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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Pacaya (Guatemala) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows and Strombolian explosions continued during February-July 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Colima (Mexico) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Masaya (Nicaragua) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake activity declined during March-July 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional weak phreatic explosions during March-July 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Aira (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Agung (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent explosions with ash plumes, February-May 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Suwanosejima (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash plumes continued during January through June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Great Sitkin

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small steam explosions in early June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ibu (Indonesia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ebeko (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 36, Number 09 (September 2011)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Asosan (Japan)

Small ash-bearing eruptions during May and to lesser extent in June 2011

Erebus (Antarctica)

Lava lake convects and spews spatter and gases in December 2010

Mayon (Philippines)

Brief seismic crisis in May 2011, low activity follows

Nabro (Eritrea)

First historically observed eruption began 13 June 2011

Santa Maria (Guatemala)

Eruption on 26 April 2010; ongoing activity through September 2011

Stromboli (Italy)

Recent activity; plumbing insights; new water vapor flux technique; hydrogeology

Tofua (Tonga)

Elaborative comments on April 2010 observations

Turrialba (Costa Rica)

Frequent degassing and occasional ashfall, March 2010-June 2011



Asosan (Japan) — September 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash-bearing eruptions during May and to lesser extent in June 2011

After small ash-bearing eruptions, the Alert Level on Aso was raised from 1 to 2 (on a scale of 1-5) on 17 May 2011. Aso, the largest volcano in SW Japan, consists of a large, 24-km-diameter caldera located on the Japanese island of Kyushu (figure 26). Under normal conditions the area within the caldera is restricted and, with the raising of the Alert Level, authorities restricted entry within 1 km of Naka-dake cone, containing one of the active craters that comprise the Aso volcanic complex.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Map of the main islands of Japan; Mt. Aso is on the Island of Kyushu. Map from Wordtravels.com.

Fumarole temperature from hydrogen isotopic ratios. The temperature of fumarole gas is a primary observation used at many volcanoes. Tsunogai and others (2011) describe a method of using hydrogen isotope ratios to determine fumarolic temperature. Because the isotopes can be collected at a distance from the vent and without entering the crater, this method offers several advantages. Aso was one of the volcanoes where this technique was applied because it has a deep crater that makes direct sampling and at-vent measurements impractical. Direct sampling of gases is potentially far more hazardous. Infrared measurements may suffer bias when cooled, outgassed material, such as ash, obstructs the hotter portions of the plume. Such measurements could understate the emission's radiant heat and thus its temperature.

We previously published a topographic map depicting the Aso caldera and the location of Naka-dake within the caldera (BGVN 19:09 ), one of 17 central cones. Of these, Naka-dake is the most active. Naka-dake has a crater lake at its summit that contributes to its tendency towards phreatic and mud eruptions.

Aso resides in a National Park of the same name. Naka-dake is easily accessible by public transport and is a popular tourist destination. The rims of the active crater area contain parking and viewpoints accessible by toll road or the Arcosan Ropeway (steel-cabled aerial tramway). At the rim, massive concrete structures offer some protection from falling ballistics in the case of sudden explosions. Another attraction in the area is the Aso Volcano Museum, which features a webcam and photos of phreatic eruptions at Aso.

Aso has been highly active in recent years, but rarely to an extent where it has become dangerous to people. Aso erupted from 10 June 2003 to 14 Jan 2004 (BGVN 29:01). During that time Aso mainly erupted mud, associated with volcanic tremors, and a small amount of ash. A rise in thermal activity in the area may have been a contributing factor in the eruption (Volcano Research Center, University Tokyo). On 14 April 2005, the volcano erupted again, forcing five tourists to be evacuated after hundreds of small earthquakes were detected in the prior two weeks.

May-June 2011 unrest. The latest series of eruptions began on 6 May 2011 with mud erupting about 5-10 m from the hot caldera lake. On 13 May the temperature of fumarolic emissions in the caldera had increased. The Japan Meteorological Agency noted that "A small volcanic flame [glow?] has been observed at nights at the crater pits in the center of Naka-dake." On 15 May, Naka-dake erupted a small amount of ash, with the plume rising to an altitude of 2.1 km. One approach to measuring areas of elevated temperature involves infrared photographs. Visible and infrared photos of Naka-dake crater documented temperature increases in the crater from 21 April to 15 May (figure 27). The temperature of fumarolic emissions in the crater reached around 370°C (the temperature measurement method was not disclosed).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Visible (left) and infrared (right) images on two different days (contact JMA for temperature scales). a) 21 April 2011 and b) 15 May 2011. Courtesy of JMA.

On 16 May, an eruption sent one plume to an altitude of 1.8-2.1 km and another ash plume to 2.4 km, according to the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center. A video depicting the plume that day can be found on Youtube (Asahi.com, 2011). The video shows aerial footage of the plume, which is bent downwind. The emission is constant but not vigorous.

Rocks ejected from Naka-dake on 17 May landed in restricted areas, and ash plumes rose to an altitude of 1.8 km. Ash plumes continued rising to similar altitudes through the end of May, and small scale eruptions continued through 10 June, accompanied by low level seismicity. No additional plumes were reported through mid-October. The website of the Mt. Aso Ropeway noted that entry restrictions ended on 20 June 2011, allowing them to carry passengers.

References. Asahi.com, 2011, Naka Erupting, YouTube (URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBKJnM2JIZs), posted 16 May 2011.

Tsunogai, U., Kamimura, K., Anzai, S., Nakagawa, F., and Komatsu, K., 2011, Hydrogen isotopes in volcanic plumes: Tracers for remote temperature sensing of fumaroles, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 75, no. 16, p. 4531-4546.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/); Volcano Research Center, VRC-ERI, Univ. Tokyo (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/VRC/index_E.html); Wordtravels (URL: http://www.wordtravels.com/Travelguide/Countries/Japan/Map).


Erebus (Antarctica) — September 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake convects and spews spatter and gases in December 2010

This report includes first-hand observations of Erebus's crater, which includes the persistent Ray lava lake, a body that remained molten, though considerably crusted over, in December 2010. Several recent studies on Erebus presented maps and gas emissions measured by open-path FTIR spectroscopy in December 2004. Our last report on Erebus covered ongoing lava lake activity through October 2007 (BGVN 33:03). MODVOLC thermal alerts occurred during 2007 and continued at least into late 2011. Mt. Erebus is located on the western half of Ross Island (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Shaded relief map of Ross Island showing Erebus, created from a digital elevation map. Taken from Csatho and others (2008).

December 2010 observations. Csatho and others (2008) used laser scanning (LIDAR) acquired from aircraft in 2001 to study the morphology of the Erebus summit area (figure 12). The crater contains the persistent and convecting Ray lava lake. A second lava lake is occasionally active in the Werner vent (Werner lava lake). The authors noted the elevation of the surfaces of the inner crater's two lava lakes, both at ~3,515 m, was about the same as another active vent in the crater. Ray lava lake (~750 m2), which was discovered in 1972, sits in the inner crater's NE sector, and is larger than Werner lava lake (~166 m2).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Morphology of the summit crater of Erebus compiled from laser imagery (ALS-LIDAR) acquired 30 December 2001. Taken from Csatho and others (2008).

Kayla Iacovino posted a blog on 15 December 2010 about then-recent conditions on the summit of Erebus (Iacovino, 2011). She noted that the weather for the past few days was unusually clear (figure 13). In addition, she presented a shot of a churning lava lake (by Clive Oppenheimer) which was somewhat obscured by steam over the lake. Iacovino noted that during her 2010 visit, only Ray lava lake was active. It had shrunk in size (some of it had crusted over) since December 2009. She commented that "There were a lot of bursts of activity in the lake, including some bomb-throwing eruptions (although no bombs made it out of the crater) and a couple of very active fumaroles on the lava lake's perimeter. The plume was essentially constant."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. A December 2010 photo composite showing the inner crater at Erebus. The Ray lava lake lies to the left side of the crater floor. Courtesy of Laura Jones (New Mexico Tech; posted online at Iacovino, 2010).

Oppenheimer provided two other views during the same December 2010 field season. One shows the crater, and the other, the active lava lake, large portions of which were covered by crust (figures 14 and 15).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. An aerial photo of Erebus taken from a helicopter looking at the main crater and its inner crater from an oblique angle. Courtesy of Clive Oppenheimer.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. A photo of the floor and portions of the confining walls of the Ray lava lake, which contained a bright orange-red circular area with exposed molten material at the surface. As seen here, the exposed molten material discharged ample spatter and gases. Note the network of glowing cracks bounding and crossing the chilled darker portions of the lava lake. Courtesy of Clive Oppenheimer.

2004 gas measurements. A study of the gas emissions conducted in December 2004 (Oppenheimer and Kyle, 2008) concluded with the statements below.

"We measured the emissions of seven gas species from Werner and Ray lava lakes at Erebus volcano by open-path FTIR spectroscopy. The results are among the few available for a highly alkalic magmatic system. Compared to typical subduction zone related volcanoes, Erebus gas is CO2-rich (consistent with abundant CO2 in olivine hosted melt inclusions sampled from Erebus basanite), and the CO2/CO ratio is lower (and perfectly consistent with the oxygen fugacity of Erebus phonolite estimated from the composition of component minerals). Combination of the measured gas proportions with the estimated SO2 flux carried by the plume provides estimates of the fluxes of all the other species. This yields the first measurements of the fluxes of H2O (~860 Mg per day) and carbonyl sulfide (~0.5 Mg per day). By mass, CO2 is the major component of the plume, and the estimated CO2 flux is ~1,300 Mg per day....

"The H2O/CO2 ratio and HF content of the individual plumes emitted by the two lava lakes are distinct, and point to a more 'evolved' gas released from Werner lake. This could indicate that the Werner lake is fed by a shallow offshoot of the conduit that supplies the Ray lake, or that magma feeding Werner lake is more comprehensively degassed due to a higher degree of crystallization....

References. Oppenheimer, C., Kyle, P.R., 2008, Probing the magma plumbing of Erebus volcano, Antarctica, by open-path FTIR spectroscopy of gas emissions, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 177, p. 743-754.

Csatho, B., Schenk, T., Kyle, P., Wilson, T. and Krabill, W. B., 2008, Airborne laser swath mapping of the summit of Erebus volcano, Antarctica: Applications to geological mapping of a volcano, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 177, no. 3, 531-548.

Iacovino, K., 2010, A view from the top: great weather on Erebus, Science Friday, posted 15 December 2010; accessed 24 October 2011.(URL: http://www.sciencefriday.com/blog/2010/12/a-view-from-the-top-great-weather-on-erebus/

Geologic Background. Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost historically active volcano, overlooks the McMurdo research station on Ross Island. It 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 3,200 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; other lava lakes are sometimes present. 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: Kayla Iacovino and Clive Oppenheimer, Cambridge University, Department of Geography, Downing Place, Cambridge, CB2 3EN, UK; Laura K. Jones, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM 87801, USA; 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/).


Mayon (Philippines) — September 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief seismic crisis in May 2011, low activity follows

Mayon volcano (figure 19) underwent an eruptive crisis in late 2009 into early 2010 and a seismic crisis in May 2011. This report provides some final remarks on the late 2009 to early 2010 eruptive crisis, and summarizes activity through 23 September 2011. Our previous report summarized the heightened activity in December 2009, which culminated in the evacuation of 47,000 people from their homes (BGVN 34:12). The eruption waned following the evacuation, and, accordingly, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) lowered the Alert Level from a high of 4 to 3 (on a scale from 0 to 5) on 2 January 2010. At that point, ~2,000 evacuees were still unable to return to their homes. On 13 January, the Alert Level was lowered from 3 to 2, and, according to Sophia Dedace (GMANews), enabled the remaining evacuees to return to their homes. Dedace reported that Governor Joey Salceda estimated the damage to agriculture and infrastructure from Mayon's 2009-2010 eruption at 26.2 million Philippine pesos (~$600,000 USD).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Maps showing geographic location (star on index map) and shaded relief map of Mayon volcano. Index map courtesy of Ginkgo Maps; shaded relief map courtesy of United Nations Institute for Training and Research's (UNITAR's) Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT).

On 2 March 2010, amid continually declining activity at Mayon, PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level from 2 to 1. As of 23 September 2011, the Alert Level remained unchanged, indicating, as stated by PHIVOLCS, "low level unrest" and that "no eruption [is] imminent." At Alert Level 1 (and all higher levels), access is prohibited within the 6-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone.

With the exception of May 2011, seismicity (figure 20) typically consisted of no more than a few volcanic earthquakes and rockfall events per day (i.e. less than 50 of either type per month) and relatively low SO2 flux (averaged per month on figure 20). Mayon typically vented ash-free steam at weak-to-moderate intensities, and crater glow persisted, observable by residents at night.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Reported volcanic earthquakes and seismically detected rockfall events per month (dark and light gray bars, respectively, left axis) and SO2 flux (open triangles and dashed line) averaged per month (right axis) at Mayon from 1 January 2010 to July 2011. Background colors indicate the Alert Level corresponding to the scale to the right of the figure. Little if any data are available from March through December 2010, presumably due to low activity during this interval. Data courtesy of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

During May 2011 there was a significant increase in seismicity, reaching a daily maximum of 38 volcanic earthquakes on 25 May. This increase coincided with a slight increase in the SO2 flux (averaged per month, figure 20). The increase in both seismicity and SO2 flux was short-lived, and activity declined to relatively low levels by June 2011.

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

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); GMANews.TV, 6/F GMA Network Center, EDSA corner Timog Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, 1101, PHILIPPINES (URL: http://www.gmanews.tv/index.html); United Nations Institute for Training and Research's (UNITAR's) Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland (URL: http://www.unitar.org/unosat/); Ginkgo Maps (URL: http://www.ginkgomaps.com/).


Nabro (Eritrea) — September 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Nabro

Eritrea

13.37°N, 41.7°E; summit elev. 2218 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


First historically observed eruption began 13 June 2011

The first documented historical eruption at Nabro began on 13 June 2011. Nabro lies in a belt of active volcanoes that follows the Red Sea and lies in the Afar Triangle in Southern Eritrea near the border with Ethiopia (figure 1). An earthquake swarm began on 12 June 2011. The swarm included an M 5.1 earthquake in the vicinity of Nabro and early the next day, satellite remote sensing revealed a large ash plume. Tensions remain in the war-ravaged border region of Eritrea and Ethopia; despite an official cease fire, access to the region remains limited. Nabro's eruption delivered large and concentrated SO2 plumes, dropped ash over extensive areas, forced thousands of evacuations, and, according to the Eritrean government, led to fatalities.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Nabro's location in Eritrea and with respect to neighboring countries in East Africa. (Inset) The location of Eritrea in Northeastern Africa along the Red Sea.

Nabro lies in the midst of a chain of volcanoes (figure 2; dashed lines indicate trends of volcanic ranges). Each of the three main volcanoes on figure 2 contains a prominent summit crater or caldera (figures 3 and 4).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. A regional map showing Nabro in the volcanic range of the same name (Nabro Volcanic Range, NVR). According to the map's authors (Wiart and Oppenheimer, 2005), the NVR trends with a bearing of N26°E and extends 110 km from the SE margin of the Afar depression at Bara' Ale to islands in the Red Sea. Nabro marks the highest point in the NVR (which the map authors state as 2,248 m, some 30 m higher than the value given in our header, above). Taken from Wiart and Oppenheimer (2005).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Satellite image of the Nabro region taken in February 2000 processed to form a shaded-relief map. When viewed in color, the lower elevations are in green, grading through yellow to red to blue at the highest elevations on the rims of the various nested calderas. Elevation data used in this image was acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) aboard the NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour. The scale is inexact, and the Eritrean-Ethiopian border is approximate. Courtesy of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Astronauts on the NASA International Space Station took this photograph of Nabro on 30 January 2011, showing the pre-eruption morphology of Nabro and some smaller volcanic centers to the S. Nabro's outer crater is ~8 km across and opens to the SSW. Centered within that larger caldera lie two much smaller craters, one inside the other. The inner wall of the caldera has steep sides, some as high as 400 m. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Seismic precursors. According to an article in the Ethiopian Journal issued on 13 June 2011, a series of moderate earthquakes struck the Eritrea-Ethiopia border region on the evening of 12 June 2011. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported a total of 14 light-to-moderate earthquakes in the border area, the two strongest being M 5.7, both centered in Eritrea. The series began at 1837 hours when an M 5.1 earthquake struck ~128 km WNW of Assab, a port city in the southern Red Sea region of Eritrea. It occurred at ~10 km depth and was followed by seven smaller ones, between M 4.5 and M 4.8, during the next 2.5 hours. Those were then followed by earthquakes of M 4.7, 4.8, and 5.0. Soon after, at 2332 hours, the first M 5.7 earthquake struck about 123 km WNW of Assab at a depth of 10 km. It was quickly followed by the second M 5.7 earthquake and other smaller earthquakes.

Eruption. The Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that an eruption from Nabro (originally attributed to Dubbi, ~25 km NNE of Nabro) started between 0300 and 0500 on 13 June 2011. The eruption plume initially rose to altitudes of 9.1-13.7 km; it was detected at altitudes of 6.1-10.7 km during 13-14 June.

According to the Eritrean Ministry of Information, ashfall covered hundreds of square kilometers, and the government evacuated area residents. Eye witnesses first observed the eruption at about 2100 on 13 June. Satellite images that same day showed the plume drifting more than 1,000 km NW, over parts of Sudan. On 14 June 2011 news articles reported that a detached ash cloud was detected over southern Israel. Throughout the eruption, satellite images were nearly the only source of new information about activity.

The Addis Fortune website reported that, although the major eruption took place in Nabro, large quantities of dust from the earthquake occurred in the town of Afambo (~26.5 km N of Nabro). It also reported that the Eritrean government announced that inhabitants had moved to safe areas. The well-known Afdera salt accumulation site in the depression was covered in volcanic ash. The salt, extracted for human and other consumption, had thus become inedible. The ash clouds also caused the cancellation of some domestic and international flights in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

During the week of 15-21 June 2011, Nabro continued to produce plumes. Based on analyses of satellite imagery during that period, the Toulouse VAAC reported that plumes comprised mostly of water and SO2 rose to altitudes of 6.1-7.9 km (figure 5). Ash was occasionally detected near the volcano. Satellite imagery posted on the MODIS/MODVOLC website showed a dark brown ash plume fanning out to the SW on 19 June. By 19 June, the altitude of Nabro's ash plume dropped from a maximum of 14 km to 7.6 km. The ash halted flights in eastern Africa for a time. The eruption killed seven people, according to the Eritrean government, although later reports appeared to discount that. Other reports indicated that thousands were affected in both Eritrea and Ethiopia, though news was sparse.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. This large and intense SO2 gas cloud emitted from Nabro was captured by the OMI satellite's spectrometer during the time interval between 1017 and 1159 UTC on 19 June 2011. The SO2 traveled to the S and the W during the period, and some portions of intense gas clearly extended off this image in those directions. The scale at right is in Dobson Units (DU, a unit common in atmospheric research and widely described in text books). The mass of SO2 depicted on this image was ~103 kilotons (kt); the area of cloud was ~591,000 km2; the maximum SO2 values on the image occurred at the location 40.87°N and 13.14°E and reached 68 DU. Courtesy of Simon Carn, and NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Aura/OMI website.

A thermal satellite image acquired at night on 19 June revealed a 15-km-long lava flow that had traveled NW (figure 6). A high-altitude plume, likely rich in water vapor, rose from erupting vents; a diffuse ash-rich plume drifted SW. The more restricted plume on 19 June enabled images to reveal a NW-trending lava flow that extended ~15 km from the summit area, although the area of venting remained obscured by a water-rich plume.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. A thermal infrared, false-color image of Nabro on 19 June 2011 taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER). Hot areas are bright with new lava flows shown in white, and cold areas are dark. Thermal infrared data were combined with a shaded relief image to show the terrain. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

On 22 June a report from the Eritrea Ministry of Energy and Mines stated that the ash and lava covered hundreds of square meters. A satellite image acquired that day showed a gas-and-ash plume rising from the caldera and drifting W. An image from 24 June showed the erupting vent, plumes and emissions, and lava flows (figure 7).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. A false-color image of Nabro, acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite on 24 June 2011, highlighted hot areas throughout the lava flow and flow front, as well as above the vent in the center of the caldera. The bright red portions indicate hot surfaces. To the W, portions of an active lava flow (particularly the flow-front) are also hot. The speckled pattern on upstream portions of the flow is likely due to hardened crust splitting and exposing fluid lava. An ash plume rose from the vent, and at higher altitudes a plume composed of water vapor and SO2 drifted W and obscured the active lava flow. Black ash deposits covered the landscape to the S and W. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

During 22-26 June large amounts of SO2 in the region continued to be detected by satellite images. Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Toulouse VAAC reported that during 26-27 June plumes reached altitudes of up to 6.1 km.

An annotated satellite image acquired on 29 June (figure 8) showed a clear view of the eruption. NASA Earth Observatory analysts labeled what they inferred to be the vent, an area in the main caldera's center and likely engulfing both the two inner craters with either very hot lava or with fresh tephra that probably formed cones or other features whose surface cooled quickly. An ash plume rose from the vent and drifted S. Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Toulouse VAAC reported that on 16 July an ash plume from Nabro rose to altitudes below 5.5 km. A weak eruption detected on 17 July decreased through the day then appeared to stop.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. A visible and infrared image of Nabro from the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite, taken 29 June 2011. The image shows the still-hot lava flow, fresh ash over the lower half of the photo (dark landscape, accentuated by slanting lines or dashes in the lower portion of the image). A diffuse ash plume rose from the vent. The hottest lava is indicated by orange-red, with cooler zones fading to black. The ~15 km long flow on the W side of the volcano is mottled with black, indicating areas with cooler surfaces. The lava to the E and S of the vent appears to be newer, since little of it has cooled. Image and interpretation of NASA Earth Observatory (with lines and additional labels added).

According to an article by the South Africa Weather and Disaster Information Service (SAWDIS) dated 30 June 2011, a press release from the Eritrean Government disclosed that, though the advancing lava in the nearby village of Sireru had slowed down, a large area of land covered by vegetation was destroyed and river beds were covered within 24 hours.

NASA's Earth Observatory noted that images from 28 September showed heat from the vent in the central crater and from an area 1.3 km S of the vent that indicated an active lava flow. A small and diffuse plume rose from the vent. A region of seemingly thicker black ash (that completely covered the sparse vegetation) was noted S of the crater and thinner layers of ash (with some areas of visible vegetation) flanked either side of the region.

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts. Prior to 12 June 2011 the MODVOLC website indicated that no thermal alerts were measured over at least the past 5 years. The onset of thermal alerts was a 3-pixel area detected at 0115 on 13 June 2011 (2215 on 12 June UTC), followed by nearly daily measurements through 1 September 2011. Since that date, several alerts per week have been measured for Nabro up to 5 November 2011.

Some individual satellite passes measured high numbers of alerts. A 9-pixel alert occurred on 8 September, and as many as 95 pixels were measured for a single satellite pass at 2245 on 17 June. Other single orbital passes during June-August measured alerts of 50 to more than 70 pixels.

Reference. Wiart, P., and Oppenheimer, C., 2005, Large magnitude silicic volcanism in north Afar: the Nabro Volcanic Range and Ma'alalta volcano, Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 67, no. 2, pp. 99-115.

Geologic Background. The Nabro stratovolcano is the highest volcano in the Danakil depression of northern Ethiopia and Eritrea, at the SE end of the Danakil Alps. Nabro, along with Mallahle, Asavyo, and Sork Ale volcanoes, collectively comprise the Bidu volcanic complex SW of Dubbi volcano. This complex stratovolcano constructed primarily of trachytic lava flows and pyroclastics, is truncated by nested calderas 8 and 5 km in diameter. The larger caldera is widely breached to the SW. Rhyolitic obsidian domes and basaltic lava flows were erupted inside the caldera and on its flanks. Some very recent lava flows were erupted from NNW-trending fissures transverse to the trend of the volcanic range.

Information Contacts: NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov); MODIS/MODVOLC, 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 (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) (URL: http://www.meteo.fr/vaac/); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring (URL: http://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.php); Jet Propulsion Laboratory (URL: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov); S.A. Weather and Disaster Information Service. (SAWDIS) (URL: http://saweatherobserver.blogspot.com); Ethiopian Journal (URL: http://www.ethjournal.com); Addis Fortune (URL: http://www.addisfortune.com); Simon Carn, Dept of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Dr., Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — September 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption on 26 April 2010; ongoing activity through September 2011

The following report provides information from May 2010 through mid-October 2011 on Santa Maria volcano and its active dome complex, Santiaguito. The last report (BGVN 35:03) covered activity form 2008 to April 2010. The sources for this report are Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH) and Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Santa Maria's eruptive history from the Global Volcanism Program database identifies the current eruption as beginning 22 June 1922 and continuing to mid-October 2011. The database's criteria for an eruption ending requires at least a 3-month pause in volcanic emissions (Siebert and others, 2010).

A recent report concerned the eruption of 26 April 2010, an event mentioned at the end of our last report (BGVN 35:03). A table summarizes some significant activity during the current reporting period. It is notable that during about nine months of 2011 (up to early October), MODVOLC measured thermal alerts several times each month (in each instance covering an area of 1 to 3 pixels). In comparison, during 2009, seven thermal alerts were measured and, during 2010, three alerts were measured.

More details on the 26 April 2010 eruption. Chigna (2010) noted the 26 April 2010 eruption of Santiaguito was associated with four large seismic events (M 3.9 at 0624, M 4.92 at 0648, M 5.89 at 0723, and M 5.72 at 0758). The seismic network recently established at the volcano permitted first-time recognition of some seismic signals known as tornillos ['screws' in Spanish; defined by Morrissey and Mastin (2000) as monochromatic, long period seismic events lasting a few minutes, with long codas of progressively decreasing amplitude that may be eruption precursors] (figure 34a). Pyroclastic flows were generated within the gullies on the S flank. An ash column rose to an altitude of 15 km, drifting to the W, NW, N, NE, and E, causing closure of village schools SW of Santiaguito and in the Quetzaltenango area. The ashfall was reported out to 7.3 km from the volcano; civil aeronautics alerted air traffic to avoid the plume within a radius of 80 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Examples of seismic records at Santa Maria. (a) Tornillo (screw) event. (b) Pyroclastic flow due to dome collapse; arrows indicate the onset of the primary events. Both seismic records taken from Chigna (2010).

Activity from May 2010 to early-October 2011. Tables 3 and 4, summarizing activity from May 2010 through early-October 2011, document nearly continuous explosions, plumes, and pyroclastic flows. Various mass wasting processes were common, particularly block avalanches and lahars, often set into motion by precipitation.

Table 3. Summary of available information on explosions, plumes, and other volcanic emissions of Santa Maria volcano reported during May-December 2010. "--" is 'not reported' in original VAAC reports. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH, Washington VAAC, and MODVOLC.

Date Explosions noted Plume color and composition Plume Height Drift Direction Other Activity
07 May 2010 17 weak to moderate Gray 2.9-3.4 km SW --
10 May 2010 -- White 75 m -- --
19 May 2010 Yes Ash 2.9-3.4 km SW Hot lahars carried blocks
20 May 2010 Yes -- 3.3 km E Pyroclastic flow to SW
04 Jun 2010 -- -- -- -- Lahar carried blocks
19-20 Jul 2010 24 in 48-hour period Ash 300-900 m SE, W --
05-06 Aug 2010 -- Steam -- SW Lahars carried trees, blocks
01 Sep 2010 -- Ash 100 m SE Pyroclastic flow to SW
02 Sep 2010 Yes Ash 500-1,000 m W, SW Block avalanches on W flank
06 Sep 2010 Yes Ash 500-1,000 m W, SW --
11 Sep 2010 Yes Ash 1 km E, SE Pyroclastic flows (2) to 3 km SW
13 Sep 2010 -- White 100 m S --
22 Oct 2010 Yes Ash 300 m SW Block avalanches on S and SW flanks
26 Oct 2010 -- Steam 150 m -- --
29 Oct 2010 Yes Ash 900 m SW Pyroclastic flow down SW flank to 5 km S
31 Oct 2010 -- Ash -- W --
17, 22 Nov Yes Ash 0.7-1 km E, SE --
19 Nov 2010 -- -- -- -- Ashfall to the S
08 Dec 2010 Yes Ash 700 m SE Block avalanches; ashfall to SE
10 Dec 2010 -- Ash -- 21 km W --
13-14 Dec 2010 Yes Ash 300-700 m SE Block avalanches; pyroclastic flows
29-30 Dec 2010 Yes Ash 300-600 m S, SE Ashfall

Table 4. Summary of available information on explosions, plumes, and other volcanic emissions of Santa Maria volcano reported during January through early-October 2011. "--" is 'not reported' in original VAAC reports. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH, Washington VAAC, and MODVOLC.

Date Explosions noted Plume color and composition Plume Height Drift Direction Other Activity
01 Jan 2011 -- -- -- W Satellite thermal anomalies
03-04 Jan 2011 Yes Ash 700 m SW Avalanches to W flank
05-06 Jan 2011 Yes Ash 400-500 m SW --
08 Jan 2011 -- Ash? -- 30 km SSW --
10-11 Jan 2011 Yes Ash 600 m SW, W Avalanches on S and E flanks
20-21 Jan 2011 -- Ash 4.3-5.2 km SW Avalanches; rockfalls
23-24 Jan 2011 -- Ash 300 m N --
02-03 Feb 2011 Yes Ash 300 m --

References. Chigna, G., 2010, Eruption of Santiaguito (1402-03) 26 April 2010. INSIVUMEH (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/).

Morrissey, M., and Mastin, L., 2000, Vulcanian eruptions, p. 463-475, in Sigurdsson, H. (ed), Encyclopedia of Volcanoes, Academic Press, San Diego.

Siebert, L., Simkin, T., and Kimberly, P., 2010, Volcanoes of the World, 3rd ed., Berkeley: University of California Press, 568 p.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is part of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rise above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The sharp-topped, conical profile 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 vents, with activity progressing W towards the most recent, 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/inicio.html); 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 20748, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); MODVOLC-HIGP, 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/).


Stromboli (Italy) — September 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Recent activity; plumbing insights; new water vapor flux technique; hydrogeology

Activity at Stromboli (figure 76), since February 2010 (BGVN 35:03) through 11 October 2011 was generally of medium to low intensity, with minor fluctuations typical for Stromboli. Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) reported occasional episodes of increased activity; note that the dates provided below are illustrative and by no means all-inclusive. This generally occurred as either more intense explosions or increased spattering (figure 77). More intense explosions often generated coarse pyroclastics and/or expelled erupted products farther than during typical activity, sometimes to the summit platform (Pizzo sopra la Fossa) overlooking the active craters, and beyond. For example, some specific pronounced events took place on 19 December 2010, 5 August, and 5 September 2011.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Index map (inset) and aerial photograph of Stromboli, showing the active vents and Sciara del Fuoco, a Pleistocene landslide scarp. Underlined names indicate coastal towns. Index map courtesy of Ginkgo Maps; aerial photograph courtesy of the Italian Air Force.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Photograph of an eruption at Stromboli at approximately 1930 on 15 July 2011 showing spattering behavior. Courtesy of Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery.

On 30 June 2010, incandescent material thrown from the vent caused small fires on the upper flanks of the volcano. Increased spattering activity often resulted in intra- and, less frequently, extra-crater lava flows (figure 78a and b, respectively) such as those seen during 18-23 October 2010, 1-2 August, and 7 September 2011. The extra-crater lava flows of 1-2 August from the northernmost vent were the first observed since December 2010; they extended only a few hundred meters downslope (figure 78a). Extra-crater lava flows were often accompanied by land- or rock-slides down Sciara del Fuoco, fed by material that broke free from lava flow fronts and rolled down slope (e.g. 1 August 2011).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Intra-crater (a) and extra-crater (b) lava flows at Stromboli. (a) Spatter fed lava flow emitted from a small cone on the SW rim of the crater terrace; a small group of glowing vents can be seen at bottom left (circled). Photographed during the night of 11-12 August 2011 by Gijs de Reijke. (b) Aerial view of the summit area of Stromboli, highlighting extra-crater lava flows onto Sciara del Fuoco. The northern (N) and southern (S) vent areas are labeled in red; lava flows were emitted during 11-12 December 2010 (1, yellow), 1-2 August 2011 (2, pink), and on 18 August 2011 (3, red). Photo by Mauro Coltelli; courtesy of Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV).

Some of the parameters reported by INGV during February 2010 to October 2011 included seismic, deformation, visual observation, and gas flux. The flux of CO2 and SO2, and particularly the CO2/SO2 ratio measured in the plumes, provided insight into the provenance of the generally discreet gas discharges ("gas slugs") that regularly burst upon reaching Stromboli's vent. INGV reported that a coupled increase in the CO2/SO2 ratio and decrease of SO2 flux (seen, for example, during the weeks of 5-12 and 19-26 September 2011) indicated an increased contribution of volatiles from deeper portions of the magmatic system.

Recent insight into magma generation. A study of erupted ash textures and compositions by D'Oriano and others (2011) yielded results comparable with the implications of the CO2/SO2 ratio reported by INGV. The authors use the commonly accepted terms for two separate populations of magma at Stromboli; these terms are presented and used herein.

"LP magmas" are those with low porphyricity (similar sized phenocrysts) that are considered to have relatively deeper origins and simple cooling histories. "HP magmas" are those with high porphyricity (multiple size populations of phenocrysts) that are considered to reside in a shallow reservoir in the crust and have more complex, multiple stage cooling histories.

D'Oriano and others (2011) found that there is a coupled, possibly persistent ascent of deep-derived CO2 and small amounts of LP magma. They concluded that the coupled ascent of LP magma and CO2 is transient and does not disturb the HP magma that resides in the shallow reservoir. See figure 79 for a schematic of the plumbing and magma storage zones of Stromboli.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Schematic cross-section of Stromboli showing the crustal plumbing system and highlighting HP and LP magma storage zones. From Aiuppa and others (2010), based upon earlier works.

New technique for measuring plume water vapor concentration. LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) has been used for the first time to measure water vapor flux of a volcanic plume. Fiorani and others (2011) used a CO2 laser-based LIDAR system called ATLAS (Agile Tuned Lidar for Atmospheric Sensing) at Stromboli to measure both wind speed and water vapor concentration of the erupted plume. When combined, the measurements yielded water vapor flux of the plume. Their measurements agreed with measurements obtained from traditional methods, and were the first such measurements at an active volcano.

Hydrogeology of Stromboli. A detailed geophysical survey of Stromboli revealed some hydrogeological features of the volcano (figure 80). Revil and others (2011) conducted a survey measuring electrical resistivity, soil CO2 concentrations, soil temperature, and self-potential along two profiles (a and b, figures 80 and 81). Their survey focused on the Pizzo crater (near the active vents), and the Rina Grande sector collapse on the E side of the island. They published a detailed schematic interpretation of fluid-flow pathways along the two profiles (figure 81).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Geologic map of Stromboli. Red dots denote geophysical profiles of Revil and others (2011); (a) profile across Pizzo crater, near the active vents, and (b) profile down the length of the Rino Grande sector collapse, on the E flank of Stromboli. The two profiles are coincident to the W of Neo-Stromboli crater. Modified from Revil and others (2011).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Interpretive hydrogeology diagram of Revil and others (2011) at Stromboli highlighting fluid flow pathways along two profiles; (a) profile across Pizzo crater, and (b) profile down the length of the Rino Grande sector collapse. See legend at right; areas in gray indicate the inferred extent of the hydrothermal system; orange lines and arrows indicate hot water flow; gray arrows indicate gas discharge; black solid and dashed lines indicate faults. See Revil and others (2011) for further details.

The authors identified an unconfined aquifer above the villages of Scari and San Vincenzo. They stated that the Rina Grande sector collapse is the "most important structural control for magmatic and hydrothermal fluids" in the upper part of the Stromboli edifice, and that it hosts the two main diffuse degassing areas of the edifice. They further concluded that the hydrothermal system reaches shallow levels in the lower part of the Rina Grande collapse (profile b, figures 80 and 81). This fact, they wrote, "raises questions about the mechanical stability of this [E] flank of the edifice".

References. Aiuppa, A., Bertagnini, A., Métrich, N., Moretti, R., Di Muro, A., Liuzzo, M., Tamburello, G., 2010, A model of degassing for Stromboli volcano, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 295, no. 1-2, p. 195-204 (DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2010.03.040).

D'Oriano, C., Bertagnini, A., and Pompilio, M., 2011, Ash erupted during normal activity at Stromboli (Aeolian Islands, Italy) raises questions on how the feeding system works, Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 73, no. 5, p. 471-477 (DOI:10.1007/s00445-010-0425-0).

Fiorani, L., Colao, F., Palucci, A., Poreh, D., Aiuppa, A., and Giudice, G., 2011, First-time lidar measurement of water vapor flux in a volcanic plume, Optics Communications, v. 284, no. 5, p. 1295-1298 (DOI:10.1016/j.optcom.2010.10.082).

Revil, A., Finizola, A., Ricci, T., Delcher, E., Peltier, A., Barde-Cabusson, S., Avard, G., Bailly, T., Bennati, L., Byrdina, S., Colonge, J., Di Gangi, F., Douillet, G., Lupi, M., Letort, J., and Tsang Hin Sun, E., 2011, Hydrogeology of Stromboli volcano, Aeolian Islands (Italy) from the interpretation of resistivity tomograms, self-potential, soil temperature and soil CO2 concentration measurements, Geophysical Journal International, v. 186, no. 3, p. 1078-1094 (DOI:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05112.x).

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 took place between about 13,000 and 5,000 years ago. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent horseshoe-shaped scarp formed about 5,000 years ago due to 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: Boris Behncke and Mauro Coltelli, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, 95125 Catania (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/); Ginkgo Maps (URL: http://www.ginkgomaps.com/); Italian Air Force (URL: http://www.aeronautica.difesa.it/); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Gijs de Reijke, Arnhem High School, Nijmegen, Netherlands.


Tofua (Tonga) — September 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Tofua

Tonga

19.75°S, 175.07°W; summit elev. 515 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elaborative comments on April 2010 observations

This report on Tofua elaborates on observations in our previous report (BGVN 36:07).

Several maps show Tofua (figure 7) with respect to other geographic features, and also areas of responsibility of Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers in the region. A map of islands in the main part of the Archipelago appeared in BGVN 34:02.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. (inset at lower right) Tofua shown in geographic context. Tofua is a part of the Kingdom of Tonga. (main map) Various areas of responsibility of Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers (VAACs) in the region; responsibility for Tonga resides with the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre. Courtesy of ESRI Corporation (modified).

Mark Belvedere (Kalia Foundation) sent additional comments regarding his visit to Tofua on 24 April 2010 (see BGVN 36:07). Belvedere noted that at night as they approached the island the glow from the active crater flickered and was visible ~50 km from the volcano. The glow was absent during the day but a plume was conspicuous. In describing his approach to the crater he stated that "As I was walking up towards [it] the area was littered with lava stone from the sizes of golf balls to beach balls." The observation of those ejecta made him nervous. To him, the crater "looked like an air-breathing red hot lava tube ready to shoot out lava stones at any moment but NO I didn't stay to physically see it shooting out the lava nor the lava stones."

Upon reaching the summit the visitors were surprised at how unstable the rim looked. Belvedere had to have his companions hold his feet in order to lean out over the crater to get the photo shown in our previous report (BGVN 36:07). He guessed the distance to the sloping crater floor was on the order of 50 m. The low-level eruptions accompanied larger ash plumes. The plumes were quite reflective at night. A sulfurous odor prevailed.

Stuart Kershaw's attempts to create a video with narration on the scene proved difficult because the eruptions were broken with pauses of about 8-15 minutes, and each pulse behaved differently in terms of how much sound they generated.

Geologic Background. The low, forested Tofua Island in the central part of the Tonga Islands group is the emergent summit of a large stratovolcano that was seen in eruption by Captain Cook in 1774. The first Caucasian to set foot on the 515-m-high island was Capt. William Bligh in 1789, just after the renowned mutiny on the "Bounty." The summit contains a 5-km-wide caldera whose walls drop steeply about 500 m. Three post-caldera cones were constructed at the northern end of a cold fresh-water caldera lake, whose surface lies only 30 m above sea level. The easternmost cone has three craters and produced young basaltic-andesite lava flows, some of which traveled into the caldera lake. The largest and northernmost of the cones, Lofia, has a steep-sided crater that is 70 m wide and 120 m deep and has been the source of historical eruptions, first reported in the 18th century. The fumarolically active crater of Lofia has a flat floor formed by a ponded lava flow.

Information Contacts: Mark Belvedere, Kalia Foundation USA, 4515 SW Natchez Ct., Tualatin, OR 97062, USA (www.kaliafoundation.org); Treasure Island Eueiki Eco Resort, Vava'u, Kingdom of Tonga (www.tongaislandresort.com); Stuart Kershaw, In the Dark Productions (URL: http://inthedarkproductions.co.uk/); Sakopo Lolohea, Tongan Visitor Bureau, Ministry of Tourism. Vuna Rd., Nuku'alofa, Tonga (URL: http://www.tonga.holiday.com/).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — September 2011 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent degassing and occasional ashfall, March 2010-June 2011

During 5-6 January 2010, Turrialba discharged a phreatic eruption that resulted in a new vent and ashfall up to 30 km from the crater (BGVN 35:02). This report discusses activity from February 2010 through October 2011. Portions of this report were initially synthesized and edited by Shereena Dyer, as part of a graduate student writing assignment in a volcanology class at Oregon State University under the guidance of professor Shan de Silva.

Since the January eruption, Turrialba (figure 23) has continued to eject gas and ash intermittently, maintained elevated fumarolic output and temperatures, and produced strong SO2-bearing plumes from the vent. This activity continued over much of the reporting interval. The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) annual report highlighted the 5-6 January eruption as the key event during 2010. According to OVSICORI-UNA, field observations on 6 January found that two small vents had opened and joined together on the SE inner wall of the SW crater. Current monitoring includes a web camera 600 m from the active crater that takes an image every 10 seconds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. View of Turrialba's SW crater (depression in foreground) and central crater (at distance). The photo documents the character of persistent ongoing fumarolic degassing on an unstated day in January 2011. The yellow zones on the hillsides represent sulfur-bearing deposits sublimated from the sulfur-rich gas emissions. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

After the 5-6 January eruptions, emission levels dropped. In late February 2010, scientists found a pool of molten sulfur at the base of the S crater wall with a temperature of 153°C.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that scientists visited Turrialba on 7 March 2010. A gas plume, common with this volcano, was observed that night rising 1.5 km above the crater and drifting NW. Noises from the crater were described as sounding like a jet engine and rumblings. The January 2010 vent emitted gas in March with surface temperatures between 300 and 320°C. Small blocks 3-12 cm in diameter and of different colors dominated the surface around the vent. Lithics ejected 30-50 m away from the vent measured 170°C. Incandescence seen at night originated from the vent that ejected reddish-colored tephra. Two SO2 measurements taken on or around 13 March from a ground-based spectrometer yielded 1,100 and 750 t/d, the former taken closer to the volcano.

According to OVSICORI-UNA, most of the gas emitted in April originated from the January 2010 vent; in April it produced plumes that rose 2 km above the crater rim. Gas also rose from other areas, including fissures SW of the W crater and from multiple vents and fissures in the main crater. Gas plumes mainly drifted NW, W, and SW, coinciding with areas where vegetation had suffered the greatest damage from the gases.

In April 2010, OVSICORI-UNA reported that multiple years of rain data had been collected at the station La Silvia on the W flank and was frequently found to be acidic (pH often well below 5). During 2007 though mid-2010, the rain had pH 2.8-5.7 and elevated specific conductivity (figure 24). Note that the lowest pH values on the plot were collected during 2009 and 2010.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Specific conductivity (microS/cm) and pH of rainfall collected at La Silvia station associated with Turrialba during parts of the 1980s and then from 2007 through mid-2010. Note break in horizontal scale owing to absence of data. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA/CONARE.

In May scientists noted that on the NW, W, SW sides there were new effects of acid-rain-damaged leaves and vegetation up to 4 km from the main crater. During August, observers noted farms 18 km SW of Turrialba with burns on onions, chemical damage attributed to volcanic gases.

A farm 3 km NW of the summit appears in comparative photos from 2007 and 2011 (figure 25). The houses in the photos were abandoned for a few months after the seismic swarms in the middle of 2007. The residents returned during February-March 2008, only to permanently leave in the middle of 2008 due to harsh atmospheric conditions. This farm remained abandoned in November 2011. Many others were also abandoned in areas of intense impact.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. For Turrialba, comparative views from 2007 (top) and 2011 (bottom) of a farm below the crater and to the NW. These photographs show the effects of acidification on the vegetation and infrastructure. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Based on web camera views, the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that on 24 July 2010 a plume of steam, gas, and ash drifted W. Over the next three hours, the plume became more diffuse and steam-rich. Another ash emission was observed on 15 August 2010; the plume drifted about 600 m E of the active crater. Satellite imagery showed an approximately 10-km-wide ash plume drifting 15 km W.

The volcano was relatively quiet during November and December. In January 2011, vegetation damage from acid rain could be observed on the SW, W, and NW flanks. Residents in the village of Silvia, 2.3 km SW of the crater, reported a strong stench of SO2 during the month. On 14 January, nearby residents reported minor ashfall and rumbling noises, and again, strong sulfurous odors. OVSICORI closed the Turrialba Volcano National Park temporarily, evacuated a few people as a precaution, and installed a surveillance base in the town of La Central (~4 km SW of the crater). OVSICORI-UNA noted that a blue-and-white gas plume rose from Turrialba the next day.

During a visit to the volcano in January 2011, OVSICORI-UNA found that a 2- to 5-cm-thick layer of freshly ejected material, with clasts ranging in size from a few millimeters to 5 cm, blanketed the W edge of the crater. Officials discovered two small landslides on the walls of the crater. The walls were considered unsafe due to the loose material. The cavity in the crater that formed in January 2010 had been widened as a result of falling material and the W part of the cavity was offset by about 4 m. A new cavity in the vent appeared to have formed from one of the explosions. Heavy rainfall created a large gully, incising the W edge of the crater at a depth of 0.4-1.5 m. Despite the intense rainfall, the crater was covered in sulfur-bearing deposits. An "eerie sound," which at times could be heard kilometers from the summit, was associated with the emission of gas. A gray plume had a temperature at the vent ranging from 480-498°C.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that on 9 June 2011 scientists conducting fieldwork at Turrialba observed a new lake in the SW crater. Since February, rock landslides along with abundant mud and clay had accumulated in the bottom of the crater, blocking the vent. Meteoric water from rains starting in May had formed a light-green-colored lake that was 70 m in diameter and ~1 m deep. Minor bubbling in the SW and NE shores was noted, and steam and sulfur dioxide gas emissions rose from many fumarolic vents around the crater.

OVSICORI-UNA reported on 12 October 2011 that degassing at Turrialba had affected the vegetation, soil, infrastructure, and economy (figure 25). Acidification of the soil had impaired, possibly permanently, vegetation growth; the economic effect on farms and livestock has yet to be determined. A school building near the volcano was still used by students and teachers, despite having been deemed unsafe. The extent of the effect of acidification on livestock and the economy had not yet been determined.

Reference. OVSICORI-UNA, 2010, Real-time webcamera of Turrialba volcano, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/vulcanologia/videoturri.html)

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

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

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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