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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

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

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

Popocatepetl (Mexico) Frequent explosions continue during March-August 2019

Semeru (Indonesia) Intermittent activity continues during March-August 2019; ash plumes and thermal anomalies

Saunders (United Kingdom) Intermittent activity most months, October 2018-June 2019; photographs during February and May 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Tengger Caldera

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Unnamed (Tonga) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Unnamed

Tonga

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions continue during March-August 2019

The current eruptive period of Popocatépetl began on 9 January 2005 and it has since been producing frequent explosions accompanied by ash plumes, gas emissions, and ballistic ejecta that can impact several kilometers away from the crater, as well as dome growth and destruction. This activity continued through March-August 2019 with an increase in volcano alert level during 28 March-6 May. This report summarizes activity during this period and is based on information from Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), and various webcam and remote sensing data.

An overflight on 28 February confirmed that dome 82, which was first observed on 14 February, was still present and was 200 m in diameter. During March there were 3,291 observed low-intensity emissions, and 33 larger explosions that produced ash plumes to a maximum height of 5 km, accompanied by near-continuous emission of water vapor and volcanic gases. Explosions ejected blocks that fell on the flanks out to 1.2-2 km on 1, 10, 13, 17, 26, 27, and 29 March. The events on the 17th and 27th resulted in vegetation fires. Frequent sulfur dioxide (SO2) plumes were detected by TropOMI (figure 130). An overflight on 7 March showed intense degassing and an ash plume at 1142, preventing visibility into the crater (figure 131). On 13 March Strombolian activity was observed for approximately 15 minutes at 0500, accompanied by incandescent ejecta that deposited mainly on the ESE flank.

An overflight on 15 March was taken by CENAPRED and UNAM personnel to observe changes to the crater after explosions on the 13th and 14th. They reported that dome 82 had been destroyed and the crater maintained its previous dimensions of 300 m in diameter and 130 m deep. An explosion on the 27th ejected incandescent rocks out to 2 km from the crater and produced a 3-km-high ash plume that dispersed to the NE. Ashfall was reported in Santa Cruz, Atlixco, San Pedro, San Andrés, Santa Isabel Cholula, San Pedro Benito Juárez, and in the municipalities of Puebla, Hueyapan, Tetela del Volcán, and Morelos.

On 28 March an explosion at 0650 generated a 2.5-km-high ash plume and ejecta out to 1 km from the crater, and a 130-minute-long event produced gas and ah plumes (figure 132). On this day the volcano alert level was increased from Yellow Phase 2 to Yellow Phase 3. On the 29th an ash plume rose to 3 km and was accompanied by ejecta that reached 2 km away from the crater. Later that day a 20-minute-long event produced ash and gas. During a surveillance flight on 30 March a view into the crater showed no dome present, and the crater size had increased to 350 m in width and 250-300 m in depth after recent explosions (figure 131). On this day Strombolian activity was also observed lasting for 14 minutes, producing an ash plume to 800 m and ejecta out to 300 m from the crater. Incandescence at the crater was often seen during nighttime throughout the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 130. Significant SO2 plumes at Popocatépetl detected by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during 3-11 March 2019. SO2 plumes are frequently observed and these images show examples of plume drift directions on 3 March 2019 (top left), 6 March 2019 (top right), 7 March 2019 (bottom left), and 11 March 2019 (bottom right). Date, time, and measurements are provided at the top of each image. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 131. Activity at Popocatépetl and views of the crater during surveillance flights in March 2019. The top images show an ash plume (left) and a gas-and-steam plume (right) on 7 March. On 30 March (bottom left and right) no lava dome was observed in the crater, which was measured to be 350 m in diameter and 250-300 m deep. Courtesy of CENAPRED and Geophysics Institute of UNAM.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 132. Explosive activity at Popocatépetl on 28 March 2019 producing ash plumes (top and bottom left) and ejecting incandescent ejecta out to 2 km from the crater at 1948. Courtesy of Carlos Sanchez/AFP (top), CENAPRED (bottom left and right), and Webcams de Mexico (bottom left).

There was a decrease in events during the next two months with 1,119 recorded low-intensity emissions and no larger ash explosions throughout April, followed by 1,210 low-intensity emissions and seven larger ash explosions through May (figure 133). Water vapor and volcanic gas emissions were frequently observed through this time and incandescence was observed some nights. A surveillance overflight on 26 April noted no new dome within the crater. On 6 May the alert level was lowered back to Yellow Phase 2. Another overflight on 9 May showed no change in the crater. An explosion at 1910 on 22 May produced an ash plume to 3.5 km above the crater with ashfall reported in Ozumba, Temamatla, Atlautla, Cocotitlán, Ayapango, Ecatzingo, Tenango del Aire and Tepetlixpa.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 133. Graph showing the number of daily ash explosions and low-intensity emissions at Popocatépetl during March-August 2019. There was a decrease in the number of events during April and March, with an increase from March onwards. Data courtesy of CENAPRED.

Through the month of June there were 2,820 low-intensity emissions and 21 larger ash explosions recorded. Gas emissions were observed throughout the month. Two explosions on 3 June produced ash plumes up to 3.5 and 2.8 km, with ejecta out to 2 km S during the first explosion. On 11 June an explosion produced an ash plume to 1 km above the crater and ballistic ejecta out to 1 km E. Observers on a surveillance overflight on the 12th reported no changes within the crater

Explosions with estimated plume heights of 5 km occurred on the 14th and 15th, with the latter producing ashfall in the municipalities of San Pablo del Monte, Tenancingo, Papantla, San Cosme Mazatencocho, San Luis Teolocholco, Acuamanala, Nativitas, Tepetitla, Santa Apolonia Teacalco, Santa Isabel Tetlatlahuaca, and Huamantla, in the state of Tlaxcala, as well as in Nealtican, San Nicolás de los Ranchos, Calpan, San Pedro Cholula, Juan C. Bonilla, Coronango, Atoyatempan, and Coatzingo, in the state of Puebla.

On 17 June an explosion produced an ash plume that reached 8 km above the crater and dispersed towards the SW. An ash plume rising 2.5 km high was accompanied by incandescent ejecta impacting a short distance from the crater on the 21st, and another ash plume reached 2.5 km on the 22nd. Explosions on 26, 29, and 30 June resulted in ash plumes reaching 1.5 km above the crater and ballistic ejecta impacting on the flanks out to 1 km.

For the month of July there was an increased total of 5,637 recorded low-intensity emissions, and 173 larger ash explosions (figure 134). On 8 July an explosion produced ballistic ejecta out to 1.5 km and an ash plume up to 1 km above the crater. An ash plume up to 2.6 km was produced on the 12th. On 19 July a surveillance overflight observed a new dome (dome 83) with a diameter of 70 m and a thickness of 15 m (figure 135). Explosions on 20 July produced ashfall, and minor explosions that ejected incandescent ballistics onto the slopes. An event on the 24th produced an ash plume that reached 1.2 km, and ash plumes the following day reached 1 km. An overflight on 27 July confirmed that these explosions destroyed dome 83, and the crater dimensions remained the same (figure 136). The following day, ash plumes reached up to 1.6 km above the crater, and up to 2 km on the 29th. Minor ashfall was reported in the municipality of Ozumba on 30 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 134. Examples of ash plumes at Popocatépetl on 1 July (top left), 18 July (top right and bottom left), and 30 July (bottom right) 2019. In the night time image taken on 18 July hot rocks are visible on the flank. Webcam images courtesy of CENAPRED and Webcams de Mexico.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 135. A surveillance overflight at Popocatépetl on 19 July 2019 confirmed a new dome, dome number 83, with a width of 70 m and a thickness of 15 m. Courtesy of CENAPRED and Geophysics Institute of UNAM.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 136. Photos of the summit crater of Popocatépetl taken during a surveillance flight on 27 July 2019 confirmed that the 83rd lava dome was destroyed by recent explosions and the crater maintained the same dimensions as previously measured. Courtesy of CENAPRED and Geophysics Institute of UNAM.

Throughout August the number of recorded events was higher than previous months, with 5,091 low-intensity emissions and 204 larger ash explosions (figure 137). Two explosions generated ash plumes and incandescent ejecta on 2 August, the first with a plume up to 1.5 km with ejecta impacting the slopes, and the second with an 800 m plume and ejecta landing back in the crater. Ashfall from the events was reported in in the municipalities of Tenango del Aire, Ayapango and Amecameca. On the 14th ashfall was reported in Juchitepec, Ayapango, and Ozumba. Explosions on 16 August produced ash plumes up to 2 km that dispersed to the WSW. Over the following two days ash plumes reached 1.2 km and resulted in ashfall in Cuernavaca, Tepoztlán, Tlalnepantla, Morelos, Ozumba, and Ecatzingo. Over 30-31 August ash plumes reached between 1-2 km above the crater and ashfall was reported in Amecameca, Atlautla, Ozumba, and Tlalmanalco. Incandescence was sometimes observed at the crater through the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 137. Ash plumes at Popocatépetl on 7 August (top) and 26 August 2019 (bottom). Courtesy of CENAPRED and Webcams de Mexico.

The MODVOLC algorithm for MODIS thermal anomalies registered thermal alerts through this period, with 22 in March, three in May, five in July, and one in August. The MIROVA system showed that the frequency of thermal anomalies at Popocatépetl was higher in March, sporadic in April and May, low in June, and had increased again in July and August (figure 138). Elevated temperatures were frequently visible in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data when clouds and plumes were not covering the crater (figure 139).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 138. Thermal activity at Popocatépetl detected by the MIROVA system showed frequent anomalies in March, intermittent anomalies through April-May, low activity in June, and an increase in July-August 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 139. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images frequently showed elevated temperatures in the crater of Popocatépetl during March-August 2019, as seen in this representative image from 7 May 2019. Sentinel2- atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) scene courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/); Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), University City, 04510 Mexico City, Mexico (URL: https://www.unam.mx/); 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/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Webcams de Mexico (URL: http://www.webcamsdemexico.com/); Agence France-Presse (URL: http://www.afp.com/).


Semeru (Indonesia) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

8.108°S, 112.922°E; summit elev. 3657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent activity continues during March-August 2019; ash plumes and thermal anomalies

The ongoing eruption at Semeru weakened in intensity during 2018, with occasional ash plumes and thermal anomalies (BGVN 44:04); this reduced but ongoing level of activity continued through August 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). The current report summarizes activity from 1 March to 31 August 2019. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale from 1-4); the public was warned to stay 1 km away from the active crater and 4 km away on the SSE flank.

Based on analysis of satellite images, the Darwin VAAC reported that ash plumes rose to an altitude of 4-4.3 km on 19 April, 20 June, 10 July, and 13 July, drifting in various directions. In addition, PVMBG reported that at 0830 on 26 June an explosion produced an ash plume that rose around 600 m above the summit and drifted SW. A news article (Tempo.com) dated 12 August cited PVMBG as stating that the volcano had erupted 17 times since 8 August.

During March-August 2019 thermal anomalies were detected with the MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm only on 5 July and 22 August. No explosions were recorded on those two days. Scattered thermal anomalies within 5 km of the volcano were detected by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system, also based on analysis of MODIS data: one at the end of March and 3-6 hotspots over the following months, almost all of low radiative power. Satellite imagery intermittently showed thermal activity in the Jonggring-Seloko crater (figure 37), sometimes with material moving down the SE-flank ravine.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Sentinel-2 satellite images showing the persistent elevated thermal anomaly in the Jonggring-Seloko crater of Semeru were common through August 2019, as seen in this view on 20 July. Hot material could sometimes be identified in the SE-flank ravine. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Semeru, the highest volcano on Java, and one of its most active, lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises above coastal plains to the south. Gunung Semeru was constructed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek and Jambangan calderas. A line of lake-filled maars was constructed along a N-S trend cutting through the summit, and cinder cones and lava domes occupy the eastern and NE flanks. Summit topography is complicated by the shifting of craters from NW to SE. Frequent 19th and 20th century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano.

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


Saunders (United Kingdom) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Saunders

United Kingdom

57.8°S, 26.483°W; summit elev. 843 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent activity most months, October 2018-June 2019; photographs during February and May 2019

Historical observations of eruptive activity from the glacier-covered Mount Michael stratovolcano on Saunders Island in the South Sandwich Islands were not recorded until the early 19th century at this remote site in the southernmost Atlantic Ocean, and remain extremely rare. With the advent of satellite observation technology, indications of more frequent eruptive activity have become apparent. Vapor emission is frequently reported from the summit crater, and AVHRR and MODIS satellite imagery has revealed evidence for lava lake activity in the summit crater (Lachlan-Cope and others, 2001). Limited thermal anomaly data and satellite imagery indicated at least intermittent activity during May 2000-November 2013, and from November 2014 through April 2018 (Gray and others, 2019). Ongoing observations, including photographs from two site visits in February and May 2019 suggest continued activity at the summit during most months through May 2019, the period covered in this report. Information, in addition to on-site photographs, comes from MIROVA thermal anomaly data, NASA SO2 instruments, and Sentinel-2 and Landsat satellite imagery.

Near-constant cloud coverage for much of the year makes satellite data intermittent and creates difficulty in interpreting the ongoing nature of the activity. Gray and others (2019) concluded recently after a detailed study of shortwave and infrared satellite images that there was continued evidence for the previously identified lava lake on Mount Michael since January 1989. MIROVA thermal anomaly data suggest intermittent pulses of thermal energy in September, November, and December 2018, and April 2019 (figure 17). Satellite imagery confirmed some type of activity, either a dense steam plume, evidence of ash, or a thermal anomaly, each month during December 2018-March 2019. Sulfur dioxide anomalies were recorded in January, February, and March 2019. Photographic evidence of fresh ash was captured in February 2019, and images from May 2019 showed dense steam rising from the summit crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. MIROVA thermal anomaly data from 19 September 2018 through June 2019 showed sporadic, low-level pulses of thermal energy in late September, November, and December 2018, and April 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

After satellite imagery and thermal anomaly data in late September 2018 showed evidence for eruptive activity (BGVN 43:10, figure 16), a single thermal anomaly in MIROVA data was recorded in mid-November 2018 (figure 17). A rare, clear Sentinel-2 image on 2 December revealed a dense steam plume over the active summit crater; the steam obscured the presence of any possible thermal anomalies beneath (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Sentinel-2 images of Mount Michael on Saunders Island on 2 December 2018 revealed a dense steam plume over the summit crater that was difficult to distinguish from the surrounding snow in Natural Color rendering (bands 4,3,2) (left), but was clearly visible in Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12,11, 8a) (right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Clear evidence of recent activity appeared on 1 January 2019 with both a thermal anomaly at the summit crater and a streak of ash on the snow (figure 19). Steam was also present within the summit crater. A distinct SO2 anomaly appeared in data from the TROPOMI instrument on 14 January (figure 20).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. A thermal anomaly and dense steam were recorded at the summit of Mount Michael on Saunders Island on 1 January 2019 in Sentinel-2 Satellite imagery with Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) (left). The same image shown with Natural Color rendering (bands 4,3,2) (right) shows a recent streak of brown particulates drifting SE from the summit crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. A distinct SO2 plume was recorded drifting NW from Saunders Island by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite on 14 January 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Multiple sources of satellite data and sea-based visual observation confirmed activity during February 2019. SO2 emissions were recorded with the TROPOMI instrument on 10, 11, 15, and 16 February (figure 21). A Landsat image from 10 February showed a dense steam plume drifting NW from the summit crater, with the dark rim of the summit crater well exposed (figure 22). Sentinel-2 images in natural color and atmospheric penetration renderings identified a dense steam plume drifting S and a thermal anomaly within the summit crater on 15 February (figure 23). An expedition to the South Sandwich Islands between 15 February and 8 March 2019 sponsored by the UK government sailed by Saunders in late February and observed a stream of ash on the NNE flank beneath the cloud cover (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Faint but distinct SO2 plumes were recorded drifting away from Saunders Island in various directions on 10, 11, 15, and 16 February 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. The dark summit crater of Mount Michael on Saunders Island was visible in Landsat imagery on 10 February 2019. A dense steam plume drifted NW and cast a dark shadow on the underlying cloud cover. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. At the summit of Mount Michael on Saunders Island, Sentinel-2 images in Natural Color (bands 4,3,2) (left) and Atmospheric Penetration (bands 12, 11, 8a) (right) renderings identified a dense steam plume drifting S and a thermal anomaly within the summit crater on 15 February 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Recent ash covered the NNE flank of Mount Michael on Saunders Island in late February 2019 when observed by an expedition to the South Sandwich Islands sponsored by the UK government. Courtesy of Chris Darby.

Faint SO2 emissions were recorded twice during March 2019 (figure 25), and a dense steam plume near the summit crater was visible in Landsat imagery on 23 March (figure 26). Two thermal anomalies were captured in the MIROVA data during April 2019 (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Faint SO2 plumes were recorded on 1 and 11 March 2019 emerging from Saunders Island. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. A dense steam plume drifted E from the summit crater of Mount Michael at Saunders Island on 25 March 2019. Landsat-8 image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A volcano-related research project "SSIVOLC" explored the South Sandwich Islands volcanoes during 15 April-31 May 2019. A major aim of SSIVOLC was to collect photogrammetric data of the glacier-covered Mount Michael (Derrien and others, 2019). A number of still images were acquired on 17 and 22 May 2019 showing various features of the island (figures 27-30). The researchers visually observed brief, recurrent, and very weak glow at the summit of Mount Michael after dark on 17 May, which they interpreted as reflecting light from an active lava lake within the summit crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. The steep slopes of an older eroded crater on the E end of Saunders island in the 'Ashen Hills' shows layers of volcanic deposits dipping away from the open half crater. In the background, steam and gas flow out of the summit crater of Mount Michael and drift down the far slope. Drone image PA-IS-03 taken during 17-22 May 2019, courtesy of Derrien and others (2019) used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) License.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. A dense steam plume drifts away from the summit of Mount Michael on Saunders Island in this drone image taken during 17-22 May 2019. The older summit crater is to the left of the dark patch in the middle of the summit. North is to the right. Image SU-3 courtesy of Derrien and others (2019) used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) License.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. This close-up image of the summit of Mount Michael on Saunders Island shows steam plumes billowing from the summit crater, and large crevasses in the glacier covered flank, taken during 17-22 May 2019. The old crater is to the left. Image TL-SU-1 courtesy of Derrien and others (2019) used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) License.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. A dense plume of steam rises from the summit crater of Mount Michael on Saunders Island and drifts over mounds of frozen material during 17-22 May 2019. The older crater is to the left, and part of the Ashen Hills is in the foreground. Image TL-SU-2 courtesy of Derrien and others (2019) used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) License.

References: Lachlan-Cope T, Smellie J L, Ladkin R, 2001. Discovery of a recurrent lava lake on Saunders Island (South Sandwich Islands) using AVHRR imagery. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 112: 105-116.

Gray D M, Burton-Johnson A, Fretwell P T, 2019. Evidence for a lava lake on Mt. Michael volcano, Saunders Island (South Sandwich Islands) from Landsat, Sentinel-2 and ASTER satellite imagery. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 379:60-71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.volgeores.2019.05.002.

Derrien A, Richter N, Meschede M, Walter T, 2019. Optical DSLR camera- and UAV footage of the remote Mount Michael Volcano, Saunders Island (South Sandwich Islands), acquired in May 2019. GFZ Data Services. http://doi.org/10.5880/GFZ.2.1..2019.003

Geologic Background. Saunders Island is a volcanic structure consisting of a large central edifice intersected by two seamount chains, as shown by bathymetric mapping (Leat et al., 2013). The young constructional Mount Michael stratovolcano dominates the glacier-covered island, while two submarine plateaus, Harpers Bank and Saunders Bank, extend north. The symmetrical Michael has a 500-m-wide summit crater and a remnant of a somma rim to the SE. Tephra layers visible in ice cliffs surrounding the island are evidence of recent eruptions. Ash clouds were reported from the summit crater in 1819, and an effusive eruption was inferred to have occurred from a N-flank fissure around the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. A low ice-free lava platform, Blackstone Plain, is located on the north coast, surrounding a group of former sea stacks. A cluster of parasitic cones on the SE flank, the Ashen Hills, appear to have been modified since 1820 (LeMasurier and Thomson, 1990). Vapor emission is frequently reported from the summit crater. Recent AVHRR and MODIS satellite imagery has revealed evidence for lava lake activity in the summit crater.

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/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Chris Darby (URL: https://twitter.com/ChrisDDarby, image at https://twitter.com/ChrisDDarby/status/1100686838568812544).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows and Strombolian explosions continued during February-July 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Colima (Mexico) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Masaya (Nicaragua) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake activity declined during March-July 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional weak phreatic explosions during March-July 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Aira (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Agung (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent explosions with ash plumes, February-May 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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/).