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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

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

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

Semeru (Indonesia) Decreased activity after October 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Lava lake reappears in central crater in April 2018; activity tapers off during April 2019

Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) New explosions with ash plumes from Bromo Cone mid-February-April 2019



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

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Vulcan Inc. (URL: https://www.vulcan.com/), additional details about the R/V Petrel (URL: https://www.paulallen.com/).


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

Piton de la Fournaise

France

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Semeru (Indonesia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Decreased activity after October 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Geologic Background. Semeru, the highest volcano on Java, and one of its most active, lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises above coastal plains to the south. Gunung Semeru was constructed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek and Jambangan calderas. A line of lake-filled maars was constructed along a N-S trend cutting through the summit, and cinder cones and lava domes occupy the eastern and NE flanks. Summit topography is complicated by the shifting of craters from NW to SE. Frequent 19th and 20th century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano.

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


Heard (Australia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dukono (Indonesia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous ash explosions from October 2018 through March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional weak phreatic explosions continue through February 2019

Intermittent small phreatic explosions from the acid lake of Rincón de la Vieja's active crater has most recently occurred since 2011 (BGVN 42:08, 43:03, and 43:09). This activity continued through at least February 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), and the information below comes from its weekly bulletins between 18 August 2018 and 28 February 2019. Weather conditions often prevented webcam views and estimates of plume heights. The volcano was in Activity Level 3 throughout the reporting period (volcano erupting, steady state).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent passive ash emissions continue through February 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/); Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN) a collaboration between a) the Sección de Sismología, Vulcanología y Exploración Geofísica de la Escuela Centroamericana de Geología de la Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), and b) the Área de Amenazas y Auscultación Sismológica y Volcánica del Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica (URL: https://rsn.ucr.ac.cr/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Costa Rica Star (URL: https://news.co.cr); The Tico Times (URL: https://ticotimes.net).


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

San Cristobal

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak ash explosions in January and March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Semisopochnoi

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash explosions during September and October 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Asosan (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake reappears in central crater in April 2018; activity tapers off during April 2019

The Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is part of the western branch of the East African Rift System. Nyamuragira (or Nyamulagira), a high-potassium basaltic shield volcano on the W edge of VVP, includes a lava field that covers over 1,100 km2 and contains more than 100 flank cones in addition to a large central crater (see figure 63, BGVN 42:06). A lava lake that had been active for many years emptied from the central crater in 1938. Numerous flank eruptions were observed after that time, the most recent during November 2011-March 2012 on the NE flank. This was followed by a period of degassing with unusually SO2-rich plumes from April 2012 through April 2014 (BGVN 42:06). The lava lake reappeared during July 2014-April 2016 and November 2016-May 2017, producing a strong thermal signature. After a year of quiet, a new lava lake appeared in April 2018, reported below (through May 2019) with information provided by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), MONUSCO (the United Nations Organization working in the area), and satellite data and imagery from multiple sources.

Fresh lava reappeared inside the summit crater in mid-April 2018 from a lava lake and adjacent spatter cone. Satellite imagery and very limited ground-based observations suggested that intermittent pulses of activity from both sources produced significant lava flows within the summit crater through April 2019 when the strength of the thermal signal declined significantly. Images from May 2019 showed a smaller but persistent thermal anomaly within the crater.

Activity from October 2017-May 2019. Indications of thermal activity tapered off in May 2017 (BGVN 42:11). On 20 October 2017 OVG released a communication stating that a brief episode of unspecified activity occurred on 17 and 18 October, but the volcano returned to lower activity levels on 20 October. There was no evidence of thermal activity during the month. The volcano remained quiet with no reports of thermal activity until April 2018 (figure 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 4, 2) indicated no thermal activity at Nyamuragira on 19 November (top left), 14 December 2017 (top right) and 18 January 2018 (bottom). However, Nyiragongo (about 13 km SE) had an active lava lake with a gas plume drifting SW on 18 January 2018 (bottom right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

OVG reported the new lava emissions beginning on 14 April 2018 as appearing from both the lava lake and a small adjacent spatter cone (figure 74). The first satellite image showing thermal activity at the summit appeared on 18 April 2018 (figure 75) and coincided with the abrupt beginning of strong MIROVA thermal signals (figure 76). MODVOLC thermal alerts also first appeared on 18 April 2018. An image of the active crater taken on 9 May 2018 showed the lake filled with fresh lava and two adjacent incandescent spatter cones (figure 77).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Fresh lava reappeared at Nyamuragira's crater during April 2018 from the lava lake (left) and the adjacent small spatter cone (right). Courtesy of OVG (Republique Democratique du Congo, Ministere de la Recherche Scientifique, Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Direction Generale Goma, Rapport Avril 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. The first satellite image (bands 12, 4, 2) indicating renewed thermal activity at the Nyamuragira crater appeared on 18 April 2018; the signal remained strong a few weeks later on 3 May 2018. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. A strong thermal signal appeared in the MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power on 18 April 2018 for Nyamuragira, indicating a return of the lava lake at the summit crater. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Fresh lava filled the lake inside the crater at Nyamuragira on 9 May 2018. Two spatter cones were incandescent with gas emissions. Courtesy of OVG (Republique Democratique du Congo, Ministere de la Recherche Scientifique, Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Direction Generale Goma, Rapport Mai 2018).

Satellite images confirmed that ongoing activity from the lava lake remained strong during June -September 2018 (figure 78). A mission to Nyamuragira was carried out by helicopter provided by MONUSCO on 20 July 2018; lava lake activity was observed along with gas emissions from the small spatter cone (figure 79). OVG reported increased volcanic seismicity during 1-3 and 10-17 September 2018, and also during October, located in the crater area, mostly at depths of 0-5 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 4, 2) confirmed that ongoing activity from the lava lake at Nyamuragira remained strong during June-September 2018, likely covering the crater floor with a significant amount of fresh lava. Image are from 12 June (top left), 7 July (top right), 17 July (middle left), 22 July (middle right), 11 August (bottom left), and 20 September (bottom right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. The crater at Nyamuragira on 20 July 2018 had an active lava lake and adjacent incandescent spatter cone with gas emissions. Courtesy of OVG (Republique Democratique du Congo, Ministere de la Recherche Scientifique, Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Direction Generale Goma, Rapport Juillet 2018).

Personnel from OVG and MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DR Congo) made site visits on 11 October and 2 November 2018 and concluded that the level of the active lava lake had increased during that time (figure 80). On 2 November OVG measured the height from the base of the active cone to the W rim of the crater as 58 m (figure 81).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. OVG scientists reported a rise in the lake level between site visits to the Nyamuragira crater on 11 October (top) and 2 November 2018 (bottom). Top image courtesy of MONUSCO and Culture Vulcan, bottom image courtesy of OVG (Republique Democratique du Congo, Ministere de la Recherche Scientifique, Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Direction Generale Goma, Rapport Octobre 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. On 2 November 2018 scientists from OVG measured the height from the base of the active cone to the W rim of the crater as 58 m. Courtesy of OVG (Republique Democratique du Congo, Ministere de la Recherche Scientifique, Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Direction Generale Goma, Rapport Octobre 2018).

Seismicity remained high during November 2018 but decreased significantly during December. Instrument and access issues in January 2019 prevented accurate assessment of seismicity for the month. The lava lake remained active with periodic surges of thermal activity during November 2018-March 2019 (figure 82). Multiple images show incandescence in multiple places within the crater, suggesting significant fresh overflowing lava.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. The active lava lake at Nyamuragira produced strong thermal signals from November 2018 through March 2019 that were recorded in Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 4, 2). Several images suggest fresh lava cooling around the rim of the crater in addition to the active lake. A relatively cloud-free day on 19 November 2018 (top left) revealed no clear thermal signal, but a strong signal was recorded on 29 November (top right) despite significant cloud cover. Images from 13 and 28 January 2019 (second row) both showed evidence of incandescent lava in multiple places within the crater. The thermal signal was smaller and focused on the center of the crater on 12 and 27 February 2019 (third row). Images taken on 9 and 19 March 2019 clearly showed incandescent material at the center of the crater and around the rim (bottom row). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 12 April 2019 a Ukrainian Aviation Unit supported by MONUSCO provided support for scientists visiting the crater for observations and seismic analysis. Satellite data confirmed ongoing thermal activity into May, although the strength of the signal appeared to decrease (figure 83). MODVOLC thermal alerts ceased after 8 April, and the MIROVA thermal data also confirmed a decrease in the strength of the thermal signal during April 2019 (figure 84).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Sentinel-2 satellite data (bands 12, 4, 2) confirmed ongoing thermal activity at Nyamuragira into May 2019. The thermal anomalies on 18 April (left) and 3 May (right) 2019 were smaller than those recorded during previous months. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira from 16 July 2018 through April 2019 showed near-constant levels of high activity through April 2019 when it declined. This corresponded well with satellite and ground-based observations. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; Katcho Karume, Director; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MONUSCO, United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (URL: https://monusco.unmissions.org/en/, Twitter: @MONUSCO); Cultur Volcan, Journal d'un volcanophile (URL: https://laculturevolcan.blogspot.com), Twitter: @CultureVolcan).


Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Tengger Caldera

Indonesia

7.942°S, 112.95°E; summit elev. 2329 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New explosions with ash plumes from Bromo Cone mid-February-April 2019

The 16-km-wide Tengger Caldera in East Java, Indonesia is a massive volcanic complex with numerous overlapping stratovolcanos (figure 11). Mount Bromo is a pyroclastic cone that lies within the large Sandsea Caldera at the northern end of the complex (figure 12) and has erupted more than 20 times during each of the last two centuries. It is part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park (also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve) and is frequently visited by tourists. The last eruption from November 2015 to November 2016 produced hundreds of ash plumes that rose as high as 4 km altitude; some of them drifted for hundreds of kilometers before dissipating and briefly disrupted air traffic. Only steam and gas plumes were observed at Mount Bromo from December 2016 to February 2018 when a new series of explosions with ash plumes began; they are covered in this report with information provided by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). Copyrighted ground and drone-based images from Øystein Lund Andersen have been used with permission of the photographer.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. The Tengger Caldera viewed from the north Mount Bromo issuing steam in the foreground and Semeru volcano in the background on 30 September 2018. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Aerial view of the Bromo Cone in Tengger Caldera seen from the west on 30 September 2018. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.

PVMBG lowered the Alert Level at Bromo on 21 October 2016 from III to II near the end of an eruptive episode lasting nearly a year. The last VAAC report was issued on 12 November 2016 (BGVN 41:12) noting that the last ash emission had been observed the previous day drifting NW at 3 km altitude. Throughout 2017 and 2018 Bromo remained at Alert Level II, with no unusual activity described by PVMBG. During 1-2 September 2018, a wildfire in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park burned 65 hectares of savannah (figure 13); the fire produced 12 MODVOLC thermal alerts around the Tengger Caldera rim. No reports of increased volcanic activity were issued by PVMBG during the period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. A wall of fire in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park savanna during 1-2 September 2018 produced thermal alerts that were not related to volcanic activity at the Bromo Cone in Tengger Caldera. Image courtesy of the park authority, reported by Mongabay. MODVOLC thermal alerts courtesy of Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP).

After slightly more than two years of little activity other than gas and steam plumes, ash emissions resumed from the Bromo Cone on 18 February 2019. After a brief pause, a new explosion on 10 March marked the beginning of a series of near-daily ash emissions that lasted for the rest of March, producing ash plumes that rose to altitudes ranging from 3.0 to 5.2 km and drifted in many different directions. A new series of ash emissions began on 6 April, rising to 3 km and also drifting in multiple directions. Ash emission density decreased during the month; plumes were only rising a few hundred meters above the summit by the end of April and consisted of mostly steam and moderate amounts of ash.

Activity during February-April 2019. PVMBG reported that at 0600 on 18 February 2019 an eruption at Tengger Caldera's Bromo Cone generated a dense white-and-brown ash plume that rose 600 m and drifted WSW. The plume was not visible in satellite imagery, according to the Darwin VAAC. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4). After a few weeks of quiet a new explosion on 10 March (local time) produced a white, brown, and gray ash plume that rose 600 m above the summit; the plume was visible in satellite imagery extending SW. Increased tremor amplitude was also reported on 10 March. A new emission the next morning produced similar ash plumes that drifted S, SW, and W at 3 km altitude. On the morning of 12 March (local time) a continuous ash plume was observed in satellite imagery at 3.4 km altitude drifting SW. The plume drifted counterclockwise towards the S, E, and NE throughout the day and continued to drift NE and SE on 13 March. The altitude of the plume was reported at 4.3 km later that day based on a pilot report.

Continuous brown, gray, and black ash emissions were reported by PVMBG during 14-19 March at altitudes ranging from 3 to 3.9 km; they drifted generally NE to NW. Ashfall was noted around the crater and downwind a short distance. The Darwin VAAC reported continuous ash emissions to 5.2 km altitude drifting SE on 20 March. It was initially reported by a pilot and partially discernable in satellite imagery before dissipating. Ongoing ash emissions of variable densities and colors ranging from white to black were intermittently visible in satellite imagery and confirmed in webcam and ground reports at around 3.0 km altitude during 21-25 March (figures 14-17). Ashfall impacted the closest villages to Bromo, including Cemara Lawang (30 km NW), which was covered by a thin layer of ash. A few trees in the area were toppled over by the weight of the ash. The plume altitude increased slightly on 26 March to 3.7-3.9 km, drifting N and NE. The higher altitude plume dissipated early on 28 March, but ash emissions continued at 3.0 km for the rest of the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Ash drifted NNE from the Bromo Cone in Tengger Caldera on 23 March 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen (drone image), used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Ash drifted N from the Bromo Cone in Tengger Caldera on 23 March 2019. The Batok Cone is on the right, Segera Wedi is behind Bromo, and Semeru is in the far background. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. A few trees toppled from ashfall in the vicinity of the Bromo Cone in Tengger Caldera on 24 March 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Ash plumes from the Bromo Cone in Tengger Caldera on 24 March 2019 caused ashfall in communities as far as 30 km away. View is from the floor of the Sandsea Caldera. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.

After just a few days of quiet, new ash emissions rising to 3.0 km altitude and drifting SE were reported by both PVMBG (from the webcam) and the Darwin VAAC on 6 April 2019. By the next day the continuous ash emissions were drifting N, then E during 8-10 April, and S during 11 and 12 April. A new emission seen in the webcam was reported by the Darwin VAAC on 15 April (UTC) that rose to 3.0 km and drifted W. Ash plumes were intermittently visible in either webcam or satellite imagery until 17 April rising 500-1,000 m above the crater; from 19-25 April only steam plumes were reported rising 300-500 m above the summit. A minor ash emission was reported from the webcam on 26 April that rose to 3.0 km altitude and drifted NE for a few hours before dissipating. PVMBG reported medium density white to gray ash plumes that rose 400-600 m above the crater for the remainder of the month.

Geologic Background. The 16-km-wide Tengger caldera is located at the northern end of a volcanic massif extending from Semeru volcano. The massive volcanic complex dates back to about 820,000 years ago and consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes, each truncated by a caldera. Lava domes, pyroclastic cones, and a maar occupy the flanks of the massif. The Ngadisari caldera at the NE end of the complex formed about 150,000 years ago and is now drained through the Sapikerep valley. The most recent of the calderas is the 9 x 10 km wide Sandsea caldera at the SW end of the complex, which formed incrementally during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. An overlapping cluster of post-caldera cones was constructed on the floor of the Sandsea caldera within the past several thousand years. The youngest of these is Bromo, one of Java's most active and most frequently visited volcanoes.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); 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/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Mongabay, URL: https://news.mongabay.com/2018/09/fires-tear-through-east-java-park-threatening-leopard-habitat/.

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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 one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. 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 Acatenango. In contrast to 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/).