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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Pacaya (Guatemala) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows and Strombolian explosions continued during February-July 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Daniel Sturgess, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ, United Kingdom (URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/earthsciences/); Paul Wallace, Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, 4 Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GP, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/environmental-sciences/staff/paul-wallace/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Colima (Mexico) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Masaya (Nicaragua) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake activity declined during March-July 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional weak phreatic explosions during March-July 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Aira (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Agung (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); The Jakarta Post, Mount Agung eruption disrupts Australian flights, (URL: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/05/25/mount-agung-eruption-disrupts-australian-flights.html); PunapiBali (URL: http://punapibali.com/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/punapibali, image at https://twitter.com/punapibali/status/1098869352588288000/photo/1); Jamie S. Sincioco, Phillipines (URL: Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco. Image at https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco/status/1113765842557104130/photo/1); Pantau.com (URL: https://www.pantau.com/berita/erupsi-gunung-agung-sebagian-wilayah-bali-terpapar-hujan-abu?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter); Volcanoverse (URL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi3T_esus8Sr9I-3W5teVQQ); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN ).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent explosions with ash plumes, February-May 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Nuansa Jambi, Informasi Utama Jambi: (URL: https://nuansajambi.com/2019/03/20/gunung-kerinci-semburkan-asap-tebal/); Kerinci Time (URL: https://kerincitime.co.id/gunung-kerinci-semburkan-abu-vulkanik.html); Uzone.id (URL: https://news.uzone.id/gunung-kerinci-erupsi-5-desa-tertutup-abu-tebal).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash plumes continued during January through June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Great Sitkin

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small steam explosions in early June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ibu (Indonesia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ebeko (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 32, Number 11 (November 2007)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Bezymianny (Russia)

Continued activity May-December 2007 with ash plumes and lava emission

Fuego (Guatemala)

Variable explosive activity continues sporadically, July 2005-December 2006

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Seismicity and degassing remain low, January 2004-September 2007

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

New lava linked to Plinian eruptions of August-September 2007

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Additional data on hydrothermal eruption's distribution and damage

Soputan (Indonesia)

Ash plumes and seismic activity continue through November 2007

Suwanosejima (Japan)

Eruptions of July 2005-December 2007 send plumes to varying heights



Bezymianny (Russia) — November 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued activity May-December 2007 with ash plumes and lava emission

As reported in BGVN 31:11, after a period of moderate volcanic activity following the extensive eruption of 9 May 2006, heightened activity occurred at Bezymianny during December 2006 before returning to moderate activity through early 2007. This report covers the period from May through December 2007. It was drawn mainly from reports of the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT).

Based on satellite data from 10 May 2007, KVERT reported that a large thermal anomaly with a temperature of ~ 51°C appeared over Bezymianny's summit lava dome.

At about 0330-0400 on 12 May, an explosive eruption may have occurred, according to seismic data from Kozyrevsk. Ash plumes rose to an altitude of 4 km and were visible on satellite imagery drifting in multiple directions. Ashfall was reported in the town of Klyuchi, a spot ~ 47 km NE of the volcano. On 13 May, an elongated thermal anomaly was seen on satellite imagery to the SE of the dome, which decreased in size through 17 May. That day, hunters saw a large (200 m wide) mudflow along the Sukhaya Khapitsa river.

KVERT reported that Bezymianny seismicity was at background during May-September 2007, but increased in early October. Satellite imagery observations showed a thermal anomaly in the crater on 4, 6, 8, and 11 October; fumarolic activity was observed during 6-7 and 10-11 October. Based on seismic interpretation, a hot avalanche probably occurred on 10 October and small eruptions also occurred on 14 October.

The Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported ash plumes to altitudes of ~ 10 km on 14 October. Those of 15 October reached 7.3-9.1 km altitude and drifted E and SE. A strong thermal anomaly was present in the crater around this time. Slightly elevated seismicity occurred during 16-19 October before returning to background during19-20 October. Based on observations of NOAA satellite images by the Tokyo VAAC, a stripe of ash deposits appeared on the ESE flank by 18 October.

Based on seismicity, KVERT interpreted that a series of explosions or collapses from lava flow fronts occurred on 5 November 2007. Two avalanches and an ash plume were also detected. Satellite imagery revealed a thermal anomaly over the lava dome. According to Aleksei Ozerov, the 5 November activity was caused by dome collapse. This demolished a significant section of the SE dome, involving a total volume of almost 200,000 m3. The collapse produced a debris avalanche that traveled almost 3 km downslope.

According to a TERRA MODIS image on 9 November, a very bright (probably high temperature) gas-steam plume rose to about 35 km altitude. [This unusually tall plume height has not been confirmed.] On 10 November, KVERT reported continued growth of a viscous lava flow from the summit dome.

During an overflight around this time observers saw a 4-km-long deposit on the SE flank laid down by pyroclastic flows on 5 November. Lava flow-front collapses from older lava flows on the SE flank were also evident. Visual observations and video footage analysis indicated that gas-and-steam plumes drifted NE on 9 November and S on 13 November. Based on observations of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that an ash plume at an altitude of ~6.4 km drifted E on 15 November. Visual observations and video footage showed gas-and-steam plumes on 17 and 18 November.

Seismicity was above background during 19-20 November. A thermal anomaly occurred at the crater during 16-17 and 21 November. An ash plume reached 4.3 km altitude on 2 December. Seismicity was at background through the rest of December, except during 21-25 December, when it again rose. Ash plumes up to 4.5 km altitude and avalanches were registered on 23 December.

A paroxysmal explosive eruption occurred between 0917 and 1020 UTC on 24 December 2007 and a large column rose to ~ 13.0 km altitude. According to satellite data, ash clouds extended from the volcano over 850 km to the NE on 24-25 December. According to KVERT volcanologists, who circled the volcano by helicopter with cameras, this eruption destroyed a part of lava dome.

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

Information Contacts: Olga Girina, Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), a cooperative program of the Institute of Volcanic Geology and Geochemistry, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/), the Kamchatka Experimental and Methodical Seismological Department (KEMSD), GS RAS (Russia), and the Alaska Volcano Observatory (USA); Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA; Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Hot Spots System, University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Vladivostok Times (URL: http://www.vladivostoktimes.ru/).


Fuego (Guatemala) — November 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Variable explosive activity continues sporadically, July 2005-December 2006

Fuego was previously discussed in BGVN 30:08. This report discusses ongoing developments at Fuego since July 2005 and through December 2006. In general, the volcano erupts vesicular, olivine-bearing basaltic lava flows. They traveled from the central crater hundreds of meters down the S, SW and W flanks, and the lava flow fronts released occasional blocky avalanches of incandescent material. The latter process is generally omitted from the rest of this report unless the avalanche(s) were particularly noteworthy, as in cases where pyroclastic flows were also noted.

On 17 July 2005, an ash plume ~ 3.5-4 km high accompanied small pyroclastic flows down Santa Teresa and Taniluyá ravines. This activity continued sporadically through October 2005.

From 2-7 November 2005, weak explosions and low ash plumes occurred along with lava flows that traveled down the volcano's S and SW flanks, extending 600 m towards the Taniluyá ravine, and 300 m towards the Cenizas ravine. On 14 November, two lava flows traveled from the S edge of the central crater 150 m toward the Cenizas ravine, and 400 m toward the Taniluyá ravine. A third lava flow traveled 600 m W towards the Santa Teresa ravine. Between 17 and 21 November, lava flows traveled S towards the Cenizas and Taniluyá ravines and W towards Santa Teresa ravine.

On 13 December 2005, two lava flows from Fuego extended 200-300 m W and SW of the central crater. On 27 December 2005 an ash plume rising ~ 7.6 km altitude extended SSW and SSE of the volcano; lava flows traveled ~ 2 km S down Taniluyá ravine, and W down Seca ravine, initially extending ~ 800 m and 1,200 m, respectively.

At 0602 on 27 December, a pyroclastic flow descended S. Ash fell S of the volcano in the port of San Jose. Later that day, lava flows extended 1.2 and 1.3 km, and pyroclastic flows descended 1.8 and 2 km down the Taniluyá and Seca ravines, respectively. Lava flows also traveled W toward Santa Teresa ravine, and SE towards the Jute and Lajas ravines. An ash plume rose ~ 7.6 km, and a small amount of ash fell W and SW of the volcano in the villages of Morelia, Santa Sofía, Los Tarros, and Panimaché (~ 7 km SSW). This activity continued through 29 December with more lava flows and bombs. The emissions hurled incandescent lava clots ~ 75 m high, spawned lava flows, and generated a dark plume rising to ~ 1 km above the crater rim.

January 2006 activity was essentially a continuation of December's with moderate-to-strong explosions and incandescent lava ejecta hurled ~ 40 m high. Explosions could be heard 25-30 km away. The explosions were accompanied by rumbling sounds and acoustic waves that shook windows and doors in villages near the volcano. Ash plumes rose ~ 1 km to ~ 1.5 km. On 22-23 January, there were Strombolian lava ejections rising ~ 100 m above the crater rim accompanied by block avalanches down the SW flank.

During February and March 2006, explosions moderated but activity continued. Weak-to-moderate explosions occurred; shock waves were sometimes felt in villages near the volcano. On 6-7 March, ash emissions up to ~ 4.6 km altitude were visible on satellite imagery.

From 22 through 28 March, Fuego ejected incandescent material up to ~ 50-75 m and gas plumes to ~ 300 m above the crater rim. Short pyroclastic flows from avalanches occurred on the upper flanks. On 28 March, pyroclastic flows traveled ~ 450 m S, and avalanches occurred from the lava-flow fronts.

On 17 April 2006, explosive ejections threw lava ~ 50-75 m above crater rim, and gas plumes rose to ~ 150-200 m. Lava flowed ~ 400 m S towards Taniluyá ravine.

During 17-18 May 2006 lava flows reached ~ 100 m SW towards the Taniluyá river and ~ 500 m SW towards the Cenizas river. Fumarolic gases rose to ~ 600 m above the crater rim and drifted E and W.

On 29 June 2006 fumarolic gases rose to ~ 125 m , spatter to tens of meters, and ash plumes ~ 2.2 km respectively above the crater rim. Lava flows extended ~ 400 m SW toward the Cenizas river. Pyroclastic flows traveled mainly SW along the Cenizas river, with a lesser number moving SW along the Taniluyá river.

On 3 July 2006, explosions discharged incandescent material hundreds of meters above the central crater and avalanches traveled ~ 300-500 m SW along the Cenizas river.

The only activity reported in August occurred on the 16-17th, when ash explosions reached 300-800 m above the crater rim, and explosions of incandescent material produced avalanches that descended 300-500 m SW towards the Cenizas, Taniluyá, and Santa Teresa river valleys.

The latter half of September 2006 continued the characteristic previous activity with explosions that sent incandescent lava 75-100 m above the crater rim and that generated hot avalanches SW towards the Taniluyá River.

On 15 November, lava flows traveled about 150 m SW, and avalanches occurred from the lava-flow fronts. On 17 November, three out of seven explosions propelled incandescent material 100 m above the central crater rim. Relative quiescence followed through December 2006.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Ministero de Communicaciones, Transporto, Obras Públicas y Vivienda, 7a. Av. 14-57, zona 13, Guatemala City 01013, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/).


Irazu (Costa Rica) — November 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Irazu

Costa Rica

9.979°N, 83.852°W; summit elev. 3432 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity and degassing remain low, January 2004-September 2007

The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (OVSICORI-UNA) reported small-magnitude seismicity and stable fumarolic and crater lake conditions at Irazú over the period September 2001 to December 2003 (BGVN 28:12). This report summarizes monthly contributions from OVSICORI-UNA from January 2004 through September 2007.

Activity during January-December 2004. The lake level at Irazú remained high through 2004 with a green color from January to September and a light green and greenish yellow color in October and November. Convection cells occurred in the NW, SW, SE, NE, N edges of the lake throughout the year. Small areas of minor mass wasting occurred in the NE and SW walls, and fumarolic activity on the NW side remained constant with a low level of gas emission. A seismograph located 5 km SW of the active crater registered mild tectonic and low-frequency earthquakes throughout 2004. Peak activity occurred on 19 July 2004, with nine earthquakes occurring over four hours and an intensity of M 1.2-1.8 at focal depths of 5-15 km.

Activity during January-November 2005. The lake level remained high through 2005 with a greenish yellow color through April and darker green from May through November. A ring of lighter yellow color indicating iron-oxide deposits was visible from March through November 2005. Convection cells occurred in similar manner to the 2004 interval, and toward the lake's center of the lake. Small areas of minor mass wasting occurred in the NE and SW walls and fumarolic activity on the NW side remained constantly low. From January through March and again in October 2005, earthquakes (M 1-2) 3-16 km deep occurred from the active crater to a distance of 20 km NW and 15 km SE .

Activity during March-December 2006. During March through December 2006, the lake level at Irazú was high with a yellowish green color. The SW crater wall showed areas of minor mass wasting moving toward the lake. Similar to January-November 2005, convection cells were observed in various areas. In August, the gas emission temperature of the NW-flank fumarole was measured at 86°C (N-flank fumarole temperatures over 80°C have been reported for almost 40 years). In November 2006, the lake level, convection cells, and fumarolic activity remained constant but the lake color changed to light green. A seismograph located 5 km SW of the active crater registered continuing low level tectonic and low-frequency earthquakes. In mid-December, earthquake activity was reported by local residents, but no other changes were recorded.

Activity during 2007. In February 2007, the lake level receded, and the color changed to yellowish green. In March, measurements of the lake level indicated a descent of 4.48 m, with regard to September of the 2005 and lake color remained a greenish yellow with a temperature of 15 °C. Temperature at a convection cell at the NE edge was 34 °C. During the period March-September, the lake level continued to descend and fell an additional 3.87 m. The lake retained a light green color, with convection calls in the NE, at the N edge, and toward the center. Small areas of minor mass wasting continued in the SW crater wall, and fumaroles on the NW side continued minor degassing.

Geologic Background. Irazú, one of Costa Rica's most active volcanoes, rises immediately E of the capital city of San José. The massive volcano covers an area of 500 km2 and is vegetated to within a few hundred meters of its broad flat-topped summit crater complex. At least 10 satellitic cones are located on its S flank. No lava flows have been identified since the eruption of the massive Cervantes lava flows from S-flank vents about 14,000 years ago, and all known Holocene eruptions have been explosive. The focus of eruptions at the summit crater complex has migrated to the W towards the historically active crater, which contains a small lake of variable size and color. Although eruptions may have occurred around the time of the Spanish conquest, the first well-documented historical eruption occurred in 1723, and frequent explosive eruptions have occurred since. Ashfall from the last major eruption during 1963-65 caused significant disruption to San José and surrounding areas.

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, E. Duarte, R. Van der Laat, W. Sáenz, M. Martínez, V. Barboza, E. Malavassi, R. Sáenz, and J. Brenes, Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/).


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — November 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

2.764°S, 35.914°E; summit elev. 2962 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New lava linked to Plinian eruptions of August-September 2007

Following explosive eruptions beginning on 1 January 1983, Ol Doinyo Lengai (hereafter called 'Lengai') entered a stage consisting chiefly of the effusion of numerous small fluid, carbonatitic lava flows in its active N summit crater. During March 1983 to early 2007, reports focused almost exclusively on the summit crater, the scene of numerous, often-changing hornitos (or spatter cones) and carbonatitic lava flows that slowly filled the crater. Lava began overflowing the crater, first to the W around 14 June 1993 (BGVN 18:07), then onto the NW flank (beginning in late October 1998, BGVN 24:02), E flank (beginning in early November 1998, BGVN 24:02), W flank (beginning in February 2002, BGVN 27:10), and N flank (beginning in January 2005, BGVN 30:04), making it important to chronicle changes on the flanks. Observations of activity throughout 2007 are summarized in table 14.

Table 14. Summary of visitors to Ol Doinyo Lengai and their brief observations (from a climb, aerial overflight, flank, or satellite) during 2007. Observations for 2006 were reported in BGVN 32:02. Much of this list is courtesy of Frederick Belton; see Belton's website for most of the contributor's contact information.

Date Observer Observation Location Brief Observations
31 Jan-02 Feb 2007 Tom Pfeiffer Climb See BGVN 32:02.
03 Mar 2007 Annette Loettrup Climb No activity; no significant changes to crater.
04 Mar 2007 Janet Davis Aerial No activity; no significant changes to crater.
24 Mar 2007 Unnamed Climb No activity; no significant changes to crater.
17 Jun-20 Jun 2007 Rohit Nandedkar, Hannes Mattsson, Barbara Tripoli Climb High but variable activity of the inner crater (see text).
22-23 Jul 2007 Lindsay McHenry Climb Activity in inner crater (see text).
03 Aug-05 Aug 2007 Julie Machault and the group "Aventure et Volcans" Climb, Aerial Small lava flows and an open vent cradling lava (see text).
15 Aug-16 Aug 2007 Gaston Gonnet Climb Mild strombolian activity from 3 cones.
23 Aug 2007 Gwynne Morson Aerial
21, 23 Aug 2007 Christoph Weber Climb Active eruption with lava flows (see text).
01 Sep-02 Sep 2007 Chiara Montaldo Climb Eruption (see text).
03 Sep 2007 Gwynne Morson Aerial Newly formed and erupting cinder cone (see text).
04 Sep 2007 Sian Brown (pilot) Aerial Large ash plume above Lengai.
04 Sep 2007 NASA satellite Satellite ASTER image on NASA's Terra Satellite (see text).
06 Sep 2007 Gwynne Morson Aerial --
10 Sep 2007 Jens Fissenebert, Sandra Kliegalhoefer Flank High ash plume photographed from Lake Natron Camp.
11 Sep-13 Sep 2007 Leander Ward Flank Eruption (see text).
13 Sep 2007 Gwynne Morson Aerial Heavy ash plumes.
19 Sep-21 Sep 2007 Jelle Schouten, Stan Brouwer Aerial Plumes flowing from Lengai.
22-23 Sep 2007 Roger Mitchell, Barry Dawson Aerial Continuous activity (see text).
24 Sep 2007 Jen Schoemburg Flank Continuous activity (see text).
23 Sep-30 Sep 2007 Roger Mitchell, Barry Dawson Flank Continuous activity (see text).
27 Sep 2007 Jen Schoemburg Aerial Continuous activity (see text).
1st week Oct 2007 Unnamed pilot Aerial Ash plumes rising to 3 km above summit.
05 Oct 2007 Message forwarded from Louise Leakey Flank Ash plume to 3 km.
12 Oct 2007 Colin Church Flank Ash falls on W side of Lengai.
mid-Oct 2007 L. Dudley Aerial Heavy ash plume blowing to NW.
09 Oct-16 Oct 2007 Graham Wickenden Flank Ash plumes viewed from Lake Natron Camp.
16 Oct 2007 Leander Ward Flank camp N of Lengai on lower slopes of Gelai Lightning in ash clouds.
16 Oct 2007 Unnamed Aerial Ash cone now dominates entire active crater.
19 Oct 2007 Kathy Moore (pilot) Aerial Eruption at 0830, plumes of smoke and ash to altitude above 7.6 km.
21 Oct 2007 Leander Ward Flank Dark and light ash clouds being erupted from the ash cone.
23 Oct 2007 Gwynne Morson Aerial Dark ash clouds; cone (possibly T49B) still exists.
25 Oct 2007 Benoit Wilhelmi Aerial "extremely aggressive" activity.
29 Oct 2007 Gwynne Morson Aerial Pause in eruption.
31 Oct 2007 Gwynne Morson Aerial Dark ash clouds.
04 Nov 2007 Tim Leach Flank Lake Natron Camp Daily ash eruptions, some lava eruptions at night.
07 Nov 2007 Toulouse VAAC Satellite Lengai remained active, but ash not identified on satellite imagery.
10 Nov 2007 Michael Dalton-Smith Flank Activity continues, constant 'smoke' rising 300-600 m above summit, drifting WSW toward Gol Mountains.
11 Nov 2007 Tim Leach Flank Lake Natron Camp Activity seems to have decreased.
21 Nov 2007 Toulouse VAAC Satellite Lengai remained active, but ash not identified on satellite imagery.
27 Nov 2007 Tim Leach Flank Lake Natron Camp Activity "off and on"; heard report of large "lava eruption" about a week ago.

As this report goes to press, contradictory reports exist concerning impacts of eruptions on the volcano's flanks, with the key question concerning the amount of impact on those flanks by fires, lava flows, ashfall, or conceivably, volcanic bombs large enough to start fires on impact with the ground surface-or perhaps some combination of these and other processes.

Observations during 17-20 June 2007. A report posted on Frederick Belton's Ol Doinyo Lengai website described a visit by Rohit Nandedkar, Hannes B. Mattsson, and Barbara Tripoli during 17-20 June. They observed generally high, but variable, activity of the inner crater. A lot of sulfuric gasses escaped, mainly at fractures in the outer crater, but also from the big hornito on the SW side. Three spatter cones situated on the S and W side of the inner crater discharged spatter that splashed up to 15-20 m high at intervals of 20 minutes, with 30 minute breaks. All three cones were never active at the same time. The group saw three active interconnected lava ponds (mainly on the E side of the inner crater). The molten material was eroding the E side and destabilizing the adjacent cliff. The ponds were always active, but more vigorous activity lasted for intervals of several hours. On 19 June the crust of the inner crater burst near a big, half-collapsed hornito, sending a lava flow E.

Activity on 19 July 2007. On 20 July 2007 the Associated Press (AP) reported that "Lengai was believed to be the source of a series of shallow earthquakes experienced in the region over the past week" according to Alfred Mutua, the Kenyan government spokesman. On 19 July BBC News reported that hundreds of villagers fled their homes on the slopes in response to the above-mentioned seismic swarm, fearing an imminent eruption. A BBC correspondent reported that lava flowing down a flank was causing panic among villagers. The East African Standard indicated that products of the 19 July eruption had entered inhabited areas, stating that " . . . . more than 1,500 people, most of them Maasai families, vacated their homes in Ngaresero, Orbalal and Nayobi villages following the tremors that triggered the volcanic eruption . . . . Villagers are reported to have heard roaring . . . . before the volcano started discharging ash and lava." There were also reports of a damaged school and two injuries, but no deaths. Subsequent inquiries about the incident have cast doubt on these earlier claims.

Volcanologist Gerald Ernst contacted aviators, guides, scientists, and local inhabitants in the region; they had seen no dramatic eruptive events at the mountain during late July 2007. Overall, the compiled comments indicated that the summit crater was intact and eruptions were confined to the summit area. Keith Roberts was reported to have observed that a landslide kicked up a lot of dust, which could have been confused from a distance with ash from a large flank eruption.

Greg Vaughan of the Jet Propulsion Labs subsequently took a preliminary look at some ASTER satellite imagery and concluded that in mid-June through late July the summit crater was likely to have continued to emit lava. The 20 July thermal emissions supported summit lava eruptions but failed to document any lava that had spilled over the crater rim. In addition, no thermal anomalies were measured by MODIS instruments as reported by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System from 7 July through 22 August (UTC).

Belton's website contained a report by Lindsay McHenry, who had climbed Lengai on 22-23 July 2007. She reported: "There were frequent minor earthquakes in the days preceding the climb. There were two active spatter cones, one on the far eastern side of the crater and a small one just to the east of the central spire. Both were throwing small blocks ? locally, and occasionally raining ash over the entire crater. Our guides directed us to an aa flow on the northern side of the crater that they claimed was only 4 days old. The interior was still warm and showed no signs of alteration. The flow was confined to the crater."

MODIS (MODVOLC) measurements. Data from MODIS satellites and analyzed with the MODVOLC algorithm revealed no thermal anomalies for the period 7 July-22 August 2007. Instead, multiple thermal anomalies were measured at and around the crater particularly during 23 August-3 September and 10-20 September 2007 (table 15). It is plausible that a brief ash-bearing eruption like the alleged 19 July event could have been missed by the MODIS satellites or not detected by the MODVOLC algorithm.

Table 15. MODIS/MODVOLC thermal anomalies measured at Ol Doinyo Lengai during 2007. No anomalies were detected during 1 January-1 June, 7 July-22 August, 21 September-16 October, 18-30 October, and 1 November-29 December 2007. Anomalies measured by MODIS during 2006 were reported in BGVN 32:02. Courtesy of the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System.

Date Time (UTC) Number of pixels Satellite
02 Jun 2007 0745 1 Terra
23 Jun 2007 2025 3 Terra
23 Jun 2007 2320 1 Aqua
25 Jun 2007 2015 1 Terra
29 Jun 2007 1950 1 Terra
29 Jun 2007 2245 1 Aqua
30 Jun 2007 2030 1 Terra
30 Jun 2007 2330 1 Aqua
02 Jul 2007 2315 1 Aqua
06 Jul 2007 1955 1 Terra
06 Jul 2007 2250 1 Aqua
23 Aug 2007 1955 1 Terra
23 Aug 2007 2250 1 Aqua
25 Aug 2007 1940 2 Terra
26 Aug 2007 2320 1 Aqua
28 Aug 2007 2310 1 Aqua
30 Aug 2007 2000 2 Terra
30 Aug 2007 2300 1 Aqua
31 Aug 2007 0825 2 Terra
31 Aug 2007 1120 2 Aqua
31 Aug 2007 2045 2 Terra
31 Aug 2007 2340 2 Aqua
01 Sep 2007 1950 10 Terra
01 Sep 2007 2245 2 Aqua
02 Sep 2007 0810 2 Terra
02 Sep 2007 1105 2 Aqua
03 Sep 2007 1935 2 Terra
10 Sep 2007 1940 1 Terra
10 Sep 2007 2240 2 Aqua
19 Sep 2007 2235 1 Aqua
20 Sep 2007 0800 4 Terra
17 Oct 2007 2000 2 Terra
31 Oct 2007 2310 1 Aqua
30 Dec 2007 0815 1 Terra

Observations during early August 2007. The European Association of Volcanologists (LAVE), a group that visits many volcanoes and publishes an informative and colorful newsletter, ascended and camped in the active crater on 3-5 August 2007 (Machault, 2008). Machault (2008) discussed a crater still strewn with multiple hornitos. Many of their observations concerned the emissions at these hornitos and abundant still fresh lava flows of small volume seen spreading over the crater floor. They departed the crater at 0700 on 5 August at which point they saw no activity.

In more detail, one vent at a hornito was particularly active on 3-4 August. The active vent was open and cradling molten lava. It was located well up on the cone of a hornito to the near E of T49B. This vent emitted lapilli on 4 August and the next day it emitted lava. On 4 August the same vent E of T49B discharged a lava flow on the crater floor, 100 m long with several arms. The afternoon of 4 August the same vent issued black "smoke" and clouds. A 'black geyser' rose above the hornitos in the center of the crater but the exact source vent was uncertain.

Eruptions of late August and September 2007. Matthieu Kervyn analyzed MODIS data with the MODLEN algorithm (tailored to the lower temperature lavas at Lengai) and recorded multiple and repeated thermal anomalies at and around the crater after 21 August 2007. This indicated a new eruptive event during 21-23 August, with a peak on 23 August (MODVOLC data in table 15 show anomalies starting 23 August). Anomalies at that time seemed to be restricted to the crater, but moved out to the flanks on 31 August and 1 September. On 23 August, pilot Gwynne Morson photographed the recent lava flows (figure 95), which, when freshly cooled are black in color (later altering to white due to weathering).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Photo showing the Ol Doinyo Lengai crater with recent lava flows (black) on the morning of 23 August 2007. Note the lava overflow (possibly the E overflow) of the crater's rim in the foreground. Courtesy of Gwynne Morson.

Ashley Davies reported that thermal emissions were detected on 27 August 2007 from the NASA Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) spacecraft, which combined both the Hyperion hyperspectral imager and the ALI multispectral imager, yielding coverage of both visible and short-wavelength infrared (SWIR). Hyperion data (30 m/pixel resolution) showed two very bright sources in the summit crater with spectra consistent with erupting lava. There was also an indication of a short lava flow to the NW. Based on a preliminary analysis of the Hyperion data, effusion rate was estimated at ~ 0.5 m3/s. [Note: As part of the JPL Volcano Sensor Web, the EO-1 observation was triggered autonomously by an alert from the MODVOLC system. This in turn triggered a series of data transmissions and rapid processing at JPL. Notification was received at JPL within 2 hours of data acquisition. JPL processed the Hyperion data within 36 hours of acquisition.]

Chiara Montaldo and her husband climbed Lengai on the night of 1-2 September. Lava started to come out of the crater on the afternoon of 1 September and flowed down the flank all night (figure 96). At 0500 on 2 September, the crater was erupting; the noise and smell was very strong. From time to time there was an explosion sound (like fireworks) and a column of ash and lapilli could be seen. The column was not continuous, and it was incandescent with black smoke and ash. They felt very strong earthquakes on the top. A few hours after they climbed down on 2 September, the column and the noise were higher and the wind changed direction, blowing the ash toward them. On the following night (2-3 September) another group tried to climb the volcano, but retreated about halfway up because the eruption was getting more intense.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Incandescence on the W flank of Ol Doinyo Lengai sometime during 1-3 September 2007. Courtesy of Chiara Montaldo.

According to Burra Gadiye, a mountain guide, an ash eruption began during the night of 3-4 September 2007. On 3 September pilot Gywnne Morson observed a new erupting cone in the central to E side of the crater. Thomas Holden relayed a pilot's account of a large ash plume on 4 September. The ash plume and strong thermal activity in the crater and probably lava flows to the W and NW may have spawned fires that burned large areas of the W and NW flank, as can be seen in a 4 September 2007 ASTER image (figure 97). Kervyn observed that the volcano erupted on 4 September, first at midnight and then at 0500, causing significant ash clouds. Ash fallout was observed at Engare Sero village, 18 km N of the summit. Ashfall lasted for over 12 hours. The ash cloud was imaged by ASTER on the morning of 4 September drifting SSW. Roger Mitchell attributed the large burned areas on figure 97 as due to fires ignited after the ash eruption of 3-4 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. ASTER image of Ol Doinyo Lengai taken 4 September 2007 at 0422 UTC (0722 local time) showing a plume of ash and steam blowing S. This eruption sent ash downwind at least 18 km. The large dark lobes on the NW, W, and E flanks extend to inhabited areas. The lobes are not lava flows, but areas burned by fire. The gray volcanic plume appears distinct near the summit, and more diffuse to the S. Image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Goddard Space Flight Center/Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry/Japan's Earth Remote Sensing Data Analysis Center/Japan Resources Observation System Organization (NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/ JAROS) and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

Chris Weber reported that during the night of 3-4 September, lapilli- and ash-bearing eruptions rose about 3 km above the vent. Pictures taken from a plane on 5 September indicated that the hornitos and other crater morphology remained without dramatic change. Satellite images around this time showed vast areas of burned vegetation on the S, W, and NW slopes. The charred area at the S was caused by a bush fire that started before 20 August (observed by Weber), while he attributed such areas to the W and NW as caused by lava flows. A sketch of the inner crater was drawn on 23 August by Weber (figure 98).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Sketch map of the crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai as of 23 August 2007. Note lava overflows and trail to S crater. Courtesy of Chris Weber.

At about 1100 on 24 September, Jen Schoemburg reported seeing ash rising to an altitude of ~ 4 km, drifting NW. A local safari vehicle driver said that there had often been a 'mirage' visible above the volcano (from gases), but that for the previous two weeks or so the volcano had been emitting ash. He also said that people in surrounding villages had reported skin rashes on themselves and their animals. Additionally, 2-3 weeks prior, there had been earthquakes felt in the region. Near noon on 27 September, Schoemburg flew over going N, with the volcano passing on the W side of the plane (figure 99). The pilot said that in recent weeks ash rose to 6 km altitude; during the fly-over, it was rising to about 4.6 km, still drifting NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. Aerial photo of Ol Doinyo Lengai looking W on 27 September 2007. S crater is shown in the foreground. Courtesy of Jen Schoemburg.

Observations during late September and ash petrology. Barry Dawson and Roger Mitchell reported on activity during 22-30 September 2007 and their petrologic investigations. During an overflight on 22 September, Dawson observed that there had been a complete collapse of the area around former T49 hornito/ash cone area, with the formation of an ash pit surrounded by new black ejecta. A large hornito (T40) between the pit and the N wall of the crater was still in existence. Small emissions of ash, probably less than 100 m high, were drifting N. There was much new whitened ash around the whole summit area, but with most to the S where the S crater and the higher parts of the S slopes were most thickly blanketed, possibly from the plume recorded on the ASTER image (figure 97) of 4 September 2007.

As observed from the foot of the volcano on 23 September and on the early morning of 24 September, there were small, intermittent ash eruptions. At about 0900 on 24 September a strong eruption started, giving rise to a black eruption column that quickly built up to a height estimated to be ~ 6 km (figure 100), where it spread out into a typical Plinian-type cloud. From the lower W slopes, explosions were distinctly heard. This strong eruptive phase lasted till around 1300 with the ash cloud drifting NW and lapilli falling on the NW slopes; lapilli were gathered for a comparative study with lapilli from the 1966 eruption (Dawson and others, 1992). Smaller, intermittent lapilli-bearing eruptions continued until nightfall (around 1830).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Eruption of Ol Doinyo Lengai at 1100 on 24 September 2007, viewed from the lower W slopes. Courtesy of Barry Dawson.

On 25 September there was minor activity until about 1300, when new eruptions ejected white material. A lapilli cone could be seen from the lower S slopes, and subsequently fountaining took place from two distinct centers within the crater. Activity continued for about four hours. On 26 September there was only minor activity with fine ash drifting to the NW, but in the late afternoon an ash column with a whitened head rose ~ 3 km. In the evening, the atmospheric dust resulted in the sun having a halo, being red in color. The moon that night also had a halo.

On 27 September, the volcano was quiet, but at 0900 on 28 September it erupted again, though no plume developed. There was fountaining from three centers over the next hour, with regular migration of the fountains from N to S; black lapilli was ejected to ~ 200 m above the vent. Activity recommenced at 1330 and lasted all afternoon, with an eruption column up to 2 km high. After this event, the prominent hornito near the N rim of the crater that was previously visible from the lower slopes was no longer visible.

There was no sign of activity on 29 September until 1200, when large eruptions sent material up to 3 km above the volcano. Initially black, the billowing top of the eruption column became white at and above the level of the surrounding atmospheric clouds. This could be interpreted as due to either (1) a higher albedo of finer material at the top of the eruption column, (2) dust forming nucleation sites for condensing atmospheric water, or (3) a combination of the two. In the late afternoon and early evening, dark material from the eruption plume, now much reduced in height, continued to spill down the NW slopes rather like a density flow. On 30 September, when last observed by Dawson, there were only minor ash eruptions that drifted NW.

Dawson noted that up to 30 September, the volume of material erupted and the height of the eruption column appeared smaller than the last major phase of ash eruptions in 1966-67, when plume heights of ~ 10,000 m were estimated, and ash distribution was as far as Seronera (130 km to the W) and Loliondo (72 km to the NW) (Dawson and others, 1968). For comparison, on 27 September 2007 when Dawson visited Sale (a Wasonjo settlement 45 km NW of Lengai), there were no signs of ashfall; during the July 1967 eruption, there was ashfall at Arusha (110 km SE) and at Wilson airfield, Nairobi (190 km NE) (Dawson and others, 1995). Natrocarbonatite lava in the gully immediately S of the climbing track (the overflow from the crater extruded roughly 25 March-5 April 2006, BGVN 32:02) was of two types; (a) a pahoehoe flow containing entrained blocks of wollastonite nephelinite, that was overlain and mainly buried beneath (b) a later aa flow that extended 3 km from the crater. On the upper SE slopes, ~ 200-300 m below the rim of the S crater, there had been extrusion of a short, thin, then-whitened natrocarbonatite flow; flank eruptions are unusual at Lengai.

Mitchell and Dawson collected ash samples on 24 September and subsequently described them as follows. "The lapilli contain nuclei of nepheline, clinopyroxene, Ti-melanite and wollastonite, collectively wollastonite ijolite, probably xenocrystic. Wollastonite and clinopyroxene are replaced by combeite. However the mantling ash consists of nepheline, melilite, combeite (Na2Ca2Si3O9), a Na-Ca carbonate-phosphate, Mn magnetite, and a K-Fe sulphide in a volumetrically-insignificant (less than 5%) sodium carbonate matrix. In lacking clinopyroxene the mantling ash is not nephelinite or melilitite, and is unlike any other magma type previously recorded from the volcano. The mantling ash is interpreted as a hybrid magma formed when nephelinite interacted with natrocarbonatite magma, forming combeite and melilite at the expense of clinopyroxene. The resulting decarbonation reaction released the CO2 that drove the eruption." Mitchell added that the ash seemed to be an extreme variant of the 1996 ash.

Activity during October-November 2007. On his website, Belton reported that Leander Ward saw lightning in some of the ash clouds in the early morning of 16 October 2007. Ward observed that the ash cone then dominated the entire active crater and appeared to have grown significantly in diameter; no other cones were visible. Charter pilot Kathy Moore reported an eruption on 19 October around 0830, sending plumes of smoke and ash into the atmosphere to an altitude of ~ 7.6 km. The plume was visible for ~ 160 km, but the eruption (one large blast followed by a smaller one) lasted only for a few minutes. Within half an hour the large cloud of ash had dispersed and only smaller clouds remained close to the mountain.

Tim Leach, owner of Lake Natron Camp on the S shore of Lake Natron, reported on 4 November that the ash eruption continued on a daily basis. His crew had occasionally seen night-time "lava eruptions." Leach advised against climbing the active crater and stated that they were working on developing safer routes terminating in the inactive S Crater. One difficult route that has been climbed twice from the Kerimasi side was vegetated in September, but by the end of October it was ash covered.

Michael Dalton-Smith reported that as of 10 November activity continued. From a distance he saw constant "smoke" rising 300-600 m above the summit. At one point it appeared that a light colored but strong ash cloud formed a column, but it was difficult to tell for sure due to clouds. Jean-Claude Tanguy sent an aerial photograph (figure 101) taken by Maxime Le Goff on 23 November 2007 that showed pronounced changes in the active crater. A large crater had clearly developed in the center of the N crater and the complex array of hornitos nearly all buried in ash were not in evidence.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. Aerial photograph of Ol Doinyo Lengai looking S toward the volcano's summit. A new crater sits amid the tephra-mantled N crater. Gone are the array of hornitos present for years. Taken 23 November 2007 by Maxime Le Goff. Provided by Jean-Claude Tanguy.

References. Dawson, J. B., Bowden, P., and Clark, G. C., 1968, Activity of the carbonatite volcano Oldoinyo Lengai, 1966, International Journal of Earth Sciences (Geologische Rundshau), v. 57, no. 3, p. 865-879.

Dawson, J. B., Smith, J. V., and Steele, I. M., 1992, 1966 ash eruption of t he carbonatite volcano Oldoinyo Lengai: mineralogy of lapilli and mixing of silicate and carbonate magmas, Mineralogical Magazine, v. 56, p. 1-16.

Dawson, J. B., Keller, J., and Nyamweru, C., 1995, Historic and recent eruptive activity of Oldoinyo Lengai, p. 4-22 in Bell, K., and Keller, J. (eds), Carbonatite Volcanism, Oldoinyo Lengai and the Petrogenesis of Natrocarbonatites, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, p. 4-22.

Machault, J., 2007, Lengai du 3 au 5 ao?t 2007, LAVE, Revue de L'Association Volcanologique Européene, no. 129, p. 29-32, November 2007, 7 rue de la Guadeloupe, 75018 Paris, France (http://www.lave-volcans.com) ISSN 0982-9601.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only volcano known to have erupted carbonatite tephras and lavas in historical time. The prominent stratovolcano, known to the Maasai as "The Mountain of God," rises abruptly above the broad plain south of Lake Natron in the Gregory Rift Valley. The cone-building stage ended about 15,000 years ago and was followed by periodic ejection of natrocarbonatitic and nephelinite tephra during the Holocene. Historical eruptions have consisted of smaller tephra ejections and emission of numerous natrocarbonatitic lava flows on the floor of the summit crater and occasionally down the upper flanks. The depth and morphology of the northern crater have changed dramatically during the course of historical eruptions, ranging from steep crater walls about 200 m deep in the mid-20th century to shallow platforms mostly filling the crater. Long-term lava effusion in the summit crater beginning in 1983 had by the turn of the century mostly filled the northern crater; by late 1998 lava had begun overflowing the crater rim.

Information Contacts: Gerald Ernst, Centre for Environmental & Geophysical Flows, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ, United Kingdom; Greg Vaughan, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 183-501, 4800 Oak. Grove Dr., Pasadena, CA 91109, USA; Frederick Belton, Developmental Studies Department, PO Box 16, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, USA (URL: http://oldoinyolengai.pbworks.com/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) 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/); Matthieu Kervyn, University of Ghent, Geology Department, Ghent, Belgium (URL: http://homepages.vub.ac.be/~makervyn/); Ashley Davies, NMP-ST6 Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment Asteroids, Comets and Satellites Group (3224), ms 183-501, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, CA 91109-8099, USA; Christoph Weber, Volcano Expeditions International, Muehlweg 11, 74199 Untergruppenbach, Germany (URL: http://www.v-e-i.de/); J. Barry Dawson, Grant Institute of Earth Science, University of Edinburgh, King's Building, Edinburgh EH9 3JW, United Kingdom; Roger Mitchell, Lakehead University, 955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5EI, Canada; Jennifer Fela Schoemburg, Cologne, Germany; Lake Natron Camp, Tim Leach (URL: http://www.ngare-sero-lodge.com/Natron_camp.htm); Kathy Moore; Celia Nyamweru, Department of Anthropology, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617, USA (URL: http://blogs.stlawu.edu/lengai/); Michael Dalton-Smith (URL: http://digitalcrossing.ca/); Jean-Claude Tanguy, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-Institut de Physique du Globe (CNRS-IPGP), Observatoire de Saint-Maur, 4, avenue de Neptune, 94107 Saint-Maur des Fossés Cedex, France; Julie Machault, LAVE "Aventure et Volcans" (sponsored by L'Association Volcanologique Européene, 7 rue de la Guadeloupe, 75018 Paris, France (URL: http://www.lave-volcans.com); USGS National Earthquake Information Center (URL: http://earthquakes.usgs.gov/).


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — November 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruapehu

New Zealand

39.28°S, 175.57°E; summit elev. 2797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Additional data on hydrothermal eruption's distribution and damage

A hydrothermal explosion at Ruapehu on 25 September 2007 was previously described (BGVN 32:10), with a plume and lahars discharged from Crater Lake. Since publication, new photos and additional information was provided by Brad Scott of New Zealand's Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences. In addition, an article came out on the tephra dam failure and subsequent lahar (Manville and Cronin, 2007). The tephra dam broke in March 2007 (BGVN 32:10) sending a big lahar down the Whangaehu Gorge and River (figure 36).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Map of Ruapehu oriented with N towards the top, showing glaciers and ski fields (note Whakapapa skifield and the valley of the same name towards the N). Crater Lake's outlet is at the SSE end of that lake, and it pours into the E-trending Whangaehu Gorge. The grid lines are at 1 km spacing; the contour interval is 20 m (100 m between heavy contours). Courtesy of Brad Scott, GNS.

Photos of hydrothermal and lahar deposits on snow and alpine glacial ice were taken within days of the hydrothermal explosion. By 4 October, the mountain was blanketed in fresh snow, completely masking the recent deposits. Photos such as those included in this report (fresh deposits laid down on ice and snow from erupting high-altitude crater lakes) are comparatively rare.

Dome Shelter, located just N of Crater Lake, was directly in the path of the explosion. It was extensively buried by debris from the explosion and one person inside was badly injured.

Instruments recorded seismic and air-pressure signals associated with the hydrothermal explosion (figure 37). The seismic plot shows a strong wave initially arriving at 2026 NZ local time. The velocity of sound in air is several-fold slower that the velocity of vibrations through rock (seismic waves). In addition, the sound waves were recorded at a station ~ 6 km farther away from the signal source. Consequently the sound signal's first arrival was later.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Seismic and air pressure plots of the eruption at Ruapehu on 25 September 2007. The seismic data were recorded at the seismic station termed the Far West T-bar, on the N flank of the volcano, ~ 3.1 km from the center of Crater Lake. The air pressure (sound wave) signal was recorded at the Chateau station, 9.1 km from the center of Crater Lake. Courtesy of GeoNet.

Work is still in progress to understand the complicated lahar dynamics of this event. Three main lahars descended the mountain on 25 September. Two headed roughly E (one via the outlet and associated Whangaehu Gorge, the other, larger, out over the crater walls and down a glacier). Another lahar went N (over the crater walls).

The photo of Ruapehu's summit taken from a plane, shown in figure 35 in BGVN 32:10, was a view from the NE illustrating the scene shortly after the eruption. A similar photo appears here as figure 38, although this photo was taken from the E. In both these photos, the largest (most conspicuous) lahar follows a straight path from the summit area adjacent Crater Lake. It traveled over the Whangaehu glacier.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Photograph of Ruapehu taken from the E with a view centered on the largest 25 September lahar. That lahar made its descent on the surface of the Whangaehu glacier. The outlet for Crater Lake (upper left) feeds from the Lake's S (left) end, draining down the Whangaehu Gorge. In this photo, the steep sided Gorge becomes shrouded in clouds towards the lower left corner. Courtesy of GeoNet.

Ejecta apparently accumulated in the N Crater basin (figure 39) before some of it flowed down the Whangaehu glacier. The latter lahar was complex, owing to eruption-blasted water followed by runoff and other possible complexities still under study. The third lahar was small and came down the Ruapehu's N side. It passed near a ski slope (figures 40 and 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. A view of Ruapehu taken from the NE. The Whangaehu Gorge (left back) drains from Crater Lake's outlet, containing a narrow, confined lahar there. In the upper center, Crater Lake is surrounded by gray ash. The dark area across the center to left is the large lahar down the Whangaehu Glacier. The large dark circular area at the right is the ash-covered N Crater basin. Courtesy of Brad Scott and GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. This view at Ruapehu was taken from the N and shows a small 25 September lahar down the Whakapapa Valley. The distal end of this lahar descended past the ski slope's Far West T- Bar (a piling for this ski lift is in the right background of the next photo). The prominent ash-covered ridge in the upper center is Dome Ridge, which obscures the view of the lake. Courtesy of GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. A Ruapehu lahar that traveled down the Whakapapa ski field. Levees appear at or near the lahar margins. The snow in this area is firm and groomed for skiing, and the lahar melted it by a few tens of centimeters. Courtesy of GeoNet.

A view of Crater Lake looking S into the crater from the Dome Shelter (figure 42) shows the strong directionality of the blast to the N (towards Dome Shelter). Numerous small blocks and bombs are visible in the foreground. Near the lake appear some lighter textured deposits on the snow (figure 42). These are rather thin (less than 0.5-1 m thick) and cross some of the darker deposits. Initial field interpretations were that these lighter deposits formed in two ways. One is the deposits mark the absorption of ejected Crater Lake water into the snow pack. The second is that they preserve the aerosol developed on the fringes of a directed blast of steam and water discharged from the Lake. Figure 43 is similar to the previous one, only viewed standing on debris farther to the E, an area where significant runoff formed a long narrow channel, which in the foreground traveled downslope towards the viewer.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Ruapehu's Crater Lake as seen from the N at Dome Shelter. Courtesy of GNS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A photo of Ruapehu's Crater Lake looking SE from the Whakapapa Glacier showing the outlet (on the Lake's top-right). The lake surface contains disturbances caused by upwelling water and sulfur slicks (dark streaks). Note craters from ballistic ejecta. The long straight line is a runoff channel. Courtesy of GeoNet.

Dome Shelter and news-reported injury. Dome Shelter was partly buried by typical snow accumulation, over which came the deposits from the hydrothermal eruption, some of which invaded the structure (figure 44). To summarize news stories in the New Zealand Herald and The Sydney Morning Herald, four mountaineers were camped in the Shelter during the explosion. William Pike's left leg was injured and his right leg below the knee was crushed and pinned by deposits. He was rescued and ultimately flown out by helicopter but had suffered severe hypothermia. Doctors said at one point he was very near death, with body temperature in the 25-26°C range. They managed to save him after amputating the lower portion of his right leg. The news also reported that the Shelter was designated for emergency use only (not as a camping shelter).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Dome Shelter on Ruapehu as seen in relatively snow-free conditions at some point well prior to the eruption (top). Seen from the air after the hydrothermal eruption, the Shelter is covered by seasonal snow followed by mud and debris. Pre-eruption photo credit to Greg Bowker, post-eruption photo credit to Alan Gibson; accessed on the website of the New Zealand Herald.

GNS noted that the Shelter also houses monitoring instruments, equipment less damaged than initially thought. Data from one of the two seismic systems continued to flow, although the data were rather noisy. Accordingly, GNS began relying on nearby monitoring stations.

Reference. Manville, V., and Cronin, S.J., 2007, Breakout lahar from New Zealand's Crater Lake, Earth Observing Satellite, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, v. 88, no. 43, p. 441-442.

Geologic Background. Ruapehu, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is a complex stratovolcano constructed during at least four cone-building episodes dating back to about 200,000 years ago. The 110 km3 dominantly andesitic volcanic massif is elongated in a NNE-SSW direction and surrounded by another 100 km3 ring plain of volcaniclastic debris, including the Murimoto debris-avalanche deposit on the NW flank. A series of subplinian eruptions took place between about 22,600 and 10,000 years ago, but pyroclastic flows have been infrequent. A single historically active vent, Crater Lake, is located in the broad summit region, but at least five other vents on the summit and flank have been active during the Holocene. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred in historical time from the Crater Lake vent, and tephra characteristics suggest that the crater lake may have formed as early as 3000 years ago. Lahars produced by phreatic eruptions from the summit crater lake are a hazard to a ski area on the upper flanks and to lower river valleys.

Information Contacts: Brad Scott, Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (IGNS), Private Bag 2000, Wairakei, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); New Zealand GeoNet Project (URL: http://www.geonet.org.nz/); New Zealand Herald (URL: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/); Sydney Morning Herald (URL: http://www.smh.com.au/).


Soputan (Indonesia) — November 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Soputan

Indonesia

1.112°N, 124.737°E; summit elev. 1785 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes and seismic activity continue through November 2007

Our last report on Soputan (BGVN 32:01) indicated that Soputan's lava dome was still emitting gas and generating rockfalls and ash plumes to 12 km in altitude through December 2006. This report, which includes a map (figure 3), discusses activity through November 2007.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A map of northern Sulawesi island (Indonesia), with Soputan labeled. Inset shows entire island. Copyrighted map by pbi design (2002); graphic by Michael Wijaya.

According to the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), diffuse ash plumes rose from Soputan to an altitude of 1.8 km during 20-25 June 2007. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), where it had been since 15 December 2006. Between 11 June and 1 July 2007 the only seismicity recorded was caused by rockfalls, with 107 events during 11-17 June, 124 events during 18-24 June, and 78 events during 25 June-1 July.

News accounts reported that Soputan erupted on 14 August, producing ash plumes that, according to the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted W. Lava and rock avalanches were also observed. According to Yahoo! Canada News, volcanologist Sandy Manengke indicated that no injuries or damage were reported, but that villages along Soputan's base were covered in volcanic dust, and many residents were wearing face masks. According to Reuters, Saut Simatupang, head of Indonesia's Volcanology Survey, told the news agency that no evacuation was ordered and the Alert Level was not raised to 4 (maximum) because Soputan was unlikely to erupt in a way that would threaten the nearest village, 11 km from its crater. On 15 August seismicity decreased.

Based on observations of satellite imagery and information from CVGHM, the Darwin VAAC reported that an ash plume rose to an altitude of 4.6 km and drifted W during 14-15 August. Visual observations were made on 24-25 October and 30-31 October 2007 of white and gray plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.8-3.3 km and drifted W. In addition, based upon pilot reports and satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 25-26 October, ash plumes rose to 13.7 km altitude and drifted WSW. On 25 October, lava flowed 500-600 m down the W flank and flowed again on 30 October. Villagers and tourists were warned not to travel within a 6 km radius of the summit.

MODVOLC data (which is MODIS satellite thermal infrared data processed to indicate possible volcanism) is sometimes helpful in assessing lava and dome emissions at volcanoes. Alerts for 2007 appeared in August (7 alerts), October (23 alerts), and November (2 alerts). During 2006, alerts took place in December (11 alerts) and October (5).

According to CVGHM, the Alert Status was lowered from 3 to 2 on 23 November, based on a decrease in the number of earthquakes and seismic intensity, deformation measurements, and visual observations.

Geologic Background. The Soputan stratovolcano on the southern rim of the Quaternary Tondano caldera on the northern arm of Sulawesi Island is one of Sulawesi's most active volcanoes. The youthful, largely unvegetated volcano is located SW of Riendengan-Sempu, which some workers have included with Soputan and Manimporok (3.5 km ESE) as a volcanic complex. It was constructed at the southern end of a SSW-NNE trending line of vents. During historical time the locus of eruptions has included both the summit crater and Aeseput, a prominent NE-flank vent that formed in 1906 and was the source of intermittent major lava flows until 1924.

Information Contacts: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Diponegoro 57, Bandung, Jawa Barat 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://vsi.esdm.go.id/); Jenny Farlow, Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Hot Spots System, University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Reuters (URL: http://www.reuters.com/); Yahoo! Canada News (URL: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — November 2007 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptions of July 2005-December 2007 send plumes to varying heights

Suwanose-jima, in the East China sea, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. Our last report on Suwanose-jima (BGVN 30:07) tabulated the seismicity and the numerous ash plumes seen between April 2004 and July 2005. The current report continues the tabulation from August 2005 to December 2007 (table 4).

Table 4. Summary of activity reported at Suwanose-jima from August 2005 to December 2007, based on information from the Tokyo VAAC. "--" indicates that data were not reported.

Date Activity Plume Altitude (km) Drift Direction
11 Aug-12 Aug 2005 Small eruptions ~ 3.4 --
22 Sep 2005 Plume ~ 1.8 W
07 Oct-09 Oct 2005 Eruptions max. 1.8 SW, E, SE
01 Jan 2006 Explosions -- --
10 Jan 2006 Explosions ~ 1.8 E
24 Jan 2006 Plume 1.5 E
28 Jan 2006 Plume max. 1.8 W
29 Jan 2006 Explosion -- --
31 Jan 2006 Plume 1.5 W
01 Feb 2006 Explosions -- --
06 Feb-07 Feb 2006 Explosions 1.2 NW
08 Feb-10 Feb 2006 Plumes max. 1.5 E and SE
15 Feb-18 Feb 2006 Plumes max. 1.5 E and S
22 Feb-24 Feb 2006 Eruptions max. ~ 3 S, E, NE
02 Mar-08 Mar 2006 Explosions max. ~ 1.8 E, SE, S, NW
16 Apr 2006 Ash plume ~ 1.5 --
07 Jun 2006 Ash plume 2.4 --
30 Jun 2006 Plume 1.2 NE
16 Jul 2006 Ash plume 1.8 N
26 Jul-30 Jul 2006 Explosions max. ~ 1.8 N, straight up
11 Aug-14 Aug 2006 Explosions max. ~ 1.8 N and W
26 Aug 2006 Plumes 1.8 Straight up
28 Aug 2006 Plumes 1.5 E
19 Sep 2006 Ash plumes 3.4 E
20 Sep 2006 Ash and steam 2.1 N
06 Oct 2006 Explosion -- --
14, 16-17 Oct 2006 Ash plumes 3 --
18 Oct 2006 Explosion -- --
27 Oct-28 Oct 2006 Ash plumes 1.8 E
04 Nov-06 Nov 2006 Plumes 1.2 E and SW
09 Nov 2006 Plume 1.5 W
17 Nov 2006 Plume 2.1 Straight up
19 Dec 2006 Eruption -- --
09 Jan 2007 Plume -- --
28 Jan 2007 Plume -- --
05 Feb-07 Feb 2007 Plume -- --
19 Feb-20 Feb 2007 Plumes -- --
02 Mar 2007 Plume 1.2 W
17 Mar 2007 Explosion -- --
30 Mar 2007 Explosion -- --
02 Apr 2007 Explosion -- --
08 May 2007 Explosions -- --
26 Jul 2007 Ash plume 1.5 SW
17 Sep 2007 Explosions -- --
16 Oct 2007 Plume 1.5 E
22 Oct 2007 Plume 1.5 W
26 Oct-28 Oct 2007 Plumes 1.5 E and W
29 Nov-02 Dec 2007 Plumes 1.2-1.8 E
10 Dec 2007 Plumes 1.5-1.8 W
14 Dec-17 Dec 2007 Plumes 1.5-1.8 E

During the reporting interval, the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center reported small explosions or eruptions, usually accompanied by ash plumes, every month during this period, except for November and December 2005, May 2006, and June 2007. Ash was seldom identified on satellite imagery. On 20 September 2006, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite detected ash-and-steam emissions (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Ash plume blowing N from Suwanose-jima on 20 September 2006, seen in a MODIS image. In color images the plume's hue clearly distinguishes it from the banks of transversely oriented white weather clouds. NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.

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

Information Contacts: Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (Tokyo VAAC), Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Ote-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan (URL: https://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) program (URL: http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/).

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/).