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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

Stromboli (Italy) Constant explosions from both crater areas during November 2018-February 2019

Krakatau (Indonesia) Ash plumes, ballistic ejecta, and lava extrusion during October-December; partial collapse and tsunami in late December; Surtseyan activity in December-January 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Erebus (Antarctica) Lava lakes persist through 2017 and 2018

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



Stromboli (Italy) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Constant explosions from both crater areas during November 2018-February 2019

Nearly constant fountains of lava at Stromboli have served as a natural beacon in the Tyrrhenian Sea for at least 2,000 years. Eruptive activity at the summit consistently occurs from multiple vents at both a north crater area (N Area) and a southern crater group (CS Area) on the Terrazza Craterica at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the island. Thermal and visual cameras that monitor activity at the vents are located on the nearby Pizzo Sopra La Fossa, above the Terrazza Craterica, and at a location closer to the summit craters.

Eruptive activity from November 2018 to February 2019 was consistent in terms of explosion intensities and rates from both crater areas at the summit, and similar to activity of the past few years (table 5). In the North Crater area, both vents N1 and N2 emitted a mixture of coarse (lapilli and bombs) and fine (ash) ejecta; most explosions rose less than 80 m above the vents, some reached 150 m. Average explosion rates ranged from 4 to 21 per hour. In the CS crater area continuous degassing and occasional intense spattering were typical at vent C, vent S1 was a low-intensity incandescent jet throughout the period. Explosions from vent S2 produced 80-150 m high ejecta of ash, lapilli and bombs at average rates of 3-16 per hour. Thermal activity at Stromboli was actually higher during November 2018-February 2019 than it had been in previous months as recorded in the MIROVA Log Radiative Power data from MODIS infrared satellite information (figure 139).

Table 5. Summary of activity levels at Stromboli, November 2018-February 2019. Low intensity activity indicates ejecta rising less than 80 m and medium intensity is ejecta rising less than 150 m. Data courtesy of INGV.

Month N Area Activity CS Area Activity
Nov 2018 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N1 and N2, lapilli and bombs mixed with ash, explosion rates of 6-16 per hour. Continuous degassing at C; intense spattering on 26 Nov. Low- to medium-intensity incandescent jetting at S1. Low- to medium-intensity explosions at S2 with a mix of coarse and fine ejecta and explosion rates of 3-18 per hour.
Dec 2018 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N1 and N2, coarse and fine ejecta, explosion rates of 4-21 per hour. Three days of intense spattering at N2. Continuous degassing at C; intense spattering 1-2 Dec. Low- to medium-intensity incandescent jets at S1, low and medium-intensity explosions of coarse and fine material at S2. Average explosion raters were 10-18 per hour at the beginning of the month, 3-4 per hour during last week.
Jan 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at N1, coarse ejecta. Low- to medium-intensity and spattering at N2, coarse and fine ejecta. Explosion rates of 9-16 per hour. Continuous degassing and low-intensity explosions of coarse ejecta at C. Low-intensity incandescent jets at S1. Low- and medium-intensity explosions of coarse and fine ejecta at S2.
Feb 2019 Medium-intensity explosions with coarse ejecta at N1. Low-intensity explosions with fine ash at N2. Explosion rates of 4-11 per hour. Continuous degassing and low-intensity explosions with coarse and fine ejecta at C and S2. Low intensity incandescent jets at S1. Explosion rates of 2-13 per hour.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 139.Thermal activity at Stromboli increased during November 2018-February 2019 compared with the preceding several months as recorded in the MIROVA project log radiative power data taken from MODIS thermal satellite information. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity at the N area was very consistent during November 2018 (figure 140). Explosions of low-intensity (less than 80 m high) to medium-intensity (less than 150 m high) occurred at both the N1 and N2 vents and produced coarse material (lapilli and bombs) mixed with ash, at rates averaging 6-16 explosions per hour. In the SC area continuous degassing was reported from vent C with a brief period of intense spattering on 26 November. At vent S1 low- to medium-intensity incandescent jetting was reported. At vent S2, low- and medium-intensity explosive activity produced a mixture of coarse and fine (ash) material at a frequency of 3-18 events per hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 140. The Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli on 12 November 2018 as viewed by the thermal camera placed on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa, showing the two main crater areas and the active vents within each area that are discussed in the text. Heights above the crater terrace, as indicators of intensity of the explosions, are shown divided into three intervals of low (basso), medium (media), and high (alta). Courtesy of INGV (Report 46/2018, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale 05/11/2018 - 11/11/2018, data emissione 13/11/2018).

Similar activity continued during December at both crater areas, although there were brief periods of more intense activity. Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N area vents produced a mixture of coarse and fine-grained material at rates averaging 4-21 per hour. During 6-7 December ejecta from the N vents fell onto the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco and rolled down the gullies to the coast, producing tongues of debris (figure 141). An explosion at N1 on 12 December produced a change in the structure of the crater area. During 10-16 December the ejecta from the N area landed outside the crater on the Sciara del Fuoco. Intense spattering was observed from N2 on 18, 22, and 31 December. In the CS area, continuous degassing took place at vent C, along with a brief period of intense spattering on 1-2 December. Low to medium intensity incandescent jets persisted at S1 along with low-and medium-intensity explosions of coarse and fine-grained material at vent S2. Rates of explosion at the CS area were higher at the beginning of December (10-18 per hour) and lower during the last week of the month (3-4 per hour).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 141. Images from the Q 400 thermal camera at Stromboli taken on 6 December 2018 showed the accumulation of pyroclastic material in several gullies on the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco following an explosion at vent N2 at 1520 UTC. The images illustrate the rapid cooling of the pyroclastic material in the subsequent two hours. Courtesy of INGV (Report 50/2018, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 03/12/2018 - 09/12/2018, data emissione 11/12/2018).

Explosive intensity was low (ejecta less than 80 m high) at vent N1 at the beginning of January 2019 and increased to medium (ejecta less than 150 m high) during the second half of the month, producing coarse ejecta of lapilli and bombs. Intensity at vent N2 was low to medium throughout the month with both coarse- and fine-grained material ejected. Explosions from N2 sent large blocks onto the Sciara del Fuoco several times throughout the month and usually was accompanied by intense spattering. Explosion rates varied, with averages of 9 to 16 per hour, throughout the month in the N area. In the CS area continuous degassing occurred at vent C, and low-intensity explosions of coarse-grained material were reported during the second half of the month. Low-intensity incandescent jets at S1 along with low- and medium-intensity explosions of coarse and fine-grained material at S2 persisted throughout the month.

A helicopter overflight of Stromboli on 8 January 2019 allowed for detailed visual and thermal observations of activity and of the morphology of the vents at the summit (figure 142). Vent C had two small hornitos, and a small scoria cone was present in vent S1, while a larger crater was apparent at S2. In the N crater area vent N2 had a large scoria cone that faced the Sciara del Fuoco to the north; three narrow gullies were visible at the base of the cone (figure 143). Vent S1 was a large crater containing three small vents aligned in a NW-SE trend; INGV scientists concluded the vents formed as a result of the 12 December 2018 explosion. Thermal images showed relatively low temperatures at all fumaroles compared with earlier visits.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 142. Thermal images from Stromboli taken during the overflight of 8 January 2019 showed the morphological structure of the individual vents of the N and CS crater areas. Courtesy of INGV (Report 03/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 07/01/2019 - 13/01/2019, (data emissione 15/01/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 143. An image taken at Stromboli during the overflight of 8 January 2019 shows the morphological structure of the summit Terrazza Craterica with three gullies at the base of the scoria cone of vent N2. The top thermal image (inset a) shows that the fumaroles in the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco have low temperatures. Courtesy of INGV (Report 03/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 07/01/2019 - 13/01/2019, data emissione 15/01/2019).

Activity during February 2019 declined slightly from the previous few months. Explosions at vent N1 were of medium-intensity and produced coarse material (lapilli and bombs). At N2, low-intensity explosions produced fine ash. Average explosion rates in the N area ranged from 4-11 per hour. At the CS area, continuous degassing and low-intensity explosions produced coarse and fine-grained material from vents C and S2 while low-intensity incandescent jets were active at S1. The explosion rates at the CS area averaged 2-13 per hour.

Geologic Background. Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at this volcano have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean." Stromboli, the NE-most of the Aeolian Islands, has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period from about 13,000 to 5000 years ago was followed by formation of the modern edifice. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent horseshoe-shaped scarp formed about 5000 years ago as a result of the most recent of a series of slope failures that extend to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, ballistic ejecta, and lava extrusion during October-December; partial collapse and tsunami in late December; Surtseyan activity in December-January 2019

Krakatau volcano, between Java in Sumatra in the Sunda Straight of Indonesia, is known for its catastrophic collapse in 1883 that produce far-reaching pyroclastic flows, ashfall, and tsunami. The pre-1883 edifice had grown within an even older collapse caldera that formed around 535 CE, resulting in a 7-km-wide caldera and the three surrounding islands of Verlaten, Lang, and Rakata (figure 55). Eruptions that began in late December 1927 (figures 56 and 57) built the Anak Krakatau cone above sea level (Sudradjat, 1982; Simkin and Fiske, 1983). Frequent smaller eruptions since that time, over 40 short episodes consisting of ash plumes, incandescent blocks and bombs, and lava flows, constructed an island reaching 338 m elevation.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. The three islands of Verlaten, Lang, and Rakata formed during a collapse event around 535 CE. Another collapse event occurred in 1883, producing widespread ashfall, pyroclastic flows, and triggering a tsunami. Through many smaller eruptions since then, Anak Krakatau has since grown in the center of the caldera. Sentinel-2 natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) satellite image acquired on 16 November 2018, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Photo sequence (made from a film) at 6-second intervals from the early phase of activity on 24 January 1928 that built the active Anak Krakatau cone above the ocean surface. Plume height reached about 1 km. View is from about 4.5 km away at a beach on Verlaten Island looking SE towards Rakata Island in the right background. Photos by Charles E. Stehn (Netherlands Indies Volcanological Survey) from the E.G. Zies Collection, Smithsonian Institution.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Submarine explosions in January 1928 built the active Anak Krakatau cone above the ocean surface. View is from about 600 m away looking E towards Lang Island in the background. Photos by Charles E. Stehn (Netherlands Indies Volcanological Survey) from the E.G. Zies Collection, Smithsonian Institution.

Historically there has been a lot of confusion about the name and preferred spelling of this volcano. Some have incorrectly made a distinction between the pre-1883 edifice being called "Krakatoa" and then using "Krakatau" for the current volcano. Anak Krakatau is the name of the active cone, but the overall volcano name is simply Krakatau. Simkin and Fiske (1983) explained as follows: "Krakatau was the accepted spelling for the volcano in 1883 and remains the accepted spelling in modern Indonesia. In the original manuscript copy submitted to the printers of the 1888 Royal Society Report, now in the archives of the Royal Society, this spelling has been systematically changed by a neat red line through the final 'au' and the replacement 'oa' entered above; a late policy change that, from some of the archived correspondence, saddened several contributors to the volume."

After 15 months of quiescence Krakatau began a new eruption phase on 21 June 2018, characterized by ash plumes, ballistic ejecta, Strombolian activity, and lava flows. Ash plumes reached 4.9 km and a lava flow traveled down the SE flank and entered the ocean. This report summarizes the activity from October 2018 to January 2019 based on reports by Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), MAGMA Indonesia, the National Board for Disaster Management - Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite data, and eye witness accounts.

Activity during October-21 December 2018. The eruption continued to eject incandescent ballistic ejecta, ash plumes, and lava flows in October through December 2018. On 22 December a partial collapse of Anak Krakatau began, dramatically changing the morphology of the island and triggering a deadly tsunami that impacted coastlines around the Sunda Straight. Following the collapse the vent was located below sea level and Surtseyan activity produced steam plumes, ash plumes, and volcanic lightning.

Sentinel-2 satellite images acquired through October show incandescence in the crater, lava flows on the SW flank, and incandescent material to the S to SE of the crater (figure 58). This correlates with eyewitness accounts of explosions ejecting incandescent ballistic ejecta, and Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) ash plume reports. The Darwin VAAC reported ash plumes to 1.5-2.4 km altitude that drifted in multiple directions during 17-19 October, but throughout most of October visual observations were limited due to fog. A video shared by Sutopo on 24 October shows ash emission and lava fountaining producing a lava flow that entered the ocean, resulting in a white plume. Video by Richard Roscoe of Photovolcanica shows explosions ejecting incandescent blocks onto the flanks and ash plumes accompanied by volcanic lightning on 25 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing lava flows, incandescent avalanche deposits, and incandescence in the crater of Anak Krakatau during October 2018. Courtesy of Sentinel-2 hub playground.

Throughout November frequent ash plumes rose to 0.3-1.3 km altitude, with explosion durations spanning 29-212 seconds (figure 59). Observations by Øystein Lund Andersen describe explosions ejecting incandescent material with ash plumes and some associated lightning on 17 November (figure 60).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Sentinel-2 satellite images showing ash plumes at Krakatau during 6-16 November 2018. Natural color (Bands 4, 3, 2) Sentinel-2 images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Krakatau erupting an ash plume and incandescent material on 17 November 2018. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.

During 1-21 December intermittent explosions lasting 46-776 seconds produced ash plumes that rose up to 1 km altitude. Thermal signatures were sporadically detected by various satellite thermal infrared sensors during this time. On 22 December ash plumes reached 0.3-1.5 km through the day and continuous tremor was recorded.

Activity and events during 22-28 December 2018. The following events during the evening of the 22nd were recorded by Øystein Lund Andersen, who was photographing the eruption from the Anyer-Carita area in Java, approximately 47 km from Anak Krakatau. Starting at 1429 local time, incandescence and ash plumes were observed and the eruption could be heard as intermittent 'cannon-fire' sounds, sometimes shaking walls and windows. An increase in intensity was noted at around 1700, when the ash column increased in height and was accompanied by volcanic lightning, and eruption sounds became more frequent (figure 61). A white steam plume began to rise from the shore of the southern flank. After sunset incandescent ballistic blocks were observed impacting the flanks, with activity intensity peaking around 1830 with louder eruption sounds and a higher steam plume from the ocean (figure 62).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Ash plumes at Krakatau from 1429 to 1739 on 22 December 2018. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Krakatau ejecting incandescent blocks and ash during 1823-1859 on 22 December 2018. The top and middle images show the steam plume at the shore of the southern flank. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.

PVMBG recorded an eruption at 2103. When viewed at 2105 by Øystein Lund Andersen, a dark plume across the area blocked observations of Anak Krakatau and any incandescence (figure 63). At 2127-2128 the first tsunami wave hit the shore and traveled approximately 15 m inland (matching the BNPB determined time of 2127). At approximately 2131 the sound of the ocean ceased and was soon replaced by a rumbling sound and the second, larger tsunami wave impacted the area and traveled further inland, where it reached significant depths and caused extensive damage (figures 64 and 65). After the tsunami, eruption activity remained high and the eruption was heard again during intervals from 0300 through to early afternoon.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Krakatau is no longer visible at 2116 on 22 December 2018, minutes before the first tsunami wave arrived at west Java. A dark ash plume takes up much of the view. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. The second tsunami wave arriving at Anyer-Carita area of Java after the Krakatau collapse. This photo was taken at 2133 on 22 December 2018, courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Photographs showing damage caused in the Anyer-Carita area of Java by the tsunami that was triggered by the partial collapse of Krakatau. From top to bottom, these images were taken approximately 40 m, 20 m, and 20 m from the shore on 23 December 2018. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.

Observations on 23 December reveal steam-rich ash plumes and base surge traveling along the water, indicative of the shallow-water Surtseyan eruption (figure 66). Ashfall was reported on the 26th in several regions including Cilegon, Anyer, and Serang. The first radar observations of Krakatau were on 24 December and showed a significant removal of material from the island (figure 67). At 0600 on the 27th the volcanic alert level was increased from II to III (on a scale of I-IV) and a VONA with Aviation Color Code Red reported an ash plume to approximately 7 km altitude that dispersed to the NE. When Anak Krakatau was visible, Surtseyan activity and plumes were observed through the end of December. On 28 December, plumes reached 200-3000 m. At 0418 the eruption paused and the first observation of the post-collapse edifice was made. The estimated removed volume (above sea level) was 150-180 million m3, leaving a remaining volume of 40-70 million m3. The summit of the pre-collapse cone was 338 m, while the highest point post-collapse was reduced to 110 m. Hundreds of thousands of lightning strokes were detected during 22-28 December with varying intensity (figure 68).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Steam-rich plumes and underlying dark ash plumes from Surtseyan activity at Krakatau on 23 December 2018. Photos by Instagram user @didikh017 at Grand Cava Susi Air, via Sutopo.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. ALOS-2 satellite radar images showing Krakatau on 20 August 2018 and 24 December 2018. The later image shows that a large part of the cone of Anak Krakatau had collapsed. Courtesy of Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) via Sutopo.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Lightning strokes during the eruption of Krakatau within a 20 km radius of the volcano for 30 minute intervals on 23, 25, 26, and 28 December 2018. Courtesy of Chris Vagasky.

Damage resulting from the 22 December tsunami. On the 29 December the damage reported by BNPB was 1,527 heavily damaged housing units, 70 with moderate damage, 181 with light damage, 78 damaged lodging and warung units, 434 damaged boats and ships and some damage to public facilities. Damage was recorded in the five regencies of Pandenglang, Serang, South Lampung, Pesawaran and Tanggamus. A BNPB report on 14 January gave the following figures: 437 fatalities, 10 people missing, 31,943 people injured, and 16,198 people evacuated (figure 69). The eruption and tsunami resulted in damage to the surrounding islands, with scouring on the Anak-Krakatau-facing slope of Rakata and damage to vegetation on Kecil island (figure 70 and 71).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. The impacts of the tsunami that was triggered by a partial collapse of Anak Krakatau from an update given on 14 January 2019. Translations are as follows. Korban Meninggal: victims; Korban hilang: missing; Korban luka-luka: injured; Mengungsi: evacuated. The color scale from green to red along the coastline indicates the breakdown of the human impacts by area. Courtesy of BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Damage on Rakata Island from the Krakatau tsunami. This part of the island is facing Anak Krakatau and the scoured area was estimated to be 25 m high. Photographs taken on 10 January 2019 by James Reynolds.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Damage to vegetation on Kecil island to the East of Krakatau, from the Krakatau December 2018 eruption. Photographs taken on 10 January 2019 by James Reynolds.

Activity during January 2019. Surtseyan activity continued into January 2019. Øystein Lund Andersen observed the eruption on 4-5 January. Activity on 4 January was near-continuous. The photographs show black cock's-tail jets that rose a few hundred meters before collapsing (figure 72), accompanied by white lateral base surge that spread from the vent across the ocean (figure 73), and white steam plumes that were visible from Anyer-Carita, West Java. In the evening the ash-and-steam plume was much higher (figure 74). It was also noted that older pumice had washed ashore at this location and a coating of sulfur was present along the beach and some of the water surface. Activity decreased again on the 5th (figure 75) with a VONA reporting an ash plume to 1.5 km towards the WSW. SO2 plumes were dispersed to the NE, E, and S during this time (figure 76).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Black ash plumes and white steam plumes from the Surtseyan eruption at Krakatau on 4 January 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. An expanding base surge at Krakatau on 4 January 2019 at 0911. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Ash-and-steam plumes at Krakatau at 1702-2250 on 4 January 2018. Lightning is illuminating the plume in the bottom image. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Ash plumes at Krakatau on 5 January 2019 at 0935. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions produced by Krakatau and drifting to the NE, E, and SE on 3-6 January 2018. Dates and times of the periods represented are listed at the top of each image. Courtesy of the NASA Space Goddard Flight Center.

During 5-9 January intermittent explosions lasting 20 seconds to 13 minutes produced ash plumes rising up to 1.2 km and dispersing E. From 11 to 19 January white plumes were observed up to 500 m. Observations were prevented due to fog during 20-31 January. MIROVA thermal data show elevated thermal anomalies from July through January, with a decrease in energy in November through January (figure 77). The radiative power detected in December-January was the lowest since June 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Log radiative power MIROVA plot of MODIS thermal infrared data for June 2018-January 2019. The peaks in energy correlate with observed lava flows. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Morphological changes to Anak Krakatau. Images taken before and after the collapse event show changes in the shoreline, destruction of vegetation, and removal of the cone (figure 78). A TerraSAR-X image acquired on 29 January shows that in the location where the cone and active vent was, a bay had formed, opening to the W (figure 79). These changes are also visible in Sentinel-2 satellite images, with the open bay visible through light cloud cover on 29 December (figure 80).

By 9 January a rim had formed, closing off the bay to the ocean and forming a circular crater lake. Photos by James Reynolds on 11 January show a new crater rim to the W of the vent, which was filled with water (figure 81). Steam and/or gas emissions were emanating from the surface in that area. The southern lava delta surface was covered with tephra, and part of the lava delta had been removed, leaving a smooth coastline. By the time these images were taken there was already extensive erosion of the fresh deposits around the island. Fresh material extended the coast in places and filled in bays to produce a more even shoreline.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Krakatau on 5 August 2018 (top) and on 11 January 2019 showing the edifice after the collapse event. The two drone photographs show approximately the same area. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen (top) and James Reynolds (bottom).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. TerraSAR-X radar images showing the morphological changes to Krakatau with the changes outlined in the bottom right image as follows. Red: 30 August 2018 (upper left image); blue: 29 December 2018 (upper right image); yellow: 9 January 2019 (lower left image). Part of the southern lava delta was removed and material was added to the SE and NE to N shoreline. In the 29 December image the cone has collapsed and in its place is an open bay, which had been closed by a new rim by the 9 January. Courtesy of BNPB, JAXA Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Badan Informasi Geospasial (BIG).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Sentinel-2 satellite images showing the changing morphology of Krakatau. The SW section is where the cone previously sat and collapsed in December 2018. In the upper right image the cone and southern lava delta are gone and there are changes to the coastline of the entire island. Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) Sentinel-2 satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Drone footage of the Krakatau crater and new crater rim taken on 11 January 2019. The island is coated in fresh tephra from the eruption and the orange is discolored water due to the eruption. The land between the crater lake and the ocean built up since the collapse and the hot deposits are still producing steam/gas. Courtesy of James Reynolds.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. An aerial view of Krakatau with the new crater on 13 January 2019. Courtesy of BNPB.

References. Simkin, T., and Fiske, R.S., 1983, Krakatau 1883: the volcanic eruption and its effects: Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC, 464 p. ISBN 0-87474-841-0.

Sudradjat (Sumartadipura), A., 1982. The morphological development of Anak Krakatau Volcano, Sunda Straight. Geologi Indonesia, 9(1):1-11.

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

Information Contacts: Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN ); Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI), 1 Kitasato, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0811, Japan. (URL: http://www.gsi.go.jp/ENGLISH/index.html); Badan Informasi Geospasial (BIG), Jl. Raya Jakarta - Bogor KM. 46 Cibinong 16911, Indonesia. (URL: http://www.big.go.id/atlas-administrasi/); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); JAXA | Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, 7-44-1 Jindaiji Higashi-machi, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-8522 (URL: https://global.jaxa.jp/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://www.oysteinlundandersen.com/krakatau-volcano-witnessing-the-eruption-tsunami-22december2018/); James Reynolds, Earth Uncut TV (Twitter: @EarthUncutTV, URL: https://www.earthuncut.tv/, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLKYsEXfI0PGXeKYL1KV7qA); Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/en?type=1, Twitter: @COweatherman, URL: https://twitter.com/COweatherman).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).


Reventador (Ecuador) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak explosions and ash plumes beginning 21 October 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Yasur (Vanuatu) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Ambae (Vanuatu) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/NZ/messages.html); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Himawari-8 Real-time Web, developed by the NICT Science Cloud project in NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology), Japan, in collaboration with JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency) and CEReS (Center of Environmental Remote Sensing, Chiba University) (URL: https://himawari8.nict.go.jp/); Vanuatu Red Cross Society (URL: https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuRedCross); William A. Brooks and Ronald L. Holle, Vaisala Inc., Tucson, Arizona, and Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/); Michael Rowe, The University of Auckland, 23 Symonds Street, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand (URL: https://unidirectory.auckland.ac.nz/profile/michael-rowe); Radio New Zealand, 155 The Terrace, Wellington 6011, New Zealand (URL: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/359231/vanuatu-provincial-capital-moves-due-to-volcano); Vanuatu Daily Post (URL: http://dailypost.vu/).


Agung (Indonesia) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Erebus (Antarctica) — January 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lakes persist through 2017 and 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Villarrica (Chile) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 35, Number 03 (March 2010)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Eyjafjallajokull (Iceland)

Fissure eruption and lava flows from E flank on 20 March

Fournaise, Piton de la (France)

Seismicity and eruptions January 2009 and November 2009-January 2010

Santa Maria (Guatemala)

Continuing frequent ash explosions through 2008-2009

Sheveluch (Russia)

Near-constant dome growth during May 2008 through March 2010

Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom)

Lava dome growth continuing; pyroclastic flows reached the ocean

Stromboli (Italy)

Explosions and lava flows in 2009; recent reports on 2007 eruption

Telica (Nicaragua)

Incandescent crater floor areas seen in November 2009 and March 2010



Eyjafjallajokull (Iceland) — March 2010 Citation iconCite this Report

Eyjafjallajokull

Iceland

63.633°N, 19.633°W; summit elev. 1651 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption and lava flows from E flank on 20 March

During March 2010, the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) and the Nordic Volcanological Center of the University of Iceland's Institute of Earth Sciences (IES) reported the first eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in southern Iceland since 1823. The following was mostly condensed from a multitude of reports on the EIS and IMO websites, and only discusses activity through the start of the explosive summit phase. Many of the satellite images featured here came from the NASA Earth Observatory.

From 20 March to 12 April 2010 the eruption's first phase occurred from a fissure 9 km ENE of the summit, an area named Fimmvörðuháls, located between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull icecaps (figure 1). These vents on the lower E slopes were snow-covered but not under the year-round icecap found at higher elevations. Lava flows filled gullies, and quickly melted adjacent winter snow, creating small steam plumes. After apparent cessation of the fissure activity on or about 12 April, a second phase of the eruption began on 14 April (figures 2 and 3, table 1), generating ash plumes that blew E to Europe and resulted in a 20-80% decrease of airline flights for as much as a week (Wall and Flottau, 2010). As of late May the eruption continued, with occasional plumes that restricted air travel in parts of Europe.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Map of southern Iceland showing Eyjafjallajökull and Katla volcanoes, towns, and locations of monitoring instruments. The Mýrdalsjökull icecap overlies Katla. ("Jökull" translates to "glacier" or "icecap" in English). Index map showing some eruptive centers is from Laursen (2010). Base map courtesy of IMO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Approximately N-looking interpretive cross-section cartoon drawn between Eyjafjallajökull and Katla. The eruption of 20 March was located at Fimmvörðuháls. Starting on 14 April, eruptions took place at the summit caldera. Notice the thin upper layer (blue on colored versions) representing glacial ice and the inferred common linkage at ~ 2 km depth below sea level of the conduits feeding the two active vent areas. Courtesy of Páll Einarsson (IES).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. ASTER image of the Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörðuháls vents at 1350 local time on 19 April. The image shows both visible information and heat signatures from areas of anomalously high thermal infrared (IR) radiation (for colored versions, yellow is hottest, red, cooler). For the Fimmvörðuháls the thermal signature shows the extent of lava flows no longer extruding but still hot. At the summit, the vent is clearly active, with a thermal signature and a dense white plume blowing SSE. ASTER is the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer flying on NASA's Terra satellite. Courtesy of Rob Simmon, the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team, and Holli Riebeek, NASA Earth Observatory.

Table 1. Preliminary data regarding the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, which started at an E-flank vent (Fimmvörðuháls) and then later shifted to the ice-covered summit caldera. The grain sizes of the second phase of the eruption were quantified by The Environment Agency of Iceland; other data courtesy of IMO and IES.

Dates Activity Rock type and description
20 Mar-12 Apr 2010 Fissure eruptions of lava flows at Fimmvörðuháls. Alkali-olivine basalt (~47.7 wt % SiO2). Euhedral plagiclase, olivine, and clinopyroxene phenocrysts seem to be in equilibrium with magma.
14 Apr 2010 and later Explosions from the summit caldera of Eyjafjallajökull. Ash clouds, initially up to ~11 km altitude. Trachyandesite (56.7-59.6 wt % SiO2). Grain size from sample at Mýrdalssandur (50 km from vent): 24%, under 10 ?m (as aerosol); 33% , 10-50 ?m; 20% , 50-146 ?m; 23%, 146-294 ?m. Fluorine: 850 mg/kg (19 April).

Precursory observations. The IES website contained a list of scientific papers and publications including several noting restlessness at Fimmvörðuhálsat in recent years (see Further References below). The IES reports noted that the Fimmvörðuháls eruption followed weeks of high seismicity and deformation (figure 4).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. (top) Map of the southern Iceland GPS (Global Positioning System) network, including stations THEY, SKOG, STE1, and STE2. (bottom) Displacement measurements for selected continuous/semi-continuous GPS stations around Eyjafjallajökull from early July 2009 to early March 2010. Inset photograph is of station SKOG. Courtesy of IES.

In general terms, GPS data indicated that permanent station Thorvaldseyri (THEY; S of the volcano, figure 4) started moving S in late December 2009. In the weeks prior to the eruption, there was rapid deformation at Skogaheidi (SKOG; S of the volcano) and Steinsholt (STE1 and STE2; N of the volcano). IES identified three distinct phases in the GPS data. First, at the end of December, the southward motion of THEY. Second, at the beginning of February 2010, displacement at THEY changed to SW as SKOG began E displacement. Third, after 5 March, STE2 displaced rapidly NW and up. Scientists noticed a trend after 4 March at continuous GPS sites installed within 12 km of the eruptive site; all showed deformation at rates of up to a centimeter a day.

Seismic tremor began around 2230 on 4 March, and around that time, signal sources rose slowly towards the surface. Compared to the weeks prior to the eruption, seismicity increased rather slowly immediately prior to the eruption. However, as the eruption onset neared, geophysicists saw both the depth of earthquakes decrease and the locations of earthquakes move from the area under the summit towards the Fimmvörðuháls site.

According to Laursen (2010) "Eyjafjallajökull's so-far-unpredictable behavior offers a perfect example of the challenge facing volcanologists. Before this spring's first eruption...GPS stations on the volcano had wandered several centimeters in May of 2009 and again in December, signs that rising magma was stretching the skin of the volcano in advance of an eruption. In mid-February...Steinunn Jakobsdóttir, a geophysicist at IMO, was tracking tremors ~ 5 kilometers below Eyjafjallajökull's surface. But officials didn't order evacuations because the seismic hints weren't that dire. 'Usually when an eruption starts, a low-frequency [seismic signal] is rising when the magma is coming to the surface,' says Jakobsdóttir. Although seismic tracking placed magma closer to the surface on 19 March, this low-frequency signal was absent, so civil authorities kept the alert level at its lowest setting. But the next night, southern Icelanders reported a dark cloud glowing red above the mountain: The volcano had experienced a small eruption, one that led authorities to evacuate farmers living in its floodplains."

Eruption from Fimmvörðuháls. Late on 20 March 2010 an eruption began at Fimmvörðuháls, an area around 1,000 m elevation in a ~ 2-km-wide pass of ice-free land between Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. Initially detected visually, the eruption was seen at 2352 that day as a red cloud above the site.

The eruption broke out with Hawaiian-style fire fountains (figure 5) on a ~ 500-m-long, NE-oriented fissure (at 63° 38.1' N, 19° 26.4' W). Lava flowed a short distance from the eruptive site and a minor eruption plume rose to less than 1 km altitude and blew W. Tephra fall was minor or insignificant.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Image of fissure eruption at Eyjafjallajökull taken 21 March 2010 by Sigrún Hreinsdóttir. Courtesy of IES.

Airborne observers during 0400-0700 on 21 March described a short eruptive fissure with fire fountaining from 10-12 vents reaching up to ~ 100 m height. Eruption tremor rose slowly until reaching a maximum at around 0700-0800 that day. No further lengthening of the fissure was detected. Lava was still limited to the immediate surroundings of the eruptive craters (runouts of less than few hundred meters). Minor ashfall occurred within a few kilometers W.

On 22 March, observations made from the ground showed lava extrusion from a series of closely-spaced vents. Prevailing E winds led to maximum scoria accumulation on a linear rim W of the NE-trending fissure. A'a lava flowed over the steep Hrunagil canyon rim creating spectacular 'lava falls.'

During 23-31 March, lava steadily issued at the initial craters, with gradual focusing towards fewer vents. Lava advanced N into the Hrunagil and Hvannárgil valleys, with continuation of intermittent lava falls (figures 6-8). Lava descending gullies generated zones of frothy rock. Extensive steam plumes occurred when advancing lava encountered water and snow. Two or three plumes were observed (one at the eruptive craters, others more pronounced in front of the advancing lava). Meltwater descended in batches into rivers valleys, and seismometers recorded relatively steady eruption tremor.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. EO-1 ALI satellite image with annotations indicating path of lava flows from the Fimmvörðuháls vent, 24 March 2010. Note N arrow and scale at lower left. Courtesy of Robert Simmon, NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Photo showing lava falls developed when lava flows encountered steep canyon walls, 1 April 2010. Courtesy of Sigrún Hreinsdóttir, IES.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Map showing Fimmvörðuháls fissures and the distribution of new scoria and lava at various points in time during 21 March-7 April 2010. Table indicates cumulative areal extent of the deposits. Courtesy of EIS and Icelandic Coast Guard.

On the evening of 31 March, scientists noted the opening of a new short fissure immediately N of the previous one. This change may have been a response to changes at shallow depth in the feeder channel. Eruption tremor remained unchanged. During 31 March-6 April, lava discharged in both the old and new eruptive craters in a manner similar to before. Pronounced 'lava falls' returned to Hvannárgil valley.

During 1-2 April 2010 a team from the Italian Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) working in collaboration with the scientists from IES conducted gas measurements at Fimmvörðuháls (Burton and others, 2010). Three measurement techniques were used: open-path FTIR (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy), DOAS (differential optical absorption spectroscopy), and a sulfur dioxide (SO2) imaging system. The FTIR spectrometer uses infrared radiation emitted from the erupting lavas as a source for absorption spectrometry of gases emitted from the explosive vents. Spectra are analyzed using a single-beam retrieval, which allows pathlength estimates of H2O, CO2, SO2, HCl, and HF. Favorable wind conditions allowed traverse measurements under the gas plume with a DOAS spectrometer for SO2 flux estimates.

The investigators found that the SO2 gas flux was ~ 3,000 metric tons per day. Approximately 70% of the SO2 flux was produced by the fissure that opened 31 March, with ~ 30% emitted by the fissure that had opened on 21 March. The overall HF flux was ~ 30 tons per day. Gas compositions emitted from the two fissures were broadly similar and rich in H2O (over 80% by mole), less than 15% CO2, and less than 3% SO2. The SO2/HCl ratio varied at the 31 March fissure on 1 and 2 April (25% and 5%, respectively).

On 5 April, eruption tremor (at 1-2 Hz recorded at the nearest seismic station, Godabunga) began to gradually decline. By 7 April lava emissions had stopped from the original craters, but continued at the 31 March fissure.

When IES surveyed the new landscape on 7 April (figure 9), they found 1.3 km2 of new lava, an average thickness of new lava there of 10-12 m, and an estimated volume of eruptive material of 22-24 x 106 m3. From this they computed an average emission rate of ~ 15 m3/s. The tallest new cone reached an elevation 1,067 m, ~ 82 m above the previous ground surface. Another cone with a rim at 1,032 m elevation was 47 m above the previous surface and the vent area glowed red.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. The Fimmvörðuháls as surveyed and photographed by Freysteinn Sigmundsson and Eyjólfur Magnússon on 7 April 2010. Values shown are elevations and those in parentheses refer to the approximate net gain in elevation due to fresh deposits on the pre-eruption surface. Courtesy of IES.

By 9 April, after little change in deformation rates during the eruption, time series at continuous GPS stations N of the volcano showed sudden change, partly jumping back to pre-eruptive levels. On 11 April, eruption tremor also approached pre-eruptive levels, but visual observation revealed eruptive activity in late afternoon. Seismic tremor on 12 April reached a minimum.

Eruption from the summit caldera. The second, more explosive eruptive phase, began on 14 April 2010 at the subglacial, central summit caldera. This phase was preceded by an earthquake swarm from around 2300 on 13 April to 0100 on 14 April. Meltwater started to emanate from the icecap around 0700 on 14 April and an eruption plume was observed later that morning. The exact conditions at the summit were unknown due to cloud cover obscuring the volcano, but on 15 April an overflight imaged the erupting caldera using radar (figure 10).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. This 15 April radar image of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption depicts the otherwise hidden scene at the cloud-covered summit caldera. The glacial snow and ice had deformed and melted, forming circular depressions (ice cauldrons) in the icecap's surface. Flooding from the melting glacier had led to the various features on and below the glacier to the N and S (illustrated by labels). The data were acquired via aircraft by the Icelandic Coast Guard during 1700-1800 on 15 April 2010. The glacier margin and surface contours came from a 2004 investigation. Courtesy of Icelandic Coast Guard and IES.

The 15 April radar image helped depict a series of vents along a 2-km-long, N-oriented fissure. Both on top of and from below, meltwater flowed down the N and S slopes. Jokulhlaups (floods of meltwater also carrying considerable debris) reached the lowlands around the volcano with peak flow around noon on 14 April, causing destruction of roads, infrastructure, and farmlands. Residents had earlier been evacuated from hazardous areas. Tephra fall began in SE Iceland. That evening, a second jokulhlaup emanated from the icecap down the Markarfljot valley, which trends E-W along the N margin of the volcano and contains extensive outwash from surrounding glaciers.

On 15 April the ash plume reached a maximum altitude of over 8 km. E-blown ash began to arrive over mainland Europe closing airspace over the British Isles and large parts of Northern Europe. Ash generation continued at a similar level. Meltwater emerged from the glacier in pulses. Debris-charged jokulhlaups were seen in the evening.

Chemical analyses of mid-April ash samples revealed fluorine-rich intermediate eruptive products with silica content of ~ 58%. The initial lavas erupted at Fimmvörðuháls had silica contents of ~ 48% (table 1).

References. Burton, M., Salerno, G., La Spina, A., Stefansson, A., and Kaasalainen, H., 2010, Gas composition and flux report, IES web site.

Laursen, L., 2010, Iceland eruptions fuel interest in volcanic gas monitoring: Science, v. 328, no. 5977, p. 410-411.

Sigmarsson, O., Óskarsson, N., Þórðarson, Þ., Larsen, and G., Höskuldsson, Á, 2010, Preliminary interpretations of chemical analysis of tephra from Eyjafjallajökull volcano (report on the IES website).

Wall, R., and Flottau, J., 2010. Out of the ashes: Rising losses and recriminations rile Europe's air transport sector: Aviation Week & Space Technology, v. 172, no. 16, p.23-25.

Further References. Dahm, T., and Brandsdóttir, B., 1997, Moment tensors of micro-earthquakes from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in South Iceland: Geophysical Journal International, v. 130, no.1, p. 183-192, DOI:10.1111/j.1365-246X.1997.tb00997.x.

Guðmundsson, M.T., and Gylfason, A.G., 2004, H?ttumat vegna eldgosa og hlaupa frá vestanverðum Mýrdalsjökli og Eyjafjallajökli. Háskólaútgáfan og Ríkislögreglustjórinn [Volcanic risk assessment run from Mýrdalsjökli and Eyjafjallajökull measurements]: University of Iceland and the National Police, 230 p.

Hjaltadottir, S., K. S. Vogfjord and R. Slunga, 2009, Seismic signs of magma pathways through the crust at Eyjafjallajokull volcanoe, South Iceland: Icelandic Meteorological Office report, VI 2009-013 (http://www.vedur.is/media/vedurstofan/utgafa/skyrslur/2009/VI_2009_013.pdf).

Hooper, A., Pedersen, R., and Sigmundsson, F., 2009, Constraints on magma intrusion at Eyjafjallajökull and Katla volcanoes in Iceland, from time series SAR interferometry, p. 13-24 in Bean, C.J., Braiden, A.K., Lokmer, I., Martini, F., and O'Brien, G.S., eds., The VOLUME project - Volcanoes: Understanding subsurface mass movement: School of Geological Sciences, University College Dublin.

Larsen, G., 1999, Gosi í Eyjafjallajökli 1821-1823 [The eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 1821-1823]: Science Institute Research Report RH-28-99, Reykjavík, 13 p.

Pedersen, R., Sigmundsson, F., and Einarsson, P., 2007, Controlling factors on earthquake swarms associated with magmatic intrusions; Constraints from Iceland: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 162, p. 73-80.

Pedersen, R., and Sigmundsson, F., 2004, InSAR based sill model links spatially offset areas of deformation and seismicity for the 1994 unrest episode at Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Iceland: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 31, L14610 doi: 10.1029/2004GL020368.

Pedersen, R., and Sigmundsson, F., 2006, Temporal development of the 1999 intrusive episode in the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Iceland, derived from InSAR images: Bulletin Volcanology, v. 68, p. 377-393.

Sigmundsson, F., Geirsson, H., Hooper, A. J., Hjaltadottir, S., Vogfjord, K. S., Sturkell, E. C., Pedersen, R., Pinel, V., Fabien, A., Einarsson, P., Gudmundsson, M. T., Ofeigsson, B., and Feigl, K., 2009, Magma ascent at coupled volcanoes: Episodic magma injection at Katla and Eyjafjallajökull ice-covered volcanoes in Iceland and the onset of a new unrest episode in 2009: Eos (Transactions of the American Geophysical Union), v. 90, no. 52, Fall Meeting Supplement, Abstract V32B-03.

Sturkell, E., Einarsson, P., Sigmundsson, F., Hooper, A., Ófeigsson, B.G., Geirsson, H., and Ólafsson, H., 2009, Katla and Eyjafjallajökull volcanoes, p. 5-12 in Schomacker, A., Krüger. J., and Kjr, K.H., eds., The Mrdalsjökull Ice cap, Iceland - Glacial processes, sediments and landforms on an active volcano: Developments in Quaternary Sciences, v. 13.

Geologic Background. Eyjafjallajökull (also known as Eyjafjöll) is located west of Katla volcano. It consists of an elongated ice-covered stratovolcano with a 2.5-km-wide summit caldera. Fissure-fed lava flows occur on both the E and W flanks, but are more prominent on the western side. Although the volcano has erupted during historical time, it has been less active than other volcanoes of Iceland's eastern volcanic zone, and relatively few Holocene lava flows are known. An intrusion beneath the S flank from July-December 1999 was accompanied by increased seismic activity. The last historical activity prior to an eruption in 2010 produced intermediate-to-silicic tephra from the central caldera during December 1821 to January 1823.

Information Contacts: Nordic Volcanological Center, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, Sturlugata 7, Askja, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland (URL: http://www.earthice.hi.is/page/ies_volcanoes) [contributors:Páll Einarsson, ásta Rut Hjartardóttir, Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, Freysteinn Sigmundsson, Niels Oskarsson, Gudrun Larsen, Sigrun Hreinsdottir, Rikke Pedersen, Ingibjörg Jónsdóttir]; Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO), Bústaðavegur 9, 150 Reykjavík, Iceland (URL: http://en.vedur.is/) [contributors:Steinunn Jakobsdóttir, Kristin S. Vogfjord, Sigurlaug Hjaltadottir, Gunnar B. Gudmundsson, Matthew J. Roberts]; The Environment Agency of Iceland, Sudurlandsbraut 24, 108 Reykjavik, Iceland (URL: http://english.ust.is/); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon EX1 3PB, United Kingdom (URL: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/aviation/vaac/).


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — March 2010 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)


Seismicity and eruptions January 2009 and November 2009-January 2010

Eruptions from Piton de la Fournaise resumed in September 2008 after more than 16 months of quiet (BGVN 34:02). Eruptive episodes inside Dolomeiu crater, as reported by the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPDLF), took during 21 September-2 October and on 28 November 2008, with a third that began on 15 December and continued into January 2009. This report presents observations from January 2009 through January 2010.

Eruptions during 21 September 2008-4 February 2009. Eruptive phases in September, November, and December 2008 were previously described (BGVN 34:02). OVPDLF reported that the episode that began on 14 December 2008 ended on 4 February 2009. During that eruption two vents were active; lava flowed to the bottom of Dolomieu crater through lava tubes and caused the crust over the pooled area to rise. Some incandescence was noted at night and at dawn. Eruption tremor was irregular until 1 January, when it suddenly stopped. Tremor gradually rose over the next few days, but to a relatively low level, where it remained steady until slowly dropping again in early February (figure 79). Lava flows from this eruption covered an area of approximately 420 x 220 m, with a thickness of 75 m (figure 80).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Tremor at Piton de la Fournaise, 14 December 2008-5 February 2009. Courtesy of OVPDLF.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Cumulative lava flows in Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise during the September 2008-February 2009 eruption. Flows covered 420 x 220 m to a depth of 75 m. Courtesy of OVPDLF.

Activity during October 2009-January 2010. The OVPDLF reported three eruptions from the summit region at the Dolomieu crater's W wall adjacent to Bory crater between November 2009 and January 2010. The flows traveled to the E down the steep cliff toward the crater floor. These eruptions began on 5 November 2009, lasting about two days; on 14 December 2009, lasting 6 hours; and on 2 January 2010, lasting 10 days.

During 5-13 October 2009, OVPDLF reported increased seismicity (figure 81). Seismicity from 14 to 17 October indicated deformation on the N side of, and rockfalls within, the Dolomieu crater. On 18 October another seismic crisis was noted along with deformation on the N and S sides of the Dolomieu crater. Aerial observations on 19 October revealed a small new fumarole in the crater. Unspecified changes in the chemical composition of the gases were also noted. On 20 October rockfalls occured in greater number and longer duration than in previous days.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. A graph showing the number of volcano-tectonic earthquakes/day registered between 1 July 2009 and 26 January 2010 at Piton de la Fournaise. Horizontal bars indicate eruptions. Courtesy OVPDLF.

On 4 November 2009 a magnitude 3 earthquake at 0604 was felt by some residents of the southern part of the island. Such a magnitude is uncommon at this volcano. Seismologists at the Observatory located the earthquake at 750 m below sea level, under the southwestern edge of the Dolomieu crater. Later that day, 167 earthquakes of lesser magnitude followed. The focal depths rose to ~ 1 km above sea level with epicenters below the summit.

OVPDLF reported that 30 minutes after an intense seismic event on 5 November, a tremor signal characteristic of the beginning of an eruption occurred, and a vent opened inside the southern part of the Dolomieu crater. Within another 30 minutes, a fissure on the upper SE flank propagated E, and a second fissure opened on the E flank.

Lava fountains ~ 20 m high and flows were emitted from both fissures. The glowing lava was visible from the edge of the Enclos Fouqué and from the road in the Grand Brulé. Beginning around 1500, there was a gradual decrease in the intensity of the eruption. At 0645 on 6 November, a reconnaissance was conducted by a helicopter supplied by the National Gendarmerie, which confirmed that two fissures were open in the S side, S and E of the Dolomieu summit crater. Each emitted a lava flow descending to ~ 1,970 m elevation. As of 0730 that day, the lava ceased flowing, with a gradual decrease in the intensity of the eruption tremor.

At 1730 on 14 December a seismic event preceded a rise in summit deformation (8 cm horizontal). Eruptive tremor began at 1830, and an eruption began at 1845. A system of sub-parallel fissures along the summit of Dolomieu crater fed lava flows on the S slope of the volcano, inside the Enclos Fouqué. A second fissure system opened on the E flank of the Dolomieu summit crater at 2025, and lava flows advanced down the eastern slope. This eruption ended at 0040 after a gradual decrease in magma supply. On 15 December, a visible degassing in the S and SE fissures was associated with low-intensity eruptive tremor. All of the lava flows were confined to high portions of the S and SE slopes.

Fissure-fed fountaining sent lava flows down the S flank on 14 December 2009. Another seismic event on 29 December was characterized by numerous earthquakes up to M 3 in the area W and NW of Dolomieu crater at depths of 1.1-2.2 km below the summit. Deformation was also detected. OVPDLF reported decreased seismicity and fewer landslides within Dolomieu crater on 30 and 31 December.

On 2 January 2010 a fissure eruption near the top of the W crater rim (figure 82) was preceded by a seismic event and another 3 cm of horizontal deformation. Lava fountains rose a few tens of meters high and sent lava flows into Dolomieu crater, and ash and gas plumes rose above Piton de la Fournaise. Large landslides also occurred in Bory crater (W). During 2-3 January, seismicity and the number of landslides decreased. A series of ash plumes was noted through 12 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Dolomieu crater on 2 January from its W rim showing lava flows and fountains. The dense gray plume was attributed to collapse along the steep crater wall. Courtesy of OVPDLF.

As of 4 January, the lava flows covered about 80% of the crater floor. Lava fountaining was still visible during 5-7 January and continued to erupt from a vent along a fissure high on the SW Dolomieu crater wall. The vent produced lava fountains and flows that pooled in the bottom of the crater. On 7 January the vent closed, but the previously erupted lava continued to flow for the next few days (figure 83). Seismicity decreased on 12 January and only minor gas emissions persisted. Figure 82 shows the lava flow along the axis where extensive glowing flows were visible. Some flows around this time were fed by lava tubes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. A photo taken on the morning of 7 January 2010 of the lava vent flows from the W wall adjacent to Bory crater at Piton de la Fournaise. Courtesy of Undervol, OVPDLF.

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: Laurent Michon and Patrick Bachélery, Laboratoire GéoSciences Réunion, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Université de La Réunion, CNRS, UMR 7154-Géologie des Systèmes Volcaniques, La Réunion, France; Guillaume Levieux, Thomas Staudacher, and Valérie Ferrazzini, Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPDLF), Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 14 route nationale 3, 27ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr/ovpf/actualites-ovpf/).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — March 2010 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuing frequent ash explosions through 2008-2009

Ongoing volcanism, including ash explosions, pyroclastic flows, avalanches, and lahars had continued through November 2007 at Santa Maria (BGVN 32:10). Subsequent activity has been closely monitored by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), with input from the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Activity during 2008. On 11 January 2008, INSIVUMEH reported constant avalanches of blocks from the lava flows on the W and SW flanks of Santa María's Santiaguito lava dome complex. Weak-to-moderate explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.1-4.5 km and drifted SW. On 6 February, weak explosions generated white columns of water and steam and ash that rose ~ 200 m above the crater rim. There were also a few avalanches onto the W flank lava flow. Degassing on 8 February was characterized by steam and gray plumes of fine ash on the SW flank. A significant magmatic explosion that threw fine ash up to ~ 5 km altitude and drifted ~ 4 km to the SW was followed by weak explosions of steam and ash. Avalanches of blocks from the crater rim on 12 February reached the lava flows on the S and SW flanks. Two moderate explosions expelled gray ash up to ~ 4 km altitude that dispersed to the SW.

The Washington VAAC (based on satellite imagery) reported that ash "puffs" from the Santiaguito lava dome complex rose ~ 4.5 km and drifted SW on 1 April, and then rose ~ 4 km and drifted W on 2 April. During 3-7 April, small explosions produced ash plumes; ashfall was reported in surrounding areas. This was followed on 15 April by three explosions expelling ash 300-900 m above the volcano and dispersing 5 km to the SW. Constant avalanches occurred to the W and SW. On 18 April another volcanic ash emission was reported by the Washington VAAC which rose to ~ 4.8 km, drifted SW, and extended ~ 30 km. More weak to moderate explosions occurred on 21 April which expelled gray ash clouds 300-800 m above the crater rim that drifted E. This activity was repeated on 25 April; the Washington VAAC reported an ash emission which rose to ~ 4.8 km and drifted ~ 13 km SW. On 28 April explosions sent ash plumes to an altitude of 4.1 km that drifted W.

Based on observations of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that ash puffs from the Santiaguito complex drifted NW on 13 May. On 22 May, two explosions were heard and gray ash emissions rose ~ 300-600 m above the crater rim and drifted S and SW, depositing ash in the Palajunoj area. Avalanches of blocks on the SW flanks were seen and heard. A lahar descended the Nima I River to the S on 25 May.

On 3 June, a Special Bulletin was issued to warn of the potential high water conditions in the Nimá I, Nimá II, San Isidro, Drum, Samala, rivers as a result of heavy rains in the area. On 5 June, avalanches were heard on the flanks of the volcano and overflows into the Samal and Mulu Rivers were reported. A lahar on 9 June about 15 m wide and up to 2 m deep descended the Nima I River, carrying blocks up to 1 m in diameter, and smelling of sulfur.

During the morning of 19 June, six weak-to-moderate explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.3 km and drifted SW and S. An incandescent lava flow accompanied by constant avalanches of blocks descended the SW flank. On 20 June, five weak-to-moderate explosions expelled gray ash up to ~ 600-800 m above the crater, spreading to the SW over the area of Palajunoj. The lava flow to the SW continued and incandescent lava could be seen at night, accompanied by constant avalanches of blocks and fine ash. A lahar traveled S down the Nima I river, carrying blocks up to 1 m in diameter. These conditions continued through 24 June.

On 4 July, an explosion produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 3.3 km and drifted SW. A lahar traveled S down the Nima I River, carrying tree limbs and blocks up to 50 cm in diameter. On 7-8 July, sounds resembling avalanches descending the flanks were reported; visual observations were hindered due to cloud cover. On 22 July seismic stations detected a lahar in the Nima I river. Explosions observed on 23, 28, and 29 July from the Caliente cone produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.3 km and drifted SW and W. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind. A lava flow and avalanches of blocks descended the SW flank. On 28 July, weak pyroclastic flows also traveled down the SW flank.

During 21-26 August, explosions from the Caliente cone, part of the Santiaguito complex, produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.3 km and drifted S, SW, and W. Constant degassing from the crater was noted.

On 10 September seismic stations detected a lahar in the Nima I River. The lahar, about 18 m wide and up to 2 m deep, carried blocks and smelled of sulfur. During 11-16 September, explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.3 km and drifted SW; on 18 September, the Washington VAAC reported that an ash plume rose to an altitude of 4.3 km and drifted SSW. On 24 September explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8 km and drifted SW. Avalanches of material from lava flows descended the SW flank.

On 11 and 15 November, the Washington VAAC reported that ash puffs drifted SW. On 12 December, explosions from the Caliente dome produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 3.2 km and drifted SW; the Washington VAAC reported a plume to an altitude of 5.8 km. On 16 December, two ash puffs drifted W and WNW at altitudes of 4.3-4.6 km. The Washington VAAC again reported that during 17-20 and 22 December ash plumes drifted SW, W, and NW; plumes rose to an altitude of 5.8 km. On 22 December, white plumes drifted SW and avalanches occurred from the crater rim. On 23 December a small ash plume drifted NW and explosions resulted in pyroclastic flows. Ash plumes rose to an altitude of 3.3 km and drifted S and SW. On 25 December a puff of ash drifted WNW.

Activity during 2009. Activity continued into 2009 and the Washington VAAC reported that two small ash plumes drifted ESE on 1 January. During 4-5 January, gas and steam plumes possibly containing some ash drifted SW and WSW. On 5 and 6 January fumarolic plumes drifted 100 m above the crater. Five explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8-3 km and drifted W and SE. A few avalanches originating from a lava flow descended the W flank. Explosions during 30 January-3 February produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.6-3.2 km and drifted W, SW, and S. Avalanches that were periodically incandescent descended the S and W flanks of Caliente lava dome.

The Washington VAAC reported that on 4 February multiple ash puffs drifted W. Explosions on 6 February produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.1 km and also drifted SW. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind. Ash puffs on 12 February drifted WSW and W. On 16-17 February, explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.7-3.3 km and drifted SW. Small pyroclastic flows on 16 February descended the SE flank and reached the Nima I River. Incandescent avalanches were noted on 17 February and fumarolic plumes drifted SW.

On 18 February, a dense ash plume drifted W, and on the 20th an explosion sent an ash plume to an altitude of 3.2 km that drifted E. On 24 February, an explosion produced a white plume that rose 500 m above the summit and drifted SW. Incandescence was seen SW of Caliente dome. On 26-27 February and 2 March, explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.4 km and drifted SW. Ashfall was reported in nearby areas. Avalanches were seen SW of the Caliente dome.

Based on satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that during 4-6 March ash plumes drifted W. On 6 and 10 March, ash plumes rose to 2.8-3.4 km and drifted SW, NW, and N. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind. On 12, 16, and 17 March, explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.7-3.5 km and drifted E and SW. A few avalanches originated from an active lava flow and traveled down the SW flank. On 12 March an ash plume drifted S, and on 15 March, an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3 km and drifted SW and WSW.

During 24-28 April explosions produced ash plumes that drifted 5-8 km WSW, although the number of explosions had decreased during the previous few weeks. On 5, 8, and 9 June ash plumes rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.3 km and drifted SW. Gas plumes that were sometimes gray rose ~ 300-600 m above the Caliente dome, and avalanches descended the S and W flanks. On 26 and 29 June explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.9-3.3 km and drifted W and SW.

On 26 June, the seismic network detected a lahar that traveled S down the Nima I River. Steam plumes and a sulfur odor rose from the deposits. The lahar was 15 m wide and 1 m thick at the toe, and carried blocks up to 1.5 m in diameter. On 2 July lahars descended both the Nimá I and Nimá II rivers, carrying tree branches and blocks 50-75 cm in diameter. The lahars were 15 and 20 m wide.

On 6 July, explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.2 km and drifted W. On 31 July and 3 August, explosions produced ash plumes, and the Caliente lava dome was incandescent. On 3 August, ash plumes rose to an altitude of 3.1 km and drifted W. Fumarolic plumes rose 200 m above the dome and rumbling noises were occasionally heard.

On 28 August, another explosion was noted. On 1 September, fumarolic plumes rose 150 m above Caliente dome and drifted SW and avalanches descended the SW flank of the dome. On 14 September an explosion produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 3.3 km. The plume drifted SW and caused ashfall. Avalanches went to the SW.

The Washington VAAC reported that on 22 October multiple ash plumes drifted less than 20 km SW. On 23 and 26 October, explosions produced ash plumes that rose above Caliente dome to altitudes of 3-3.3 km. The plumes drifted W and SE and caused ashfall. Avalanches descended the SW flank of the dome. Degassing sounds resembling airplane engines were also heard.

On 6 November, an explosion produced a plume that rose 900 m and drifted SW. The Washington VAAC reported that on 8 November a small gas plume possibly containing ash drifted less than 10 km SSW. Another small plume was seen later that day. On 13 November, a plume drifted SW. Avalanches descended the SW flank of the dome and the Washington VAAC reported that on 16 November multiple ash plumes drifted WSW.

On 20 November, two explosions produced an ash plume that drifted SW. Avalanches descended the SW flank of the dome. An explosion on 24 November produced an ash plume the rose to an altitude of 3.3 km and drifted SE. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind.

On 11, 14, and 15 December, explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.5 km and drifted W and SW. Avalanches occasionally descended the SE flank of the dome. On 15 December, explosions generated pyroclastic flows that descended the E and SW flanks. On 30 December explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 3-3.4 km and drifted W and SW. The Washington VAAC reported that ash plumes seen on satellite imagery drifted more than 30 km WSW. Avalanches occasionally descended the SW flank of the dome.

Activity during January-April 2010. Incandescent avalanches traveled down the SW flanks on 8 January 2010. A few explosions on 5 and 11-12 January produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 3.1-3.4 km and drifted S, SE, and SW. Avalanches from a lava flow descended the W flank of the dome. On 21 January ashfall was reported in areas near the Santiaguito complex. The next day an explosion produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 3.2 km and drifted SW. An ash plume seen on satellite imagery drifted less than 10 km.

On 2 and 4 March, explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.7-3.1 km and drifted E and NE. Ash fell in areas downwind. Ash fell in inhabited areas downwind. The Washington VAAC reported that on 8 March an ash plume was seen in satellite imagery drifting WNW. On 29 March, explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 3-3.3 km and drifted W over inhabited areas. Avalanches from a lava flow descended the SW flank. On 30 March a diffuse ash plume was seen in satellite imagery.

On 20 April, explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.4 km and drifted S and SE. On 26 April, ash explosions and pyroclastic flows generated ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 8.3 km and drifted NW and N. Ashfall was reported in Quetzaltenango (18 km WNW) and other areas to the W, NW, and N. According to news articles, schools in 10 communities were closed and flights were banned within a 20-km-radius of the volcano.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, 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/); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié; 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.conred.org/).


Sheveluch (Russia) — March 2010 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Near-constant dome growth during May 2008 through March 2010

Volcanism at Shiveluch that has been almost continuous since 1980 remained so from May 2008 through March 2010. During that time the lava dome was active and frequently growing, and produced moderate and weak explosions (figure 18). The most active phases took place during July-October 2008, March-April 2009, and November-December 2009 (figure 19).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. (top) A panoramic view Shiveluch looking N on 27 August 2009. The "Young Shiveluch" lava dome is degassing. (bottom) A photo taken at night on 15 September 2009 from the same perspective as the photo on left, showing lava traveling down the dome's S flank. Both photos taken from Kliuchi by Yuri Demyanchuk, IVS RAS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Plots for Shiveluch indicating the number the thermal anomaly pixels from satellite observations (top plot) and numbers of earthquakes originating in or adjacent to the dome (lower plot) during May 2008 to March 2010. The arrows show the observed explosions during good visibility. The ash cloud icons indicate the most significance events (ash plumes extending more then 50 km based on satellite images). Data from KB GS RAS.

During the two years discussed, there were many short-lived ash plumes (1-3 km above the dome), ash clouds produced by rockfalls and avalanches, and strong explosions that generated long-distance plumes (those with 'ash cloud' symbols above the arrows, figure 19). The large explosive eruptions of 26 April and 23 June 2009 sent respective ash plumes to 510 km and 754 km distances (table 8). The day after the earlier event, there was clear visibility on 27 April (figure 20).

Table 8. Significant explosions and ash plumes recorded at Shiveluch from May 2008 to March 2010. Plumes lower than ~1.2 km above the dome and seen for less than 10 km from the vent were omitted. Data courtesy of KVERT.

Date Plume altitude (m) Plume extension (km)
14 May 2008 5800 --
20 May 2008 5500 --
27 May 2008 3600 --
25 Jun 2008 4200 --
13 Sep 2008 6500 100 km NE
28 Sep 2008 5000 --
01 Oct 2008 -- 70 km S, W
14 Oct 2008 6000 --
16 Oct 2008 4500 --
19 Oct 2008 -- 30 km E
20 Oct 2008 -- 62 km E
05-06 Nov 2008 4000 --
04 Dec 2008 -- 25 km NE
17 Jan 2009 -- 10 km E
20 Jan 2009 4500 --
25 Feb 2009 5500 --
04 Mar 2009 4700 --
10 Mar 2009 6000 --
24 Mar 2009 7500 --
27-29 Mar 2009 -- 10 km SE
04 Apr 2009 4500 --
05 Apr 2009 -- 10 km E
15, 22 Apr 2009 4000 --
25 Apr 2009 6700 50 km SE
26 Apr 2009 5000 510 km SE
27-29 Apr 2009 5000 107-120 km NE
13 May 2009 5000 --
22 May 2009 4000 --
10 Jun 2009 7700 --
11 Jun 2009 4500 140 km SW
13-14 Jun 2009 5500-6100 --
18 Jun 2009 5700 --
20 Jun 2009 5000 --
23 Jun 2009 -- 754 km S
24 Jun 2009 -- 28 km NW
25 Jun 2009 -- 95 km
03 Jul 2009 -- 20 km SE
18 Jul 2009 -- 34 km E
24 Jul 2009 5000 --
27 Jul 2009 5000 10 km E
02 Aug 2009 -- 23 km E
15 Aug 2009 4500 --
31 Aug 2009 -- 107 km E
02 Sep 2009 -- 20 km S
11 Sep 2009 15000 --
18-19 Sep 2009 5000-5500 --
20 Sep 2009 -- 30 km NW
22 Sep 2009 4500 70 km SW
29 Sep 2009 -- 45 km E
02-03 Oct 2009 -- 30-60 km SE
30 Oct 2009 -- 255 km E
04-05 Nov 2009 4200-4500 --
10 Mar 2010 5500 --
11 Mar 2010 -- 10 km E
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Strong explosion on 26 April 2009 at Shiveluch produced a pyroclastic flow on the S slope and a resulting ash plume that extended 120 km to the NE. Photo by Yuri Demyanchuk, IVS RAS.

KVERT noted that on 11 September 2009 there were strong explosions. Based on interpretations of seismic data, the inferred ash plumes that day rose to an altitude greater than 15 km above sea level. The seismic network then detected 8 minutes of signals interpreted as pyroclastic flows from the lava dome; resulting plumes rose to an altitude of ~ 15 km. Cloud cover prevented visual observations. Ten more events characterized as ash explosions and either pyroclastic flows or avalanches were detected. Seismicity then decreased during 11-12 September. A visit during clear visibility on 13 September revealed fresh pyroclastic-flow deposits (figure 21).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. The light area on this 13 September 2009 photo represents fresh pyroclastic-flow deposits on Shiveluch. The deposits covered the apron and extended 5 km S. Dotted-line indicates the approximate profile of the lava dome of Young Shiveluch. Photo by Yuri Demyanchuk, IVS RAS.

Seismicity. Extended intervals of low-level seismicity were detected at the dome in May and June 2008, during May to October 2009, and to some extent from January through March 2010 (figure 19, bottom). A plot of regional seismicity during December 2009-5 April 2010 in a 70-km-diameter circle around Shiveluch (figure 22) indicates SW-dipping epicenters that rise to shallow depths under Shiveluch (and similarly for other volcanoes in the Kliuchevskoi group).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Regional seismicity recorded during 19 December 2009 to 4 April 2010, presented in three panels. (a) A map of the region showing location and depths of earthquakes (white line is trace of cross-section AB), and the 70-km-diameter circle enclosing Shiveluch with epicenters of earthquakes plotted in (c). (b) Earthquakes projected onto the vertical plane of cross section AB. (c) Histogram showing Shiveluch's daily earthquakes with respect to time (bar height shows class (Ks) from seismic amplitude, after S.A. Fedotov), ascending curve is the cumulative number of earthquakes. Courtesy of KB GS RAS.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (IV&S) Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences (FED RAS), Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences (KB GS RAS), Piip Ave. 9, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs, http://www.emsd.ru/~ssl/monitoring/main.htm); Yuri Demyanchuk, IV&S FED RAS; Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667, USA (URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/), the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA.


Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — March 2010 Citation iconCite this Report

Soufriere Hills

United Kingdom

16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome growth continuing; pyroclastic flows reached the ocean

Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) reported a strong increase in dome growth at Soufrière Hills (figure 82) and energetic explosive activity, including pyroclastic flows and substantial ash clouds, during the 6 months ending early April 2010 (the end of this reporting interval). Energetic extrusions were particularly noteworthy during January and February 2010 (table 69). From mid-December 2009 through early April 2010 there was continuing seismicity and gas emissions (table 70) as well as weekly ash emissions and pyroclsatic flows (table 71). Partial dome collapse on 11 February 2010 led to a plume that rose to ~15 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Map of Montserrat showing the pre-eruption topography of Soufrière Hills. The black circle shows the location of the MVO. The approximate outline of the Tar River delta in July 2004 is shown. Courtesy of Wadge and others (2005).

Table 69. Key features of the five Vulcanian explosions that occurred at Soufriere Hills in January and February 2010. Units in valley columns are pyroclastic-f low runout distances in kilometers. From Cole and others (2010) with due credit to Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) for satellite and aviation-based plume altitude estimates.

Date Time (local) Lapilli Fallout Plume White's Bottom Ghaut Tar River Valley Farrells Plain Tyers Ghaut/Belham Valley Gages Gingoes Ghaut White River
08 Jan 2010 1449-1500 No: Ash from PFs 7.6 km (25,000 ft) 4.7 2 2 5.8 4 2.6 1.5
10 Jan 2010 0128-0135 Not known 6.7 km (22,000 ft) >2 -- 1.5 2.5 3 -- --
10 Jan 2010 2027-2031 Yes: pumice 5.5 km (18,000 ft) 1.5 2 -- -- -- -- --
05 Feb 2010 1349-1356 Yes: non-pumiceous 6.7 km (22,000 ft) 1.5 2 1.5 2 4 1.5 1.5
08 Feb 2010 1957-2003 Not known 4.6 km (15,000 ft) -- -- -- -- 3.5 -- --

Table 70. Soufrière Hills seismicity and gas measurements from weekly reports between 4 December 2009 and 19 March 2010. MVO seismicity terminology as follows: Rockfall signals (featureless, high-frequency events, which correlate to large rockfalls from the dome); Volcano-tectonic (high frequencies >5 Hz, often impulsive P-phases and usually clear S-phases); Long-period (generally phaseless events with predominant frequency ~1 Hz); Hybrid (repetitive transient events of intermediate frequency, 3-5 Hz, without discernible S-phases; initial high-frequency waveforms at some stations) (MVO, 1996). Numbers refer to the total over the period indicated. Hydrochloric acid/sulfur dioxide ratios (HCl/SO2) are derived from Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) gas measurements. Cycles of activity refer to rockfalls, ash venting, and pyroclastic flows. "--" indicates that data was not reported. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Rockfall signals Long-period EQ's Volcano-tectonic EQ's Hybrid EQ's Observations
04 Dec-11 Dec 2009 957 207 3 6 Activity (pyroclastic flow, ash venting, rock falls, etc.) continued in cycles more irregular in time in the last few days; 10 Dec-hazard level raised from 3 to 4.
11 Dec-18 Dec 2009 977 134 3 58 Cycles of activity continue, varying between 5 and 6 hours; intensity of cycles decreased slightly through the week, however an increase in intensity occurred after about 1600 on 17 Dec.
18 Dec-24 Dec 2009 594 154 3 25 Cycles of activity with periods between 6 and 7 hours; heavy ashfall NW Montserrat.
24 Dec-31 Dec 2009 270 52 -- 6 Cycles of activity with periods between 6 and 8 hours.
31 Dec-08 Jan 2010 135 73 1 16 Cycles of activity with periods between 8 and 10 hours; ashfall in Old Towns, Salem, Olveston, Woodlands.
08 Jan-15 Jan 2010 68 25 2 10 Three explosions occurred during the week (1449 on 8 Jan, and 0128 and 2027 on 10 Jan), each accompanied by seismic signals that lasted 11, 7, and 4 minutes, respectively; ash plumes reached altitudes of 7.6, 6.7, and 5.5 km, respectively.
15 Jan-22 Jan 2010 196 38 -- 18 Cycles of activity with 6-8-hour periods; several houses buried and set on fire in Kinsale; ash clouds associated with pyroclastic flows reached 3-km altitude. Hybrid swarm of seven larger quakes on 20 Jan.
22 Jan-29 Jan 2010 565 113 2 18 Cycles of activity with periods between 5 and 7 hours; 25 Jan-heavy rain caused vigorous steaming of hot pyroclastic flows.
29 Jan-05 Feb 2010 552 87 6 64 Cycles of activity with periods between 7 and 12 hours. On 5 Feb a 30-m-high pyramidal-shaped extrusion was first seen; although it temporarily put the summit elevation at 1,170 m, it was destroyed by an explosion at 1349 that day; resulting pyroclastic surges moved NW across the sea near Plymouth.
05 Feb-12 Feb 2010 512 141 4 82 Two explosions on 5 and 8 Feb; 11 Feb-partial dome collapse, plume rose to altitude of ~15.2 km.
12 Feb-19 Feb 2010 53 34 1 4 17 Feb data consistent with quite slow extrusion of lava; MVO not yet able to make observations into the deep crater at the dome summit. HCl/SO2 = 0.76 (17 Feb).
19 Feb-26 Feb 2010 11 -- -- 6 23 Feb-hazard level lowered from 4 to 3. HCl/SO2 = 0.74 (19 Feb); 0.7 (22 Feb).
26 Feb-05 Mar 2010 7 1 -- 9 Swarm of 7 hybrids on 4 Mar. HCl/SO2 = 0.81 (1 Mar); 0.71 (2 Mar); 0.98 (4 Mar).
05 Mar-12 Mar 2010 47 9 2 7 Hybrid swarm of 6 on 11 Mar
12 Mar-19 Mar 2010 41 3 -- 7 17 Mar- SO2 flux 2,315 tons/day. HCl/SO2 = 0.6
19 Mar-26 Mar 2010 28 3 1 3 Avg. SO2 flux 342 tons/day
26 Mar-02 Apr 2010 17 -- -- 1 Avg. SO2 flux 194 tons/day
02 Apr-09 Apr 2010 9 1 3 3 3-day avg. SO2 flux 376 tons/day

Table 71. Brief summary of dome emissions compiled from MVO reports, 4 December 2009-1 April 2010. Date entries indicated with a * are discussed in the text. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Dome Activity Location of pyroclastic flows (PF) and rockfalls (RF) (runout distance from dome)
11 Dec-31 Dec 2009 Hottest and most active areas located on NW flank. Whites Ghaut to Whites Bottom Ghaut to the sea (4 km); Tyres Ghaut (~1-2 km); Gages valley (~2 km); Tar River valley; Gingoes Ghaut; Farrells plain, Dyers village (~2.5 km), Spring Ghaut.
31 Dec-08 Jan 2010 Growth on N side; 2 January-40-m high, 150-m wide lobe of lava extruded onto dome. Whites Ghaut, Farrells plain, Tyers Ghaut.
08 Jan-15 Jan 2010 * NE flank; 2 Jan-40-m high, 150-mwide lobe of lava extruded onto N summit of dome; 11 Jan-dome growth resumed on top, central part of dome. 8 Jan-collapsing fountain of tephra generated PF down Whites Bottom Ghaut, Tuitts Ghaut (within several hundred meters of the sea), Tyers Ghaut, Belham valley, Tar River valley; 10 Jan-explosion produced PF down Whites Bottom and Tuitts Ghaut, Tyers Ghaut, Gages valley.
15 Jan-22 Jan 2010 * 18 Jan-partial dome collapse on W side of dome. 18 Jan-PF reached sea down Aymers Ghaut (Gages valley to Spring Ghaut to Aymers Ghaut); houses inundated/burned in Kinsale.
22 Jan-29 Jan 2010 Dome growth on SE side of summit; NE side of summit has steep, vertical walls; NW part more rounded. Increase in PF in Tar River valley (several reached sea); Whites Ghaut; heavy rain on 25 caused vigorous steaming of hot PF in Belham valley; some lahars formed.
29 Jan-05 Feb 2010 5 Feb-central W part of lava dome grew to altitude of ~1,070 m. Gages valley to Spring Ghaut (~2-3 km; head of Springs Ghaut neearly full of PF deposits), Whites Ghaut.
05 Feb-12 Feb 2010 * W side of dome; 9 Feb-activity shifted to N side of dome; 11 Feb-partial dome collapse, scar ~300 m wide on N flank of volcano (MVO-"largest event for volcano since May 2006"). 5 Feb-volcanian explosion sent PF to Plymouth and into sea ~500 m, Tyers Ghaut (~2 km), Whites Ghaut, plume to ~8.4 km altitude; 8 Feb-small vulcanian explosion generated PF down Gages valley (over 2 km altitude), plume to ~5 km drifted E and ENE to Antigua; 11 Feb-PF reached on E side of island (coastline extended E ~650 meters at airport), Tyers Ghaut into Belham valley.
12 Feb-19 Feb 2010 Low activity, some incandescence on dome. PF deposits ~15 m thick in Trant's region, PF razed many buildings in Harris and Streatham.
19 Feb-26 Feb 2010 Low activity. --
26 Feb-05 Mar 2010 26 Feb-crater at summit of dome less than 100 m deep and ~200 m wide. 4 Mar-Tar River valley.
05 Mar-12 Mar 2010 * Moderate activity. 8-9 Mar-rainfall caused degradation of dome; Gages valley (~2 km).
12 Mar-19 Mar 2010 * Low activity; some incandescence on 14 Mar. --
19 Mar-26 Mar 2010 Low activity. 25 Mar-Spring Ghaut (~2 km).
26 Mar-02 Apr 2010 Low activity. --
02 Apr-09 Apr 2010 Low activity; some incandescence on dome. Lahars in Farm River and Trant's area.

MVO issued a synthesis to the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) on volcanism between 15 August 2009 and 28 February 2010 (Cole and others, 2010). That report figures heavily in the following summary, but the included tables and comments also came from MVO reports, and there is a section on satellite thermal monitoring. Two similar earlier reports were published in 2009 (Robertson and others, 2009 and Stewart and others, 2009).

Since the dome remained active and at the same time represented the volcano's highest point, the summit elevation varied. The historical value of 915 m was a high point on the crater rim. Cole and others (2010) noted that the dome's summit was 1,050 m in September 2009, with the elevation being 1,130 m on 29 January 2010. Some taller heights involved blocky spines that did not last.

Extrusive Phase 5 activity. Extrusive Phase 4 finished on 3 January 2009 and was followed by 10 months of comparative inactivity with intermittent small pyroclastic flows and ash venting 5-7 October (BGVN 34:10). Phase 5 occurred from 4 October 2009 to 11 February 2010 (figure 83). Seismic records enabled MVO to subdivide this phase into three episodes of inferred dome growth as follows: 9 October-20 November 2009 (Episode 1); 20 November 2009-8 January 2010 (Episode 2); and 8 January-11 February 2010 (Episode 3). Cole and others (2010) noted that "A characteristic feature of Phase 5 dome growth has been the simultaneous occurrence of PFs in more than one direction, sometimes on the opposite side of the lava dome." Throughout Phase 5, ash often fell on inhabited areas.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Rockfall and pyroclastic flow data from the Phase 5 interval (3 October 2009 to 14 February 2010) at Soufriere Hills. Pyroclastic flows were observed by MVO staff, mainly during work hours, with each assigned to one of six drainages (flow directions) and to one of three sizes (the symbol size is proportional to the PF's size). Daily counts of rockfalls and long-period earthquakes and rockfalls (LP/RF) were determined by inspection of seismic signals (from station MBFL located at MVO). From Cole and others (2010).

Phase 5 began with a swarm of 24 volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes and ash venting. Gas fluxes had been low for two days prior to the onset of activity. The dome variously grew to the S, W, and N, and pyroclastic flows traveled in many directions. The eruptive style was described as "ash venting" rather than "explosions" due to the mild character of the associated seismic signals and the absence of ballistic fragments. Fallout deposits included comparatively coarse, well-sorted ash.

October dome growth mostly occurred on the S, with shed material filling the upper part of the SW flank's White River and covering what had stood as a protective wall for material traveling WSW. As a result, for the first time, substantial pyroclastic flows entered the WSW flank's Gingoes and Aymer's Ghauts, reaching the sea there with runout distances of over 4 km in those drainages.

Cyclic episodes of tremor occurred particularly during episode 2. On 23 November tremor occurred all day; it then waned and began to appear in cycles at 4-hour intervals, initially with signals of long-period and hybrid earthquakes. The tremor appeared associated with increased venting lasting 0.5-2 hours with plume heights to 5 km altitude. At 0640 on 10 December 2009, a large pyroclastic flow traveled down Tyers (Tyres) Ghaut and reached ~3.5 km from the lava dome.

Vigorous Vulcanian explosions occurred on five occasions during January-February 2010 (table 69), episode 3. All of these involved collapsing ash columns, producing fountain collapse pyroclastic flows that typically descended more than one ghaut. One explosion on 8 January, the largest by volume during January-February, sent a pyroclastic flow ~ 6 km down the Belham Valley. Two more Vulcanian explosions occurred during the night on 10 January.

Dome collapse of 11 February 2010. A large dome collapse took place in the early afternoon of 11 February, one day after a shift in dome-growth direction, and had several pulses. The collapse comprised 40-50 million cubic meters of material, and represented roughly 20% of the dome's total volume. A collapse scar ~ 300 m wide developed on the N flank of the dome. The collapse ended with vertically-directed explosions that created a new crater behind the collapsed part of the dome.

The collapse produced large pyroclastic flows and surges, mainly to the N and NE, that extended the E coastline (between Trants and Spanish Point), adding ~1 km2 of new land. Two smaller flows also traveled NW and entered the Belham Valley.

A large ash column resulted from the collapse that reached ~15 km altitude, causing extensive ashfall on Guadeloupe (~60 km SE) and other parts of the eastern Caribbean. After 11 February, both seismicity and surface activity quieted but deep deformation returned. Gas measurements also indicated that the system remained active.

Pyroclastic flows traveled N and NE toward the old airport. The extensive pyroclastic-flow deposits extended the coastline 300-400 m out to sea. The coastal area impacted extended from Whites Bottom Ghaut to Trants Bay, just N of the old Bramble airport (figures 84 and 85). The effects were clearly visible on the NE flanks. Some flows, ~ 15 m thick, reached the sea at Trant's Bay. These flows extended the island's coastline up to 650 m to the E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Two false-color satellite images, taken nearly 3 years apart at Soufriere Hills highlight the impact of the dome collapse of 11 February 2010. The image on the right is from 21 February 2010; the image on the left is from 17 March 2007. In colored versions of this image, red areas are vegetated, clouds are white, blue/black areas are ocean water, and gray areas are flow deposits. The large collapse scar on the N flank of the dome is visible (arrow). Several of the ghauts (valleys) on the SW side can be seen to have been nearly filled by pyroclastic flow deposits between October 2009 and February 2010. Images courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Taken one week after the events of 11 February 2010 at Soufrière Hills, this aerial photograph shows the new pyroclastic flows at Spanish Point. Courtesy of MVO.

Towards the end of the collapse there was an energetic pyroclastic flow directed N over Streatham and Harris. This sent flows over the Harris Ridge into Bugby Hole and down the Farm River (~3.5 km from the dome) for the first time. The flows razed many buildings in both Harris and Streatham down to their foundations, and trees were felled by pyroclastic surges in the Gun Hill area and at the head of Farm River in Bugby Hole.

It was unclear whether there was any new dome growth within the crater during the week after the collapse. Night-time views of the dome revealed several small points of incandescence. Observations of the crater at the summit of the dome on 26 February found that it was then 50-100 m deep and ~200 m wide (figure 86). There was no newly extruded lava visible inside the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Views of the inside of the new crater at the summit of the Soufrière Hills dome taken on 26 February 2010. The dark material on the left is the deposit of a fresh rockfall that probably occurred a few days before the photograph was taken. Courtesy of MVO.

Heavy rain on 8-9 March caused vigorous steaming of the hot 11 February deposits (figure 87). Strong geysering was visible at Trants near the old Bramble airport, with ash and steam fountaining occurring. In addition, lahars traveled down several drainages, including the Belham valley. Small spots of incandescence on the dome were visible again on 14 March. Occasional small pyroclastic flows and rockfalls were still occurring mainly from the western and southern parts of the dome.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Heavy rainfall on 8 and 9 March 2010 triggered a series of small to moderate sized pyroclastic flows. These were derived from the old dome and collapse scar. Pyroclastic flows continued to form as small amounts of cooled lava were shed from the surface. Courtesy of MVO.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts. According to the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, no satellite thermal alerts were measured over Soufrière Hills between 29 March 2007 and 3 December 2008. Satellite thermal alerts were measured almost daily during 11 October 2009 through 15 February 2010. An isolated thermal alert was measured on 10 March 2010. Previously shorter periods of thermal alerts were measured during 11-29 March 2007 and 3 December 2008-3 January 2009.

References. Cole, P., Bass, V., Christopher, C., Fergus, M., Gunn, L., Odbert, H., Simpson, R., Stewart, R., Stinton, A., Stone, J., Syers, R., Robertson, R., Watts, R., and Williams, P., 2010, Report to the Scientific Advisory Committee on Montserrat Volcanic Activity, Report on Activity between 15 August 2009 and 28 February 2010, Open File Report OFR 10-01a, Prepared for SAC 14: 22-24 March 2010. Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO).

Robertson, R., Babal, L., Bass, V., Christopher, T., Chardot, L., Fergus, M., Fournier, N., Higgins, M., Joseph, E., Komorowski, J.-C., Odbert, H., Simpson, R., Smith, P., Stewart, R., Stone, J., Syers, R., Tsaines, B., and Williams, P., 2009, Report for the Scientific Advisory Committee on Montserrat Volcanic Activity, Prepared for SAC 13: 7-9 September 2009, MVO Open File Report 09/03.

Stewart, R., Bass, V., Chardot, L., Christopher, T., Dondin, F., Finizola, A., Fournier, N., Joseph, E., Komorowski, J.-C., Legendre, Y., Peltier, A., Robertson, R., Syers, R., and Williams, P., 2009, Report for the Scientific Advisory Committee on Montserrat Volcanic Activity, Prepared for SAC12: 9-11 March 2009, MVO Open File Report 09/01.

Wadge, G., Macfarlane, D.G., Robertson, D.A., Hale, A.J., Pinkerton, H., Burrell, R.V., Norton, G.E., and James, M.R., 2005, AVTIS: a novel millimetre-wave ground based instrument for volcano remote sensing: J. Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 146, no. 4, p. 307-318.

MVO, 1996, MVO/VSC Open Scientific Meeting, 27 November 1996, Seismicity of Montserrat Soufrière Hills Volcano Eruption, July 1995-November 1996 (URL: http://www.geo.mtu.edu/volcanoes/west.indies/soufriere/govt/meetings/nov1996/02.html).

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

Information Contacts: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Fleming, Montserrat, West Indies (URL: http://www.mvo.ms/); 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/); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); 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/).


Stromboli (Italy) — March 2010 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions and lava flows in 2009; recent reports on 2007 eruption

Sonia Calvari of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) reported that the 2007 eruptive episode at Stromboli started on 27 February and finished on 2 April (BGVN 32:04) Additional details about this eruption can be found in Barberi and others (2009) and Calvari and others (2010). Eruptions later in 2007 and during 2008 will be reported in a later issue; summaries of activity in 2009 and January 2010 are included below.

Activity during 2009. The summit activity in 2009 was very unusual, producing four or five intracrater lava flows. Lava within the crater depression was extruded on 22-25 April, 3 May, and 30 August 2009. On 8 November a major explosion from the vents in the central crater fragmented and destroyed part of the E flank of the cinder cone there. The explosion produced an eruptive column over 350 m high that drifted SE and was soon followed by a lava flow from the widened central vent. The lava flow spread within the crater depression for a few minutes and reached a maximum distance of ~ 60 m. After the 8 November explosion, activity returned to background levels.

Strong seismic activity was recorded on 24 November 2009. Observers saw an explosive eruption cloud and the emission of a lava flow. Ejecta fallout affected the summit area, particularly the Pizzo sopra la Fossa, where numerous volcanic bombs landed. Also affected was the eastern downwind flank, where a layer of pumice was deposited on the beach. The fallout of incandescent material caused some vegetation fires on the E flank. After this explosive activity, seismicity returned to the level previously observed.

Activity during January 2010. According to the INGV website, at 1912 UTC on 4 January 2010, the network of surveillance cameras recorded an explosion that affected the central vent area. During a first phase, coarse pink pyroclastic materials (bombs and possibly lithic particles) were erupted from the entire crater terrace. A second phase followed with the emission of a small ash plume. Beginning at 0757 UTC on 7 January, the IR camera located on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa showed spattering lava in the central portion of the crater, leading to a series of lava flows; the lava stopped around 0100 UTC on 8 January. At 1448 UTC on 10 January, the INGV network of surveillance cameras recorded a strong explosion that affected the N portion of the crater, causing a major fallout of volcanic bombs at Pizzo sopra la Fossa and high on the NE part of the volcano.

References. Barberi, F., Rosi, M., and Scendone, R. (eds), 2009, The 2007 eruption of Stromboli: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 182, no. 3-4, p. 123-280.

Calvari, S., Lodato, L., Steffke, A., Cristaldi, A., Harris, A.J.L., Spampinato, L., and Boschi, E., 2010, The 2007 Stromboli eruption: Event chronology and effusion rates using thermal infrared data: Journal Geophysical Research, Solid Earth, 115, B4, B04201, doi:10.1029/2009JB006478.

Geologic Background. Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at this volcano have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean." Stromboli, the NE-most of the Aeolian Islands, has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period from about 13,000 to 5000 years ago was followed by formation of the modern edifice. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent horseshoe-shaped scarp formed about 5000 years ago as a result of the most recent of a series of slope failures that extend to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

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


Telica (Nicaragua) — March 2010 Citation iconCite this Report

Telica

Nicaragua

12.606°N, 86.84°W; summit elev. 1036 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Incandescent crater floor areas seen in November 2009 and March 2010

Telica exhibited extensive degassing and sporadic ash explosions during 2006-2008 (BGVN 34:08). Activity since then had decreased to a relatively low level, but degassing was continuing. This report discusses activity in 2009 and January-February 2010 based on reports from the Instituto Nicarag?ense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and from fieldwork by Mel Rodgers (University of South Florida) in November 2009 and March 2010.

INETER publishes a monthly bulletin on earthquakes and volcanic activity in Nicaragua. For Telica, most of the monthly data consists of in-field temperature measurements. An observation camera situated 20 km from the crater has not been functional for more than a year. The seismic instrument at Telica was frequently out of order during 2009.

On 20 May 2009, the sulfur dioxide output in the crater ranged from 106-251 tons per day. The maximum temperature of the crater was about 90-112°C in April and May 2009, but rose to 201°C in July, 251°C in August, and 302-317°C during September through November 2009. The maximum temperature of four fumaroles was also measured, which generally ranged from 67-72°C. These temperatures decreased in June 2009 and increased in August 2009 (to 76-105°C). The temperature of fumarole 4 decreased to 59°C in October; gas emission at that fumarole ceased altogether in November.

Visits in November 2009 and March 2010. Mel Rodgers detailed observations during fieldwork at the volcano in November 2009 and March 2010 conducted with Diana Roman (University of South Florida), Peter La Femina and Halldor Geirsson (Pennsylvania State University), and Alain Morales (INETER). On 24-25 November 2009, the group observed a set of elongated fractures flanking the crater floor through which incandescence and/or lava were clearly visible. A high concentration of gas and a steady gas-and-vapor plume were also observed in the crater. Multiple vigorous fumaroles were observed on the W side of the crater close to the top of the crater wall, and an intermittent jetting noise that appeared to be coming from the crater floor was audible from their position at the crater rim. A broadband seismometer was installed and, during the 24-hour visit, a high rate of long-period (LP) seismicity was recorded.

On 15 March 2010, the researchers returned and again observed incandescence within the crater. Incandescence was clearly visible through a C-shaped crack or skylight, SE of the 25 November 2009 location (figures 17 and 18). A high concentration of gas and a steady gas-and-vapor plume in the crater continued and vigorous degassing of the fumaroles on the crater floor was observed (figure 19). Intermittent jetting noises and rockfalls were audible coming from the crater, and at 2202 UTC a loud, low popping noise from the crater was heard. Data retrieved from the single station installed in November 2009 showed a high rate of LP seismicity from November 2009-March 2010.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Photograph taken 25 November 2009 of Telica volcano showing the relative locations of the 25 November 2009 incandescent fracture (right) and the later 15 March 2010 incandescent crack/skylight (left). Courtesy of Mel Rodgers.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Photograph taken 15 March 2010 showing incandescence visible in the C-shaped crack/skylight at Telica volcano. Courtesy of Mel Rodgers.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Photograph taken 15 March 2010 showing a view of the entire Telica crater floor. Locations of sightings of incandescence and of vigorous gas jets are indicated. Courtesy of Mel Rodgers.

A successful installation of the TESAND (Telica Seismic and Deformation) network was completed in March 2010. This network, consisting of six broadband seismometers and eight high-rate (1 Hz) continuous global positioning system stations, will be deployed for 3 years to document background LP seismicity and magmatic processes associated with quiescent volcanism.

According to the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, no satellite thermal alerts were measured over Telica during 2008, 2009, and through 30 April 2010.

Geologic Background. Telica, one of Nicaragua's most active volcanoes, has erupted frequently since the beginning of the Spanish era. This volcano group consists of several interlocking cones and vents with a general NW alignment. Sixteenth-century eruptions were reported at symmetrical Santa Clara volcano at the SW end of the group. However, its eroded and breached crater has been covered by forests throughout historical time, and these eruptions may have originated from Telica, whose upper slopes in contrast are unvegetated. The steep-sided cone of Telica is truncated by a 700-m-wide double crater; the southern crater, the source of recent eruptions, is 120 m deep. El Liston, immediately E, has several nested craters. The fumaroles and boiling mudpots of Hervideros de San Jacinto, SE of Telica, form a prominent geothermal area frequented by tourists, and geothermal exploration has occurred nearby.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua; Mel Rodgers, University of South Florida; 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 (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).

Atmospheric Effects

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

View Atmospheric Effects Reports

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

View Special Announcements Reports

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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