephants. Mt. Elgon (Ol Doinyo Ilgoon) is a stratovolcano on the SW margin of a 13 x 16 km caldera that straddles the Uganda-Kenya border 140 km NE of the N shore of Lake Victoria. No eruptions are known in the historical record or in the Holocene.

On 7 September 2004 the web site of the Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation reported that villagers sighted and smelled noxious fumes from a cave on the flank of Mt. Elgon during August 2005. The villagers' concerns were taken quite seriously by both nations, to the extent that evacuation of nearby villages was considered.

The Daily Nation article added that shortly after the villagers' reports, Moses Masibo, Kenya's Western Province geology officer visited the cave, confirmed the villagers observations, and added that the temperature in the cave was 170°C. He recommended that nearby villagers move to safer locations. Masibo and Silas Simiyu of KenGens geothermal department collected ashes from the cave for testing.

Gerald Ernst reported on 19 September 2004 that he spoke with two local geologists involved with the Elgon crisis from the Geology Department of the University of Nairobi (Jiromo campus): Professor Nyambok and Zacharia Kuria (the former is a senior scientist who was unable to go in the field; the latter is a junior scientist who visited the site). According to Ernst their interpretation is that somebody set fire to bat guano in one of the caves. The fire was intense and probably explains the vigorous fuming, high temperatures, and suffocated animals. The event was also accompanied by emissions of gases with an ammonia odor. Ernst noted that this was not surprising considering the high nitrogen content of guano—ammonia is highly toxic and can also explain the animal deaths. The intense fumes initially caused substantial panic in the area.

It was Ernst's understanding that the authorities ordered evacuations while awaiting a report from local scientists, but that people returned before the report reached the authorities. The fire presumably prompted the response of local authorities who then urged the University geologists to analyze the situation. By the time geologists arrived, the fuming had ceased, or nearly so. The residue left by the fire and other observations led them to conclude that nothing remotely related to a volcanic eruption had occurred.

However, the incident emphasized the problem due to lack of a seismic station to monitor tectonic activity related to a local triple junction associated with the rift valley or volcanic seismicity. In response, one seismic station was moved from S Kenya to the area of Mt. Elgon so that local seismicity can be monitored in the future.

Information Contacts: Gerald Ernst, Univ. of Ghent, Krijgslaan 281/S8, B-9000, Belgium; Chris Newhall, USGS, Univ. of Washington, Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences, Box 351310, Seattle, WA 98195-1310, USA; The Daily Nation (URL: http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/); Uganda Tourist Board (URL: http://www.visituganda.com/).