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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

Sheveluch (Russia) Renewed activity with lava dome growth and ash explosions starting in late December 2018

Mayon (Philippines) Intermittent ash emissions; persistent summit incandescence, October 2018-April 2019

Tinakula (Solomon Islands) Thermal anomalies in satellite data December 2018-June 2019; ship visit January 2019

Piton de la Fournaise (France) Eruptive episodes in February-March and June 2019; multiple fissures and lava flows

Heard (Australia) Thermal hotspots continue during October 2018-March 2019 at the summit and on the upper flanks

Semeru (Indonesia) Decreased activity after October 2018

Dukono (Indonesia) Numerous ash explosions from October 2018 through March 2019

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Occasional weak phreatic explosions continue through February 2019

Turrialba (Costa Rica) Frequent passive ash emissions continue through February 2019

San Cristobal (Nicaragua) Weak ash explosions in January and March 2019

Semisopochnoi (United States) Minor ash explosions during September and October 2018

Asosan (Japan) Multiple brief ash emission events during April and May 2019; minor ashfall in adjacent villages



Sheveluch (Russia) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Renewed activity with lava dome growth and ash explosions starting in late December 2018

Volcanism at Sheveluch has been ongoing for the past 20 years. Previous activity consisted of pyroclastic flows, explosions, moderate gas-and-steam emissions, and lava dome growth, according to the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT). Between May 2018 and mid-December 2018 activity levels were low, with intermittent low-power thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam emissions. Activity increased in the second half of December 2018, remaining high through at least April 2019.

Activity intensified beginning in late December through April 2019, which included increased and more frequent thermal anomalies, according to KVERT and the MIROVA system (figure 50). On 30 December 2018, video data from KVERT showed explosions producing an ash cloud that rose up to 11 km altitude and drifted 244 km WSW and 35 km NE. Eruptive activity included incandescent lava flows and hot avalanches. The ash cloud that drifted WSW resulted in ashfall over Klyuchi Village (50 km SW) and Kozyrevsk (100 km SW).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Thermal anomalies at Sheveluch increased in late December 2018, as seen on this MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph for the year ending 5 April 2019. The elevated thermal activity continued through March 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Beginning in early January and going through April 2019, the lava dome at the northern part of the volcano continued to grow, extruding incandescent, viscous lava blocks (figure 51). Throughout these months, KVERT reported that satellite imagery and video data showed strong fumarolic activity, as well as strong gas-and-steam plumes containing some amount of ash; gas-and-steam plumes rose as high as 7 km. According to the KVERT Daily Reports on 3 and 4 January 2019, a gas-and-steam plume containing ash drifted NE up to about 600 and 400 km, respectively. Gas-and-steam plumes noted in the KVERT Daily Report, Weekly Releases, and Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA), drifted 50-263 km in different directions. On 9 November 2018, the KVERT Daily Report recorded an ash plume drifting 461 km E from the volcano and on 26 December 2018, the KVERT Weekly Information Release recorded an ash cloud drifting 300 km NW. The KVERT Weekly Information Release reported that on 10 April 2019 an ash cloud drifted up to 1,300 km SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Incandescent avalanches from the lava dome and an ash plume can be seen in this photo of Sheveluch on 22 February 2019. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk; courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

Thermal anomalies based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm were frequent beginning on 28 December 2018. In just three days in late December (28-31 December 2018) there were 34 thermal alerts. Hotspots were detected 21-27 days each month between January-April 2019. A majority of these hotspot pixels occurred within the summit crater.

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/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); 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/).


Mayon (Philippines) — May 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash emissions; persistent summit incandescence, October 2018-April 2019

Steep-sloped and symmetrical Mayon has recorded historical eruptions back to 1616 that range from Strombolian fountaining to basaltic and andesitic flows, as well as large ash plumes, and devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars. A phreatic explosion with an ash plume in mid-January 2018 began the latest eruptive episode which included the growth of a lava dome with pyroclastic flows down the flanks and lava fountaining (BGVN 43:04). Activity tapered off during March; occasional ash emissions continued through August 2018. Minor ash emissions and summit incandescence were intermittent from October 2018-April 2019, the period covered in this report. Information is provided primarily by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

Pyroclastic density currents were reported in early November 2018; ash plumes were produced from phreatic events a few times during both November and December 2018. Emissions produced SO2 anomalies during January-March 2019; a series of events in early March generated several small ash plumes. Satellite images showing a thermal anomaly at the summit were recorded multiple times each month from October 2018-April 2019 (figure 44).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Small but distinct persistent thermal anomalies were recorded in satellite imagery from the summit of Mayon during October 2018-April 2019. Top left: 12 October 2018. Top right: 26 November 2018. Middle left: 11 December 2018. Middle right: 30 January 2019. Bottom left: 14 February 2019. Bottom right: 25 April 2019. All images are using the "Atmospheric penetration" filter (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Very little activity was reported at Mayon during October 2018. Steam plumes rose daily from 250-750 m above the summit before drifting with the prevailing winds and dissipating. Incandescence was observed at the summit most nights during the month, and seismicity remained low with only a few earthquakes reported. Leveling data obtained during 30 August-3 September indicated significant short-term deflation of the volcano relative to 17-24 July 2018. New leveling data obtained on 22-31 October indicated inflation of the SE quadrant and short-term deflation on the N flank relative to the 30 August-3 September data. The volcano remained inflated compared with 2010 baseline data. Electronic tilt data showed pronounced inflation of the mid-slopes beginning 25 June 2018.

Activity increased during November 2018. In addition to steam plumes rising to 750 m and an incandescent glow at the summit most nights, pyroclastic density currents and ash plumes were reported. The seismic monitoring network recorded pyroclastic density currents on 5 and 6 November. On 8 November around noontime, a small, short-lived brownish ash plume, associated with degassing, drifted WSW from the summit. A seismic event on the morning of 11 November was associated with a short-lived fountaining event that produced a brownish-gray ash plume that drifted SW. Another similar plume was reported on the morning of 12 November, also drifting SW before dissipating. Two phreatic events were observed on the morning of 26 November. They produced grayish to grayish-white ash plumes that rose 300-500 m above the summit before drifting SW. The following morning, another event produced a grayish ash plume 500 m above the summit that drifted SW. On 30 November a 1-minute-long ash emission event produced a grayish white plume that also drifted SW.

Steam plume emissions and incandescence at night continued at Mayon during December 2018. The seismic network recorded a four-minute-long event shortly after noon on 9 December that produced a grayish-brown ash plume which drifted W. Precise leveling data obtained on 8-13 December 2018 indicated a slight inflation of the volcano relative to 22-31 October 2018. A 30-second-long ash emission event in the afternoon on 18 December produced a brownish ash plume. Two phreatic events were observed on the morning of 27 December. They produced grayish to grayish-white ash plumes that rose 600 and 200 m above the summit, before drifting SW (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Ash plumes rose a few hundred m from the summit of Mayon on 27 December 2018. Courtesy of Twitter users "k i t" (left) and "georgianne" (right).

Very little surface activity except for white steam-laden plumes that crept downslope and drifted NW or SW was noted during January 2019. Incandescence at the summit, visible with the naked eye, became more frequent during February 2019, along with continued steam plumes. Precise leveling data obtained on 25 January-3 February 2019 indicated a slight deflation relative to 8-13 December 2018. However, continuous GPS and electronic tilt data showed inflation of the mid-slopes since June 2018. Small SO2 plumes were detected by the TROPOMI satellite instrument a few times during January-March 2019 (figure 46).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Emissions of SO2 that exceeded 2 DU (Dobson Units) occurred a few times at Mayon during January-March 2019. Top left: 25 January. Top right: 16 February. Lower left: 4 March. Lower right: 15 March. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Steam plumes rose 250-500 m above the summit and drifted generally W in early March 2019; incandescence continued daily at the summit. Phreatic events occurred on 7 and 8 March, producing ash plumes that rose 500 and 300 m from the summit before drifting SW (figure 47). Three more phreatic events occurred on the afternoon of 12 March; they produced light brown to grayish ash plumes that rose 500, 1,000, and 500 m, respectively, and drifted SW. Six phreatic events occurred throughout the day on 13 March, producing ash plumes that rose 200-700 m above the summit and drifted W. A single explosion the next day produced a 500-m-tall ash plume. The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible for several hours in satellite imagery drifting W at 3.7 km altitude on 13 March (UTC). An increase in the daily number of rockfall events from 1-2 per day to 5-10 per day was noted during the second half of March. Precise leveling data obtained on 20-26 March 2019 indicated a slight inflation relative to 25 January-3 February 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. A small ash emission at Mayon was reported by PHIVOLCS on 8 March 3019; the plume rose 300 m from the summit and drifted SW. Courtesy of PHOVOLCS.

Steam plumes drifted SW or NW throughout April, rising 200-400 m from the summit. Incandescence could be observed at night for the first half of the month. Leveling data obtained during 9-17 April 2019 indicated a slight inflation relative to 20-26 March 2019. Seismicity remained low during the month with only occasional volcanic earthquakes and rockfall events. Lenticular clouds around the summit were observed (figure 48), but these are an unusual meteorological occurrence caused by weather conditions not related to volcanic activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. A double lenticular cloud surrounded the summit of Mayon early in the morning on 23 April 2019 and was captured by a local observer; it was not related to volcanic activity. Courtesy of Twitter user Ivan.

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

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); 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/); 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); Twitter user "Ivan", Naga City, Philippines (URL: https://twitter.com/ivanxlcsn); Twitter user "k i t", Legazpi City, Philippines (URL: https://twitter.com/jddmgc); Twitter user "georgianne", Costa Leona, Philippines (URL: https://twitter.com/xolovesgia_).


Tinakula (Solomon Islands) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

10.386°S, 165.804°E; summit elev. 796 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies in satellite data December 2018-June 2019; ship visit January 2019

Remote Tinakula lies 100 km NE of the Solomon Trench at the N end of the Santa Cruz Islands, which are part of the country of the Solomon Islands located 400 km to the W. It has been uninhabited since an eruption with lava flows and ash explosions in 1971 when the small population was evacuated (CSLP 87-71). The nearest communities live on Te Motu (Trevanion) Island (about 30 km S), Nupani (40 km N), and the Reef Islands (60 km E); residents occasionally report noises from explosions at Tinakula. Ashfall from larger explosions has historically reached these islands. The most recent eruptive episode was a large ash explosion and substantial SO2 plume during 21-26 October 2017; satellite imagery suggested that a flow of some type traveled down the scarp on the W flank. Renewed thermal activity that was recognized in satellite imagery beginning in December 2018 continued intermittently through June 2019 and is covered in this report. Satellite imagery and thermal data are the primary sources of information for this volcano. It is occasionally visited by members of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) of the Solomon Islands Government, tourists, and research vessels who are able to capture ground-based information.

Satellite images from December 2018 to February 2019 show thermal anomalies at the summit vent. Excellent ship-based photographs of the island on 24-25 January 2019 provided by a crewmember from the R/V Petrel identify numerous volcanic features and show a steam-and-gas plume at the vent. Satellite images from April and May 2019 show thermal anomalies at both the summit vent and along the W flank scarp suggesting flow activity during that time.

A stream of incandescence on the NW flank of Tinakula in a Sentinel 2 satellite image on 24 October 2017 confirmed that some type of high-temperature flow accompanied the explosions and eruptive activity of 21-25 October 2017 (BGVN 43:02). Satellite imagery during most of 2018 recorded steam plumes drifting in several directions from the summit, but no thermal activity (figure 24). There was no further evidence of activity in satellite visible or thermal data until almost exactly one year later when the MIROVA project recorded two thermal alerts in the third week of October 2018 (figure 25). Satellite images from that week were cloudy and did not confirm any surface activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Tinakula provides valuable information about activity at this remote volcano in the South Pacific. A large explosion with ash plumes and flows occurred during 21-26 October 2017. Top left: a strong E-W linear thermal anomaly suggesting a flow event from the summit was evident on the NW flank on 24 October 2017. Top right: a small steam plume rose from the summit vent on a cloudless 11 February 2018. Bottom left: a dense steam plume drifted SE from the summit vent on 4 September 2018. Bottom right: clouds and dense steam obscure the summit on 24 October 2018, about the same time that MIROVA reported a thermal anomaly. Top left image uses bands 12, 11, 8A, others use 12, 4, 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. The MIROVA project recorded the first thermal anomaly in a year from Tinakula during the third week of October 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The first satellite imagery confirming renewed thermal activity appeared on 8 December 2018, around the same time as a small MIROVA anomaly. After that, several images during January and February 2019 confirmed moderately strong thermal activity at the summit (figure 26). Whether the anomalies were the result of active lava effusion or strong incandescent gases from the summit vent is uncertain.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Thermal anomalies at the summit vent of Tinakula were recorded six times between early December 2018 and early February 2019 with Sentinel-2 satellite images. Top row: 8 December 2018 and 2 January 2019. Middle row: 12 (anomaly is just below date) and 27 January 2019. Bottom row: 1 and 6 February 2019. All images are bands 12, 4, 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Visual confirmation of activity at Tinakula is rare, but the research vessel R/V Petrel sailed past the volcano on 24 and 25 January 2019 and a crewmember provided detailed images of the W flank and vent area. The summit vent is located at the top of a W facing scarp, and steam is frequently observed rising from the vent (figures 27). Recent flows and volcaniclastic deposits were visible in the ravine on the W flank (figures 28 and 29). Fresh-looking lava was also visible near the summit vent on top of older deposits (figure 30). Eroded volcaniclastic deposits near the base of the scarp on the W flank were visible on top of older veined and layered volcanic rocks (figure 31). Crewmembers on the vessel R/V Petrel could clearly see an incandescent glow from the summit crater at night (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. A view from the SW of the W flank of Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. The summit vent is at the top of a W facing scarp, the steam plume drifted E. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. The W flank of Tinakula as seen from the W on 24-25 January 2019. The steam plume drifted E. Recent flows and volcaniclastic deposits appeared dark in the steep ravine on the W face (left side). Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Steam and gas rose from the summit vent at Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. Recent lava deposits are visible in front of the plume and in the ravine on the left (the W flank). Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The edge of the summit vent of Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019 had recent lava on older deposits; steam and gas is rising from the vent in the background. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. The W flank of Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. Eroded volcaniclastic deposits overlie older veined and layered volcanic rocks. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Incandescence was clearly visible from the summit vent at Tinakula on 24-25 January 2019. Used with permission from Paul G Allen's Vulcan Inc.

During April and May 2019, both the MIROVA project and MODVOLC measured a number of thermal anomalies (figure 33) using MODIS satellite data. MODVOLC alerts were issued on 4 and 20 April, and 11, 18, and 27 May. Sentinel-2 satellite images during the period confirmed that a flow on the W flank was a likely source of the thermal energy in addition to the summit vent (figure 34). Thermal anomalies appeared again at the end of June in MIROVA data, but no satellite images showed anomalies at that time.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. The number and intensity of MIROVA thermal anomalies increased at Tinakula during April and May 2019. After a short pause, they returned at the end of June. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sentinel-2 satellite images captured thermal anomalies at the summit and on the W flank of Tinakula during April and May 2019 suggesting the presence of an incandescent flow down the W scarp. Top row: 7 and 22 April 2019 (bands 12, 8, 4). Bottom row: 27 April and 12 May 2019 (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The small 3.5-km-wide island of Tinakula is the exposed summit of a massive stratovolcano at the NW end of the Santa Cruz islands. Similar to Stromboli, it has a breached summit crater that extends from the summit to below sea level. Landslides enlarged this scarp in 1965, creating an embayment on the NW coast. The satellitic cone of Mendana is located on the SE side. The dominantly andesitic volcano has frequently been observed in eruption since the era of Spanish exploration began in 1595. In about 1840, an explosive eruption apparently produced pyroclastic flows that swept all sides of the island, killing its inhabitants. Frequent historical eruptions have originated from a cone constructed within the large breached crater. These have left the upper flanks and the steep apron of lava flows and volcaniclastic debris within the breach unvegetated.

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/); 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); Vulcan Inc. (URL: https://www.vulcan.com/), additional details about the R/V Petrel (URL: https://www.paulallen.com/).


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

21.244°S, 55.708°E; summit elev. 2632 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptive episodes in February-March and June 2019; multiple fissures and lava flows

Short pulses of intermittent eruptive activity have characterized Piton de la Fournaise, the large basaltic shield volcano on La Réunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, for several thousand years. For the last 20 years, frequent effusive basaltic eruptions have occurred on average twice per year. The activity is characterized by lava fountains and lava flows, and occasional explosive eruptions that shower blocks over the summit area and produce ash plumes. Almost all of the recent activity has occurred within the Enclos Fouqué caldera, although past eruptions in 1977, 1986, and 1998 have occurred at vents outside of the caldera. Four separate eruptive episodes were reported during 2018; from 3-4 April, 27 April-1 June, 13 July, and 15 September-1 November (BGVN 43:12, 43:09). Two episodes from 2019 during February-March and June are covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) as well as satellite instruments.

Piton de la Fournaise experienced two eruptions during November 2018-June 2019. The first lasted from 18 February to 10 March 2019, and the second episode was 11-13 June. The episode in February-March started consisted of multiple fissures opening on the E flank of the Dolomieu crater on 18 February with lava flows that traveled several hundred meters. After a brief pause, one new fissure opened nearby on 19 February and produced up to 3 million m3 of lava in a little over four days. Although the flow rate then declined, the eruption continued until 10 March. During the last three days, 7-10 March, two new fissures opened nearby and produced large volumes of lava, bringing the total eruptive volume to about 14.5 million m3. After little activity during April and May, a small eruption occurred on the SSE outer slope of Dolomieu crater that lasted for about 48 hours on 11-13 June; multiple small flows traveled about 1,000 m down the steep flank before ceasing. The MIROVA thermal anomaly graph of log radiative power clearly showed the abruptness of the beginning and ends of the last three eruptive episodes at Piton de la Fournaise from August 2018 through June 2019 (figure 165).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 165. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy from Piton de la Fournaise from 30 July 2018 through June 2019 shows the last three eruptive episodes at the volcano. From 15 September through 1 November 2018 fissures and flows were active on the SW flank of Dolomieu crater near Rivals crater (BGVN 43:12). Fissures opened on the E flank of the crater on 18 February 2019, and after a brief pause resumed on 19 February at the foot of Piton Madoré. Lava flows remained active until 10 March 2019. A short episode of lava effusion occurred on 11-12 June 2019 on the SSE outer slope of Dolomieu crater. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during November 2018-March 2019. Following the end of the 15 September-1 November 2018 eruption, seismic activity immediately below the summit remained low (with only 20 shallow and two deep earthquakes during November). The inflationary signal recorded since the beginning of September stopped, and the OVPF deformation networks did not record any significant deformation. There were 35 shallow earthquakes (0-2 km depth) below the summit crater during December, and one deep earthquake. Only 12 shallow earthquakes and one deep earthquake (greater than 2 km below the surface) were reported in January.

OVPF reported an increase in CO2 concentrations beginning in December 2018, and noted the beginning of inflation on 13 February 2019. A seismic swarm of 379 earthquakes accompanied by minor but rapid deformation (less than 1 cm) was reported on 16 February 2019. A new seismic swarm of 208 earthquakes began early on 18 February with a much larger ground deformation (10 cm of elongation of the summit zone). A volcanic tremor indicative of the arrival of magma near the surface began at 0948 that morning. Webcams indicated that eruptive fissures had opened in the NE part of the Enclos Fouqué caldera. The onset of the eruption was marked by a sudden drop in CO2 flux which then stabilized. The eruptive sites were confirmed visually around 1130. Three fissures with actively flowing lava opened on the E flank of Dolomieu Crater; the fountains of lava were less than 30 m high. The front of the longest flow had reached 1,900 m elevation after one hour. The eruption lasted a little over 12 hours and was over by 2200 that evening; it covered about 150-200 m of the hiking trail to the summit.

Seismicity remained high after the event ended, and at 1500 on 19 February 2019 another seismic swarm of 511 deep earthquakes located under the E flank at about 2.5 km depth occurred. It was not accompanied by a significant amount of deformation. At 1710 tremor signals appeared on the observatory seismographs and the first gas plumes and lava ejection were observed at 1750 and 1912, respectively. During an overflight the next day (20 February), OVPF team members observed the new eruptive site at an elevation of 1,800 m at the foot of Piton Madoré. One fissure and one fountain were active at 0620 on 20 February and the flow front was at 1,300 m elevation (figure 166). During the night of 20-21 February the flow front crossed over the "Grandes Pentes" area in the eastern half of the Enclos Fouque (figure 167).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 166. The eruption which began on 19 February 2019 on the E flank of Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise produced a lava fountain and flow which traveled down at least 500 m of elevation by the next morning when this photo was taken at 0620 local time. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du mercredi 20 février 2019 à 11h00, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 167. The active fissure at Piton de la Fournaise was producing lava fountains and an active flow during the evening of 20 February 2019. Overnight the flow crossed over the "Grandes Pentes" area of the caldera. Photo courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 21 février 2019 à 14H00, Heure locale).

OVPF reported on 22 February 2019 that 22 shallow earthquakes had been reported since the eruption began on 19 February. Surface flow rates estimated from satellite data, via the HOTVOLC system (OPGC - University of Auvergne), were between 2.5 and 15 m3/s. The quantity of lava emitted between 19 and 22 February was between 1 and 3 million m3. OVPF observed the growth of an eruptive cone that was filled with a small lava lake producing ejecta during a morning overflight on 22 February. A channelized flow moved downstream from the cone and split into two lobes about 1 km from (and 200 m below) the cone (figure 168). The split in the flow occurred near the Guyanin crater. The N flowing lobe, about 50 m wide, had an actively flowing front located at 1,320 m elevation; the incandescent flow was travelling over a recent flow (likely from the previous night). The S-flowing lobe spread to 200 m wide and split into two tongues 300 m SE of Guyanin crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. During an overflight on the morning of 22 February 2019 scientists from OVPF observed a growing spatter cone with a small lava lake at Piton de la Fournaise. A channelized flow moved downstream from the fissure and split into two flows. Photo courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 22 février 2019 à 13h30, Heure locale).

Incandescent ejecta from the cone was captured in a webcam image overnight on 22-23 February 2019 (figure 169). The rate of advance of the flow slowed significantly by 24 February, but the intensity of the eruptive tremor remained relatively constant. Mapping of the lava flow on 28 February carried out by the OI2 platform (OPGC - University Clermont Auvergne) from satellite data confirmed the slow progress of the flow after 24 February (300 m in 5 days) (figure 170). The flow front was located at 1,200 m elevation, and only the N arm was active; the lava had traveled about 2.2 km from the vent by 28 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 169. Incandescent ejecta from the eruptive cone at Piton de la Fournaise was captured in the webcam in the early hours of 23 February 2019. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du samedi 23 février 2019 à 13h30, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 170. Contours of the lava flows at Piton de la Fournaise from 18-28 February 2019 were determined from satellite data by the OI2 platform (Université Clermont Auvergne), dated 18 (red) and 19 (blue) February (top image); 20 (green), 21 (red), 22 (blue), 27 (turquoise), and 28 (pink) February (bottom image). Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP. Top: Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 22 février 2019 à 13h30 (Heure locale); bottom: Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 28 février 2019 à 16h30 (Heure locale).

Between 28 February and 1 March 2019 a third lobe of lava appeared flowing NE from the vent on the N side of the new flow area; it split into two lobes sometime on 1 March. Very little new lava was recorded on the other lobes. By 4 March the flow rate estimated by satellite data was about 7.5 m3/s. During a site visit on the morning of 5 March OVPF scientists sampled the N lobe of the flow and bombs and tephra near the cone, and acquired infrared and visible images. They noted the continued growth of the cone which still had an open vent at the summit and a base 100 m in diameter. It was 25 m high with a 50-m-wide eruptive vent at the top (figure 171). High-temperature gas emissions and strong Strombolian activity issued from the vent. Steam emissions were present around the base of the cone, suggesting the presence of lava tunnels. A single lobe of lava flowed N from the cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 171. The eruptive cone at Piton de la Fournaise on 5 March 2019 had a 100-m-diameter base, 25 m of vertical height, and 50-m-wide vent at the summit. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP, (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 5 mars 2019 à 17h30, Heure locale).

A new fissure that opened about 150 m from the main vent on the NW flank of Piton Madoré was first observed on the morning of 6 March (figure 172); OVPF concluded that it had opened late on 5 March. A small cone was forming and a new flow traveled N from the main eruptive site. At least six new emission points were noted the following morning (7 March) around the Piton Madoré. Poor weather prevented confirmation by aerial reconnaissance that day, but in a site visit on 8 March OVPF scientists determined that the new fissure from 5 March remained active; a small cone about 10 m high had two flow lobes on the W and N sides (figure 173). A fissure that opened on 7 March was located 300 m S of the 19 February vent and oriented E-W. It was very active on the morning of 8 March with two 50-m-high lava fountains (figure 174). Samples collected by OVPF indicated that the vents of 5 and 7 March produced lava of different compositions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 172. A new fissure that opened about 150 m from the main vent on the NW flank of Piton Madoré at Piton de la Fournaise was first observed on the morning of 6 March 2019; OVPF concluded that it had opened late on 5 March. A small cone was forming on the flank of an old one and a new flow traveled N from the main eruptive site. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP, copyright by Helicopter Coral (Bulletin d'activité du jeudi 7 mars 2019 à 15h00 Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. The 5 March 2019 fissure at Piton de la Fournaise on the NW flank of Piton Madoré still had two active flow lobes emerging from it and heading N and W on 8 March 2019. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, March 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. A fissure that opened on 7 March 2019 at Piton de la Fournaise was located 300 m S of the 19 February vent and oriented E-W. It was very active on the morning of 8 March 2019 with two 50-m-high lava fountains. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, March 2019).

There was a strong increase in the eruptive tremor intensity on 7 March, related to the opening of the two new fissures on 5 and 7 March (figure 175). As a result, the surface flow estimates made from satellite data increased significantly to high values greater than 50 m3/s, with the average values on 7-8 March of around 20-25 m3/s. The increased flow rates resulted in the flows traveling much greater distances. By the morning of 9 March the active flow had reached 650-700 m above sea level. The flow front had traveled about 1 km in 24 hours. Strong seismicity had been increasing under the summit zone for the previous 48 hours. After a phase of very strong surface activity observed overnight on 9-10 March that included lava fountains 50-100 m high (figure 176), surface activity ceased around 0630 on 10 March, and seismic activity decreased significantly. OVPF noted that sudden increases in seismicity and flow rates near the end of an eruption have occurred at about half of the eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise in recent years. Lava volumes emitted on the surface between 18 February and 10 March 2019 were estimated at about 14.5 million m3 (figure 177).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. An infrared view of the eruptive site on the E flank of Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise on 8 March 2019 clearly showed the original fissure from 19 February (bottom right of center), the fissure on Piton Madore that opened on 5 March (right) and the fissures that opened on 7 March (upper, right of center). The combined activity produced significant thermal and seismic activity at the volcano. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du vendredi 8 mars 2019 à 17h00, Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 176. Lava fountains 50-100 m high were the result of very strong surface activity observed overnight on 9-10 March 2019 at Piton de la Fournaise. Surface activity ceased around 0630 on 10 March, and seismic activity decreased significantly. Photo taken on 9 March 2019 around midnight from the RN2. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP, copyright by A. Finizola LGSR/IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du dimanche 10 mars 2019 à 19h30 Heure locale).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 177. A sudden increase in the flow rate at the end of the 18 February-10 March 2019 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise was recorded by researchers at the Université Clermont Auvergne. OVPF noted this was typical of about half of the eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise. Courtesy of OVPF/IPGP, copyright by HOTVOLC, Université Clermont Auvergne (OVPF Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, March 2019).

Significant SO2 plumes were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite throughout the 18 February-10 March eruption (figure 178). After the surface eruption ceased, shallow seismicity continued at a lower rate of about 12 earthquakes per day. The end of the eruption (7-10 March) was accompanied by a marked deflation, interpreted by OVPF as the rapid emptying of the magma reservoir. Following the end of the eruption, inflation resumed for the rest of March but then ceased. Seismicity continued at a lower level during April with an average of six shallow earthquakes per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 178. Multiple days of high DU value SO2 plumes were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite during the 18 February-10 March 2019 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise. Top row: during 18, 21, and 22 February SO2 plumes drifted SE. Middle row: during 23, 24, and 25 February the wind direction changed from SE through S to SW and left a curling trail of SO2. Bottom row: 5, 7, and 8 March showed an increase in SO2 emissions that corresponded with increased seismicity and lava flow output before the eruption ceased.

Activity during May-June 2019. OVPF reported slight inflation near the summit beginning in early May, and an increase in CO2 concentration in the soil near Plaine des Cafres and Plaine des Palmistes. Strong shallow seismicity reappeared on 27 May 2019 and recurred on 30 and 31 May. Two small seismic swarms were measured on 31 May in the early morning. A new seismic swarm beginning at 0603 on 11 June accompanied by rapid deformation suggested a new eruption was imminent. A tremor near the summit area was first noted at 0635 local time; the webcams indicated a plume of gas, but poor visibility prevented evidence of fresh lava. Around 0930 that morning OVPF confirmed that five fissures had opened on the outer SSE slope of Dolomieu crater at elevations ranging from 2480 to 2025 m (figure 179). The flow fronts were not visible due to weather. Lava fountains under 30 m in height and lava flows were present in the three lowest fissures. The flows traveled rapidly down the steep flank of the crater (figure 180).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 179. Around 0930 on the morning of 11 June 2019 OVPF confirmed that five fissures had opened on the outer SSE slope of Dolomieu crater at Piton de la Fournaise at elevations ranging from 2480 to 2025 m. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF-IPGP and Imazpress (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 11 juin 2019 à 11h00).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 180. Thermal imaging of the 11-12 June 2019 eruptive site at Piton de la Fournaise showed multiple streams of lava traveling rapidly down the steep flank from several fissures on 11 June 2019. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF-IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 11 juin 2019 à 11h00).

The intensity of the eruptive tremor decreased throughout the day, and by 1530 only the lowest elevation fissure was still active (figure 181). The next afternoon (12 June) images in the OVPF webcam located in Piton des Cascades indicated the flow front was at about 1,200-1,300 m elevation. Seismographs indicated that the eruption stopped around 1200 on 13 June. Poor weather obscured visibility of the flow activity. Seismic activity decreased following the eruption, but appeared to increase again beginning on 21 June, with 10 events detected on 30 June. SO2 plumes were recorded in satellite data on 11 and 12 June 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 181. The intensity of the eruptive activity at Piton de la Fournaise on 11 June 2019 decreased throughout the day, and by 1530 only the lowest elevation fissure was still active. Courtesy of and copyright by OVPF-IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du mardi 11 juin 2019 à 17h45 Heure locale).

Geologic Background. The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Much of its more than 530,000-year history overlapped with eruptions of the deeply dissected Piton des Neiges shield volcano to the NW. Three calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern side. More than 150 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); 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/).


Heard (Australia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

53.106°S, 73.513°E; summit elev. 2745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal hotspots continue during October 2018-March 2019 at the summit and on the upper flanks

Heard Island, in the Southern Indian Ocean, includes the large Big Ben stratovolcano and the smaller, apparently inactive, Mt. Dixon. Because of the island's remoteness, satellites are the primary monitoring tool. Big Ben has been active intermittently since 1910, and was active during October 2017-September 2018 (BGVN 43:10). Activity continued during October 2018-March 2019.

Satellite photos using Sentinel Hub showed hotspots every month between October 2018 and March 2019. Because the area was frequently covered by a heavy cloud layer, most of the hotspot signals were partially obscured. Though thermal anomalies are usually seen at summit vents, on 18 October 2018 an anomaly was present about 300 m down the E flank. Similarly, on 1 January 2019, a weak anomaly beginning about 200 m down the NW flank was about 300 m long (figure 40).

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected three hotspots, two in October and one in early November 2018, all of low radiative power. There were no MODVOLC alert pixels during this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sentinel-2 L1C image of Heard Island's Big Ben volcano on 1 January 2019 one summit hotspot and an elongated thermal anomaly to the NW. Scale bar (bottom right) is 200 m. The photo was taken in atmospheric penetration view (bands 12, 11, and 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Heard Island on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean consists primarily of the emergent portion of two volcanic structures. The large glacier-covered composite basaltic-to-trachytic cone of Big Ben comprises most of the island, and the smaller Mt. Dixon volcano lies at the NW tip of the island across a narrow isthmus. Little is known about the structure of Big Ben volcano because of its extensive ice cover. The historically active Mawson Peak forms the island's 2745-m high point and lies within a 5-6 km wide caldera breached to the SW side of Big Ben. Small satellitic scoria cones are mostly located on the northern coast. Several subglacial eruptions have been reported in historical time at this isolated volcano, but observations are infrequent and additional activity may have occurred.

Information Contacts: Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/).


Semeru (Indonesia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Semeru

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Decreased activity after October 2018

The ongoing eruption at Semeru has been characterized by numerous ash explosions and thermal anomalies, but activity apparently diminished in 2018 (BGVN 43:01 and 43:09); this decreased activity continued through at least February 2019. The current report summarizes activity from 24 August 2018 to 28 February 2019.

The Indonesian volcano monitoring agency, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), reported ongoing daily seismicity, dominated by explosion earthquakes and emission-related events from late November through February (figure 35). Ash plumes resulting in aviation advisories by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) were reported on 4, 6-7, and 19 September, and 12 October 2018. The next significant ash plume reported by the VAAC wasn't until 24 February 2019 (table 23).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Seismicity recorded at Semeru during 28 November 2018-26 February 2019. Plot shows explosion earthquakes ('Letusan'), emission-related events ('Hembusan'), felt earthquakes ('Gempa Terasa'), local tectonic events ('Tektonic Lokal'), and distant tectonic events ('Tektonic Jauh'). Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.

Table 23. Summary of ash plumes at Semeru during 25 August 2018 through February 2019. The summit is at 3,657 m elevation. Data courtesy of Darwin VAAC.

Date Plume altitude (km) Plume drift Remarks
04 Sep 2018 4.3 W --
06-07 Sep 2018 4.3 SW --
19 Sep 2018 4 SSW Possible ash-and-steam plume.
12 Oct 2018 4.5 W Discrete eruption.
24 Feb 2019 4.3 W Discrete volcanic ash eruption.

Thermal anomalies using MODIS satellite instruments processed by the MODVOLC algorithm were only recorded on 26, 28, and 30 August 2018, and 22 and 31 October 2018. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected numerous hotspots within 5 km of the volcano during August and early September, with a significant decrease in frequency through October (figure 36); only a few scattered hotspots were recorded from November 2018 through February 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. MIROVA plot of thermal anomalies (Log Radiative Power) at Semeru during July 2018-February 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/).


Dukono (Indonesia) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

1.693°N, 127.894°E; summit elev. 1229 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous ash explosions from October 2018 through March 2019

The eruption at Dukono that began in 1933 has showered the area with ash from frequent explosions (BGVN 43:04, 43:12). The Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), is responsible for monitoring this volcano.

This long-term pattern of intermittent ash explosions continued during October 2018-March 2019, with ash plumes rising to between 1.5 and 2.7 km altitude, or about 300-1,500 m above the summit (table 19). Although meteorological clouds often obscured views, satellite imagery captured typical ash plumes on 28 September 2018 (figure 10) and 5 February 2019 (figure 11). Instruments aboard NASA satellites (TROPOMI and OMPS) detected high levels of sulfur dioxide near or directly above the volcano on multiple days during January-March 2019. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and visitors were warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Table 19. Monthly summary of reported ash plumes from Dukono for October 2018-March 2019. The direction of drift for the ash plume through each month was highly variable. Data courtesy of the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG.

Month Plume Altitude (km) Notable Plume Drift
Oct 2018 1.5-2.1 --
Nov 2018 1.5-2.1 --
Dec 2018 1.5-2.4 --
Jan 2019 1.8-2.1 --
Feb 2019 1.8-2.7 --
Mar 2019 1.5-2.4 --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Satellite image from Sentinel-2 (LC1 natural color) of an ash plume at Dukono on 28 September 2018 with the plume blowing towards the NE. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Satellite image from Sentinel-2 (LC1 natural color) of an ash plume at Dukono on 5 February 2019, with the plume blowing SW. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Reports from this remote volcano in northernmost Halmahera are rare, but Dukono has been one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. More-or-less continuous explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, occurred from 1933 until at least the mid-1990s, when routine observations were curtailed. During a major eruption in 1550, a lava flow filled in the strait between Halmahera and the north-flank cone of Gunung Mamuya. This complex volcano presents a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of the summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during 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/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — April 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 continue through February 2019

Intermittent small phreatic explosions from the acid lake of Rincón de la Vieja's active crater has most recently occurred since 2011 (BGVN 42:08, 43:03, and 43:09). This activity continued through at least February 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 18 August 2018 and 28 February 2019. Weather conditions often prevented webcam views and estimates of plume heights. The volcano was in Activity Level 3 throughout the reporting period (volcano erupting, steady state).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, two distinct, 2-minute-long explosions occurred on 31 August 2018 beginning at 0434 and 1305. Several hours after the eruption tremor became continuous but low-frequency long-period (LP) earthquakes ceased. OVSICORI-UNA reported a gas emission late on 7 September. An unconfirmed small phreatic explosion occurred on 11 September at 0634, and another on 17 September at 1014. The seismic record showed continuous background tremor and very sporadic LP earthquakes.

Intermittent background tremor was recorded during the first half of October, along with a few emissions and phreatic explosions. Deformation measurements during October showed a contraction between the N and S of the volcano, with subsidence. On 17 October there was another phreatic explosion, and thereafter tremor disappeared and seismicity decreased. On 23 and 27 October seismic stations signaled additional possible phreatic explosions.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that a series of explosions began at 1945 on 4 November and consisted of at least three 2-minute-long episodes. The next day at 1511 a plume of water vapor and diffuse gas, recorded by a webcam and visible to residents to the N, rose about 100 m above the crater rim and drifted W. On 9 November a 2-minute-long explosion began at 1703. Another explosion on 27 November at 0237 produced a plume of water vapor and gas that rose 600 m above the crater rim and drifted SW. A short 1-minute explosion began at 1054 on 3 December.

Based on OVSICORI-UNA weekly bulletins, activity remained stable in January 2019 with small-amplitude phreatic explosions on 11, 12, and 14 January. More energetic phreatomagmatic explosions on 17 and 20 January produced lahars. Several small-amplitude explosions were detected at the end of the month. During January, a few LPs, no VTs, and intermittent tremor were recorded.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that two small-scale explosions occurred on 1 February, along with possible events at 1906 and 1950 on 5 February and at 0120 on 6 February. An event at 0000 on 6 February was also recorded; the report noted that poor weather conditions prevented visual observations of the crater. On 16 and 17 February strong degassing was observed. No LPs were recorded, but two significant VTs were detected on 17 and 22 February near or under the crater.

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/).


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent passive ash emissions continue through February 2019

This report summarizes activity at Turrialba during September 2018-February 2019. During this period there was similar activity as described earlier in 2018 (BGVN 43:09), with occasional ash explosions and numerous, sometimes continuous, periods of gas-and-ash emissions (table 8). Data were provided by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA).

Table 8. Ash emissions at Turrialba, September 2018-February 2019. Cloudy weather sometimes obscured observations. Maximum plume height is above the crater rim. Information courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Date Time Max plume height Plume drift Remarks
27 Aug-05 Sep 2018 -- 100 m SW, W Continuous gas-and-ash emissions.
06 Sep 2018 -- -- -- Mostly gas, punctuated by small sporadic ash plumes.
10 Sep 2018 1210 300 m NW --
01-13 Sep 2018 -- -- -- Continuous gas-and-ash emissions.
17-18 Sep 2018 -- 300 m SW, NW --
27 Sep 2018 0915 200 m NW --
30 Sep-01 Oct 2018 -- 500 m NW, NE --
03 Oct 2018 -- -- -- Incandescence.
08 Oct 2018 0800 500 m N --
10-16 Oct 2018 -- 1,000 m Various Intermittent emissions; some explosions, including an energetic one on 14 Oct at 1712. Clouds prevented estimate of plume height.
17-23 Oct 2018 -- 200-500 m E, NW, SW Periodic gas-and-ash emissions. Frequent Strombolian events since 5 Oct.
25-30 Oct 2018 -- -- -- Periodic ash emissions when weather conditions allowed observations.
26 Oct 2018 0134 500 m NE Ashfall in neighborhoods of Coronado (San José, 35 km WSW) and San Isidro de Heredia (Heredia, 38 km W).
29 Oct 2018 0231 500 m NW --
30 Oct 2018 1406 500 m W --
24 Oct-01 Nov 2018 -- 500 m -- Continuous emissions.
01-06 Nov 2018 0530-0640 500 m SW --
02 Nov 2018 1523, 1703 500 m -- --
03 Nov 2018 0109 500 m -- Short (2-3 minutes) duration events. Ashfall reported in Coronado.
05 Nov 2018 0620 600 m NW --
06-11 Nov 2018 -- 500 m -- Low-level, continuous gas-and-ash emissions occasionally punctuated by energetic explosions that sent plumes as high as 500 m and caused ashfall in several areas downwind, including Cascajal de Coronado, Desamparados (35 km WSW), San Antonio, Guadalupe (32 km WSW), Sabanilla, San Pedro Montes de Oca, Moravia (31 km WSW), Heredia, and Coronado (San José, 35 km WSW). Weather prevented observations on 12 Nov.
13-19 Nov 2018 -- -- -- Periodic, passive ash emissions visible in webcam images or during cloudy conditions inferred from the seismic data.
22 Nov 2018 0710 100 m W --
23 Nov 2018 -- -- -- Frequent pulses of ash.
23-25 Nov 2018 -- 500 m -- Occasional Strombolian explosions ejected lava bombs deposited near the crater; residents of Cascajal de Coronado reported hearing several booming sounds.
26-27 Nov 2018 -- -- -- Passive emissions with small quantities of ash visible. Minor ashfall in San Jose (Cascajal de Coronado and Dulce Nombre), San Pedro Montes de Oca, and neighborhoods of Heredia.
28 Nov-03 Dec 2018 -- 500 m N, NW, SW Ashfall in Santo Domingo (36 km WSW) on 2 Dec.
05 Dec 2018 -- -- -- Minor emission.
06 Dec 2018 -- -- S Emission.
08 Dec 2018 0749 500 m NW --
09 Dec 2018 -- 1,000 m -- Ashfall in areas of Valle Central.
10 Dec 2018 -- -- -- Emissions periodically observed during periods of clear viewing. Ashfall in Moravia (31 km WSW) and Santa Ana, and residents of Heredia noted a sulfur odor.
11-12 Dec 2018 -- 500 m NW, SW The Tico Times stated some flights were delayed at San Jose airport, 67 km away.
13 Dec 2018 -- -- -- Pulsing ash emissions; ashfall in Guadalupe (32 km WSW) and Valle Central.
14-16 Dec 2018 -- -- W, SW Emissions with diffuse amounts of ash.
05-06 Jan 2019 0815 -- -- Increased after midnight on 6 Jan.
28 Jan-04 Feb 2019 -- -- -- Minor, sporadic ash emissions rose to low heights during most days.
01 Feb 2019 0640 1,500 m NW --
08 Feb 2019 0540 200 m -- Sporadic ash emissions for more than one hour.
11 Feb 2019 -- -- -- Very small ash emission.
13-15 Feb 2019 200-300 m NW, W, SW Almost continuous gas emissions with minor ash content.
15 Feb 2019 1330 1,000 m W --
18 Feb 2019 1310 500 m W --
21 Feb 2019 -- 300 m NW Frequent ash pulses.
22-24 Feb 2019 -- 300 m NW, SW Frequent ash emissions of variable intensity and duration. On 22 Feb ash fell in Santa Cruz (31 km WSW) and Santa Ana, and a sulfur odor was evident in Moravia.
28 Feb 2019 1050 500 m SW Ash pulses.

According to OVSICORI-UNA's annual summary for 2018, a slow decline in activity occurred after the volcano reached its highest emission rate during 2016. Activity during 2018 was consistent with an open system, generating frequent passive ash emissions. The volcano emitted ash on 58% of the days during the year. Some explosions were large enough to eject ballistics more than 400 m around the crater. Typical activity can be seen in a photo from 11 September 2018 (figure 50) and satellite imagery on 7 November 2018 (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Photo of an ash explosion at Turrialba taken on 11 September 2018. Courtesy of Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN: UCR-ICE), Universidad de Costa Rica.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Sentinel-2 satellite image of an ash emission from Turrialba on 7 November 2018, taken in natural color (gamma adjusted). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During January into early February 2019, passive ash emissions continued irregularly and with less intensity and duration. Emissions sometimes lacked ash. In their report of 4 February 2019, OVSICORI-UNA indicated that passive ash emissions were weak and slow. For the rest of February, they characterized ash emissions as frequent, but of low intensity.

Seismic activity. On 1 November 2018 OVSICORI-UNA reported that seismicity remained high, and involved low-amplitude banded volcanic tremor along with long-period (LP) and volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes. In late January-early February 2019, OVSICORI-UNA reported that seismicity remained relatively stable, although a small increase was associated with the hydrothermal system. VT earthquakes were absent, and tremors had decreased in both energy and duration. The number of low-frequency LP volcanic earthquakes remained stable, although they had decreasing amplitudes. No explosions were documented, and emissions were weak and had short durations and very dilute ash content.

Thermal anomalies. No thermal anomalies were recorded during the reporting period using MODIS satellite instruments processed by MODVOLC algorithm. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected five scattered hotspots during September-October 2018, none during November-December 2018, and two during January-February 2019. All were within 2 km of the volcano and of low radiative power.

Gas measurements. Significant sulfur dioxide levels near the volcano were recorded by NASA's satellite-borne ozone instruments only on 29 September 2018 (both NPP/OMPS and Aura/OMI instruments) and on 11 February 2019 (Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument). OVSICORI-UNA's gas measuring instruments were compromised in September 2018 through January 2019 due to vandalism. In early February, however, they detected hydrogen sulfide for the first time since 2016.

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/); Red Sismologica Nacional (RSN) a collaboration between a) the Sección de Sismología, Vulcanología y Exploración Geofísica de la Escuela Centroamericana de Geología de la Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), and b) the Área de Amenazas y Auscultación Sismológica y Volcánica del Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica (URL: https://rsn.ucr.ac.cr/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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://hotspot.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/); 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/); Costa Rica Star (URL: https://news.co.cr); The Tico Times (URL: https://ticotimes.net).


San Cristobal (Nicaragua) — April 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

San Cristobal

Nicaragua

12.702°N, 87.004°W; summit elev. 1745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak ash explosions in January and March 2019

San Cristóbal has produced occasional weak explosions since 1999, with intermittent gas-and-ash emissions. The only reported explosion during the first half of 2018 was on 22 April, the first since November 2017 (BGVN 43:03). The current report covers activity between 1 August 2018 and 1 May 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER).

According to INETER, a series of explosions occurred on 9 January 2019 that lasted several hours. INETER stated that one explosion occurred at 1643; the Washington VAAC's first advisory stated that an explosion occurred at 1145 (local time). The weak explosions, which occurred after a period of heightened seismic activity, generated an ash plume that reached 200 m above the edge of the crater and drifted W. The Washington VAAC reported volcanic ash plumes on 10-11 January extending about 92 km SW, and on 24-25 January extending about 185 km WSW. A low-energy explosion was detected by the seismic network at 1550 on 4 March 2019. The event produced a gas-and-ash plume that rose 400 m above the crater rim and drifted SW.

Monitoring data reported by INETER (table 6) showed elevated levels of seismicity during October 2018 through January 2019. Sulfur dioxide was also measured at higher levels in January 2019.

Table 6. Monthly sulfur dioxide measurements and seismicity reported at San Cristóbal during August 2018-March 2019. "Most" indicates that type of seismicity was dominant that month. Data courtesy of INETER.

Month Average SO2 Total earthquakes Degassing-type earthquakes Volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes
Aug 2018 461 t/d 6,464 6,147 251
Sep 2018 893 t/d 9,659 9,586 73
Oct 2018 269 t/d 11,698 3,509 8,189
Nov 2018 -- 19,593 19,586 7
Dec 2018 -- 30,901 -- Most
Jan 2019 1,286 t/d 11,504 Most Very few
Feb 2019 695 t/d 3,470 Most Very few
Mar 2019 -- 3,882 Most Very few

Geologic Background. The San Cristóbal volcanic complex, consisting of five principal volcanic edifices, forms the NW end of the Marrabios Range. The symmetrical 1745-m-high youngest cone, named San Cristóbal (also known as El Viejo), is Nicaragua's highest volcano and is capped by a 500 x 600 m wide crater. El Chonco, with several flank lava domes, is located 4 km W of San Cristóbal; it and the eroded Moyotepe volcano, 4 km NE of San Cristóbal, are of Pleistocene age. Volcán Casita, containing an elongated summit crater, lies immediately east of San Cristóbal and was the site of a catastrophic landslide and lahar in 1998. The Plio-Pleistocene La Pelona caldera is located at the eastern end of the complex. Historical eruptions from San Cristóbal, consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been reported since the 16th century. Some other 16th-century eruptions attributed to Casita volcano are uncertain and may pertain to other Marrabios Range volcanoes.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://webserver2.ineter.gob.ni/vol/dep-vol.html); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html).


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

Semisopochnoi

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash explosions during September and October 2018

The remote Semisopochnoi comprises the uninhabited volcanic island of the same name, ~20 km in diameter, in the Rat Islands group of the western Aleutians (figure 1). Plumes had been reported several times in the 18th and 19th centuries, and most recently observed in April 1987 from Sugarloaf Peak (SEAN 12:04). The volcano is dominated by an 8-km diameter caldera that contains a small lake (Fenner Lake) and a number of post-caldera cones and craters. Monitoring is done by the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) using an on-island seismic network along with satellite observations and lightning sensors. An infrasound array on Adak Island, about 200 km E, may detect explosive emissions with a 13 minute delay if atmospheric conditions permit.

On 16 September 2018 increased seismicity was detected at 0831, prompting AVO to raise the Aviation Color Code (ACC) to Yellow and Volcano Alert Level (VAL) to Advisory. Retrospective analysis of satellite data acquired on 10 September revealed small ash deposits on the N flank of Mount Cerberus, possibly associated with two bursts of tremor recorded on 8 September (figure 5). This new information, coupled with intensifying seismicity and a strong tremor signal recorded at 1249 on 17 September, resulted in AVO raising the ACC to Orange and the VAL to Watch. Seismicity remained elevated on 18 September with nearly constant tremor recorded by local sensors. At the same time, no ash emissions were observed in cloudy satellite images and no eruptive activity was recorded on regional pressure sensors at Adak.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Minor ash deposits can be seen on the south and west flanks of the N cone of Mount Cerberus, Semisopochnoi Island, in this ESA Sentinel-2 image from 1200 on 10 September 2018. Also note probable minor steam emissions obscuring the crater of the N cone. Image courtesy of AVO.

During 19-25 September 2018 seismicity remained elevated, alternating between periods of continuous and intermittent bursts of tremor. Tremor bursts at 1319 on 21 September and at 1034 on 22 September produced airwaves detected on a regional infrasound array on Adak Island; no ash emissions were identified above the low cloud deck in satellite data, and the infrasound detections likely reflected an atmospheric change instead of volcanic activity.

Seismicity remained elevated during 3-9 October 2018, with intermittent bursts of tremor. No volcanic activity was detected in infrasound or satellite data. On 11 October satellite data indicated partial erosion of a tephra cone in the crater of Cerberus's N cone. A crater lake about 90 m in diameter filled the vent. The data also suggested that the vent had not erupted since 1 October. Seismicity remained elevated and above background levels. The next day AVO lowered the Aviation Color Code to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory, noting the recent satellite data results and lack of tremor recorded during the previous week. AVO reported that unrest continued during 11-24 October.

An eruptive event began at 2047 on 25 October 2018, identified based on seismic data; strong volcanic tremor lasted about 20 minutes and was followed by 40 minutes of weak tremor pulses. A weak infrasound signal was detected by instruments on Adak Island. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) and Volcano Alert Level was raised to Watch (the second highest level on a four-level scale). A dense meteorological cloud deck prevented observations below 3 km, but a diffuse cloud was observed in satellite data rising briefly above the cloud deck, though it was unclear if it was related to eruptive activity. Tremor ended after the event, and seismicity returned to low levels.

Small explosions were detected by the seismic network at 2110 and 2246 on 26 October 2018, and 0057 and 0603 on 27 October. No ash clouds were identified in satellite data, but the volcano was obscured by high meteorological clouds. Additional small explosions were detected in seismic and infrasound data during 28-29 October; no ash clouds were observed in partly-cloudy-to-cloudy satellite images.

AVO reported on 31 October 2018 that unrest continued. Two small explosions were detected, one just before 0400 and the other around 1000. Satellite views were obscured by clouds at the time, and no ash clouds were observed. Unrest continued through 1 November, at which time the satellite link and the seismic line failed. On 21 November the ACC was lowered to Yellow and the VAL was lowered to Advisory.

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

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


Asosan (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple brief ash emission events during April and May 2019; minor ashfall in adjacent villages

Japan's 24-km-wide Asosan caldera on the island of Kyushu has been active throughout the Holocene. Nakadake has been the most active of 17 central cones within the caldera for 2,000 years. Historical eruptions have been primarily basaltic to basaltic-andesitic ash eruptions, with periodic Strombolian activity, all from Nakadake Crater 1. The most recent major eruptive episode began in late November 2014 and continued through 1 May 2016. Another eruption, with the largest ash plume in 20 years, occurred on 8 October 2016. Asosan remained quiet until renewed activity from Crater 1 began in mid-April 2019; it is covered in this report, through the end of June 2019. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides monthly reports of activity; the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issues aviation alerts reporting on possible ash plumes.

Asosan remained quiet during 2017 and 2018 with steam plumes rising a few hundred meters from Crater 1 and low levels of SO2 emissions; a warm acidic lake was present within the crater. Fumarolic activity from two areas on the S and SW wall of the crater rim generated occasional thermal anomalies in satellite data and incandescence at night. A brief period of increased seismicity was reported in mid-March 2019. An increase in seismic amplitude on 14 April 2019 preceded a small explosion on 16 April; it produced an ash plume which rose 200 m above the crater rim and drifted NW. It was followed by additional small explosions on 19 April. A new explosion on 3 May produced minor ashfall in adjacent communities; ash emissions were reported multiple times during May with plumes reaching 1,400 m above the crater rim. No additional ash emissions were reported in June.

Activity during 2017 and 2018. JMA reported that no eruptions occurred during 2017. Amplitudes of volcanic tremor increased somewhat during March but were generally low for the rest of the year. The earthquake hypocenters were mostly located near the active crater at around sea level. SO2 emissions were slightly less than 1,000 tons per day (t/d) from January through April; for the rest of the year they ranged from 600 to 2,500 t/d. The Alert Level had been lowered from 2 to 1 on 7 February 2017 where it remained throughout the year. Steam plumes generally rose no more than 600 m above the active crater rim (figure 42). JMA noted that from January to June they often observed crater incandescence at night with a high-sensitivity surveillance camera; Sentinel-2 satellite images also captured thermal anomalies a few times (figure 43). The green lake inside the crater persisted throughout the year with water temperatures of 50-60°C. Two fumaroles were present with high-temperature gas emissions on the SW and S crater walls. Temperatures at the S crater wall were over 600°C from February to May; they decreased to 320-560°C during the rest of the year (figure 44). Sulfur deposits were visible around the SW crater wall fumarole during July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Steam plumes that rose around 600 m above Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan were typical activity throughout 2017. Images taken with JMA webcam on 9 June (top left), 22 August (top right), 12 November (bottom left), and 20 December (bottom right) 2017. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Sentinel-2 images captured thermal anomalies at the S rim of the green lake at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 16 February (left) and 27 May 2017 (right). JMA reported that incandescence was occasionally visible during the night from January-June from the same area. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. High-temperature gas and steam from fumaroles on the S wall of the Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan on 24 August (top) and 17 November 2017 (bottom) were persistent all year, with temperatures ranging from 300 to over 600°C. The green lake inside the crater persisted throughout the year as well with water temperatures of 50-60°C. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

The Alert Level did not change at Asosan during 2018, and no eruptions were reported. Sulfur dioxide emissions fluctuated between 400 and 1,800 t/d throughout the year. Steam plumes generally rose less than 500 m above the active crater (figure 45); incandescence was observed at night during May-October and sometimes observed in satellite imagery as thermal anomalies (figure 46). The temperature of the green lake inside the crater ranged from 58 to 75°C throughout the year. The thermal anomaly on the S wall of the crater was consistently in the 300-500°C range, and had a high temperature in April of 580°C; in December the high temperature had risen to 738°C (figure 47). A brief increase in the number of isolated tremors occurred during March, with 1,044 reported on 4 March, exceeding the previous maximum of 1,000 on 27 October 2014. Seismicity also increased briefly during June, with more than 400 events reported each day on 8, 18, and 20 June. The Minami Aso village Yoshioka fumarole zone, located about 5 km W of Nakadake Crater 1, continued to produce modest steam plumes throughout 2017 and 2018 (figure 48).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Typical steam plumes at Asosan during 2018 rose around 500 m above the Nakadake Crater 1. Images are from 4 March (top left), 22 July (top right), 17 August (lower left), and 13 September 2018 (lower right). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Nighttime incandescence was reported by JMA during May-October 2018 from the S rim of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan; Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 4, 2) captured thermal anomalies from the same area numerous times during 2018 including on 16 June (top left), 26 July and 19 September (middle row), and 18 and 23 November (bottom row). JMA photographed incandescence at night on 17 July 2018 at the S fumarole area (top right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground and JMA (Aso volcano Monthly Report for July 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. The "Green Tea Pond" inside Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan had temperatures that ranged from 58 to 75°C during 2018 (top row, 26 March 2018); the thermal anomaly on the S wall of the crater consistently had temperatures measured in the 300-500°C range and the SW fumarole area had somewhat lower temperatures (bottom row, 22 June 2018). Courtesy of JMA (monthly Asosan reports for March, May, and June 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. The Minami Aso village Yoshioka fumarole zone, located about 5 km W of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan, continued to produce modest steam plumes throughout 2017 and 2018. It is shown here on 20 December 2017 (top) and 12 March 2018 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (December 2017 and March 2018 monthly volcano reports).

Activity during 2019. Steam plumes rose to 800 m above the crater rim during January 2019. Overall activity increased slightly during February; SO2 emissions peaked at 2,200 t/d early in the month; they ranged from 800 to 1,800 t/d for most of the month. The amplitude of volcanic tremor also increased slightly during February. A further increase in tremor amplitude on 11 March 2019 prompted JMA to raise the Alert Level from 1 to 2 the following morning. Volcanic tremor amplitude decreased on 15 March; JMA determined that activity had decreased, and the Alert Level was lowered back to 1 on 29 March 2019. The amount of water in the crater decreased significantly between 27 February and 20 March, exposing part of the crater floor.

The surface temperature of the lake rose during the first part of 2019; it was 78°C in February and 84°C in March. Steam plumes rose to 1,200 m above the crater rim during March and April. SO2 emissions rose to 4,500 t/d on 12 March but dropped to a lower range of 1,300-2,400 for the rest of the month. Another surge in SO2 emissions on 12 April 2019 to 3,600 t/d prompted a special report from JMA the following day. SO2 emissions varied from about 1,700 to 4,100 t/d during the month; values remained high during the second half of the month. JMA noted that the color of the water in the lake inside Nakadake Crater 1 changed from green to gray after 4 April. Fountains of muddy water were periodically observed; they reached 15 m high on 9 April. The temperatures of both the lake (82°C) and around the two fumarole areas (S area about 530°C, SW area about 310°C) remained constant during April and similar to March.

A large increase in the amplitude of volcanic tremor early on 14 April 2019 prompted JMA to raise the Alert Level from 1 to 2 later in the day. The epicenters of the earthquakes were very shallow, located within 1 km beneath the crater. A small eruption occurred at 1828 on 16 April at Nakadake Crater 1; it produced a gray and white plume that rose 200 m above the crater rim and was the first eruption since 8 October 2016 (figure 49). Incandescence was observed inside the crater on 3 and 17 April. The amplitude of seismic tremors decreased on 18 April. Three very small eruptions on 19 April produced ash and steam plumes that rose 500 m above the crater rim. During a site visit that day JMA measured a high-temperature area that produced incandescence from the bottom of the crater at night (figure 50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. The first eruption since October 2016 at Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan on 16 April 2019 sent an ash plume 200 m above the crater rim (top). Incandescent gas appeared on the crater floor the next day (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, April 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Three small explosions on 19 April 2019 at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 produced small ash emissions that rose 500 m above the crater rim (top). A strong thermal signal also appeared from the bottom of the crater. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, April 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

A new eruption began at 1540 on 3 May that lasted until 0620 on 5 May (figure 51). Initially the ash plume rose 600 m above the crater rim, but a few hours later the volume of ash increased, and the plume reached 2 km above the crater rim for a brief period. Incandescence was visible from the webcam. The Tokyo VAAC reported the ash plume at 3 km altitude drifting SE on 3 May. Later in the day it rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted SW. During a field survey the following day (4 May) JMA reported a steam and ash plume rising from the center of the active crater. The infrared thermal imaging camera recorded the temperature of the plume at about 500°C (figure 52).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. An explosion at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 3 May 2019 produced an ash plume that reached 2 km above the crater rim (top) and incandescence visible from the webcam (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, April 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. During a site visit on 4 May 2019, staff from JMA witnessed an ash and steam plume rising from the bottom of Nakadake Crater 1 at Asosan (top). The infrared thermal imaging camera recorded the temperature of the plume at about 500°C (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, May 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

Ash fell on the S flank, and a small amount of ashfall on 4 May was confirmed by evidence on a car windshield in Takamori Town (6 km S), Kumamoto Prefecture (figure 53). Ashfall was also reported in Takamori-machi, Minami Aso village (9 km SW), and part of Yamato-cho (25 km SW), also in the Kumamoto Prefecture. SO2 emissions were measured as high as 4,000 t/d on 4 May. Additional explosions with ash plumes were reported from Asosan on 9, 12-16, 29, and 31 May; the plumes rose from 200 to 1,400 m above the crater rim but were not visible in satellite imagery. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5 satellite captured SO2 plumes on 3 and 26 May 2019 (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Ashfall was reported on 4 May 2019 in Takamori Town, Kumamoto Prefecture, from the eruption at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 3 May 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, May 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Plumes of SO2 from Asosan were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 3 (left) and 26 (right) May 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Steam plumes rose to 1,700 m above the crater rim during June 2019 (figure 55). During field visits on 6 and 25 June diffuse ash emissions were observed rising from the center of the active crater, but they did not extend significantly above the crater rim (figure 56). The maximum temperature of the plume was measured at about 340°C with a thermal imaging camera. Almost all of the water in the crater bottom had evaporated since early May; incandescence continued to be observed within the crater at night with the high-resolution webcam (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Steam plumes rose to 1,700 m above the crater rim at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 10 June 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, June 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Plumes of gas and minor ash were visible at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 during site visits by JMA on 6 (left) and 25 (right) June 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, June 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Incandescent gas was visible from the vent at Asosan's Nakadake Crater 1 on 18 (left) and 25 (right) June 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Aso volcano monthly activity reports, June 2019, Fukuoka District Meteorological Observatory, Regional volcano monitoring and warning center).

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 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); 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/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 42, Number 09 (September 2017)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Barren Island (India)

Decreased and intermittent thermal anomalies after mid-March 2017

Bogoslof (United States)

Ash-bearing explosions begin in December 2016; lava dome emerges in June 2017

Bristol Island (United Kingdom)

First eruption since 1956; lava flows and ash plumes, April-July 2016

Etna (Italy)

Lava flows during May 2016 followed by new fracture zones and major subsidence at the summit craters

Fogo (Cape Verde)

November 2014-February 2015 eruption destroys two villages, lava displaces over 1000 people

Krakatau (Indonesia)

Eruption during 17-19 February 2017 sends large lava flow down the SE flank

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Eruption continues, intensifying from mid-December 2016 through July 2017

Masaya (Nicaragua)

Persistent lava lake and gas plume activity, with intermittent ash emission, through mid-July 2017

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Ongoing steam, gas, ash emissions, and lava dome growth and destruction, July 2016-July 2017

Sangeang Api (Indonesia)

Weak Strombolian activity and occasional weak ash plumes, 15 July-12 August 2017



Barren Island (India) — September 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Barren Island

India

12.278°N, 93.858°E; summit elev. 354 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Decreased and intermittent thermal anomalies after mid-March 2017

Following sporadic activity during the second half of 2016, a new period of strong thermal anomalies suggestive of lava flows began in mid-January 2017 (BVGN: 42:03). Scientists on a nearby research vessel observed ash emissions and lava fountains that fed lava flows during 23-26 January. Subsequent possible activity, as shown by MODIS thermal anomalies detected by MIROVA (figure 26), continued at similar levels until mid-March, after the anomalies became more intermittent and decreased in power through at least 2 September. Thermal alerts in MODVOLC were recorded during 15 January-8 March 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Thermal anomaly MIROVA log radiative power data from Barren Island during early September 2016-1 September 2017. Regular, low-moderate activity is evident beginning in late January through April 2017, but it thereafter wanes. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geological Survey of India cruise in May 2015. Some observations and photos of activity on 14 and 31 May 2015 have been provided by Sachin Tripathi, a geologist at the Geological Survey of India, who was close to the volcano during the SR-013 cruise of the RV Samudra Ratnakar. On 14 May the plumes were described as light gray "mushroom shaped" clouds. Tripathi further noted that the activity occurred in discrete pulses; he observed two such events during an 8-minute period that sent ash plumes 300-400 m high (figure 27). Eruptive pulses on 31 May lasted about 20-25 seconds, with an interval of 4-5 minutes. The plumes on that day were light gray to gray, and rose to around 50-100 m. The NE portion of the island was covered with ash (figure 28).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Two images from a video that illustrate the pulsating eruption at Barren Island on 14 May 2015. The top image shows the remains of an older plume above the island and a new plume just rising from the summit. The bottom image shows the ash plume rising to about 300-400 m above the island. Courtesy of Sachin Tripathi, Geological Survey of India.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Photograph of an ash plume rising from the active vent at Barren Island on 31 May 2015. Ashfall can be seen covering the NE portion of the island. Courtesy of Sachin Tripathi, Geological Survey of India.

Geologic Background. Barren Island, a possession of India in the Andaman Sea about 135 km NE of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, is the only historically active volcano along the N-S volcanic arc extending between Sumatra and Burma (Myanmar). It is the emergent summit of a volcano that rises from a depth of about 2250 m. The small, uninhabited 3-km-wide island contains a roughly 2-km-wide caldera with walls 250-350 m high. The caldera, which is open to the sea on the west, was created during a major explosive eruption in the late Pleistocene that produced pyroclastic-flow and -surge deposits. Historical eruptions have changed the morphology of the pyroclastic cone in the center of the caldera, and lava flows that fill much of the caldera floor have reached the sea along the western coast.

Information Contacts: Sachin Tripathi, Geological Survey of India; 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/).


Bogoslof (United States) — September 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Bogoslof

United States

53.93°N, 168.03°W; summit elev. 150 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash-bearing explosions begin in December 2016; lava dome emerges in June 2017

Bogoslof lies 40 km N of the main Aleutian arc, over 1,350 km SW of Anchorage, Alaska (figure 2). Its intermittent eruptive history, first recorded in the late 18th century, has created and destroyed several distinct islands that are responsible for a unique and changing landscape at the summit of this submarine volcano, and produced multiple explosive ash-bearing plumes. The last subaerial eruption, in July 1992, created a lava dome on the N side of the island, adjacent to an eroded dome created in 1927 (BGVN 17:07, figure 1). A new eruption began on 20 December 2016, and was ongoing through July 2017. Information comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) and the Anchorage Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Index map showing the location of Bogoslof. Adapted from Beget et al. (2005). Courtesy of AVO.

AVO notes that there is no ground-based monitoring equipment on Bogoslof, so monitoring is accomplished using satellite images, information from the Worldwide Lightning Location Network pertaining to volcanic-cloud lightning, and data from seismic and infrasound (airwave sensor) instruments. The infrasound instruments are located on neighboring Umnak (100 km SW) and Unalaska Islands (85 km SE) and further away at Sand Point (500 km E) on Popof Island, and on the Alaska mainland in Dillingham (825 km NE). AVO also receives reports from observers on ships and airplanes.

The first eruption at Bogoslof since 1992 began during mid-December 2016, when an ash plume was seen on 20 December. Numerous explosions were recorded via seismic, infrasound, lightning, satellite, and visual observations until 19 February 2017, and the morphology of the island changed significantly during that time. Ashfall was reported in Unalaska on 31 January. A large explosion on 7 March produced a substantial ash plume, and was followed by four days with earthquake swarms that lasted for hours. An explosion on 16 May produced an ash plume that rose to over 10 km altitude. A larger explosion on 28 May created tephra jets, pyroclastic fall and flow material around the island, and a possible 13.7-km-high ash plume. A substantial submarine sediment plume was observed in early June, followed by confirmation of a lava dome above the ocean surface during 5-6 June. A series of explosions during 10 June destroyed the lava dome. Explosions producing ash plumes that rose to altitudes above 10 km occurred on 23 June and 2 July; several additional smaller explosions were recorded through mid-July.

Activity during December 2016-February 2017. According to AVO, Bogoslof showed signs of unrest beginning on 12 December 2016 in seismic, infrasound (air-wave), and satellite data. Ash emissions may have occurred on 16 and 19 December on the basis of recorded lightning strikes, seismic data, and sulfur dioxide clouds detected by satellite instruments, though there were no direct visual observations from satellite or ground observers. On 20 December, a powerful, short-lived explosion at about 1535 AKST (0035 UTC 21 December) sent ash to over 10.3 km altitude which then drifted S (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Bogoslof's eruption plume was captured on 20 December shortly after 1530 AKST from an aircraft at 36,000 feet (10.9 km). The aircraft was about 20 miles N of Bogoslof Island flying W. Photo by Paul Tuvman, courtesy of AVO.

An explosion on 21 December at 1610 AKST was detected in satellite images and seismic data from neighboring islands. This eruption lasted about 30 minutes and sent ash as high as 10.7 km which then drifted N. Satellite images from the next day showed that a small new island had formed just offshore of the NE end of the main island. The previous shore and much of the NE side of Bogoslof Island adjacent to the new island was mostly removed and, according to AVO, was likely the site of the new, underwater vent; deposition of material was visible on the W side of the island (figure 4).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Analysis of shoreline change and vent location from the 20-21 December 2016 eruption of Bogoslof. The base image is from 19 March 2015 and the analysis was conducted using data from 22 December 2016, a day after the large explosive eruption on 21 December. Note that the location of the vent for the eruption was underwater or near the shoreline on the NE part of Bogoslof Island. Deposits have enlarged portions of the island and were interpreted by AVO to be comprised of coarse-grained volcanic ash and blocks of lava. The areas marked with "+" are material that was added during the eruption. The area marked with "-" represents material removed during the eruption. Courtesy of AVO.

During the morning of 23 December 2016, observers aboard a Coast Guard vessel reported ash emission, lightning, and the ejection of incandescent lava and fragmental material. Ash emission and lava ejection subsided after about an hour. The ash cloud was carried N over the Bering Sea and did not penetrate above the regional cloud tops at 9.1 km altitude. Similar, repeated, short-duration explosions continued every few days through 19 February 2017 before the first break in activity (table 1).

Table 1. Observations of activity at Bogoslof, December 2016-July 2017, as reported by AVO and the Anchorage VAAC. Date is local AKST or AKDT (starting 10 June). Plume altitude in kilometers. Drift is direction and distance in kilometers.

Date Time (local) Observation and notes Plume Altitude (km) Drift Detection Method
12 Dec 2016 -- "Unrest" -- -- Seismic, infrasound, satellite
16 Dec 2016 -- Possible ash emissions -- -- Lightning, seismic, SO2
19 Dec 2016 -- Possible ash emissions -- -- Lightning, seismic, SO2
20 Dec 2016 1530 Explosive eruption with ash plume 10.3 S Pilot, satellite
21 Dec 2016 1610 30-minute-long explosion with ash plume 10.7 N Satellite, seismic
23 Dec 2016 0930 Explosion with ash, lightning, incandescent lava, and debris, 60 minute duration Below 9.1 N Coast Guard observers from nearby vessel
25 Dec 2016 evening Tremor, possible minor, low-level ash emission, lightning -- -- Seismic, lightning
26 Dec 2016 1405 Ash Plume 9.1 WSW Lightning, seismic, satellite
28 Dec 2016 1755 Tremor, 50 minutes, Cloud cover obscured -- -- Seismic
29 Dec 2016 1900, 2345 Continuous tremor at 1900, 30-minute-long ash producing event at 2345 6.1 NE Seismic station on Umnak, infrasound, satellite
30 Dec 2016 2230 Explosive event, 45 minutes, Cloud cover obscured -- -- Seismic, infrasound, lightning
31 Dec 2016 0500 Low-level eruptive activity, continuous; cloud cover obscured; windy conditions affect local seismic stations -- -- Dillingham infrasound
02 Jan 2017 1353 Minor explosions, 10 minutes of increased seismicity, cloud cover obscured -- -- Seismic, infrasound
03 Jan 2017 2118 Seismic activity, 5 minutes, ash plume 10.0 N Seismic, infrasound, lightning, satellite
05 Jan 2017 1324 Increased seismicity, ash plume, detached 10.7 NNW Seismic, lightning, satellite, pilot
08 Jan 2017 2233, 2256 Two strong seismic pulses, two volcanic clouds 10.7 NW Seismic, infrasound, satellite
12 Jan 2017 1123, 1230 Two short-lived explosions, plumes 5.5, 4.4 -- Seismic, pilot
14 Jan 2017 2126, 2216 Six explosions, beginning 2216, no ash plumes observed -- -- Seismic, lightning
17 Jan 2017 0400, 0740 Increasing tremor signal, Steam with minor ash 4.6 -- Seismic, satellite
18 Jan 2017 1320 Explosion, dark ash cloud, strong thermal anomaly around vent 9.4 NE Seismic, pilot, lightning, infrasound, satellite, SO2, MODVOLC
20 Jan 2017 1317 Explosion, ice-rich ash plume, lava at vent 11.0 SE Seismic, lightning, pilot, satellite imagery of lava, infrasound
22 Jan 2017 1409 Explosion, ash plume 9.1 -- Lightning, satellite
24 Jan 2017 0453 Explosion, ice-rich cloud with likely ash 7.6-10.7 E Seismic, lightning
26 Jan 2017 0650, 0706 Exposion, ice-rich cloud with likely ash; ash drifted in multiple directions 9.8, 6.1 SE, NE Seismic, lightning
27 Jan 2017 0824 Explosion, ice-rich cloud with likely ash 7.6 -- Seismic, lightning
30 Jan 2017 2020 Eruption cloud, more than 10 short explosions, Trace ashfall in Dutch Harbor (98 km E) and strong SO2 odor 7.6 125 km SE Seismic, infrasound, lightning, satellite
03 Feb 2017 0457, 0533 Increased seismicity, small explosions, no ash detected -- -- Seismic, infrasound
03 Feb 2017 1641 Seismic event, small plume 7.6 40 km N Infrasound, satellite, pilot
5, 7, 8 Feb 2017 -- Weakly elevated surface temp -- -- Satellite
13 Feb 2017 0724 Increased seismicity, no ash emissions above 3 km -- -- Seismic, satellite
17 Feb 2017 0955, 1546 Explosive event, ash plume 11.6, 7.6 N Seismic, satellite, pilot, infrasound, lightning
18 Feb 2017 0450 Explosion, ash emissions 7.6 SW Seismic, infrasound, lightning, satellite
19 Feb 2017 1708-1745 Series of short explosive pulses, plume 7.6 160 km SE Seismic, infrasound, satellite
07-08 Mar 2017 2236 3 hour explosive event, large ash plume, over 1,000 lightning strokes 10.7 E Seismic, lightning, infrasound
09-10 Mar 2017 1750 Earthquake swarm, 20 hours -- -- Seismic
10-11 Mar 2017 1900 Earthquake swarm, 10 hours -- -- Seismic
12 Mar 2017 0500 Earthquake swarm -- -- Seismic
13 Mar 2017 1131 Seismic event, small ash cloud, weakly elevated surface temps 5.5 90 km SSW Seismic, satellite
16 May 2017 2232 Increased seismicity, ash plume, 73 minutes 10.4 SW Seismic, infrasound, lightning, satellite, pilot
28 May 2017 1416 Explosion, ash plume, 50 minutes, plume visible for 4 days 10.7-13.7 W, NE Seismic, satellite, pilot
31 May 2017 1842 Several hour-long seismic swarm followed by short duration explosion, volcanic cloud 7.3 WNW Seismic, infrasound, satellite
05 Jun 2017 0750 Explosion, small volcanic cloud -- -- Seismic, pilot
06 Jun 2017 0600 Brief explosive event, possible plume, lava dome emerges 1.8 -- Seismic, infrasound, satellite
10 Jun 2017 0318 Explosive eruption, ash-rich cloud 10.4 NW Seismic, infrasound, lightning, satellite
12 Jun 2017 1747 Series of explosive events, ash plumes 7.6 SE Seismic, infrasound
13 Jun 2017 0817 Six-minute long explosion, no plume observed -- -- Seismic, infrasound
23 Jun 2017 1649 Five explosions, ash plume 11.0 400-490 km E Seismic, infrasound
26 Jun 2017 1645 14-minute explosion, ash plume 7.6 -- Seismic
27 Jun 2017 0317 14-minute explosion, ash plume 9.1 NW Seismic, lightning
30 Jun 2017 0124 Explosion, 20 minutes, small cloud -- 16 km N Seismic
02 Jul 2017 1248 16-minute explosion, ash plume 11 E Seismic, infrasound
04 Jul 2017 1651 13-minute explosive event, eruption cloud 8.5 SE Seismic
04 Jul 2017 1907 11-minute-long explosion, small cloud 9.8 SE Seismic
08 Jul 2017 1015 Two eruption pulses, ash plume 9.1 N Seismic, satellite
09 Jul 2017 2347 Two eruptions, 5-minutes and 7-minutes long, small ash cloud 6.1 SE Seismic, satellite
10 Jul 2017 1000, 1706 Two explosions, no confirmed ash -- -- Seismic, infrasound

AVO reported that photos taken by a pilot on 10 January showed Bogoslof covered with dark gray ash, and a roughly 300-m-diameter submarine explosion crater on the E side of the island. The dark (ash-rich) plume from an explosion on 18 January (figure 5) was identified in satellite images and observed by a pilot; the event produced lightning strikes and infrasound signals detected by sensors in Sand Point and Dillingham. Analysis of a satellite image suggested the presence of very hot material (possibly lava) at the surface immediately surrounding the vent, which was the first such observation since the beginning of the eruption. The first MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 18 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. A large explosion at Bogoslof on 18 January 2017 produced a dark ash cloud that rose to 9.4 km and drifted NE. Captured by MODIS on NASA's Terra satellite. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

AVO analysis of satellite images from 16 and 18 January 2017 (before the eruption that day) showed that the vent area, which formed on the NE end of the island in shallow water, had been filling in with eruptive material and building out of the water. On 20 January, satellite images showed an ice-rich plume and lava present at the vent. Prevailing winds carried the plume to the SE over the SW end of Unalaska Island, but no ash fall was reported. A high spatial resolution satellite image collected on 24 January showed AVO that the explosive eruptions continued to change the morphology of the island and the coastline (see figure 7). The eruptive vent, however, remained below sea level in the N portion of a figure-eight-shaped bay, as indicated by the presence of upwelling volcanic gases. There was no sign of lava at the surface.

A series of more than 10 short-duration explosions beginning on 30 January (AKST) and detected in seismic, infrasound, and lightning data, resulted in an ash plume that rose to 7.6 km altitude and drifted 125 km SE. Trace amounts of ashfall and a strong SO2 odor were reported in Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island (98 km E) (figure 6). Satellite images acquired on 31 January showed additional significant changes to the morphology of the island (figure 7). AVO stated that freshly erupted volcanic rock and ash had formed a barrier that separated the vent from the sea.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Trace ashfall in Unalaska, Alaska, on 31 January 2017 from Bogoslof. Courtesy of AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Changes in the morphology of Bogoslof Island resulting from the ongoing 2016-17 eruption. The 30-31 January 2017 eruptive activity generated roughly 0.4 square kilometers of new land. As of 31 January 2017 the island area was 1.02 square kilometers, roughly three times the size of the pre-eruption island. Nearly all of this new material consisted of unconsolidated pyroclastic fall and flow (surge) deposits that are highly susceptible to wave erosion. Courtesy of AVO.

On 19 February 2017, a series of short-lived explosive pulses resulted in a plume that drifted 160 km SE over Unalaska Island. AVO geologists on the island described the cloud has having a white upper portion and a slightly darker lower portion. A satellite image from 23 February showed that the vent location at Bogoslof remained underwater. After the 19 February events, the volcano was quiet for two weeks.

Activity during March 2017. A 3-hour-long explosive event occurred overnight during 7-8 March 2017 and produced numerous strokes of volcanic lightning, high levels of seismicity and infrasound, and an ash cloud up to 10.7 km altitude that moved E over Unalaska Island. The seismicity was among the highest levels observed for the eruption sequence that began in mid-December 2016, and the more than 1,000 detected lightning strokes were by far the highest number observed to date. The eruptive activity again changed the shape of the island and temporarily dried out the vent area. Satellite images from 8 March showed that the W coast of the island appeared to have grown significantly due to the eruption of new volcanic ash and blocks. A new vent was also identified on the NW side of the island, and the lava dome emplaced during the 1992 eruption was partially destroyed (figure 8).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. A Worldview-2 satellite image of Bogoslof Island on 11 March 2017 showing features and changes resulting from the 7-8 March 2017 activity. A new vent developed on the NW shore of the island adjacent to the lava dome that formed during the 1992 eruption. Most of the deposits on the surface appear fine-grained and were likely emplaced by pyroclastic base surges. The surface of these deposits exhibit ripples, dunes, and ballistic impact craters. The scalloped appearing shoreline of the intra-island lake is probably the result of groundwater related erosion (sapping) of the pyroclastic deposits as water refills the lake. Most or all of the water in the lake was likely expelled by the eruption column exiting the primary or other vents. The area of Bogoslof Island in this image is about 0.98 square kilometers. Image data provided under Digital Globe NextView License. Courtesy of AVO.

Two earthquake swarms were detected during 9-11 March; the first began at 1750 on 9 March and ended at 1400 on 10 March, and the second was detected from 1900 on 10 March to 0500 on 11 March. Mildly elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite data during 10-11 March. A third swarm began at 0500 on 12 March. A 12-minute-long explosive event, beginning at 1131 on 13 March, produced a small ash cloud that rose to an altitude of 5.5 km and drifted SSW. AVO noted that after the event, the level of seismic activity declined and the repeating earthquakes of the previous several days had stopped. Weakly elevated surface temperatures were observed in two satellite images from 13 March. A photograph taken by a pilot showed a low-level, billowy steam plume rising from the general area of the intra-island lake. Except for weakly elevated surface temperatures in satellite data, no significant activity was reported during the rest of March. The only activity detected during April 2017 was a brief increase in seismicity on 15 April. Aerial reconnaissance by the US Coast Guard on 8 May showed the dramatic changes of the island's shape (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Bogoslof Island viewed from the NW on 8 May 2017. Fire Island (a remnant of lava from an 1883 eruption) is in the right foreground, and the new steaming lake that includes the submarine vent is behind the two dome remnants in the mid-ground. The 1992 lava is the remnant on the left and the 1926-28 lava is on the right. Bogoslof Island aerial reconnaissance courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak and U.S.C.G. Cutter Mellon. Photo by Max Kaufman, courtesy of AVO.

Activity during May-July 2017. Following a pause in explosive activity that lasted a little over two months, Bogoslof erupted explosively at 2232 (AKDT) on 16 May. The eruption, which lasted about 70 minutes, was detected by seismic and infrasound sensors on neighboring islands and the resulting ash-cloud-generated volcanic lightning that was detected by the Worldwide Lightning Location Network. A pilot report and satellite images showed that the plume rose as high as 10.4 km, and then drifted SW. Trace ashfall was reported in the community of Nikolski on Umnak Island (125 km SW). A drifting sulfur dioxide cloud from the eruption was detected for several days using satellite-based sensors. The eruption altered the northern coastline of the island, with the crater lake breached by a 550-m-wide gap along the N shore. Part of the NE shore had been extended 300 m due to new tephra deposits.

Another large explosion began at 1416 on 28 May 2017. Pilot and satellite observations indicated that ash plumes rose at least 10.7 km and possibly as high as 13.7 km altitude (figure 10). An observer on Unalaska Island reported seeing a large white-gray mushroom cloud form over Bogoslof, with ashfall to the W. The event lasted 50 minutes. On 29 May the ash cloud continued to drift NE, and on 2 June, an SO2 plume from the event was still visible in satellite data drifting over the Hudson Bay region.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Enlarged portions of 28 May 2017 satellite image of Bogoslof Island. Inset image on lower left shows pyroclastic fall and flow material emplaced over water. Some of the material appears to have been disturbed, possibly by the force of the eruption column. It is unclear if this material represents new land or material floating on the water. Tephra jets are common features of many shallow submarine eruptions. The inset image in the upper right shows a weak base surge propagating from the base of the eruption column across the tuff ring. Image data provided under the Digital Globe NextView License. Courtesy of AVO.

On 5 June, a vessel in the area reported vigorous steaming and a white plume rising at least a kilometer above sea level. Also, a substantial submarine sediment plume was seen in satellite imagery drifting N from the lagoon area (figure 11). A brief explosive event at 0600 on 6 June likely produced a low-level (less than 3 km) emission. A possible plume at 1.8 km that quickly dissipated was identified in a satellite image following the detection of the activity in seismic and infrasound data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Landsat-8 image of Bogoslof from 5 June 2017 at 2200 UTC (1400 AKDT). This composite image of visible and thermal infrared data shows a sediment plume in the ocean that extends from the vent region in the horseshoe-shaped lagoon. Warm water outflow is highlighted in color extending northward from the lagoon where it mixes with colder ocean water. A hot vent just S of the lagoon can be seen in orange, and several small puffs of white steam are visible coming from this region. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

AVO reported that a new lava dome breached the surface of the ocean on or around 6 June 2017; it was the first observation of lava at the surface since the start of the eruption in mid-December 2016 (figure 12). The dome was an estimated 110 m in diameter on 7 June, and then grew to 160 m in diameter by 9 June. Four short-duration explosions were detected in seismic and/or infrasound data between 5 and 7 June, and generated volcanic clouds that in many cases were too small to be observed in satellite data. AVO reported that robust steaming was identified in satellite data and by observers aboard a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ship in the region following the emergence of the lava dome likely due to, or enhanced by, the effusion of lava into the ocean.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Comparison of satellite radar images from 31 May and 8 June 2017 of Bogoslof showing the newly emplaced lava dome. The diameter of the short-lived dome was about 110 m. N is to the top. Courtesy of AVO.

A series of six explosions was detected on 10 June, starting with a 2-hour explosive event that emitted an ash-rich cloud to 10.4 km altitude that was detected in seismic, infrasound, lightning, and satellite data. This event destroyed the 160-m-diameter lava dome that was first observed on 5 June (figure 13). On 12 June, a series of four small explosions lasting 10-30 minutes each emitted volcanic clouds that rose to a maximum height of 7.6 km, and dissipated within about 30 minutes. On 13 June, a six-minute-long explosion occurred, although no ash cloud was observed in satellite imagery likely because it's altitude was below detection limits.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Worldview satellite image of Bogoslof taken at 2313 UTC on 12 June 2017. Note that N is to the lower left of the image. The circular embayments were formed by a series of more than 40 explosions that began in mid-December 2016. These explosions have greatly reshaped the island as material was removed and redeposited as air fall. Vigorous steaming was observed S of the most active vent areas in the lagoon. Lava extrusion produced a circular dome that first rose above the water on 5 June and grew to a diameter of ~160 m before being destroyed by an explosion early in the day on 10 June. Large blocks of the destroyed dome can be seen littering the surface of the island near the lagoon. Courtesy of AVO.

Weakly elevated surface temperatures detected in satellite imagery on 10 and 11 June suggested to AVO that a new lava dome was extruding beneath the ocean surface. Satellite imagery showed persistent degassing from the island in between explosions. In addition, residents of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor reported smelling sulfur on 12 June, and winds were consistent with a source at Bogoslof. AVO reported that elevated surface temperatures and a small steam emission were identified in satellite images during 13-14 and 16 June. A 13-km-long steam plume was visible on 18 June.

A series of nine explosions were detected in seismic and/or infrasound data during the night of 23 June, the largest of which produced a volcanic cloud reaching an altitude of 11 km that drifted well over 400 km E (figure 14). Additional explosions on 26 and 27 June sent volcanic clouds to 7.6 and 9.1 km altitude, respectively. Winds carried most of these plumes N and NE; AVO received no reports of ashfall from local communities. Bogoslof erupted again on 29 June and produced a small plume, and several times during the first two weeks of July explosions produced larger plumes that rose to 8.5-11 km altitude. Two explosions that occurred on 10 July without producing observed ash were the last for the rest of the month. Weakly elevated surface temperatures were observed in clear satellite images on 12 and 16 July. No further activity was reported for the rest of July 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Ash plume rising above Bogoslof, 1814 AKDT, 23 June 2017. The view is from Mutton Cove on SW Unalaska Island about 67 km SE of the volcano. AVO estimated the volcanic cloud reached about 11 km above sea level. Photo by Masami Sugiyama courtesy of Allison Everett and AVO.

A modest thermal signal was detected by the MIROVA system between February and July 2017 consistent with the activity that suggested lava dome growth during that time (figure 15).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph of thermal energy at Bogoslof for the year ending on 17 August 2017. A low-level thermal anomaly was first detected in early March, and was intermittent through early July. Courtesy of MIROVA.

References: Beget, J.E., Larsen, J.F., Neal, C.A., Nye, C.J., and Schaefer, J.R., 2005, Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for Okmok Volcano, Umnak Island, Alaska: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Report of Investigation 2004-3, 32 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:150,000.

Geologic Background. Bogoslof is the emergent summit of a submarine volcano that lies 40 km north of the main Aleutian arc. It rises 1500 m above the Bering Sea floor. Repeated construction and destruction of lava domes at different locations during historical time has greatly modified the appearance of this "Jack-in-the-Box" volcano and has introduced a confusing nomenclature applied during frequent visits of exploring expeditions. The present triangular-shaped, 0.75 x 2 km island consists of remnants of lava domes emplaced from 1796 to 1992. Castle Rock (Old Bogoslof) is a steep-sided pinnacle that is a remnant of a spine from the 1796 eruption. Fire Island (New Bogoslof), a small island located about 600 m NW of Bogoslof Island, is a remnant of a lava dome that was formed in 1883.

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://vaac.arh.noaa.gov/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


Bristol Island (United Kingdom) — September 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Bristol Island

United Kingdom

59.017°S, 26.533°W; summit elev. 1100 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


First eruption since 1956; lava flows and ash plumes, April-July 2016

Bristol Island, near the southern end of the seven South Sandwich Islands in the isolated Southern Atlantic Ocean, lies 800 km SE of South Georgia Island at latitude 59° S. Historic eruptions occurred on Bristol Island in 1823, the 1930s, and the 1950s. A new eruption was reported from Mount Sourabaya, a cone near the center of the island, beginning at the end of April 2016. It produced ash plumes and strong thermal anomalies most likely generated by lava flows until the end of July 2016. Information about Bristol Island comes from NASA Earth Observatory and other satellite imagery data, and the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Evidence for a new eruption at Bristol Island first appeared in Landsat 8 imagery on 24 April 2016 as a large steam plume and a thermal anomaly at the summit (figure 1). Another image on 1 May showed the still-active plume and an elongation of the thermal anomaly to the W, suggesting that lava may have breached the crater rim. Two MODVOLC thermal alerts also appeared on 24 April; their frequency and intensity increased significantly in subsequent days.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite acquired these two false-color images on 24 April (upper) and 1 May (lower) 2016 of an eruption at Mount Sourabaya, a stratovolcano on Bristol Island. The images were built from a combination of shortwave-infrared, near-infrared, and red light (Landsat bands 6-5-4) that helps detect the heat signature of an eruption. Both images show what could be lava (red-orange), while white plumes of steam trail away from the crater. In the lower (1 May) image, the thermal anomaly extends farther to the W, suggesting a lava flow. The band combination makes the ice cover of the island appear bright blue-green. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

The number of daily MODVOLC thermal alerts increased during May 2016 to as many as 35 on 26 May. On many days, more than 10 thermal alerts were issued. The distribution of the alert pixels suggested that an E-W linear feature such as one or more lava flows was responsible for many of the thermal anomalies (figure 2).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. MODVOLC thermal alerts for Bristol Island during selected dates in late April and May 2016. Top left: Nine thermal alerts issued during 25-30 April form two linear features trending WNW and WSW. Top right: 59 alerts issued during 11-15 May suggest intensification of heat flow. Lower left: 35 alerts on 26 May are scattered over a wide area. Lower right: 20 alerts issued on 29 May are concentrated in an E-W trending distribution, suggesting one or more flows of some kind as the heat source. Courtesy of HIGP MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

A Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite image of Bristol Island acquired on 28 May 2016 showed an ash plume from Mt. Sourabaya drifting NE (figure 3). The Buenos Aires VAAC issued the first reports of gas and possible ash plumes on 29 May 2016, noting that they drifted as far as 185 km N, NNE, and SE at an altitude of approximately 1.5 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. On 28 May 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite acquired this natural-color image of an ash plume streaming NE from Bristol Island. The plume casts a shadow on the sea ice below. Most of the white in the image is likely ice, rather than clouds. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

The Buenos Aires VAAC issued multiple daily ash advisories during 29 May-7 June 2016. They noted that weather clouds mostly prevented satellite observations of Mount Sourabaya during 1-6 June, though a thermal anomaly was detected during 1-2 and 5-7 June. Satellite images from Suomi NPP/VIIRS often showed possible ash plumes mixed with clouds, but revealed distinct plumes on 2 and 4 June (figure 4) drifting E, and on 7 June towards the NE. On 16 June, a diffuse plume of volcanic ash was reported by the Buenos Aires VAAC moving SE at about 1.5 km altitude. MODVOLC thermal alerts continued even more strongly in June than during May. On almost every day, more than ten alerts were recorded, and they continued with a broad E-W distribution similar to that seen during May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. An ash plume can be seen drifting E on 4 June 2016 from Bristol Island in this Suomi NPP/VIIRS image (Corrected Reflectance – True Color). Courtesy of NASA Worldview.

On 16 and 18 July, ash seen in Suomi NPP/VIIRS imagers appeared to be drifting NE, and on 19 July a faint thin ash plume was identified drifting 100 km NE; the persistent thermal anomaly continued to be visible. No further VAAC reports were issued after 21 July. Numerous MODVOLC thermal alerts continued during most days of July, until they stopped abruptly after the 17 alerts issued on 26 July (figure 5). The MIROVA thermal anomaly system captured a strong signal from Bristol Island between late April and late July 2016 (figure 6).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. MODVOLC thermal alerts during July 2016 suggest multiple origin points for the substantial thermal anomalies. Top left: the distribution of the 23 alerts issued on 3 July suggests multiple origin points. Top right: two distinct sources are apparent from the 15 alerts issued on 7 July. Lower left: the 30 alerts issued on 13 July are spread over a large E-W area and reflect multiple source points. Lower right: the 17 Alerts on 26 July show NE-SW trending elongate zones of thermal anomalies. Courtesy of HIGP MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. A strong thermal anomaly signal is apparent at Bristol Island during April-July 2016 in the MIROVA thermal anomaly data. Both blue and black lines signify eruptive activity. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Two satellite images, from 21 August and 22 September 2016, confirm the presence of new lava fields around the summit of Mount Sourabaya that were created during the April-July 2016 eruption (figure 7).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Satellite imagery of Mount Sourabaya on Bristol Island on 21 August and 22 September 2016 after the eruptive episode of April-July shows evidence of lava flows onto ice and snow surrounding the summit. The upper image is from the Landsat Viewer/EOS Data Analytics annotated by the South Sandwich Islands blog; the lower image is a Landsat 8 image annotated by Cultur Volcan.

Geologic Background. The 9 x 10 km Bristol Island near the southern end of the South Sandwich arc lies across Fortser's Passage from the Southern Thule Islands and forms one of the largest islands of the chain. Largely glacier-covered, it contains a horseshoe-shaped ridge at the interior extending northward from the highest peak, 1100-m-high Mount Darnley. A steep-sided flank cone or lava dome, Havfruen Peak, is located on the east side, and a young crater and fissure are on the west flank. Three large sea stacks lying off Turmoil Point at the western tip of the island may be remnants of an older now-eroded volcanic center. Both summit and flank vents have been active during historical time. The latest eruption, during 1956, originated from the west-flank crater, and deposited cinder over the icecap. The extensive icecap and the difficulty of landing make it the least explored of the South Sandwich Islands.

Information Contacts: NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php?lang=es); 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/); South Sandwich Islands Volcano Monitoring Blog (URL: http://southsandwichmonitoring.blogspot.com/); Cultur Volcan, Journal d'un volcanophile (URL: https://laculturevolcan.blogspot.com/).


Etna (Italy) — September 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows during May 2016 followed by new fracture zones and major subsidence at the summit craters

Italy's Mount Etna on the island of Sicily has had historically recorded eruptions for the past 3,500 years. Lava flows, explosive eruptions with ash plumes, and lava fountains commonly occur from its major summit crater areas, the North East Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova complex (VOR-BN), the South East Crater (SEC) (formed in 1978), and the New South East Crater (NSEC) (formed in 2011). The Etna Observatory, which provides weekly reports and special updates on activity, is run by the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV). This report uses information from INGV to provide a detailed summary of events between April 2016 and January 2017.

Summary of April 2016-January 2017 activity. A new eruptive episode at Etna began on 15 May 2016 and included activity around all four major summit cones; Strombolian activity began at NSEC on 15-16 May, from a pit on the E flank of the cone. The following night, thermal webcams suggested Strombolian activity at NEC. This ceased on 18 May when Strombolian activity started at VOR that also produced a large ash plume. Lava then overflowed the W rim of BN and headed W multiple times during the next few days. A different flow emerged from a fracture on the SE side of VOR near SEC on 21 May. Activity from all of the active vents had ended by 26 May. New fracture zones trending N-S and NE-SW, and extensive subsidence within VOR were observed at the summit craters at the end of May after the episode ceased.

Intermittent weak ash emissions during late May and July and intense degassing from several craters were the primary activity until explosive activity at VOR began on 7 August and opened a new vent along the inner wall of the NE rim. Strong subsidence followed at VOR and BN during August and September, creating a single large crater that included both areas. Dense ash emissions from the vent on the upper E flank of NSEC in mid-October and a few modest ash emissions from VOR and NSEC were observed. There was also persistent incandescence from the new vent at VOR and its continued subsidence through early January 2017. After the spike in activity during May 2016, heat flow diminished, but was persistent throughout the period (figure 174).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. MIROVA log radiative power thermal anomaly graph of activity at Etna from late May 2016 through early January 2017. A major effusive eruptive event with lava flows and Strombolian activity caused a spike in heat flow during late May 2016, but heat flow was persistent throughout the period. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during March-April 2016. After the major lava fountains and ash plumes of the first week of December 2015 (BGVN 42:05), eruptive activity was lower through March 2016. Sporadic ash emissions and minor incandescence were reported a few times each month. The largest event was an explosion on 23 February 2016; it produced an ash plume that drifted NE and caused ashfall in communities as far as 40 km away.

Continuous degassing accompanied dense ash emissions from the North East Crater (NEC) and the New South East Crater (NSEC) during 31 March-1 April 2016. Winds sent material to the SW, and then changed direction to the N the following day, dispersing pyroclastic material around the crater area. Ash emissions continued to be weak but persistent for the rest of April from NEC and NSEC, while only minor degassing was observed from the Voragine-Bocca Nuova complex (VOR-BN). A new pit crater was observed near the center of BN from the gradual collapse of the crater between 19 February and 15 April 2016.

Activity during May 2016. Although visibility was limited due to weather in early May 2016, discontinuous explosive activity with minor ash emissions was observed over several days from NEC and NSEC near the top of Valle del Bove (a large valley SE of the summit crater area). Weak incandescence from NSEC was detected by the high-resolution webcam at Monte Cagliato for the first time in several months during the night of 16 May, and marked the beginning of a new eruptive episode that lasted until 25 May 2016, involving activity at all four summit crater areas (figure 175).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. The four summit craters at Etna shown in a DEM from 2014 created and modified by INGV's Aerogeophysical Laboratory. The black hatched lines outline the rims of the craters. BN = Bocca Nuova, VOR = Voragine; they are delimited by a single crater rim after the explosive activity of December 2015; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater with cone of the New South East Crater (NSEC) on its SE flank. Activity from the 17-25 May 2016 episode is shown in red and yellow and discussed in the text. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 16/05/2016-22/05/2016, Reporte No. 21/2016).

Explosive activity first observed during the night of 15-16 May 2016 at NSEC came from a pit on the E flank of the cone. The following night, webcams also showed a thermal anomaly at NEC, interpreted by INGV as probable Strombolian activity. At first light on 17 May, intense degassing was observed from NEC which lasted throughout the day and included minor ash emissions. Strong explosions from NEC were heard about 10 km from the crater. Strombolian activity rising tens of meters above the rim was first observed around 2000 UTC. During the night of 17-18 May, intermittent flashes, likely from explosive activity, originated from the pit on the E flank of NSEC.

Continued explosions at NEC during the morning of 18 May produced an ash cloud that drifted ESE. This activity ceased around 1050 UTC, when Strombolian activity began at VOR that rapidly evolved into a lava fountain. The activity also created an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 7 km and drifted due E. The lava fountain continued until about 1430 UTC. Shortly after the Strombolian activity began at VOR (around 1100 UTC), lava overflowed the W rim of BN and headed W towards Monte Nunziata. It traveled for about 2 km and stopped at an elevation of around 2,100 m based on observations from the Bronte thermal webcam. Also at 1100 UTC, a small explosive vent opened at the base of the N side of NEC (Bocca 1 in red, figure 175) that spattered for a few minutes. Around 1530 UTC, an improvement in weather conditions permitted observation of a new lava flow in the Valle del Bove. The flow, fed by a vent at the base of the E side of NEC (Bocca 2 in red, figure 175), headed E towards Monte Simone, and stopped at an elevation of approximately 2,400 m.

By the morning of 19 May, although adverse weather conditions prevented observations, a sudden increase in the amplitude of tremor and loud explosions heard in communities E and S of the volcano suggested another explosive episode at VOR. A dense eruptive cloud drifted E. A new lava flow emerged from the W rim of BN, and headed W on top of the flow from the previous day. It divided into several arms, the longest of which flowed about 1,800 m, near Monte Nunziata, without reaching the nearby highway. Strombolian activity was again observed at VOR beginning around 1900 UTC on 20 May when weather conditions improved.

Beginning around 0140 UTC on 21 May 2016, a rapid escalation of the amplitude of volcanic tremor occurred together with increased explosions from VOR. Around 0200 a small lava flow was observed from a fracture at the base of the SE side of the cone of VOR near the base of SEC (the yellow flow marked on figure 175). The intense explosive activity at VOR generated a plume that drifted S. Tremor amplitude decreased suddenly around 0600. Lava was observed overflowing the W rim of BN around 0700, covering the flows of the previous days. Strombolian activity was again observed from VOR during the night of 21-22 May. Sporadic ash emissions from the pit on the E flank of NSEC during the early morning of 22 May quickly dissipated. That afternoon, renewed Strombolian activity began at NEC which intensified and then ended during the following night (figure 176).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 176. Volcanic activity at Etna during 20-22 May 2016. a) intense explosive activity of 21 May at VOR, taken from the thermal webcam at Monte Cagliato; b) the lava flow from the fracture on the SE side of VOR during the explosive activity of 21 May, photo by Alessandro Lo Piccolo; c) intense degassing on 20 May from the fracture that fed the lava flow shown in (b) the following day, taken from the Piano delle Concazze; d) the overflow from the western edge of BN during 21 May, taken from Bronte's thermal webcam; e) Strombolian activity at VOR taken by the high definition camera of Monte Cagliato at 1845 UTC on 22 May; f) ash emission from the pit on the E flank of the NSEC, taken with the camera at Monte Cagliato on 22 May at 0630 UTC. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 16/05/2016-22/05/2016, Reporte No. 21/2016).

A new round of weak Strombolian activity began at VOR around 1900 on 23 May 2016. Activity continued until 1750 on 24 May when explosive activity increased sharply. Vigorous Strombolian activity peaked during the night of 24-25 May. Incandescent material rose a few hundred meters into the air, and mostly fell back into the crater. It was not accompanied by a lava flow or ash plume. Activity began decreasing during the afternoon of 25 May, and ceased sometime during the following night. Both ground-based and aerial observations by INGV personnel on 26 and 27 May confirmed the end of the eruptive episode and documented its effects (figure 177).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 177. The summit area of Etna seen from the north on 27 May 2016 after the eruptive episode of 15-25 May. At the North East Crater (NEC), the black dashed line shows the position of its rim prior to the eruptive phase that started on 15 May. Large areas of the crater rim collapsed on both the N and S sides. The S side of the collapsed NEC rim intersects a fracture zone that forms a graben (yellow arrows) that trends N-S and cuts across the E rim of the VOR. A second graben trends SE from the VOR. Fumarolic activity is visible in both structures. Degassing is also visible from a vent at the bottom of VOR (red arrow within VOR). The NW-SE trending graben that extends between VOR and SEC appears to terminate at the eruptive vent created on 21 May (red arrow between NSEC and SEC). However, slope failure on the N flank of the SEC cone (white arrows) suggests to INGV geologists that the structural zone continues SE towards NSEC. Inset photo is an image of NEC captured with the thermal camera by Sonia Calvari, showing the NEC crater bottom filled with the detritus from the collapse of the southern crater wall. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 23/05/2016-29/05/2016, No. 22/2016).

A N-S trending fracture zone about 400 m wide and 1,300 m long was observed extending S beginning at the northern side of NEC, crossing the E rim of the Central Crater (the combined VOR-BN complex), where it changes direction and extends SE toward the SEC (figure 178). A vent at the base of the saddle between SEC and VOR fed weak effusive activity on 21 May. Tens of meters of collapse within the graben contributed to the destruction of the S rim of NEC, significantly changing its shape and filling it with debris.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 178. The summit area of Etna seen from the SE on 27 May 2016. The yellow arrows highlight a new NW-SE trending fracture system that produced a near-symmetrical graben on the E side of the Central Crater (the combined VOR-BN complex). It then veers to the N and joins with another graben (the black arrow) that breaches the rim of the NEC. The dotted black line highlights the portion of collapsed NEC rim during the recent eruptive period. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 23/05/2016-29/05/2016, No. 22/2016).

Major subsidence at VOR after the end of the Strombolian activity of 23-26 May 2016 created numerous sub-circular concentric fractures within the crater with a vent degassing at the base (figure 179). The BN area was filled with the eruptive material that had overflowed the W rim (figure 180).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 179. Detail of the Central Crater (CC), comprising the VOR and BN craters at Etna. View is from the NW on 27 May 2016. The concentric subcircular fractures with a degassing vent located at the bottom of the crater (red arrow) formed during collapse immediately after the end of the Strombolian activity at VOR from 23 to 26 May 2016. The yellow arrows (above) show the position of the graben responsible for the collapse of part of the NEC. The white arrows (bottom) highlight the western portion of the N-S oriented fracture zone, which affects NEC, VOR, and BN. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 23/05/2016-29/05/2016, No. 22/2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 180. View of the summit of Etna from the WSW on 27 May 2016. In the foreground is the Central Crater, consisting of VOR and BN. The two white arrows point to the overflow area of the lava flows from the W edge of BN during 18-21 May. The yellow arrows highlight the main fractures bordering the E side of the crater area, extending from NEC to SEC. The dotted black line highlights the portion of collapsed NEC during the recent eruptive period. The three red arrows highlight the locations of the recent eruptive vents: north of NEC (far left), within the VOR, and at the base of the saddle between the Central Crater and the SEC. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 23/05/2016-29/05/2016, No. 22/2016).

Activity during June 2016-January 2017.A weak ash emission from VOR on the morning of 31 May 2016 was the only additional eruptive activity during May. INGV volcanologists making ground observations on 3 June noted about 10 m of subsidence of the lava surface filling BN and continued collapse at the center of VOR. Intense degassing of mostly water vapor occurred from the fracture on the SE side of VOR. Strong degassing continued from all the new fracture zones at the summit during June and July. Ground-based thermal imagery recorded on 16 June indicated temperatures as high as 300°C around the fractures within the Central Crater. A helicopter overflight on 14 July showed few changes in the graben system first documented at the end of May, except for continued collapse near the S rim of NEC. Minor ash emissions resumed at NSEC; they were observed during 10-14, 19-21, and 26-28 July. Explosions were heard from the W side of BN during a visit by INGV scientists on 28 July.

Intense and persistent degassing continued during August 2016 from NEC and from the fractures between NEC and VOR (figure 181). Incandescence was observed within the fractures on 4 August. NSEC produced minor ash emissions again during 4-5 August. Low intensity explosive activity began at VOR on 7 August, but no material was ejected beyond the crater rim. An incandescent vent was observed within the collapsed inner wall of VOR on 10 August (figure 182). Explosive activity and incandescence was intermittent from this vent during 7-22 August. The apparent temperature at the vent as measured by thermal camera was greater than 580°C on 22 August. Weak and episodic ash emissions also occurred from a vent on the upper E side of NSEC on 27 and 29 August. Incandescent degassing continued at the 7 August VOR vent throughout September, along with persistent fumarolic emissions from the fracture zones.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 181. Intense degassing within NEC and along the fractures between NEC and VOR at Etna on 3 August 2016. This view to the N shows the rim of NEC at the top and the new graben that breaches the rim. Photo by B. Behncke, courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 01/08/2016 - 07/08/2016, No. 32/2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 182. A new vent opened on 7 August 2016 from the collapse of the inner wall of VOR near its NE rim at Etna. Photo by B. Behncke on 10 August 2016, courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 08/08/2016-14/08/2016, No. 33/2016).

A series of low-frequency seismic events were recorded at the summit on 10 October, some accompanied by explosive sounds. The strongest seismic event produced ash and hot gas that was recorded by two thermal cameras during the early afternoon. The ash rose from the W part of BN about 100 m above the rim and drifted rapidly E. During an inspection on 12 October, INGV scientists noted that subsidence of about 50 m had occurred within the BN, centered near the W crater wall, and was ongoing. They observed the sudden dropping of material along concentric fractures accompanied by reddish ash and modest steam emissions. One of these events exposed an incandescent area within the fresh lava (figure 183).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 183. The bottom of the BN crater at Etna on 12 October 2016 during a collapse within the peak subsidence zone, showing incandescent material under the fresh lava. Photo by B. Behncke, courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 10/10/2016-16/10/2016, No. 42/2016).

Dense ash emissions were produced on 17 October from the 25 November 2015 vent on the upper E flank of the NSEC (figure 184). A diffuse brown ash plume was observed the next day during a field inspection of the area. Intermittent diffuse brown ash emissions were again observed on 6 November. Persistent fumaroles from the vent at VOR and bottom subsidence at BN continued during November where two distinct areas of subsidence (BN-1 and BN-2) were visible (figure 185).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 184. A Digital Elevation Map of the summit crater area at Etna (DEM 2014, Aerogeophysics Laboratory - Section 2 modified) showing the active degassing areas during August-December 2016. The yellow dot shows the position of the vent opened on 7 August 2016 in the upper part of the E wall of the VOR; the red dot indicates the location of the vent opened in November 2015 on the upper E flank of the NSEC, from which minor ash emitted during October and November 2016. Courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 31/10/2016-06/11/2016, No. 45/2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 185. An aerial view from the W of the summit crater area of Etna on 13 November 2016 annotated with areas of activity. The Central Crater (CC), highlighted by the dashed yellow line. Inside, the VOR and BN have coalesced; two depressions (BN-1 and BN-2) were undergoing constant, slow subsidence (especially BN-1) with enough heat released to prevent snow buildup. The subsidence of BN-1 and BN-2 began on 10 October 2016. Near the E edge of the VOR, gas emissions continued from the 7 August 2016 vent 'Bocca attiva dal 7 Agosto 2016'. Photo by Piero Berti, courtesy of INGV (Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 07/11/2016-13/11/2016, No. 46/2016).

Intermittent, low-intensity incandescence at the VOR vent appeared during the night of 28-29 November 2016. Sporadic, minor ash emissions occurred from the saddle area between SEC and NSEC during 15 December. Incandescence that evening from the VOR vent was also recorded on the webcams. A light coating of ash and a few lithic blocks appeared the next morning in the fresh snow on the flank of the SEC. Modest ash emissions from the same area continued intermittently through the end of December. On 31 December, a diffuse ash plume was also noted from the vent on the upper E flank of NSEC. Sporadic incandescence continued from the VOR vent during early January 2017.

Geologic Background. Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

Information Contacts: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/); 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/).


Fogo (Cape Verde) — September 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Fogo

Cape Verde

14.95°N, 24.35°W; summit elev. 2829 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


November 2014-February 2015 eruption destroys two villages, lava displaces over 1000 people

The 25-km-wide island of Fogo in the Cape Verde Islands, 750 km W of Dakar, Senegal, is a single massive stratovolcano with a 9-km-wide summit caldera (Cha Caldera) that is breached to the east. A steep-sided central cone, Pico, rises more than a kilometer above the caldera floor, and is capped by a 500-m-wide, 150-m-deep summit crater; it was apparently almost continuously active from the time of Portuguese settlement in 1500 CE until around 1760. Several lava flows that erupted during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries reached the eastern coast below the breached caldera rim (BGVN 20:03, figure 1). Lava flows in 1951 and 1995 were contained within the W half of the Cha Caldera, as were the flows from the November 2014-February 2015 eruption (figure 16) described below. Information for this report comes from the Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), the Observatório Vulcanológico de Cabo Verde (OVCV), and satellite and news data from several sources.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth-Observing 1 (EO-1) satellite captured this image on 24 December 2014 of the eruption at Fogo that began on 23 November 2014. The top image offers a broad view of the island's most distinctive feature: Cha Caldera. The nine-kilometer wide caldera has a western wall that towers a kilometer above the crater floor. The eastern half of the crater wall is gone, erased by an ancient collapse. The lower image shows a more detailed view of the caldera. The volcanic plume streams from a fissure at the SW base of Pico de Fogo, the island's highest point. Both of the villages destroyed by the eruption, Portela and Bangaeira, were located within the caldera. In late November, lava poured into Portela; by 8 December it had entered Bangaeira. The volcanic plume obscures the remains of the two villages, but the white roofs of a few structures are visible on the upper left side of the image. In addition to the north flow that affected the villages, the 2014 eruption also produced flows that moved S and W. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

The April-May 1995 eruption produced lava flows from a vent at the SW base of the Pico cone (BGVN 20:05, figure 3) that flowed SW and NW from the vent. They cut off the main access road to the larger villages of Portela and Bangaeira along the NW side of the caldera, but the approximately 1,300 residents from the various communities within the caldera were all safely evacuated, and the villages were spared. Effusive activity produced Strombolian fountains, pyroclastic material, ash plumes, and both pahoehoe and aa lava flows. The lava flows destroyed the small settlement of Boca de Fonte (population 56) near the caldera wall about 2 km W of the eruption center, and reached to within 300 m of Portela village. By the time it was over at the end of May 1995, new lava flows covered about 6.3 km2 of land, and ranged from one to over twenty meters thick.

The most recent eruption at Fogo began with lava flows emerging from a similar fissure vent at the base of Pico on 23 November 2014 (figure 17), and continued through 8 February 2015 according to OVCV; the flows covered about 4 km2 of land. The villages of Portela and Bangaeira, located 4-5 km NW of Pico with a combined population of about 1,000 residents, were not spared during the 2014-15 eruption as they had been in 1995; both villages were largely destroyed (figure 18), although their inhabitants were safely rescued. The eruption began from a fissure near the 1995 vent, but it soon emerged from multiple vents along the fissure with Strombolian activity (figure 19), explosions, lava fountains, and ash emissions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Lava and gas emerge from a fissure at Fogo on 24 November 2014, one day after the eruption began in this satellite image used by Google Earth. The fissure is located at the SW base of Pico, the cone within the Cha Caldera. Image copyright by DigitalGlobe, courtesy of Google Earth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. The villages of Portela and Bangaeira were destroyed by the lava flows at Fogo during late November 2014-February 2015. This image of a home in Portela trapped in a lava flow was taken between 30 November and 3 December 2014. Photo copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Strombolian activity at dawn on 30 November 2014 from multiple fissure vents at Fogo. Copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.

The lava flows consisted of three primary lobes that traveled NNW, S, and W (BGVN 39:11, figure 8). During the earliest days of the eruption in late November, lava flowed to the NNW destroying much of Portela (figure 20 and 21) and to the S from the main fissure. The flow to the S ceased after 30 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Lava advances NNW on the community of Portela at Fogo sometime during 30 November-3 December 2014. Photo copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. A lava flow consumes a house in the village of Portela at Fogo on 30 November 2014. Copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.

The main flows continued NNW into the first week of December; they destroyed the remaining structures in Portela and caused extensive damage in Bangaeira and at the Parque Natural de Fogo headquarters (figures 22 and 23). A third lobe flowed to the W of the fissure during the second half of December, reaching the base of the 1-km-high caldera rim where it damaged farms and infrastructure in the small village of Ilhéu de Losna (see figure 16). The lava had ceased advancing by early January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Lava flow on 1 December 2014 at Fogo emerges from a fissure vent. Photo copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Advancing lava flow with blocky (aa) texture at Fogo during 30 November-3 December 2014. Photo copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.

The MODVOLC thermal alert system issued eight thermal alerts from the lava flows (figure 24) on 23 November 2014. Tens of alerts were reported almost daily through 19 December, with a peak of 46 alerts on 30 November. For the rest of December, as many as 10 alerts a day were recorded. By January 2015, they became more intermittent, with no more than three alerts issued in any day, and they occurred on only 11 days of the month. The final two thermal alerts were recorded on 7 February 2015.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. A cascade of lava flows from a fissure vent at Fogo during 30 November-3 December 2014. Photo copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.

Ash emissions from the fissure vents were intermittent throughout the eruption (figures 25). The first major plume on 24 November 2014 was reported by the Toulouse VAAC as consisting largely of SO2, with very little ash. It rose to 9.1 km altitude, drifted 220 km NW, and caused minor ashfall on the flanks of the volcano. After the initial plume of mostly SO2, ash emissions from the vent were generally below 3.9 km altitude and limited to the immediate area of the island (figure 26).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Residents flee with their belongings as ash emissions and lava flows emerge from multiple vents on the SW flank of Pico cone at Fogo during the last week of November 2014. Photo by Joao Relvas/Lusa, courtesy of The Observador, published on 30 November 2014.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Ash explosion and incandescent material erupted from a fissure vent during 30 November-3 December 2014. Photo copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.

Ash was reported rising to 2 km above the summit (4.8 km altitude) on 2 December (figure 27), and ashfall was reported near San Felipe (17 km SW). Ash and SO2 emissions decreased in mid-December; the next plume was reported on 21 December rising 800 m above the summit. Additional plumes during 30 December-2 January rose 400-900 m above the cone and occasionally sent tephra up to 40 m away. Several explosions of gas-and-ash plumes during 8-12 January produced plumes that rose up to 2 km above the summit and drifted E or SE. The largest plume, on 12 January, was very dense and dark-gray, it rose 2 km and drifted E; tephra was also ejected 50 m above the crater and was observed by people in San Felipe and other parts of the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Ash emission on 2 December 2014 from the fissure vent at Fogo. The plume was reported at 2 km above the summit of Pico. Photograph copyright by Martin Rietze, used with permission.

Satellite data on SO2 flux from Fogo corroborated the VAAC reports of the high SO2 content in the emissions, especially during the first two weeks of the eruption when Dobson Unit (DU) values greater than 2 were recorded several times, and the plume areas covered several hundred thousand square kilometers (figure 28).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Sulfur dioxide plumes measured with the Aura Instrument on the OMI satellite show substantial amounts of SO2 released from Fogo during the eruption of November 2014-February 2015. Top Left: The SO2 plume captured on 24 November covered over 325,000 km2 and registered over 40 Dobson Units (DU), a measure of the molecular density of SO2 in the atmosphere; Top Right: the plume on 26 November covered almost 700,000 km2 and drifted N and E; Lower Left: on 1 December the 590,000 km2 plume drifted in multiple directions from the vent; Lower Right: on 3 December the large plume drifted NE and registered at almost 20 DU. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Geologic Background. The island of Fogo consists of a single massive stratovolcano that is the most prominent of the Cape Verde Islands. The roughly circular 25-km-wide island is truncated by a large 9-km-wide caldera that is breached to the east and has a headwall 1 km high. The caldera is located asymmetrically NE of the center of the island and was formed as a result of massive lateral collapse of the ancestral Monte Armarelo edifice. A very youthful steep-sided central cone, Pico, rises more than 1 km above the caldera floor to about 100 m above the caldera rim, forming the 2829 m high point of the island. Pico, which is capped by a 500-m-wide, 150-m-deep summit crater, was apparently in almost continuous activity from the time of Portuguese settlement in 1500 CE until around 1760. Later historical lava flows, some from vents on the caldera floor, reached the eastern coast below the breached caldera.

Information Contacts: Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Météo-France, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, F-31057 Toulouse cedex, France (URL: http://www.meteo.fr/vaac/); Observatório Vulcanológico de Cabo Verde (OVCV), Departamento de Ciência e Tecnologia, Universidade de Cabo Verde (Uni-CV), Campus de Palmarejo, Praia, Cape Verde (URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Observatorio-Vulcanologico-de-Cabo-Verde-OVCV/175875102444250); 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/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); The Observador (URL: http://observador.pt/2014/11/30/erupcoes-vulcanicas-da-ilha-fogo-evoluem-para-estado-critico/); Martin Rietze, Photographer (URL: http://www.mrietze.com/web13/Fogo_f14.htm).


Krakatau (Indonesia) — September 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption during 17-19 February 2017 sends large lava flow down the SE flank

The most recent reported eruptive activity from the Anak Krakatau cone was a pilot report of an ash plume on 31 March 2014 (BGVN 40:08). Monitoring reports by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) from January 2014 through July 2015 only noted seismicity and fumarolic emissions.

The only indication of possible eruptive activity in the second half of 2015 through 2016 reported by PVMBG was a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) on 20 June. The seismograph at the Anak Krakatau Volcano Observatory detected an eruption at 0551 local time (2251 UTC), but the eruption was not observed visually because of cloudy weather. There had been a swarm of volcanic earthquakes about one day earlier, and seismicity had significantly increased 3 hours before the eruption. After the eruption, seismicity gradually decreased. Although thermal anomalies were frequently recorded in 2016 (figure 36, bottom), they may have been a result of strong hot fumaroles at the summit dome; no PVMBG or tourist reports indicated active lava flows or ash plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Thermal anomalies at Krakatau identified by the MIROVA system using MODIS data for the year ending 19 February 2017. The record indicates regular thermal signatures, which may be a result of strong fumarolic activity in the summit crater. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The PVMBG reported that seismicity was dominated by shallow volcanic earthquakes in February 2017. In a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA), the aviation color code was reported to be raised to Orange. Emission earthquakes increased beginning on 17 February and gradually formed continuous tremor. At 1535 on 17 February 2017 at 1535 infrared MODIS data recorded by MODVOLC measured a 2-pixel thermal alert from the Aqua satellite, and on 18 February 2017 at 0650 a 2-pixel thermal alert was measured from the Terra satellite. Satellite thermal anomalies identified by the MIROVA system showed a strong sequence of anomalies around this same time (figure 36, top). Harmonic tremor began to be recorded at 1810 on 19 February. Almost an hour later, at 1904, Strombolian explosions ejected incandescent material 200 m high.

O.L. Andersen, a professional photographer, visited Anak Krakatau 25-26 February 2017. The eruption earlier in the month had resulted in a new lava flow on the SE flank (figure 37) where the September 2012 lava flow was located. He observed that "The new layer of lava-flow is black, compared to the red color of the 2012 lava flow. The lava flow has cooled down since the material was deposited. Fresh volcanic blocks were also seen distributed on the SE, S, E flank of Krakatau." No eruptions of ash were observed by Andersen, but gas emissions were present. Further, Andersen noted "After having studied aerial views of the crater area (figure 38), it seems that the source vent of the new lava-flow, is the same vent (main, central vent) that was involved in the 2012 eruption. On the top of the vent, it now seems to be a lava-dome...."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. The new lava flow on Anak Krakatau of February 2017 shows up as black material on top of the more reddish colored lava from the September 2012 event. The flow came from the new vent at the summit. Copyrighted image courtesy of O.L. Andersen (used with permission).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Aerial view of the summit of Anak Krakatau taken looking E on 25 February 2017. The new lava shows as a black flow from the summit toward the upper right into the ocean. The northern vent is on the crater rim left of the center of the photograph. Copyrighted image courtesy of O.L. Andersen (used with permission).

A comparison of photos from October 2015 and February 2017 composed by Andersen showed the morphological changes during that time, including the new dome and lava flows (figure 39). Incandescence was obvious at night (figure 40) and from aerial observations of the lava dome Andersen noted that the area with incandescence was small, and that "the lava dome did not appear to be overly active." Andersen observed further that the "main crater and summit area today seem to be of a more complex and dynamic character than it was before the eruption of September 2012. From footage of 2010/2011 the main crater was seen to be broad and fairly deep. Now the main crater is filled with material, with two lava flows originating from this vent running down on the SW and E flanks. On the northern side of the summit an eruption vent is also clearly observed...."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. A comparison of the Anak Krakatau summit area of 26 February 2017 and 11 October 2015 taken looking west. Note the new dome in the center of the 2017 photo and the new lava that came from the vent and flowed down the SE slope of the volcano. Copyrighted image courtesy of O.L. Andersen (used with permission).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Incandescence from Anak Krakatau on the evening of 25 February 2017. Copyrighted image courtesy of O.L. Andersen (used with permission).

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

Information Contacts: Øystein Lund Andersen (URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com/krakatau-volcano/visit-to-anak-krakatau-volcano-february-2017/); 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/); 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/).


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — September 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Langila

Papua New Guinea

5.525°S, 148.42°E; summit elev. 1330 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption continues, intensifying from mid-December 2016 through July 2017

Eruptive activity at Langila was intermittent during 2016, with ash plumes seen during April-May and November-December (BGVN 42:01); thermal anomalies were somewhat more commonly detected, but were also intermittent. No reports were available from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory during January-July 2017, but volcanic ash warnings were issued by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). Thermal anomaly data acquired by satellite-based MODIS instruments showed a strong increase in activity beginning in mid-December 2016 that was ongoing as of early August 2017.

Ash plumes were reported frequently during the first half of 2017 except during March and early April. The plumes rose to altitudes between 1.8 and 3 km (table 4). The aviation color code has remained at Orange (third highest of a four-step universal volcanic ash alert level system for aviation) throughout 2016 and through July 2017.

Table 4. Ash plumes from Langila reported during January-June 2017. Observations are based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data; dates are based on local time. Courtesy of the Darwin VAAC.

Date Max. Plume Altitude (km) Drift
02 Jan 2017 2.1 NE
05 Jan 2017 2.4 45 km W
12-13, 15 Jan 2017 2.1 ESE and SE
25-27 Jan 2017 1.8-3 NW and N
17-18 Feb 2017 1.8 SE
24 Feb 2017 2.4 N
23-25 Apr 2017 2.1 55 km S and SE
26 Apr 2017 2.1 E and NE
02 May 2017 2.1 E and NE
10-14 May 2017 1.8-2.4 N, NW, and S
19 May 2017 4.6 ~170 km WSW
19-20 May 2017 1.8 N and NNW
23 May 2017 2.1, 3 NW, SW
24-27 May 2017 2.1-3 75-85 km W and NW
01 Jun 2017 1.8 N and NW
07 Jun 2017 2.1 45 km NW
12 Jun 2017 1.8 WNW
20 Jun 2017 2.1 NW
21 Jun 2017 2.1 95 km NW

Thermal alerts, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were identified often during December 2016 through June 2017. The MIROVA volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected occasional anomalies from August 2016 through late December 2016 (BGVN 42:01), followed by more continuous anomalies through late July 2017 (figure 6). The most intense anomalies over this time period occurred from mid-April to early May 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Plot of MIROVA thermal anomaly MODIS data for the year ending on 8 August 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Langila, one of the most active volcanoes of New Britain, consists of a group of four small overlapping composite basaltic-andesitic cones on the lower eastern flank of the extinct Talawe volcano. Talawe is the highest volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila volcano was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the north and NE sides of Langila. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded since the 19th century from three active craters at the summit of Langila. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

Information Contacts: 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/).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — September 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent lava lake and gas plume activity, with intermittent ash emission, through mid-July 2017

Masaya volcano near the Pacific Ocean in Nicaragua (figure 52) is one of the most active volcanos in that country. The period from October 2015 through August 2016 saw the re-emergence of the lava lake, increased seismic frequency and amplitude, intermittent explosive activity, and continued strong thermal anomalies from satellite and ground based sources as a result of the newly active lava lake. (BGVN 41:08). Thermal satellite data analyzed by MIROVA measured moderate volcanic radiative power beginning January 2016 and continuing regularly through August 2016. The Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Sistema Nacional para la Prevencion, Mitigacion y Atencion de Desastres (SINAPRED), and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) monitor the volcano's activity and provide regular reports.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Maps and aerial photo of the Masaya complex. (a) Regional location map showing of Masaya. (b) Map showing the Las Sierras Caldera enclosing the Masaya caldera, which in turn encloses the recent vents (black dots); distances to major towns (circles) and cities are given. (c) Map of active crater area showing structural features, such as eruptive fissures (dashed lines), pit crater edges (filled triangles),and explosion crater edges (open triangles); lava flows and lakes (shaded) and tephra cover (blank) are also shown including dates of eruption (e.g. L1772 is the 1772 flow and F1906 is the fissure that erupted gas in 1906). (d) Aerial photo of the same area as the map in (c). From Rymer and others (1998).

Ash and steam emissions have been reported by the Washington VAAC from satellite data from August 2016 through mid-July 2017, the latest on 13 May 2017 when both satellite images showed and a pilot observed a W-drifting ash emission from Masaya. Plumes with possible ash content were noted on 15 August, 28 August, and 3 November 2016. Plumes identified on 5 and 21 January 2017 were stated to have minor ash content. Monthly reports from INETER consistently noted ongoing gas emissions, lava lake activity, and variable seismicity.

Since August 2016, thermal anomalies recorded by MIROVA seemed nearly constant in power level and regularity until about May 2017, at which time both seemed to decrease slightly (figure 53). Since mid-May 2017, MODIS thermal satellite data processed by MODVOLC measured thermal alerts have decreased from nearly daily in July 2016 to 4-6/month through July 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Thermal anomaly data identified by the MIROVA system at Masaya for the year ending 11 July 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

INETER reported that from 1 to 5 May 2017 fieldwork was conducted with scientists from the University of McGill (Canada) and the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI). Measurements of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the plume emitted by the Santiago crater were carried out using the DOAS Mobile technique, and samples of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), hydrogen bromide (HBr) and bromine chloride (BrCl) were collected to be analyzed by ion chromatography at McGill (figures 54 and 55).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Scientists from the University of McGill and OVSICORI installed different equipment for gas measurements near the Santiago crater at Masaya during 1-5 May 2017. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín mensual Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua. Mayo, 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Drones were used by University of McGill and OVSICORI scientists to measure sulfur dioxide (SO2) gases at the altitude of the gas plume at Masaya during 1-5 May 2017. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín mensual Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua. Mayo, 2017).

During the INETER field monitoring that took place on 22 May 2017, strong convection of the lake was observed, as were landslides on almost all of the walls. Fumaroles were seen that are possibly not new, but were active due to recent rainfall. The landslides on the W wall of the crater have been occurring since the end of February (figure 56). They are believed by INETER to be caused by undercutting of the walls by lava lake convection (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Collapse on the W wall of Santiago crater at Masaya reported by Park rangers on 15 May 2017. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín mensual Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua. Mayo, 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Lava lake in Santiago crater of Masaya in May 2017. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín mensual Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua. Mayo, 2017).

References. Rymer, H., van Wyk de Vries, B., Stix, J., and Williams-Jones, G., 1998, Pit crater structure and processes governing persistent activity at Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua. Bull. Volcanol., v. 59, pp. 345-355.

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://webserver2.ineter.gob.ni/vol/dep-vol.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Sistema Nacional para la Prevencion, Mitigacion y Atencion de Desastres, (SINAPRED), Edificio SINAPRED, Rotonda Comandante Hugo Chávez 50 metros al Norte, frente a la Avenida Bolívar, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.sinapred.gob.ni/).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — September 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing steam, gas, ash emissions, and lava dome growth and destruction, July 2016-July 2017

Frequent historical eruptions have occurred since pre-Columbian time at México's Popocatépetl. More recently, activity picked up in the mid-1990s after about 50 years of quiescence. The current eruption, which has been ongoing since January 2005, has included frequent ash plumes rising generally 1-4 km above the 5.4-km-elevation summit, and numerous episodes of lava-dome growth and destruction within the 500-m-wide summit caldera. Multiple emissions of steam and gas occur daily, many contain small amounts of ash. Larger, more explosive events that generate ashfall in neighboring communities usually occur every month or two. Information about Popocatépetl comes from daily reports provided by México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED). Many ash emissions are also reported by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite visible and thermal imagery and SO2 data also provide important observations. Activity through June 2016 was typical of the ongoing eruption with near-constant emissions of water vapor, gas, and ash, and at least two episodes of dome growth and destruction (BGVN 42:07). This report covers similar activity through July 2017.

Activity at Popocatépetl during July 2016-July 2017 was typical of the ongoing eruption since 2005. Near constant steam-and-gas emissions often contained minor amounts of ash. Explosions with ash plumes occurred several times a week during most months. Incandescence at the summit was usually visible on clear nights; nighttime explosions revealed incandescent blocks travelling 100 m or more down the flanks. Large ash explosions on 25 and 26 November 2016 sent ash plumes to 11.5 and 10.9 km altitude, respectively. Ashfall was reported from communities within about 35 km on five different occasions. Thermal activity slowly increased during 2016 to high levels indicative of dome growth during December 2016 and January 2017; they diminished early in 2017 and then fluctuated through July 2017. Sulfur dioxide plumes were persistent in satellite data with plume densities generally exceeding two Dobson Units (DU) several times each month.

Activity during July-September 2016. Intermittent activity continued during July 2016. Tens of daily emissions of gas and steam were reported during the first and last weeks of the month; explosions with ash plumes also generally occurred daily during those weeks, and incandescence was visible on clear nights. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions observed on 3 July at 7.9 km altitude drifting W, 2.5 km above the summit. Explosions on 4 July produced ash plumes that rose to 8.5 km altitude, just over 3 km above the crater and drifted WSW. Ashfall was reported in Atlatlahucan (30 km WSW) and Tepetlixpa (20 km W). Continuous ash emissions rising to just under 6 km altitude were seen in satellite imagery on 10 July extending almost 40 km W from the summit. Multiple daily explosions occurred during 24-26 July (figure 84). A small cloud of volcanic ash was centered about 35 km W of the summit early on 25 July at 5.8 km altitude. Later in the day, another plume was observed at 7 km altitude drifting WNW and then WSW before dissipating. Satellite imagery confirmed an ash emission on 30 July that rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W-WSW. MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 3, 10 (2) and 27 July. Small SO2 plumes were recorded daily by the Aura instrument on the OMI satellite. Most measured around two Dobson Units (DU) with an area of about 100,000 km2.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. An ash plume at Popocatépetl drifts W from the summit on 25 July 2016 as captured by the ALTZOMONI CENAPRED webcam located about 10 km N of the volcano. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Tens of daily emissions were common during August 2016, some of which contained minor amounts of ash. Six landslides were detected by the seismic network on 11 August (figure 85). The two largest had volumes of 440 and 220 m3. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume moving NW at 7.3 km altitude just after midnight on 1 August, extending about 35 km from the summit. A short while later, continuous emissions were reported extending up to 75 km W at 6.1 km altitude. By 0910 UTC, they extended 220 km WNW at 7.3 km altitude. The edge of the plume farthest from the summit had reached close to 500 km W by 1945 UTC when it was last observed. The webcam captured an emission on 11 August but it was not visible in satellite imagery due to weather clouds. An explosion on 12 August generated an ash plume that rose 2.5 km above the 5.4-km-high summit crater and drifted WNW, causing ashfall in Ozumba (18 km W) and Atlautla (16 km W). An explosion at 0034 on 13 August ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. An ash emission was seen in satellite imagery at 8.2 km altitude about 35 km W of the summit later in the morning. Another ash emission was observed with the webcam midday on 15 August that produced an ash plume that rose to 8.5 km altitude and drifted WSW. An ash plume on 21 August drifted W at 6.1 km altitude, and one on 28 August was observed in satellite imagery moving NNW below 7.3 km altitude. Two explosions on 27 August at 1505 and 1537, and one at 0559 on 28 August sent incandescent fragments down the flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. A landslide on 11 August 2016 at Popocatépetl was captured by the Tlamacas CENAPRED Webcam located about 5 km N of the summit. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 1 (4), 3, 4, 11 (2), 13, and 29 August 2016. SO2 plumes were also captured daily by the Aura Instrument on the OMI satellite, with similar values to those recorded during July. During an overflight of Popocatépetl on 30 August 2016 CENAPRED scientists confirmed that explosions during 27-28 August had destroyed lava dome 69 (first identified on 1 August). The crater which had hosted the dome was 300 m in diameter and 30 m deep (figure 86).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. An overflight of Popocatépetl on 30 August 2016 confirmed that explosions during 27-28 August had destroyed lava dome 69 (first identified on 1 August). The crater which had hosted the dome was 300 m in diameter and 30 m deep. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Only one MODVOLC thermal alert was reported on 14 September 2016. SO2 emissions continued at similar levels to the previous months. Tens of daily steam-and-gas emissions were recorded and crater incandescence was visible on clear nights. An explosion on 8 September produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater. On 11 September, an explosion generated a plume that rose 1 km, and an explosion that night ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. CENAPRED reported two volcanic ash emissions on 14 September that rose to 7.3 km. Weather clouds prevented satellite observations of the first, but the second one was observed extending 10 km W of the summit, and reached about 50 km before dissipating. Minor amounts of volcanic ash and steam on 23 September extended NW about 30 km from the summit at 5.5 km altitude. The Mexico City Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) reported volcanic ash at 7.3 km altitude on 29 September, but it was not observed in satellite imagery due to weather clouds.

Activity during October-December 2016. An increase in thermal activity was responsible for ten MODVOLC thermal alerts on 4, 7, 14, 16 (2), 20, 23, 27, 28, and 30 October 2016. Although near-constant steam-and-gas emissions continued, some with minor amounts of ash, there was only one observation of an ash plume from the Washington VAAC, on 28 October at 6.4 km altitude drifting SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions appeared to decrease in the Aura satellite data, although there were values measured over two DU at least four days of the month. Fewer ash emissions were reported during November 2016 as well, but ten MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on 5, 14, 24, 25, 26 (2), 28, and 30 (3) November.

Ash emissions increased significantly during the last week of November. An ash plume at 5.5 km altitude was visible 55 km E of the summit on 24 November. A larger emission on 25 November was observed at 9.1 km altitude towering above the summit and drifting N (figure 87) with additional ash emissions at 7.3 km altitude drifting SE. Ashfall was reported from this event in areas downwind, including in the municipalities of Atlixco (25 km SE), Tochimilco (15 km SSE), and San Pedro Benito Juárez (12 km SE). Emissions were observed as high as 11.5 km altitude drifting NE later in the day; they continued drifting ENE at 7.9 km into the next day before dissipating 250 km from the summit. A new ash emission on 26 November rose to 10.9 km altitude. It was visible 300 km S of the summit while a second ash cloud was centered 150 km S at 5.2 km altitude. Later in the day, an ash emission was observed at 6.7 km drifting SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. An ash plume at Popocatépetl rises toward 9.1 km altitude on 25 November 2016 as viewed from CENAPRED'S Altzomoni WEBCAM, located about 10 km N of the summit. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

During 28-29 November 2016 there was another pulse of activity with 48 detected emissions. Beginning at 0559 on 28 November, water vapor, gas, and ash emissions became constant, rising as high as 1.5 km above the crater rim and drifting NE. Incandescent fragments were ejected 300-800 m from the crater, mainly onto the NE flank during the next night (figure 88). Ash fell in Atlixco, Chiautzingo (25 km NE), Domingo Arenas (22 km NE), Huejotzingo (27 km NE), Juan C. Bonilla (33 km NE), San Andrés Calpan (18 km NE), and San Martín Texmelucan (Puebla state, 35 km NNE), and in San Miguel (Tlaxcala state). Plumes from these emissions were reported on 29 November at 7.3 km altitude, and they drifted as far as 170 km NE; remnant ash was observed over the Gulf of Mexico on 30 November. Emission intensity increased again on 30 November and a new continuous plume at 6.4 km altitude extended 370 km NE before dissipating. At 1500 UTC on 30 November, a second higher plume was reported by the Washington VAAC at 9.3 km altitude centered 400 km NE of the summit. The continuous emissions became intermittent on 1 December; the last of the emissions dissipated about 200 km NE of the summit. A short puff noted on the webcam late on 1 December was the last VAAC report for 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Incandescent fragments were ejected 300-800 m onto the NE flank of Popocatépetl on 29 November 2016, as seen from the Tlamacas webcam located about 5 km N of the volcano. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

While ash emissions decreased during December 2016, steam-and-gas emissions continued, and thermal activity increased. MODVOLC alerts were reported 24 times on 17 different days. More substantial SO2 plumes than seen in previous months were also captured by the Aura satellite instrument on 8 and 31 December (figure 89). A new lava dome (71) first detected by CENAPRED on 29 and 30 November had almost completely filled the internal crater by 12 December (figure 90), reaching 280 m in diameter and 50 m thick. The volume of the dome was estimated to be about 3 million m3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. The Aura Instrument on the OMI satellite captured substantial SO2 plumes from Popocatépetl on 8 (top) and 31 (bottom) December 2016. The plume on 8 December drifted NE for several hundred kilometers, and had a maximum DU (Dobson Unit) value of 6.02. The plume on 31 December drifted N and then NE a similar distance and recorded a DU value of 4.91. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. A new lava dome was photographed at the summit of Popocatépetl during an overflight on 12 December 2016. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Activity during January-April 2017. Low-intensity steam-and-gas emissions continued during January 2017; incandescence was regularly observed at the summit. During January, only one emission was reported by the Washington VAAC, on 23 January at 7.6 km altitude drifting NW. They noted that the satellite imagery indicated the emission was mostly gas and water vapor with minor amounts of ash. Thermal activity continued to increase in January 2017 with 35 alerts reported on 26 days of the month. The increase in thermal activity was also visible in the MIROVA log radiative power information plotted from the MODIS thermal anomaly data (figure 91). SO2 plumes were also notable through 18 January, after which they decreased in both size and density in satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. MIROVA log radiative power data for Popocatépetl for the 12 months leading up to 4 August 2017. The increase in thermal activity beginning in late November 2016 corresponds to observations by CENAPRED of the growth of a new lava dome at the summit. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Ash emissions were reported on three days during February 2017. A plume on 7 February rose to 5.8 km altitude and drifted W, dissipating quickly. A plume on 12 February was reported at 6.1 km altitude drifting 10 km N of the summit. An ash emission was recorded on the CENAPRED webcam on 15 February (figure 92); it was seen in satellite imagery at 6.7 km altitude drifting NE, and dissipated after about six hours. Thermal activity decreased during February relative to January. MODVOLC only reported 16 thermal alerts on 11 days of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. An ash emission from Popocatépetl on 15 February 2017 was later observed in satellite imagery at 6.7 km altitude drifting NE. Image taken by the Altzomoni webcam, located about 10 km N of the volcano. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Continued steam-and-gas emissions during March 2017 were accompanied by a few ash-bearing explosions. The webcam captured an ash emission on 8 March that the Washington VAAC observed in satellite imagery drifting N at 5.8 km altitude. Another emission late on 11 March rose to 6.1 km and drifted E; it contained mostly gas with only small amounts of ash. Late on 28 March, an ash cloud was observed in satellite imagery centered about 50 km ENE of the summit at 5.8 km altitude. Thermal activity continued to decrease with only ten MODVOLC thermal alerts issued on six different days during March.

Thermal alerts were fewer still during April 2017; one appeared on 6 April, and then a cluster of six were reported during 24-30 April. Ash emissions were reported by the Washington VAAC on 16, 20, 24, and 25 April. Constant emissions were seen by the webcam on 16 April; they likely contained ash, and were estimated to be at 6.1 km altitude. A small puff of ash was seen in satellite imagery on 20 April drifting S to about 35 km at the same altitude. Multiple emissions of ash mixed with steam and gas were observed in satellite imagery on 24 April moving SE at 5.6 km altitude. Constant steam-and-gas emissions continued throughout the month, with incandescence visible on clear nights. Tephra from explosions on 26 and 27 April was ejected 100 m NE of the crater.

Activity during May-July 2017. Thermal activity increased somewhat during May 2017. Seventeen MODVOLC alerts were reported on 13 different days. SO2 emissions with DU values greater than two occurred eight times during the month. Low intensity explosions with water vapor, gas, and ash emissions occurred daily throughout the month. On 18 May, the Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 7.3 km altitude drifting N, and they observed a bright hotspot in shortwave imagery. Multiple emissions were later observed, with plumes rising to 7.6 km, moving NNE 70 km from the summit. A small puff of ash was seen in satellite imagery on 21 May at 7 km altitude approximately 25 km from the summit moving N. The leading edge of a new emission was observed the next day about 45 km SSW of the summit at 6.1 km altitude. An ash emission was observed on the CENAPRED webcam on 30 May, but weather clouds obscured any satellite observations.

MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on 6, 16, 17, 18(3) and 21 June 2017. Observers noted material being ejected 200 m from the crater on 3 June. Cloud cover obscured satellite and webcam views of a reported ash plume on 12 June. A small ash emission was reported on 13 June 16 km W of the summit at 7.0 km altitude.

A series of ash emissions were reported by the Washington VAAC almost daily during 2-11 July 2017. A social media post by CENAPRED and a webcam image showed an ash emission (figure 93) on 2 July. It was observed by the Washington VAAC in satellite imagery moving SW at 6.7 km altitude. Minor ashfall on 2 July was also noted in Ozumba (18 km W), Amecameca (19 km NW), Tlalmanalco (26 km NW), Chalco (38 km NW), Ayapango (22 km NW), Tenango del Aire (28 km NW), and San Pedro Nexapa (14 km NW). An emission on 3 July was confirmed in visible satellite imagery drifting WNW at 6.7 km altitude. On 4 July, a plume was observed in satellite imagery 25 km NE of the summit at 7.6 km altitude. An ash emission observed in the webcam early on 6 July was not visible in satellite imagery due to weather clouds, but a larger emission that evening was spotted with difficulty at 7.6 km altitude, in spite of the weather clouds. CENAPRED reported that the plume was clearly visible nearly 2 km above the summit. The next day, clouds obscured the summit from the webcam, but an ash emission was clearly visible in satellite imagery at 7.6 km altitude moving NW. The webcam recorded additional emissions on 9 and 11 July; they were obscured from satellite images by weather clouds. A plume of mostly gas and steam with a small amount of ash near the summit extended 55 km W of the summit on 31 July at 6.4 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. An ash emission at Popocatépetl on 2 July 2017 as seen from the Altzomoni webcam, 10 km N of the volcano. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on 13-15, 21, 23 (2) and 28 July. Sulfur dioxide plumes with densities between one and two Dobson Units were captured by the Aura Instrument on the OMI satellite almost every day of the month.

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.gob.mx/), Daily Report Archive (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/archivo/articulos?order=DESC&page=1); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Sangeang Api (Indonesia) — September 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangeang Api

Indonesia

8.2°S, 119.07°E; summit elev. 1949 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak Strombolian activity and occasional weak ash plumes, 15 July-12 August 2017

Strong explosions at Sangeang Api on 30-31 May 2014 generated ash plumes that rose as high as 15 km altitude, followed by less intense activity that produced ash plumes during the first half of June 2014 and 1 July-1 November 2015 (BGVN 41:10). No further activity was reported by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) until June 2017.

The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected thermal anomalies in MODIS satellite data near the summit during the second week of January 2017, when four were recorded (figure 16). The number increased significantly beginning with the latter half of February. Another increase in the number and power of the anomalies took place at the beginning of June 2017 and continued into mid-August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Thermal anomalies identified by the MIROVA system (radiative power) at Sangeang Api for the year ending 11 August 2017. Note that the anomaly lines in late 2016 are not on the island. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Thermal anomalies identified using the MODVOLC algorithm were first recorded on 25 February 2017. Over the same time period as the MIROVA data, through 11 August, there were 105 thermal alerts. Cumulatively, the locations of the alert pixels define an area extending from the summit crater to about 2.5 km down the E flank (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Thermal anomalies (alert pixels) identified by the MODVOLC system at Sangeang Api for 25 February-11 August 2017. The eastern-most pixels are at the summit area. Courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

According to PVMBG, a small Strombolian eruption at 1154 on 15 July 2017 generated an ash plume that rose 100-200 m above the crater rim and drifted SW. Seismicity had increased starting in April. Based on analyses of satellite imagery, PVMBG observations, and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 16 July an ash plume rose to an altitude of 2.1 km, or 200 m above the crater rim, and drifted NW. The Darwin VAAC also reported ash plumes to altitudes of 2.4-4.3 km on 19-20 July, 29-30 July, 7-8 August, and 12 August 2017; in most cases they drifted NW.

Geologic Background. Sangeang Api volcano, one of the most active in the Lesser Sunda Islands, forms a small 13-km-wide island off the NE coast of Sumbawa Island. Two large trachybasaltic-to-tranchyandesitic volcanic cones, 1949-m-high Doro Api and 1795-m-high Doro Mantoi, were constructed in the center and on the eastern rim, respectively, of an older, largely obscured caldera. Flank vents occur on the south side of Doro Mantoi and near the northern coast. Intermittent historical eruptions have been recorded since 1512, most of them during in the 20th century.

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/); 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/).

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/).