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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Erebus (Antarctica) Lava lakes persist through 2017 and 2018

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

Popocatepetl (Mexico) Explosions with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta continue during September 2018-February 2019

Pacaya (Guatemala) Continuous activity from the cone in Mackenney crater; daily lava flows on the NW flank during October 2018-January 2019



Masaya (Nicaragua) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Reventador (Ecuador) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak explosions and ash plumes beginning 21 October 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Yasur (Vanuatu) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Ambae (Vanuatu) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Agung (Indonesia) — February 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Erebus (Antarctica) — January 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lakes persist through 2017 and 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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


Villarrica (Chile) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta continue during September 2018-February 2019

Frequent historical eruptions have been reported from Mexico's Popocatépetl going back to the 14th century. Activity increased in the mid-1990s after about 50 years of quiescence, and the current eruption, ongoing since January 2005, has included numerous episodes of lava-dome growth and destruction within the 500-m-wide summit caldera. Multiple emissions of steam and gas occur daily, rising generally 1-3 km above the 5.4-km-elevation summit; many contain small amounts of ash. Larger, more explosive events with ash plumes and incandescent ejecta landing on the flanks usually occur several times every week.

Activity through August 2018 was typical of the ongoing eruption with near-constant emissions of water vapor, gas, and minor ash, as well as multiple explosions every week with ash-plumes and incandescent blocks scattered on the flanks (BGVN 43:11). This report covers similar activity from September 2018 through February 2019. Information about Popocatépetl comes from daily reports provided by México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED); ash emissions are also reported by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite visible and thermal imagery and SO2 data also provide helpful observations of activity.

Near-constant emissions of steam and gas, often with minor ash content, were typical activity throughout September 2018-February 2019. Intermittent larger explosions with plumes of moderate ash content that generated ashfall in nearby communities were reported each month except November. Periods with increased explosive activity that consisted of multiple daily explosions included all of September into early October, early December 2018, and the second half of February 2019 (figure 116). Increased observations of incandescence at the summit generally coincided with increases in explosive activity. Increases in thermal anomalies measured by the MIROVA project during this time also correlated with times of increased explosive activity as reported by CENAPRED (figure 117).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. The numbers of low intensity emissions of steam and gas, often with minor amounts of ash ranged from a few tens to several hundred per day throughout September 2018-February 2019 (blue, left axis). Increases in the daily numbers of larger ash-bearing explosions occurred during September-early October 2018, early December, and the second half of February 2019 (orange, right axis). Data courtesy of CENEPRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Thermal anomalies registered by the MIROVA project from 5 April 2018 through February 2019 had periods of increased frequency and intensity during September-early October, early December 2018, and in the second half of February 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during September 2018. Multiple explosions with ash plumes were reported nearly every day in September (figure 118). The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery 15 km NW of the summit at 7.6 km altitude on 4 September. Most plumes reported by the VAAC during the month rose to 6.1-7.6 km and drifted up to 40 km in multiple directions. Two small episodes of ash emissions with tremor on 16 September were followed the next day by a series of emissions, explosions, and tremor that lasted for over six hours; incandescent blocks were visible on the flanks in the early morning. An increase in activity late on 18 September produced Strombolian eruptions that lasted for nearly eight hours along with ash emissions and incandescent blocks on the flanks. A plume on 19 September still had detectable ash 150 km NE of the summit; a smaller plume drifting E was responsible for ashfall reported in Tlaxcala.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. Multiple explosions with ash plumes were reported nearly every day in September at Popocatépetl, generating ash plumes that rose from 1.5-3 km above the crater and drifted in multiple directions. The CENAPRED webcams captured images of ash plumes on 8, 11, and 19 September, and the Sentinel-2 satellite (rendering is Atmospheric penetration, based on bands 12, 11 and 8A) imaged ash plumes from two of seven reported explosions on 24 September 2018. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 9, 11, y 20 de septiembre de 2018) and Sentinel Hub Playground (lower image).

Discrete puffs of ash were observed by the Washington VAAC on 20 September moving WSW extending around 200 km from the summit. Three explosions on 21 September ejected incandescent blocks onto the NE flank. During an overflight on 21 September, CENAPRED observed dome number 80, partly destroyed by the recent explosions (figure 119). The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 8.8 km altitude on 21 September 30 km WSW from the summit. Ashfall was reported by CENACOM (Mexican National Communications Center) on 29 September in Atlautla, Tehuixtitlan, and Cuecuecuautitla in the State of Mexico, and in the Tláhuac Delegation, Iztapalapa, and Xochimilco in Mexico City.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. During an overflight on 21 September 2018, CENAPRED observed dome number 80 at Popocatépetl, partly destroyed by the recent explosions. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelo al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 21 de septiembre de 2018).

Activity during October and November 2018. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 7 km altitude on 2 October, 35 km W of the summit. Numerous smaller plumes were reported by the VAAC during both months at about 6 km altitude drifting in multiple directions. Two larger explosions on 8 October produced ash plumes that rose to 3.5 and 2.4 km, respectively, above the summit, and drifted NE (figure 120). As a result, ashfall was reported at the Puebla airport. On 10 and 12 October, extended periods of LP tremor were accompanied by gas emissions, but otherwise lower levels of activity were noted for much of the month. An ash plume extended over 80 km NE at 7.6 km altitude on 10 November. An explosion on 13 November produced incandescent fragments on the flanks. During 19-21 November episodes of LP seismicity and tremors produced gas and ash emissions; some of the episodes lasted for as long as 13 hours; incandescent fragments were observed on the upper slopes during the more intense periods. On 22 November scientists on an overflight by CENAPRED observed dome 81 with a diameter of 175 m and an estimated depth of 30 m (figure 121).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. A large explosion early on 8 October 2018 at Popocatépetl sent an ash plume to 3.5 km above the summit crater that drifted NE. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 9 de Octubre de 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. On 22 November 2018 scientists on an overflight by CENAPRED observed dome 81 at Popocatépetl with a diameter of 175 m and an estimated depth of 30 m. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Sobrevuelos, herramienta útil para el monitoreo volcánico del Popocatépetl, jueves, 22 de noviembre de 2018).

Activity during December 2018. Increased ash emissions were reported in early December 2018, producing ash plumes that rose at least 1 km above the crater and drifted mostly E; incandescent blocks ejected on 5 December fell mostly back into the crater. Multiple explosions on 6 and 7 December produced ash plumes that rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater and resulted in ashfall in Amecameca and Tlalmanalco; they also produced incandescent blocks that traveled as far at 2.5 km from the crater, according to CENAPRED. An explosion on 9 December produced a 2-km-high ash plume that drifted NE (figure 122). Satellite images captured during clear skies on 18 December showed incandescence at the dome inside the summit crater, and dark ash and ejecta covering much of the upper flanks (figure 123). An ash plume was centered about 100 km NE of the summit on 24 December at 7.6 km altitude, and dissipating rapidly, according to the Washington VAAC. Incandescent blocks were ejected onto the flanks on 26 December during an evening explosion.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. An explosion on 9 December 2018 produced a 2-km-high ash plume at Popocatépetl that drifted NE. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 9 de diciembre de 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Clear skies on 18 December 2018 resulted in a Sentinel-2 satellite image of Popocatépetl that showed incandescence on the dome inside the summit crater, and dark tephra surrounding all the upper flanks. Rendering is Atmospheric penetration, based on bands 12, 11 and 8A. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during January 2019. An explosion in the early morning of 16 January 2019 produced incandescent blocks that traveled 1.5 km down the slopes. It also produced an ash emission that lasted for 25 minutes; the seismic signal associated with the event was a mixture of harmonic tremor and high-frequency low-amplitude earthquakes. In the first minutes the height of the column reached 1,000 m above the crater, later it decreased to 500 m; ash was dispersed ENE. Late on 22 January a large explosion produced an ash plume that rose 3.5 km above the crater and numerous incandescent blocks that were observed as far as 2 km from the summit (figure 124); ashfall was reported in Santa Isabel Cholula, Santa Ana Xalmimilulco, Domingo Arenas, San Martin Texmelucan, Tlalancaleca, San Salvador el Verde, San Andres Calpan, San Nicolás de los Ranchos, and Huejotzingo, all in the state of Puebla. A large discrete ash plume was observed in satellite imagery by the Washington VAAC on 24 January at 6.7 km altitude moving NE to about 35 km distance before dissipating. In an overflight on 27 January CENAPRED noted that the internal crater remained about 300 m wide and 150 m deep, and no dome was visible (figure 125).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Late on 22 January 2019 a large explosion at Popocatépetl produced an ash plume that rose 3.5 km above the crater and produced numerous incandescent blocks that were observed as far as 2 km from the summit. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Actualización de Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 22 de enero de 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 125. During an overflight of Popocatépetl on 27 January 2019 observers from CENAPRED noted that the internal crater remained about 300 m wide and 150 m deep, and no dome was visible. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl hoy 27 de enero de 2019).

Activity during February 2019. Several days of increased activity of harmonic tremor and explosions were reported during 14-19 February 2019 (figure 126). Incandescent blocks from Strombolian activity appeared on the flanks late on 14 February traveling as far as 1.5 km, along with a continuous stream of ash and gas that drifted SW for seven hours. The initial ash plume rose 800 m, but by early the next day had risen to 2 km. Ashfall was reported in the communities of Hueyapan, Tetela del Volcán, Zacualpan, Temoac, Jantetelco, Cuautla, Ocuituco, and Yecapixtla, in the state of Morelos, and in Tochimilco, Puebla, on 15 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 126. Several days of increased activity at Popocatépetl, including harmonic tremor and explosions, were reported during 14-19 February 2019. Incandescent blocks from Strombolian activity appeared on the flanks late on 14 February traveling as far as 1.5 km, along with a continuous stream of ash and gas that drifted SW for seven hours (left). Steam and gas streamed continuously from the summit for many hours on 17 February (right); the plume drifted NNE at 1-1.5 km altitude. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl 14 y 18 de febrero de 2019).

A new episode of Strombolian activity early on 16 February lasted for six hours and produced 2-km-high ash plumes that drifted SE. Later that afternoon, a new harmonic tremor episode, again lasting about six hours, was accompanied by water vapor and gas emissions that drifted NE and incandescent blocks ejected 400 m down the flanks. A Sentinel-2 satellite image that day recorded a significant thermal signature from the summit dome (figure 127).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 127. A Sentinel-2 satellite image on a clear 16 February 2019 recorded a significant thermal signature from the summit dome of Popocatépetl. Rendering is Atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Satellite instruments recorded a strong SO2 signature from the volcano during 15-18 February (figure 128). Multi-hour periods of harmonic tremor were recorded during 17-19 February, accompanied by gas-and-ash emissions. Ash plume heights were between 1 and 2 km above the crater, and minor ashfall was reported in Tlaxco and Xalostoc in Nativitas, and Hueyotlipan, Amaxac de Guerrero, Tepetitla de Lardizábal, and Texoloc in Tlaxcala, on 18 February. Two overflights on 18 and 19 February confirmed the formation of dome 82 inside the summit crater, estimated to be 200 m in diameter (figure 129).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 128. Significant SO2 plumes were measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during 15-18 February 2019 at Popocatépetl. The plume initially drifted SW (top left, 15 February); changes in the wind direction carried the plume to the N (top right, 16 February), then to the NE (bottom left, 17 February), and back to the N on 18 February (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 129. An overflight on 19 February by CENAPRED confirmed the formation of dome 82 inside the summit crater at Popocatépetl, estimated to be 200 m in diameter. Courtesy of CENAPRED (Actualización del reporte del monitoreo de CENAPRED al volcán Popocatépetl, 19 de febrero de 2019).

Geologic Background. Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m wide crater. The generally symmetrical volcano is modified by the sharp-peaked Ventorrillo on the NW, a remnant of an earlier volcano. At least three previous major cones were destroyed by gravitational failure during the Pleistocene, producing massive debris-avalanche deposits covering broad areas to the south. The modern volcano was constructed south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone. Three major Plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 CE, have occurred since the mid-Holocene, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and voluminous lahars that swept basins below the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since Pre-Columbian time.

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — March 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous activity from the cone in Mackenney crater; daily lava flows on the NW flank during October 2018-January 2019

Extensive lava flows, bomb-laden Strombolian explosions, and ash plumes emerging from MacKenney crater have characterized the persistent activity at Pacaya since 1961. The latest eruptive episode began with intermittent ash plumes and incandescence in June 2015; the growth of a new pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater was confirmed in mid-December 2015. The pyroclastic cone has continued to grow, rising above the crater rim in late 2017 and sending numerous flows down the flanks of the crater throughout 2018 (BGVN 43:11). Similar activity continued during October 2018-January 2019, covered in this report, with information provided primarily by Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH).

There were few variations in the eruptive activity at Pacaya during October 2018-January 2019. Virtually constant Strombolian activity from the summit of the pyroclastic cone within Mackenney crater produced ejecta that rose 5-30 m daily. Periods of increased activity occasionally increased the height of the ejecta to 50 m. Lava flows descended the NW flank of Mackenney cone towards Cerro Chino crater, usually one or two a day, sometimes three or four. They travelled 50-300 m down the flank; the longest reached 600 m in mid-October and 500 m at the end of January. Steam and gas plumes persisted from the summit; a single VAAC report mentioned dilute ash in mid-October. Plumes generally rose a few hundred meters above the summit, occasionally reaching 700-800 m. Incandescent avalanche blocks at the heads of the flows were sometimes as large as a meter in diameter and traveled far down the flanks.

Constant Strombolian activity during October 2018 from the pyroclastic cone within Mackenney crater was ejected up to 30 m above the summit of the cone throughout the month, with occasional more intense episodes rising 50 m. Lava flows were reported daily by INSIVUMEH on the NW flank from 50 to 300 m long. White and blue gas-and-steam emissions generally rose a few hundred meters from the summit of the pyroclastic cone and usually drifted S or N. The highest rose 800 m on 26 and 27 October. In a special report issued late on 12 October INSIVUMEH noted that seismicity had increased during the day; Strombolian explosions also increased and ejected material 25-50 m above the summit, producing block avalanches in the vicinity of the flows (figure 103). The cone within Mackenney crater continued to grow, reaching 75 m above the rim and nearly filling the crater at its base. According to the Washington VAAC, on 14 October a pilot reported minor ash emissions moving W at an estimated 650 m above the summit. Multi-spectral imagery showed a faint ash plume moving W at 3.4 km altitude, and a well-defined hotspot was seen in short-wave infrared imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. Strombolian activity sent ejecta 25-50 m above the summit of Pacaya on 12 October 2018, and lava flows traveled 600 m down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino, as seen from the community of Escuintla located about 20 km W. Courtesy of Carlos Barrios and INSIVUMEH.

Similar activity persisted throughout November 2018 (figures 104 and 105). The Strombolian activity usually rose 5-30 m high; on 24 November INSIVUMEH reported ejecta 75 m high and the presence of four lava flows on the NW flank that traveled distances ranging from 50 to 200 m. Steam-and-gas emissions rose no more than 500 m above the summit. On 24 and 28 November incandescent avalanche blocks were observed at the fronts of the lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Constant Strombolian activity rising 25-50 m above the summit of Pacaya was reported on 12 November 2018. In addition, a lava flow 150 m long traveled down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino, as seen in this image with incandescent blocks below the flow. A diffuse plume of mostly gas and steam rose 350 m above the crater. Courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Continuous lava flows up to 300 m long were observed during the last week of November 2018 at Pacaya. They traveled down the NW flank and often had large incandescent blocks that descended the flank beneath the flow. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Pacaya (1402-11), Semana del 24 al 30 de noviembre de 2018).

During December 2018, continuous Strombolian activity was observed 25 m high. Incandescent avalanche blocks were noted at the fronts of the lava flows more frequently than in previous months. One to three lava flows extending 50-300 m down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino were reported every day that the flanks were visible (figure 106). Late on 13 December INSIVUMEH released a special bulletin noting that explosions were heard as far as 8 km from Mackenney crater, and Strombolian activity rose 25-50 m. Constant tremor activity had been produced from the ongoing lava flows descending the flank; the incandescent avalanche blocks up to 1 m in diameter were falling from the front of the flows. By the end of December, the growing pyroclastic cone had filled the inside of Mackenney crater, reaching 75-100 m above the crater rim. In a special information report on 28 December, INSIVUMEH noted that changes in the eruptive patterns included an increase in seismic tremor along with more persistent and higher energy Strombolian activity from the active cone, which frequently sent material outside of the crater onto the flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Lava flows traveled down the NW flank of Pacaya on 7 December 2018. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de la actividad volcanica, diciembre 2018, Volcan de Pacaya).

There were no significant changes in activity during January 2019. Constant Strombolian activity rose 5-30 m above the summit; INSIVUMEH reported the height at 50 m on 7 January. Large incandescent avalanche blocks were noted at the front of the lava flows several times; one or two flows daily reached lengths of 100-300 m. The flow reported on 29 January reached 500 m, traveling down the NW flank towards Cerro Chino. Steam plumes, sometimes with bluish gas, rose generally to around 100 m above the summit, occasionally higher. Growth and destruction of the pyroclastic cone inside Mackenney crater continued as it had for the previous several months. The persistent Strombolian and lava flow activity was responsible for a strong thermal signature recorded in satellite data and plotted by the MIROVA project during the period (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. A MIROVA graph of thermal radiative power at Pacaya from 5 April 2018 through January 2019 showed little change during the period from October 2018-January 2019 covered in this report. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Carlos Barrios (Twitter: @shekano, URL: https://twitter.com/shekano).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 38, Number 05 (May 2013)

Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Agrigan (United States)

2007 M~3.3 earthquake followed by clouds of equivocal origin

Ambae (Vanuatu)

Minor activity likely continuing into early 2013

Ambrym (Vanuatu)

Roiling lava lake and related observations through mid-2013

Dallol (Ethiopia)

Phreatic eruption in 1st week of January 2011

Fuego (Guatemala)

Continuous activity and a VEI 3 eruption during 13-14 September 2012

Gaua (Vanuatu)

Hazard status raised; emissions continue into 2013; plume observed from above

Kilauea (United States)

Summary of highlights for 2010-2012

Pavlof (United States)

Eruption in May-June 2013 with lava flows and ash emissions to ~8.5 km a.s.l.

Veniaminof (United States)

Ongoing sporadic eruptions as late as 6 October 2013

Yasur (Vanuatu)

Explosive activity continued into at least early 2013



Agrigan (United States) — May 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Agrigan

United States

18.77°N, 145.67°E; summit elev. 965 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


2007 M~3.3 earthquake followed by clouds of equivocal origin

Our last report on Agrigan volcano covered a May 1992 field visit (BGVN 17:06) by a six-member team of USGS volcanologists that visited the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) at the request of the CNMI Office of Civil Defense. The team detected thermal activity, but no seismicity, deformation or other signs of an eruption.

The following came from a report by both the USGS and CNMI issued mid-July 2007and labeled Current Update. "An earthquake was reported felt on Agrigan island at 3:49 pm July 16 local time. About 3 seconds of shaking was reported by a local resident. Seismometers on Sarigan and Anatahan recorded the earthquake and allowed estimation the magnitude at approximately 3.3. No sulfur smell or any other signs of volcanic activity were reported on July 16 or in a follow up call on July 17."

Some 2012 and 2013 observations were equivocal. On 29 February 2012, NOAA's Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) inferred ash and gas emissions here for the first time on record, but this was later discounted due to lack of forthcoming evidence. The inferred plume was seen in satellite infrared imagery. It extended 74 km NW from the summit.

A possible volcanic plume from Agrigan was spotted again by the VAAC in a satellite image from 22 January 2013.

In a 25 January 2013 USGS update, it was noted that neither the USGS nor NOAA received confirmation of a volcanic source for the satellite anomalies. The authors of the 2013 update interpreted the cloud as weather-related and not volcanic in origin.

Figure 2 shows a photo of Agrigan taken in June 2013. No hotspots were detected during mid-2012 to mid-2013 by the MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Agrigan as seen on 15 June 2013. Photo credit to Yoshi Tamura; featured here thanks to cooperation of Robert Stern.

Agrigan, the highest-standing stratovolcano and largest (by subaerial volume) in the Northern Mariana Islands, stands 882 m a.s.l (figure 3). The island is ~10 by 6.5 km (N-S by E-W) in size, with a surface area of 52.7 km2. The volcano's subaerial volume is ~15.9 km3. The summit contains a large depression, roughly 1.5 by 1.2 km in diameter, and 380 m deep. A spatter cone and flows from the 1917 eruption cover ~50 percent of the crater floor. This large crater implies a local edifice with shallow magma storage within the volcano. The flanks of the volcano are steep (>30 degrees), with deep furrows extending radially away from the crater. To the north is a large canyon into which a recent, large 'a'&#257 flow advanced to form a delta on the coast. Pyroclastic flow deposits mantle most of the interior of the island. Rocks erupted on the island range from basalt to andesite. The southwest coast has several beaches composed of mineral sands; otherwise, the coast is rocky. (Trusdell, F.A. and others, 2009).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Geologic map of Agrigan with 200 m contour intervals (after Stern, 1978) and location map (after Trusdell and others, 2006).

References. Sako, M. K.; Trusdell, F. A.; Koyanagi, R. Y.; Kojima, George; Moore, R. B., 1995, Volcanic investigations in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, April to May 1994, USGS Open-File Report 94-705.

Stern, R.J., 1978, Agrigan: an introduction to the geology of an active volcano in the Northern Mariana Arc: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 41, p. 43-55.

Trusdell, F.A., Moore, R.B., and Sako, M.K., 2006. Preliminary Geologic Map of Mount Pagan Volcano, Pagan Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, USGS Open-File Report 2006-1386 (URL: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2006/1386/).

Trusdell, F.A. 2009, Geology of the Mariana Islands, in Gillespie, R.G., and Clague, D.A., eds., Encyclopedia of Islands: Enclyclopedias of the Natural World, 2, University of California Press, Chap. 18. P. 598-603.

Geologic Background. The highest of the Marianas arc volcanoes, Agrigan contains a 500-m-deep, flat-floored caldera. The elliptical island is 8 km long; its summit is the top of a massive 4000-m-high submarine volcano. Deep radial valleys dissect the flanks of the thickly vegetated stratovolcano. The elongated caldera is 1 x 2 km wide and is breached to the NW, from where a prominent lava flow extends to the coast and forms a lava delta. The caldera floor is surfaced by fresh-looking lava flows and also contains two cones that may have formed during the only historical eruption in 1917. This eruption deposited large blocks and 3 m of ash and lapilli on a village on the SE coast, prompting its evacuation.

Information Contacts: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (EMO-CNMI) and USGS Volcano Hazards Program, PO Box 100007, Saipan, MP 96950, USA (URL: http://www.cnmihsem.gov.mp/ and http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/nmi/activity/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), 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://httphotspot.higp); Robert J. Stern, University of Texas at Dallas, 800 W Campbell Rd Richardson, TX 75080; and Yoshi Tamura, Institute for Research on Earth Evolution (IFREE), Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan.


Ambae (Vanuatu) — May 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor activity likely continuing into early 2013

In our May 2011 Bulletin we reported that there was increased degassing at Aoba (also known as Ambae) starting December 2009 through at least April 2010. This report summarizes notices pereiodically posted by the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) and covers the time interval from 4 June 2011 through 26 February 2013. The Vanautu Volcano Alert Level (VVAL) remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-4.)

Observations on 4 June 2011 revealed that small explosions had been occurring from the crater lake and were accompanied by local ashfall around the crater. Some villagers in the N and W parts of the island had observed the explosions.

Based on analysis of data collected by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD), the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory reported that a small series of explosions from Aoba occurred on 10 July 2011. On July 11, VGO noted that there had been recent increases in activity from Ambae and that local earthquakes were volcanic. Satellite images collected by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument showed sulfur dioxide emissions. Photos showed that the volcano was quiet on 12 July 2011, although ongoing earthquakes were detected.

According to the VGO, Ambanga villagers reported that minor activity at Aoba began in December 2012. The OMI instrument detected strong gas emissions on 18 and 25 January 2013; the emissions continued at a lower level through 7 February. Field observations by the Geohazards team during 30 January-2 February 2013 confirmed that activity had significantly changed. Data retrieved from a monitoring station also confirmed ongoing activity. Satellite images acquired on 3 and 26 February 2013 detected substantial sulfur dioxide emissions.

No MODVOLC Thermal Alerts were issued in the previous year ending 16 July 2013.

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

Information Contacts: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/vmgd/); and 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/).


Ambrym (Vanuatu) — May 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

16.25°S, 168.12°E; summit elev. 1334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Roiling lava lake and related observations through mid-2013

In our previous Ambrym report, we described ongoing plumes, some bearing ash rising to over 6 km altitude through early June 2011 (BGVN 36:05). The volcano has been known to contain two molten, turbulent lava lakes since August 1999, and that continues at least through June 2011, which was the last time lava-lake activity was noted in a report by the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO). Our reporting observations drew heavily on government reports of 3 April 2009 and 29 July 2013. The former report also discussed water supply and other issues of public health and safety associated with inhabiting an active volcano. Vanuatu is located in the South Pacific NE of Australia (figures 24 and 25).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. A location map showing Ambrym volcano on Ambrym Island in the South Pacific. Australia is at lower left. On larger map, Ambrym is shown in Vanuatu labeled in red. Map came from Polacci and others (2012).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Map of Ambrym emphasizing risk. Green is low hazard, yellow is medium hazard, and red is high hazard for both areas near the crater and along main stream valleys and their lower, less confined areas at low elevation. Note the two craters, Marum and Benbow, both containing active lava lakes. Courtesy of the Government of Vanuatu (from the 3 April 2009 report by the Vanuatu Natural Disaster Committee).

Reynolds (2010) posted videos of lava lake behavior seen in September 2010. Figure 26 is a screenshot taken from the Reynolds' video of the turbulent lava lake with a climber in the foreground. The high definition videos showed an exceedingly agitated lake surface, everywhere disturbed and molten, without any chilled material in evidence. Violent upwellings of lava occurred continuously. Some fraction of the videos show climbers in the foreground, at one point descending a steep slope or vertical drop by a single rope secured from above (abseiling or rappelling).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. A screen capture from a video of Marum, one of Ambrym's two active lava lakes, taken on unstated day in September 2010. Courtesy of James Reynolds (typhoonfury.com and earthuncut.tv).

On 27 June 2011, the VGO reported that data collected from Ambrym's monitoring network showed significant daily degassing and occasional explosions in the crater. Field observers noted that the level of the lava lakes was high. During June, villages reported minor ashfall and that acid rain affected agriculture in general in some areas W, S, and E. The Alert Level remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-4).

During the previous 12 months prior to mid-July 2013, MODVOLC thermal alerts were frequent, on the order of several a week to multiple per day, as would be expected for a volcano with active lava lakes. The alerts referred to the lava lakes in Benbow and Marum craters (figure 25).

On 21 June 2013, VGO reported that satellite images on 2, 4, 11, 14, and 16 June detected gas emissions from Ambrym. Emissions of minor amounts of ash and substantial amounts of gas from the active vents had been detected during the previous week. The report warned that communities on the island, especially those downwind of Ambrym, may experience ashfall and acid rain that could damage the environment and contaminate water. The Alert Level remained at 1. Based on pilot observations and analyses of satellite imagery, the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that on 19 July 2013 an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3 km a.s.l. and drifted 185 km NW.

VGO reported that activity at Ambrym slightly increased to a minor eruptive phase, and a seismic swarm was detected between 2400 and 0700 on 26 July 2013. The Alert Level remained at 1.

Gas fluxes are generally high for Vanuatu volcanoes and have been the subject of regular reporting online and several recent reports in the literature (for example, Bani and others, 2009; Bani and others, 2012).

References. Bani, P., C. Oppenheimer, V.I. Tsanev, S.A. Carn, S.J. Cronin, R. Crimp, J.A. Calkins, D. Charley, M. Lardy, and T.R. Roberts, 2009, Surge in sulfur and halogen degassing from Ambrym volcano, Vanuatu, Bulletin of Volcanology, 71(10), 1159-1168, doi:10.1007/s00445-009-0293-7.

Bani, P., C. Oppenheimer, P. Allard, H. Shinohara, V. Tsanev, S. Carn, M. Lardy, and E. Garaebeti, 2012, First arc-scale volcanic SO2 budget for the Vanuatu archipelago, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 211-212, 36-46, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2011.10.005.

Polacci, M, Baker, D, La Rue, A., Mancini, L., Allard, P., 2012, Degassing behaviour of vesiculated basaltic magmas: an example from Ambrym volcano, Vanuatu Arc, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Vol. 233-234, 1 July 2012, pp. 55-64.

Reynolds, J., 2010, (Video) Abseiling towards a lava lake--extreme video From Marum volcano, Ambrym, Vanuatu (September 2010) YouTube (URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtGT-_7Xoal) [also available at typhoonfury.com and earthuncut.tv].

Geologic Background. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic, then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the caldera floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

Information Contacts: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory, Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources of Vanuatu (URL: http://geohazards.gov.vu/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http//hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) (URL: http://vaac.metservice.com/); and NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Home Page, Goddard Space Flight Center, Sciences and Exploration Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, Code 614 (URL: http://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/, http://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/pix/daily/0813/vanuatu_0813z.html).


Dallol (Ethiopia) — May 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Dallol

Ethiopia

14.242°N, 40.3°E; summit elev. -48 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic eruption in 1st week of January 2011

The Dallol volcano has not been the subject of any previous Bulletin reports; however, the hydrothermal features include diverse brightly colored hot springs that are both dramatic and intriguing. An explosive event at Dallol was noted by observers in January 2011. This report was given to us by Tadiwos Chernet.

Dallol is located in the Danakil Depression in the northern part of the Afar triangle of Ethiopia. The volcano is on the NNW trending Erta Ale axial, a rift segment that hosts a number of active volcanoes, including Erta Ale, itself the host of a perennial lava lake. The elliptical Dallol (figure 1), which rises gently to 60 m above the salt plain (48 m below sea level), has a summit crater (about 100 m diameter) that experienced a phreatic eruption in 1926.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Dallol with salt pools and deposits in the foreground. Photograher uncertain but this photo was apparently online since 2011. Bulletin editors found it on multiple websites including Vieweird.com.

Nearby residents of Almeda observed unusual dark colored smoke from the Dallol crater in the first week of January 2011. The event, which was not strong enough to be recorded by satellite remote sensing, left dark-gray ash and sulfur deposits at Dallol hot springs, suggesting degassing from depth. This process was not unexpected given that the region contains many craters, and the Dallol crater, formed in 1926, was the result of a phreatic eruption. Previous phreatic eruptions at Dallol and the surrounding salt plain have left behind bubbling acid brine pools best explained by a number of active maar craters. Those craters are obscured by the thick evaporite succession and frequent marine invasions of the salt plain during the Holocene.

Evaporites and Geothermal reservoir. According to Chernet, an adjacent salt-crusted depression that lies 120 m below sea level was linked to the Gulf of Zula on the Red Sea in the Pleistocene by the narrow extensional Alid graben to the N. The Alid graben is floored by fissure basalts and the active Alid and Jallua rhyolitic volcanoes. An evaporite succession in the sedimentary basin is mostly bedded halite, but includes minor inter-beds of clay shale, gypsum, anhydrite, and a thick bed of potash. Citing Barberi et al. (1972), Chernet indicated that the deposits, over 1,000 m thick, have continued for 200,000-25,000 years and attest to a number of marine ingressions into the depression which have left behind a number of brine lakes.

At Dallol, a salt dome rises as a notable topographic and geologic feature (figure 1). On the salt dome, several springs with boiling, supersaturated, and extremely acidic waters are discharging on salt cones.

Citing Varet (2010), Chernet stated that geothermal reservoirs, which reside below the evaporite succession, evidently recharge from precipitation on the NW plateau. This suggests the potential for a renewable geothermal energy supply in the area.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. (a & b) Two, 3-dimensional representations of the Dallol dome and the subsurface spring sources venting at the surface to feed surface evaporites. Courtesy of Research and Development Center, (Ministry of Mines, P.O. Box 486, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia). Courtesy of Carniel and others (2010), citing a personal communications from M. Rivas (2006).

The salt cones are tall, brilliantly colored mounds of salt with intervening pools of yellow, orange and blue-green brine. These colors may result from oxidation state of species in solution, such as ferrous chloride to ferric chloride.

Dallol waters are characterized by very high total dissolved solids (up to 525 g/kg). The waters can be grouped into three chemical suites, all of which contain high levels of chloride. Two representative water samples were collected and analyzed. One of the samples was from a hot springs with a 110C temperature that solidified shortly after collection, indicating salt supersaturation. An X-ray diffraction pattern of the solidified product showed the presence of bishofite (MgCl2*6H2O). The other was a brine water of pH 0.2. The chemical composition of the samples was that of concentrated sea water.

According to Chernet, X-ray diffraction of samples from hydrothermal deposits within the crater shows that the major constitutents of most samples are halite, sulfur, calcite,. sodalite, and hematite, with minor levels of silica. Metallic oxides and potassium and/or fluorine impurities have given the sites a brown, yellow, or bluish color.

Chernet noted that frequent earthquakes of magnitude 4.5-5.5 occur in the vicinity of Dallol, as reflected by cracks healed with later salt deposits and a number of phreatic eruptions.

References. Barberi, F., Borsi, S., Ferrara, G., Marinelli, G.; Santacroce, R.; Tazieff, H., Varet, J., 1972, Evolution of the Danakil depression (Afar, Ethiopia) in light of radiometric age determinations, The Journal of Geology, v. 80, iss. 6, p. 720-729.

Carniel, R., Muñoz Jolis, E., Jones, J., 2010, A geophysical multi-parametric analysis of hydrothermal activity at Dallol, Ethiopia, Journal of African Earth Sciences, vol. 58, p. 812-819. (Article cited personal communications from M. Rivas, 2006).

Chernet, T., Dallol Volcano and Danakil Depression: Earth Resources and Geo-hazards, 2012, Magmatic Rifting and Active Volcanism Conference, 11-13 January 2012, (Session 3), Afar Rift Consortium, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (http://www.see.leeds.ac.uk/afar/new-afar/conference/talks.html).

Darraha, T.H., Tedesco, D., Tassid, F., Vasellid, O., Cuocob, E., Poredaf, RJ, 2013, Gas chemistry of the Dallol region of the Danakil Depression in the Afar region of the northern-most East African Rift, Chemical Geology, vol. 339, p. 16-29.

Nobile, A., C. Pagli, Keir, D., Wright, T. J., Ayele, A., Ruch, J., and Acocella, V., 2012, Dike-fault interaction during the 2004 Dallol intrusion at the northern edge of the Erta Ale Ridge (Afar, Ethiopia), Geophys. Res. Lett., v. 39, L19305.

Varet, J., 2010, Contribution to Favorable Geothermal Site Selection In the Afar Triangle, ARGEO-C3, Third East African Rift Geothermal Conference, Djibouti, 22-25 November 2010, p. 139-154.

Geologic Background. Numerous phreatic explosion craters dot the Salt Plain NNE of the Erta Ale Range in one of the lowest areas of the desolate Danakil depression. These craters mark Earth's lowest known subaerial volcanic vents. The most recent of these craters, Dallol, lies 48 m below sea level and was formed during an eruption in 1926. Colorful hot brine springs are found in the Dallol area. Another phreatic explosion was observed in January 2011.

Information Contacts: Tadiwos Chernet, Research and Development Directorate, Ministry of Mines, P.O.Box 486, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Fuego (Guatemala) — May 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous activity and a VEI 3 eruption during 13-14 September 2012

In this report we highlight Fuego's ongoing eruptive activity during January 2011-March 2013. Elevated activity occurred during May-September 2012 and included regular thermal, gas, and ash emissions with occasional lava fountaining and pyroclastic flows. Activity peaked during 13-14 September 2012 with a VEI 3 (Volcanic Explosivity Index; where 3 is considered moderate (Newhall and Self, 1982)) summit eruption and SW-directed pyroclastic flow.

During this reporting period, continuous monitoring efforts by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH) included seismic monitoring, regular ground-based observations, and field visits. The Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) regularly included monitoring data from INSIVUMEH with satellite remote sensing emissions announcements. We also summarize a recent international collaboration between INSIVUMEH and the International Volcano Monitoring Fund (IVM-Fund) during 2010-2013.

Local observers reported ashfall, shockwaves, and lahars. According to INSIVUMEH, during 2011-2013, ashfall and explosive sounds were frequently reported by communities located within the W sector and up to 8 km of Fuego's summit. Lahars occurred on the S-sector flank in the Taniluyá, Ceniza, Santa Teresa, Las Lajas, and Trinidad drainages (figure 16). Those drainages were also hazardous due to channelization of pyroclastic flows, block avalanches, and lava flows (figure 17); significant events occurred in mid-to-late 2012 and February 2013 (described later in this report). On the SE flank, Las Lajas was frequently affected by pyroclastic flows, and the drainages Taniluyá and Ceniza (SW flank) occasionally contained active lava flows and block avalanches.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. This location map includes villages (numbered), observation sites in Panimaché I (FO-1) and Sangre de Cristo (FO-2), and primary drainages located within 15 km of Fuego's summit vent (red star). Elevation contours are shown for 100 m intervals. Pyroclastic flow deposits from 13 September 2012 are shown as dark gray areas within Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, and Las Lajas drainages. Courtesy of Rüdiger Escobar-Wolf (Michigan Technological University).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. This annotated photograph is centered on Fuego's SW flank, the location of the Ceniza drainage, which channeled the major pyroclastic flow of 13 September 2012. The yellow dotted line marks the centerline of the pyroclastic flow; the orange lines enclose the region burned and scoured by ash cloud surges. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Thermal anomaly detection during 2011-2013. Hotspots from the summit region were detected by satellite remote sensing instruments including MODIS (onboard the Terra and Aqua satellites), Landsat 7, and EO-1 Advanced Land Imaging (ALI) throughout this reporting period.

The MODVOLC thermal alert system recorded ~90 significant anomalies between 1 January 2011 and 1 January 2012, ~375 between 1 January 2012 and 1 January 2013 when explosive activity escalated, and ~255 between 1 January 2013 and 31 March 2013 when lava flows were active near the summit region (figure 18). Thermal anomalies were detected by satellite images at least once per month from January 2011 through March 2013 except for July 2011, suggesting poor weather may have inhibited satellite observations that month (note that heaviest rainfall typically occurs during June-October (The World Bank, 2013)). During July 2011, ground-based observations of nighttime incandescence were noted in INSIVUMEH's Report # 1863; other reports that month highlighted the effects of heavy rain from tropical storms and Hurricane Calvin.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. During 1 January 2011-31 March 2013, the MODVOLC system frequently detected elevated temperatures in the area of Fuego's summit. This series of images includes hotspots detected during three time periods: 2011, 2012, and 1 January-31 March 2013. Courtesy of the Hawai`i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

MODVOLC continued to detect hotspots during late April 2013 totaling 22 pixels during 21-28 April. Thermal anomalies became rare during May and June 2013; one pixel was detected on three different days.

Regular images captured by ALI and Landsat 7 detected variable incandescence from Fuego's summit during 2011-2013 (figure 19). During 2011, hotspots were mainly located at Fuego's summit; however, during March and December, distinctively elongate, incandescent lava flows extended from the summit to the SW (figure 19A and 19B).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Satellite images from 2011-2013 detected incandescence from Fuego's summit area. (A) This ALI image from 3 February 2011 showed a small region of incandescence isolated at the summit. (B) A Landsat 7 image from 7 November 2011 revealed a ~300 m incandescent flow originating from the summit and extending down the SW flank. (C) This Landsat 7 image from 4 September 2012 (nine days before the VEI 3 eruption began) captures intense incandescence that extends in three directions from the summit; some image distortion is present from cloudcover and artifact stripes (on the left-hand side). Distinctive yellow regions indicate lava reaching at least 500 m SE and SW. (D) This ALI image from 20 March 2013 captures a lava flow extending ~1,500 m SW from the summit crater within the upper region of the Ceniza drainage; some cloudcover blocks the middle region of the lava flow, but the red glow is visible and especially bright at the termination point SW of the clouds. Image processing by Rüdiger Escobar-Wolf (Michigan Technological University); courtesy of NASA/USGS.

Summit incandescence extending SW, SE, and in the immediate summit area was visible during 2012; some of the strongest incandescence extended at least 1 km from the summit to the SW during November-December. Incandescent flows directed SE appeared in April, June, and September. On 4 September 2012, three narrow flows were visible from the summit extending ≥ 500 m from the summit within the S sector; despite significant cloudcover that day and image artifacts, the lava flows were well-defined (figure 19C).

Satellite images from December 2012 through January 2013 included a long lava flow that persisted in the SW drainage (Ceniza), although cloudcover frequently obscured the full view of Fuego's SW quadrant. That incandescent lava flow remained visible in satellite images until late February 2013. Incandescence was isolated at the summit in early March, but on 20 March incandescence re-appeared within the Ceniza drainage and extended ~2,000 m SW of the summit (figure 19D).

Effusive activity during 2011-2013. The style of eruptive activity at Fuego changed near the end of 2010 when lava effusion events started to occur more frequently than explosive eruptions (figure 20). "At a very general level, the more Strombolian eruptions happen typically during lava effusion times and are much smaller than the more Vulcanian eruptions," commented Rüdiger Escobar-Wolf (Michigan Technological University) with respect to Fuego's more than 12 year-long eruption. Continuous unrest (background-level explosions and effusion) was frequently punctuated by short periods of elevated activity during the preceding six years and, during 2012 and 2013, this activity was interrupted by several significant episodes: in 2012, 25-26 May; 10-11 June; 3-4 and 13-14 September; and in 2013, 17-18 February; 3-4 and 19-20 March (figure 19D).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Fuego time series from late 1999 to early 2013 with color codes indicating eruption style (Escobar-Wolf, 2013). Beginning in 1999, the eruption mainly consisted of periods of explosive events (color coded as green) and lava effusion (coded as gray); this constant unrest is considered background activity that has been occasionally interrupted with significant episodes (red lines). This timeline was created and provided by Rüdiger Escobar-Wolf, Michigan Technological University.

The Washington VAAC released an increasing number of notices for the aviation community about volcanic ash throughout 2011- March 2013 (table 8). During 2011, these announcements rarely contained calculated plume altitudes due to poor viewing conditions with satellite remote sensing. Data from INSIVUMEH supplemented these reports with direct observations from Fuego Volcano Observatory, located in Panimaché, 8 km SW of Fuego. On 1 January, 8 January, 23 October, and 24 December 2011, reported plume altitudes were less than 5.2 km a.s.l. and had drift speeds in the range of 2.5-10 m/s, drifting S and SW of Fuego's peak.

Table 8. The Washington VAAC released regular advisories due to emissions from Fuego during 2011-March 2013. Date, time, altitude, drift direction, and reporting sources are included as well as comments that described additional eruption characteristics such as thermal anomalies and weather conditions that may have affected observations. Drift velocities and plume width were also calculated when viewing conditions were optimal. INSIVUMEH was a frequent contributor to these reports; other reporting sources included the satellite GOES-2 (NOAA geostationary weather satellite), MWO (local Meteorological Watch Office), Guatemala City's (MGGT) meteorological reports (METAR), and the global numerical weather prediction models GFS and NAM. Courtesy of Washington VAAC.

Date - Time (UTC) Altitude (km) Drift Direction VAAC Sources Comments
01 Jan 2011 - 1515 5.2 9 km wide line; W 10 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. Several small emissions.
08 Jan 2011 - 1015 5.2 18.5 km wide plume; SW 2.6-5 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. Multiple exhalations since 08/0600 UTC; these explosions have been seen in satellite before dissipating.
13 Feb 2011 - 0504 -- -- GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH reported increased activity within the summit area; low height emissions of volcanic ash moving W; hot spot was also detected in short wave infrared imagery.
14 Feb 2011 - 0427 -- -- GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH continued to report low levels of volcanic ash near the summit.
15 Feb 2011 - 0427 -- -- GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. Only steam reported.
23 Oct 2011 - 1327 -- -- GOES-13. Information received about a possible volcanic ash eruption.
23 Oct 2011 - 1245 4.3 W 2.6-5 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. Confidence in height of volcanic ash is medium-high based on movement and density of ash in models and satellite imagery.
22 Nov 2011 - 1530 -- -- GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. Ash observed at 1530 UTC.
22 Nov 2011 - 1745 -- -- Tegucigalpa MWO. GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH observed thin plume of possible ash moving SW at 5 m/s at 1530 UTC. This weak plume was observed in satellite imagery at 1415 UTC but had dissipated by 1545 UTC.
02 Dec 2011 - 1845 -- -- Tegucigalpa MWO. GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH reported emission of gases near the summit and light ash that was too small to see in clear satellite imagery. Ash was reported to 305 m above the summit and dispersing SW around 18.5 km.
06 Dec 2011 - 1845 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH reported volcanic ash cloud to 3 km observed at 1600 UTC. No ash was observed in satellite imagery.
24 Dec 2011 - 1904 -- -- GOES-13. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. Small narrow plume of unknown content began around 1645 UTC; VAAC received information suggesting a possible ash eruption.
24 Dec 2011 - 1845 4 5.6 km wide line; S 2.5 m/s GOES-13. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. Small plume of gases with possible ash extended 9 km; small puff seen in visible imagery started around 1645 UTC and drifted S 2.5 m/s; estimated height 4 km a.s.l. with wind forecast uncertain. Plume was projected to dissipate within 6 hours.
25 Dec 2011 - 0015 -- -- GOES-13. A possible eruption at 1845 UTC; ash not identifiable in satellite imagery; there were no reports of ash.
03 Jan 2012 - 2041 -- -- GOES-13. Possible volcanic ash detected in visible imagery at 2015 UTC moving SE.
03 Jan 2012 - 2045 5 3.7 km wide line; S 2.6 - 5 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Small puff seen in visible imagery at 5 km a.s.l. moving SE 3.5 m/s. At 2045 UTC the leading edge was 12 km SE of summit and dispersing. Plume was projected to dissipate within 6 hours.
16 Jan 2012 - 1724 -- -- INSIVUMEH. The VAAC received information suggesting a possible volcanic ash emission.
16 Jan 2012 - 1740 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH reported ash to 4.3 km; no ash seen in imagery through 1715 UTC with clear skies.
18 Jan 2012 - 1215 6.7 W at 5-7.5 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. Visible and multi-spectral imagery showed a single puff of gas and ash moving W from the summit; ash was projected to dissipate within a few hours as it continued W. A hotspot was detected.
01 Feb 2012 - 1645 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH reported ash to ~5 km at 01/1600 UTC; ash not observed in satellite imagery even with sparse clouds.
01 Apr 2012 - 1315 5 9.3 km wide line; SW 2.6-5 m/s  GOES-13. GFS WINDS. NAM WINDS. Plume extended 13 km WSW from the summit; well-defined hotspot seen in imagery; forecast confidence was low based on latest GFS and NAM.
19 May 2012 - 0915 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Ash was not seen in satellite imagery due to darkness; hotspot was visible; INSIVUMEH reported volcanic ash up to 5.5 km a.s.l. to 40 km SW of the summit.
19 May 2012 - 1515 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. INSIVUMEH Photos. Ash was not seen in satellite imagery due to cloudcover; a strong hotspot was visible in satellite multispectral imagery; seismicity was high.
19 May 2012 - 2045 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. METAR.
INSIVUMEH.
Volcanic ash was not detected in satellite imagery due to extensive cloud cover; INSIVUMEH indicated pyroclastic flows likely and ashfalls have been observed.
20 May 2012 - 0245 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. Ash was not observed in satellite imagery due to cloudcover; hotspot had decreased in intensity and late afternoon bulletin indicated decreased energy.
20 May 2012 - 1415 -- -- GOES-13. NAM WINDS. INSIVUMEH. No ash was observed in imagery although there were thick clouds in the area; INSIVUMEH reported ash emissions up to 3,000 m above the summit moving SW.
20 May 2012 - 1945 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. No ash was seen in imagery due to cloudcover; seismic signal has almost gone to background but with very occasional bursts that may contain volcanic ash.
21 May 2012 - 0045 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. No volcanic ash detected due to cloudcover; INSIVUMEH's evening report only mentioned occasional emission of ash to 4 km a.s.l. or just above the crater drifting SW and dispersed within 9.3 km; seismic activity was back to normal with only occasional small bursts.
25 May 2012 - 1542 -- --; GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. Eruption of lava began around 1300 UTC; some volcanic ash was possible.
25 May 2012 - 1615 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. METAR. Pilot Report. INSIVUMEH. No plume was seen in satellite imagery due to partly cloudy conditions; pilot report of ash to 7 km a.s.l. moving SW; lava flows generated volcanic ash and gas; no explosive eruption seen in the seismic records; ash was forecasted to moving SW; a strong hotspot was visible in satellite imagery.
26 May 2012 - 0415 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. Volcanic ash was not detected in satellite imagery due to extensive cloudcover; INSIVUMEH indicated constant pyroclastic flows and reports of ashfall.
26 May 2012 - 1015 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. SEISMIC
DETECTION.
Volcanic ash was not seen due to darkness and weather conditions; strong hot spot was visible in satellite imagery and seismic activity remained elevated.
26 May 2012 - 1615 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. Ash was not seen in imagery due to cloud cover; INSIVUMEH indicated that ash and gas emissions continued.
26 May 2012 - 2215 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. Ash was not seen in satellite imagery due to cloudcover; INSIVUMEH reported decreasing seismicity; a hot spot persisted in multispectral imagery.
27 May 2012 - 0415 -- -- GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH indicated ongoing lava flows; decreasing seismic activity and no mention of ashfall in the most recent report.
05 Jun 2012 - 1732 -- -- GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH reported increasing activity and suggested that an explosive eruption with little or no warning was possible; hot spot was seen in satellite imagery but no volcanic ash due to cloud cover.
06 Jun 2012 - 1729 -- -- GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH reported intermittent explosions expelling ash and gas up to ~600 m above the summit; they warned that an explosive eruption with little or no warning was possible.
07 Jun 2012 - 1715 -- -- GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH reported activity that was limited to within 11 km of the summit; no ash was visible in satellite imagery due to partly cloudy conditions.
11 Jun 2012 - 0945 -- -- Tegucigalpa MWO. GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. No ash seen in satellite imagery due to nighttime darkness; hotspots see for last few hours. INSIVUMEH reported ash to 5 km.
11 Jun 2012 - 1545 -- -- GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. No ash was seen in imagery although there was some cloudcover; there was a strong hotspot occasionally seen in shortwave imagery; INSIVUMEH reported continuous ash emissions up to 15 km to the W and WNW of volcano.
21 Jun 2012 - 1552 -- -- Tegucigalpa MWO. GOES-13.
GEOPHYSICAL INST. EMAILED PHOTOS.
No ash detected due to cloudcover; INSIVUMEH reported ash moving E from rockfalls and aided by heat of lava flows; bit hotspots were visible through clouds.
21 Jun 2012 - 2138 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. No ash detected in visible satellite imagery due to cloudcover; hotspot seen in infrared imagery.
22 Jun 2012 - 0340 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. No ash seen in visible or multispectral satellite imagery due to night time darkness and cloudcover; hotspot observed prior to clouds moving in 22/0015 UTC.
03 Sep 2012 - 1415 4.3/5.2 5.6 km wide line; SW 5-7.5 m/s
7.4 km wide line; W 2.6-5 m/s
GOES-13. GFS WINDS. Ash plume height confidence is medium, the estimation is based on models and history of volcanic activity; a well-defined hotspot was seen overnight.
03 Sept 2012 - 2015 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. Due to clouds, no good detection of ash but before the clouds arrived, faint ash was seen W-SW as far as 27.7 km; strong hotspots due to lava flows and rockfalls.
04 Sep 2012 - 0145 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. No ash detected due to clouds and darkness; multiple hotspots were seen due to rockfalls and lava flows; some ashfall was reported SW of the summit up to 13 km.
04 Sep 2012 - 0445 4.5 W 2.6-5 m/s GOES-12. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. A plume was visible in multispectral imagery extending about ~145 km W of the summit.
04 Sep 2012 - 1015 4.5 W 2.6-5 m/s GOES-13. A continuous emission of ash was visible in multispectral imagery extending ~145 km W of volcano; large hotspot was detected by shortwave imagery.
04 Sep 2012 - 1615 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Ash was not seen due to weather conditions; strong hotspot remains in thermal imagery and INSIVUMEH reported elevated seismic activity.
04 Sep 2012 - 2145 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. No ash or hotspots detected due to thick clouds; INSIVUMEH reported continued lava flows and rockfalls that generated ash to ~4.5 km a.s.l. moving SW; ashfall was reported up to 15 m SW and W of the summit.
05 Sep 2012 - 1545 -- -- GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. Ash not seen in the satellite imagery due to partly cloudy skies; a faint hotspot was visible in the morning; INSIVUMEH confirmed that no ash emissions were detected.
13 Sep 2012 - 1115 5 W 7.5 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Faint plume was detected with multispectral imagery that extended ~111 km W; INSIVUMEH reported ash up to 1,000 m above the summit and moving W and SW.
13 Sep 2012 - 1602 4.5 /6.7 SW 7.5 m/s / SW 7.5-10 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH reported new emission to 3,000 m above the summit W and SW of the summit. 13/1602 UTC image showed a dense ash plume spreading W and SW. Imagery through 13/1632 UTC showed dense volcanic ash emissions continuing.
13 Sep 2012 - 2045 7.3 W 10-13 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. METAR.
INSIVUMEH.
Ash plume was 148 km wide and extended 226 km W of summit; ash was reported at MGGT METAR station.
14 Sep 2012 - 0045 7.3 W 10-13 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. METAR.
INSIVUMEH.
Ash plume was 111 km wide and extended 417 W of the summit; ash closest to summit was obscured by cloudcover and was likely rained out; METAR from MGGT continued to report ash.
14 Sep 2012 - 0710 4.3 /7.3 W 5 m/s / W 5 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. A bright hotspot persisted with a small plume in multispectral imagery extending 36 km to the W of the summit; latest report indicated current activity was more intermittent and lower in height; larger area to 7.3 km a.s.l. continued to dissipate about 648 km to W of summit moving W.
14 Sep 2012 - 1245 4 /7.3 W 7.5-10 m/s / W 10-13 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. METAR.
INSIVUMEH.
Multispectral imagery showed dissipating ash to 7.3 km a.s.l. between 370 km and 926 km W moving W; in addition, continuous attached plume to 4 km a.s.l. was seen moving SW; local surface observations reported 4 km a.s.l.
14 Sep 2012 - 1845 6 W 10 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. A dissipating area of ash, about ~1,000 km W of the summit, was detected in multispectral imagery; no ash was seen near the summit at 1845 UTC; INSIVUMEH reported ash emissions within 15 km of the summit.
15 Sep 2012 - 0045 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. No ash was detected in satellite imagery; the previous plume located S of Mexico had dispersed around 14/2200 UTC. INSIVUMEH reported weaker seismic activity with rockfalls generating ash plumes to 4 km a.s.l. and 15 km W-SW of the summit; a strong hotspot was visible.
29 Sep 2012 - 1245 -- -- GFS WINDS. GOES-14. INSIVUMEH. In the morning, satellite imagery detected discreet puffs of ash moving W and WSW from the summit; INSIVUMEH reported ash 500 m to 900 m above the summit with fine ashfall.
17 Feb 2013 - 0544 -- -- GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH reports incredible outpouring of lava from the crater which is confirmed by brilliant hot spot in satellite imagery; INSIVUMEH reported no ash plume at the moment, but emissions are possible over the next few hours up to 10 km to the S and SW of the summit.
17 Feb 2013 - 1315 5 W 2.6-5 m/s Tegucigalpa MWO. GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. In the morning, visible imagery showed a plume of ash extending 18.5 km to the W of the volcano; INSIVUMEH reported ash to 4.8 km a.s.l.
17 Feb 2013 - 1445 5 W Tegucigalpa MWO. GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Imagery showed ash moving W-SW and S from the volcano; at 17/1445 UTC ash extended 18.5 km SW and 5.6 km S of the volcano.
17 Feb 2013 - 2015 5.2 0-5 m/s Tegucigalpa MWO. GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Ongoing emissions of lava with gas and light ash; in imagery the ash is mixed with clouds and, due to light winds spreading N-W-SW from the summit ~13 km; this is mainly a lava event but some light ashfall was being reported in cities on the slopes of the volcano.
18 Feb 2013 - 0815 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Ongoing lava emission with gases and light ash; no ash detected due to large thunderstorm that developed SW of summit and regional cloudcover. INSIVUMEH reported in the afternoon that less energetic lava, gas, and ash events were occurring.
03 Mar 2013 - 2345 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Lava emission with occasional light ash due to rockfalls and small venting; hotspot due to lava but no ash was visible in satellite imagery; plume drifted up to 9 km according to INSIVUMEH; wind forecast was light and variable, so the plume was expected to remain close to the summit region.
04 Mar 2013 - 0334 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. An INSIVUMEH special report indicated that a new stage of emissions began and possible ash fall was likely around 18.5 km from the summit. Ash was not seen in multispectral satellite imagery; a very large hotspot was observed with infrared.
04 Mar 2013 - 0845 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. Ash was not seen in overnight satellite imagery; very large and bright hotspot was detected with infrared sensors; emissions of gas and ash were likely.
04 Mar 2013 - 1315 4.3 moving NE 5-7.5 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Ongoing emissions; satellite imagery showed a faint ash plume 13 km wide and extending 42.5 km NE of the summit; a very bright hot spot was detected with infrared sensors.
04 Mar 2013 - 1915 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Ongoing emissions; ash was too light to be seen in visible satellite imagery although reports indicate that ash was present; a strong hot spot persisted.
05 Mar 2013 - 0115 -- -- Tegucigalpa MWO. GOES-13. Ongoing activity; Tegucigalpa MWO canceled Sigmet for the event; a well-defined hotspot was visible in multi-spectral imagery; no ash was present in the last visible images of the day.
18 Mar 2013 - 1345 4.3 moving SW 2.6-5 m/s Tegucigalpa MWO. GOES-13. GFS WINDS. Very light volcanic ash emissions; MWO indicated ash moving SW; the ash had a SSW component in satellite imagery and was very light in nature.
18 Mar 2013 - 1945 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Emissions of gas and occasional light ash were near the summit; no ash was detected or reported in cloudy conditions; INSIVUMEH reported near-summit emissions of gas and occasional, very light ash below 4.3 km a.s.l. and within 9 km of the summit.
19 Mar 2013 - 2232 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. INSIVUMEH reported ash to 5 km a.s.l. at 19/2045 UTC moving SE at 5 m/s; ash not visible in imagery; special observatory report indicated elevated activity with the volcano; a persistent hotspot was present since 1915 UTC and had become increasingly bright in the past hour.
20 Mar 2013 - 0415 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. Ash plume was not identifiable in multispectral satellite imagery; a bright hotspot was detected with infrared sensors; occasional bursts of seismic activity were reported; SIGMET reports ash to 5 km a.s.l. moving SE at 5 m/s.
20 Mar 2013 - 1015 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. Near summit emissions of gases and occasional light volcanic ash; although brilliant hot spot was readily apparent in satellite imagery, no ash was detected under partly cloudy conditions.
21 Mar 2013 - 1332 5.5 E 7.5 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. Intermittent emissions; ash emissions and a persistent hotspot were observed in satellite imagery in clear skies; several discreet puffs were noted; ash plume extends ~32 km to the ESE of the volcano.
28 Mar 2013 - 1315 4.6 W 2.6 - 5 m/s GOES-13. INSIVUMEH. ECMWF HIRES WINDS. Continuous emissions; a series of emissions has resulted in an ash plume extending up to 18.5 km to the WSW of the summit.
30 Mar 2013 - 1415 5 S 8 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH SEISMIC DETECTION. INSIVUMEH reported degassing with occasional bursts of ash at 1240 UTC, 1330 UTC, and 1415 UTC; multibursts of gas and ash seen moving to S and SE from the summit extending 55.5 km from the summit and dispersing; light ashfall was reported within 18.5 km of the summit.
30 Mar 2013 - 1945; 5 S 2.6-5 m/s GOES-13. GFS WINDS. Ongoing emissions; satellite imagery showed a 20 km wide plume of light ash extending 13 km S of the summit; ash was expected to disperse within 6 hours.
31 Mar 2013 - 1345 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Ongoing emissions; ash not seen in satellite imagery under clear skies; however, sun may be preventing light ash from being observed; ash had been reported in the village of Panimaché.
31 Mar 2013 - 1945 -- -- GOES-13. GFS WINDS. INSIVUMEH. Continuous gas emissions with occasional short bursts of light ash; INSIVUMEH reported continued gas emissions with short bursts of light ash moving S; ashfall was reported within 9.3 km of the summit; ash not seen in satellite imagery due to cloud cover around the summit.

During 2011, INSIVUMEH reported that Fuego's activity included small-scale explosions and effusive lava flows. Lava flow activity was reported mainly during late March, late April, June, and early July. The longest lava flows traveled SW within the Ceniza and Santa Teresa drainages. Maximum flow lengths were in the range of 100-200 m and were frequently incandescent at night during spalling events.

Escalating summit activity during 2012. In early 2012, three VAAC advisories included plume altitudes as high as 6.7 km a.s.l. and drift directions up to 7.5 m/s S, SW, and W (table 8). INSIVUMEH reported that during the first week of January 2012, the Alert Level was raised to Yellow due to elevated activity; incandescent explosions were observed during 18-19 and 23 January. Lava flows and intermittent incandescent spatter continued from the summit throughout the rest of this reporting period (2011-March 2013).

The Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED) announced Alert Level Orange (third highest on a four-color scale) and evacuations from El Porvenir in Alotenango (9 km ENE) on 19 May due to escalating activity (figure 21). Energetic Strombolian eruptions occurred during 19-20 and 25-27 May. Pyroclastic flows during 25-26 May were directed E and SE (impacting the Las Lajas and El Jute drainages), unlike previous events that concentrated flows within the W sector. Significant populations, resorts, and infrastructure such as the RN-14 road are located along the Las Lajas and El Jute drainages.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. A plot of the daily average RSAM (Real-time Seismic-Amplitude Measurement) from Fuego's seismic station FG3 during January through September 2012. Notable peaks include eruptions during 19-20, 26-27 May and 11 June; the effusive eruption of 1 July; the 3 September eruption, lahars, and lava flows; and the 13 September eruption. During this time period, seismicity was dominated by long-period (LP) earthquakes generated by processes such as explosions, fluid movement, lava flows, and block avalanches. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

During May-June, there were ~20 VAAC advisories that highlighted INSIVUMEH observations and the possibility of ash plumes; satellite observations and calculations of plume altitudes, however, were not available (table 8). INSIVUMEH reported lava flows throughout May-August (extending up to 1.7 km from the summit and as wide as 25 m) and pyroclastic flows occurred during May.

Increased explosivity at Fuego during September 2012. During the first week of September 2012, the Washington VAAC issued advisories describing ash plumes up to 5.2 km a.s.l. (table 8). A large event, on 3 September, generated two ash plumes dispersing SW and W, the former was ~5.5 km wide, and the latter was ~7.5 km wide. Ash plumes and hot spots continued to be visible within satellite images through 4 September (figure 19C) with INSIVUMEH reporting a lack of ash clouds on 5 September, followed by a break in reports until the major eruption on 13 September.

Beginning at 0400 on 13 September, a significant eruption occurred which led to evacuations from local communities within a 10-km radius (figures 22 and 23). At 0715, a vertical plume erupted from the summit. Large pyroclastic flows were generated between 0900 and 1000 local time which became channelized within two drainages. Within the Las Lajas drainage (on the SE flank), flows reached as far as 2 km from the summit; within the Ceniza drainage (SSW flank), they traveled as far as 7.7 km, stopping just 3 km short of Panimaché. On 14 September, the Washington VAAC reported ash plumes up to 7.3 km a.s.l. that drifted W at ~10 m/s (table 8).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. On 13 September 2012, a large plume of ash erupted from Fuego and pyroclastic flows descended the flanks. Between 0900 and 1000 local time, a lateral cloud and a tall plume expanded from the summit. The sharp peak to the right of Fuego is Agua volcano. This photo was taken from a viewpoint near the base of Pacaya volcano, ~30 km S of Guatemala City. Photo courtesy of Kent Caldwell.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Comparison views of Fuego made from the city of Antigua (~18 km from Fuego) looking SW. (Top) This view from the center of Antigua, was taken on 21 March 2008 at 0915 when volcanic unrest was dominated by intermittent, impulsive eruptions which generated short gas-and-ash plumes (see figure 20 for the timeline of explosive vs. effusive activity). Photo courtesy of Kyle Brill (Michigan Technological University). (Bottom) This photo taken at ~0900 on 13 September 2012 captures a view SW of the ongoing explosive eruption that continued through 14 September. Photo courtesy of Luis Echeverria (Xinhua Press/Corbis).

In a special report by INSIVUMEH, the 13-14 September 2013 eruption was described as the largest explosive event within the last 13 years; they assigned the event VEI 3 (Volcanic Explosivity Index) based on the volume of pyroclastic material. This was the first eruption since 1974 that directly impacted the S and SW zones of Fuego, areas within 5-7 km of the summit that contained numerous small villages (figure 24). Approximately 10,600 people were evacuated from Panimaché I, Panimaché II, Sangre de Cristo, Morelia, and El Porvenir (figure 16) to the town of Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa (18 km SW). INSIVUMEH estimated that ~5 mm of ashfall accumulated in those regions closest to the channelized pyroclastic flows. Ashfall damaged coffee and other agricultural crops in the region and congested the air, decreasing visibility in many communities within 10 km of the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Two hybrid graphics each merging a regional map and MODIS image centered on Fuego (at the red pushpin icon). (A) Results captured at 1030 local time showing a plume generated by the eruption covered approximately ~900 km2. (B) At 1330 local time, the ash plume covered approximately ~2,500 km2, with less density; 47 municipalities in seven departments were primarily affected. The ash extends off this graphic and later reached Chiapas, Mexico. Image modified from CATHALAC, 2012.

Prior to the eruption, there wsa a notable increase in LP seismicity and high-amplitude tremor that lasted for hours. INSIVUMEH seismic records became saturated between 0947 and 0949, the time period when observers noted ash plumes rising from the summit (figure 7). During the explosive event that began at 0400 on 13 September 2012, a lava flow advanced 300 m down the flank from the S side of the summit crater. At roughly the same time, a vertical plume rose from the crater and drifted SW; strong ENE winds rapidly spread the ash into the coastal Suchitepéquez Department. At 0715 the ash plume had risen up to 2 km above the summit crater; by 1500 that day, a diffuse ash plume was reported over the S region Mexico's Chiapas Province. The ash continued to expand W and NW on 14 September, and was ~100 km wide and more than 415 km W of the summit (table 8 and figure 10); ash persisted in the atmosphere for more than 36 hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. A large ash plume drifted W and NW from Fuego on 14 September 2012; observations were made at 0045, 0700; 1300; and 1900 local time and remote sensing measurements determined an altitude of ~7 km a.s.l. These graphics notified the aviation community about airspace containing ash plumes. Note that "VA to FL 240" means "volcanic ash to flight level 24,000 (~7 km)." Courtesy of Washington VAAC.

Seismicity and surface activity returned to low levels after the powerful 13-14 September 2012 eruption. Field studies conducted by INSIVUMEH determined that the Las Lajas, El Jute, Trinidad, and Ceniza drainages received the largest concentration of volcanic material during the eruption, making these regions susceptible to lahars with the onset of the rainy season.

Within the Ceniza drainage, in particular, pyroclastic flows had extended ~8 km (figures 17 and 26) and had deposited tree branches and trunks (many that were charred) within the canyon along with large (1-3 m diameter) blocks and volcanic bombs. Preliminary assessments of the deposits within the Ceniza drainage determined that ~13,000,000 m3 of material had been deposited and was already becoming mobilized.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. During field investigations immediately after the 13 September 2012 eruption, INSIVUMEH surveyed the Ceniza drainage to assess both the damage and potential new hazards from lahars. This area sits in the region of Siquinala and San Andrés Osuna, ~13 km SSW of Fuego's summit. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Assessments by INSIVUMEH at the end of 2012 determined that two months of heavy rain had cut deep incisions into the new deposits and that loose, fine-grained volcaniclastic material had already migrated down to the road crossing at Siquinala and San Andrés Osuna, ~13 km SSW of the summit. The study also described the increased vulnerability of the road access for Siquinala and the community of La Róchela (figure 16) due to possible stream capture by Ceniza with Platanares. A narrow (~15 m) zone of the Ceniza drainage had been filled with volcaniclastic material, changing the drainage profile in a location ~2 km upstream from an important stream crossing. The Ceniza drainage had been migrating laterally toward the Platanares over time, especially due to erosion following Tropical Storm Agatha in 2010.

Explosive and effusive activity continued during September 2012-March 2013.From late September 2012 through March 2013, INSIVUMEH documented ash plumes (100-1,300 m above the crater), incandescent spatter (50-200 m above the crater), lava flows (mainly flowing 100-900 m down the SW flank), and lahars. In 2012, hot lahars were reported on 1 June, and later on 27 September and 3 October. Lava flows were frequently channelized within the Ceniza, Trinidad, and Taniluya drainages (SW flank). The last significant VAAC report of 2012 highlighted discreet puffs of ash that reached a maximum of 900 m above the crater on 29 September (table 8).

Large pyroclastic flows on 16 and 17 February 2013 traveled 3 km down the Ceniza drainage (table 8). Ash plumes generated on 16 February caused ashfall in communities up to 12 km from the summit, primarily SW. On 17 February there were collapses at lava-flow fronts.

On 4 March 2013 there were large lava flows following incandescent explosions up to 100 m above the crater (table 8).

On 19 March an explosive eruption occurred with effusive lava flows; a ~5 km a.s.l. ash plume was detected by the Washington VAAC (table 8). Lava fountaining reported on 20 March rose 300-400 above the crater; a ~1.5 km long lava flow within the Ceniza drainage was also observed that day (figure 19D). Incandescent explosions were frequently observed through the rest of the month.

International collaboration aids monitoring capabilities in 2013. In 2010, a partnership was established between INSIVUMEH observatories and the International Volcano Monitoring Fund (IVM-Fund), a non-profit organization based in Seattle, WA. After a successful project to improve monitoring efforts at the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory (OVSAN), the IVM-Fund began working with the Fuego Volcano Observatory (OVFGO), located in Panimaché, in 2012. During March 2013, this observatory received significant support from the IVM-Fund and international donors. Jeff Witter, president and CEO of the IVM-Fund, delivered ~$4,500 worth of field equipment to OVFGO to help outfit the observers and contribute to volcano monitoring capacity in Guatemala (figure 27). Additional visits to Guatemala are planned once sufficient funds are raised to continue the IVM-Fund's collaborative work with Guatemalan volcanologists. Volcano monitoring support projects between the IVM-Fund and INSIVUMEH are planned to address additional needs at OVFGO and OVSAN.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. On 21 March 2013, INSIVUMEH technician Amilcar Cardenas (left) and Edgar Barrios (far side of river) measure the width of Taniluya drainage to collect baseline data for monitoring geomorphologic changes in the canyon. This drainage is particularly susceptible to lahars and pyroclastic flows. Courtesy of Jeff Witter (IVM-Fund).

References. CATHALAC, 2012, "Preliminary Analysis of the Eruption of Volcan de Fuego, Guatemala -- 13 September 2012," posted on 27 September 2012, https://servirglobal.net/Global/Articles/tabid/86/Article/1169/preliminary-analysis-of-the-eruption-of-volcan-de-fuego-guatemala-13-september.aspx, accessed on 17 July 2013.

Escobar-Wolf, R., 2013, Volcanic processes and human exposure as elements to build a risk model for Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala [PhD Dissertation]: Houghton, MI, Michigan Technological University.

Newhall, C.G., and Self, S., 1982, The volcanic explosivity index (VEI): An estimate of explosive magnitude for historical volcanism, Journal of Geophysical Research: 87, 1231-1238.

The World Bank, 2013, Country Data: Guatemala Climate Change, http://data.worldbank.org/country/guatemala, accessed on 18 June 2013.

Geologic Background. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. Construction of Meseta dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km onto the Pacific coastal plain. Growth of the modern Fuego volcano followed, continuing the southward migration of volcanism that began at Acatenango. In contrast to the mostly andesitic Acatenango, eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows.

Information Contacts: Gustavo Chigna M., Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Ministero de Communicaciones, Transporto, Obras Públicas y Vivienda, 7a. Av. 14-57, zona 13, Guatemala City 01013, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/inicio.html); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); Rüdiger Escobar-Wolf, Michigan Technological University, Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Science, Houghton, MI, USA (URL: http://www.geo.mtu.edu/); Hawai`i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System (MODVOLC), 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/); Jeff Witter, International Volcano Monitoring Fund (IVMF) (URL: http://www.ivm-fund.org/guatemala-fuego/); NASA/USGS Landsat Program (URL: https://landsat.usgs.gov/); and NASA ALI (URL: http://eo1.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Gaua (Vanuatu) — May 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Gaua

Vanuatu

14.27°S, 167.5°E; summit elev. 797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Hazard status raised; emissions continue into 2013; plume observed from above

In our June 2012 Bulletin report (BGVN 37:06), we noted ongoing eruptions from Gaua during much of 2011.

On 5 December 2011, the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) changed the status of Gaua volcano from a dormant to an active volcano. An index map showing Vanautu appears in the Ambrym report in this issue.

The Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that on 29 April 2013 a plume from Gaua was observed from an aircraft. Absent were further comments. Satellite imagery did not indicate ash. Astronauts on the International Space Station saw and photographed Gaua's E-blowing plume on 31 May 2013 (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Steam plume from Gaua volcano as photographed from the International Space Station on 31 May 2013. For scale, the island is 20 km in diameter. Note N arrow at lower right. This is Astronaut photograph ISS036-E-5647, taken on Expedition 36 with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 400 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Original caption was by William L. Stefanov, Jacobs/JETS at NASA-JSC.

The Alert Level of Gaua remained at level 1 (out of 4) signifying that changes in Gaua's activity could occur without, or with little, warning. VMGD continued this status through at least mid-August 2013, although they noted as slight increase in tremor since their June report.

This status indicates that ash falls will continue to be expected in areas exposed to trade winds. Strong degassing of the volcano could be accompanied with acid rainfall.

During the year ending in mid-July 2013, there were no MODVOLC thermal alerts.

Geologic Background. The roughly 20-km-diameter Gaua Island, also known as Santa Maria, consists of a basaltic-to-andesitic stratovolcano with an 6 x 9 km wide summit caldera. Small parasitic vents near the caldera rim fed Pleistocene lava flows that reached the coast on several sides of the island; several littoral cones were formed where these lava flows reached the sea. Quiet collapse that formed the roughly 700-m-deep caldera was followed by extensive ash eruptions. Construction of the historically active cone of Mount Garat (Gharat) and other small cinder cones in the SW part of the caldera has left a crescent-shaped caldera lake. The symmetrical, flat-topped Mount Garat cone is topped by three pit craters. The onset of eruptive activity from a vent high on the SE flank in 1962 ended a long period of dormancy.

Information Contacts: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/vmgd/); Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (URL: http:// http://www.meteo.gov.vu/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) (URL: vaac.metservice.com); and Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, MODVOLC Thermal Alert 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/).


Kilauea (United States) — May 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)


Summary of highlights for 2010-2012

The following is a concise summary of reports by the U.S. Geological Survey-Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) on Kilauea volcano covering the 3 years 2010-2012. Volcano highlights for 2009 were covered in BGVN 38:02.

Figure 209 shows a map of the lava-flow field on Kilauea's east rift zone as of 26 July 2013. On this map some of the older lava flows are labeled with the years during which they were active. Other maps appearing in earlier Bulletin reports indicated important features such as Napau crater, Pu'u 'O'o. HVO posts both Daily and Weekly updates on Kilauea activity (at links provided in the Information Contacts section below).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 209. Small-scale map showing Kilauea's east rift zone flow field as of 26 July 2013. The Peace Day flow, carried lava from the vent area to the ocean, and the inactive Kahauale'a flow from early 2013, are light reddish orange and labeled "2011-2013.". The active flow called Kahauale'a 2 flow N of Pu'u 'O'o, is shown in shades of red, with bright red showing expanded coverage since June 2011. Older lava flows are labeled with the years in which they were active. Flows during 1983-1986 (episodes 1-48b) are shown in gray; during 1986-1992 (episodes 48c-49) in pale yellow; during 1992-2007 (episode 50-55) in tan; and during 2007-2011 (episodes 58-60) in pale orange. The location of the Peace Day lava tube is shown by the yellow line, but where the tube crosses the coastal plain it has not been mapped. The interval between the contours depicting the topographic high at Pu'u 'O'o is 5 m. Courtesy of USGS/HVO.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) celebrated its centennial in January 2012 and the 30th year of Kilauea's ongoing eruption, now active at its summit and east rift zone, on 3 January 2013.

Orr and others (2012) summarized Kilauea's 30-year-long eruption, furnishing the following excerpt from the 2010-2012 period in that report.

Summary of 2010-2012. Regarding this interval, Orr and others (2012) made the following comments. "In January 2010 . . . the tube system broke down [enabling lava to escape from the tube] and surface flows began moving toward the east, encroaching on the Kalapana area once again. Three more houses were destroyed between July 2010 and March 2011, when the surface flows faltered.

"2011-2013: History Repeats Itself.

"Pu'u 'O'o began to refill slowly during 2010, and by early March 2011, the crater floor was within 65 feet (20 meters) of the crater's east rim. On March 5, 2011, following rapid summit deflation and increased seismicity, the crater floor of Pu'u 'O'o collapsed. Within a few hours, it had dropped 380 feet (115 meters). Shortly thereafter, lava broke to the surface between Pu'u 'O'o and Napau Crater, marking the start of the Kamoamoa fissure eruption, which was active through March 9. Reminiscent of Kilauea's 1997 and 2007 East Rift Zone fissure eruptions, the Kamoamoa eruption cut the lava supply to the active tube, causing activity on the flow field to die.

"After 2 weeks of quiet, lava reappeared in Pu'u 'O'o on March 26, and a perched lava lake developed as the crater refilled. In late June, wholesale uplift of the crater floor raised the entire lava lake until its surface was higher than the eastern and western crater rims. Leaks from the "ring" fault bounding the uplifted area resulted in lava overflowing the crater for the first time since 2004, sending flows down the southwestern flank of Pu'u 'O'o. {Note that this is discussed further below.}

"On August 3, 2011, the crater floor of Pu'u 'O'o collapsed again when lava burst through Pu'u 'O'o's west flank, burying the western base of the cone in a massive flood of lava. The floor of the crater dropped 260 feet (80 meters), accompanied by the collapse of large slabs of rock from the crater walls into the resulting pit. The flow on the west side of Pu'u 'O'o diminished greatly after the first several hours but remained active until August 15.

"As in March, lava returned to Pu'u 'O'o within days of the August outbreak, but this time the crater filled quickly. By September 10, lava had begun to overflow the crater again, with flows spilling toward the northeast and southwest. This activity ended on September 21, when the northeastern flank of the cone fractured and lava began pouring out.

"Confined to a shallow valley between older Pu'u 'O'o flow fields, lava turned again toward the volcano's S coast. In March 2012, lava flows destroyed another house-the 214th since 1983-within the now-abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision {approximate location shown in figure 209}.

"Unlike past years, however, eruptive activity throughout 2012 was relatively weak. Lava flows were almost always active on the coastal flow field but failed to make significant forward progress. Finally, in late November, lava reached the coastline for the first time in nearly 11 months, forming a small and sporadic ocean entry. This marked the end to the longest period without an ocean entry since lava first reached the water in 1986.

"As the eruption enters its 31st year in 2013, it is showing no signs of stopping, despite the recent slow down in activity. What Kilauea Volcano has in store next remains to be seen. Although recent patterns suggest continued activity on the East Rift Zone, this could change abruptly. Even a return to Kilauea's more explosive past is possible (see USGS Fact Sheet 2011-3064, Kilauea-an Explosive Volcano in Hawai'i, available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2011/3064 {Swanson and others, 2011}). What is certain is that Kilauea will remain an active volcano for millennia to come."

More details on 2010-2012 events. HVO reporting disclosed events presented below (tables 6-8), including a brief summary of 2010-2012 events (table 5), a broad overview of the eruption during 2007-2012 (table 6), and several of the notable collapses during 2010-2011 (table 7).

Table 6. Brief summary of events at Kilauea during the period 2010-2012. Courtesy of various USGS/HVO reports (periodic, fact sheets, etc.).

Date(s) Event
04 Jan 2010 Cessation of Waikupanaha ocean entry after 22 months
25 Jan-10 Mar 2010 Persistent flow through Royal Gardens and out onto the coastal plain
Feb or Mar 2010 Small collapse of E wall Pu'u 'O'o crater rim
29 Apr-30 Nov 2010 New ocean entries of lava at Ki, Puhi-o-Kalaikini, and 'Ili'ili
May, Jul, and Aug 2010 Portions of N rim of Pu'u 'O'o fall into crater
May-Jun 2010 Lava erupted on S wall and NE side of Pu'u 'O'o crater
Late July, 27 Nov 2010 2 houses destroyed in Kalapana Gardens subdivision
Sep-Dec 2010 Eruption of vent on W edge of Pu'u 'O'o crater
Nov 2010-Feb 2011 Increase in long-term inflation of Pu'u 'O'o crater
2011 East rift zone eruption episodes 58-61 (see Table 6)
Jan, early Feb 2011 Ocean entries at 2 previous areas, Puhi-o-Kalaikini and Ki
17 Feb 2011 House destroyed in Kalapana Gardens subdivision
05 Mar 2011 Beginning of eruption Episode 59 (see table 6); floor of Pu'u 'Æ crater began collapsing; new fissures opened between Napau Crater and Pu'u 'O'o
26 Mar 2011 Beginning of eruption Episode 60 (see table 6); lava filled collapse crater of Pu'u 'O'o and uplifted lake floor
24 July 2011 Lava flow from ring fracture along SW margins of Pu'u 'O'o crater
03 Aug 2011 Lava lake draining through from lower W flank of Pu'u 'O'o; lake completely drained within several hours, leaving a rubble-filled depression ~80 m below its pre-collapse level
20 Aug 2011 Beginning of eruption Episode 61; Pu'u 'O'o refilled and overflowed
21 Sep 2011 Lava broke through the upper E flank of the Pu'u 'O'o cone; Pu'u 'O'o crater subsided ~20 m; flow (Peace Day flow) resulted in a channelized 'a'a' flow to SW
22 Sep 2011 Channelized 'a'a' flow stalled; fissure and open channel crusted over by mid-Oct 2011
09 Dec 2011 Flow reached ocean entry by evening 9 Dec 2011
2012 Peace Day flow continued to be active
Early 2012 Subsidence in Pu'u 'O'o crater continued; outgassing events on crater floor
02 Mar 2012 House in Royal Gardens subdivision destroyed
End of Aug 2012 Deflation phase led to lowering of lava lake beneath Pu'u 'O'o crater ; lava began erupting and filled in NW pit by Sep 2012.

Table 7. An overview of the Kilauea East Rift Zone (ERZ) eruption during 2007-2012 (eruption episodes 57-61) including (from left) episodes, dates, (approximate in some cases) vent locations, and estimated volume of erupted material. HVO subdivides 30-year-long Pu`u `O`o eruption into episodes. Each new episode denotes vigorous new eruptive activity either from a different vent or commencing after a pause or slowdown. Some episodes are well defined; others more arbitrary. The day and time of various episodes may vary slightly with different instrumentation. The dates in the table signify the duration of the episode or episodes. Courtesy of M. Patrick (USGS) and various USGS/HVO reports.

Dates Episode(s) Vent location Est. volume (km3)
1 Jul 2007-5 Mar 2011 57-58 Crater fill and fissures E of Pu'u 'O'o 0.63
05 Mar-09 Mar 2011 59 Kamoamoa fissures 0.003
26 Mar-15 Aug 2011 60 Pu'u 'O'o overflows and W flank vent 0.04
20 Aug 2011-present 61 Pu'u 'O'o overflows and Peace Day flow 0.15

Table 8. For Kilauea, a list containing several notable collapses and/or explosive events during 2010-2011. Courtesy of various USGS/HVO reports and Matthew Patrick, USGS/HVO.

Date Time (HST) Notes
11 Feb 2010 1551 Collapse in vent; continuous lava lake started
26 Apr 2010 1409 Collapse in vent; lava lake doubled in size
17 Jan 2011 2311 Series of explosions
21 Jan 2011 1430 Explosion
14 Feb 2011 0908 Series of explosions
15 Feb 2011 0305 Series of explosions
20 Feb 2011 0049 Explosion
03 Mar 2011 1236 Series of explosions
21 Dec 2011 1655 Explosion

30-year long eruption summary comments. Table 9 and figure 210 present general information about the total 30-yr eruption period.

Table 9. Selected eruption statistics for the entire 30-year during 1983 to January 2013. Courtesy of Orr and others (2013) and various USGS/HVO reports.

Feature Statistic
Area covered 125.5 km2
New land on coast 2.02 km2
Volume erupted (dense rock equivalent) ~4 km3
Thickness along coast 10 to 35 m
Pre-1983 area covered in 2012 0.4 km2
Net total of land added to the island (Nov 1986–Dec 2012) 2.015 km2
Coastal highway covered by lava 14.3 km
Structures destroyed 214
Pu'u 'O'o maximum height 255 m in 1987; 171 m in 2012
Pu'u 'O'o crater size 300-450 m

Satellite images. To provide a comparison, NASA Earth Observatory prepared both a natural-color satellite image from 6 June 2011 (figure 210a), and a black-and-white aerial photograph from 25 March 1977 (figure 210b). As the authors noted, the images both show the landscape surrounding Napau Crater and Pu'u 'O'o. Lava flows that are more than a century old are covered by a dense forest of ohia lehua and tree ferns forest (green in the 2011 image). Flows from eruptions in 1965, 1968, and 1969 are much lighter than the forest in the 1977 image, but difficult to differentiate from one another. By comparison, the 2011 image shows profound changes in the landscape.

Weathered lava from the initial Napau Crater vent is almost indistinguishable from the older (1968 and 1969) lavas that cover most of the crater floor. In January 1997, a fresh line of fissures opened within Napau Crater, erupting lava during Episode 54 of the Pu'u 'O'o-Kupaianaha eruption. Additional cracks and fissures split the earth between Napau Crater and Pu'u 'O'o in the March 2011 Kamoamoa Fissure Eruption (Episode 59), spreading black lava through the forest. Scorched forest appears reddish-brown along the edges of the lava flows. Since 9 March 2011, lava flows have originated from Pu'u 'O'o(figure 210a, upper right). A lava pond is visible within the crater, and a system of lava tubes carries molten rock underground to the southeast. Brown lavas surrounding the crater flowed directly from the lava pond.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 210. Two images-a natural-color satellite image from June 6, 2011 (A), and a black-and-white aerial photograph from March 25 (B), 1977-show the landscape surrounding Napau Crater and Pu'u 'O'o. Lavas of different ages cover the surface. Lava flows that are more than a century old are covered by a dense forest (green in the 2011 image) of ohia lehua and tree ferns. Flows from eruptions in 1965, 1968, and 1969 are much lighter than the forest in the 1977 image, but difficult to differentiate from one another. The 2011 image shows dramatic changes in the landscape. Weathered lava from the initial Napau Crater vent is almost indistinguishable from the older (1968 and 1969) lavas that cover most of the crater floor. In January 1997, a fresh line of fissures opened within Napau Crater, erupting lava during episode 54 of the Pu'u 'O'o-Kupaianaha eruption. Additional cracks and fissures split the earth between Napau Crater and Pu'u 'O'o in the March 2011 Kamoamoa Fissure Eruption (Episode 59), spreading black lava through the forest. Scorched forest appears reddish-brown along the edges of the lava flows. Since 9 March 2011, lava flows have originated from Pu'u 'O'o (image upper right). A lava pond is visible within the crater, and a system of lava tubes carries molten rock underground to the southeast. Brown lavas surrounding the crater flowed directly from the lava pond. Images taken from Simmon (2012).

References. Orr, T., Heliker, C., and Patrick, M., 2012, The ongoing Pu'u'O'o eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai'i-30 years of eruptive activity, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2012-3127, 6 p. (URL: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2012/3127/; accessed 15 August 2013).

Simmon, R., 2012, 30th Anniversary of the Pu'u 'O'o Eruption on Kilauea, NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=80091).

Swanson, D., Fiske, D., Rose, T., Houghton, B, and Mastin, L., 2011, Kilauea-an explosive volcano in Hawai'i, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011-3064, 4 p (URL: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2011/3064/; accessed 15 August 2013).

USGS/HVO, 2012, Kilauea's east rift zone (Pu'u 'O'o) eruption 1983 to present, 13 April 2012, 14 p. (URL: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/kilauea/summary/#Mar2011; accessed 15 August 2013).

USGS/HVO, 2013, Maps, July 26, 2013 - Kilauea, Kilauea's east rift zone flow field, web site (URL: http://www.wr.usgs.gov/maps; accessed 15 August 2013).

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: 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/, Daily updates, https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/activity/kilaueastatus.php, and Weekly updates, https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/volcanowatch/).


Pavlof (United States) — May 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Pavlof

United States

55.417°N, 161.894°W; summit elev. 2493 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption in May-June 2013 with lava flows and ash emissions to ~8.5 km a.s.l.

Pavlof, the most active volcano in the Aleutian arc, erupted on 13 May 2013. Before this, it had most recently erupted on 15 August 2007, following an 11-year period of quiescence. The eruption that began in May 2013 continued through June before slowly subsiding to background levels by 8 August. Pavlof generated several ash plumes during the six-week eruption that disrupted aviation, including an 8-km high plume on 24 June. As in past Pavlof eruptions, the recent eruptions fluctuated in intensity. This report briefly discusses earthquake data during 2007-2011 and, in greater detail, the series of eruptions during May and June 2013.

According to Mangan and others (2009), Pavlof has discharged more than 40 recorded eruptions within the previous 200 years, producing mostly basaltic andesite to andesite products. That work, discussed in a separate subsection near the end of this report, also discusses the adjacent 12x19 km Emmons Lake caldera (a chain of nested calderas) on Pavlof's SW flank (figure 5). The Emmons Lake Volcanic Center (ELCV) is used to collectively describe the entire complex, including the nested caldera, intra-caldera stratovolcanoes, and the adjacent stratovolcanoes (including Pavlof) to the NE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Maps showing both the location of Pavlof on the lower Alaska Peninsula (upper left) and showing more details of the complex, including the elongate Emmons Lake caldera and six stratovolcanoes. The lake occupies but a small volume of the caldera, which is breached to the SE. Taken from Mangan and others (2009).

According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), 48 earthquakes were located beneath Pavlof in 2007, the year of the previous eruption. During the following non-eruptive years, AVO reported 9 earthquakes centered at Pavlof in 2008, 7 earthquakes in 2009, 19 in 2010, and 13 in 2011. As of this writing, AVO has not yet published 2012 earthquake data.

Eruption in May 2013. On 13 May 2013, seismicity increased at 0800 and an intense thermal anomaly was observed at the summit in satellite imagery. Several spikes in seismicity occurred between 0900 and 1000. AVO noted that similar patterns of seismicity and elevated surface temperatures in previous cases had signaled the onset of eruptive activity at Pavlof. The Volcanic Alert Level was increased to Watch (the second highest category of four) and the Aviation Color Code was increased to Orange (the second highest category of four).

On 14 May 2013, pilot reports and satellite images indicated a spatter-fed lava flow that had advanced about 0.5 km down the N flank. The advancing lava had also generated debris-laden deposits, presumably from the interaction of hot lava with snow and ice on the flank. According to AVO, a diffuse ash plume drifted about 160 km NE at an altitude of 4.6 km before dissipating. Minor ashfall was reported the evening of 14 May in a mining camp 80 km NE of the volcano. No other nearby communities reported ashfall. Minor steam-and-ash emissions from the summit were visible from Cold Bay (~58 km SW).

During 14-15 May 2013, elevated seismicity persisted. Steam-and-ash clouds observed with a web camera at Cold Bay (55 km W of the volcano) occasionally rose to an altitude of 6.1 km. Residents in Cold Bay observed incandescence from the summit during the night. On 15 May a pilot reported a dark ash cloud drifting ENE at an altitude of 6.1 km.

On 16 May, AVO observed lava fountaining at the summit and a continuous ash, steam, and gas cloud extending 50-100 km downwind at an altitude of about 6.1 km. Satellite images showed persistent elevated surface temperatures at the summit and on the NW flank, consistent with lava fountaining at the summit and the resulting lava flow.

During 18-19 May 2013, reports noted that a narrow plume of steam, ash, and gas occasionally rising up to an altitude of 6.7 km and drifting SE was visible in satellite and pilot images (figures 6 and 7). Pilots noted that lava fountaining and ash emission continued. Overnight, trace amounts of ash fell on the community of Sand Point (88 km E). During the afternoon on 19 May, pilots reported that ash plumes rose to altitudes of 4.6-6.7 km. Trace amounts of ash fell in Nelson Lagoon (78 km NNE) during 19-20 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Photograph of Pavlof taken on 18 May 2013 by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The space station was ~770 km away and S-SE of the volcano when the photograph was taken. The volcanic plume extended SE over the North Pacific Ocean. Residing next to Pavlof is the white, seemingly ash free stratovolcano Pavlof Sister. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory with credit for caption and processing to Robert Simmon, (NASA Earth Observatory) and G. M. Gentry (DB Consulting Group at NASA-JSC).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Photo of Pavlof eruption taken by a commercial pilot on 18 May 2013. Plume direction was not identified, but based on the NASA photo taken the same day (figure 6), the plume is drifting SE and the volcano in the foreground is Pavlof Sister (NE of Pavlof). Courtesy of Brandon Wilson (PenAir) and provided by AVO/Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys.

News articles (Associated Press, PRNewswire, Alaska Dispatch) stated that during 19-21 May 2013 two regional airlines canceled flights to several remote communities and delayed or re-routed other flights. On 21 May AVO reported that a low-level plume of steam, gas, and ash occasionally rose to an altitude of 6.1 km and drifted NNE. Trace amounts of ash again fell in Nelson Lagoon.

AVO reported that seismic tremor markedly declined around 1100 on 21 May 2013 and was followed through 23 May by the detection of small discrete events, likely indicative of small explosions, by an infrasonic pressure sensor (Chaparral model 2.5 at site PN7). Although cloud cover prevented satellite observations, elevated surface temperatures at the vent were detected. On 22 May a pilot report and photographs indicated weak steam-and-gas emissions containing little to no ash.

The eruption continued at a lower level during 24-26 May. Neither evidence of elevated surface temperatures nor a plume were observed in partly clear satellite images during 24-25 and 27 May. Clouds obscured views on 26 May. The Volcanic Alert Level was lowered to Advisory and the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow on 28 May.

According to AVO, Pavlof emitted ash on 4 June at about 1100, as observed in satellite images and by pilots. Satellite images showed an ash cloud drifting SE, and pilots estimated that the cloud was at an altitude of 5.8 km. Weak seismicity that began at 1057 accompanied the emissions, and then continued. AVO increased the Volcanic Alert Level to Watch and increased the Aviation Color Code to Orange.

AVO reported that ash emissions continued during 5-11 June 2013, accompanied by tremor and explosion signals. Overnight during 4-8 June, satellite images detected elevated surface temperatures near the vent consistent with lava effusion and fountaining. Elevated surface temperatures persisted until 14 June. On 5 and 6 June, an ash plume drifted 40-45 km W and SW at altitudes of 4.3-5.5 km based on pilot estimates. During 8-10 June, an ash plume drifted 20-53 km SE. During 12-14 June, ash emissions were intermittent and minor; ash plumes remained below an altitude of 6.1 km and mostly drifted SE.

During 14-15 June 2013, seismicity decreased. Minor emissions probably ceased, but web-camera views were partially obscured by clouds. On 17 June no plumes were visible in satellite images, and web camera views showed mostly cloudy conditions.

During 17-18 June, tremor amplitude increased slightly, and elevated surface temperatures were again detected in satellite images. A small ash plume rose from the crater. The eruption continued during 19-25 June, with tremor and occasional explosions. Cloud cover prevented web camera views. Elevated surface temperatures continued to be detected during 19-20 and 24 June. A small ash plume from the summit vent was also detected in a satellite image on 19 June, and possibly during 20-22 June.

On 24 June, seismicity increased to the strongest level to date during 2013 and included continuous intense tremor and frequent small explosions likely associated with lava fountaining and ash production. Seismicity remained high on 25 June. Satellite images and pilot observations indicated that a plume drifted W at altitudes as high as 8.2-8.5 km. Satellite images also detected a strong thermal anomaly at the summit. Trace amounts of ash fell in King Cove (48 km SW). According to a news report (Reuters), regional air traffic was again cancelled or re-routed.

According to AVO, seismicity declined during 25-26 June and consisted of intermittent bursts of tremor and occasional small explosions. Satellite images showed a plume containing small amounts of ash drifting NW, and strong thermal anomalies at the summit. Pilot reports on 26 June indicated that plumes rose to altitudes between 6.1-7.6 km during the morning and then to heights just above the summit later that day. Seismicity during 26 June-1 July continued at low levels and consisted primarily of intervals of continuous, low-level tremor. Thermal anomalies at the summit detected in satellite images were strong during 26-29 June and weak during 30 June-1 July.

AVO reported that activity further declined during 1-2 July; tremor and explosions were no longer detected in seismic and pressure sensor data. Satellite images did not detect elevated surface temperatures, volcanic gas, or ash emissions, and there were no visual observations from pilots or from webcam images of any eruptive activity since 26 June. Consequently, AVO lowered the Aviation Color Code to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory.

On 8 August, AVO reported that no lava or ash emissions had been observed at Pavlof since 26 June and the volcano had exhibited gradually declining levels of unrest. Seismicity was at background levels. Thus, AVO lowered the Aviation Color Code to Green and the Volcano Alert Level to Normal.

Mangan and others (2009) discussion. Mangan and others (2009) cite Power and others (2004) as stating that background (non-eruptive) seismicity at Pavlof occurs as infrequent long-period earthquakes at focal depths between 20-40 km. Mangan and others contend that while only a few of these events at most occur annually, they are a stable feature attributed to quasi-steady fluxing of basaltic magma and exsolved CO2 in a deep dike and sill complex. According to the article, the seismic network at Pavlof is poorly situated to detect deep seismicity under the Emmons Lake caldera.

Mangan and others state, "All witnessed [Emmons Lake Volcanic Center] ELVC eruptions have occurred outside the caldera [,specifically] at Pavlof, the most active volcano in the entire arc. Pavlof's slopes are extensively mantled with tephra and pyroclastic debris produced during [its] historical strombolian, vulcanian, and lava fountain events (Miller et al., 1998). Limited precursory seismicity herald Pavlof eruptions (McNutt, 1989) and, to the extent studied, negligible precursory ground deformation (Lu et al., 2003; Z. Lu personal communication 2008). Of the 20 eruptions occurring since the installation of Pavlof's seismic network (1973), 13 eruptions have occurred with less than 24 h of warning. Pavlof is essentially an "open vent" volcano with magma rising aseismically through a thermally well-groomed conduit. High-frequency volcano-tectonic earthquakes, characteristic of magma rise through brittle crust, are virtually absent."

Figure 8 presents Mangan and others (2009) conceptualization of the plumbing beneath the ELVC, which includes Pavlof.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Conceptual cross-section through the Emmons Lake Volcanic Center looking at a vertical plane parallel to the volcanic axis. The drawing shows two distinct plumbing systems drawing from a common magmatic source at more than 20 km depth. Courtesy of Mangan and others (2009).

The other volcano of the ELVC considered to have high likelihood of eruption is Mt. Hague (Waythomas and others, 2006). That study also presents a set of hazard maps for the complex.

References. Mangan, M., Miller, T., Waythomas, C., Trusdell, F., Calvert, A., and Layer, P., 2009, Diverse lavas from closely spaced volcanoes drawing from a common parent: Emmons Lake Volcanic Center, Eastern Aleutian Arc, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 287, pp. 363-372.

Waythomas, CF; Miller, TP, and Mangan, MT, 2006, Preliminary Volcano Hazard Assessment for the Emmons Lake Volcanic Center, Alaska, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5248 (URL: http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2006/5248/).

Geologic Background. The most active volcano of the Aleutian arc, Pavlof is a 2519-m-high Holocene stratovolcano that was constructed along a line of vents extending NE from the Emmons Lake caldera. Pavlof and its twin volcano to the NE, 2142-m-high Pavlof Sister, form a dramatic pair of symmetrical, glacier-covered stratovolcanoes that tower above Pavlof and Volcano bays. A third cone, Little Pavlof, is a smaller volcano on the SW flank of Pavlof volcano, near the rim of Emmons Lake caldera. Unlike Pavlof Sister, Pavlof has been frequently active in historical time, typically producing Strombolian to Vulcanian explosive eruptions from the summit vents and occasional lava flows. The active vents lie near the summit on the north and east sides. The largest historical eruption took place in 1911, at the end of a 5-year-long eruptive episode, when a fissure opened on the N flank, ejecting large blocks and issuing lava flows.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a)U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667 USA (URL: http://www.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://www.dggs.alaska.gov/); Associated Press (URL: http://www.ap.org/); PRNewswire (URL: http://www.prnewswire.com); Alaska Dispatch (URL: http://www.alaskadispatch.com/); and Reuters (URL: http://www.reuters.com/).


Veniaminof (United States) — May 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Veniaminof

United States

56.17°N, 159.38°W; summit elev. 2507 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing sporadic eruptions as late as 6 October 2013

In our last report on Veniaminof (figure 12) (BGVN 33:05), we noted that on 22 February 2008 several minor ash bursts had occurred, a process common in ten's of Bulletin and predecessor Smithsonian reports going back to 1983 (SEAN 08:05). In this report we provide a brief summary of activity from 1 March 2008 into October 2013, an interval including several episodes with lava flows, ash bursts, elevated seismicity, and ash fall. During 4 May 2008-7 June 2013 the available data suggest comparative quite, although during part of that time the volcano lacked a seismic monitoring system. During the reporting interval, the Aviation Alert Level often shifted between Orange and Yellow (high to intermediate values on a scale from Green to Red). As discussed below, there was also an interval without seismic monitoring announced 17 November 2009 when the hazard status was termed 'unassigned' owing to a seismic instrument outage. This report omits detailed seismic data published by the USGS (eg. Dixon and Stilher, 2009; Dixon and others, 2012). On 30 August 2013 ash plumes rose to over 6 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Location of Veniaminof on the Alaskan Peninsula. Map courtesy of AVO.

Table 1 synthesizes available AVO reporting on Veniaminof behavior during February 2008 through 6 October 2013. See their reports for more details. During the interval 4 May 2008 to 7 June 2013 the volcano was often quietly steaming, although seismicity increased during part of May 2009. Several highlights follow. Weather permitting, satellite images showed some days with high elevated surface temperatures at the cinder cone inside the caldera consistent with lava effusion. For example, during 24 July-30 July 2013, a "river of lava" flowed down the cone. As discussed in a subsection below, several noteworthy images were acquired in mid-2013 showing ash and thermal signatures on the volcano. On 30 August 2013 the plume reached over 6 km altitude as an unusually vigorous eruptive event ensued. The last lava emissions of the reporting interval took place on 6 October 2013.

Table 1. Representative dates and noteworthy eruptive or non-eruptive intervals at Veniaminof during March 2008 through late August 2013. Courtesy of AVO.

Date Ash plume altitude and movement Other comments
Late Feb through May 2008 Below 2.7 km Sporadic increases in seismic and eruptive activity were noted since 11 February, including tremor episodes that lasted 1-2 minutes and occurred several times per hour. Broadly during late February 2008, AVO noted both small ash bursts with local ashfall at the crater accompanied by seismicity, and occasional high thermal fluxes.
4 May 2008-7 June 2013 (Steaming) 7-26 May 2009, often quiet steaming with generally low to occasional high seismicity and with absence of thermal anomalies. No reports during other portions of the interval 4 May 2008 to 7 June 2013. Seismic station outage announced 17 November 2009, with seismic reports returning 8 June 2013.
19 June 2013 4.6 km NE Cloudy weather sometimes prevented views of the caldera, although most days satellite images showed very high elevated surface temperatures at the cinder cone inside the caldera consistent with lava effusion. On 19 June, residents in Sandy River reported ash bursts.
24-30 July 2013 4.5 km NW Lava effusion, a "river of lava," flowing down the cone.
14-20 August 2013 3.7 km W and then SSE AVO reported that during 13-15 August seismic tremor at Veniaminof was high, and persistent elevated surface temperatures consistent with lava effusion were visible on satellite imagery. An 18 August webcamera image revealed minor ash emissions. On 19 August a helicopter overflight revealed two lava flows On 20 August, trace ash fall reported in Perryville ((32 km SSE); they also heard hearing explosions; infrasound equipment in Dillingham (322 km NE) also detected impulses.
21 Aug-20 Oct 2013 4.6-6.7 km SE 27-29 Aug, episodic tremor bursts interpreted as lava effusion and emissions; prominent satellite thermal anomalies. On 30 Aug, some of the strongest emissions since the eruption began in June 2013; ongoing into early Sept but diminishing in late Sept, and without evidence of eruption in satellite and webcamera data on and around 20 Sept. A lava effusion was recognized 6 October, then waning by mid-October.

As noted above and in table 1, non-eruptive steaming prevailed at the volcano during much or all of the interval 4 May 2008-7 May 2009. On 17 November 2009 AVO announced that Veniaminof was one of four volcanoes in Alaska that they could no longer monitor because of seismic station outages. They then shifted both their Alert Level of Normal and the Aviation Color Code of Green to the category "unassigned." AVO stated that these volcanoes "will likely remain without real-time seismic monitoring until next summer, when necessary upgrades at these and other networks will occur. As at other volcanoes without real-time seismic networks, AVO will continue to use satellite data and reports from pilots and ground observers to detect signs of eruptive activity."

Following the announced station outage, the next update at Veniaminof was on 8 June 2013.

Pilots of aircraft PEN241 saw on 27 August 2013 intermittent ash discharges at 1720 UTC . "Occasional ash to [~3 km a.s.l.] moving NNE. Cloud height up to [~4 km a.s.l.] every 2-5 minutes." This reporting was transmitted to Air Traffic authorities and then to Bulletin editors via the Volcanic Activity Reporting Form (VAR; Appendix 2 of Federal Aviation Administration, 2012). Reports like these are valuable to engineers and scientists who benefit from the direct observations provided by pilots.

During 6-7 May 2009, seismic activity from Veniaminof increased, prompting AVO to raise the Volcanic Alert Level to Advisory and the Aviation Color Code to Yellow. Small magnitude earthquakes occurred at rates of 5-10 per hour during quieter periods and 1-3 per minute during periods of more intense activity. Visual observations indicated typical steaming from the summit caldera cone. Seismicity remained elevated during 8-12 May 2009. On 26 May 2009, AVO reported that seismicity from Veniaminof had decreased during the previous week. The Volcanic Alert Level was lowered to Normal and the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green.

During 2010-12 the volcano was relatively quiet (table 1). There were no AVO weekly reports on Veniaminof during this interval.

On 13 June 2013, low-level emissions led the AVO to increase the aviation color code to orange. The Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported on 15 June 2013 that the eruptions had ended, but AVO still reported intermittent activity continuing through 8 July 2013. In addition, MODVOLC had detected 248 thermal alerts during 14 June-11 July 2013 (figure 13).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. This image of Veniaminof displays MODVOLC thermal alerts from 14 June 2013 to 11 July 2013. Thermal alerts from MODVOLC are derived from data collected by the MODIS thermal sensors aboard the Aqua and Terra satellites and processed by the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology using the MODVOLC algorithm. Note that the hotspots (red) are clustered in the immediate region of the summit and are not wildfires.

July 2013 activity. Figure 14 shows a satellite image from 4 July 2013 portraying both ash desposits on the snow surface and the thermal signature of an ongoing lava flow. On 8 July 2013, AVO reported that nearly continuous, low-level volcanic tremor had occurred during the previous 24 hours. Cloudy satellite images detected thermal anomalies (figure 14). Web camera images from Perryville (32 m SSE) showed incandescence from the Veniaminof intracaldera cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. This satellite image from 4 July 2013 shows thermal emissions from an active lava flow as detected by shortwave infrared data, The image also shows ash deposits covering the snow fields that engulf the volcano. N is to the top. The ash appears as radial spokes due to deposition during changing wind directions. The lava flow was active at the time of this photo, extending southward from the vent. Image courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory.

AVO reported that the ongoing low-level eruption of Veniaminof, characterized by lava effusion and emission of minor amounts of ash and steam, continued during 26 June-8 July 2013, indicated by nearly continuous volcanic tremor and occasional small explosions detected by the seismic network. Figure 15 shows a photo taken on 26 June. Satellite images showed elevated surface temperatures at the cinder cone inside the caldera consistent with lava effusion. During 26-30 June web camera images from Perryville showed a small light-colored plume rising above the cone to just above the rim of the caldera, and night time images showed persistent incandescence from the cone. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch and the Aviation Color code remained at Orange.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Steam rising from the active intracaldera cone of Veniaminof. The photo was taken from ~600 m elevation, looking SW toward the volcano on 26 June 2013. Photo courtesy of Will Lawrence.

2008-2011 seismicity. According to Dixon and others (2009) and additional AVO reports, the monitoring network for Veniaminof included nine stations, at least through 2011. The network experienced intermittent outages (eg. figure 16 of broken solar panel.) The number of recorded earthquakes between 2008-2011 is presented in table 1.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Helena Buurman works to remove smashed solar panels at station VNFG- one of the main repeaters in the Veniaminof network (17 July 2010). Photo courtesy of Cyrus Read.

Table 2. Veniaminof VT and LF earthquakes detected during 2008-2011. Because of occasional equipment outages, values in the table may under-represent actual numbers. Values for 2012 were not yet available. Sources included Dixon and others (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).

Year Earthquakes located Volcano-tectonic (VT) Low frequency (LF)
2008 17 14 3
2009 4 3 1
2010 22 18 4
2011 7 6 1

2009 annual seismicity. The Aniakchak, Cerberus, Gareloi, Great Sitkin, Pavlof, Veniaminof, and Wrangell subnetworks had insufficient numbers of located earthquakes to calculate a Mc. The Mc ranged from -0.1 to 1.5 for the individual subnetworks.

2010 annual seismicity. The seismograph networks on Aniakchak, Korovin, and Veniaminof were repaired in 2010. There were many station outages in the previous two years.

Seismicity at Veniaminof and Westdahl were the only areas in which an increase over the seismicity in 2009 was noted. The increase in seismicity at Veniaminof was a result of a small swarm of activity northwest of the active cone in late July.

2011 annual seismicity. There were fewer station outages and more than four were operating during the year. Veniaminof had insufficient numbers of located earthquakes in 2011 to calculate a magnitude completeness.

References. Dixon, J.P., Stihler, S.D., Power, J.A., and Searcy, C.K., 2011, Catalog of earthquake hypocenters at Alaskan Volcanoes: January 1 through December 31, 2010: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 645, 82 p.

Dixon, J.P., Stihler, S.D., Power, J.A., and Searcy, C.K., 2012, Catalog of earthquake hypocenters at Alaskan Volcanoes: January 1 through December 31, 2011: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 730, 82 p.

Dixon, J.P., Stihler, S.D., Power, J.A., and Searcy, Cheryl, 2010, Catalog of earthquake hypocenters at Alaskan volcanoes: January 1 through December 31, 2009: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 531, 84 p.

Dixon, J.P., and Stihler, S.D., 2009, Catalog of earthquake hypocenters at Alaskan volcanoes: January 1 through December 31, 2008: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 467, 86 p.

Federal Aviation Administration, 2012, Aeronautical Information Manual, Official Guide to Basic Flight Information and ATC Procedures (issued 9 February 2012; with revisions as late as 22 Aug ust 2013) (URL: http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim/index.htm).

Geologic Background. Massive Veniaminof volcano, one of the highest and largest volcanoes on the Alaska Peninsula, is truncated by a steep-walled, 8 x 11 km, glacier-filled caldera that formed around 3700 years ago. The caldera rim is up to 520 m high on the north, is deeply notched on the west by Cone Glacier, and is covered by an ice sheet on the south. Post-caldera vents are located along a NW-SE zone bisecting the caldera that extends 55 km from near the Bering Sea coast, across the caldera, and down the Pacific flank. Historical eruptions probably all originated from the westernmost and most prominent of two intra-caldera cones, which rises about 300 m above the surrounding icefield. The other cone is larger, and has a summit crater or caldera that may reach 2.5 km in diameter, but is more subdued and barely rises above the glacier surface.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory, a cooperative program of a)U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667 USA URL: http://www.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://www.dggs.alaska.gov/); Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 6930 Sand lake Road Anchorage, AK 99502-1845 USA (URL: http://vaac.arh.noaa.gov/); and Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alert System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http:hotspot.higp.hawaiii.edu/).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — May 2013 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosive activity continued into at least early 2013

In BGVN 36:05, we reported that on 12 May 2011, the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) reported, based on information collected by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department, that a OMI (ozone monitoring instrument) satellite image showed strong degassing of SO2 from Yasur volcano during the previous week (see map of this island volcano in figure 42 of BGVN 36:05). On 1 June 2011, the Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level (VVAL) was raised from 2 to 3, following increasing explosive activity during May, then lowered to 2 on 13 June (table 3).

Table 3. The Vanuatu Volcanic Alert Level (VVAL) scale for the six volcanoes monitored by Vanuato Geohazard Observatory (Yasur, Lopevi, Ambrym, Aoba, Gaua, and Suretamatai). Courtesy of Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory.

VVAL Description
Lvl. ? Insufficient monitoring to make assessment.
Lvl. 0 Normal low-level activity.
Lvl. 1 Increased activity, danger near crater only.         
Lvl. 2 Moderate eruptions, danger close to the volcano vent, within parts of Volcanic Hazards Map Red Zone.
Lvl. 3 Large eruption, danger in specific areas within parts of Volcanic Hazards Map Red and Yellow Zones.    
Lvl. 4 Very large eruption, island-wide danger (including areas within Red Yellow and Green Zones).

During the week of 7-12 July 2012, VGO observed that explosive activity at Yasur became stronger and more frequent, and shifted from Strombolian to sub Plinian. Bombs ejected from the vents fell in the crater, around the summit area, and on the tourist walk and parking area (within the red zone, figure 43). The explosions were heard, felt, and observed from nearby villages and schools. Activity at all three volcanic vents was characterized by degassing, ash emissions, and ejection of bombs. On 13 July 2012, the Alert Level was raised to 3.

VGO reported an OMI satellite image on 1 April 2013 showed diffuse SO2 from Yasur. Explosive activity increased on 2 April 2013, with explosions becoming stronger and more frequent, and continued to slightly increase through 28 May. Bombs again fell around the summit area, the tourist walk, and the parking area. Moderate ash emissions and ashfall occurred on 2, 4, and 5 April, and 5 and 8 May 2013. Photos included in the report showed dense white plumes on 23 and 24 May. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0 4).

Volcano Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reports on Yasur. In many cases the VAAC lacked any satellite data and in cases where they did have data they frequently were unable to detect the plume or in other cases could not detect ash in the plume (table 4).

Table 4. Yasur volcano aviation reports (VAAs, Volcanic Ash Advisories) for the time interval 11 January 2009 to 10 June 2010. In many cases the information sources were the Vanuatu Geohazard Observatory (VGO). On 11 January the source was an AIREP, an aircraft report. Data provided courtesy of the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisor Centre (VAAC).

Date (time UTC) Info Source (type of observation) Details Altitude (km) Drift or cited wind direction
11 Jan 2009 AIREP Plume sighted over volcano by aircraft (to ~4 km altitude, drifting SE). Ash not seen by VAAC analysts in satellite data. ~4km SE
29 May 2010 VGO Observatory reported plume, however no satellite image was made. ~2km Winds NE
30 May 2010 VGO Observatory reported plume, and a volcanic ash cloud was captured with a Modis image. ~2km Winds E
31 May 2010 VGO Observatory reported plume, and a volcanic ash cloud obscured the satellite image. ~2km Winds NE
01 Jun 2010 VGO Observatory reported plume, and a volcanic ash cloud obscured the satellite image. ~2km Winds N
02 Jun 2010 VGO Observatory reported plume, and a volcanic ash cloud was unidentifiable on satellite image. ~2km Winds N
03 Jun 2010 VGO Observatory reported plume, and a volcanic ash cloud was unidentifiable on satellite image. ~2km Winds E/NE
04 Jun 2010 VGO Observatory reported plume, and a volcanic ash cloud was unidentifiable on satellite image. ~2km Winds NE
05 Jun 2010 VGO Observatory reported a plume, and a volcanic ash could was unidentifiable on satellite image. A remark was made suggesting volcanic eruption may be easing. ~2km Winds NW
06 Jun 2010 VGO Observatory reported a plume,and a volcanic ash cloud was unidentifiable on satellite image. ~2km Winds NW
07 Jun 2010 VGO Observatory reported a plume, and satellite image was unavailable. ~2km Winds NW
08 Jun 2010 VGO Observatory reported a plume, and satellite image was unavailable. ~2km Winds NW
09 Jun 2010 VGO Observatory reported a plume, and satellite image was unavailable. ~2km Winds
10 Jun 2010 VGO Observatory reported a plume, and that no volcanic ash was visible on satellite image. ~2km Winds NE

Satellite Thermal Alerts. The MODIS/MODVOLC satellite thermal alert system has shown least 1 to 10 alerts each month over Yasur since the beginning of 2011. A lava lake has existed at Yasur for many years.

References. Allen, S.R., 2005, Complex spatter and pumice rich pyroclastic deposits from an andesitic caldera forming eruption:The Siwi pyroclastic sequence, Tanna, Vanuatu, Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 67, pp. 27 41.

Calmant, S., Pelletier, B., Lebellegard, P., Bevis, M., Taylor, F.W., and Phillips, D.A., 2003, New insights on the tectonics along the New Hebrides subduction zone based on GPS results, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 108, no. B6, pp. 2319 2339.

Carnay, JN., and MacFarlane, A, 1979, Geology of Tanna, Aneityum, Futuna and Aniva, New Hebrides Geological Survey Report 1979, pp. 5 29.

Métrich, N., Allard, P., Aiuppa, A., Bani, P., Bertagnini, A., Shinohara, H., Parello, F., Di Muro, A., Garaebiti, E., Belhadj, O., and Massare, D., 2011, Magma and Volatile Supply to Post collapse Volcanism and Block Resurgence in Siwi Caldera (Tanna Island, Vanuatu Arc), Journal of Petrology, v. 52, no. 6, pp. 1077 1105; DOI: 10.1093/petrology/egr019.

Nairn, I.A., Scott, B.J., and Giggenbach, W.F., 1988, Yasur volcanic investigations, Vanuatu September 1988, New Zealand Geological Survey Report 1988, pp.1 74.

Pelletier, B., Calmant, S., and Pillet, R., 1998, Current tectonic of the Tonga New Hebrides region, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 164, pp. 263 276.

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

Information Contacts: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory, Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources of Vanuatu (URL: http://www.geohazards.gov.vu); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov); MODIS/MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), 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/); and Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, URL: http://vaac.metservice.com/).

Atmospheric Effects

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

View Atmospheric Effects Reports

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

View Special Announcements Reports

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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