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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

Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) Multiple lava flows within the summit crater, September 2018-August 2019

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) Explosions on 26 June and 3 August 2019 send plumes above 19 km altitude

Sarychev Peak (Russia) Ash plume on 11 August; thermal anomalies from late May to early October 2019

Asamayama (Japan) Ashfall from phreatic eruptions on 7 and 25 August 2019

Villarrica (Chile) Strombolian activity continued during March-August 2019 with an increase in July

Reventador (Ecuador) Daily ash emissions and incandescent block avalanches continue, February-July 2019

Raikoke (Russia) Short-lived series of large explosions 21-23 June 2019; first recorded activity in 95 years

Sinabung (Indonesia) Large ash explosions on 25 May and 9 June 2019

Semisopochnoi (United States) Small explosions detected between 16 July and 24 August 2019

Krakatau (Indonesia) Repeated Surtseyan explosions with ash and steam during February-July 2019

Tengger Caldera (Indonesia) Ash emissions on 19 and 28 July 2019; lahar on the SW flank of Bromo

Unnamed (Tonga) Submarine eruption in early August creates pumice rafts that drifted west to Fiji



Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple lava flows within the summit crater, September 2018-August 2019

Frequent historical eruptions from Tanzania's Ol Doinyo Lengai have been recorded since the late 19th century. Located near the southern end of the East African Rift in the Gregory Rift Valley, the unique low-temperature carbonatitic lavas have been the focus of numerous volcanological studies; the volcano has also long been a cultural icon central to the Maasai people who live in the region. Following explosive eruptions in the mid-1960s and early 1980s the volcano entered a phase of effusive activity with the effusion of small, fluid, natrocarbonatitic lava flows within its active north summit crater. From 1983 to early 2007 the summit crater was the site of numerous often-changing hornitos (or spatter cones) and lava flows that slowly filled the crater. Lava began overflowing various flanks of the crater in 1993; by 2007 most flanks had been exposed to flows from the crater.

Seismic and effusive activity increased in mid-2007, and a new phase of explosive activity resumed in September of that year. The explosive activity formed a new pyroclastic cone inside the crater; repeated ash emissions reached altitudes greater than 10 km during March 2008, causing relocation of several thousand nearby villagers. Explosive activity diminished by mid-April 2008; by September new hornitos with small lava flows were again forming on the crater floor. Periodic eruptions of lava from fissures, spatter cones, and hornitos within the crater were witnessed throughout the next decade by scientists and others occasionally visiting the summit. Beginning in 2017, satellite imagery has become a valuable data source, providing information about both the thermal activity and the lava flows in the form of infrared imagery and the color contrast of black fresh lava and whiter cooled lava that is detectable in visible imagery (BGVN 43:10). The latest expeditions in 2018 and 2019 have added drone technology to the research tools. This report covers activity from September 2018 through August 2019 with data and images provided from satellite information and from researchers and visitors to the volcano.

Summary and data from satellite imagery. Throughout September 2018 to August 2019, evidence for repeated small lava flows was recorded in thermal data, satellite imagery, and from a few visits to or overflights of the summit crater by researchers. Intermittent low-level pulses of thermal activity appeared in MIROVA data a few times during the period (figure 187). Most months, Sentinel-2 satellite imagery generated six images with varying numbers of days that had a clear view of the summit and showed black and white color contrasts from fresh and cooled lava and/or thermal anomalies (table 27, figures 188-191). Lava flows came from multiple source vents within the crater, produced linear flows, and covered large areas of the crater floor. Thermal anomalies were located in different areas of the crater; multiple anomalies from different source vents were visible many months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 187. Intermittent low-level pulses of thermal activity were recorded in the MIROVA thermal data a few times between 21 October 2018 and the end of August 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Table 27. The number of days each month with Sentinel-2 images of Ol Doinyo Lengai, days with clear views of the summit showing detectable color contrasts between black and white lava, and days with detectable thermal anomalies within the summit crater. A clear summit means more than half the summit visible or features identifiable through diffuse cloud cover. Information courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Month Sentinel-2 Images Clear Summit with Lava Color Contrasts Thermal anomalies
Sep 2018 6 5 5
Oct 2018 7 4 3
Nov 2018 6 2 0
Dec 2018 5 1 1
Jan 2019 6 5 3
Feb 2019 6 5 6
Mar 2019 6 5 5
Apr 2019 6 1 0
May 2019 6 3 2
Jun 2019 6 3 3
Jul 2019 6 5 5
Aug 2019 6 5 3
Figure (see Caption) Figure 188. Sentinel-2 imagery of Ol Doinyo Lengai from September 2018 showed examples of the changing color contrasts of fresh black lava which quickly cools to whitish-brown (top row) and varying intensities and numbers of thermal anomalies on the same days (bottom row). It is clear that the color and thermal patterns change several times during the month even with only a few days of available imagery. Dates of images from left to right are 11, 16, and 21 September. The summit crater is 300 m across and 100 m deep. The top row is with Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and the bottom row is with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 189. Contrasting patterns of dark and light lava flows within the summit crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai on 1 (left) and 11 (right) October 2018 show how quickly new dark flows cool to a lighter color. The flow on 1 October appears to originate in the E part of the crater; the flow in the crater on 11 October has a source in the N part of the crater. These Sentinel-2 images use Natural color rendering (bands 4,3,2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 190. A large flow at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 3 February 2019 filled most of the summit crater with lobes of black lava (top left) and generated one of the strongest thermal signatures of the period (top right) in these Sentinel-2 satellite images. On 20 March 2019, a small dark area of fresh material contrasted sharply with the surrounding light-colored material (bottom left); the thermal image of the same data shows a small anomaly near the dark spot (bottom right). The left column is with Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and the right column is with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 191. The dark lava spots at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 18 June 2019 (top left) and 28 July 2019 (top center) produced matching thermal anomalies in the Sentinal-2 imagery (bottom left and center). On days when the summit was partly obscured by clouds such as 27 August (top right), the strong thermal signal from the summit still confirmed fresh flow activity (bottom right). The top row is with Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and the bottom row is with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Information from site visits and overflights. Minor steam and gas emissions were visible from the summit crater during an overflight on 29 September 2018. Geologist Cin-Ty Lee captured excellent images of the W flank on 20 October 2018 (figure 192). The large circular crater at the base of the flank is the 'Oldoinyo' Maar (Graettinger, 2018a and 2018b). A view into the crater from an overflight that day (figure 193) showed clear evidence of at least five areas of dark, fresh lava. An effusive eruption was visible on the crater floor on 2 March 2019 (figure 194).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 192. A large maar stands out at the base of the SW flank of Ol Doinyo Lengai on 20 October 2018. Courtesy of Cin-Ty Lee (Rice University).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 193. A view into the summit crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai on 20 October 2018 shows clear evidence of recent flow activity in the form of multiple dark spots of fresh lava that has recently emerged from hornitos and fissures. The lava cools to a pale color very quickly, forming the contrasting background to the fresh flows. The summit crater is 300 m across and 100 m deep. Courtesy of Cin-Ty Lee (Rice University).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 194. A view into the crater floor at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 2 March 2019 showed a vent with both fresh (dark brown) and cooled (gray-white) carbonatite lavas and hornitos on the floor of the crater. The darkest material on the crater floor is from recent flows. Courtesy of Aman Laizer, Tanzania.

Research expedition in July-August 2019. In late July and early August 2019 an expedition, sponsored by the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) and led by researchers Kate Laxton and Emma Liu (University College London), made gas measurements, collected lava samples for the first time in 12 years, and deployed drones to gather data and images. The Ol Doinyo Lengai sampling team included Papkinye Lemolo, Boni Kicha, Ignas Mtui, Boni Mawe, Adadeus Mtui, Emma Liu, Arno Van Zyl, Kate Laxton, and their driver, Baraka. They collected samples by lowering devices via ropes and pulleys into the crater and photographed numerous active flows emerging from vents and hornitos on the crater floor (figure 195). By analyzing the composition of the first lava samples collected since the volcano's latest explosive activity in 2007, they hope to learn about recent changes to its underground plumbing system. A comparison of the satellite image taken on 28 July with a drone image of the summit crater taken by them the next day (figure 196) confirms the effectiveness of both the satellite imagery in identifying new flow features on the crater floor, and the drone imagery in providing outstanding details of activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 195. Researchers Kate Laxton and Emma Liu collected gas and lava samples at the summit of Ol Doinyo Lengai during their 26 July-4 August 2019 expedition. They sent gas sampling devices (small white "hamster ball" in center of left image) and lava sampling devices (right) down into the crater via ropes and pulleys. The crater is 300 m across and 100 m deep. Courtesy of Kate Laxton (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 196. A clear view by drone straight down into the crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 29 July 2019 provides valuable information about ongoing activity at the remote volcano. N is to the top. The summit crater is 300 m across and 100 m deep. The same configuration of fresh and cooled lava can be seen in Sentinel-2 imagery taken on 28 July 2019 (inset, N to the top). Courtesy of Emma Liu (University College London) and Sentinel Hub Playground.

With the drone technology, they were able to make close-up observations of features on the north crater floor such as the large hornito on the inner W wall of the crater (figure 197), an active lava pond near the center of the crater (figure 198), and several flows resurfacing the floor of the crater while they were there (figure 199). A large crack that rings the base of the N cone had enlarged significantly since last measured in 2014 (figure 200).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 197. A closeup view of the large hornito in the W wall of the Ol Doinyo Lengai summit crater on 26 July 2019 shows recent activity from the vent (dark material). See figure 197 for location of hornito against W wall. View is to the NW. Courtesy of Emma Liu (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 198. Incandescence from the lava pond in the center of the crater was still visible at 0627 on 29 July 2019 at Ol Doinyo Lengai; incandescence from the large hornito in the NW quadrant (behind the lava pond) had been visible when the researchers arrived at the summit at about 0500 that morning. The crater floor is continually resurfaced by ultra-low viscosity natrocarbonatite lava flows. The lava hydrates on contact with air within hours, changing color from black to grey/white in a very short time. View towards the N. Courtesy of Kate Laxton (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 199. On 30 July 2019 a lava flow from a hornito cluster resurfaced the NE quadrant of the crater floor at Ol Doinyo Lengai. The initial outbreak occurred at 0819, was vigorous, and ended by 0823. Lava continued to flow out of the hornito cluster at intervals throughout the day. Image facing NE, courtesy of Kate Laxton (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 200. The circumferential crack near the base of the N cone of Ol Doinyo Lengai is seen here being inspected by Emma Liu on 30 July 2019 where it intersects the Western Summit Trail. View is to the S. Significant widening of the crack is seen when compared with a similar image of the same crack from March 2014 (figure 172, BGVN 39:07). Local observers reported that the crack continued to widen after July 2019. Courtesy of Kate Laxton (University College London).

The color of the flows on the crater floor changed from grays and browns to blues and greens after a night of rainfall on 31 July 2019 (figure 201). Much of the lava pond surface was crusted over that day, but the large hornito in the NW quadrant was still active (figure 202), and both the pond and another hornito produced flows that merged onto the crater floor (figure 203).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 201. The active crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai is on the north side of and slightly below the topographic summit of the mountain (in the background). After overnight rain, lava flows on the crater floor turned various shades of greys, whites, blues, and greens on 31 July 2019. View to the SW, drone image. Courtesy of Emma Liu (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 202. A closeup view to the NW of the Ol Doinyo Lengai north crater on 31 July 2019 shows the blue and green tones of the hydrated lavas after the previous night's rains. The lava pond is at high-stand with much of the surface crusted over. The adjacent hornito is still active and breached to the NE. Courtesy of Emma Liu (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 203. Two fresh lava flows merge over the hydrated crater floor of the north crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 31 July 2019. One comes from a small hornito just out of view to the SW (lower right) and the other from the overflowing lava pond (left), merging in the SE quadrant. The colors of the two flows differ; the pond lava appears jet black, and the hornito lava is a lighter shade of brown. View to the SE, courtesy of Emma Liu (University College London).

On 1 August 2019 much of the crater floor was resurfaced by a brown lava that flowed from a hornito E of the lava pond (figure 204). Images of unusual, ephemeral features such as "spatter pots," "frozen jets," and "frothy flows" (figure 205) help to characterize the unusual magmatic activity at this unique volcano (figure 206).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 204. On 1 August 2019 at Ol Doinyo Lengai brown lava flowed from a hornito directly E of the lava pond (above the pond in figure 203) and resurfaced much of the S portion of the crater floor. At the far left of the image, the white (hydrated) lava jet aimed away from the hornito was solidified in mid-flow. View to the SE, courtesy of Emma Liu (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 205. Frothy pale-brown lava flowed across the SE quadrant of the crater floor (right) at Ol Doinyo Lengai on 4 August 2019 from an uncertain source between the adjacent hornito and lava pond which appears nearly crusted over. Spattering from a "spatter pot" (inset) and a small flow also headed NE from the hornito cluster E of the pond (behind pond). Courtesy of Kate Laxton (University College London).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 206. A view from the summit peak of Ol Doinyo Lengai on 4 August 2019 looking at the entire N cone and the swale between it and the peak. The crack shown in figure 201 rings the base of cone; the main summit trail intersects the crack near the bottom center of the cone. The researcher's campsite on the W flank (left) shows the scale of the cone. The East African Rift wall and Lake Natron are visible in the background on the left and right, respectively. Courtesy of Kate Laxton (University College London).

References: Graettinger, A. H., 2018a, MaarVLS database version 1, (URL: https://vhub.org/resources/4365).

Graettinger, A. H., 2018b, Trends in maar crater size and shape using the global Maar Volcano Location and Shape (MaarVLS) database. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 357, p. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2018.04.002.

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

Information Contacts: Cin-Ty Lee, Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005-1827, USA (URL: https://twitter.com/CinTyLee1, images at https://twitter.com/CinTyLee1/status/1054337204577812480, https://earthscience.rice.edu/directory/user/106/); Emma Liu, University College London, UCL Hazards Centre (Volcanology), Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom (URL: https://twitter.com/EmmaLiu31, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/earth-sciences/people/academic/dr-emma-liu); Kate Laxton, University College London, UCL Earth Sciences, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom (URL: https://twitter.com/KateLaxton, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/earth-sciences/people/research-students/kate-laxton); Deep Carbon Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science, 5251 Broad Branch Road NW, Washington, DC 20015-1305, USA (URL: https://deepcarbon.net/field-report-ol-doinyo-lengai-volcano-tanzania); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Aman Laizer, Volcanologist, Arusha, Tanzania (URL: https://twitter.com/amanlaizerr, image at https://twitter.com/amanlaizerr/status/1102483717384216576).


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

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions on 26 June and 3 August 2019 send plumes above 19 km altitude

Typical activity at Ulawun consists of occasional weak explosions with ash plumes. During 2018 explosions occurred on 8 June, 21 September, and 5 October (BGVN 43:11). The volcano is monitored primarily by the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) and Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). This report describes activity from November 2018 through August 2019; no volcanism was noted during this period until late June 2019.

Activity during June-July 2019. RVO reported that Real-time Seismic-Amplitude Measurement (RSAM) values steadily increased during 24-25 June, and then sharply increased at around 0330 on 26 June. The RSAM values reflect an increase in seismicity dominated by volcanic tremor. An eruption began in the morning hours of 26 June with emissions of gray ash (figure 17) that over time became darker and more energetic. The plumes rose 1 km and caused minor ashfall to the NW and SW. Local residents heard roaring and rumbling during 0600-0800.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Photograph of a small ash plume rising from the summit crater of Ulawun taken by a helicopter pilot at 1030 local time on 26 June 2019. According to the pilot, the amount of ash observed was not unusual. Image has been color adjusted from original. Courtesy of Craig Powell.

The Darwin VAAC issued several notices about ash plumes visible in satellite data. These stated that during 1130-1155 ash plumes rose to altitudes of 6.7-8.5 km and drifted W, while ash plumes that rose to 12.8-13.4 km drifted S and SW. A new pulse of activity (figures 17 and 18) generated ash plumes that by 1512 rose to an altitude of 16.8 km and drifted S and SE. By 1730 the ash plume had risen to 19.2 km and spread over 90 km in all directions. Ash from earlier ejections continued to drift S at an altitude of 13.4 km and W at an altitude of 8.5 km. RVO stated that RSAM values peaked at about 2,500 units during 1330-1600, and then dropped to 1,600 units as the eruption subsided.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Photograph of Ulawun taken by a helicopter pilot at 1310 local time on 26 June 2019 showing a tall ash plume rising from the summit crater. Image has been color adjusted from original. Courtesy of Craig Powell.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Photograph of Ulawun taken by a helicopter pilot at 1350 local time on 26 June 2019 showing a close-up view of the ash plume rising from the summit crater along with an area of incandescent ejecta. According to the pilot, this was the most active phase. Image has been color adjusted from original. Courtesy of Craig Powell.

According to RVO, parts of the ash plume at lower altitudes drifted W, causing variable amounts of ashfall in areas to the NW and SW. A pyroclastic flow descended the N flank. Residents evacuated to areas to the NE and W; a news article (Radio New Zealand) noted that around 3,000 people had gathered at a local church. According to another news source (phys.org), an observer in a helicopter reported a column of incandescent material rising from the crater, residents noted that the sky had turned black, and a main road in the N part of the island was blocked by volcanic material. Residents also reported a lava flow near Noau village and Eana Valley. RVO reported that the eruption ceased between 1800 and 1900. Incandescence visible on the N flank was from either a lava flow or pyroclastic flow deposits.

On 27 June diffuse white plumes were reported by RVO as rising from the summit crater and incandescence was visible from pyroclastic or lava flow deposits on the N flank from the activity the day before. The seismic station 11 km NW of the volcano recorded low RSAM values of between 2 and 50. According to the Darwin VAAC a strong thermal anomaly was visible in satellite images, though not after 1200. Ash from 26 June explosions continued to disperse and became difficult to discern in satellite images by 1300, though a sulfur dioxide signal persisted. Ash at an altitude of 13.7 km drifted SW to SE and dissipated by 1620, and ash at 16.8 km drifted NW to NE and dissipated by 1857. RVO noted that at 1300 on 27 June satellite images captured an ash explosion not reported by ground-based observers, likely due to cloudy weather conditions. The Alert Level was lowered to Stage 1 (the lowest level on a four-stage scale).

RSAM values slightly increased at 0600 on 28 June and fluctuated between 80 to 150 units afterwards. During 28-29 June diffuse white plumes continued to rise from the crater (figure 20) and from the North Valley vent. On 29 June a ReliefWeb update stated that around 11,000 evacuated people remained in shelters.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Photograph of the steaming summit crater at Ulawun taken by a helicopter pilot at 0730 local time on 29 June 2019. Image has been color adjusted from original. Courtesy of Craig Powell.

According to RVO, diffuse white plumes rose from Ulawun's summit crater and the North Valley vent during 1-4 July and from the summit only during 5-9 July. The seismic station located 11 km NW of the volcano recorded three volcanic earthquakes and some sporadic, short-duration, volcanic tremors during 1-3 July. The seismic station 2.9 km W of the volcano was restored on 4 July and recorded small sub-continuous tremors. Some discrete high-frequency volcanic earthquakes were also recorded on most days. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 100 tonnes per day on 4 July. According to the United Nations in Papua New Guinea, 7,318 people remained displaced within seven sites because of the 26 June eruption.

Activity during August 2019. During 1-2 August RVO reported that white-to-gray vapor plumes rose from the summit crater and drifted NW. Incandescence from the summit crater was visible at night and jetting noises were audible for a short interval. RSAM values fluctuated but peaked at high levels. During the night of 2-3 August crater incandescence strengthened and roaring noises became louder around 0400. An explosion began between 0430 and 0500 on 3 August; booming noises commenced around 0445. By 0600 dense light-gray ash emissions were drifting NW, causing ashfall in areas downwind, including Ulamona Mission (10 km NW). Ash emissions continued through the day and changed from light to dark gray with time.

The eruption intensified at 1900 and a lava fountain rose more than 100 m above the crater rim. A Plinian ash plume rose 19 km and drifted W and SW, causing ashfall in areas downwind such as Navo and Kabaya, and as far as Kimbe Town (142 km SW). The Darwin VAAC reported that the ash plume expanded radially and reached the stratosphere, rising to an altitude of 19.2 km. The plume then detached and drifted S and then SE.

The Alert Level was raised to Stage 3. The areas most affected by ash and scoria fall were between Navo (W) and Saltamana Estate (NW). Two classrooms at the Navo Primary School and a church in Navo collapsed from the weight of the ash and scoria; one of the classroom roofs had already partially collapsed during the 26 June eruption. Evacuees in tents because of the 26 June explosion reported damage. Rabaul town (132 km NE) also reported ashfall. Seismicity declined rapidly within two hours of the event, though continued to fluctuate at moderate levels. According to a news source (Radio New Zealand, flights in and out of Hoskins airport in Port Moresby were cancelled on 4 August due to tephra fall. The Alert Level was lowered to Stage 1. Small amounts of white and gray vapor were emitted from the summit crater during 4-6 August. RVO reported that during 7-8 August minor emissions of white vapor rose from the summit crater.

Additional observations. Seismicity was dominated by low-level volcanic tremor and remained at low-to-moderate levels. RSAM values fluctuated between 400 and 550 units; peaks did not go above 700. Instruments aboard NASA satellites detected high levels of sulfur dioxide near or directly above the volcano on 26-29 June and 4-6 August 2019.

Thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were observed at Ulawun only on 26 June 2019 (8 pixels by the Terra satellite, 4 pixels by the Aqua satellite). The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected three anomalies during the reporting period, one during the last week of June 2019 and two during the first week of August, all three within 3 km of the volcano and of low to moderate energy.

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); 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/); 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); ReliefWeb (URL: https://reliefweb.int/); Radio New Zealand (URL: https://www.rnz.co.nz); phys.org (URL: https://phys.org); United Nations in Papua New Guinea (URL: http://pg.one.un.org/content/unct/papua_new_guinea/en/home.html).


Sarychev Peak (Russia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sarychev Peak

Russia

48.092°N, 153.2°E; summit elev. 1496 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plume on 11 August; thermal anomalies from late May to early October 2019

Sarychev Peak, located on Matua Island in the central Kurile Islands of Russia, has had eruptions reported since 1765. Renewed activity began in October 2017, followed by a major eruption in June 2009 that included pyroclastic flows and ash plumes (BGVN 43:11 and 34:06). Thermal anomalies, explosions, and ash plumes took place between September and October 2018. A single ash explosion occurred in May 2019. Another ash plume was seen on 11 August, and small thermal anomalies were present in infrared imagery during June-October 2019. Information is provided by the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT) and the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), with satellite imagery from Sentinel-2.

Satellite images from Sentinel-2 showed small white plumes from Sarychev Peak during clear weather on 4 and 14 August 2019 (figure 27); similar plumes were observed on a total of nine clear weather days between late June and October 2019. According to SVERT and the Tokyo VAAC, satellite data from HIMAWARI-8 showed an ash plume rising to an altitude of 2.7 km and drifting 50 km SE on 11 August. It was visible for a few days before dissipating. No further volcanism was detected by SVERT, and no activity was evident in a 17 August Sentinel-2 image (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Small white plumes were visible at Sarychev Peak in Sentinel-2 satellite images on 4 and 14 August 2019 (left and center). No activity was seen on 17 August (right). All three Sentinel-2 images use the "Natural Color" (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Intermittent weak thermal anomalies were detected by the MIROVA system using MODIS data from late May through 7 October 2019 (figure 28). Sentinel-2 satellite imagery from 28 June, 13 and 23 July, 9 August, and 21 October showed a very small thermal anomaly, but on 28 September a pronounced thermal anomaly was visible (figure 29). No additional thermal anomalies were identified from any source after 7 October through the end of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Thermal anomalies detected at Sarychev Peak by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) using MODIS data for the year ending on 9 October 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Sentinel-2 satellite images of Sarychev Peak on 23 June and 28 September 2019. A small thermal anomaly is visible on the eastern side of the crater on 23 June (left, indicated by arrow), while the thermal anomaly is more pronounced and visible in the middle of the crater on 28 September (right). Both Sentinel-2 satellite images use the "False Color (Urban)" (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Sarychev Peak, one of the most active volcanoes of the Kuril Islands, occupies the NW end of Matua Island in the central Kuriles. The andesitic central cone was constructed within a 3-3.5-km-wide caldera, whose rim is exposed only on the SW side. A dramatic 250-m-wide, very steep-walled crater with a jagged rim caps the volcano. The substantially higher SE rim forms the 1496 m high point of the island. Fresh-looking lava flows, prior to activity in 2009, had descended in all directions, often forming capes along the coast. Much of the lower-angle outer flanks of the volcano are overlain by pyroclastic-flow deposits. Eruptions have been recorded since the 1760s and include both quiet lava effusion and violent explosions. Large eruptions in 1946 and 2009 produced pyroclastic flows that reached the sea.

Information Contacts: Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science, Nauki st., 1B, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, 693022 (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/en/, http://www.imgg.ru/ru/svert/reports); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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).


Asamayama (Japan) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Asamayama

Japan

36.406°N, 138.523°E; summit elev. 2568 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ashfall from phreatic eruptions on 7 and 25 August 2019

Asamayama (also known as Asama), located in the Kanto-Chubu Region of Japan, previously erupted in June 2015. Activity included increased volcanic seismicity, small eruptions which occasionally resulted in ashfall, and SO2 gas emissions (BGVN 41:10). This report covers activity through August 2019, which describes small phreatic eruptions, volcanic seismicity, faint incandescence and commonly white gas plumes, and fluctuating SO2 emissions. The primary source of information for this report is provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Activity during October 2016-May 2019. From October 2016 through December 2017, a high-sensitivity camera captured faint incandescence at night accompanied by white gas plumes rising above the crater to an altitude ranging 100-800 m (figure 44). A thermal anomaly and faint incandescence accompanied by a white plume near the summit was observed at night on 6-7 and 21 January 2017. These thermal anomalies were recorded near the central part of the crater bottom in January, February, and November 2017, and in May 2019. After December 2017 the faint incandescence was not observed, with an exception on 18 July 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. A surveillance camera observed faint incandescence at Asamayama in February 2017. Left: Onimushi surveillance camera taken at 0145 on 5 February 2017. Right: Kurokayama surveillance camera taken at 0510 on 1 February 2017. Courtesy of JMA (Monthly Report for February 2017).

Field surveys on 6, 16, and 28 December 2016 reported an increased amount of SO2 gas emissions from November 2016 (100-600 tons/day) to March 2017 (1,300-3,200 tons/day). In April 2017 the SO2 emissions decreased (600-1,500 tons/day). Low-frequency shallow volcanic tremors decreased in December 2016; none were observed in January 2017. From February 2017 through June 2018 volcanic tremors occurred more intermittently. According to the monthly JMA Reports on February 2017 and December 2018 and data from the Geographical Survey Institute's Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), a slight inflation between the north and south baseline was recorded starting in fall 2016 through December 2018. This growth become stagnant at some of the baselines in October 2017.

Activity during August 2019. On 7 August 2019 a small phreatic eruption occurred at the summit crater and continued for about 20 minutes, resulting in an ash plume that rose to a maximum altitude of 1.8 km, drifting N and an associated earthquake and volcanic tremor (figure 45). According to the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory (VAAC), this plume rose 4.6 km, based on satellite data from HIMAWARI-8. A surveillance camera observed a large volcanic block was ejected roughly 200 m from the crater. According to an ashfall survey conducted by the Mobile Observation Team on 8 August, slight ashfall occurred in the Tsumagoi Village (12 km N) and Naganohara Town (19 km NE), Gunma Prefecture (figure 46 and 47). About 2 g/m2 of ash deposit was measured by the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Immediately after the eruption on 7 August, seismicity, volcanism, and SO2 emissions temporarily increased and then decreased that same day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Surveillance camera images of Asamayama showing the small eruption at the summit crater on 7 August 2019, resulting in incandescence and a plume rising 1.8 km altitude. Both photos were taken on 7 August 2019.Courtesy of JMA (Monthly Report for August 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. A photomicrograph of fragmented ejecta (250-500 µm) from Asamayama deposited roughly 5 km from the crater as a result of the eruption on 7 August 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Monthly Report for August 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Photos of ashfall in a nearby town NNE of Asamayama due to the 7 August 2019 eruption. Courtesy of JMA (Daily Report for 8 August 2019).

Another eruption at the summit crater on 25 August 2019 was smaller than the one on 7 August. JMA reported the resulting ash plume rose to an altitude of 600 m and drifted E. However, the Tokyo VAAC reported that the altitude of the plume up to 3.4 km, according to satellite data from HIMAWARI-8. A small amount of ashfall occurred in Karuizawa-machi, Nagano (4 km E), according to interview surveys and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Geologic Background. Asamayama, Honshu's most active volcano, overlooks the resort town of Karuizawa, 140 km NW of Tokyo. The volcano is located at the junction of the Izu-Marianas and NE Japan volcanic arcs. The modern Maekake cone forms the summit and is situated east of the horseshoe-shaped remnant of an older andesitic volcano, Kurofuyama, which was destroyed by a late-Pleistocene landslide about 20,000 years before present (BP). Growth of a dacitic shield volcano was accompanied by pumiceous pyroclastic flows, the largest of which occurred about 14,000-11,000 BP, and by growth of the Ko-Asama-yama lava dome on the east flank. Maekake, capped by the Kamayama pyroclastic cone that forms the present summit, is probably only a few thousand years old and has an historical record dating back at least to the 11th century CE. Maekake has had several major plinian eruptions, the last two of which occurred in 1108 (Asamayama's largest Holocene eruption) and 1783 CE.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, 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 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/).


Villarrica (Chile) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity continued during March-August 2019 with an increase in July

Villarrica is a frequently active volcano in Chile with an active lava lake in the deep summit crater. It has been producing intermittent Strombolian activity since February 2015, soon after the latest reactivation of the lava lake; similar activity continued into 2019. This report summarizes activity during March-August 2019 and is based on reports from the Southern Andes Volcano Observatory (Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur, OVDAS), part of Chile's National Service of Geology and Mining (Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, SERNAGEOMIN), Projecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI), part of the Fundacion Volcanes de Chile research group, and satellite data.

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that degassing continued through March with a plume reaching 150 m above the crater with visible incandescence through the nights. The lava lake activity continued to fluctuate and deformation was also recorded. POVI reported sporadic Strombolian activity throughout the month with incandescent ejecta reaching around 25 m above the crater on 17 and 24 March, and nearly 50 m above the crater on the 20th (figure 76).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. A webcam image of Villarrica at 0441 on 20 March 2019 shows Strombolian activity and incandescent ejecta reaching nearly 50 m above the crater. People are shown for scale in the white box to the left in the blue background image that was taken on 27 March. Photos taken about 6 km away from the volcano, courtesy of POVI.

There was a slight increase in Strombolian activity reported on 7-8 April, with incandescent ballistic ejecta reaching around 50 m above the crater (figure 77). Although seismicity was low during 14-15 April, Strombolian activity produced lava fountains up to 70 m above the crater over those two days (figure 78). Activity continued into May with approximately 12 Strombolian explosions recorded on the night of 5-6 May erupting incandescent ejecta up to 50 m above the crater rim. Another lava fountaining episode was observed reaching around 70 m above the crater on 14 May (figure 79). POVI also noted that while this was one of the largest events since 2015, no significant changes in activity had been observed over the last five months. Throughout May, OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that the gas plume height did not exceed 170 m above the crater and incandescence was sporadically observed when weather allowed. SWIR (short-wave infrared) thermal data showed an increase in energy towards the end of May (figure 80).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Strombolian activity at Villarrica on 7-8 April 2019 producing incandescent ballistic ejecta reaching around 50 m above the crater. Courtesy of POVI.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Images of Villarrica on 15 April show a lava fountain that reached about 70 m above the crater. Courtesy of POVI.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. These images of Villarrica taken at 0311 and 2220 on 14 May 2019 show lava fountaining reaching 70-73 m above the crater. Courtesy of POVI.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. This graph shows the variation in short-wave infrared (SWIR) energy with the vertical scale indicating the number of pixels displaying high temperatures between 23 June 2018 and 29 May 2019. Courtesy of POVI.

Ballistic ejecta were observed above the crater rim on 17 and 20 June 2019 (figure 81), and activity was heard on 20 and 21 June. Activity throughout the month remained similar to previous months, with a fluctuating lava lake and minor explosions. On 15 July a thermal camera imaged a ballistic bomb landing over 300 m from the crater and disintegrating upon impact. Incandescent material was sporadically observed on 16 July. Strombolian activity increased on 22 July with the highest intensity activity in four years continuing through the 25th (figure 82).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Ballistic ejecta is visible above the Villarrica crater in this infrared camera (IR940 nm) image taken on 17 June 2019. Courtesy of POVI.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Strombolian activity at Villarrica on 22, 23, and 24 July with incandescent ballistic ejecta seen here above the summit crater. Courtesy of POVI.

On 6 August the Alert Level was raised by SERNAGEOMIN from Green to Yellow (on a scale of Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red indicating the greatest level of activity) due to activity being above the usual background level, including ejecta confirmed out to 200 m from the crater with velocities on the order of 100 km/hour (figure 83). The temperature of the lava lake was measured at a maximum of 1,000°C on 25 July. POVI reported the collapse of a segment of the eastern crater rim, possibly due to snow weight, between 9 and 12 August. The MIROVA system showed an increase in thermal energy in August (figure 84) and there was one MODVOLC thermal alert on 24 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Observations during an overflight of Villarrica on 25 July 2019 showed that ballistic ejecta up to 50 cm in diameter had impacted out to 200 m from the crater. The velocities of these ejecta were likely on the order of 100 km/hour. The maximum temperature of the lava lake measured was 1,000°C, and 500°C was measured around the crater. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Thermal activity at Villarrica detected by the MIROVA system shows an increase in detected energy in August 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

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


Reventador (Ecuador) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily ash emissions and incandescent block avalanches continue, February-July 2019

The andesitic Volcán El Reventador lies east of the main volcanic axis of the Cordillera Real in Ecuador and has historical eruptions with numerous lava flows and explosive events going back to the 16th century. An eruption in November 2002 generated a 17-km-high eruption cloud, pyroclastic flows that traveled 8 km, and several lava flows. Eruptive activity has been continuous since 2008. Daily explosions with ash emissions and ejecta of incandescent blocks rolling hundreds of meters down the flanks have been typical for many years. Alameida et al. (2019) provide an excellent summary of recent activity (2016-2018) and monitoring. Activity continued during February-July 2019, the period covered in this report, with information provided by Ecuador's Instituto Geofisico (IG-EPN), the Washington Volcano Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and infrared satellite data.

Persistent thermal activity accompanied daily ash emissions and incandescent block avalanches during February-July 2019 (figure 111). Ash plumes generally rose 600-1,200 m above the summit crater and drifted W or NW; incandescent blocks descended up to 800 m down all the flanks. On 25 February an ash plume reached 9.1 km altitude and drifted SE, causing ashfall in nearby communities. Pyroclastic flows were reported on 18 April and 19 May traveling 500 m down the flanks. Small but distinct SO2 emissions were detectible by satellite instruments a few times during the period (figure 112).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. The thermal energy at Reventador persisted throughout 4 November 2018 through July 2019, but was highest in April and May. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. Small SO2 plumes were released from Reventador and detected by satellite instruments only a few times during February-July 2019. Columbia's Nevada del Ruiz produced a much larger SO2 signal during each of the days shown here as well. Top left: 26 February; top right: 27 February; bottom left: 3 April; bottom right: 4 April. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily ash advisories on all but two days during February 2019. IGEPN reported daily ash emissions rising from 400 to over 1,000 m above the summit crater. Incandescent block avalanches rolled 400-800 m down the flanks on most nights (figure 113). Late on 8 February the Washington VAAC reported an ash plume moving W at 5.8 km altitude extending 10 km from the summit. Plumes rising more than 1,000 m above the summit were reported on 9, 13, 16, 18, 19, and 25 February. On 25 February the Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery drifting SE from the summit at 9.1 km altitude that dissipated quickly, and drifted SSE. It was followed by new ash clouds at 7.6 km altitude that drifted S. Ashfall was reported in San Luis in the Parish of Gonzalo Díaz de Pineda by UMEVA Orellana and the Chaco Fire Department.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Emission of ash from Reventador and incandescent blocks rolling down the cone occurred daily during February 2019, and were captured by the COPETE webcam located on the S rim of the caldera. On 1 February (top left) incandescent blocks rolled 600 m down the flanks. On 13 February (top right) ash plumes rose 800 m and drifted W. On 16 February (bottom left) ash rose to 1,000 m and drifted W. On 18 February (bottom right) the highest emission exceeded 1,000 m above the crater and was clearly visible in spite of meteoric clouds obscuring the volcano. Courtesy of IGEPN (Daily reports 2019-32, 44, 47, and 49).

Ash plumes exceeded 1,000 m in height above the summit almost every day during March 2019 and generally drifted W or NW. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible above the cloud deck at 6.7 km altitude extending 25 km NW early on 3 March; there were no reports of ashfall nearby. Incandescent block avalanches rolled 800 m down all the flanks the previous night; they were visible moving 300-800 m down the flanks most nights throughout the month (figure 114).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Ash plumes and incandescent block avalanches occurred daily at Reventador during March 2019 and were captured by the COPETE webcam on the S rim of the caldera. On 3 March (top left) a possible pyroclastic flow traveled down the E flank in the early morning. Ash plumes on 17 and 18 March (top right, bottom left) rose 900-1,000 m above the summit and drifted W. On 23 March (bottom right) ash plumes rose to 1,000 m and drifted N while incandescent blocks rolled 600 m down the flanks. Courtesy of IGEPN (Daily reports 2019 62, 76, 77, and 82).

During April 2019 ash plume heights ranged from 600 to over 1,000 m above the summit each day, drifting either W or NW. Incandescent avalanche blocks rolled down all the flanks for hundreds of meters daily; the largest explosions sent blocks 800 m from the summit (figure 115). On 18 April IGEPN reported that a pyroclastic flow the previous afternoon had traveled 500 m down the NE flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. Ash plumes and incandescent block avalanches occurred daily at Reventador during April 2019. On 3 April, ash emissions were reported drifting W and NW at 1,000 m above the summit (top left). On 14 April ash plumes rose over 600 m above the summit crater (top right). The 3 and 14 April images were taken from the LAVCAM webcam on the SE flank. Incandescent block avalanches descended 800 m down all the flanks on 15 April along with ash plumes rising over 1,000 m above the summit (bottom left), both visible in this image from the COPETE webcam on the S rim of the caldera. A pyroclastic flow descended 500 m down the NE flank on 17 April and was captured in the thermal REBECA webcam (bottom right) located on the N rim of the caldera. Courtesy of IGEPN (Daily reports 2019-93, 104, 105, and 108).

On most days during May 2019, incandescent block avalanches were observed traveling 700-800 m down all the flanks. Ash plume heights ranged from 600 to 1,200 m above the crater each day of the month (figure 116) they were visible. A pyroclastic flow was reported during the afternoon of 19 May that moved 500 m down the N flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. Even on days with thick meteoric clouds, ash plumes can be observed at Reventador. The ash plumes reached 1,000 m above the crater on 8 May 2019 (top left). The infrared webcam REBECA on the N rim of the caldera captured a pyroclastic flow on the N flank on the afternoon of 19 May (top right). Strong explosions on 23 May sent incandescent blocks and possible pyroclastic flows at least 800 m down all the flanks (bottom left). Ash plumes reached 1,000 m above the summit on 27 May and drifted W (bottom right). Images on 8, 23, and 27 May taken from the COPETE webcam on the S rim of the caldera. Courtesy of IGEPN (Daily Reports 2019-128, 140, 143, and 147).

Activity diminished somewhat during June 2019. Ash plumes reached 1,200 m above the summit early in June but decreased to 600 m or less for the second half of the month. Meteoric clouds prevented observation for most of the third week of June; VAAC reports indicated ash emissions rose to 5.2 km altitude on 19 June and again on 26 June (about 2 km above the crater). Incandescent blocks were reported traveling down all of the flanks, generally 500-800 m, during about half of the days the mountain was visible (figure 117). Multiple VAAC reports were also issued daily during July 2019. Ash plumes were reported by IGEPN rising over 600 m above the crater every day it was visible and incandescent blocks traveled 400-800 m down the flanks (figure 118). The Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission on 9 July that rose to 4.9 km altitude as multiple puffs that drifted W, extending about 35 km from the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Activity diminished slightly at Reventador during June 2019. Incandescent material was visible on the N flank from infrared webcam REBECA on the N rim of the caldera on 6 June (top left). On 7 June ash rose over 1,000 m above the summit and drifted N and W (top right) as seen from the COPETE webcam on the S rim of the caldera. Incandescent block avalanches rolled 600 m down all the flanks on 8 June (bottom left) and were photographed by the LAVCAM webcam located on the SE flank. An ash plume rose to 1,000 m on 25 June and was photographed from the San Rafael waterfall (bottom right). Courtesy of IGEPN (Daily Reports 2019-157, 158, 159, and 176).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. Daily explosive activity was reported at Reventador during July 2019. On 9 and 10 July ash plumes rose over 600 m and drifted W and incandescent blocks descended 800 m down all the flanks (top row), as seen from the LAVCAM webcam on the SE flank. On 27 July many of the large incandescent blocks appeared to be several m in diameter as they descended the flanks (bottom left, LAVCAM). On 1 August, a small steam plume was visible on a clear morning from the CORTESIA webcam located N of the volcano. Courtesy of IGEPN Daily reports (2019-190, 191, 208, and 213).

References: Almeida M, Gaunt H E, and Ramón P, 2019, Ecuador's El Reventador volcano continually remakes itself, Eos, 100, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019EO117105. Published on 18 March 2019.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec ); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Raikoke (Russia) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Raikoke

Russia

48.292°N, 153.25°E; summit elev. 551 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Short-lived series of large explosions 21-23 June 2019; first recorded activity in 95 years

Raikoke in the central Kuril Islands lies 400 km SW of the southern tip of Russia's Kamchatcka Peninsula. Two significant eruptive events in historical times, including fatalities, have been recorded. In 1778 an eruption killed 15 people "under the hail of bombs" who were under the command of Captain Chernyi, returning from Matua to Kamchatka. This prompted the Russian military to order the first investigation of the volcanic character of the island two years later (Gorshkov, 1970). Tanakadate (1925) reported that travelers on a steamer witnessed an ash plume rising from the island on 15 February 1924, observed that the island was already covered in ash from recent activity, and noted that a dense steam plume was visible for a week rising from the summit crater. The latest eruptive event in June 2019 produced a very large ash plume that covered the island with ash and dispersed ash and gases more than 10 km high into the atmosphere. The volcano is monitored by the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team, (SVERT) part of the Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMGG FEB RAS) and the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) which is part of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS).

A brief but intense eruption beginning on 21 June 2019 sent major ash and sulfur dioxide plumes into the stratosphere (figures 1 and 2); the plumes rapidly drifted over 1,000 km from the volcano. Strong explosions with dense ash plumes lasted for less than 48 hours, minor emissions continued for a few more days; the SO2, however, continued to circulate over far eastern Russia and the Bering Sea for more than three weeks after the initial explosion. The eruption covered the island with centimeters to meters of ash and enlarged the summit crater. By the end of July 2019 only minor intermittent steam emissions were observed in satellite imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. On the morning of 22 June 2019, astronauts on the International Space Station captured this image of a large ash plume rising from Raikoke in the Kuril Islands. The plume reached altitudes of 10-13 km and drifted E during the volcano's first known explosion in 95 years. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. A large and very dense SO2 plume (measuring over 900 Dobson Units (DU)) drifted E from Raikoke in the Kuril Islands on 22 June 2019, about 8 hours after the first known explosion in 95 years. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Summary of 2019 activity. A powerful eruption at Raikoke began at 1805 on 21 June 2019 (UTC). Volcano Observatory Notices for Aviation (VONA's) issued by KVERT described the large ash plume that rapidly rose to 10-13 km altitude and extended for 370 km NE within the first two hours (figure 3). After eight hours, the plume extended 605 km ENE; it had reached 1,160 km E by 13 hours after the first explosion (figure 4). The last strong explosive event, according to KVERT, producing an ash column as high as 10-11 km, occurred at 0540 UTC on 22 June. SVERT reported a series of nine explosions during the eruption. Over 440 lightning events within the ash plume were detected in the first 24 hours by weather-monitoring equipment. The Japanese Ministry of Transportation reported that almost 40 planes were diverted because of the ash plume (figure 5).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. A dense ash plume drifted E from Raikoke on 22 June 2019 from a series of large explosions that lasted for less than 24 hours, as seen in this Terra satellite image. The plume was detected in the atmosphere for several days after the end of the eruptive activity. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. The ash plume from Raikoke volcano that erupted on 21 June 2019 drifted over 1,000 km E by late in the day on 22 June, as seen in this oblique, composite view based on data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Numerous airplanes were traveling on flight paths near the Raikoke ash plume (black streak at center) early on 22 June 2019. The Japanese Ministry of Transportation reported that almost 40 planes were diverted because of the plume. Courtesy of Flightradar24 and Volcano Discovery.

On 23 June (local time) the cruise ship Athena approached the island; expedition member Nikolai Pavlov provided an eyewitness account and took remarkable drone photographs of the end of the eruption. The ship approached the W flank of the island in the late afternoon and they were able to launch a drone and photograph the shore and the summit. They noted that the entire surface of the island was covered with a thick layer of light-colored ash up to several tens of centimeters thick (figure 6). Fresh debris up to several meters thick fanned out from the base of the slopes (figure 7). The water had a yellowish-greenish tint and was darker brown closer to the shore. Dark-brown steam explosions occurred when waves flowed over hot areas along the shoreline, now blanketed in pale ash with bands of steam and gas rising from it (figure 8). A dense brown ash plume drifted W from the crater, rising about 1.5 km above the summit (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. The entire surface of the island of Raikoke was covered with a thick layer of light-colored ash up to several tens of centimeters thick on 23 June 2019 when photographed by drone from the cruise ship Athena about 36 hours after the explosions began. View is of the W flank. Photo by Nik Pavlov; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Fresh ash and volcanic debris up to several meters thick coated the flanks of Raikoke on 23 June 2019 after the large explosive eruption two days earlier. View is by drone of the W flank. Photo by Nik Pavlov; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. The 21 June 2019 eruption of Raikoke covered the island in volcanic debris. The formerly vegetated areas (left, before eruption) were blanketed in pale ash with bands of steam and gas rising all along the shoreline (right, on 23 June 2019) less than two days after the explosions began. The open water area between the sea stack and the island was filled with tephra. Photos by Nik Pavlov; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. At the summit of Raikoke on 23 June 2019, a dense brown ash plume drifted W from the crater, rising about 1.5 km, two days after a large explosive eruption. Drone photo by Nik Pavlov; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS.

Early on 23 June, the large ash cloud continued to drift E and then NE at an altitude of 10-13 km. At that altitude, the leading edge of the ash cloud became entrained in a large low pressure system and began rotating from SE to NW, centered in the area of the Komandorskiye Islands, 1,200 km NE of Raikoke. By then the farthest edge of ash plume was located about 2,000 km ENE of the volcano. Meanwhile, at the summit and immediately above, the ash plume was drifting NW on 23 June (figures 9 and 10). Ashfall was reported (via Twitter) from a ship in the Pacific Ocean 40 km from Raikoke on 23 June. Weak ashfall was also reported in Paramushir, over 300 km NE the same day. KVERT reported that satellite data from 25 June indicated that a steam and gas plume, possibly with some ash, extended for 60 km NW. They also noted that the high-altitude "aerosol cloud" continued to drift to the N and W, reaching a distance of 1,700 km NW (see SO2 discussion below). By 27 June KVERT reported that the eruption had ended, but the aerosols continued to drift to the NW and E. They lowered the Aviation Alert Level to Green the following day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. The brown ash plume from Raikoke was drifting NW on 23 June 2019 (left), while the remnants of the ash from the earlier explosions continued to be observed over a large area to the NE on 25 June (right). The plume in the 23 June image extends about 30 km NW; the plume in the 25 June image extends a similar distance NE. Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) of Sentinel-2 imagery, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Tokyo and Anchorage VAAC Reports. The Tokyo VAAC first observed the ash plume in satellite imagery at 10.4 km altitude at 1850 on 21 June 209, just under an hour after the explosion was first reported by KVERT. About four hours later they updated the altitude to 13.1 km based on satellite data and a pilot report. By the evening of 22 June the high-level ash plume was still drifting ESE at about 13 km altitude while a secondary plume at 4.6 km altitude drifted SE for a few more hours before dissipating. The direction of the high-altitude plume began to shift to the NNW by 0300 on 23 June. By 0900 it had dropped slightly to 12.2 km and was drifting NE. The Anchorage VAAC reported at 2030 that the ash plume was becoming obscured by meteorological clouds around a large and deep low-pressure system in the western Bering Sea. Ash and SO2 signals in satellite imagery remained strong over the region S and W of the Pribilof Islands as well as over the far western Bering Sea adjacent to Russia. By early on 24 June the plume drifted NNW for a few hours before rotating back again to a NE drift direction. By the afternoon of 24 June, the altitude had dropped slightly to 11.6 km as it continued to drift NNE.

The ash plume was still clearly visible in satellite imagery late on 24 June. An aircraft reported SO2 at 14.3 km altitude above the area of the ash plume. The plume then began to move in multiple directions; the northern part moved E, while the southern part moved N. The remainder was essentially stationary, circulating around a closed low-pressure zone in the western Bering Sea. The ash plume remained stationary and slowly dissipated as it circulated around the low through 25 June before beginning to push S (figure 11). By early on 26 June the main area of the ash plume was between 325 km WSW of St. Matthew Island and 500 km NNW of St. Lawrence Island, and moving slowly NW. The Anchorage VAAC could no longer detect the plume in satellite imagery shortly after midnight (UTC) on 27 June, although they noted that areas of aerosol haze and SO2 likely persisted over the western Bering Sea and far eastern Russia.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. This RGB image created from a variety of spectral channels from the GOES-17 (GOES-West) satellite shows the ash and gas plume from Raikoke on 25 June 2019. The brighter yellows highlight features that are high in SO2 concentration. Highlighted along the bottom of the image is the pilot report over the far southern Bering Sea; the aircraft was flying at an altitude of 11 km (36,000 feet), and the pilot remarked that there were multiple layers seen below that altitude which had a greyish appearance (likely volcanic ash). Courtesy of NOAA and Scott Bachmeier.

Sulfur dioxide emissions. A very large SO2 plume was released during the eruption. Preliminary total SO2 mass estimates by Simon Carn taken from both UV and IR sensors suggested around 1.4-1.5 Tg (1 Teragram = 109 Kg) that included SO2 columns within the ash plume with values as high as 1,000 Dobson Units (DU) (figure 12). As the plume drifted on 23 and 24 June, similar to the ash plume as described by the Tokyo VAAC, it moved in a circular flow pattern as a result of being entrained in a low-pressure system in the western Bering Sea (figure 13). By 25 June the NW edge of the SO2 had reached far eastern Russia, 1,700 km from the volcano (as described by KVERT), while the eastern edges reached across Alaska and the Gulf of Alaska to the S. Two days later streams of SO2 from Raikoke were present over far northern Siberia and northern Canada (figure 14). For the following three weeks high levels of SO2 persisted over far eastern Russia and the Bering Sea, demonstrating the close relationship between the prevailing weather patterns and the aerosol concentrations from the volcano (figure 15).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. A contour map showing the mass and density of SO2 released into the atmosphere from Raikoke on 22 June 2019. Courtesy of Simon Carn.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Streams of SO2 from Raikoke drifted around a complex flow pattern in the Bering Sea on 23 and 24 June 2019. Data from TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Simon Carn.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. SO2 plumes from Raikoke dispersed over a large area of the northern hemisphere in late June 2019. By 25 June (top) the SO2 plumes had dispersed to far eastern Russia, 1,700 km from the volcano, while the eastern edges reached across Alaska and the Gulf of Alaska to the S. By 27 June (bottom) streams of SO2 were present over far northern Siberia and northern Canada, and also continued to circulate in a denser mass over far eastern Russia. Data from TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Simon Carn.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. For the first two weeks of July 2019, high levels of SO2 from the 21 June 2019 eruption of Raikoke persisted over far eastern Russia and the Bering Sea entrained in a slow moving low-pressure system, demonstrating the close relationship between the prevailing weather patterns and the aerosol concentrations from the volcano. Data from TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Changes to the island. Since no known activity had occurred at Raikoke for 95 years, the island was well vegetated on most of its slopes and the inner walls of the summit crater before the explosion (figure 16). The first clear satellite image after the explosion, on 30 June 2019, revealed a modest steam plume rising from the summit crater, pale-colored ash surrounding the entire island, and new deposits of debris fans extending out from the NE, SW, and S flanks. Part of a newly enlarged crater was visible at the N edge of the old crater. Two weeks later only a small steam plume was present at the summit, making the outline of the enlarged crater more visible; the extensive shoreline deposits of fresh volcanic material remained. A clear view into the summit crater on 23 July revealed the size and shape of the newly enlarged summit crater (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Changes at Raikoke before and after the 21 June 2019 eruption were clear in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. The island was heavily vegetated on most of its slopes and the inner walls of the summit crater before the explosion (top left, 3 June 2019). The first clear satellite image after the explosion, on 30 June 2019 revealed a steam plume rising from the summit crater, pale-colored ash surrounding the entire island, and new deposits of debris fans extending out from the NE, SW, and S flanks (top right). Part of a newly enlarged crater was visible at the N edge of the old crater. Two weeks later only a small steam plume was present at the summit, making the outline of the enlarged crater more visible; the extensive shoreline deposits of fresh volcanic material remained (bottom right, 13 July 2019). A clear view into the summit crater on 23 July revealed the new size and shape of the summit crater (bottom left). Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of the summit crater of Raikoke before (left) and after (right) the explosions that began on 21 June 2019. The old crater rim is outlined in red in both images. The new crater rim is outlined in yellow in the 23 July image. Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

References: Gorshkov G S, 1970, Volcanism and the Upper Mantle; Investigations in the Kurile Island Arc, New York: Plenum Publishing Corp, 385 p.

Tanakadate H, 1925, The volcanic activity in Japan during 1914-1924, Bull Volc. v. 1, no. 3.

Geologic Background. A low truncated volcano forms the small barren Raikoke Island, which lies 16 km across the Golovnin Strait from Matua Island in the central Kuriles. The oval-shaped basaltic island is only 2 x 2.5 km wide and rises above a submarine terrace. An eruption in 1778, during which the upper third of the island was said to have been destroyed, prompted the first volcanological investigation in the Kuril Islands two years later. Incorrect reports of eruptions in 1777 and 1780 were due to misprints and errors in descriptions of the 1778 event (Gorshkov, 1970). Another powerful eruption in 1924 greatly deepened the crater and changed the outline of the island. Prior to a 2019 eruption, the steep-walled crater, highest on the SE side, was 700 m wide and 200 m deep. Lava flows mantle the eastern side of the island.

Information Contacts: Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science, Nauki st., 1B, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, 693022 (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/en/, http://www.imgg.ru/ru/svert/reports); 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/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NOAA, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1225 W. Dayton St. Madison, WI 53706, (URL: http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn); Scott Bachmeier, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1225 W. Dayton St. Madison, WI 53706; Flightradar24 (URL: https://www.flightradar24.com/51,-2/6); Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/).


Sinabung (Indonesia) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Large ash explosions on 25 May and 9 June 2019

Indonesia's Sinabung volcano in north Sumatra has been highly active since its first confirmed Holocene eruption during August and September 2010. It remained quiet after the initial eruption until September 2013, when a new eruptive phase began that continued uninterrupted through June 2018. Ash plumes often rose several kilometers, avalanche blocks fell kilometers down the flanks, and deadly pyroclastic flows traveled more than 4 km repeatedly during the eruption. After a pause in eruptive activity from July 2018 through April 2019, explosions took place again during May and June 2019. This report covers activity from July 2018 through July 2019 with information provided by Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), referred to by some agencies as CVGHM or the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and the Badan Nacional Penanggulangan Bencana (National Disaster Management Authority, BNPB). Additional information comes from satellite instruments and local news reports.

After the last ash emission observed on 5 July 2018, activity diminished significantly. Occasional thermal anomalies were observed in satellite images in August 2018, and February-March 2019. Seismic evidence of lahars was recorded almost every month from July 2018 through July 2019. Renewed explosions with ash plumes began in early May; two large events, on 24 May and 9 June, produced ash plumes observed in satellite data at altitudes greater than 15 km (table 9).

Table 9. Summary of activity at Sinabung during July 2018-July 2019. Steam plume heights from PVMBG daily reports. VONA reports issued by Sinabung Volcano Observatory, part of PVMBG. Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2. Lahar seismicity from PVMBG daily and weekly reports. Ash plume heights from VAAC reports. Pyroclastic flows from VONA reports.

Month Steam Plume Heights (m) Dates of VONA reports Satellite Thermal Anomalies (date) Seismicity indicating Lahars (date) Ash Plume Altitude (date and distance) Pyroclastic flows
Jul 2018 100-700 -- -- -- -- --
Aug 2018 50-700 -- 30 1, 20 -- --
Sep 2018 100-500 -- -- 1st week, 12, 29 -- --
Oct 2018 50-1,000 -- -- 1 -- --
Nov 2018 50-350 -- -- 14 -- --
Dec 2018 50-500 -- -- 30 -- --
Jan 2019 50-350 -- -- -- -- --
Feb 2019 100-400 -- 6, 21 -- -- --
Mar 2019 50-300 -- 3, 8 27 -- --
Apr 2019 50-400 -- -- 2, 4, 11 -- --
May 2019 200-700 7, 11, 12, 24, 26, 27 (2) -- 4, 14 7 (4.6 km), 24 (15.2 km), 25 (6.1 km) --
June 2019 50-600 9, 10 -- -- 9 (16.8 km), 10 (3.0 km) 9-3.5 km SE, 3.0 km S
July 2019 100-700 -- -- 10, 12, 14, 16, 4th week -- --

No eruptive activity was reported after 5 July 2018 for several months, however Sentinel-2 thermal imagery on 30 August indicated a hot spot at the summit suggestive of eruptive activity. The next distinct thermal signal appeared on 6 February 2019, with a few more in late February and early March (figure 66, see table 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 30 August 2018, 6 February, and 8 March 2019 showed distinct thermal anomalies suggestive of eruptive activity at Sinabung, although no activity was reported by PVMBG. Images rendered with Atmospheric Penetration, bands 12, 11, and 8A. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

PVMBG reported the first ash emission in 11 months early on 7 May 2019. They noted that an ash plume rose 2 km above the summit and drifted ESE. The Sinabung Volcano Observatory (SVO) issued a VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) that described an eruptive event lasting for a little over 40 minutes. Ashfall was reported in several villages. The Jakarta Post reported that Karo Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPDB) head Martin Sitepu said four districts were affected by the eruption, namely Simpang Empat (7 km SE), Namanteran (5 km NE), Kabanjahe (14 km SE), and Berastadi (12 km E). The Darwin VAAC reported the ash plume at 4.6 km altitude and noted that it dissipated about six hours later (figure 67). The TROPOMI SO2 instrument detected an SO2 plume shortly after the event (figure 68).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Images from the explosion at Sinabung on 7 May 2019. Left and bottom right photos by Kopi Cimbang and Kalak Karo Kerina, courtesy of David de Zabedrosky. Top right photo courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite captured an SO2 emission from Sinabung shortly after the eruption on 7 May 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

On 11 May 2019 SVO issued a VONA reporting a seismic eruption event with a 9 mm amplitude that lasted for about 30 minutes; clouds and fog prevented visual confirmation. Another VONA issued the following day reported an ash emission that lasted for 28 minutes but again was not observed due to fog. The Darwin VAAC did not observe the ash plumes reported on 11 or 12 May; they did report incandescent material observed in the webcam on 11 May. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of BNPB reported that the 12 May eruption was accompanied by incandescent lava and ash, and the explosion was heard in Rendang (figure 69). The Alert Level had been at Level IV since 2 June 2015. Based on decreased seismicity, a decrease in visual activity (figure 70), stability of deformation data, and a decrease in SO2 flux during the previous 11 months, PVMBG lowered the Alert Level from IV to III on 20 May 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Incandescent lava and ash were captured by a webcam at Sinabung on 12 May 2019. Courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. The summit of Sinabung emitted only steam and gas on 18 May 2019, shortly before PVMBG lowered the Alert Level from IV to III. Courtesy of PVMBG (Decreased G. Sinabung activity level from Level IV (Beware) to Level III (Standby), May 20, 2019).

A large explosion was reported by the Darwin VAAC on 24 May 2019 (UTC) that produced a high-altitude ash plume visible in satellite imagery at 15.2 km altitude moving W; the plume was not visible from the ground due to fog. The Sinabung Volcano Observatory reported that the brief explosion lasted for only 7 minutes (figure 71), but the plume detached and drifted NW for about 12 hours before dissipating. The substantial SO2 plume associated with the event was recorded by satellite instruments a few hours later (figure 72, left). Another six-minute explosion late on 26 May (UTC) produced an ash plume that was reported by a ground observer at 4.9 km altitude drifting S (figure 72, right). About an hour after the event, the Darwin VAAC observed the plume drifting S at 6.1 km altitude; it had dissipated four hours later. Sumbul Sembiring, a resident of Kabanjahe, told news outlet Tempo.com that ash had fallen at the settlements. Two more explosions were reported on 27 May; the first lasted for a little over 12 minutes, the second (about 90 minutes later, 28 May local time) lasted for about 2.5 minutes. No ash plumes were visible from the ground or satellite imagery for either event.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. A brief but powerful explosion at Sinabung in the early hours of 25 May 2019 (local time) produced a seven-minute-long seismic signal and a 15.2-km-altitude ash plume. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Two closely spaced eruptive events occurred at Sinabung on 24 and 26 May UTC (25 and 27 May local time). The 24 May event produced a significant SO2 plume recorded by the TROPOMI instrument a few hours afterwards (left), and a 15.2-km-altitude ash plume only recorded in satellite imagery. The event on 26 May produced a visible ash plume that was reported at 6.1 km altitude and was faintly visible from the ground (right). SO2 courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, photograph courtesy of PVMBG and Øystein Lund Andersen.

An explosion on 9 June 2019 produced an ash plume, estimated from the ground as rising to 9.5 km altitude, that drifted S and E; pyroclastic flows traveled 3.5 km SE and 3 km S down the flanks (figure 73). The explosion was heard at the Sinabung Observatory. The Darwin VAAC reported that the eruption was visible in Himawari-8 satellite imagery, and reported by pilots, at 16.8 km altitude drifting W; about an hour later the VAAC noted that the detached plume continued drifting SW but lower plumes were still present at 9.1 km altitude drifting W and below 4.3 km drifting SE. They also noted that pyroclastic flows moving SSE were sending ash to 4.3 km altitude. Three hours later they reported that both upper level plumes had detached and were moving SW and W. After six hours, the lower altitude plumes at 4.3 and 9.1 km altitudes had dissipated; the higher plume continued moving SW at 12.2 km altitude until it dissipated within the next eight hours. Instruments on the Sentinel-5P satellite captured an SO2 plume from the explosion drifting W across the southern Indian Ocean (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. A large explosion at Sinabung on 9 June 2019 produced an ash plume that rose to 16.8 km altitude and also generated pyroclastic flows (foreground) that traveled down the S and SE flanks. Left image courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Head of the BNPB Information and Public Relations Data Center. Right image photo source PVMBG/Mbah Rono/ Berastagi Nachelle Homestay, courtesy of Jaime Sincioco.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. An SO2 plume from the 9 June 2019 explosion at Sinabung drifted more than a thousand kilometers W across the southern Indian Ocean. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub and Annamaria Luongo.

The SVO reported continuous ash and gas emissions at 3.0 km altitude moving ESE early on 10 June; it was obscured in satellite imagery by meteoric clouds. There were no additional VONA's or VAAC reports issued for the remainder of June or July 2019. An image on social media from 20 June 2019 shows incandescent blocks near the summit (figure 75). PVMBG reported that emissions on 25 June were white to brownish and rose 200 m above the summit and drifted E and SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Incandescent blocks at the summit of Sinabung were visible in this 20 June 2019 image taken from a rooftop terrace in Berastagi, 13 km E. Photo by Nachelle Homestay, courtesy of Jaime Sincioco.

PVMBG detected seismic signals from lahars several times during the second week of July 2019. News outlets reported lahars damaging villages in the Karo district on 11 and 13 July (figure 76). Detik.com reported that lahars cut off the main access road to Perbaji Village (4 km SW), Kutambaru Village (14 km S), and the Tiganderket connecting road to Kutabuluh (17 km WNW). In addition, Puskesmas Kutambaru was submerged in mud. Images from iNews Malam showed large boulders and rafts of trees in thick layers of mud covering homes and roads. No casualties were reported.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Lahars on 11 and 13 July 2019 caused damage in numerous villages around Sinabung, filling homes and roadways with mud, tree trunks, and debris. No casualties were reported. Courtesy of iNews Malam.

Geologic Background. Gunung Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano with many lava flows on its flanks. The migration of summit vents along a N-S line gives the summit crater complex an elongated form. The youngest crater of this conical andesitic-to-dacitic edifice is at the southern end of the four overlapping summit craters. The youngest deposit is a SE-flank pyroclastic flow 14C dated by Hendrasto et al. (2012) at 740-880 CE. An unconfirmed eruption was noted in 1881, and solfataric activity was seen at the summit and upper flanks in 1912. No confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to explosive eruptions during August-September 2010 that produced ash plumes to 5 km above the summit.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); 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/); The Jakarta Post (URL: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/05/07/mount-sinabung-erupts-again.html); Detikcom (URL: https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4619253/hujan-deras-sejumlah-desa-di-sekitar-gunung-sinabung-banjir-lahar-dingin); iNews Malam (URL: https://tv.inews.id/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAI4CpSb41k); Tempo.com (URL:https://en.tempo.co/read/1209667/mount-sinabung-erupts-on-monday-morning); David de Zabedrosky, Calera de Tango, Chile (Twitter: @deZabedrosky, URL: https://twitter.com/deZabedrosky/status/1125814504867160065/photo/1, https://twitter.com/deZabedrosky/status/1125814504867160065/photo/2); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com image at https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse/status/1132849458142572544); Jaime Sincioco, Phillipines (Twitter: @jaimessincioca, URL: https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco); Annamaria Luongo, University of Padua, Venice, Italy (Twitter: @annamaria_84, URL:https://twitter.com/annamaria_84).


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

Semisopochnoi

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small explosions detected between 16 July and 24 August 2019

The remote island of Semisopochnoi in the western Aleutians is dominated by a caldera measuring 8 km in diameter that contains a small lake (Fenner Lake) and a number of post-caldera cones and craters. A small (100 m diameter) crater lake in the N cone of Semisopochnoi's Cerberus three-cone cluster has persisted since January 2019. An eruption at Sugarloaf Peak in 1987 included an ash plume (SEAN 12:04). Activity during September-October 2018 included increased seismicity and small explosions (BGVN 44:02). The primary source of information for this reporting period of July-August 2019 comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), when there were two low-level eruptions.

Seismicity rose above background levels on 5 July 2019. AVO reported that data from local seismic and infrasound sensors likely detected a small explosion on 16 July. A strong tremor on 17 July generated airwaves that were detected on an infrasound array 260 km E on Adak Island. In addition to this, a small plume extended 18 km WSW from the Cerberus vent, but no ash signals were detected in satellite data. Seismicity decreased abruptly on 18 July after a short-lived eruption. Seismicity increased slightly on 23 July and remained elevated through August.

On 24 July 2019 AVO reported that satellite data showed that the crater lake was gone and a new, shallow inner crater measuring 80 m in diameter had formed on the crater floor, though no lava was identified. Satellite imagery indicated that the crater of the Cerberus N cone had been replaced by a smooth, featureless area of either tephra or water at a level several meters below the previous floor. Satellite imagery detected faint steam plumes rising to 5-10 km altitude and minor SO2 emissions on 27 July. Satellite data showed a steam plume rising from Semisopochnoi on 18 August and SO2 emissions on 21-22 August. Ground-coupled airwaves identified in seismic data on 23-24 August was indicative of additional explosive activity.

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

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Repeated Surtseyan explosions with ash and steam during February-July 2019

Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, Indonesia experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE; it formed a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. Remnants of this volcano joined to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island which collapsed during the major 1883 eruption. Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau), constructed beginning in late 1927 within the 1883 caldera (BGVN 44:03, figure 56), was the site of over 40 smaller episodes until 22 December 2018 when a large explosion and tsunami destroyed most of the 338-m-high edifice (BGVN 44:03). Subsequent activity from February-July 2019 is covered in this report with information provided by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, referred to as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG). Aviation reports are provided by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and photographs from several social media sources.

The cyclical nature of the growth and destruction of Krakatau was made apparent again in the explosive events of 22 December 2018-6 January 2019, when much of the island of Anak Krakatau was destroyed in a series of events that included a deadly tsunami from a flank collapse, a Vulcanian explosion, and several days of Surtseyan phreatomagmatic activity (figure 83) (Gouhier and Paris, 2019). Due to the location of the volcano in the middle of Sunda Strait, surrounded by coastal communities, damage from the tsunami was once again significant; over 400 fatalities and 30,000 injuries were reported along with damage to thousands of homes, businesses, and boats (figure 84) (BGVN 44:03). After a small explosion on 8 January 2019, the volcano remained quiet until 14 February when a new seismic event was recorded. Intermittent explosions increased in frequency and continued through July 2019; images of Surtseyan explosions with ejecta and steam rising a few hundred meters were occasionally captured by authorities patrolling the Krakatau Islands Nature Preserve and Marine Nature Reserve (KPHK), and by a newly installed webcam.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. The dramatic morphologic changes of Anak Krakatau before and after the explosive events of 22 December 2019-6 January 2019 were apparent in these Planet Labs, Inc. images published by the BBC. Left: Planet Lab's Dove satellite captured this clear image of the 338-m-high cone with a summit crater on 17 December 2018. Center: The skies cleared enough on 30 December to reveal the new crater in place of the former cone after the explosions and tsunami of 22-23 December, and multiple subsequent explosions. Right: Surtseyan explosions continued daily through 6 January; Planet Labs captured this event on 2 January 2019. Courtesy of BBC and Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. The location of Anak Krakatau in the middle of Sunda Strait surrounded by populated coastal communities (left) places great risk on those communities from explosive events and tsunamis at the volcano, such as what occurred during the 22 December 2018-6 January 2019 destruction of Anak Krakatau. The village of Tanjung in South Lampung (right) was especially hard hit. Map courtesy of BBC News, and photo courtesy of Daily Mail.

Three explosions were reported on 14, 18, and 23 February. No ash plume was observed on 14 February. The event on 18 February produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 720 m and drifted SSW. On 23 February the plume was white and rose 500 m, drifting ENE. During most days, no emissions were observed; occasional plumes of steam rose 50-100 m above the crater. Authorities visited the island on 15 February and observed the new crater lake and ash-covered flank of the remnant cone (figure 85 and 86).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. The denuded slope and new crater at Anak Krakatau on 15 February 2019. Bright orange discoloration of the water on the W side of the volcano is from recent iron-rich discharge. The new summit was measured at 155 m high. Verlaten Island is in the background. Courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. The new crater at Anak Krakatau on 15 February 2019. Fumarolic activity is visible in the narrow strip between the crater and the bay; bright orange discoloration of the water on the W side of the volcano is from recent iron-rich discharge. Courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB.

Activity increased during March 2019 with 14 seismic events recorded. Four events on 14 March were reported, with durations ranging from 30 seconds to 4 minutes; neither ash nor steam plumes were reported from these events. Events on 16, 17, and 18 March produced N-drifting white steam plumes that were reported at altitudes of 1.2 km, 650 m, and 350 m, respectively (figure 87). Multiple additional explosions were reported on 24, 30, and 31 March; dense white plumes drifted NE on 30 and 31 March. Nearby rangers for the KPHK who witnessed the explosions on 30 March reported material rising 500-1,000 m above the crater (figure 88). The duration of the seismic events associated with the explosions ranged from 40 seconds to 5 minutes during the second half of March. PVMBG lowered the Alert Level from III to II on 25 March, noting that while explosions continued, the intensity and frequency had decreased; none of the explosions were heard at the Pasauran-Banten (SE) or Kalianda-Lampung (NE) stations that were each about 50 km away.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. An eruption at Krakatau on 18 March 2019 produced a steam plume that rose several hundred meters, barely visible from a community across the strait. Courtesy of Oystein Anderson and PVMBG.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. White steam and dark ejecta were observed at Anak Krakatau during an explosion on 30 March 2019 by the local patrol team from BKSDA Bengkulu-Ministry of LHK, which manages the Krakatau Islands Nature Preserve and Marine Nature Reserve. Courtesy of Krakatau Islands KPHK.

Although the number of reported seismic events increased significantly during April and May 2019, with 22 VONA's issued during April and 41 during May, only a single event had witnessed evidence of ejecta on 3 April (figure 89). The KPHK patrol that monitors conditions on the islands observed the first plant life returning on Sertung Island (5 km W of Anak Krakatau) on 5 April 2019, emerging through the several centimeters of fresh ash from the explosions and tsunami in late December and early January (figure 90). A 200-m-high steam plume was observed on 14 April, and plumes drifted NE and E on 27 and 29 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Rangers for KPHK photographed a Surtseyan explosion with tephra and steam at Anak Krakatau on 3 April 2019. Courtesy of Krakatau Islands KPHK.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. A new plant on nearby Sertung Island emerges on 5 April 2019 through several centimeters of fresh ash from the Anak Krakatau explosions of December 2018 and January 2019. Courtesy of Krakatau Islands KPHK.

Members of an expedition to the island on 4 May 2019 photographed the still-steaming lake inside the new crater and the eroding ash-covered slopes (figure 91). Only the explosions on 10 and 17 May produced visible steam plumes that month, to 300-350 m high. By 15 May 2019 a new station had been installed at Anak Krakatau by PVMBG (figure 92). Four separate seismic events were recorded that day. Fog covered the island on a daily basis, and very few visible steam plumes were reported throughout April and May. The durations of the explosion events ranged from 30 seconds to 13 minutes (on 10 May); most of the events lasted for 1-2 minutes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Members of an expedition photographed the water-filled crater and ash-laden slopes of Anak Krakatau on 4 May 2019. Top image is looking S with Rakata island in the background, bottom image is looking W from the flank of the cone remnant. Photo by Galih Jati, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. By 15 May 2019 a new seismic station had been installed at Anak Krakatau by PVMBG. Four separate seismic events were recorded on 15 May 2019. Courtesy of Krakatau Islands KPHK.

Nine explosive events were reported during June 2019, but none produced visible steam or ash plumes until 25 June when a PVMBG webcam placed on Anak Krakatau captured a video of a Surtseyan event that lasted for about one minute. Dark gray ejecta shot tens of meters into the air over the lake, accompanied by billowing steam plumes which soon engulfed the webcam (figure 93). The other explosive events during March-July were likely similar, but frequent fog and the short-lived nature of the events made visual evidence scarce from webcams located 50 km away. During July there were 21 VONAs issued reporting similar seismic events that lasted from 30 seconds to 5 minutes; no plumes or sounds were seen or heard.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Dark gray ejecta and billowing steam plumes were captured by a newly installed PVMBG webcam during an explosion at Anak Krakatau on 25 June 2019. The water-laden ash rose tens of meters and scattered ejecta around the island. See Information Contacts for a link to the video. Courtesy of Devy Kamil Syahbana and PVMBG.

Satellite imagery provided solid evidence that activity at Anak Krakatau during February-July 2019 included underwater venting. Dark orange submarine plumes were visible drifting away from the SW flank of the volcano near the new crater multiple times each month (figure 94). The patterns of the plumes varied in size and intensity, suggesting repeated injections of material into the water. The thermal activity showed a marked decline from the period prior to the large explosions and tsunami on 22-23 December 2018. Very little thermal activity was reported during January-March 2019, it increased moderately during April-July 2019 (figure 95).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Dark orange plumes were visible in the seawater around Anak Krakatau during February-July 2019, strongly suggesting submarine discharges from the volcano. Top left: On 2 February 2019 the plume was discharging to the SW and visible in the water for nearly 10 km. Top center and right: on 29 March and 3 April the brightest areas of discharge were off the immediate SW flank; the plumes were drifting both NW and SE around the island. By 28 May (bottom left) the discharge was concentrated close to the SW flank with multiple underwater plumes suggesting several emission points. The only satellite image evidence suggesting a subaerial eruption appeared on 9 June (bottom center) when a dense steam plume rising and possible ejecta in the crater were visible. By 27 July (bottom right), discharge was still visible from the underwater vents on the SW flank, and the gradual filling in of the embayment on the W flank, when compared with the 2 February image, was clear. The island is about 2 km in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite images with natural color rendering (bands 4,3,2) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Thermal activity dropped abruptly at Anak Krakatau after the major flank collapse, explosions, and tsunami on 22-23 December 2018; it remained quiet through March and increased modestly during April-July 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

References: Gouhier, M, and Paris, R, 2019, SO2 and tephra emissions during the December 22, 2018 Anak Krakatau flank-collapse eruption, Volcanica 2(2): 91-103. doi: 10.30909/vol.02.02.91103.

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

Information Contacts: 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/); Krakatau Islands KPHK, Conservation Area Region III Lampung, BKSDA Bengkulu-Ministry of LHK, (URL: https://www.instagram.com/krakatau_ca_cal); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); BBC News, (URL: https://www.bbc.com, article at https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46743362); Planet Labs Inc. (URL: http://www.planet.com/); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN, image at https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN/status/1101007655290589185/photo/1); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com, image at https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse/status/1107479025126039552/photo/1); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/), images at https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/krakatau/news/80657/Krakatau-volcano-Indonesia-activity-update-and-field-report-increasing-unrest.html; Devy Kamil Syahbana, Volcanologist, Bandung, Indonesia, (URL: https://twitter.com/_elangtimur, video at https://twitter.com/_elangtimur/status/1143372011177033728); The Daily Mail (URL: https://www.dailymail.co.uk, article at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6910895/FORTY-volcanoes-world-potential-Anak-Krakatoa-eruptions.html) published 11 April 2019.


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

Tengger Caldera

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions on 19 and 28 July 2019; lahar on the SW flank of Bromo

The Mount Bromo pyroclastic cone within the Tengger Caldera erupts frequently, typically producing gas-and-steam plumes, ash plumes, and explosions (BGVN 44:05). Information compiled for the reporting period of May-July 2019 is from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

The eruptive activity at Tengger Caldera that began in mid-February continued through late July 2019, including white-and-brown ash plumes, ash emissions, and tremors. During the months of May through June 2019, white plumes rose between 50 to 600 m above the summit. Satellite imagery captured a small gas-and-steam plume from Bromo on 5 June (figure 18). Low-frequency tremors were recorded by a seismograph from May through July 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Sentinel-2 satellite image showing a small gas-and-steam plume rising from the Bromo cone (center) in the Tengger Caldera on 5 June 2019. Thermal (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

According to PVMBG and a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA), an ash eruption occurred on 19 July 2019; however, no ash column was observed due to weather conditions. A seismograph recorded five earthquakes and three shallow volcanic tremors the same day. In addition, rainfall triggered a lahar on the SW flank of Bromo.

On 28 July the Darwin VAAC reported that ash plumes originating from Bromo rose to a maximum altitude of about 3.9 km and drifted NW from the summit, based on webcam images and pilot reports. PVMBG reported that lower altitude ash plumes (2.4 km) on the same day were also recorded by webcam images, satellite imagery (Himawari-8), and weather models.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/).


Unnamed (Tonga) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Unnamed

Tonga

18.325°S, 174.365°W; summit elev. -40 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Submarine eruption in early August creates pumice rafts that drifted west to Fiji

Large areas of floating pumice, termed rafts, were encountered by sailors in the northern Tonga region approximately 80 km NW of Vava'u starting around 9 August 2019; the pumice reached the western islands of Fiji by 9 October (figure 7). Pumice rafts are floating masses of individual clasts ranging from millimeters to meters in diameter. The pumice clasts form when silicic magma is degassing, forming bubbles as it rises to the surface, which then rapidly cools to form solid rock. The isolated vesicles formed by the bubbles provide buoyancy to the rock and in turn, the entire pumice raft. These rafts are spread and carried by currents across the ocean; rafts originating in the Tonga area can eventually reach Australia. This report summarizes the pumice raft eruption from early August 2019 using witness accounts and satellite images (acquisition dates are given in UTC). Pending further research, the presumed source is the unnamed Tongan seamount (volcano number 243091) about 45 km NW of Vava'u, the origin of an earlier pumice raft produced during an eruption in 2001.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. The path of the pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount from 9 August to 9 October 2019 based on eye-witness accounts and satellite data discussed below, as well as additional Aqua/MODIS satellite images from NASA Worldview. Blue Marble MODIS/NASA Earth Observatory base map courtesy of NASA Worldview.

The first sighting of pumice was around 1430 on 9 August NW of Vava'u in Tonga (18° 22.068' S, 174° 50.800' W), when Shannon Lenz and Tom Whitehead on board SV Finely Finished initially encountered isolated rocks and smaller streaks of pumice clasts. The area covered by rock increasing to a raft with an estimated thickness of at least 15 cm that extended to the horizon in different directions, and which took 6-8 hours to cross (figure 8). There was no sulfur smell and the sound was described as a "cement mixer, especially below deck." There was also no plume or incandescence observed. Their video, posted to YouTube on 17 August, showed a thin surface layer of cohesive interconnected irregular streaks of pumice with the ocean surface still visible between them. Later footage showed a continuous, undulating mass of pumice entirely covering the ocean surface. Larger clasts are visible scattered throughout the raft. The pumice raft was visible in satellite imagery on this day NW of Late Island (figure 9). By 11 August the raft had evolved into a largely linear feature with smaller rafts to the SW (figure 10). Approximately four hours later, about 15 km to the WSW, Rachel Mackie encountered the pumice. Initially the pumice was "ribbons several hundred meters long and up to 20m wide. It was quite fine and like a slick across the surface of the water." By 2130 they were surrounded by the pumice, and around 25 km away the smell of sulfur was noted.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. The pumice raft from the unnamed Tongan seamount on 9 August 2019 taken by Shannon Lenz and Tom Whitehead on board SV Finely Finished. The photos show the pumice raft extending to the horizon in different directions. Scattered larger clasts protrude from the relatively smooth surface that entirely obscures the ocean surface. Courtesy of Shannon Lenz and Tom Whitehead via noonsite.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. The pumice raft from the unnamed Tongan seamount on 9 August 2019 (UTC) can be seen NW of Late Island of Tonga in this Aqua/MODIS satellite image. The dashed white line encompasses the visible pumice. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Courtesy of NASA WorldView.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. The Sentinel-2 satellite first imaged the pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount on 11 August 2019 (UTC). This image indicates the pumice distribution with the main raft towards the W and the easternmost area of pumice approximately 45 km away. The eastern tip of the pumice area is located approximately 30 km WNW of Lake islands in Tonga. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) Sentinel-2 satellite image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Michael and Larissa Hoult aboard the catamaran ROAM encountered the raft on 15 August (figure 11). They initially saw isolated clasts ranging from marble to tennis ball size (15-70 mm) at 18° 46′S, 174° 55'W. At around 0700 UTC (1900 local time) they noted the smell of sulfur at 18° 55′S, 175° 21′W, and by 0800 UTC they were immersed in the raft with visible clasts ranging from marble to basketball (25 cm) sizes. At this point the raft was entirely obscuring the ocean surface. On 16 and 21 August the pumice continued to disperse and drift NW (figures 12 and 13). On 20 August Scott Bryan calculated an average drift rate of around 13 km/day, with the pumice on this date about 164 km W of the unnamed seamount.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Images of pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount encountered by Michael and Larissa Hoult aboard the catamaran Roam on 15 August. Left: Larissa takes photographs with scale of pumice clasts; top right: a closeup of a pumice clast showing the vesicle network preserving the degassing structures of the magma; bottom left: Michael holding several larger pumice clasts. The location of their encounter with the pumice is shown in figure 7. Courtesy of SailSurfROAM.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. The pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount (volcano number 243091) on 16 August 2019 UTC. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) Sentinel-2 satellite image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. On 21 August 2019 (UTC) the pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount (volcano number 243091) had drifted at least 120 km WNW of Late Island in Tonga. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) Sentinel-2 satellite image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

An online article published by Brad Scott at GeoNet on 9 September reported the preliminary size of the raft to be 60 km2, significantly smaller than the 2012 Havre seamount pumice raft that was 400 km2. Satellite identification of pumice-covered areas by GNS scientists showed the material moving SSW through 14 August (figure 14).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. A compilation of mapped pumice raft extents from 9 August (red line) through to 14 August (dark blue) from Suomi NPP, Terra, Aqua, and Sentinel-2 satellite images. The progression of the pumice raft is towards the SW. Courtesy of Salman Ashraf, GNS Science.

On 5 September the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) issued a notice to mariners stating that the pumice was sighted in the vicinity of Lakeba, Oneata, and Aiwa Islands and was moving to the W. On 6 September a Planet Labs satellite image shows pumice encompassing the Fijian island of Lakeba over 450 km W of the Tongan islands (figure 15). The pumice entered the lagoon within the barrier reef and drifted around the island to continue towards the W. The pumice was imaged by the Landsat 8 satellite on 26 September as it moved through the Fijian islands, approximately 760 km away from its source (figure 16). The pumice is segmented into numerous smaller rafts of varying sizes that stretch over at least 140 km. On 12 September the Fiji Sun reported that the pumice had reached some of the Lau islands and was thick enough near the shore for people to stand on it.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Planet Labs satellite images show Lakeba Island to the E of the larger Viti Levu Island in the Fiji archipelago. The top image shows the island on 7 July 2019 prior to the pumice raft from the unnamed Tongan seamount. The bottom image shows pumice on the sea surface almost entirely encompassing the island on 6 September. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Landsat 8 satellite images show the visible extent of the unnamed seamount pumice on 26 September 2019 (UTC), up to approximately 760 km from the Tongan islands. The pumice seen here extends over a distance of 140 km. The top image shows the locations of the other three images in the white boxes, with a, b, and c indicating the locations. White arrows point to examples of the light brown pumice rafts in these images, seen through light cloud cover. The island in the lower right is Koro Island, the island to the lower left is Viti Levu, and the island to the top right is Vanua Levu. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Landsat 8 true color-pansharpened satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub.

Pumice had reached the Yasawa islands in western Fiji by 29 September and was beginning to fill the eastern bays (figure 17). By 9 October bays had been filled out to 500-600 m from the shore, and pumice had also passed through the islands to continue towards the W (figure 18). At this point the pumice beyond the islands had broken up into linear segments that continued towards the NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. These Sentinel-2 satellite images show the pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount drifting towards the Yasawa islands of Fiji. The 24 September 2019 (UTC) image shows the beaches without the pumice, the 29 September image shows pumice drifting westward towards the islands, and the 9 October image shows the bays partly filled with pumice out to a maximum of 500-600 m from the shore. These islands are approximately 850 km from the Tongan islands. The Yasawa islands coastline impacted by the pumice shown in these images stretches approximately 48 km. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Sentinel-2 natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. This Sentinel-2 satellite image acquired on 9 October 2019 (UTC) shows expanses of pumice from the unnamed Tongan seamount that passed through the Yasawa islands of Fiji and was continuing NWW, seen in the center of the image. The location of the pumice in this image is shown in figure 7. Sentinel-2 natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) satellite images courtesy of Sentinel Hub.

Geologic Background. A submarine volcano along the Tofua volcanic arc was first observed in September 2001. The newly discovered volcano lies NW of the island of Vava'u about 35 km S of Fonualei and 60 km NE of Late volcano. The site of the eruption is along a NNE-SSW-trending submarine plateau with an approximate bathymetric depth of 300 m. T-phase waves were recorded on 27-28 September 2001, and on the 27th local fishermen observed an ash-rich eruption column that rose above the sea surface. No eruptive activity was reported after the 28th, but water discoloration was documented during the following month. In early November rafts and strandings of dacitic pumice were reported along the coast of Kadavu and Viti Levu in the Fiji Islands. The depth of the summit of the submarine cone following the eruption determined to be 40 m during a 2007 survey; the crater of the 2001 eruption was breached to the E.

Information Contacts: GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); Salman Ashraf, GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/, https://www.geonet.org.nz/news/8RnSKdhaWOEABBIh0bHDj); Brad Scott, New Zealand GeoNet Project, a collaboration between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.geonet.org.nz/, https://www.geonet.org.nz/news/8RnSKdhaWOEABBIh0bHDj); Scott Bryan, School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, R Block Level 2, 204, Gardens Point (URL: https://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/scott.bryan); Shannon Lenz and Tom Whitehead, SV Finely Finished (URL: https://www.noonsite.com/news/south-pacific-tonga-to-fiji-navigation-alert-dangerous-slick-of-volcanic-rubble/, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEsHLSFFQhQ); Michael and Larissa Hoult, Sail Surf ROAM (URL: https://www.facebook.com/sailsurfroam/); Rachel Mackie, OLIVE (URL: http://www.oliveocean.com/, https://www.facebook.com/rachel.mackie.718); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Fiji Sun (URL: https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/09/12/pumice-menace-hits-parts-of-lau-group/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 38, Number 02 (February 2013)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Cumbal (Colombia)

Non-eruptive activity: swarms and increased emissions during 2011-2012

Izu-Tobu (Japan)

Quiet prevails despite the Tohoku megathrust of March 2011

Kilauea (United States)

2009 highlights: Waikupanaha ocean entry ceases, lava enters Halema`uma`u

Kusatsu-Shiranesan (Japan)

Minor tremor and small earthquakes during 2011-2012

Sabancaya (Peru)

Increased seismic and fumarolic activity in late 2012 and early 2013

Saunders (United Kingdom)

Eruption from ‘new’ vent

Telica (Nicaragua)

Degassing continues in 2012; increased micro-earthquake activity in March 2013

Turrialba (Costa Rica)

Decreased seismicity and emissions in 2012



Cumbal (Colombia) — February 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Cumbal

Colombia

0.95°N, 77.87°W; summit elev. 4764 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Non-eruptive activity: swarms and increased emissions during 2011-2012

Our last report on Cumbal volcano (BGVN 19:07) highlighted fumarolic activity from the NE craters, and monitoring efforts by scientists collaborating with the Servicio Geológico Colombiano (SGC). The SGC (formerly known as Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería, “INGEOMINAS”) monitors the volcano from Pasto, ~72 km NE of Cumbal (figure 3). In this report we describe field observations during 2005-2012, significant new monitoring instruments installed during 2008-2012, and episodes of seismic unrest. Earthquake swarms during 2011 and 2012 accompanied increased fumarolic activity.

see figure caption Figure 3. This 2008 map of the Cumbal region indicates locations of telemetered monitoring instruments (see legend), major towns (black labels), and nearby volcanoes (yellow text; red text for Cumbal). Yellow text is also used for the radio repeater at “Cruz de Amarillo” ~65 km ENE of Cumbal volcano. More instruments were added to the system later. Courtesy of SGC.

SGC maintained Alert Level Green (Level IV, the lowest status on a 4-step system; figure 4) with two exceptions. Reduced monitoring during May-July 2010 caused the status to be unassigned during that time. Elevated seismicity and emissions noted in June 2012 raised the status from Green (Level IV) to Yellow (Level III) signifying detected “changes in behavior of the volcanic system.”

see figure caption Figure 4. This pictogram describes the volcano Alert Levels used for communicating hazards in Colombia (translated from original in Spanish). This is a four-step system similar to the USGS volcanic activity alert-notification system (Gardner and Guffanti, 2006), except that each step is numbered in addition to having a color code: Green (Level IV), Yellow (Level III), Orange (Level II), and Red (Level I). All SGC observatories (based in Pasto, Popayán, and Manizales) apply this qualitative system. Courtesy of SGC.

Local hazard map. SGC published a hazard map in 1988 for the region surrounding Cumbal (figure 5). The three asymmetrical hazard zones, high (red), medium (orange), and low (yellow), are at risk for ashfall and pyroclastic flows.

see figure caption Figure 5. This hazard map for Cumbal volcano was developed in 1988 by Ricardo Méndez and María Luisa Monsalve of INGEOMINAS (now the Servicio Geológico Colombiano). Three major zones delineate high, medium, and low risk. Note that ashfall could occur in any of the three zones. Courtesy of SGC.

Areas at highest risk, in the red zone, could be affected by lava and pyroclastic flows, especially within the narrow valleys of Chiquito, Blanco, and Río Grande. Ashfall, ballistics, mudflows, and gas emissions could also occur as far away as ~8 km from the summit. Areas at medium risk, the orange zone, could also be affected by pyroclastic flows, ashfall, and mudflows over an area extending up to 14 km SE from the summit, encompassing the town of Cumbal. Areas at lowest risk, yellow zone, is located primarily downwind of the volcano where pyroclastic flows and ashfall could occur; this zone extends beyond the view of the map.

Monitoring efforts. Aerial investigations conducted since 2005 revealed persistent plumes rising from Cumbal’s NE craters, El Verde and La Plazuela (figure 6; see also figure 2 in BGVN 19:07 for an annotated sketch map of the summit craters). In their online Technical Bulletins, SGC emphasized the frequency of plumes from this region that were documented since at least 1988.

see figure caption Figure 6. Cumbal is an elongate volcano with multiple peaks. In 2005 and 2007, clear conditions provided views of plumes rising from Cumbal’s summit craters, El Verde and La Plazuela. (top) On 29 January 2007, white plumes rose from the fumaroles El Verde and Rastrojo; the look direction is N. (bottom) On 29 December 2005, discrete plumes were visible from the fumaroles El Verde (1), El Tábano (2), and La Desfondada (3); the look direction is NNW. Some snow had collected along the ridges and a small pond of water was visible within La Plazuela crater that day. Courtesy of SGC.

To help understand Cumbal’s state, SGC installed seismic and electronic tilt equipment in late 2008 (figure 3). The La Mesa (2.5 km ESE) and Limones (2 km SE) stations had electronic tilt and short-period seismic instrumentation (figure 7). During installation on 24 September 2008, technicians observed steam plumes rising from the fumarolic areas El Verde and La Plazuela (figure 8).

see figure caption Figure 7. This satellite image-based map includes upgrades in Cumbal’s monitoring network as of 2012. Courtesy of SGC.
see figure caption Figure 8. Clear conditions revealed the pale, fumarolic summit area of Cumbal during the mornings of two days in September 2008. (top) Two white plumes seen at 0704 on 24 September 2008; the smaller plume (center) rose from La Plazuela crater while the larger plume (to the right) rose from El Verde. Emissions from these sites have been noted since the late 1980s. This photograph was taken from a location ~6.5 km SE from the summit. (bottom) From the center of town, near the Cumbal Nariño Temple, the view NW toward Cumbal’s summit and fumarolic sites was clear on 25 September 2008. Courtesy of SGC.

In June 2009, SGC installed a broadband seismometer at Limones station, upgrading from the short-period sensor. Unfortunately, monitoring capabilities were significantly reduced when, in December 2009, vandals stole station instrumentation at this site.

Data from the remaining station, La Mesa, was only acquired intermittently during January-June 2010 owing to radio repeater problems. From May to July, the Alert Level status went unassigned, but upon repair of the system, later returned back to Green (Level IV).

In August 2010 a short-period seismic station (CUMZ) came online (figure 7). This station was maintained by the National Seismological Network of Colombia (RSNC). The electronic tiltmeter at La Mesa was offline during August-November 2010 due to electronic malfunctions.

In November and December 2011, SGC collaborated with the Colombia Air Force (FAC) to conduct overflights of the volcanic complex. In addition to aerial photos and observations, a thermal camera was used to determine the hotspot distribution and measure temperatures for those sites (figure 9).

see figure caption Figure 9. This thermal image was taken during an overflight of Cumbal’s summit on 27 November 2011. The look direction was approximately S with El Verde (43.6°C) and the highest part of La Plazuela’s rim (34.5°C) showing the highest temperatures. Steam plumes rising from the craters partly obscured the view. Courtesy of FAC and SGC.

Monitoring capabilities were expanded when SGC installed an infrasound sensor at the La Mesa monitoring site in March 2012 and a webcamera was installed in the town of Cumbal (~11 km SE) in May (figure 10). During March-December 2012, white plumes were frequently observed rising from Cumbal’s fumarolic sites.

see figure caption Figure 10. An image taken by the new Cumbal webcamera on 23 May 2012. The black arrow points to the source of the strongest plumes, El Verde crater. Courtesy of SGC.

The Limones short-period seismometer was back online in October 2012. Additionally, two new stations, Nieve and Punta Vieja (figure 7), were added to the network in December; these stations had broadband seismic and electronic tilt equipment.

Summit fumarole monitoring. During 2010-2012, SGC conducted field campaigns to monitor Cumbal’s summit fumarolic sites. Three fumaroles (Desfondada, El Verde, and El Rastrojo) were visited during this time period with repeat observations and measurements. Lab analyses were conducted at the Manizales Volcanological and Seismological Observatory.

The Desfondada fumarole, located near the W rim of La Plazuela crater (see the sketch map in figure 2 in BGVN 19:07), was visited only once for sampling with the Giggenbach bottle method in August 2010; this site had a relatively high temperature, 278.4°C. The other sites were visited frequently and also sampled to determine gas species and condensates (table 1).

Table 1.Maximum temperatures measured from Cumbal's fumaroles during 2010-2012 at Desfondada, El Rastrojo, and El Verde. Site locations appear in figure 2 of BGVN 19:07, while the location of El Rastrojo is closest to the S-most crater of the complex, Mundo Nuevo. Courtesy of SGC.

Site Date Temperature (°C)
Desfondada Aug 2010 278.4
El Rastrojo Aug 2010 177.6
El Rastrojo Sep 2011 153.3
El Rastrojo Dec 2011 178.9
El Rastrojo Mar 2012 148.5
El Rastrojo Apr 2012 104.0
El Verde Aug 2010 313.0
El Verde Mar 2012 122.3
El Verde Apr 2012 115.6

The earliest measured temperature from El Verde (in August 2010) yielded the highest value of the three fumaroles (313°C). Compared with temperatures measured in 1994 (378°C, BGVN 19:07), El Verde’s values were slightly lower; however, the three available temperatures from 2010 and 2012 were within the measured range determined by SGC field campaigns conducted during previous years (BGVN 19:07).

The El Rastrojo site was located ~1.6 km SW of the summit (figure 11); this fumarolic area, on the outer edge of Mundo Nuevo crater regularly emitted plumes and had temperatures in the range 104-178.9°C.

see figure caption Figure 11. On 27 November 2011, white plumes were visible rising from fumarolic features along the ridge of Cumbal volcano. (top) This oblique view of Cumbal is centered on Mundo Nuevo crater, the SW crater of the ~2 km-long volcanic complex. The area highlighted in red shows the location of El Rastrojo, an active fumarolic site that frequently emitted white plumes and was monitored by SGC. White plumes also emerge from La Plazuela and El Verde craters in the middle-ground (near the right edge of the image). (bottom) In this zoomed image (clipped from the top image), a short column of white vapor rises from El Rastrojo fumarole. This area is a scree slope where several large boulders are discolored by yellow sulfur deposits. Courtesy of SGC.

Hot spring investigations. Inferred magmatic compositions were detected from hot springs during 1988-1996 (Lewiki and others, 2000). Field investigators sampled from sites located within the central crater and from sites along the SE flank, up to 10 km from the summit and towards the town of Cumbal (figure 12). However, they concluded that “from 1995 to 1996, geochemical data show increasing hydrothermal signatures, suggesting a decline in magmatic volatile input.”

see figure caption Figure 12. This sketch map of Cumbal and the surrounding area highlights the locations of hot springs. During 2010-2012, SGC monitored four of these sites: El Salado (“S”), Cuetial (“C”), El Zapatero (“Z”), and Hueco Grande (also known as Quebrada el Corral, “QC”). Note that the generalized name “Cumbal Crater” is assigned to the area of La Plazuela and El Verde craters. Modified from Lewiki and others (2000).

During 2010, SGC monitored four hot springs for temperature and chemical changes. Results from sampling during May, August, and November 2010 determined chemical classifications for the springs El Salado, Cuetial, El Zapatero, and Hueco Grande (figure 13).

see figure caption Figure 13. Based on geochemical results from investigations in May (triangles), August (squares), and November 2010 (circles), SGC scientists classified four of Cumbal’s hot springs. Within this ternary diagram, the datapoints were generally well within the “Periferal Water” (Aguas Periféricas, significant HCO3) class. Datapoints from Hueco Grande, approached the “Volcanic Water” (translated from Spanish “Aguas Calentadas por Vapor,” significant SO4) class than the others. No datapoints were within the “Mature Water” (Aguas Maduras, significant Cl) class. Courtesy of SGC.

Sampling and analysis of the four hot springs continued during 2011-2012. SGC maintained a growing database of characteristics from these springs and released the results in online bulletins. In particular pH, temperature, conductivity, and concentrations of carbonates were repeatedly measured. During this time period, pH values measured from the hot springs were in the range of 5.9-7.3; temperatures were 26.4-34.4°C (the highest values were from Cuetial spring); conductivity values (Oxidation-Reduction Potential, “ORP”) ranged from 7.7-42.2 mV (highest values were from Cuetial and the lowest was from Hueco Grande springs); bicarbonate (HCO3) concentrations were 271.7-1,008.0 mg/L (the highest value was obtained from El Zapatero spring).

Cumbal seismicity. When the seismic stations Limones and La Mesa came online in late 2008, SGC began characterizing Cumbal’s seismicity based on the following interpretive scheme:

• Hybrid (HYB): Seismicity associated with signals characterizing fracturing and fluid movement.

• Long period (LPS): Seismicity associated with unsteady fluid movement (magma or hydrothermal fluids, for example).

• Tremor (TRE): Seismicity associated with fluid movement in which the source behaves in a sustained manner.

• Tornillo (TOR): Seismicity associated with fluid movement in which subterranean structures are linked with special conditions in such a manner that makes the cavities resonate. In their January 2009 online bulletin, SGC acknowledged that tornillo earthquakes have been an important indicator of eruptive activity at Galeras volcano, but the occurrence of the same signature at Cumbal volcano required additional analysis before associating specific unrest with this seismicity.

• Volcano-tectonic (VT): Earthquakes associated with brittle failure events caused by magma movement.

• Unclassified volcanic (VOL): Earthquakes from the region of Cumbal that do not correspond with the other classes; SGC stated that these events will be analyzed in more detail after more baseline data is collected. This category was also applied to seismic analyses of Doña Juana, a volcano that was instrumented around the same time (see report on Doña Juana in BGVN 38:01).

Seismicity in 2009. During 2009, as SGC began to establish baseline data for Cumbal’s seismicity, a wide range of earthquake classes was detected (figure 14). LPS and VT events dominated the records and TRE, HYB, and TOR earthquakes were also detected (in order of decreasing occurrence). TOR earthquakes occurred more frequently during August to early December. Due to vandalism, the 2009 record ended on 13 December 2009.

see figure caption Figure 14. The daily seismicity detected from Cumbal during 2009 in three plots that display January-August, August-November, and 1-13 December. Five different classes of earthquakes were tallied daily (VT, HYB, TRE, LPS, and TOR). Data gaps are attributed to station outages and time periods requiring re-processing; gray regions signify the reporting period in which the plots appear. Courtesy of SGC.

Seismicity in 2010. From January to July 2010, La Mesa station detected earthquakes intermittently and the Limones seismic station remained offline. When the network connection was re-established for La Mesa in late July, LPS earthquakes again dominated the records through the end of December (figure 15).

see figure caption Figure 15. Daily seismicity from Cumbal during 1 September-31 December 2010 was dominated by LPS events. Six different classes of earthquakes were tallied daily (VT, LP, TRE, HYB, TOR, and VOL); the gray region highlights the month when the plot was released online. Courtesy of SGC.

Seismicity in 2011. LPS, VT, and HYB events dominated seismicity at Cumbal for most of 2011; more VOL events occurred than HYB, but this category was described as temporary until more analysis is possible (table 2 and figure 16). Data quality enabled some events to be located and some swarms were apparently driving a several-fold increase in monthly counts. Until November 2011, TOR events were occurring ~5 times per month and TRE were occurring ~13 times per month. In November, seismicity increased significantly and SGC reported that several earthquake swarms had occurred; in particular, one event occurred on 18 November. A swarm of LPS earthquakes also occurred during 20-21 and on 31 December. Epicenters could not be calculated from the data and there were no reports of felt earthquakes.

Table 2. Monthly seismicity at Cumbal was tabulated by the occurrence of events: VT, LPS, TRE, HYB, TOR, VOL, and the overall total. Courtesy of SGC.

Date VT LPS TRE HYB TOR VOL Total Notes
Jan 2011 165 906 14 109 8 111 1313 --
Feb 2011 188 453 5 5 5 104 760 --
Mar 2011 96 743 9 76 12 136 1072 --
Apr 2011 52 476 3 45 1 76 653 --
May 2011 80 575 10 37 5 38 745 --
Jun 2011 88 659 2 31 2 36 818 --
Jul 2011 76 726 9 29 4 30 874 --
Aug 2011 53 560 7 40 2 9 671 --
Sep 2011 75 524 8 70 7 47 731 --
Oct 2011 64 678 61 65 0 90 958 --
Nov 2011 300 1967 385 279 4 326 3261 Swarms
Dec 2011 160 2028 453 228 4 130 3003 Swarms
Jan 2012 103 1657 252 159 2 8 2181 Swarms
Feb 2012 176 758 73 167 1 6 1181 --
Mar 2012 78 678 47 105 5 0 913 --
Apr 2012 80 619 32 60 0 1 792 --
May 2012 54 625 35 45 0 0 759 Swarms
Jun 2012 56 858 29 34 5 0 982 --
Jul 2012 98 1306 29 54 5 0 1492 Swarms, 13 EQs located
Aug 2012 101 855 46 42 4 0 1048 Swarms, 11 EQs located
Sep 2012 117 1344 31 60 4 0 1556 Swarms, 3 EQs located
Oct 2012 135 1080 62 51 14 0 1342 Swarms, 92 EQs located
Nov 2012 235 1017 15 99 2 1 1369 Swarms, 89 EQs located
Dec 2012 260 1001 10 180 3 24 1478 Swarms, 97 EQs located
see figure caption Figure 16. Cumbal earthquakes tallied by month based on event class during 2011-2012. Elevated seismicity persisted during November 2011-January 2012, particularly VT, LPS, and TRE. The “TOTAL” class is the sum of VT, LPS, TRE, HYB, TOR, and VOL earthquakes for each month (see table 2 for values). Courtesy of SGC.

Seismicity in 2012. SGC reported that seismic swarms continued to occur in January 2012. The swarm that began at 2200 on 31 December 2011 continued until 1 January 2012 and a total of 211 LPS events were detected. Two more swarms occurred later that month, amounting to a total of 274 earthquakes. Seismicity declined during February-April but swarms reappeared: in May, one; in July, five; in August, two; in September, six; in October, six; in November, seven.

Due to elevated seismicity, persistent swarms, and observations of increased emissions from El Verde and La Plazuela, SGC announced on 10 July that the Alert Level was raised to Yellow (Level III). This status was maintained through December 2012. In their online July 2012 Activity Report, SGC noted that residents in the area had also reported notable gas emissions, seismicity, and possible noises associated with earthquakes.

Epicenters of Cumbal’s VT earthquakes were calculated during July-December 2012 and located on regional maps (table 3). Earthquake locations tended to be dispersed throughout the region, although some clustering was notable between 2 and 6 km of the summit region and at depths less than 12 km (as measured from the summit elevation) (figure 17).

Table 3. VT earthquakes from Cumbal during July-December 2012 tended to be low-magnitude events at shallow depths. This table compiles announcements from weekly activity reports; the date listed corresponds to the release date of the information. During the listed weeks, VT events were often clustered; SGC made special note of events that were clustered between La Plazuelas and Mundo Nuevo (“Cent.”) and events that were dispersed (“Disp.”). Depths were measured as km below the summit. Magnitudes were not available (“na”) during the week of 18 December. Courtesy of SGC.

Date Location Magnitude Depth
31 Jul 2012 SW less than 2.1 ≤ 10
06 Aug 2012 N, S, Disp. less than 1.3 ≤ 6
16 Oct 2012 ≤10 km N less than 1.3 ≤ 9
23 Oct 2012 ≤ 2 km SE less than 1 ≤ 3
30 Oct 2012 ≤ 4 km E less than 1.2 ≤ 4
06 Nov 2012 ≤ 5 km SE less than 0.2 ≤ 9
13 Nov 2012 ≤ 3 km E less than 0.6 ≤ 2
20 Nov 2012 ≤ 3 km E less than 1.9 ≤ 6
04 Dec 2012 ≤ 13 km Disp. less than 1.6 ≤ 12
11 Dec 2012 ≤ 5 km Disp. less than 0.6 ≤ 10
18 Dec 2012 ≤ 6 km Cent. -- less than 1
26 Dec 2012 Cent. less than 1.1 less than 2
26 Dec 2012 N less than 1.1 ≤ 9
see figure caption Figure 17. A total of 97 volcano-tectonic earthquakes were located during December 2012 within the region of Cumbal volcano. Five seismic stations (dark red squares) were online near the volcano: LIMC (Limones), MEVZ (La Mesa), NIEV (Nieve), VIEZ (Punta Vieja), and CUMZ (the RSNC Cumbal station). Earlier in the month, VTs were primarily dispersed in the region while later in the month, they were more clustered around the edifice and N (table 3). Courtesy of SGC.

In September, October, and November 2012, during field investigations at various locations around Cumbal’s flanks, SGC scientists also noted increased emissions from the summit fumaroles. In particular, white plumes were strong from El Verde and El Rastrojo fumaroles.

Geodetic monitoring during 2009-2010. Electronic tilt data available during 2009 showed oscillations within the expected range of the instruments. During 2010, while instrumentation was reduced and electronic problems persisted, tilt records continued to show minor variations. In July, a decreasing trend was observed from the tangential component of La Mesa tiltmeter (figure 18). Unfortunately, the instrument was offline from August through November. When monitoring resumed in December, no deformation trends were noted.

see figure caption Figure 18. The two components of the La Mesa electronic tiltmeter recorded stable conditions from Cumbal’s SW flank (in the Mundo Nuevo region) during 1 January-31 July 2010. The four plots, from top to bottom, contain radial tilt component (in µrad), tangential tilt component (in µrad), temperature (°C), and voltage (V) data. Note that minor variations in temperature and daily variations in the voltage correspond to the recharging cycle controlled by the solar panels and consequent voltage drain at night. The gray shaded section represents the reporting period when the data was published online. Courtesy of SGC.

Geodetic monitoring during 2011-2012. In their April 2011 Technical Bulletin, SGC highlighted the onset of a decreasing trend in La Mesa’s tangential data; the trend began on 30 April and continued to 30 June for a total decrease of ~25 µrad (figure 19); this trend ended in July. A period of increasing tilt began on 29 September and ended on 30 November 2011 (total increase was ~35 µrad). The signal from La Mesa station (effecting electronic tilt as well as seismic records) was intermittent in August. From December 2011 through December 2012, fluctuations persisted in the tilt data; however, stable conditions were characteristic of 2012 deformation.

see figure caption Figure 19. Tilt record of Cumbal during 2011 (tangential component on top plot, radial on bottom). In their Technical Bulletins, SGC highlighted several trends that became apparent in the tangential data from La Mesa station; a decreasing event began at the end of April reaching a total decrease of ~25 µrad by late June. The station detected an increase in tilt of equal magnitude in late September and ending by late November. Courtesy of SGC.

References. Gardner, C.A., and Guffanti, M.C., 2006, U.S. Geological Survey’s Alert Notification System for Volcanic Activity, U.S. Geological Survey, Fact Sheet 2006-3139, Version 1.0.

Lewiki, J.L., Fischer, T., and Williams, S.N., 2000, Chemical and isotopic compositions of fluids at Cumbal Volcano, Colombia: evidence for magmatic contribution, Bulletin of Volcanology, 62: 347-361.

Geologic Background. Many youthful lava flows extend from the glacier-capped Cumbal volcano, the southernmost historically active volcano of Colombia. The volcano is elongated in a NE-SW direction and is composed primarily of andesitic-dacitic lava flows. Two fumarolically active craters occupy the summit ridge: the main crater on the NE side and Mundo Nuevo crater on the SW. A young lava dome occupies the 250-m-wide summit crater, and eruptions from the upper E flank produced a 6-km-long lava field. The oldest crater lies NNE of the summit crater, suggesting SW-ward migration of activity. Explosive eruptions in 1877 and 1926 are the only known historical activity. Thermal springs are located on the SE flanks.

Information Contacts: Servicio Geológico Colombiano (SGC), Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Pasto, Pasto, Colombia (URL: http://www.SGC.gov.co/Pasto.aspx).


Izu-Tobu (Japan) — February 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Izu-Tobu

Japan

34.9°N, 139.098°E; summit elev. 1406 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Quiet prevails despite the Tohoku megathrust of March 2011

Our previous report on Izu-Tobu (BGVN 23:04) summarized the elevated seismicity that began on 20 April 1998 in the eastern Izu Peninsula and started declining around 10 May. The activity included crustal deformation, indicating inflation likely linked to shallow magmatic activity. Izu-Tobu is located 100 km SW of Tokyo and just inland from the coast on the Izu peninsula.

Recent reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) noted the Tohoku megathrust of March 2011, centered 400 km to the NE of Izu-Tobu, and that Izu-Tobu lacked any signs of correlated behavior as a result of that M 9.0 earthquake event and the numerous aftershocks.

Izu-Tobu had been quiet since March 2011 until 17 July when seismicity increased and small earthquakes with epicenters around Ito city (8.5 km N) were detected. Earthquakes on 18 July were M 2.5 and M 2.8 (interim values). A maximum seismic intensity of 1 on the JMA scale was observed in Ito-city and Higashi-Izu town (15 km SSW). Seismicity declined to the usual background level the following day. Ground deformation was observed around seismically active areas.

Seismicity along an area from Arai (8 km N) through offshore Shiofuki-zaki (2 km E of Ito-city), increased during 18-23 August 2011, then declined after 24 August. No earthquakes were observed until 22 September when the number of earthquakes temporarily increased at a shallower area around Usami; this activity was interpreted as not being directly related to magma intrusion.

Prior to the 22 September 2011 seismic activity, the volumetric strainmeter at Higashi-Izu town (15 km SSW) showed continuous contraction; the tiltmeter at Ito-city showed an apparent change on 18 September. The trend slowed as seismicity decreased; no change was observed after 23 September. GPS measurements did not exhibit remarkable changes and low-frequency earthquakes and tremor were not observed. The Alert Level at Izu-Tobu remained at 1.

Geologic Background. The Izu-Tobu volcano group (Higashi-Izu volcano group) is scattered over a broad, plateau-like area of more than 400 km2 on the E side of the Izu Peninsula. Construction of several stratovolcanoes continued throughout much of the Pleistocene and overlapped with growth of smaller monogenetic volcanoes beginning about 300,000 years ago. About 70 subaerial monogenetic volcanoes formed during the last 140,000 years, and chemically similar submarine cones are located offshore. These volcanoes are located on a basement of late-Tertiary volcanic rocks and related sediments and on the flanks of three Quaternary stratovolcanoes: Amagi, Tenshi, and Usami. Some eruptive vents are controlled by fissure systems trending NW-SE or NE-SW. Thirteen eruptive episodes have been documented during the past 32,000 years. Kawagodaira maar produced pyroclastic flows during the largest Holocene eruption about 3000 years ago. The latest eruption occurred in 1989, when a small submarine crater was formed NE of Ito City.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/).


Kilauea (United States) — February 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


2009 highlights: Waikupanaha ocean entry ceases, lava enters Halema`uma`u

This report discusses eruptive highlights at Kilauea during 2009, with occasional reference to earlier and later events. Within the E rift zone, Pu`u `O`o crater was relatively quiet during 2009, while lava flows escaping from the Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) tube system continued to feed emissions along the SE coast. Along the E portion of the TEB system, the Waikupanaha ocean entry remained active for up to 363 days during 2009 before ceasing altogether on 4 January 2010. Along the W branches and ocean entries of the TEB tube system, lava emissions halted in July 2009.

At Kilauea's summit, lava returned to the active vent within Halema`uma`u crater in January 2009, ending a pause in lava emissions there that began in December 2008. The active vent's shape was explored using Lidar, and in mid-2009 the lava lake's surface sat ~200 m below the floor of Halema`uma`u crater. The active vent underwent numerous cycles of lava rise, surface cooling, and collapse. Unless otherwise noted, all information in this report is from USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) reports.

Pu`u `O`o crater quiescence. During the first four months of 2009, heavy fuming at Pu`u `O`o prevented visual observation of areas within the crater. HVO reported gas-rushing noises, but nothing unusual in available views from Forward Looking Infrared Radiometer (FLIR) thermal imaging. FLIR instruments detect infrared radiation, and produce calibrated thermal videos and still images.

On 15 May, favorable wind directions provided clear views of the crater floor. Observers reported patches of less broken, ponded surfaces near locations previously observed as spattering vents, as well as a V-shaped trough that ran SW-NE traversing the length of the crater (figure 197). They also observed an incandescent, fuming vent emitting puffing sounds in the NE part of the crater (also heard during a later visit in June), and an unseen vent distinguished by sounds on the W end of the crater floor (figure 197). Until October, further observation was limited to FLIR imagery, showing a few small, hot vents on the crater floor.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 197. Map of Pu`u `O`o crater (dark gray) and vicinity showing active vents during 2009 (red dots) and the V-shaped trough (dashed line) that was observed on 15 May 2009. The webcam (POcam) location on the crater's rim is indicated by the yellow triangle. Other mapped units correspond to previous flow fields emplaced in 1983-1986 (light gray), 1992-2007 (tan and orange), and 2008 (pink, top right); during 1986-1992, lava flows were emplaced outside of the mapped area. A small lithic debris field observed on the NE rim on 2 December 2009 is also indicated. Courtesy of USGS-HVO.

Crater glow at Pu`u `O`o was observed via webcam on most nights during the last three months of 2009. Ground observation on 2 December revealed a small (estimated3) surficial deposit of lithic lapilli and small blocks on the NE rim from a small explosion estimated to have occurred as early as 23 September (figure 197). The lithic debris was most likely sourced from one of the nearby vents on the NE crater wall.

During 2009 (and possibly since August 2007), a series of collapses removed a significant portion of the N crater rim. HVO reported that the series of collapses removed some of the highest points of the summit of the Pu`u `O`o rim, thus lowering the local elevation by a few meters.

Flow field and coastal plain breakouts and changes. Lava flows emplaced during 2009 covered an area of 6.5 km2, most of which covered previous lava flows; only 0.8 km2 of vegetated land (chiefly forested kipukas within the flow field) was overrun by lava (2009 flow field changes are shown in figure 198).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 198. Map of the changes to Pu`u `O`o's 21 July 2007 eruption flow field during 2009. The pre-existing (July 2007-2008) extent of the flow field is shown in pink, and the 2009 flow field additions are shown in red. Note that the portions of 2009 lava flows that overran the 2008 flow field extent are not represented, only changes to the extent of the July 2007-2008 flow field in 2009. The TEB tube system is shown in yellow with points where lava escaped to the surface, breakout points, indicated ('B/O points'). Ocean entries are indicated and labeled along the coast. Pool 1 (green) indicates the location of a lava lake roof collapse (discussed in text). Flow fields active during 1983-86 are shown in light gray, 1986-92 shown in light yellow, and 1992-2007 shown in orange. Courtesy of USGS-HVO.

The TEB vent and rootless shields (a pile of lava flows built over a known lava tube rather than over a conduit feeding magma; explained in BGVN 27:03) showed little change in early 2009, with small (most <300 m long) breakout-fed lava flows occurring occasionally during February and March on the fault scarp and cliffs (pali) in the Royal Gardens subdivision (figure 198) and the upper flow field. In early March, a breakout-fed lava flow reached the ocean, establishing the Kupapa`u ocean entry, which was active for a few months (discussed below) and consisted of several points where lava entered the sea (entry points). The long-lived Waikupanaha ocean entry (active since 5 March 2008) frequently produced littoral explosions and underwent delta collapses.

Other short-lived ocean entries occurred during this time, stemming from coastal plain breakouts from the W branch of the TEB tube system. These breakouts often slowed or stopped in harmony with deflation-inflation (DI) events at the summit. DI events, measured by tiltmeters at Kilauea's summit, are thought to result from changes in magma supply to a storage reservoir less than 1 km deep and just E of Halema`uma`u crater. These fluctuations often propagate through the magmatic system, and are usually measured by another tiltmeter at Pu`u `O`o crater a few hours later. Typically occurring over weekly timescales during 2009 (up to a few days of deflation, followed by up to a few days of inflation; figure 199), DI events often correlate to pulses and/or pauses in lava emission at E rift zone vents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 199. Radial deformation recorded by tiltmeters at Kilauea's summit (blue) and Pu`u `O`o crater (pink) during 2009. The sawtooth patterns delineate what have come to be called deflation-inflation (DI) events, which typically occurred over weekly timescales during 2009. The timing and behavior of DI events often coincided with vent collapses at Kilauea's summit and decreases or pauses in lava effusion along the E rift zone. Courtesy of USGS-HVO.

On 8 March 2009, the pool 1 lava lake roof (labeled in figure 198, feeding a perched lava channel - a lava channel with walls built up from previous overflows - from the 21 July 2007 fissure eruption, BGVN 34:03) collapsed. Subsequent cooling and further collapses during 11-19 March caused the channel to seal. No further active lava was observed in pool 1.

By 29 April, surface lava flows leading to the Kupapa`u ocean entry were no longer visible. This observation was taken to indicate that a tube branch leading to the Kupapa`u entry had been established. Later, during May-June, the multiple entries at Kupapa`u coalesced into one entry point. This entry was weaker and less persistant than the Waikupanaha entry and never formed a significant delta. Lava flows at the Kupapa`u entry pulsated in a manner closely correlated to DI events, unlike flows at the Waikupanaha entry, and the Kupapa`u ocean entry ceased by 21 July.

The onset of a strong DI event correlated with a breakout on June 1 from the Waikupanaha branch of the TEB tube system. Although beginning slowly, it remained active through mid-August. As is common, the flows slowed during deflation stages of DI events, and advanced further during inflation stages.

The Waikupanaha entry underwent common delta collapses throughout the year. The vigor of lava effusion at the entry, however, made up for the area lost to collapses, and the size of the delta continued to increase. The only known pause in lava entering the sea at Waikupanaha during 2009 occurred during a DI event, when the entry stopped for two days during 28-29 September.

On 31 October, surface lava flows reached the ocean ~700 m W of Waikupanaha, and established the W Waikupanaha entry. The new entry point was fed by an inferred secondary lava tube crossing over the main Waikupanaha tube branch (see the dashed portion of the yellow line labeled 'E Tube Branch', figure 198). Following the termination of the W Waikupanaha entry on 17 December, HVO concluded that its feeder tube had eroded down into the main Waikupanaha tube, thus tapping off its supply. Breakouts and surface flows during the end of the year continued to be affected by DI events.

Second longest ocean entry ceases. A large and prolonged DI event at Kilauea's summit in December correlated with a brief pause in lava effusion at the E rift zone. As a result, by 4 January 2010, lava ceased entering the ocean at Waikupanaha after 22 months of near-continuous lava entry. This was the second longest ocean entry in the history of the eruption, being about half a month shorter than the 2005-2007 E Lae`apuki entry.

Lava lake returns to Kilauea's summit. A lull in activity at Halema`uma`u crater began in mid-December 2008; on 14 January 2009, rockfall sounds returned to the summit, attributed to rising lava digesting talus slopes along the steep walled vent. Four days later, gas-rushing sounds, increased temperature, and collapses of the vent rim (figure 200) occurred, dusting nearby areas with ash and further marking the summit's re-awakening.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 200. Time lapse photographs of a collapse of a portion of the Halema`uma`u vent rim, Kilauea, taken one minute apart (at 1528 and 1529) on 18 January 2009. The black line in the left frame indicates the area of collapse, which is absent in the right frame. Courtesy of USGS-HVO.

Vent glow, temperature increases, gas-rushing noises, and production of vitric ash continued during early 2009, indicating fresh lava had ascended to a shallow level in the vent. These eruption related processes fluctuated in a manner that suggested that they were moderated by in-falling crater walls burying the vent bottom.

Onset of a DI event on 3 February correlated with the retreat of the lava within the vent, removing support for the rubble clogging the vent cavity and collapsing the rubble into the cavity. This disturbance was accompanied by an ash plume that was sustained for 8 minutes. FLIR images captured the following day disclosed a lava lake situated deep within the vent (the rubble clogging the vent cavity was gone). HVO noted upwelling on the lake's E side, draining and filling events (figure 201) and spattering from the lake. Similar fluctuations at Halema`uma`u occurred in concert with DI events through late April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 201. Observational and geophysical data highlight filling (pink) and draining (gray) cycles at Kilauea's summit vent within Halema`uma`u crater. (a) Filling and draining cycles over 3 hours on 6 February 2009 were observed with FLIR, and compared with seismicity (Realtime Seismic Amplitude Measurement - RSAM - , top) and infrasound (sound at lower than audible frequencies, bottom). RSAM provides rapid analysis of ground-motion amplitudes across multiple stations; measurements are unitless and usually reported as 'RSAM units'. (b) Filling and draining cycles over ~1 hour on 7 February 2009 were observed via acoustic noises and compared with tilt (top), seismicity (middle, reported in instrument counts, here representing the seismometer response to the vertical component of ground motion velocity), and infrasound (bottom). Courtesy of USGS-HVO.

On 28-29 April 2009, a series of collapses at the vent within Halema`uma`u dislodged rubble and tephra covering the lava surface within the vent. As a result, for the next two months, particle emissions became > 50% juvenile (figure 202). Tephra emissions (juvenile, or glassy, and lithic components) have been measured nearly daily at Halema`uma`u since April 2008 by collecting passively emitted tephra (i.e. derived from non-explosive activity) in an array of buckets deployed around the vent. The resulting assessments led to the compilation of isomass maps and calculations of the total mass emitted (Swanson and others, 2009). By 6 May, bubbling and churning at the lava lake surface was visible with the naked eye.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 202. Calculated monthly ejected mass of tephra from Kilauea's summit during April 2008-January 2010. The histogram excludes any explosive eruptions during that period. Collected tephra were assigned to one of two components: juvenile (glass, shown in black) and lithic (lava, shown in gray). Note that more than half of the mass ejected during May-June 2009 was juvenile, following a series of collapses on 28-29 April. See text or Swanson and others (2009) for a description of the daily tephra emission measurement technique. Courtesy of USGS-HVO.

A strong DI event in early June (reflected in the E rift zone by breakouts on the pali on 1 June, see above) marked the peak of lava activity within Halema`uma`u crater during 2009. The vent's lava lake showed strong upwelling in the NE, at times forming a dome-shaped fountain. The surface of the lava lake was circulating rapidly enough to prevent any significant crust from forming. The lava lake's circulation and activity slowed near the end of June and its surface appeared almost completely crusted over. A tripod mounted Lidar (T-Lidar) survey of the vent during 10-12 June indicated that the lava surface was ~207 m below the floor of Halema`uma`u crater (figure 203).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 203. 2-D projection of 3-D reconstruction of the Halema`uma`u crater vent as measured by a T-Lidar survey on 10-12 June 2009. The reconstruction (gray) is shown on a black background. The T-Lidar was shot from the Halema`uma`u crater rim, adjacent to the active vent. The plane projected here trends approximately NNE-SSW. The lava surface (indicated in purple at the bottom) was measured to be ~207 m below the floor of Halema`uma`u crater (indicated in green). Various other dimensions of the vent's geometry are shown. Image by Todd Ericksen, University of Hawaii-Manoa; courtesy of USGS-HVO.

On 30 June, a series of significant collapses of the vent wall again clogged the vent with rubble. For the following several days, lava appeared through the rubble and established a ponded surface. The lava retreated during a DI event on 4 July, and the vent became very quiet until mid-August. On the night of 9 August, the vent emitted a faint glow. Areas of degassing appeared within days, but the vent floor lacked visible molten material.

On 13 September, lava reappeared briefly, but a DI event a few days later coincided with another vent-wall collapse, again covering the lava surface. The vent floor collapsed further on 26 September, and two days later, lava had re-entered the vent and webcam videos confirmed the filling and draining behavior of the lava surface. This collapse coincided with a strong hybrid earthquake with large very-long-period waveforms. Hybrid earthquakes at Kilauea typically begin as high-frequency earthquakes (similar to local earthquakes or rockfalls), then transition to long- and sometimes very-long-period oscillations. During 2009, hybrid earthquakes (i.e. the 26 September event) and ongoing very-long-period tremor at Kilauea's summit suggested a source location beneath the summit, and within ~500 m above or below sea level.

The lava level within the vent fluctuated until the lava surface froze and sealed shut. It collapsed again on 18 November, revealing a fresh and mobile lava surface. Similar fluctuations and crusting of the lava surface continued through the end of 2009, when the lava level again dropped out of view deep below the Halema`uma`u crater floor.

2009 deformation trends. Satellite based radar interferometry determined that broad-scale deformation at Kilauea during 2009 was marked by subsidence of the summit and E rift zone (figure 204; see the report on Mauna Loa, BGVN 37:05, for an explanation of the technique). This pattern was interpreted as deflation of the magma system, with displacement of the S flank towards the sea. Deflation also occurred in the E rift zone, but ceased by September. 64 DI events were recorded during 2009, a record number of short-lived DI events since they have been monitored. The largest and longest DI events tended to coincide with decreases or pauses in lava effusion in the E rift zone, and vent collapses at the summit (discussed above, figure 199).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 204. Subsidence and deflation of Kilauea and the E rift zone during 2009, as seen in an ENVISAT interferrogram spanning 12 January 2009 to 3 February 2010. Approximately 8 cm of subsidence occurred at Kilauea's summit (Halema`uma`u crater, which is labeled), and ~6 cm of subsidence occurred in the E rift zone near Pu`u `O`o crater. Colored stripes indicate offsets as shown in the scale, top right (see Mauna Loa report in BGVN 37:05 for an explanation of the technique). The image was acquired with an incidence angle of 18° with the ground, looking W to E. Courtesy of USGS-HVO.

Hexahydrite spherules discovered at Kilauea's summit.While collecting Pele's hair on 30 March, HVO scientists discovered and collected small (less than 3 mm diameter), extremely fragile, white spherules that were stuck into wads of Pele's hair (figure 205).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 205. Hexahydrite (MgSO4·6H2O) spherules discovered and collected from just S of Kilauea's summit vent in 2009. Photomicrographs (a, b) with scales show surface and textural details of the spherules. An in-situ photograph (c, key for scale) shows the spherules as they were found, within wads of Pele's hair. From Hon and Orr (2011).

X-ray diffraction revealed that the spherules were nearly pure magnesium-sulfate hexahydrite (MgSO4·6H2O). Hon and Orr (2011) proposed that the spherules form from the percolation of rainwater through vesicular vent rocks, enriching the water in soluble sulfates. Magnesium sulfate resists precipitation owing to its higher solubility, and most other hydrothermal minerals would precipitate from the enriched fluid sooner. Hon and Orr (2011) suggested that boiling of the residual magnesium sulfate enriched fluids formed a foam of magnesium sulfate-coated bubbles, which formed the spherules when the bubbles were subsequently entrained into the eruptive plume.

Petrologic trends, shallow magma mixing. Through long-term petrologic monitoring and analysis of Kilauea's summit and E rift zone lavas, HVO scientists noted that the weight percent MgO (an indicator of the temperature of tapped magmas) of E rift zone lavas indicated well-buffered, shallow magma conditions that were maintained by "near-continuous recharge and eruption." Similarly, textural and compositional evidence highlighted pre-eruptive magma mixing between a shallow, cooler, degassed component and a gaseous, hotter, recharge magma component. Combined, the two components are erupted as a hybrid lava at the E rift zone.

Interestingly, since 2001, increased magma supply (interpreted from cross-summit extension distance) has correlated with an increase in the shallower, degassed magma component in the E rift zone lavas (interpreted from MgO weight percent; figure 206). HVO reported that this inverse relationship (higher magma supply coincident with cooler erupted lavas) is explained by more efficient flushing of the shallow edifice during times of increased magma supply.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 206. MgO weight percent (green points and blue trend, left axis) plotted versus Kilauea's cross-summit extension distance (red, right axis) during 2000-2009 shows an inverse relationship between magma supply (i.e. variations in cross-summit extension) and the temperature of erupted lavas (i.e. variation in MgO weight percent). Courtesy of USGS-HVO.

Summit gas emissions exceed health standards. Based on Flyspec measurements, the total SO2 emissions from Kilauea in 2009 (~0.72 x 106 tons) were 35% less than in 2008 (the highest annual SO2 emissions since measurements began in 1979, correlating to the opening of a new vent in Halema`uma`u crater; BGVN 35:01). Of the total 2009 emissions, ~60% and ~40% were attributed to the E rift and the summit, respectively (figure 207). Although 2009 emissions were down from the previous year, a record number of Ambient Air Quality exceedences occurred at the summit during 2009 (figure 208).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 207. Daily average SO2 emissions from Kilauea's summit (green) and from the E rift (pink) during 1992-2009. The total daily average emissions are shown in blue. 2008 marked an increase in emissions from the summit (and the highest annual SO2 emissions since measurements began in 1979) correlating with the opening of a new vent in Halema`uma`u crater (BGVN 35:01). In 2009, although total emissions were down 35% from 2008, summit emissions remained elevated. Courtesy of USGS-HVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 208. Histograms show the number of days per year that the Ambient Air Quality standard was exeeded, as monitored at the HVO building (left) and at the Kilauea Visitor Center (right) since 2001. Since air quality monitoring began, the standard was exceeded most often in 2009. Courtesy of USGS-HVO.

Vog health concerns. A recent clinic study by Longo and others (2010) highlighted the health effects of increased volcanic air pollution (volcanic smog, or 'vog') exposure at Kilauea, and identified population subgroups who are more susceptible to the effects of vog. They found that periods of increased vog emission and exposure coincide with increases in medical visits for "cough, headache, acute pharyngitis, and acute airway problems." Among previously identified population subgroups with increased susceptibility to health problems from exposure to vog, Longo and others (2010) found a specific correlation with Pacific Islander children living in exposed rural communities. The native children showed higher rates of acute respiratory effects both in times of low- and high-vog emissions. Longo and others (2010) suggested that this unique population showed the highest vulnerability due to physiological and genetic contributions, as well as the built environment and a lack of prevention efforts for vog exposure.

References. Hon, K., and Orr, T., 2011, Hydrothermal hexahydrite spherules erupted during the 2008-2010 summit eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i, Bulletin of Volcanology, 73(9), pgs. 1369-1375.

Longo, B.M., Yang, W., Green, J.B., Crosby, F.L., and Crosby, V.L., 2010, Acute health effects associated with exposure to volcanic air pollution (vog) from increased activity at Kilauea in 2008, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, 73(20), pgs. 1370-1381.

Swanson, D., Wooten, K., and Orr, T.R., 2009, Mass flux of tephra sampled frequently during the ongoing Halema'uma'u eruption [abs.], Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, v. 90, no. 52 (fall meeting supplement), abstract no. V52B-01.

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

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


Kusatsu-Shiranesan (Japan) — February 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Kusatsu-Shiranesan

Japan

36.618°N, 138.528°E; summit elev. 2165 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor tremor and small earthquakes during 2011-2012

On 7 February 1996, hydrophone data and water level changes suggested that a small hydrothermal ejection may have occurred at Kusatsu-Shirane (also known as Kusatsu-Shiranesan) at Yugama crater's pond (BGVN 21:02). Several months later, on 8 July, numerous small earthquakes were detected by the Kusatsu-Shirane Volcano Observatory (BGVN 21:07). The volcano is about 150 km NW of Tokyo (figures 6 and 7; also refer to the sketch map in figure 1, SEAN 07:10). This report summarizes seismicity between May 2011 and February 2013 based on available reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. A sketch map showing the location of Kusatsu-Shirane (Kusatsu-Shiranesan) in Honsho, Japan. Courtesy of JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. An aerial photo of Kusatsu-Shirane, as viewed from the S. The photo, taken on 29 May 2008, shows the overlapping pyroclastic cones and two of the three crater lakes. Courtesy of Flickr user rangaku1976.

On 27 May 2011, tremor was detected at Kusatsu-Shirane; no further information was provided. During 5-7 June 2011, an elevated number of microearthquakes with low amplitude occurred around Yugama crater (the main crater). No volcanic tremor or significant deformation was detected during this time. Thereafter, activity gradually diminished to background levels.

Field surveys during 27-29 June and 12-13 July 2011 revealed that elevated thermal anomalies persisted inside Yugama crater's N flank, the N fumarole area, and the slope located N to NE of Mizunuma crater. Ground temperatures around fumaroles remained high.

On 18 July 2011, a short period of tremor (duration 2.5 min) was detected. No change in fumarole activity was observed.

On 10 August 2011, an aerial survey was conducted in cooperation with Gunma prefecture. The survey found that the distribution of thermal anomalies and fumaroles in Yugama crater and the N fumarole area had not changed.

During 16-18 August, an elevated number of microearthquakes with low amplitude occurred near and to the S of Yugama crater. Significant deformation was not detected. Seismicity remained at background levels during the other days in August. High temperatures persisted on the N flank inside the main crater.

A field survey on 8 March 2012 found that the high temperatures on the N slope of Mizugama crater and the N fumarole area were the same as those found during a previous survey conducted during 27-29 June 2011. Very weak steam plumes at the N fumarole area of Yugama were sometimes observed by a camera at Okuyamada, though bad weather and mechanical trouble prevented their observation for long periods. The ground temperature in the fumarole area NE of Yugama crater remained elevated since its rapid rise in May 2009, despite occasional fluctuations.

According to JMA, the occurrence of small amplitude volcanic earthquakes occasionally increased during March 2012. The hypocenters were located just beneath the S part of Yugama crater. No tremor or significant crustal change was noted in GPS data.

During 1-2 April 2012, seismicity increased slightly, then subsided. No tremor, change in fumarole activity, or crustal change was observed, and no further reports have been issued on activity at Kusatsu-Shirane as of February 2013.

Geologic Background. The Kusatsu-Shiranesan complex, located immediately north of Asama volcano, consists of a series of overlapping pyroclastic cones and three crater lakes. The andesitic-to-dacitic volcano was formed in three eruptive stages beginning in the early to mid-Pleistocene. The Pleistocene Oshi pyroclastic flow produced extensive welded tuffs and non-welded pumice that covers much of the E, S, and SW flanks. The latest eruptive stage began about 14,000 years ago. Historical eruptions have consisted of phreatic explosions from the acidic crater lakes or their margins. Fumaroles and hot springs that dot the flanks have strongly acidified many rivers draining from the volcano. The crater was the site of active sulfur mining for many years during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/); rangaku1976, Flickr (URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rangaku1976/).


Sabancaya (Peru) — February 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased seismic and fumarolic activity in late 2012 and early 2013

Sabancaya volcano, located 72 km NW of Arequipa city, is one of the most active volcanoes of the Central Andes (figure 10). Our last report of Sabancaya described ashfall during July 2003 (BGVN 29:01). This report describes an increase in anomalous seismic and fumarolic activity, beginning in late 2012 and continuing through the end of March 2013. The restlessness spurred increased monitoring of the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. A map illustrating hazards at the Ampato-Sabancaya volcanic complex (high danger, red; moderate danger, orange; and low danger, yellow). Types of volcanic hazards include pyroclastic flows (including debris flows), mudflows, lava flows, and avalanches. The overall thickness of ash deposits from eruptions during 1990-1998 is indicated by 1 and 0.1 cm isopachs. Major roads and highways are shown as thick, dark red lines; thin lighter red lines are elevation contours. The map shown is featured on a poster with more details. From Mariño and others (2013).

Between 1988 and 1997, activity at Sabancaya was intermittent and characterized by low to moderate Vulcanian eruptions (VEI 2) and mainly modest eruption columns (less than 5 km above the summit) with local ashfall (e.g., SEAN 13:06; BGVN 19:03). After this eruptive episode, between 1998 and 2012, minor and intermittent fumarolic emissions rose from the active crater. During the last months of 2012, a slight increase of fumarolic activity was observed during a field campaign by Peru's Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico (INGEMMET) volcanologists and their counterparts from the Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans (Clermont-Ferrand, France).

The Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP) reported that inhabitants from Sallalli hamlet, ~ 11 km S of Sabancaya, observed an increase in fumarolic emissions beginning 5 December 2012. Meteorological conditions prevented IGP scientists from visiting the area during the rainy season.

In mid-February 2013, local residents reported an increase in fumarolic activity, which was confirmed by INGEMMET scientists that visited the volcano on 15 and 22-23 February (figure 11). Scientists also reported a strong sulfur odor within an 8-km radius, and felt several strong earthquakes probably associated with the volcano's unrest.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Photograph taken of a gas plume above the active vent of Sabancaya, as seen from the SE flank on 17 February 2013. Courtesy of Pablo Samaniego, IRD.

IGP reported that within a span of 95 minutes on 22 February 2013, three earthquakes, of M 4.6, 5.2, and 5.0 respectively, were registered at Sabancaya (figure 12). This activity prompted IGP to install a network of close proximity seismic stations. Earthquakes continued through the following day (23 February) and caused damage at Maca village, 20 km NE of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. The principal earthquakes (red dots) registered at Sabancaya on 22 February 2013. Of these, three earthquakes of M 4.6, 5.2, and 5.0 occurred within a span of 95 minutes. Courtesy of IGP.

During 22-23 February, a seismic station installed by INGEMMET registered more than 500 small volcano tectonic (VT) seismic events at Sabancaya. On 23 February IGP separately reported 560 events at the Cajamarcana seismic station (CAJ on figure 13b) on the SE flank. According to a Reuters article from 27 February, 80 homes were damaged by the seismicity during 22-23 February, leading to some evacuations. During that seismicity, a plume rose ~100 m above Sabancaya. After 24 February, VT, long period (LP), and hybrid seismicity continued (figure 13).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. (a) Plot of daily earthquakes at Sabancaya, showing the number of volcano tectonic, long period, and hybrid events that occurred during 24 February-27 March 2013. (b) The locations of earthquake epicenters on 27 March 2013 (red dots) and the seismic stations that were monitoring the volcano as of that date (yellow triangles). Courtesy of IGP.

Reference. Mariño J., Samaniego P., Rivera M., Bellot N., Manrique N., Macedo L., Delgado R., 2013, Mapa de peligros del Complejo Volcánico Ampato-Sabancaya, Esc. 1:50.000. Edit. INGEMMET-IRD.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico (INGEMMET), Av. Dolores (Urb. Las Begonias B-3), J.L. Bustamante y Rivero, Arequipa, Perú (URL: http://www.ingemmet.gob.pe); Pablo Samaniego Eguiguren, Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans, Université Blaise Pascal, Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Casilla 18-1209, Calle Teruel 357 - Miraflores, Lima 18 - PERU (URL: https://lmv.univ-bpclermont.fr/en/); Reuters, report by Lima Newsroom; Orlando Macedo, PhD, Chief of Volcanology Research Department, Instituto Geofisico del Peru, (IGP), Arequipa Volcano Observatory, Urb. La Marina B-19, Cayma, Arequipa, Peru.


Saunders (United Kingdom) — February 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Saunders

United Kingdom

57.8°S, 26.483°W; summit elev. 843 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption from ‘new’ vent

Matthew Patrick (USGS-HVO) notified Bulletin editors that in late 2012 images from thermal sensing satellites showed a 'new' active vent on Mount Michael on Saunders Island in the South Sandwich Islands (see location map, figure 1 in BGVN 28:02). This prompted scrutiny of the same vent in earlier images. Patrick noted that, although the vent was first identified in the 2012 images, it also appeared as activity in satellite images starting in 2006. The South Sandwich Islands are generally devoid of vegetation and habitants, and are largely ice-bound. Thus, satellite thermal alerts are strong evidence of volcanism.

Patrick shared with us the following information from a paper by Patrick and Smellie (2013) about the vent, labeled as Old Crater (SE and outside of main crater, see figure 2 in BGVN 28:02). ASTER [Advance Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer] imagery provided "new information on the small subordinate crater, marked as 'Old Crater' by Holdgate and Baker (1979), presumably because it was inactive at the time of their observations." An ASTER image on 28 October 2006 showed an apparent SWIR [short-wave infrared] anomaly at Old Crater. The crater itself appeared to be snow-free and was approximately 150 m in diameter. An ASTER image from 5 January 2008, showed a steam plume coming from this vent, which appeared to be about 190 m wide, as well as a TIR [thermal infrared] anomaly. A very high resolution image from November 2009 available on Google Earth showed a small steam plume emanating from the crater, which is about 190 m wide (figure 8). An ASTER image from 17 November 2010, showed apparently recent eruptive activity in Old Crater, evidenced by tephra fallout emanating from the crater and a small TIR anomaly (at the time there was also a TIR anomaly in the main crater). According to Patrick and Smellie, the plume, tephra fall, SWIR anomalies, and crater enlargement (from 150 to 190 m) indicated that this vent had reactivated by late 2006.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Annotated Google Earth imagery of Michael volcano (Saunders Island) acquired on 19 November 2009. (a) Saunders Island is mostly glacier covered, and steam plumes rose from the summit area. The scale bar indicates a distance of ~2.4 km. (b) A close up of the summit area that clearly shows steam plumes emanating from both the summit crater as well as the snow-filled 'Old Crater' (as termed by Holdgate and Baker, 1979). The scale bar indicates a distance of ~0.5 km. Courtesy of Google Earth.

MODVOLC satellite thermal alerts measured from the volcano since our last Bulletin report (BGVN 33:04, activity through May 2008) and to 4 April 2013 are shown in Table 3. A solitary alert appeared 25 October 2008, followed by a four year period of apparent inactivity. Then, another solitary alert was measured in late June 2012, followed by alerts for two days in October 2012 and two days in November 2012. Patrick noted that occasional and sporadic alerts are very typical for Michael.

Table 3. Satellite thermal alerts measured by MODVOLC over Michael from 2008-February 2013. Pixel sizes generally range from 1-1.5 km2. Note that previous satellite thermal alerts for Michael were listed in BGVN 31:10 (October 2005-November 2006) and 33:04 (August 2000-May 2008). Courtesy of MODVOLC.

Date Time (UTC) Number of pixels Satellite
25 Oct 2008 0100 1 Terra
30 Jun 2012 0100 1 Terra
02 Oct 2012 0110 1 Terra
28 Oct 2012 0200 2 Aqua
28 Oct 2012 1125 2 Terra
14 Nov 2012 0055 3 Terra
22 Nov 2012 1120 2 Terra

References. Patrick, M.R., and Smellie, J.L., 2013, A spaceborne inventory of volcanic activity in Antarctica and southern oceans, 2000-2010, Antarctic Science, v. 25, no. 4, p. 475-500.

Holdgate, M.W., and Baker, P.E., 1979. The South Sandwich Islands: I. General description, British Antarctic Survey Scientific Reports, No. 91, pp. 1-76.

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

Information Contacts: Matthew Patrick, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, PO Box 51, Hawai'i National Park, HI 96718, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/); MODVOLC, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Telica (Nicaragua) — February 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Telica

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Degassing continues in 2012; increased micro-earthquake activity in March 2013

Degassing that followed the May 2011 explosive eruption of Telica (figure 29; see also BGVN 36:11) continued through 2012 and into 2013. The following information summarizes observations by the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INETER) for 2012 and through March 2013.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. A location map of Telica, Nicaragua, in Central America. Telica (red triangle) is located ~105 km NW of the capitol, Managua. It last erupted in May 2011 (BGVN 36:11), but no major damage was reported. Gases emitted by Telica normally affect communities in the nearby provinces of Leon and Chinandega. Small black triangles in the figure depict other known Holocene volcanos in the region. Courtesy of USGS.

INETER issues a monthly bulletin, Boletín mensual Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua (Newsletter, Earthquakes and Volcanoes in Nicaragua), reporting on monitoring of Nicaraguan volcanoes including San Cristóbal, Telica, Cerro Negro, Momotombo, Masaya, and Concepcion (figure 30). In the Boletín, INETER presents monitoring data for Telica crater and adjacent fumarol temperatures, seismic activity, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) fluxes. In addition, visual observations are made during periodic field trips. Generally, the time difference between the arrival of P (primary) and S (secondary) waves from local earthquakes ranges from 0.5 to 2 sec, suggesting a source depth of 4 to 10 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. An oblique view of a schematic map of Nicaragua with high vertical exaggeration highlights the locations of Nicaraguan volcanoes. Courtesy of INETER.

As an example of normal ongoing activity at Telica, INETER reported that during 10-11 September 2012, 'jet' sounds were heard from the volcano, and two incandescent fumaroles were observed, along with gas-and-steam plumes rising 100-200 m above the crater. On 11 September two small explosions occurred in the crater. During 12-14 and 17 September gas plumes rose 30-150 m and incandescence from the crater was observed. Gas measurements on 14 and 17 September showed normal levels of SO2 flux.

2012 Sulfur dioxide flux. Average daily SO2 flux measurements made using the Mini-DOAS (differential optical absorption spectroscopy) mobile technique in 2012 were 303 metric tons per day in April, 627 metric tons per day in June, 377 metric tons per day in August, and 130 metric tons per day in October.

2012 Seismic Events. INETER has developed some novel ways for grouping seismic events at Telica. The types of seismic events monitored at Telica and activity during 2012 are shown in tables 5 and 6, respectively.

Table 5. Types of seismic activity monitored at Telica volcano, with characteristics as recorded and interpreted during 2012. Courtesy of Virginia Tenorio, INETER.

Activity type nomenclature (abbreviations) Frequency range/peak (Hz) Duration Possible explanation for 2012 events
Long period (LP) 1.0-4.5/4.0 20-40 sec Magma movement at depth 6-10 km
Tremor 5.0-7.0 short Degassing and magma movement
Volcano-tectonic (VT; VTA+VTB) 10.0-20.0+/12 1+ min Rupture of rock at depth 6-10 km
Double earthquake (S.DO) 4.0-7.0/4.0 and 7.0 40-60 sec Fracture of brittle soil followed by magma displacement
Gas explosion (E.G) 4.0-10.0 Hz 1-2 min Release of gas in volcano duct
Swarms of seismic events (trenes de sismos) (TS) 5.0-7.0 Hz 1-3 min Breaking rocks combined with LP-type events (average of 10 events per swarm)
Degasification signal (S.D) 5.0-10.0 1 min --

Table 6. Total volcano-seismic events and numbers of various types of events (see table 5 for descriptions) that were reported at Telica during 2012; percentages indicate the contribution of each type of event to the total recorded number of events during that month. Courtesy of INETER.

Activity type 18-31 March April May June July
Total events 1,986 3,222 3,544 5,754 4,112
LP 535 (27%) 953 (30%) 1,077 (30%) 827 (14%) 332 (8%)
S.DO 658 (33%) 638 (20%) 635 (18%) -- --
Tremor 0 (0%) 72 (2%) 78 (2%) 0 (0%) 125 (3%)
E.G 625 (32%) 609 (19%) 686 (19%) -- --
VT (VTA + VTB) 168 (8%) 299 (9%) 315 (9%) 2,418 (42%) 997 (24%)
S.D -- 651 (20%) 753 (21%) -- --
TS -- -- -- 2,519 (44%) 2,658 (65%)

2012 Temperature measurements. Figure 31 shows INETER staff members measuring crater and fumarole vent temperatures at Telica; temperatures are measured approximately once per month (figure 32). Temperatures measured during 2012 at the 4 fumaroles (figure 33), vents located E and outside of Telica crater, ranged between 52° and 79°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. INETER staff measuring temparatures at the Telica crater using a thermal imaging camera (left) and one of the fumarole vents using an IR thermometer (right). Courtesy of INETER.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. (a) Maximum monthly temperatures for Telica crater during January 2011-February 2012, and (b) average monthly temperatures during 2012. Courtesy of INETER.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. A W looking Google Earth view of Telica showing the approximate location of the fumarole vents E of Telica crater (lower arrow) and the location of temperature measurements in the crater (upper arrow). Courtesy of INETER.

2013 activity. The Costa Rica News reported on 24 March 2013 that Virginia Tenorio of INETER announced that Telica was experiencing increased micro-earthquakes. According to the INETER report, dozens of micro-earthquakes had occurred per day since 17 March. The increase continued to at least 24 March; 20 earthquakes occurred on 22 March, but only one reached as high as M 2.1. Tenorio was reported to state that, although earthquakes were located within the volcano's structure, an imminent eruption was not indicated. She further stated that while some changes may occur in the magmatic system and in the expulsion of gases, conditions were stable. Local observers reported elevated vapor and gas emissions associated with the spike in seismicity and incandescence in a fissure at the bottom of the active crater. Since 21 March 2013, the member institutions of the National System for Prevention, Mitigation and Attention to Disasters (SINAPRED), have been ordered to monitor Telica's activity and keep it under close observation.

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

Information Contacts: Virginia Tenorio, Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni); Costa Rica News, San Jose, Costa Rica (URL: http://thecostaricanews.com); Sistema Nacional para la Prevención, Mitigación y Atención de Desastres (SINAPRED), Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.sinapred.gob.ni/); MODVOLC, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — February 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Decreased seismicity and emissions in 2012

As noted by our previous report (BGVN 37:06), on 12 January 2012 Turrialba emitted ash for a few hours due to the opening of a vent, named 2012 Vent, on the SW inside slope of Central Crater. Since then, 2012 Vent has been an active contributor to the regular plume generation at the volcano. Our previous report noted activity through May 2012. This report primarily highlights activity through December 2012, based on online documents from the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) showing a diminution in activity during 2012 compared to 2010 and 2011.

Seismicity. According to OVSICORI-UNA, the seismic activity at Turrialba in 2012 was characterized primarily by shallow and volcano-tectonic events concentrated in the upper part of the edifice, and minor seismicity in nearby faults. In general, seismicity was lower in 2012 than in 2011, and notably lower than that in 2010. Seismic activity climbed slightly during September-October 2012 (from about 20/day, peaking at 150/day on 13 October, and then declining back to normal values after 1 November; figure 30). OVSICORI-UNA noted that seismic activity in 2012 was caused by water and heat interactions causing gas pressure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The number of seismic events registered per day at Turrialba during 2012. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Deformation. OVSICORI-UNA reported that during 2012 the distances between the Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) station "Pilar" and several nearby reflectors contracted from 2 to 7 cm/year, with the highest value at the N reflector and lowest at the ENE and NE reflectors (see figure 31 for EDM station locations).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. The location of geodetic monitoring stations at Turriabla during 2012. Red circles are reflectors of the EDM network, and measurements were made from the Pilar station (red square). Blue circles are permanent GPS stations (CAPI and GIBE). Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Emissions. According to OVSICORI-UNA, the opening of the 2012 vent was not associated with new magmatic activity. Vent temperatures measured with a thermocouple were similar during 2010-2012, suggesting to OVSICORI-UNA a sustained and common magmatic source. Measured vent temperatures also correlated with CO2 and H2S gas emissions (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. (Background image) Thermal image of Turrialba's W wall in Cráter Central (Central Crater) on 27 October 2012. Two vents are indicated, Boca 2012 (2012 Vent) and Cráter Oeste (West Crater). (Plots) For the measurement locations indicated by arrows, plots compare CO2 flux measurements (black) to both H2S flux measurements (blue) and thermal measurements acquired at 10-cm depth (red). Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA; thermal photo taken by G. Avard.

OVSICORI-UNA noted that gas emissions during 2012 had decreased considerably compared to those during 2010 and 2011. OVSICORI-UNA suggested that this decrease might be due to various factors, including a decline in rainfall that resulted in less water vapor, the primary component of the emissions. In a report discussing activity during January-February 2013, OVSICORI-UNA noted that the emissions from 2012 Vent had decreased, even though nighttime incandescence could be observed. Emissions drifted primarily NW during 2012.

Figures 33 and 34 summarize SO2 measurements from both miniature Differential Optical Absorption Spectrometer (mini-DOAS, fluxes) and OMI satellite data (masses). SO2 fluxes were lower than those in 2010-2011 when fluxes often reached above 1,000 tons/day (and in one case, nearly 4,000 tons/day; figure 34).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. (Left) Daily SO2 flux (metric tons/day) at Turrialba measured by a mini-DOAS station at La Central school, ~2.2 km SW of West Crater, between 1 May 2012 and 1 January 2013. (Right) SO2 mass (uncorrected for any noise) emitted by Turrialba as recorded by NASA's Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) aboard the AURA satellite during 2012. The SO2 mass corresponds to the total mass detected by the OMI sensor in the Central America area at 1800-1900 UTC. According to OVSICORI, both mini-DOAS and OMI measurements were consistent and of the same magnitude. The red-shaded area in the satellite data represents the time period corresponding to that of the mini DOAS data. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA and NASA-OMI.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. SO2 mass emitted by Turrialba as recorded by NASA's OMI instrument aboard the AURA satellite between 1 October 2008 and 6 November 2012. These represent masses in the atmospheric column that are thought to have roughly 1 day residence times. Courtesy of NASA-OMI.

As in previous years, rain and fog absorbed volcanic gases in 2011 and 2012, producing acid rain with consequent damage and destruction to vegetation, especially in downwind areas in the sector sweeping clockwise from SW to N from the vents (figure 35).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Annotated photo of Turrialba taken on 26 August 2012. The vegetation on the top and on the flanks of the edifice (zone 1) showed severe effects such as necrosis. The pasture vegetation (zone 2), used for milk production, turned yellowish (chlorosis). Interestingly, part of the native vegetation such as the tall trees (Quercus species) showed a stronger resistance to environmental acidification. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA; photo taken by G. Avard.

OVSICORI-UNA observed that hydrothermal activity modified the mineralogy and decreased the cohesion of the rocks in contact with the fluids, which alter and reduce the stability of the slopes of the volcanic edifice, triggering gravitational collapses, rockfalls, and strong erosion during the main rain events. These phenomena were especially observed after storms on 15 August and in November 2012, when coarse and fine material was transported from the walls to the bottom of Central Crater, deepening the W and NW gullies.

In an M.S. thesis, Rivera (2011) compared SO2 concentrations in Turriabla's volcanic plume using a ground-based mini-DOAS and three new data analysis techniques using NASA's OMI instrument. The three new techniques were the MODIS smoke estimation, OMI SO2 lifetime, and OMI SO2 transect techniques. All four techniques involve UV sensor analysis. She found that the OMI SO2 lifetime technique provided qualitative agreement between the ground-based and satellite-based data, while the OMI transect technique provided occasional quantitative agreements with the mini-DOAS measurements. The MODIS smoke estimation technique was inaccurate in estimating SO2 emission rates.

Reference. Rivera, A.M., 2011, Comparisons between OMI SO2 data and ground-based SO2 measurements at Turrialba volcano, M.S. Thesis, Michigan Technological University.

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

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

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/).