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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it); ReliefWeb (URL: https://reliefweb.int/); Radio New Zealand (URL: https://www.rnz.co.nz); phys.org (URL: https://phys.org); United Nations in Papua New Guinea (URL: http://pg.one.un.org/content/unct/papua_new_guinea/en/home.html).


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

Sarychev Peak

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Science, Nauki st., 1B, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, 693022 (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/en/, http://www.imgg.ru/ru/svert/reports); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Asamayama (Japan) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Asamayama

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ashfall from phreatic eruptions on 7 and 25 August 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Villarrica (Chile) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI) (URL: http://www.povi.cl/); Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Reventador (Ecuador) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Raikoke (Russia) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Raikoke

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sinabung (Indonesia) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Large ash explosions on 25 May and 9 June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); The Jakarta Post (URL: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/05/07/mount-sinabung-erupts-again.html); Detikcom (URL: https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4619253/hujan-deras-sejumlah-desa-di-sekitar-gunung-sinabung-banjir-lahar-dingin); iNews Malam (URL: https://tv.inews.id/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAI4CpSb41k); Tempo.com (URL:https://en.tempo.co/read/1209667/mount-sinabung-erupts-on-monday-morning); David de Zabedrosky, Calera de Tango, Chile (Twitter: @deZabedrosky, URL: https://twitter.com/deZabedrosky/status/1125814504867160065/photo/1, https://twitter.com/deZabedrosky/status/1125814504867160065/photo/2); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com image at https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse/status/1132849458142572544); Jaime Sincioco, Phillipines (Twitter: @jaimessincioca, URL: https://twitter.com/jaimessincioco); Annamaria Luongo, University of Padua, Venice, Italy (Twitter: @annamaria_84, URL:https://twitter.com/annamaria_84).


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

Semisopochnoi

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small explosions detected between 16 July and 24 August 2019

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

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

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

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

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — August 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Krakatau Islands KPHK, Conservation Area Region III Lampung, BKSDA Bengkulu-Ministry of LHK, (URL: https://www.instagram.com/krakatau_ca_cal); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); BBC News, (URL: https://www.bbc.com, article at https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46743362); Planet Labs Inc. (URL: http://www.planet.com/); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN, image at https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN/status/1101007655290589185/photo/1); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com, image at https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse/status/1107479025126039552/photo/1); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/), images at https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/krakatau/news/80657/Krakatau-volcano-Indonesia-activity-update-and-field-report-increasing-unrest.html; Devy Kamil Syahbana, Volcanologist, Bandung, Indonesia, (URL: https://twitter.com/_elangtimur, video at https://twitter.com/_elangtimur/status/1143372011177033728); The Daily Mail (URL: https://www.dailymail.co.uk, article at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6910895/FORTY-volcanoes-world-potential-Anak-Krakatoa-eruptions.html) published 11 April 2019.


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

Tengger Caldera

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Unnamed (Tonga) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Unnamed

Tonga

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 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. 1912 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, Doro Api and 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/).