Logo link to homepage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yasur (Vanuatu) Strong thermal activity with incandescent ejecta continues, February-May 2019

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Infrequent thermal anomalies, no ash emissions, February-May 2019

Ambae (Vanuatu) Declining thermal activity and no explosions during February-May 2019

Sangay (Ecuador) Explosion on 26 March 2019; activity from 10 May through June produced ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows



Aira (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Agung (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent explosions with ash plumes, February-May 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Suwanosejima (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash plumes continued during January through June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Great Sitkin

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small steam explosions in early June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ibu (Indonesia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ebeko (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Yasur (Vanuatu) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong thermal activity with incandescent ejecta continues, February-May 2019

Yasur volcano on Tanna Island has been characterized by Strombolian activity with large incandescent bombs, frequent explosions, lava fountaining, and ash emissions for much of its known eruptive history. Melanesians from nearby islands are believed to have settled Tanna in about 400 BCE; it is now part of the nation of Vanuatu, independent since 1980. The Kwamera language (or Tannese) spoken on the SE coast of the island is thought to be the source of the name of the island. No known oral history describes volcanic activity; the first written English-language documentation of activity dates to 5 August 1774, when Captain James Cook saw "a great fire" on Tanna Island. Cook realized that it "was a Volcano which threw up vast quantities of fire and smoak and made a rumbling noise which was heard at a good distance" (The Captain Cook Society) (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Incandescence, steam, and dark ash from Yasur fill the sky in this sketch representing Captain James Cook's landing in the 'Resolution' at Tanna Island on 5 August 1774. The form of the volcano is behind the ship, the incandescence is in the upper right next to the ship's masts. "Landing at Tanna" by William Hodges, 1775-1776, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. The Maritime Museum noted that this is one of a group of panel paintings produced by Hodges of encounters with islanders during the voyage, in which the European perception of each society at the time is portrayed. Image taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Based on numerous accounts from ships logs and other sources, volcanic activity has been continuous since that time. During periods of higher activity, multiple vents within the summit crater send ejecta 100 m or more above the crater rim, with large bombs occasionally landing hundreds of meters away. Continued activity during February-May 2019 is covered in this report with information provided by the Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) which monitors the volcano and satellite data; photographs from tourists also provide valuable information about this remote location.

VMGD has maintained Alert Level 2 at Yasur since October 2016, indicating that it is in a major state of unrest. There is a permanent exclusion zone within 395 m of the eruptive vents where access is prohibited due to multiple hazards, primarily from large incandescent bombs up to 4 m in diameter which have been ejected from the vents onto the crater rim in the past, resulting in fatalities (BGVN 20:08).

Satellite and ground based information all support high levels of thermal activity during February -May 2019. MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued 11 times in February, 27 times in March, and 20 times each in April and May. The MIROVA graph also indicated the ongoing consistently high levels of thermal energy throughout the period (figure 52). Plumes of SO2 emissions are common from Vanuatu's volcanoes; newer higher resolution data available beginning in 2019 reveal a persistent stream of SO2 from Yasur on a near-daily basis (figure 53).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy at Yasur from 3 September 2018 through May 2019 indicates the ongoing activity at the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. The SO2 plumes from Yasur were persistent during January-May 2019 when they were visible many days of each week throughout the period. Top left: On 12 January plumes were visible drifting E from both Ambrym (top) and Yasur (bottom). Top right: Plumes drifted W from three Vanuatu volcanoes on 7 February, Gaua (top), Ambrym (middle) and Yasur (bottom). Bottom left: On 12 March N drifting plumes could be seen from Ambae (top) and Yasur (bottom). On 27 April, only Yasur had an SO2 plume drifting W. Courtesy of Goddard Space Flight Center.

Satellite imagery confirmed that the heat sources from Yasur were vents within the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone. Both northern and southern vent areas were active. On 7 March 2019 the N vent area had a strong thermal signal. Ten days later, on 17 March, similar intensity thermal anomalies were present in both the N and S vent areas (figure 54). On 6 April the S vent area had a stronger signal, and gas emissions from both vents were drifting N (figure 55). Satellite imagery from 21 May 2019 indicated a strong thermal signal inside the crater in the area of the vents, and included a weaker signal clearly visible on the inside E crater rim. Strong Strombolian activity or spatter sending large incandescent bombs as far as the crater rim are a likely explanation for the signal (figure 56), underscoring the hazardous nature of approaching the crater rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Strong thermal anomalies from the crater of Yasur's pyroclastic cone seen in satellite images confirmed the ongoing high level of activity. Left: 7 March 2019, a strong thermal anomaly from the N vent area, shown with "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). Right: 17 March 2019, thermal anomalies at both the N and S vent areas, shown with "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). The crater is about 500 m in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Strong thermal anomalies (left) and gas emissions (right) at Yasur were captured with different bands in the same Sentinel-2 satellite image on 6 April 2019. Left: The thermal anomaly in the S vent area was stronger than in the N vent area, "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Right: Gas plumes drifted N from both vent areas, "Natural color" rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). The crater is about 500 m in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Thermal activity from the crater of Yasur on 21 May 2019 produced a strong thermal signal from the center of the crater and a weaker signal on the inside E crater rim, likely the result of hazardous incandescent bombs and ejecta, frequent products of the activity at Yasur. Left: "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Right: "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). The crater is about 0.5 km in diameter. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Tourists visit Yasur on a regular basis. A former lake on the N side of Yasur has left ripples in the sand deposits over older volcanic rocks on the N side of the volcano (figure 57) since it drained in 2000 (BGVN 28:01). Visitors are allowed to approach the S rim of the crater where incandescence from both the N and S vents is usually visible (figure 58). Incandescent spatter from the convecting lava in the vents is highly dangerous and unpredictable and often covers the inner slopes of the rim as well as sending bombs outside the crater (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. The pyroclastic cone of Yasur viewed from the north on 6 May 2019. Ripples in volcaniclastic sand in the foreground are remnants of a lake that was present on the N side of the volcano until a natural dam breached in 2000. Copyrighted photo by Nick Page, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Two glowing vents were visible from the south rim of Yasur on 6 May 2019. The S vent area is in the foreground, the N vent area is in the upper left. Copyrighted by Nick Page, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Incandescent spatter at Yasur on 6 May 2019 sent fragments of lava against the inside crater wall and onto the rim. The convecting lava in the vent can be seen in the lower foreground. Copyrighted photo by Nick Page, used with permission.

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 (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/); 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); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); The Captain Cook Society (URL: https://www.captaincooksociety.com/home/detail/225-years-ago-july-september-1774); Royal Museums Greenwich (URL: https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/13383.html); Wikimedia Commons, (URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Landing_at_Tana_one_of_the_New_Hebrides,_by_William_Hodges.jpg); Nick Page, Australia,Flickr: (URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/152585166@N08/).


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

6.137°S, 155.196°E; summit elev. 1855 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrequent thermal anomalies, no ash emissions, February-May 2019

With historical eruptions reported back to 1842, Papua New Guinea's Bagana volcano on the island of Bougainville has been characterized by viscous andesitic lava flows down the steep flanks of its cone, along with intermittent ash plumes and pyroclastic flows. Ongoing thermal anomalies and frequent ash plumes have been typical of activity during the current eruption since it began in early 2000. Activity declined significantly in December 2018 and remained low through May 2019, the period covered in this report (figure 33). Information for this report comes primarily from satellite images and thermal data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. The MIROVA plot of radiative power at Bagana from 1 September 2018 through May 2019 shows a marked decline in thermal activity during December 2018 after ash explosions and satellite observations of flows during the previous months. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The last ash emission at Bagana was reported on 1 December 2018 by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). A Sentinel-2 satellite image showed a linear thermal anomaly trending NW from the summit on 14 December (BGVN 50:01). On 8 January 2019, an image contained a dense steam plume drifting E and a very faint thermal anomaly on the N flank a few hundred meters from the summit. A more distinct thermal anomaly at the summit appeared on 22 February 2019 (figure 34). A visitor to the region photographed incandescence on the flank, likely from the volcano, at dawn around 19 February 2019 (figure 35).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery revealed thermal anomalies at Bagana in January and February 2019. Left: a very faint thermal anomaly was N of the summit at the edge of the E-drifting steam plume on 8 January 2019. Right: A thermal anomaly was located at the summit, at the base of the NE-drifting steam plume on 22 February 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric Penetration" rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. A visitor near Bagana spotted incandescence on the flank at dawn, possibly from a lava flow. Posted online 19 February 2019. Courtesy of Emily Stanford.

Two faint thermal anomalies were visible at the summit in satellite imagery on 19 March; a single one appeared on 29 March 2019 (figure 36). No thermal anomalies were recorded in Sentinel-2 images during April or May, but steam plumes and gas emissions were visible through cloud cover on multiple occasions (figure 37).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Faint thermal anomalies at Bagana were recorded in satellite imagery twice during March 2019. Left: 19 March, two anomalies appear right of the date label. Right: 29 March, a small anomaly appears right of the date label. Sentinel-2 image rendered with "Atmospheric Penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Steam and gas emissions at Bagana were recorded in satellite imagery during April and May 2019. Left: A steam plume drifted NW from the summit on 23 April, visible through dense cloud cover. Right: A gas plume drifted SW from the summit on 18 May. Sentinel-2 image with "Geology" rendering (bands 12, 4, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Bagana volcano, occupying a remote portion of central Bougainville Island, is one of Melanesia's youngest and most active volcanoes. This massive symmetrical cone was largely constructed by an accumulation of viscous andesitic lava flows. The entire edifice could have been constructed in about 300 years at its present rate of lava production. Eruptive activity is frequent and characterized by non-explosive effusion of viscous lava that maintains a small lava dome in the summit crater, although explosive activity occasionally producing pyroclastic flows also occurs. Lava flows form dramatic, freshly preserved tongue-shaped lobes up to 50 m thick with prominent levees that descend the flanks on all sides.

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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); Emily Stanford (Twitter: https://twitter.com/NerdyBatLady, image posted at https://twitter.com/NerdyBatLady/status/1098052063009792001/photo/1).


Ambae (Vanuatu) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Declining thermal activity and no explosions during February-May 2019

Ambae (Aoba) is a large basaltic shield volcano in the New Hebrides arc, part of the multi-island country of Vanuatu. Its periodic phreatic and pyroclastic explosions originating in the summit crater lakes have been recorded since the 16th century. A pyroclastic cone appeared in Lake Voui during November 2005-February 2006 (BGVN 31:12, figure 30); an explosive eruption from a new pyroclastic cone in the lake began in mid-September 2017 (BGVN 43:02). Activity included high-altitude ash emissions (9.1 km), lava flows, and Strombolian activity. Intermittent pulses of ash emissions during the following months resulted in extensive ashfall and evacuations; multiple communities were affected by lahars. The most recent episode of the eruption from July to September 2018 (BGVN 44:02) resulted in 11-km-altitude ash plumes and the evacuation of the entire island due to heavy ashfall and lahars. This report covers activity from February to May 2019, with information provided by the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) and satellite data from multiple sources.

Activity diminished after the extensive eruptive phase of July-September 2018 when substantial ash plumes and ashfall resulted in evacuations. An explosion with an ash plume on 30 October 2018 was the last activity reported for 2018. Thermal alerts were reported by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODVOLC thermal alerts system through January 2019, and the Log Radiative Power graph prepared by the MIROVA project showed decreasing thermal anomalies into June 2019 (figure 92). Satellite images recorded in April and May 2019 (figure 93) showed the configuration of the summit lakes to be little changed from the previous November except for the color (BGVN 44:02, figure 89). No ash emissions or SO2 plumes were reported during the period. VMGD noted that the volcano remained at Alert Level 2 through May 2019 with a 2-km-radius exclusion zone around the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. The MIROVA log radiative power plot for Ambae showed ongoing intermittent thermal anomalies from early September 2018 through May 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Satellite imagery in April and May 2019 showed little change in the configuration of lakes at the summit of Ambae since November 2018 (see BGVN 44:02, figure 89). Left: 24 April 2019. Right: 29 May 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery with "Natural Color" rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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/); 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).


Sangay (Ecuador) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 26 March 2019; activity from 10 May through June produced ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows

Sangay is the southernmost active volcano in Ecuador, with confirmed historical eruptions going back to 1628. The previous eruption occurred during August and December and was characterized by ash plumes reaching 2,500 m above the crater. Lava flows and pyroclastic flows descended the eastern and southern flanks. This report summarizes activity during January through July 2019 and is based on reports by Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

After the December 2018 eruption there was a larger reduction in seismicity, down to one event per day. During January, February, and most of March there was no recorded activity and low seismicity until the Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 0615 on 26 March. The ash plume rose to a height of around 1 km and dispersed to the SW as seen in GOES 16 satellite imagery as a dark plume within white meteorological clouds. There was no seismic data available due to technical problems with the station.

More persistent eruptive activity began on 10 May with thermal alerts (figure 30) and an ash plume at 0700 that dispersed to the W. An explosion was recorded at 1938 on 11 May, producing an ash plume and incandescent material down the flank (figure 31). Two M 2 earthquakes were detected between 3.5 and 9 km below the crater on 10 May, possibly corresponding to explosive activity. By 17 May there were two active eruptive centers, the central crater and the Ñuñurcu dome (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Sangay for the year ending June 2019. The plot shows the August to December 2018 eruption, a break in activity, and resumed activity in May 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. An explosion at Sangay on 10 May 2019 sent ballistic projectiles up to 650 m above the crater at a velocity of over 400 km/hour, an ash plume that rose to over 600 m, and incandescent blocks that traveled over 1.5 km from the crater at velocities of around 150 km/hour. Screenshots are from video by IG-EPN.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. A photograph of the southern flank of Sangay on 17 May 2019 with the corresponding thermal infrared image in the top right corner. The letters correspond to: a) a fissure to the W of the lava flow; b) an active lava flow from the Ñuñurcu dome; c) the central crater producing a volcanic gas plume; d) a pyroclastic flow deposit produced by collapsing material from the front of the lava flow. Prepared by M. Almeida; courtesy of IG-EPN (special report No. 3 – 2019).

Activity at the central crater by 21 May was characterized by sporadic explosive eruptions that ejected hot ballistic ejecta (blocks) with velocities over 400 km/hour; after landing on the flanks the blocks travelled out to 2.5 km from the crater. Ash plumes reached heights between 0.9-2.3 km above the crater and dispersed mainly to the W and NW; gas plumes also dispersed to the W. The Ñuñurcu dome is located around 190 m SSE of the central crater and by 21 May had produced a lava flow over 470 m long with a maximum width of 175 m and an estimated minimum volume of 300,000 to 600,000 m3. Small pyroclastic flows and rockfalls resulted from collapse of the lava flow front, depositing material over a broad area on the E-SE flanks (figure 33). One pyroclastic flow reached 340 m and covered an area of 14,300 m2. During the 17 May observation flight the lava flow surface reached 277°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. A view of the ESE flanks of Sangay on 17 May 2019. The area within the black dotted line is the main area of pyroclastic flow deposition from the Ñuñurco Dome. Photo by M. Almeida; courtesy of IG-EPN (special report No. 4 – 2019).

At the end of June activity was continuing at the central crater and Ñuñurco Dome. At least three lava flows had been generated from the dome down the SE flank and pyroclastic flows continued to form from the flow fronts (figure 34). Pyroclastic material had been washed into the Upano river and steam was observed in the Volcán River possibly due to the presence of hot rocks. Ash plumes continued through June reaching heights of 800 m above the crater (figure 35), but no ashfall had been reported in nearby communities.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 natural color (left) and thermal (center) images (bands 12, 11, 4), and 1:50 000 scale maps (right) of Sangay with interpretation on the background of a 30 m numerical terrain model (WGS84; Zone 17S) (Prepared by B. Bernard). The dates from top to bottom are 17 May, 22 May, 27 May, 16 June, and 26 June 2019. Prepared by B. Bernard; courtesy IG-EPN (special report No. 4 – 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Plots giving the heights and dispersal direction of ash plumes at Sangay during May and June 2019. Top: Ash plume heights measures in meters above the crater. Bottom: A plot showing that the dominant dispersal direction of ash plumes is to the W during this time. Courtesy of IG-EPN (special report No. 4 – 2019).

Geologic Background. The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

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); 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).

Search Bulletin Archive by Publication Date

Select a month and year from the drop-downs and click "Show Issue" to have that issue displayed in this tab.

   

The default month and year is the latest issue available.

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 42, Number 02 (February 2017)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Bardarbunga (Iceland)

Monitoring data from early 2016

Bulusan (Philippines)

Phreatic explosions with minor ashfall continue during June-December 2016

Karangetang (Indonesia)

Intermittent ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars; persistent thermal anomalies, June 2014-December 2016

Marapi (Indonesia)

Phreatic explosion on 14 November 2015 causes ashfall on the SW flank

Monowai (New Zealand)

Frequent submarine eruptions through November 2016; discolored water observations

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Details of 29 August 2014 Strombolian eruption; update through 2016

Sheveluch (Russia)

Dome extrusion, hot block avalanches, and strong explosions continue through August 2015

Sinabung (Indonesia)

Eruption continues during May-October 2016; multiple fatalities from pyroclastic flows and lahars

Veniaminof (United States)

Lava flows, Strombolian activity, and ash plumes during 13 June-17 October 2013

Zavodovski (United Kingdom)

Eruption of ash and steam observed in June 2016



Bardarbunga (Iceland) — February 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Bardarbunga

Iceland

64.633°N, 17.516°W; summit elev. 2000 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Monitoring data from early 2016

The fissure eruption from the Bardarbunga volcanic system began on 29 August 2014 (BGVN 39:10) about 45 km NE of the subglacial caldera at what was designated the Holuhraun vent. Lava emission ended on 28 February 2015 (BGVN 40:01), after creating a lava field almost 85 km2 in size. This report includes additional information provided by the Icelandic Meterological Office and NASA's Earth Observatory. Information from a report of the Icelandic Civil Protection Scientific Advisory Board, which met on 23 June 2016 to review recent data, is included below.

A scientific team working on the Vatnajökull glacier during 3-10 June 2016 did echo soundings to examine whether changes in bedrock topography within the Bardarbunga caldera could be detected from the recent eruption. No changes in the bedrock topography were apparent. There were also no indications that meltwater was accumulating within the caldera. The 65-m-deep depression in the glacier formed during the 2014-2015 activity was getting shallower due to the flow of ice into the caldera and snow accumulation, and the depression had decreased in depth by 8 m since the previous year.

Expedition scientists also measured gas emissions at ice cauldrons (figures 13 and 14), which are formed by subglacial geothermal activity, along the caldera rim; these measurements showed little change since the previous year's expedition. Seismic data showed that accumulated moment magnitude had been increasing since mid-September 2015. A total of 51 earthquakes stronger than M3 had been registered at Bardarbunga since the end of the eruption in 2015. GPS stations showed slow movement away from the caldera.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. The edge of a cauldron at the southernmost rim of the Bardarbunga caldera, 10 June 2016. Photo by Benedikt G. Ófeigsson; courtesy of the IMO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. A panorama view from 7 June 2016 shows the same cauldron at Bardarbunga, with Grimsvotn in the background. Photo by Benedikt G. Ófeigsson; courtesy of the IMO.

The Advisory Board report concluded that the most probable explanations for the ground deformation and seismicity was the inflow of magma from around 10-15 km below Bardarbunga into the area from which the magma erupted at Holuhraun during 2014-2015. There were no indications of magma collecting at shallower depths.

An image posted by the NASA Earth Observatory showed the extent of the Holuhraun lava field on 5 November 2016 surrounded by snow (figure 15).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Acquired 5 November 2016, this image was captured by the Advanced Land Imager on the Earth Observing-1 satellite at 1000 local time. The photo has been edited to correct for the low angle of the Sun, which caused the white snow to appear reddish. Snow does appear to build up along the edges of the lava flow, where the lava is thinner. Courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

Geologic Background. The large central volcano of Bárðarbunga lies beneath the NW part of the Vatnajökull icecap, NW of Grímsvötn volcano, and contains a subglacial 700-m-deep caldera. Related fissure systems include the Veidivötn and Trollagigar fissures, which extend about 100 km SW to near Torfajökull volcano and 50 km NE to near Askja volcano, respectively. Voluminous fissure eruptions, including one at Thjorsarhraun, which produced the largest known Holocene lava flow on Earth with a volume of more than 21 km3, have occurred throughout the Holocene into historical time from the Veidivötn fissure system. The last major eruption of Veidivötn, in 1477, also produced a large tephra deposit. The subglacial Loki-Fögrufjöll volcanic system to the SW is also part of the Bárðarbunga volcanic system and contains two subglacial ridges extending from the largely subglacial Hamarinn central volcano; the Loki ridge trends to the NE and the Fögrufjöll ridge to the SW. Jökulhlaups (glacier-outburst floods) from eruptions at Bárðarbunga potentially affect drainages in all directions.

Information Contacts: Icelandic Met Office (IMO), Reykjavík, Iceland (URL: http://en.vedur.is/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


Bulusan (Philippines) — February 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Bulusan

Philippines

12.769°N, 124.056°E; summit elev. 1535 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic explosions with minor ashfall continue during June-December 2016

Recent eruptive activity at Bulusan included episodes during 6 November 2010-16 May 2011, 1 May-17 July 2015, and 22 February 2016; activity typically included phreatic explosions from the summit crater and flank vents, ash-and-steam plumes, and minor ashfall in nearby villages (BGVN 41:03). The most recent eruption began 10 June 2016 and continued through the end of the year. Information was provided by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

During the reporting period of June-December 2016, the Alert Level remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-5), indicating abnormal conditions and a 4-km radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ). Activity consisted of intermittent phreatic explosions generating emissions of ash and steam that typically rose 70-2,500 m above the summit crater (table 7). Minor ashfall in nearby municipalities often accompanied the explosions.

In October 2016, PHIVOLCS extended the danger zone an additional 2 km as a result of a fissure that extended 2 km down the upper S flank; PHIVOLCS was concerned that active vents along the upper part of the SE flank could pose a greater risk to the populated barangays (neighborhoods) of Mapaso (Irosin), Patag (Irosin), and San Roque (Bulusan). The municipalities of Irosin and Bulusan are about 8 km SSW and 7 km ESE, respectively, of the volcano.

Table 7. Summary of volcanic activity at Bulusan, June-December 2016.

Date(s) Max. Plume height (m) Plume drift Remarks
10 Jun 2016 2,000 NW 5-min long phreatic explosion began at 1135 and generated ash plume.
19 Jun 2016 300 NW 7-min long phreatic explosion from NW summit vent began at 1303 and generated dirty-white ash plume.
23 Jun 2016 -- -- Dirty-white steam plumes from summit vent drifted down WNW flank. Minor ashfall on nearby municipalities NW. Sulfur odor.
25-26 Jun 2016 200 NW Steam plumes.
28 Jun 2016 -- -- Steam plumes drifted down flank.
05 Jul 2016 250 SSE, SSW Copious emissions of white-to-grayish steam plumes.
06 Jul 2016 700 -- Copious emissions of steam.
10-12 Jul 2016 70 -- Diffuse steam plumes.
20 Jul 2016 -- WNW White-to-light gray plumes at low levels.
21-25 Jul 2016 250 NW, SW Diffuse white plumes.
16 Sep 2016 1,500 NE 4-min long phreatic explosion began at 1654, and generated a dark gray ash plume. Ashfall in nearby municipalities NNW, NNE, and NE.
01 Oct 2016 200 SE White-to-grayish emissions during 0650-1240 rose from vents on SE flank. Minor ashfall in nearby communities.
06 Oct 2016 -- -- 15-min long minor phreatic explosion with ashfall on nearby municipalities.
12-16 Oct 2016 500 SE, SSE Steam plumes. 2-6 volcanic earthquakes per day.
17 Oct 2016 1,000 -- 24-min long phreatic explosion at the SE vent at 0736. 24 volcanic earthquakes 16-17 October.
19 Oct 2016 1,000 -- Phreatic explosion at 0458 from upper SE flank. Explosion-type earthquake lasted 9 min.
21 Oct 2016 -- -- 20-min long phreatic explosion from summit crater began at 1234. Minor ashfall in nearby municipalities.
23 Oct 2016 2,500 WSW 15-min long phreatic explosion from summit vent began at 1531 and generated an ash plume. Small pyroclastic flows traveled 2 km down flank. Trace ashfall in nearby municipalities. Another, much smaller, explosion at 1539 from SE vent generated ash plume that rose 500 m. Rumbling and sulfur odor noted in several nearby areas.
29 Dec 2016 2,000 WSW Phreatic explosion at 1440 from vent on upper SE flank generated grayish ash plume. Explosion-type earthquake lasted about 16 min. Minor ashfall on nearby municipalities. Sulfur odor noted.

Ashfall. On 23 June 2016, minor amounts of ash fell in the barangays (neighborhoods) of Poblacion (11 km NW), Añog (12 km NW), and Bacolod (13 km NW), all in the municipality of Juban (about 12 km NW), and the municipality of Mabini (12 km NNW). A sulfur odor was detected in the neighborhoods of Mabini, Bacolod (Irosin), Añog (Juban), and Puting Sapa (Juban).

On 16 September there was ashfall in the municipalities of Casiguran (11 km NNW), Gubat (18 km NNE), and Barcelona (14 km NE). Minor amounts of ash fell during 1 October in the barangays of San Rafael, San Roque, and San Jose, all in the municipality of Bulusan. A minor explosion on 6 October caused ashfall in some areas of the municipality of Gubat, and rumbling was noted in San Roque.

A phreatic explosion on 21 October generated a plume that resulted in a thin layer of ash in Casiguran and Gubat, and trace amounts in barangays in Barcelona, Casiguran, and Gubat. On 23 October, a phreatic explosion produced trace ashfall in multiple barangays in Irosin; the most ash, 1 mm-thick deposits, were found in Puting Sapa (Juban).

On 29 December, a phreatic explosion generated an ash plume that resulted in minor amounts of ashfall in areas downwind, including several Irosin barangays (Cogon, Tinampo, Bolos, Umagom, Gulang-gulang, and Monbon) and two Juban barangays (Caladgao and Guruyan). Residents of Guruyan, Monbon, and Tinampo noted a sulfur odor.

Geologic Background. Luzon's southernmost volcano, Bulusan, was constructed along the rim of the 11-km-diameter dacitic-to-rhyolitic Irosin caldera, which was formed about 36,000 years ago. It lies at the SE end of the Bicol volcanic arc occupying the peninsula of the same name that forms the elongated SE tip of Luzon. A broad, flat moat is located below the topographically prominent SW rim of Irosin caldera; the NE rim is buried by the andesitic complex. Bulusan is flanked by several other large intracaldera lava domes and cones, including the prominent Mount Jormajan lava dome on the SW flank and Sharp Peak to the NE. The summit is unvegetated and contains a 300-m-wide, 50-m-deep crater. Three small craters are located on the SE flank. Many moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the mid-19th century.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — February 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

2.781°N, 125.407°E; summit elev. 1797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars; persistent thermal anomalies, June 2014-December 2016

The Karangetang andesitic-basaltic stratovolcano (also referred to as Api Siau) at the northern end of the island of Siau, north of Sulawesi, Indonesia has had more than 50 historically-observed eruptions since 1675. Frequent explosive activity is accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars, and lava-dome growth has created multiple summit craters. Rock avalanches, observed incandescence, and satellite thermal anomalies at the summit confirmed continuing volcanic activity through 5 September 2013 (BGVN 39:01). Activity is monitored by Indonesia's Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), and ash plumes are monitored by the Darwin VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center). Information is also available from MODIS thermal anomaly satellite data through both the University of Hawaii's MODVOLC system and the Italian MIROVA project.

An ash plume reported by the Darwin VAAC on 9 February 2014 that rose to an altitude of 4.3 km (2.5 km above the summit) and drifted over 80 km W was the only recorded activity at Karangetang between MODVOLC thermal anomalies on 5 September 2013 and on 8 June 2014. Additional thermal anomalies identified between June and September 2014, and increased seismicity reported by PVMBG in September, indicated ongoing activity. An ash plume was reported by the Darwin VAAC in October 2014. A spike in thermal activity was recognized during 12 January-1 February 2015. Another strong thermal signal began on 13 May that continued through 9 December 2015, when visual reports of lava flows and ash plumes were all recorded. Ash plumes were last reported by the Darwin VAAC in January 2016; night incandescence at the summit was reported by PVMBG until 15 March 2016. The Alert Level remained at 3 from September 2013 through 16 March 2016, when it was lowered to 2. Persistent low-energy thermal anomalies were captured by MIROVA throughout 2016, but there were no PVMBG observations indicating ongoing dome growth or other eruptive activity.

Activity during 2014. On 9 February 2014, the Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume rising to 4.3 km and extending over 80 km to the W based on satellite images. The next observation of activity was a single MODVOLC thermal alert pixel on 8 June 2014 located precisely over the summit. More substantial thermal anomalies appeared between 19 and 24 July, followed by two more on 2 August, after which there is a break of more than five months with no MODVOLC thermal anomalies. The MIROVA system, however, does record intermittent, low-level anomalies through early December 2014 (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. MIROVA Log Radiative Power Thermal Anomaly data for 29 May 2014 through 29 May 2015 at Karangetang. Activity increases during July 2014 and slowly tapers off into December before the sudden appearance of a moderate to high thermal anomaly was recorded between 12 January and 1 February 2015. Activity increases again in early April 2015. Image courtesy of MIROVA.

On 15 September 2014, PVMBG issued a report noting that seismic amplitudes were relatively high at the volcano, increasing from much lower levels on 12 September. Seismic data also indicated an increase in earthquakes indicating avalanches in late July which corresponded in time with the thermal anomalies recorded by MODVOLC and MIROVA. PVMBG observed steam plumes rising to between 100 and 150 m above the main summit crater, and to around 25 m above the second crater during the second week of September 2014, along with incandescence at the summit. The last 2014 report of activity came from the Darwin VAAC; they reported an ash plume on 20 October rising to 3 km and drifting 75 km NW.

Activity during 2015. Both the MODVOLC and MIROVA systems report the abrupt appearance of strong thermal anomalies on 12 January 2015, continuing until 1 February when they stopped just as suddenly (figure 11). A news article by a local newspaper (Jaringan Berita Terluas di Indonesia) reported that a lahar on 22 January 2015, triggered by heavy rains, descended the volcano's flanks, overflowed the banks of the Batu River, and damaged a number of public and private buildings in the village of Bahu about 7.5 km S of the volcano, and in Bebali, 4.5 km S. It also damaged the main road between the communities of Ulu and Ondong but the debris was quickly cleared by authorities.

The MIROVA system recorded thermal anomalies beginning again at the very end of March 2015 (figure 11); MODVOLC noted a single thermal alert on 13 April, and then strong, multi-pixel anomalies nearly continuously from 24 April through 11 June 2015. During the second half of April, PVMBG staff at the Volcano Observation Post in the village of Salili, 4 km SW, noted white steam plumes ranging from 50 to 350 m above the main crater and 25 m above the second crater, and incandescence from the summit. Additionally, they observed bluish-white plumes on 16 and 17 April rising to 50-150 m. They also concluded that the amplitude of seismic activity had decreased since the end of February.

Lava flows were first observed on 22 April; incandescent avalanches from the fronts of 150-m-long lava flows traveled up to 2 km down Batuawang and Kahetang drainages (E) during 22-29 April. On 26 April pyroclastic flows traveled 2.2 km along the Kahetang drainage. On 28 April explosions produced plumes and ejected incandescent material 50 m high (figure 12). Seismicity also increased from the previous week. The MIROVA data indicated a sudden spike of high thermal activity beginning around 22 April and continuing past the end of May (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Incandescent lava flowing down Karangetang's flanks on 28 April 2015. Courtesy of PVMBG (G. Karangetang Activity Report, 29 April 2015).

Activity at the volcano increased significantly at the beginning of May 2015. BNPB (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana) reported that on 7 May at 1400 an eruption that ejected incandescent material and produced a dense ash plume also generated a pyroclastic flow that traveled 4 km E, leveling four houses in Kora-Kora. The next day pyroclastic flows descended the S flank 2.5 km into the Kahetang (E) and Batuawang drainages. There were no reported fatalities; 465 people were evacuated from the village of Bebali, 4.5 km S. Also on 8 May, the Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 3 km drifted almost 85 km E, and dissipated two days later. On 12 May another ash plume rose to an altitude of 3.7 km and drifted 55 km SW, and there were reports by the Darwin VAAC via social media of continued pyroclastic flow activity. Steam plumes rising to 400 m continued into the last week of May, along with incandescence from the summit at night. The lava flows that first appeared on 22 April were 300 m long by the end of May and continued to send block avalanches from the fronts up to 2 km down the Batuawang, Kahetang, and Keting drainages to the SW, S and SE. Seismic amplitudes continued at a high level; seismicity was dominated by signals characteristic of avalanches, with harmonic tremor frequently detected.

On 5 June 2015 BNPB reported that activity remained high; a total of 339 people (106 families) from the villages of Ulu, Salili, Belali, and Tarorane, all a few kilometers S of the summit, remained displaced since early May. PVMBG reported that on 18 June a lahar descending Batuawang drainage (E) covered a 100-m section of roadway with 25 cm of mud containing 1-m-diameter boulders. The lahar also damaged or destroyed four homes. White plumes rising 150 m above the main crater and 25 m above crater II were observed from the Volcano Observation Post in Salili during late June. Incandescence from the lava dome was also observed at night. Lava flowed from the S part of the dome; incandescent avalanches from the front of the lava flow again traveled up to 2.3 km down the Batuawang and Kahetang drainages. Seismic activity continued to be high, although the number of daily earthquake indicating avalanches had dropped below 100 per day at the end of June. MODVOLC thermal anomaly pixels were recorded on 2-4, 9, and 11 June, far fewer than in May.

PVMBG reported that during the last two weeks of July 2015, white plumes rose 250 m above the main crater and 25 m above the second crater (crater II). Incandescence from the lava dome was observed at night when skies were clear, and incandescent avalanches from the fronts of new 150-m-long lava flows traveled up to 2.3 km E down the Batuawang, Kahetang and Keting drainages. Seismicity was dominated by signals characteristic of avalanches, with rare volcanic earthquakes. The Alert Level remained at 3. During the month, fewer MODVOLC thermal alerts were recorded than during May and June, only on 4, 6, 11, and 25 July.

Seismicity related to avalanche activity increased significantly on 14 August 2015 and the number of daily events spiked on 20 August to 599, marking a period of increased activity that continued into November (figure 13). Strong MODVOLC thermal alert signals reappeared on 10 August 2015 and continued with multiple-pixel signals almost daily until 1 October when they became more intermittent. The MIROVA thermal anomaly data also corroborated increased thermal activity during this period (figure 14).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Seismic amplitude data (RSAM) from Karangetang, 1 January 2015 through 17 February 2016. Activity increased notably in the third week of August 2015 and remained elevated through the end of October, followed by intermittent pulses of activity through February 2016. Courtesy of PVMBG, (G. Karangetang Activity Report, 17 February 2015).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Karangetang from 14 March 2015 through 14 March 2016. The tapering of activity between May and July 2015 corresponds well with MODVOLC, seismic, and observational data for that period. Heightened activity between August and October 2015 also corresponds with increased seismic activity, abundant MODVOLC thermal anomaly pixels, visual observations of lava flows and ash plumes, and numerous VAAC reports during this time. Courtesy of MIROVA (published originally by PVMBG in G. Karangetang Activity Report, 16 March 2016).

The Darwin VAAC reported that on 28 August 2015 a pyroclastic cloud was observed on satellite. The ash plume rose to an altitude of 2.4 km and drifted 55 km ENE. They also observed a number of ash plumes between 10 and 17 September that rose as high as 3 km and drifted up to 130 km generally E. Lava fountains as high as 300 m were observed from the Volcano Observation Post in Salili during 9-16 September. Debris fell as far as 300 m from the summit crater into the Kinali River. Incandescent avalanches from the fronts of 200-m-long lava flows traveled up to 2.5 km down the Batuawang, Kahetang, Keting, and Batang drainages; brownish smoke was observed at the end of the Batuawang flows. The Alert Level remained at 3.

During October 2015, MODVOLC thermal anomaly pixels became more intermittent, appearing on 10 days during the month, far fewer than September. Steam plumes from the main crater were observed from Salili up to 150 m above the crater along with incandescence on clear nights. Lava flows remained active 200 m from the crater still sending pyroclastic avalanches down the Batuawang, Kahetang, Keting, and Batang drainages up to 2 km from the lava fronts. The flows had increased to 600 m long between 19 and 22 October and the avalanches continued. Most seismicity decreased in early October, except harmonic tremor, suggesting that magma movement inside the volcano persisted. The Darwin VAAC reported that on 8 October an ash plume rose to an altitude of 2.7 km and drifted 65 km E and that during 18 October ash plumes rose to an altitude of 2.1 km and drifted 75-95 km NE. Constant harmonic tremors for 6 hours on 20 October indicated magma was still active.

Seismicity continued its steady decline since early September during November (figure 13), although tremor activity continued. Incandescence was still visible from the lava dome at night according to PVMBG, and the incandescent avalanches were still travelling up to 1.5 km down the Batuawang and Kahetang drainages. Steam plumes rose generally 50-200 m, and occasionally 400 m from the main crater. A lahar in Batuawang drainage flowed as far as the village of Bebali and covered about 50 m of the Ondong-Ulu highway on 20 November, similar to the event of 18 June. MODVOLC recorded only two thermal anomaly pixels at the summit, both on 25 November.

By December 2015, incandescence was still observed at the crater from the Volcano Observatory in Salili, but steam plumes rarely exceeded 150 m. A single MODVOLC thermal anomaly pixel, was recorded on 9 December, and spikes in seismic amplitudes were recorded on 21 and 22 December.

Activity during 2016. According to PVMBG, Karangetang was quiet during most of January 2016, although incandescence was reported from the main crater, and plumes of bluish and white smoke rose 50-100 m. There were no reports of active lava flows or incandescent avalanches, but the accumulation of material in the Batuawang drainage made the possibility of damaging lahars during the rainy season very high. The relatively constant number of shallow (VB) earthquakes suggested that the lava dome was growing slowly; there was a two-fold increase in RSAM values during the month (figure 13). Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported three ash plumes during the month; on 12 January an ash plume rose to an altitude of 5.2 km and drifted 65 km NW, on 14 January a steam-and-ash plume rose to an altitude of 5.2 km and drifted over 35 km W, and the next day an ash-and-steam plume rose to an altitude of 2.7 km and drifted about 20 km SW.

Incandescence continued at the summit during February and early March 2016 along with bluish-white plumes rising 25-100 m from the summit crater. Seismic energy values (RSAM) remained elevated during February, suggesting continued growth of the lava dome. The last MODIS thermal anomaly observed by PVMBG was on 8 March. Although they continued to observe incandescence 10-25 m above the summit and bluish-white emissions to 150 m through 15 March, they lowered the Alert Level from 3 to 2 on 16 March, noting that even though the RSAM seismic energy values were still above normal, they had been stable for some time. The MIROVA Thermal Anomaly Radiative Power data from March 2016 also showed a significant decline in thermal energy released from the volcano compared with the period from late April through November 2015 (figure 14). Although no further reports were issued by PVMBG or Darwin VAAC, the thermal anomalies detected by MIROVA continued at low to moderate levels during 2016, suggesting a persistent heat source at the volcano (figure 15).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. MIROVA Log Radiative Power Thermal Anomaly data for Karangetang from 14 Dec 2015 through 14 December 2016 showing continued low-energy thermal anomalies during the period. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, about 125 km NNE of the NE-most point of Sulawesi island. The stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line. It is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts have produced pyroclastic flows.

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 (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/, http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/cgi-bin/modisnew.cgi); 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/); Jaringan Berita Terluas di Indonesia, http://www.jpnn.com/read/2015/01/23/283204/Awas,-Lahar-Dingin-Karangetang-Kembali-Mengancam.


Marapi (Indonesia) — February 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Marapi

Indonesia

0.38°S, 100.474°E; summit elev. 2885 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic explosion on 14 November 2015 causes ashfall on the SW flank

Explosions occurred at Marapi (not to be confused with the better known Merapi on Java) during August 2011; March, May, and September 2012; and February 2014 (BGVN 40:05). This report discusses activity during 2015 and 2016. All information was provided by the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM). During the reporting period, the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4); residents and visitors were advised not to enter an area within 3 km of the summit.

According to PVMBG, diffuse white plumes rose as high as 300 above Marapi's crater during February-25 May 2015, 150 m above the crater during 1 August-16 November 2015, and 250 m above the crater during 1 November 2015-19 January 2016. Inclement weather often prevented observations.

Seismicity fluctuated during this time, dominated by earthquakes centered a long distance from the volcano. However, tremor increased significantly during August 2015 through at least the middle of January 2016 (figure 4). A phreatic explosion at 2233 on 14 November 2015, generated an ash plume, and ashfall was noted in Panyalaian and Aia Angek on the SW flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Types and daily number of earthquakes recorded at Marapi during 1 January 2015-18 January 2016. Key: eruptive earthquakes (Letusan), emission-type "blowing" earthquakes (Hembus), shallow earthquakes (VB), deep earthquakes (VA), local earthquakes (Lokal), and long-distance earthquakes (Jauh). The terms shallow and deep were not quantified. Courtesy of PVMBG (23 January 2016 report).

Geologic Background. Gunung Marapi, not to be confused with the better-known Merapi volcano on Java, is Sumatra's most active volcano. This massive complex stratovolcano rises 2000 m above the Bukittinggi plain in the Padang Highlands. A broad summit contains multiple partially overlapping summit craters constructed within the small 1.4-km-wide Bancah caldera. The summit craters are located along an ENE-WSW line, with volcanism migrating to the west. More than 50 eruptions, typically consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been recorded since the end of the 18th century; no lava flows outside the summit craters have been reported in historical time.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/).


Monowai (New Zealand) — February 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Monowai

New Zealand

25.887°S, 177.188°W; summit elev. -132 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent submarine eruptions through November 2016; discolored water observations

Evidence of submarine volcanism at Monowai has been frequently observed since October 1977, when the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) noted a plume of discolored water above the seamount. Most subsequent eruptions have been determined based on additional observations of discolored water or the seismic detection of acoustic waves (T waves or T phases) caused by explosive activity. Monitoring reports are provided by New Zealand's GeoNet through their website and other publications. The hydro-acoustic signals are most frequently detected by seismometers in Rarotonga (Cook Islands) or by the Polynesian Seismic Network (Réseau Sismique Polynésien, or RSP) in Tahiti. Research visits over the past 20 years have resulted in many detailed analyses of morphological changes due to volcanism and subsequent collapses.

Some of those results have been reviewed in previous Bulletin reports. This issue will focus on reviewing eruptive episodes after a sector-collapse event on 24 May 2002, which caused anomalous seismic signals originally thought to be explosive in nature. Following the May 2002 event, no activity was detected until T phases were recorded during 1-24 November 2002 (figure 28 and see BGVN 28:02). The next eruptive period began on 10 April 2003 (figure 28 and see BGVN 28:05) and continued until a seismic swarm on 14 August 2004 (BGVN 28:11, 30:07), which included the building of a new cone and ended just prior to a bathymetric survey from the R/V Tangaroa in September 2004. Another sequence of swarms began on 2 March 2005 and continued until 27 June 2006. Although there appear to have been small signals in September 2006, scientists at the Laboratoire de Géophysique, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA/DASE/LDG) reported that there were 6 months of quiet after the June 2006 swarms (BGVN 32:01).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Monitoring data from the Polynesian Seismic Network showing T wave swarms at Monowai throughout January 2002-December 2007. The times of the September 2004 and May 2007 bathymetric surveys (dashed vertical lines), and the time of the anomalous 24 May 2002 swarm (arrows) are shown. (top) Number of T wave events per day. (bottom) Amplitudes of T wave events, in nanometers as recorded at station TVO in Tahiti. Note unusually high amplitude of the 24 May 2002 event, interpreted as the sector collapse between the 1998 and 2004 surveys. Modified from Chadwick et al. (2008).

While the R/V Sonne was on site conducting a bathymetric survey during 1-4 May 2007 (Chadwick et al, 2008), scientists heard booming sounds and saw slicks and bubbles on the surface (BGVN 33:03). That activity was part of an eruptive period that began on 12 December 2006 and continued into at least early November 2007 (figure 29 and see BGVN 32:01). A "big acoustic event" was detected by the Polynesian Seismic Network (Réseau Sismique Polynésien, or RSP) on 8 February 2008 (BGVN 33:03).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Monitoring data from the Polynesian Seismic Network showing the T wave swarms at Monowai in December 2006 and January 2007. (top) Number of events per day, (bottom) amplitude at station TVO in nanometers. Modified from Chadwick et al. (2008).

A network of 23 ocean-bottom seismometers (OBS) and hydrophones was deployed in July 2007 over the fore-arc just to the E of Monowai at distances of 70-250 km to acquire data about local seismicity associated with subduction (Grevemeyer et al., 2016). The instruments also detected T waves and direct wave signals from the ongoing explosive activity. Analysis by Grevemeyer et al. (2016) showed that between deployment and recovery at the end of January 2008 there had been more than 2,000 events associated with Monowai, clustered into 13-15 major sequences that each lasted between several hours to about two days. Quiet periods between the event sequences varied between 1 and 70 days.

Intermittent activity during 2009 was described in a GeoNet posting from 6 January 2010. Activity was noted in early and mid-May, early July, mid-September (figure 30), late October (figure 31), mid-November, late November to early December, and mid-December 2009 based on seismic data recorded in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. On 27 October the RNZAF overflew the area and confirmed the activity, observing discolored sea water related to suspended sediment and precipitates. Another flight in May 2010 did not show similar activity. A summary of 2010 activity in New Zealand by GeoNet noted continued evidence of small-scale eruptive activity on the Rarotonga seismic record during the year (no dates given), but no activity was confirmed by surface observations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Seismic data from Rarotonga showing an eruption at Monowai during 13-17 September 2009. Courtesy of GNS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Aerial photo of discolored water near Monowai on 27 October 2009. Photo taken by Royal New Zealand Air Force, courtesy of GeoNet.

According to Metz et al. (2016), explosive eruptions took place over a period of five days in May 2011 (17 May-22 May) as detected by T phase waves recorded at broadband seismic stations on Rarotonga (Cook Islands), Papeete (Tahiti), and the Marquesas Islands. Signals were also received at an International Monitoring System hydrophone array (maintained by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization) near Ascension Island, ~15,800 km from the seamount in the equatorial South Atlantic Ocean.

Discolored water with gas bubbles and a sulfurous odor was observed during a planned swath mapping visit by the R/V Sonne on 14 May 2011 (Peirce and Watts, 2011). A second round of mapping on the return transit was accomplished on 1-2 June, after the episode of explosive activity already discussed. Watts et al. (2012) showed that there had been a depth change to the summit of 18.8 m between two surveys (BGVN 37:06), which was attributed to the growth of a cone or lava spine during the intervening eruption.

There was an additional visual confirmation of activity in August 2011, and GeoNet stated that activity was continuing in September. The 2011 volcanic summary by GeoNet again noted undated evidence of small-scale activity seen in the Rarotonga seismic data.

Seismicity during 1-4 June 2012 indicated another period of significant activity, which was confirmed by discolored seawater in the area observed from an RNZAF flight on 3 June. Seismographs in Rarotonga recorded eruptive activity during 3-19 August 2012 (figure 32). A posting from GeoNet on 2 October noted that Monowai had "not been active recently."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Seismic data from Rarotonga showing an eruption at Monowai during 3-19 August 2012. Courtesy of GNS.

There were no GeoNet reports of activity during 2013. However, the R/V Sonne was planning to add to the time series of maps of Monowai while making a final transit to Auckland (Werner et al., 2013). While they were approaching the seamount on 1 January 2014, with a summit estimated to be ~60 m below the surface based on 2011 bathymetry data, scientists noticed a light yellowish water discoloration and a faint rumble. The cruise report further noted that during profiling close to the summit a "sudden and significant increase in volcanic activity with explosive hydroclastic eruptions was accompanied by thunder and shock waves rapidly spreading out on the water surface." Pumice was also collected in the vicinity, but the source volcano was not known.

In a GeoNet volcanic activity update on 10 November 2014, Brad Scott observed that there had been eruptions detected during approximately 16-22 and 23-27 October, and 1-5 November (figure 33) based on T phase waves measured at Rarotonga, but the activity appeared to be weaker than that seen in 2009 and 2012. Confirming these observations was material seen floating on the ocean surface over the seamount by a RNZAF airplane on 31 October 2014 (figure 34). GeoNet noted that volcanic activity regularly occurs about 3-10 days a month; the yearly summary said the seamount erupted often in 2014.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Eruptive activity at Monowai during October-November 2014 identified on a seismic amplitude plot recorded from the Rarotonga T phase seismic monitoring site. Courtesy of GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Aerial view from a RNZAF airplane of the ocean over Monowai showing floating debris (pumice) on 31 October 2014. Courtesy of GeoNet.

There were no reports of activity during 2015, but a plume of discolored water was once again seen by the RNZAF on 19 May 2016. According to a 16 November 2016 GeoNet update by Brad Scott, activity was recorded for about 24 hours over 11-12 November. The report noted that this type of activity is seen a few days every month.

References: Chadwick, W.W., Jr., Wright, I.C., Schwarz-Schampera, U., Hyvernaud O., Reymond, D., and de Ronde, C.E.J., 2008, Cyclic eruptions and sector collapses at Monowai submarine volcano, Kermadec arc: 1998-2007, GeochemistryGeophysicsGeosystemsG3, v. 9, p. 1-17 (DOI: 10.1029/2008GC002113).

Grevemeyer, I., Metz, D., and Watts, A., 2016, Submarine explosive activity and ocean noise generation at Monowai Volcano, Kermadec Arc: constraints from hydroacoustic T-waves: EGU General Assembly 2016.

Peirce, C. and Watts, A., 2011, R/V Sonne SO215 - Cruise Report, The Louisville Ridge - Tonga Trench collision: Implications for subduction zone dynamics: Durham, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University.

Metz, D., Watts, A.B., Grevemeyer, I., Rodgers, M., and Paulatto, M., 2016 (22 February), Ultra-long-range hydroacoustic observations of submarine volcanic activity at Monowai, Kermadec Arc, Geophysical Research Letters, v. 43, no. 4, p. 1529-1536.

Watts, A.B., Peirce, C., Grevemeyer, I., Paulatto, M., Stratford, W., Bassett, D., Hunter, J.A., Kalnins, L.M., and de Ronde, C.E.J., 2012 (13 May), Rapid rates of growth and collapse of Monowai submarine volcano in the Kermadec Arc, Nature Geoscience, v. 5, p. 510-515 (DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1473).

Werner, R., D. Nürnberg, and F. Hauff, 2013, RV SONNE — Cruise report SO225, Helmholtz-Zentrum fur Ozeanforschung Kiel (GEOMAR) (DOI: 10.3289/GEOMAR_REP_NS_5_2012).

Geologic Background. Monowai, also known as Orion seamount, rises to within 100 m of the sea surface about halfway between the Kermadec and Tonga island groups. The volcano lies at the southern end of the Tonga Ridge and is slightly offset from the Kermadec volcanoes. Small parasitic cones occur on the N and W flanks of the basaltic submarine volcano, which rises from a depth of about 1500 m and was named for one of the New Zealand Navy bathymetric survey ships that documented its morphology. A large 8.5 x 11 km wide submarine caldera with a depth of more than 1500 m lies to the NNE. Numerous eruptions from Monowai have been detected from submarine acoustic signals since it was first recognized as a volcano in 1977. A shoal that had been reported in 1944 may have been a pumice raft or water disturbance due to degassing. Surface observations have included water discoloration, vigorous gas bubbling, and areas of upwelling water, sometimes accompanied by rumbling noises.

Information Contacts: New Zealand GeoNet Project, a collaboration between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.geonet.org.nz/).


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — February 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Details of 29 August 2014 Strombolian eruption; update through 2016

The large eruption of 29 August 2014 at the Tavurvur stratovolcano of Rabaul caldera, on the NE tip of New Britain Island in Papua New Guinea, followed a period of minor ash eruptions earlier in the year (BGVN 39:08). The volcano has been intermittently active since a major eruption in September 1994, which was its first eruption in over 50 years. During the 1994 eruption, a lava flow, tephra ejection, and an ash plume rising to 18 km caused the evacuation of over 50,000 people from the surrounding area, significant damage to nearby Rabaul Town, several deaths, and disrupted air traffic for several days (BGVN 19:08, 19:09). Additional information for the 2014 eruption, and subsequent activity covered in this report, was compiled by the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) and issued by the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management of Papua New Guinea (DMPGM). Aviation alerts for Rabaul are issued by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). A number of news outlets also covered the eruption with photographs, videos, and interviews of local residents.

A Strombolian eruption at Tavurvur began shortly after 0330 local time on 29 August 2014. This was followed by an ash plume rising to 18 km altitude. Smaller explosions at irregular intervals continued through 0641 on 30 August. After this, plumes of white vapor and slightly bluish gas returned, except for an ash plume reported on 12 September and a small explosion on 18 September. The volcano remained quiet after this and through 2016, although ground deformation data indicated a gradual inflation of about 6 cm over the period.

Activity during August-December 2014. Prior to August 2014, DMPGM reported that ground deformation measurements from the GPS station on Matupit Island (3 km W) had been showing increasing inflation, first detected in March 2014 (figure 67). In the days immediately before the 29 August 2014 eruption, Tavurvur had been emitting a diffuse plume of white vapor. An explosion occurred on 6 August, and an inspection of the summit crater on 8 August revealed an incandescent area covered by debris.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Locations of ground deformation (red), seismic (green) and thermal (orange) monitoring stations around Tavurvur volcano at Rabaul Caldera, New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea. Matupit Island is the peninsula immediately W of Tavurvur. Image courtesy WOVOdat.

The activity on 29 August 2014 started slowly between 0330 and 0400 local time and then developed into a Strombolian eruption accompanied by loud explosions, roaring, and rumbling. The stronger explosions generated shockwaves which rattled windows and doors in the area. At dawn, the eruption plume could be seen blowing W over the Malguna villages, about 8 km NW, at an altitude of 3,000 m (figure 68). Rabaul Town, 7 km NW of Tavurvur, was initially affected by ash, as was Volavolo (20 km W), but a shift in wind direction sent the plume in a more WNW direction by mid-morning. Villages to the E and S were not affected by ash, but ashfall was reported in Keravat, about 25 km SW. High levels of seismic tremor were recorded during the eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Eruption of Mt. Tavurvur, the active stratovolcano of Rabaul caldera, on 29 August 2014. The ash plume rose to 18 km altitude and dispersed ash to the W and NW of the volcano. Courtesy of OLIVER BLUETT/AFP/Getty Images, printed in The Washington Post.

DMPGM reported that the Strombolian eruption had begun to subside around 0645, and by 0700 only a diffuse white plume was being emitted and seismicity had decreased. Another report at 1600 noted that strong explosions continued throughout the day at irregular intervals, producing ash plumes that rose rapidly to 1,000 m above the summit before drifting NW. The explosions also ejected lava fragments of various sizes in all directions 500 to 1,000 m from the summit crater (figure 69). Shock waves accompanied the loud explosions and rattled buildings within several kilometers of the volcano. Intermittent explosions at increasing intervals continued into the following night generating incandescent lava fragments around the summit. Seismicity was dominated by discrete events that were associated with the explosions. The strong explosions ceased at 0641 on 30 August, and no incandescence was observed after that. By the morning of 31 August, seismicity had decreased from 80 events/hour to 15/hour. According to DMPGM, the eruption deposited a significant amount of ash and scoria on the hillsides of Rabaul Town and Malaguna Villages to the NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Incandescent lava exploding from Tavurvur (Rabaul Caldera) on 29 August 2014. Courtesy of Emma Edwards, reported at Traveller.com.

The initial ash plume from the eruption was first observed in satellite imagery by the Darwin VAAC around 0900 local time on 29 August, and rose to over 18 km altitude. The upper part of the plume was originally drifting SW, then changed to NW, and the lower part at 4.3 km altitude was moving NW. By late morning, the plume was moving in three directions at different altitudes; NW at 4.3 km, S at 16.7 km, and W at 18.3 km. The high-level ash from the original eruption had dissipated by the evening on 30 August, but low-level plumes to 2.1 km were still reported.

A substantial SO2 plume was recorded by the OMI Instrument on the Aura Satellite on 29 August, and was still measurable a day later (figure 70) drifting S. The MODVOLC thermal anomaly system recorded anomalous pixels at Rabaul captured by MODIS satellite data between 29 August and 1 September 2014.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. SO2 plumes captured by the OMI instrument on the AURA satellite from Rabaul on 29 and 30 August 2014. Rabaul is the triangle at the top right corner of the crescent shaped island of New Britain at the center of the image. Courtesy of NASA/GSFC.

From 1 to 17 September emissions consisted of variable amounts of diffuse to dense white vapor and small traces of diffuse blue vapor. Southeast winds were recirculating significant amounts of fine ash back into the atmosphere. A plume was reported by the Darwin VAAC on 12 September at 3 km altitude, drifting NW. Seismicity had decreased to very low levels with only 10-30 events recorded per day during the first half of September. A single small explosion occurred at 1242 on 18 September according to DMPGM that produced a small, light-gray ash plume that rose a few hundred meters above the summit crater before dissipating to the NW.

A site inspection of Tavurvur crater was conducted by DMPGM on 23 September 2014, and they observed significant changes in the crater since the 29 August eruption. The crater floor was filled with blocky lavas, and thus much shallower than when last observed prior to the eruption. Three or four areas of active emissions were present within the crater, and the rim was covered with large blocks of lava. By the end of September, seismicity had dropped to less than 10 low-frequency earthquakes per week. In mid-October DMPGM observed that the ground deformation data from the Matupit GPS station indicated that there had been an inflation of about 4 cm since the benchmark reached on 29 August during the eruption. Ground deformation was stable during November. During a field inspection of the summit crater on 9 December 2014, scientists measured a temperature of 310°C at a hot spot on the upper flank. Numerous patches of diffuse white vapor emissions were present at different places on the inner walls of the crater, and the crater floor seemed to have subsided slightly since the prior visit.

Activity during 2015 and 2016. A report by DMPGM from March 2015 noted that Tavurvur remained quiet with the summit crater releasing various amounts of diffuse white vapor, which was slightly denser during periods of rain. There was no observed incandescence or noise, and seismicity was low, with only a small number of both high-frequency and volcano-tectonic earthquakes recorded on 10 and 13 February. Ground deformation data indicated a general inflationary trend since September 2014 of about 5 cm. Monthly reports issued by DMPGM in March and April indicated little activity at Tavurvur, and stability of the ground deformation data. On 17 May 2015 a strong, earthquake of M 5.1 originating NE of Rabaul Caldera 1-2 km offshore from Korere and Nodup (about 9 km NW of Tavurvur) generated a swarm of aftershocks in the same area. They occurred at a depth of about 9 km and caused several small landslides in various places on the N flank of Kombiu, another stratovolcano at Rabaul about 2.5 km NE of Tavurvur.

Tavurvur remained quiet from September through November with occasional diffuse white vapor plumes rising from the summit caldera, and no volcanic earthquakes reported. While a long-term inflationary trend continued through November, shorter term fluctuations up and down of a few centimeters in the ground deformation data were also observed. The trend of vertical uplift between January 2015 and December 2016 showed an increase of approximately 6 cm during the period (figure 71).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Vertical uplift at the Matupit GPS station for Rabaul between 1 January 2015 and 1 December 2016. The trend shows a gradual inflation of about 6-7 cm. Courtesy of DMPGM (Volcano Information Bulletin No. 12-122016, 4 December 2016).

Geologic Background. The low-lying Rabaul caldera on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain forms a broad sheltered harbor utilized by what was the island's largest city prior to a major eruption in 1994. The outer flanks of the 688-m-high asymmetrical pyroclastic shield volcano are formed by thick pyroclastic-flow deposits. The 8 x 14 km caldera is widely breached on the east, where its floor is flooded by Blanche Bay and was formed about 1400 years ago. An earlier caldera-forming eruption about 7100 years ago is now considered to have originated from Tavui caldera, offshore to the north. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the northern and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and western caldera walls. Several of these, including Vulcan cone, which was formed during a large eruption in 1878, have produced major explosive activity during historical time. A powerful explosive eruption in 1994 occurred simultaneously from Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes and forced the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.

Information Contacts: Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), Volcano Observatory, Geohazards Management Division, PO Box 3386, KOKOPO, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); 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/, http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/cgi-bin/modisnew.cgi); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVOdat), hosted by Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798 www.wovodat.org; The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/08/29/photos-in-papua-new-guinea-mount-tavurvur-explodes-in-spectacular-style/); Traveller.com, http://www.traveller.com.au/qantas-reroutes-flights-as-pngs-rabaul-volcano-erupts-109utz .


Sheveluch (Russia) — February 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome extrusion, hot block avalanches, and strong explosions continue through August 2015

An eruption at Sheveluch has been ongoing since 1999, and the activity there was previously described through February 2015 (BGVN 42:01). During March-August 2015, the same type of activity prevailed, with lava dome extrusion, incandescence, hot block avalanches, fumarolic activity, and occasional strong explosions that generated ash plumes. Most of the following data comes from Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) reports. During this period the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

KVERT reported that during 27 February-15 May 2015, lava-dome extrusion onto the N flank continued to be accompanied by incandescence, hot block avalanches, and fumarolic activity. This activity diminished somewhat during 22 May-14 July, when lava-dome extrusion was accompanied only by fumarolic activity. However, heightened activity resumed during 15 July-31 August, when KVERT reported that lava-dome extrusion was accompanied by fumarolic activity, dome incandescence, and hot avalanches.

Between 28 February and the middle of April 2015, strong explosions generated ash plumes that rose to 7-12 km altitude. Ash drifted as much as 885 km in various directions, and ash fell in Ust-Kamchatsk (85 km SE) at least twice in March. Based on KVERT reports, ash plumes on 15 June and 5-6 July only rose as high as 3.3-5 km in altitude.

A daily thermal anomaly was detected 27 February-15 May, except when cloud cover obscured views. During 16-30 May, thermal anomalies were only detected occasionally in satellite images, but became more frequent thereafter, depending on cloud cover. KVERT reported that during 10 July-31 August, satellite images again detected an almost daily thermal anomaly over the dome.

Thermal anomalies based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm were infrequent during the reporting period, in contrast to the almost daily hotspots reported by KVERT. One hotspot was detected in March, April, and June, none in May, four in July, and eight in August.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); 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/).


Sinabung (Indonesia) — February 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption continues during May-October 2016; multiple fatalities from pyroclastic flows and lahars

The latest eruption of Sinabung that began mid-September 2013 (BGVN 38:09) had persisted through April 2016 (BGVN 41:09). This report describes the continuing activity from May-October 2016, and unfortunately included a fatality. Data were primarily drawn from reports issued by the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG, CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and the Badan Nacional Penanggulangan Bencana (National Disaster Management Authority, BNPB).

Inclement weather sometimes prevented visual observations. Throughout the reporting period, the Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4), indicating that the public should remain outside of a 3-km radius; those within 7 km of the volcano on the SSE sector, and within 6 km in the ESE sector, and 4 km in the NNE sector should evacuate.

According to the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG reports, a number of ash plumes were observed each month (table 6). They generally rose to altitudes of 3.3-5.5, although one rose as high as 5.9 km.

Table 6. Ash plumes with altitudes and drift directions reported at Sinabung from May 2016 to October 2016. Weather clouds often prevented observations. Courtesy of PVMBG, Darwin VAAC, and BNPB.

Date Ash plume altitude (km) Ash plume drift
04-05, 09-10 May 2016 3.6-4.8 W
11-13, 16 May 2016 3-4.5 SW, W, WNW, NW
18, 21-22, 24 May 2016 3.6-5.5 S, E
26-29 May 2016 3.6-4.9 --
05-07 Jun 2016 3.3-3.9 SW
10-11 Jun 2016 3.3-5.9 S, WSW, W
19-20 Jun 2016 4.3-4.6 SE, E
25-27 Jun 2016 3.7 E
29 Jun-05 Jul 2016 3.4-5.5 Multiple
06, 08-09, 11 Jul 2016 3.7-5.5 SE, E, NE, W
15-16, 19 Jul 2016 4.6 NW, W, SW
21-22, 24-25 Jul 2016 3.7-4.6 NW, NE, SE
27-28 Jul, 01 Aug 2016 4-4.3 NE, E, SSE
03-05, 07 Aug 2016 3.7-5.5 SE, NE, NNW
15 Aug 2016 4.3 E
17, 21-22 Aug 2016 4 SE
26 Aug 2016 6.1 NW, NNE
29 Aug 2016 4.6 ENE
30 Aug 2016 5.2 NW
01-03 Sep 2016 4.3-5.5 W, WSW
17 Sep 2016 3.3 E
23-25 Sep 2016 3.6-4.2 E, ESE, SE
28-29 Sep 2016 3.6-3.9 E
05 Oct 2016 3.3 SE
12 Oct 2016 4.6 E
26, 29 Oct 2016 4.2 SSE
31 Oct-01 Nov 2016 3.4 NE

According to BNPB, a lahar passed through Kutambaru village, 20 km NW of Sinabung and near the Lau Barus River, at 1545 on 9 May 2016, killing a boy and injuring four more. One person was missing. A news article (Okezone News) noted that three houses were also damaged.

BNPB reported that a pyroclastic flow descended the flanks at 1648 on 21 May, killing six people and critically injuring three more. A later CBS news account on 22 May indicated that seven people had died, with two in critical condition. The victims were gardening in the village of Gamber, 4 km SE from the summit crater, in the restricted zone. The report noted that activity remained high; four pyroclastic flows descended the flanks on 21 May.

On 3 July, BNPB reported that the eruption continued at a very high level. Lava was incandescent as far as 1 km down the SE and E flanks, and multiple avalanches were detected. An explosion at 1829 generated an ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted E and SE, causing ashfall in Medan (55 km NE). There were 2,592 families (9,319 people) displaced to nine shelters, and an additional 1,683 families in temporary shelters waiting for relocation.

According to BNPB, on 24 August, observers at the PVMBG Sinabung observation post noted a marked increase in seismicity and counted 19 pyroclastic flows and 137 avalanches from the early morning until the late afternoon. Foggy conditions obscured visual observations through most of the day, although incandescent lava as far as 500 m SSE and 1 km ESE was noted in the morning, and a pyroclastic flow was seen traveling 3.5 km ESE at 1546. The lava dome had grown to a volume of 2.6 million cubic meters. Activity remained very high on 25 August; pyroclastic flows continuously descended the flanks, traveling as far as 2.5 km E and SE, and 84 avalanches occurred during the first part of the day.

Thermal anomalies. During the reporting period, thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, occurred during one to five days every month. Only three days had more than one pixel (1, 3 May, 8 October). The Mirova (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected thermal anomalies every month during the reporting period within 5 km of the volcano, with the heaviest concentration in May and fewest in September and October.

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

Information Contacts: 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/); Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); 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/); Okezone News (URL: http://news.okezone.com/); CBS News (URL: http://www.cbsnews.com/).


Veniaminof (United States) — February 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Veniaminof

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows, Strombolian activity, and ash plumes during 13 June-17 October 2013

Mount Veniaminof, located on the Alaska Peninsula, has a large glacier-filled summit caldera that formed around 3,700 years ago. A cone within the crater has been the source of at least 13 eruptions in the last 200 years that included intermittent steam and ash emissions, incandescent lava flows, and Strombolian activity. Prior to an eruptive episode that began in June 2013, lava had last erupted during Strombolian activity in February 2005; subsequent minor ash emissions occurred later in 2005, November 2006, and February 2008. Pilots reported ash plumes in January and June 2009, but the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) concluded that the plumes were steam-only. Veniaminof is closely monitored by AVO and the Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also has a web camera in Perryville, 35 km E of the volcano. This review draws heavily from a USGS report on the June through October 2013 eruption (Dixon et al., 2015).

Beginning on 7 June 2013, a several-day period of increasing levels of seismic tremor indicated the start of a largely effusive eruption from the intracaldera cinder cone (figure 17). The first ash plume was observed on 13 June. Over the next four months, numerous emissions rose to altitudes generally below 4.6 km and coated the flanks of the cone with ash, Strombolian explosions were visually observed several times, and lava flowed down the N and S flanks of the active cone and advanced onto the surrounding ice-filled caldera creating ice cauldrons. The eruption constructed a new spatter cone within the summit crater of the main active cone. Activity had ceased by 17 October 2013. A brief period of elevated seismicity occurred during October and November 2015, but no eruptive activity was recorded.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Topographic map of Mount Veniaminof showing the margin of the caldera (red dashed line) and the active cone within the caldera (black circle). Seismic stations VNWF and VNHG were the most fully operable of the network in June 2013. The caldera is 10 km in diameter. Courtesy of AVO/UAFGI, 19 June 2013 (AVO database image URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/images/image.php?id=50831).

Gradually increasing low-frequency tremor was recorded on two seismograph stations at Veniaminof, along with elevated surface temperatures of the intracaldera cinder cone recorded via satellite images on 7 June 2013. This led AVO to increase the 4-level Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level from Green/Normal to Yellow/Advisory the next day. By 13 June, seismicity levels and elevated surface temperatures at the summit of the cinder cone (as measured by satellite images) indicated an eruption was likely underway, causing AVO to raise the Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level to Orange/Watch. Observation of an ash plume at an altitude of 3.7 km by a pilot that evening along with a lava flow effusing from the intra-caldera cinder cone confirmed the eruption.

Residents in Perryville (32 km SSE) and Port Moller (77 km WSW) also observed ash emissions at about 2330 local time that evening. The first VAAC report around the same time listed the ash plume at 4.3 km altitude, drifting NNE. Ash deposits on the snow-covered caldera floor, and lava on the cone, were visible in satellite images on 14 June. The first MODVOLC thermal anomaly pixels from MODIS satellite data also appeared on 14 June. On 18 June the web camera in Perryville captured short-lived ash plumes rising to less than 4.6 km, and residents in Sandy River (33 km W) reported visible plumes to similar altitudes the next day. The 100-m-wide lava flow extended 500 m down the SW flank of the cone onto the adjacent snow and ice field by 18 June. Interaction of the lava with the caldera snow-and-ice field generated water-rich ash plumes. Clear satellite views the following day showed active flow lobes advancing over the ice at the base of the cone.

In subsequent weeks, three flows descended the S flank, and minor amounts of ash accumulated on the caldera floor. Strombolian activity was captured by infrared satellite imagery, from the FAA web camera in Perryville, and from several local lodges and remote camps (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Telephoto view of erupting Mount Veniaminof, 9 July 2013. Photograph was taken from Sandy River about 32 km W of the volcano. Bright orange incandescence indicates lava fountaining from the vent hidden from view within the crater atop the cinder cone. At times, the eruption was characterized by closely spaced bursts that produced 'puffs' of ash. Courtesy of AVO/USGS. Photograph by William Jasper, used with permission (AVO database image URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/images/image.php?id=56303 ).

On 16 July 2013 an AVO geologist visited the caldera by helicopter, making observations and taking the first close-up photographs documenting the lava flows and ice cauldron formation (figure 19). Images of the vent area showed a new cone of accumulated spatter nested within the summit crater of the main cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Southwestern flank of the intracaldera cone at Mount Veniaminof on 16 July 2013 showing lava flows emplaced during the eruptive activity occurring in June and July 2013, and a new cone formed from eruptive spatter. View is toward the east. The flows appear similar to those produced during the 1993 eruption. Courtesy of AVO/USGS. Photograph by Chris Waythomas, 16 July 2013 (AVO database image URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/images/image.php?id=51301 ).

Strong MODVOLC thermal alert pixels, up to 12 per day, continued almost daily through the end of July. A pilot report from 0800 AKDT on 25 July described an ash plume to 100 m above the erupting cone dispersing 25 km to the S, and a "river of lava" flowing from the intracaldera cone. Numerous reports from the Anchorage VAAC between 27 and 31 July confirmed ash plumes rising as high as 4.6 km altitude and drifting up to 20 km NW.

After a brief period of quiet in early August 2013, activity resumed with lava flows and ash plumes on 11 August. On 12 August, satellite imagery confirmed incandescence from the cone and an ash plume was also observed from Perryville. A second overflight under clear skies by AVO geologists on 18 August revealed ash covering the immediate area of the glacier and the lava flows, and an active incandescent flow down the S flank into the ice cauldrons where the hottest parts of the flows were still in contact with ice and water. The S-flank lava flows had coalesced and largely melted into the surrounding ice (figures 20 and 21).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. A small puff of ash emerges from the active cone inside the Veniaminof caldera on 18 August 2013. A fan of lava flows active earlier in the summer descends the southern flank of the cone onto glacial ice, producing white steam clouds and depressions where melting has occurred. The surrounding glacier is darkened by recent ashfall. Courtesy of USGS/AVO. Photograph by Game McGimsey (AVO database image URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/images/image.php?id=55761 ).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Aerial view of the eruption at Veniaminof's intracaldera cone on 18 August 2013, from an overflight co-sponsored by the National Geographic Society. The cone rises about 300 m above the surrounding icefield. An incandescent orange stream of lava is emerging from the active cone. Steam billows from the pit at the base of the cone where the lava encounters and melts ice and snow creating an ice cauldron. The small, ash-rich plume rising just above the vent produced a diffuse ash cloud that drifted downwind. Courtesy of AVO/USGS. Photograph by Game McGimsey, AVO/USGS (AVO database image at URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/images/image.php?id=56211 ).

Strombolian explosions of incandescent lava and minor ash emissions were observed at the central active vent on 18 August during the flyover. Two new lava flows were also observed issuing from the NE flank of the new cone. Forward Looking Infrared Radiometer (FLIR) images delineated the lava flows and hot spatter on the cone (figure 22). As measured by the FLIR, maximum temperatures reached 700° to 800°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Forward Looking Infrared Radiometer (FLIR) image of the erupting intracaldera cone of Mount Veniaminof on 18 August 2013. In this oversaturated image (due to low thermal imagery setting), the active lava flows (hottest) are red and the lava fountaining at the summit is easily visible. These lava flows are on the NE flank of the cone. Maximum temperatures recorded were between 700° and 800° C. Courtesy of USGS/AVO. FLIR image by Game McGimsey (AVO database image URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/images/image.php?id=57831).

The Anchorage VAAC reported ash plumes on 20 and 21 August 2013 rising to 3.7 km altitude moving SE within a few kilometers of the summit. Residents of Perryville reported rumbling noises, explosions, and trace ashfall on 20 August. Similar, low-level ash plumes and persistent thermal anomalies were detected during the remainder of August. A noted increase in activity on 30 August included elevated levels of continuous tremor, lava fountaining, and ash emissions as high as 6.1 km altitude; this was some of the strongest unrest detected since the eruption began in June. Trace amounts of ashfall were again reported in Perryville. Lava effusion, fountaining, and nearly continuous small ash plumes continued through the first week in September. Satellite and aerial images on 6 and 7 September indicated further development of the flows on the NE flank and expansion of the ice cauldron as well as a new lobe of lava advancing southward from the NE flank ice cauldron (figure 23).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Aerial view of Mount Veniaminof erupting on 7 September 2013. Note the white water vapor clouds indicating that hot lava is interacting with snow and ice. A gray-brown ash column rises from the active vent. The advancing flows in foreground are on the southeastern flank of the cone and were the last flows emplaced in the 2013 eruption. The summit ice field is darkened with recent ash fall. Courtesy AVO/USGS. Photograph by Joyce Alto, used with permission (AVO database image URL: http://www.avo.alaska.edu/images/image.php?id=56424).

MODVOLC thermal alert pixels ceased on 8 September 2013; the last September satellite imagery detection of volcanic ash emissions as reported by the Anchorage VAAC was on 9 September. By 19 September no evidence of active lava flows was observed in satellite images; seismicity had begun to decrease during the week, and the eruption appeared to be waning. This short-lived period of quiescence ended on 6 October when MODVOLC pixels reappeared through 11 October, suggesting active lava effusion. An ash plume reported by the Anchorage VAAC on 11 October rose to 6.1 km altitude (the highest of this eruption) and trace amounts of ash were reported in the communities of Chignik Lake and Chignik Lagoon, 40-55 km E of the active vent; it was the last VAAC report of an ash plume in 2013. On 17 October AVO noted that seismicity had decreased during the previous week and satellite observations during periods of clear weather showed no evidence of eruptive activity. The Aviation Color Code/Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Yellow/Advisory. Seismicity remained slightly above background levels through the following June, although no further activity was reported. The Alert Level was lowered to Green/Normal on 9 July 2014.

According to the USGS and AVO, the 2013 eruption produced about 5 X 105 m3 of erupted lava, comparable in size to the 1983 eruption. A chart of eruptive events and the real-time seismic amplitude (RSAM) time series data between 13 June and 17 October 2013 prepared by USGS/AVO illustrates the significant eruptive events of this period (figure 24). Additional details of the eruption can be found in Dixon et al., 2015.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Real-time seismic amplitude (RSAM) time series from seismic station VNWF (located on the lower SW flank of Veniaminof), and significant eruptive events between 9 June and 1 November 2013. The AVO Aviation Color Code during the eruption also is shown. Courtesy of USGS/AVO (figure 25, Dixon et al., 2015).

No further reports of activity from Veniaminof were issued until increased seismic activity began on 30 September 2015. This led AVO to increase the Color Code/Alert Level to Yellow/Advisory the next day. Occasional, clear web camera images from Perryville in the subsequent weeks showed small steam plumes rising from the intracaldera cone but no ash emissions or lava effusions. Slightly elevated levels of seismicity continued until the beginning of December. AVO downgraded the status from Yellow/Advisory to Green/Normal on 11 December 2015.

References: Dixon, J.P., Cameron, Cheryl, McGimsey, R.G., Neal, C.A., and Waythomas, Chris, 2015, 2013 Volcanic activity in Alaska - Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015-5110, 92 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20155110

Waythomas, C.F., 2013, Volcano-ice interactions during recent eruptions of Aleutian Arc volcanoes and implications for melt water generation: Eos Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, abstract V34C-03.

Geologic Background. Veniaminof, on the Alaska Peninsula, is truncated by a steep-walled, 8 x 11 km, glacier-filled caldera that formed around 3,700 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 (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/); Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Alaska Aviation Weather Unit, NWS NOAA US Dept. of Commerce, 6930 Sand Lake Road, Anchorage, AK 99502-1845(URL: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Zavodovski (United Kingdom) — February 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Zavodovski

United Kingdom

56.3°S, 27.57°W; summit elev. 551 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption of ash and steam observed in June 2016

Remote Zavodovski Island, located in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, is the northernmost of the South Sandwich Islands, 570 km SE of South Georgia Island. The basaltic stratovolcano on the island, known as Mount Curry, has a large lava platform extending east from two parasitic cones on the side of the main edifice. Steam emissions from the summit have been observed by researchers, fishing vessels, and tourists who visit the island to see the population of over one million chinstrap penguins. The only confirmed historical eruption was that observed in 1819 by the Russian explorer Bellingshausen. In early July 2016, a photograph of ash and steam emitting from the volcano was released by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

While steam plumes have been observed emitting from Mt. Curry on a number of occasions, observations of volcanic ash had not been documented in modern times until June 2016. The MODIS instrument (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a unique image of the interaction of low-level emissions from Zavodovski and the atmosphere on 27 April 2012 (figure 1). Aerosol particles from the volcano are key to the formation of clouds, but whether they are derived from steam plumes, magmatic gases, or volcanic ash is unclear from this image.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. In this image that includes Zavodovski Island taken on 27 April 2012, NASA scientists interpret the sulfate aerosols from the volcano as sufficient to seed clouds in the air masses passing over the island. Note how the plume stretching north is brighter than the surrounding clouds, a result of the small aerosol particle size and the numerous small water droplets that form around them. The smaller droplets provide more surfaces to reflect light. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory. Further details from the image can be found at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=78352 .

The BBC conducted a filming expedition to Zavodovski in January 2015 to document the landscape of the island and the behavior of its resident chinstrap penguin colony; while there they observed regular puffs of steam rising from the summit, shown in their expedition report to the SGSSI Government (figure 2). Additional NASA MODIS satellite images of white plumes issuing from Mount Curry were captured by the South Sandwich Islands Volcano Monitoring Blog in January and December 2015, but are inconclusive as to the presence of volcanic ash.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Puffs of steam emerge at regular intervals from Mount Curry on Zavodovski Island in January 2015 when photographed by a BBC filming crew that spent 14 days on the island. View taken by UAV from the SW side of the island. Courtesy of SGSSI Government (BBC "One Planet" – Post-expedition report - Zavodovski Island 2015).

The plumes in 2016 first appeared in images dated 30 March and 7 April, but the plume content beyond steam is difficult to assess. Images from 1 and 13 June 2016 also show white gas plumes. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) reported on 6 July 2016 that Mt. Curry began erupting in March 2016. A fishing observer captured an image of an ash-and-steam eruption in June 2016 (figure 3). The BAS noted that fishing vessels in the area captured photos of the eruption with "smoke" and ash drifting to the E, covering the lower slopes of the volcano, and bombs being ejected from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Mt. Curry on Zavodovski island emitting ash and steam plumes during June 2016. Courtesy of British Antarctic Survey. Photo by fishing observer David Virgo.

Satellite images confirmed that up to half of the island was coated with ash. On 20 July 2016 the Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands issued a Navigation Warning noting that eruptions on Zavodovski and nearby Bristol Island were emitting significant ash and dust particles and advised Mariners to remain at least 3 nautical miles from the area.

Frequent satellite images of white plumes issuing from Zavodovski were captured in satellite images during the rest of 2016. On 29 August a white plume was drifting NE. Between 17 September and 10 October satellite images captured several white plumes drifting in various directions. On 1 November a grayish white plume was observed drifting E; on 19 and 20 November and 6 December white plumes were observed. A grayish-white plume was captured on 9 December drifting SSW, and on 17 December a large white plume was drifting SE.

References: BBC, 2015, BBC Natural History Unit filming expedition to Zavodovski Island, a report to the commissioners office, South Georgia Government, posted at www.gov.gs.

Geologic Background. The 5-km-wide Zavodovski Island, the northernmost of the South Sandwich Islands, consists of a single basaltic stratovolcano with two parasitic cones on the east side. Mount Curry, the island's summit, lies west of the center of the island, which is more eroded on that side. Two fissures extend NE from the summit towards the east-flank craters, and a lava platform is located along the eastern coast. Zavodovski is the most frequently visited of the South Sandwich Islands. It was erupting when first seen in 1819 by the explorer Bellingshausen, and the volcano has been reported to be smoking during subsequent visits.

Information Contacts: British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingly Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.bas.ac.uk/ , https://www.bas.ac.uk/media-post/penguin-colonies-at-risk-from-erupting-volcano/); Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Government House, Stanley, Falkland Islands, South Atlantic (URL: http://www.gov.gs/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); South Sandwich Islands Volcano Monitoring Blog (URL: http://southsandwichmonitoring.blogspot.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.

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

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

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

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

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

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

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

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

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

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



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

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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


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

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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