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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

Fuego (Guatemala) Ongoing ash plume explosions and block avalanches, April-September 2019

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Continued summit activity and lava flow outbreaks during April-October 2019

Karymsky (Russia) Moderate explosive activity with ash plumes through 24 September 2019

Shishaldin (United States) Active lava lake and spattering on 23 July 2019; minor explosions and lava fountaining on 17 August

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Ongoing weak thermal anomalies during July-September 2019, but no ash plumes after 1 August

Heard (Australia) Ongoing thermal anomalies at the summit crater during April-September 2019

Dukono (Indonesia) Eruption with frequent ash plumes continues through September 2019

Poas (Costa Rica) Occasional phreatic explosions continue through September 2019

Etna (Italy) Five lava flows and numerous ash plumes and Strombolian explosions, April-September 2019

Ubinas (Peru) Intermittent ash explosions in June-August 2019

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Persistent explosions with local ashfall, March-August 2019; frequent lahars during June; increased explosions in early July

Stromboli (Italy) Major explosions on 3 July and 28 August 2019; hiker killed by ejecta



Fuego (Guatemala) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing ash plume explosions and block avalanches, April-September 2019

Guatemala's Volcán de Fuego was continuously active through September 2019; it has been erupting vigorously since 2002 with historical observations of eruptions dating back to 1531. These eruptions have resulted in major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and damaging lahars. Large explosions with hundreds of fatalities occurred during 3-5 June 2018; after a brief pause, significant activity resumed and continued during April-September 2019, the period covered in this report. Reports are provided by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH) and the National Office of Disaster Management (CONRED); aviation alerts of ash plumes are issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite data from NASA and other sources provide valuable information about heat flow and gas emissions.

Daily activity continued at a high level throughout April-September 2019 (table 19) with multiple ash explosions every hour, incandescent ejecta reaching hundreds of meters above the summit sending block avalanches down multiple ravines, and ash falling on communities on the SW flank and beyond. During April and part of May a lava flow was also active in the Seca ravine. Although explosive activity remained at a high level throughout the period, thermal activity began a decline in May that continued through September, noticeable in both the MIROVA radiative power data (figure 117), and monthly images of MODVOLC thermal alerts (figure 118).

Table 19. Activity summary by month for Fuego with information compiled from INSIVUMEH daily reports.

Month Fumarole Color, Height (m), Direction Ash Explosions per hour Ash Plume Heights (km) Ash Plume Distance (km) and Direction Incandescent Ejecta Height (m) Ravines affected by avalanche blocks Sounds and Vibrations Villages Reporting ashfall Lava Flow activity
Apr 2019 Gray and White, 4,100-4,500, W-SW 10-25 4.3-5.0 10-25, W-SW-E-N 100-450 Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas and Honda Weak to moderate rumbles, shock waves rattled roofs, train engine noises every 5-20 minutes Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Los Yucales, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, La Rochela, Ceilán, El Rodeo, Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, Osuna Active flow in Seca ravine, 200-800 m long
May 2019 Gray and White, 4,200-4,500, W-SW-S 12-26 4.5-4.9 10-30, W-SW-S-SE 200-450 Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas and Honda Weak to moderate rumbles, shock waves rattled roofs, train engine noises at regular intervals Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Los Yucales, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Ceilán, La Rochela Active flow in Seca ravine, 300-1,000 m
Jun 2019 White, 4,100-4,500, E-SE-N-W-SW 10-24 4.4-4.8 10-30, W-SW-NW-N-E-SE 200-450 Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas and Honda Weak to moderate rumbles, shock waves rattled roofs, train engine noises every 5-10 minutes Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Panimache I and II, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, La Rochela, Ceilán, Alotenango, San Miguel Dueñas --
Jul 2019 White, 4,100-4,500, W-SW 8-25 4.3-4.8 10-25, W-SW 150-450 Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas and Honda Weak to moderate rumbles, shock waves rattled roofs, train engine noises every 5-15 minutes Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I y II, Sangre de Cristo, La Rochela, Ceilán --
Aug 2019 White, 4,100-4,500, W-SW 10-23 4.4-4.8 10-25 W-SW 200-400 Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas y Honda Weak to moderate rumbles, shock waves rattle windows; train engine noises every 3-13 minutes Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I y II, Sangre de Cristo, and others Flow in Seca ravine, 13 Aug 75-100 m
Sep 2019 White, 4,100-4,400, W-SW 5-22 4.4-4.8 10-20 W-SW 200-400 Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas and Honda Weak to moderate rumbles, shock waves rattled roofs, train engine noises every 3-10 minutes Panimaché I, Panimache II villages,Morelia, Santa Sofía, Palo Verde estate, San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, El Porvenir, La Rochela villages and Ceylon --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Thermal activity at Fuego increased steadily from January through April 2019, and then began a gradual decline through September as seen in this MIROVA graph of Radiative Power. The active lava flow in the Seca Ravine in April and early May likely contributed to the higher heat values during that time. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. A steady decline in thermal activity at Fuego is apparent in the MODVOLC thermal alert images for April-September 2019. During April and early May a lava flow was active in the Seca ravine that extended as far as 1,000 m from the summit. Courtesy of MODVOLC.

Activity increased at the very end of March 2019. The rate of explosions increased to 14-32 events per hour by 31 March; ash plumes rose to 5 km altitude and resulted in ashfall in numerous nearby communities. An early morning lava flow that day reached 800 m down the Seca ravine. Continuous white and gray fumarolic plumes reached 4.1 to 4.4 km altitude during April 2019 and drifted generally W and SW. There were about 15-20 ash-bearing explosions per hour; the highest rate of 25 per hour occurred on 10 April. Plume altitudes were below 4.8 km for most of the month; on 28 and 29 April they rose to 5.0 and 4.9 km. For most of the month they drifted W and SW; the wind direction changed to the E during 10-16 April. Most days of the month ashfall was reported in the communities of Panimaché I y II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo and El Porvenir on the W and SW flank. During 10-13 April when the wind direction changed to easterly, communities to the NE, E and SE of Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, La Reunión, La Rochela, El Rodeo, Osuna, Ceilán and others on the N and E flanks were affected by ashfall. The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily advisories on 18 days in April, identifying short-lived ash plumes drifting with the prevailing winds.

Incandescent ejecta rose 200-300 m above the summit on most days (figure 119). During 23-25 April, ejecta rose 300-450 m above the summit. Six ravines were affected by the incandescent avalanche blocks nearly every day: the Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, and Honda. The explosions caused rumbles, shock waves that rattled roofs, and sounds similar to a train locomotive at intervals of 5-20 minutes in nearby communities throughout the month. A lava flow was present in the Seca (Santa Teresa) ravine for most of the month; its length varied from 200 to 800 m. Special reports of lahars were issued seven times during April. On 4 April a moderate lahar descended the Seca ravine carrying centimeter- to meter-sized blocks, tree trunks and branches. During 9-11 April nine lahars were recorded in the Las Lajas, El Jute, Seca, Rio Mineral, Taniluya, and Ceniza ravines. The largest flows were 20 m wide and 3 m deep carrying blocks and debris up to 3 m in diameter; they were warm and thick with a strong sulfurous odor. Two more lahars were reported on 18 April in the Taniluya and Ceniza ravines carrying 1-2 m sized blocks in a warm, sulfurous flow.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. Incandescent ejecta rose several hundred meters above the summit of Fuego on 30 April 2019 and sent large blocks down multiple ravines, typical activity for the entire month. Courtesy of CONRED (Boletín Informativo No. 1242019, martes, 30 de abril 2019, VOLCÁN DE FUEGO BAJO CONSTANTE MONITOREO).

During May 2019, primarily white fumaroles rose to 4.2-4.5 km altitude and drifted W, SW, and S; gray fumaroles were reported only during the first few days of the month. Generally, 15-20 ash explosions per hour occurred; the maximum was 26 on 17 May. Ash plume heights ranged from 4.5-4.8 km altitude nearly every day, drifting 10-25 km primarily W, SW, and S throughout the month, except for 6-8 May when plumes drifted NW and 18-19 May when wind directions changed and sent ash S and SE. Plumes drifted 25-30 km SE, S, and SW on 19 May. Ashfall was reported daily from communities on the W flank including Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Los Yucales, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, and San Pedro Yepocapa, among others, and also from the E side including Ceilán and La Rochela when the wind direction changed. The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily ash advisories on 19 days during May.

Incandescent Strombolian activity continued sending ejecta 200-300 m above the summit during the first half of the month and 300-450 m high during the latter half (figure 120). Seven major ravines, the Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas, and Honda were affected by block avalanches throughout the month. Intermittent explosions caused rumbles, shock waves that rattled roofs, and sounds similar to a train locomotive at frequent intervals on most days. The lava flow in the Seca ravine advanced from 300 m length on 2 May to 1,000 m long on 9 May. It was reported as being 500 m long on 18 May but was not active after that date. Numerous lahars descended multiple ravines in May. INSIVUMEH issued nine special reports of lahar activity on 3, 14, 16, 20, 23, and 27-29 May. They affected the Las Lajas, Ceniza, El Jute, El Mineral, and Seca ravines. The thick, pasty flows contained blocks of various sizes up to 3 m in diameter along with tree trunks and branches. Several were warm with a sulfurous smell (figure 121). SO2 emissions remained low throughout April-September with only minor emissions recorded in satellite data on 1 April and 9 May 2019 (figure 122).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Incandescent ejecta at Fuego was captured on 27 May 2019 under a starry night sky by photographer Diego Rizzo in a 25-second exposure. Block avalanches are seen descending several ravines. NASA used the photo as an Astronomy Photo of the day and noted that the central plane of the Milky Way galaxy runs diagonally from the upper left, with a fleeting meteor just below, and the trail of a satellite to the upper right. The planet Jupiter also appears toward the upper left, with the bright star Antares just to its right. Much of the land and the sky were captured together in a single 25-second exposure taken in mid-April from the side of Acatenango volcano; the meteor was captured in a similar frame taken about 30 minutes earlier and added to this image digitally. Courtesy of NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day, copyright by Diego Rizzo.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. Lahars were reported at Fuego nine separate times during May 2019. A steaming lahar descends a ravine at Fuego on 11 May 2019 (top). The Santa Teresa Canyon was clogged with debris from numerous past lahars on 22 May 2019. INSIVUMEH monitors the ravines continuously during the rainy season. Courtesy of CONRED (Boletín Informativo No. 1382019, sábado, 11 de mayo 2019, LLUVIAS GENERAN DESCENSO DE LAHARES EN EL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO and Boletín Informativo No. 1562019, miércoles, 22 de mayo 2019, SE REGISTRA DESCENSO DE LAHARES MODERADOS EN EL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. Weak SO2 emissions were recorded from Fuego on 1 April and 9 May 2019 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

The fumarolic plumes were only white during June 2019, rising to 4.1-4.5 km altitude daily, drifting W or SW except during the first days of the month when variable winds sent the steam N, E, and SE. Explosions with ash took place 15-20 times per hour on most days with plumes rising to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifting primarily W or SW except for the first days of the month (figure 123). On most days, ash plumes drifted 15-20 km W and SW, except during 2-7 June when winds sent ash E, SE, N, and NW. Ashfall was reported virtually every day in Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, Morelia, Santa Sofía, and Panimache I and II. In addition, the communities of El Porvenir, Los Yucales, and Finca Palo Verde reported ashfall several days each week. During 2, 4, and 7 June, the N and SE winds caused ash to fall in Alotenango and San Miguel Dueñas. The Washington VAAC issued ash advisories on 15 days during June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Emissions of both steam and ash rose from Fuego on 11 June 2019. Courtesy of Paul A. Wallace, University of Liverpool.

The height of the Strombolian ejecta varied from 200-300 m above the summit on many days in June , but also was sometimes stronger, rising 300-450 m. While block avalanches were reported in all seven barrancas (ravines) more than once (Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Las Lajas and Honda), on all days they were reported in the Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, and Trinidad. Weak to moderate rumbles and shock waves rattled roofs every day, and train engine noises were heard every 5-10 minutes. Seven special reports of lahars were issued on days 2, 11, 21-23, and 30. They affected the Las Lajas, El Jute, Seca, El Mineral, and Ceniza ravines with thick, pasty flows containing blocks 1-3 m in size, shaking the ground as they flowed downstream.

During July 2019, white steam plumes rose daily from the summit of Fuego to an altitude of 4.1-4.3 km and drifted W and SW; higher plumes on 30 and 31 July rose to 4.5 km altitude. Fifteen to twenty ash explosions per hour were typical throughout the month and produced ash plumes that rose to 4.3-4.8 km altitude and drifted SW and W for 10-25 km before dissipating (figure 124). Near-daily ashfall was reported in Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I y II, and Sangre de Cristo; La Rochela and Ceilán also reported ash on 4 and 6 July. Incandescent ejecta height varied from 150-450 m above the summit from day to day, sending block avalanches down all seven ravines on many days. Weak to moderate rumbles and shock waves rattled roofs every day, and train engine noises were heard every 5-15 minutes. On 19 July noises and vibrations were heard and felt 25 km away. Only one lahar was reported on 12 July in the Las Lajas ravine. It was warm, with a sulfurous odor, and carried volcanic ash, sand, and blocks 1-3 m in diameter that shook the ground as they flowed downstream. The Washington VAAC issued ash advisories on 13 days during July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Steam-and-ash plumes rose from Fuego on 12 July 2019 in this image taken at dawn from Villa Flores San Miguel Petapa. Courtesy of Alex Cruz (cropped and color adjusted from original).

White steam plumes continued during August 2019, rising to an altitude of 4.1-4.5 km and drifting W and SW daily. Ash-bearing explosions continued also at a rate of about 15-20 per hour throughout the month, rising most days to between 4.5 and 4.7 km altitude. They drifted 15-20 km W or SW nearly every day before dissipating. Every day during the month, ashfall was reported in Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I y II, Sangre de Cristo, and other communities on the SW flank. The Washington VAAC reported ash plumes at Fuego on 15 days during August (figure 125).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 125. An ash emission at Fuego was recorded on 22 August 2019. Courtesy of William Chigna.

Incandescent ejecta also rose every day during August 2019 to 200-300 m above the summit, a few days were reported to 350-400 m. Every day, block avalanches descended the Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, and Trinidad ravines; most days blocks also traveled down the Las Lajas and Honda ravines, and many days they were also reported in the El Jute ravine (figure 126). Every 5-10 minutes, every day, weak and moderate rumbles sounding like a train engine shook buildings and rattled roofs in the nearby villages. On 13 August a small lava flow, 75-100 m long, was reported in the Seca ravine. Six lahars were reported on 3 August. They occurred in the Santa Teresa, Mineral, Ceniza, El Jute, and Las Lajas ravines. The thick pasty flows carried blocks 1-2 m in diameter, tree trunks and branches, and disrupted the roads between Siquinala and San Andres Osuna and El rodeo and El Zapote. The next day two more occurred in the Seca and Mineral drainages. From 17-20 August, six more lahars occurred, most in the Las Lajas drainage, but also in the Seca, Mineral and Ceniza ravines.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 126. Incandescent blocks traveled down several ravines at Fuego on 2 August 2019. Courtesy of Publinews Guatamala.

There were no changes in the steam fumaroles during September 2019; plumes seldom rose over 4.3 km altitude and continued drifting W and SW. The ash explosion rate decreased somewhat and rates of 5-10 per hour were typical on many days. Ash plume heights remained constant around 4.5-4.7 km altitude most days, also drifting W and SW 15-20 km before dissipating (figure 127). While ashfall was reported daily in Panimaché I, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Porvenir, Palo Verde, Yepocapa and other communities on the SW flank for the first half of the month, it grew more intermittent during the second half of September. South-directed winds deposited ash on La Rochela villages and Ceylon on 25 September. The Washington VAAC issued aviation ash advisories on 11 days during the month. Strombolian ejecta mostly rose 200-300 m above the summit; occasionally it reached 300-400 m. On most days, block avalanches descended the Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, and Las Lajas ravines; occasionally they were reported in the El Jute and Honda ravines as well. Every day, rumbles and shock waves shook roofs in nearby villages every 5-10 minutes. Lahars were reported twice, on 2 ad 9 September, in the Seca and Rio Mineral drainages both days, dragging branches, tree trunks and blocks up to 2 m in diameter.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 127. An ash plume drifts from the summit of Fuego on 16 September 2019, seen from the La Reunion webcam. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán de Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 14 al 20 de septiembre de 2,019).

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); 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/); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php); NASA Astronomy Picture of the day (URL: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190527.html); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Paul A. Wallace, Lecturer in Geology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool England (URL: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/environmental-sciences/staff/paul-wallace/, Twitter: @Paul_A_Wallace, URL: https://twitter.com/Paul_A_Wallace/status/1138527752963993600); Alex Cruz, Photojournalist, Guatemala (Twitter: @ACruz_elP, URL: https://twitter.com/ACruz_elP/status/1149690904023691264/photo/1); William Chigna, Guatemala (Twitter: @William_Chigna, URL: https://twitter.com/William_Chigna/status/1164575009966370816); Publinews Guatemala, (Twitter: @PublinewsGT, URL: https://twitter.com/PublinewsGT/status/1157288917365903360).


Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued summit activity and lava flow outbreaks during April-October 2019

Erta Ale, located in Ethiopia, contains multiple active pit craters both within the summit and the southeast calderas. On 17 January 2017 the active lava lake displayed intense spattering, fountaining, and rim overflows with lava flows that traveled as far as 1 km, forming a lava flow field. During April 2018 through March 2019 minor activity continued in both the summit and southeast calderas, and along the active lava flow to the E (BGVN 44:04). This report updates volcanism from April through October 2019. Information primarily comes from infrared satellite images and MODIS data.

Continued lava flow breakouts occurred from April through October 2019. On 4 May 2019 a lava flow outbreak was observed in satellite imagery NE of the summit caldera (figure 92). This outbreak continued to appear in clear-weather thermal satellite images through 13 June when it was seen south of its original location (figure 93). Faint incandescence is observed at the summit caldera between June and October 2019, though it is more pronounced in the months of August through October. On 28 June a second smaller lava flow outbreak occurred within 3.8 km of the summit location. The two lava flow outbreaks remained active at least through 18 June. The distal NE lava flow does not appear in very similar images from 17 August or 16 September 2019, but three proximal thermal anomalies are seen in the southeastern caldera within 4 km of the summit. The thermal anomalies remained within 5 km through October 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale volcanism on 4 May 2019 with thermal anomalies observed to the northeast of the summit caldera (bright orange). White plumes are seen rising from the summit with faint incandescence. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "False Color (Urban)" (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Erta Ale volcanism between 8 June and 21 October 2019. Lava flow outbreaks initially occur in the distal NE part of the lava flow, which then migrates slightly south. A second lava flow outbreak is seen less than 5 km of the summit caldera. Faint incandescence is seen at the summit caldera in each of these images. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "False Color (Urban)" (bands 12, 11, 4) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed consistently high-power thermal anomalies during this reporting period (figure 94). Through July 2019 these thermal anomalies were detected at distances greater than 5 km from the summit. In early August 2019 there was an abrupt decrease in the distance that continued through late October 2019 (figure 94); this likely indicates when the distal NE outbreak ended and lava emissions from the closer SE locations increased (see satellite images in figure 93). The distance changes of MODIS thermal anomalies from the summit seen in MIROVA are corroborated by MODVOLC data, which show no distal NE thermal alert pixels after July 2019 (figure 95).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Two time-series plots of thermal anomalies from Erta Ale for the year ending on 24 October 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system. The top plot (A) shows that the thermal anomalies were consistently strong (measured in log radiative power) and occurred frequently. The lower plot (B) shows these anomalies as function of distance from the summit, including a sudden decrease in the distance (measured in kilometers) in early August 2019 that reflects a change in lava flow outbreak location. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Locations of the thermal alerts at Erta Ale during November 2018-July 2019 (top) and August-October 2019 (bottom) identified by the MODVOLC system. A majority of the proximal (less than 5 km from the summit) thermal anomalies are found within the southeastern calderas while the distal (beyond 5 km) anomalies are northeast of the summit. Note that the distal NE anomalies are not present after July 2019. Two thermal alerts mark the location of the summit caldera (bottom map). Data courtesy of HIGP-MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Geologic Background. Erta Ale is an isolated basaltic shield that is the most active volcano in Ethiopia. The broad, 50-km-wide edifice rises more than 600 m from below sea level in the barren Danakil depression. Erta Ale is the namesake and most prominent feature of the Erta Ale Range. The volcano contains a 0.7 x 1.6 km, elliptical summit crater housing steep-sided pit craters. Another larger 1.8 x 3.1 km wide depression elongated parallel to the trend of the Erta Ale range is located SE of the summit and is bounded by curvilinear fault scarps on the SE side. Fresh-looking basaltic lava flows from these fissures have poured into the caldera and locally overflowed its rim. The summit caldera is renowned for one, or sometimes two long-term lava lakes that have been active since at least 1967, or possibly since 1906. Recent fissure eruptions have occurred on the N flank.

Information Contacts: 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/); 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/).


Karymsky (Russia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

54.049°N, 159.443°E; summit elev. 1513 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Moderate explosive activity with ash plumes through 24 September 2019

Eruptive activity at Karymsky has been frequent since 1996, with moderate ash explosions, gas-and-steam emissions, and thermal anomalies. The latest eruptive period began in mid-February 2019 (BGVN 44:05) when explosions resumed after more than four months of quiet, producing an ash plume that extended 55 km downwind. Intermittent explosive activity continued until 24 September 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT).

Ash plumes were reported during the second half of February and the first half of March 2019 (BGVN 44:05). During May-September 2019 similar activity continued, with ash plumes being generated at least every few days (table 12). Though not included in the weekly KVERT report as notable events, obvious ash plumes were also seen in Sentinel-2 imagery on 22 July and photographed from an aircraft on 23 July. Volcanologists doing fieldwork on 14 August observed an ash plume rising to 5 km altitude (figure 44). A week later, during 20-22 August, explosions generated ash plumes as high as 6 km altitude that were visible in satellite imagery (figure 45). Although not noted in KVERT reports, a photo from 9 September showed a plume blowing downwind directly from the summit crater (figure 46). No significant ash plumes were reported by KVERT after 24 August, but the last ash explosion was recorded on 24 September.

Table 12. Notable ash plumes reported from Karymsky during May-October 2019. All dates are in UTC. Courtesy of KVERT.

Date Observations
06-07 May 2019 Gas-and-steam plume containing ash rose to 2-2.2 km in altitude and drifted 105 km SE and SW.
21 May 2019 Ash plume drifted 9 km SW.
24 May 2019 Ash plume identified in satellite images drifted 45 km NE.
13-17 Jul 2019 Ash plumes drifted 60 km in multiple directions.
25 Jul 2019 Ash plume drifted 134 km SE.
26 Jul 2019 Ash plume drifted 60 km SE.
03-05 Aug 2019 Ash plumes drifted 180 km SE and NW.
06 Aug 2019 Ash plume rose 2-2.5 km in altitude and drifted about 17 km NW.
14 Aug 2019 Volcanologists observed explosions and ash plumes that rose to 5 km altitude. Satellite images showed ash plumes drifting E and SSE that same day.
20-22 Aug 2019 Ash plumes visible in satellite images drifted 500 km SW. Explosions on 21 August produced ash plumes to 6 km altitude.
23-24 Aug 2019 Ash plumes drifted 51 km SE.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Aerial photo showing an ash plume rising to 5 km altitude from Karymsky 14 August 2019. Photo by D. Melnikov; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Satellite image from Sentinel-2 (natural color) of an ash plume at Karymsky on 21 August 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Photo showing explosive activity at Karymsky at 1920 UTC on 9 September 2019. Photo by A. Manevich; courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

During May-October 2019, thermal anomalies were detected with the MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm only on 25 July (2 pixels) and 21 August (10 pixels). Consistent with both observations, KVERT noted ash explosions on those dates. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected numerous hotspots in May, none in June, 3 in July, 5 in August, and none in September or October. KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly was visible in satellite images on most, if not all, days when not obscured by clouds.

The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) until 3 October, when KVERT reduced it to Yellow, after which moderate gas-and-steam activity continued.

Geologic Background. Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, located immediately south. The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the stratovolcano began about 2000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater.

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


Shishaldin (United States) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Shishaldin

United States

54.756°N, 163.97°W; summit elev. 2857 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Active lava lake and spattering on 23 July 2019; minor explosions and lava fountaining on 17 August

Recent activity at Shishaldin, located on Unimak Island within the Aleutian Islands, has included a lava eruption in the summit crater, thermal anomalies, elevated seismicity, and gas-and-steam and ash plumes (BGVN 41:11). This report describes minor gas-and-steam emissions, increased seismicity, thermal anomalies, lava fountaining accompanied by minor explosive activity, and a spatter cone. The primary source of information is the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO). This report updates activity through September 2019.

Volcanism was relatively low between March 2016 and early July 2019; increased seismicity and steam emissions were detected in December 2017, but the activity declined in February 2018. Elevated seismicity and some thermal anomalies accompanied by incandescence observed in satellite imagery (when not obscured by clouds) returned in mid-July 2019 (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Summary graphic of MODVOLC thermal alerts measured over Shishaldin during July-September 2019. Courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Elevated surface temperatures and low-level seismic tremors remained elevated through September 2019 (figure 13). Field crews reported an active lava lake and minor spattering within the summit crater on 23 July 2019 (figures 14 and 15). Satellite imagery showed the presence of a small spatter cone and some lava flows within the summit crater on 28 July. A small steam plume was observed in satellite imagery and webcam images on 29 July, 20 August, and 30 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Shishaldin showing detected thermal anomalies between the months of July and September 2019. Top left: Satellite image on 19 July showing a gas-and-steam plume. Top center: On 29 July a thermal anomaly is detected in the summit crater. Top right: On 28 August, the thermal anomaly is still present. Bottom left: On 7 September, the thermal anomaly continues. Bottom right: On 24 September, the power of the thermal anomaly significantly decreases. Atmospheric penetration satellite image (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Photo of surface lava within the summit crater at Shishaldin taken on 23 July 2019. Photo by David Fee (color corrected); courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Photo of lava and a slightly growing spatter cone within the summit crater at Shishaldin taken on 23 July 2019. Photo by Dane Ketner (color corrected); courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO).

On 17 August 2019, a video taken by NOAA during an overflight showed repetitive minor explosive activity and low-level lava fountaining within the summit crater. This activity may have continued through 24 September, according to AVO. The spatter cone grew slightly in August and September, partially filling the summit crater. Accompanying lava flows also grew slightly during this time.

Satellite data from 3 September showed SO2 emissions and elevated surface temperatures. Satellite imagery and tiltmeter data recorded a collapse and slumping of the summit crater floor, which may have occurred on 19 September. In the last few weeks of September, seismicity and surface temperatures decreased to slightly above background levels.

According to MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) data from MODIS satellite instruments, more frequent thermal anomalies were detected in mid-July 2019 and remained elevated through early September (figure 16).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Thermal anomalies increased at Shishaldin from mid-July 2019 through early September and then abruptly stopped as recorded by MIROVA (log radiative power). Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical volcano of Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The 2857-m-high, glacier-covered volcano is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes along an E-W line in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning "mountain which points the way when I am lost." A steady steam plume rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, it is Holocene in age and largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the west and NE sides at 1500-1800 m elevation. There are over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is blanketed by massive aa lava flows. Frequent explosive activity, primarily consisting of strombolian ash eruptions from the small summit crater, but sometimes producing lava flows, has been recorded since the 18th century.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667 USA (URL: https://avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA (URL: http://dggs.alaska.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing weak thermal anomalies during July-September 2019, but no ash plumes after 1 August

During September 2018 through June 2019, activity at Klyuchevskoy was characterized by weak thermal anomalies and moderate Strombolian-type explosions. Ash emissions were only reported on 1-2 July and 1 August during the period of July-September 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) and is the primary source of information.

According to KVERT, moderate activity continued from July through at least the middle of September, with gas-and-steam emissions. At the beginning of July, KVERT reported incandescence in the crater. During 1-2 July, ash plumes drifted as far as 85 km E and SE. Ash plumes were visible blowing E in Sentinel-2 images on 17 and 19 July (figure 32); steam plumes were evident on some other days. KVERT reported that an ash emission was seen in webcam images on 1 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. An ash plume can be seen blowing E from the summit crater of Klyuchevskoy in this Sentinel-2 natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) satellite image from 17 July 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

No thermal anomalies were detected with the MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected no thermal anomalies in June, four scattered ones in July, and only one in August, all low power. According to KVERT, a weak thermal anomaly was detected throughout the reporting period, at least through mid-September, except for the numerous days when the volcano was obscured by clouds; the temperature of the anomalies had steadily decreased with time.

Instruments aboard NASA satellites detected high levels of sulfur dioxide near or directly above the volcano every day during the first week of July and on 12 July, but not on other days during the reporting period. However, the origin for the high levels may, at least in part, have been due to other active volcanoes in the area.

At the beginning of July, the Aviation Color Code (ACC) remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale). Because of decreased activity, KVERT lowered the ACC to Yellow on 30 August and to Green (the lowest on the scale) on 24 September.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); 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/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Heard (Australia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing thermal anomalies at the summit crater during April-September 2019

Heard Island, in the Southern Indian Ocean, is about 4,000 km from its closest point to Australia and about 1,500 km from the closest point in Antarctica. Because of the island's remoteness, monitoring is primarily accomplished by satellites. The Big Ben volcano has been active intermittently since 1910, if not before (BGVN 42:10), and thermal anomalies have been observed every month since June 2018 (BGVN 43:10, 44:04). The current reporting period is from April to September 2019.

During April-September 2019, only one thermal anomaly was detected with the MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, and that was on 10 June (2 pixels). The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected a few scattered thermal alerts in late May-early June and three in September; most were between 1-2 km of the summit and of low to moderate power.

The island is usually covered by heavy clouds, obscuring satellite views. However, Sentinel-2 satellite imagery detected cloud-obscured thermal anomalies during the reporting period, most likely due to a persistent lava lake and possibly lava flows (BGVN 41:08).

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

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


Dukono (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption with frequent ash plumes continues through September 2019

The eruption at Dukono, ongoing since 1933, is typified by frequent ash explosions and ash plumes (BGVN 43:04). This activity continued through at least September 2019. The data below were primarily provided by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

According to PVMBG, during April-September 2019 the volcano continued to generate ash plumes almost every day that rose to altitudes of 1.5-3 km (table 20, figure 12). Ashfall was reported on 8 August at the Galela Airport, Maluku Utara, 17 km NW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the 2-km exclusion zone remained in effect.

Table 20. Monthly summary of reported ash plumes from Dukono for April-September 2019. The direction of drift for the ash plume through each month was highly variable, but did not extend for any notable distances during this reporting period. Data courtesy of the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG.

Month Plume Altitude (km) Notable Plume Drift
Apr 2019 1.5-2.4 --
May 2019 1.5-3 --
Jun 2019 1.8-2.4 --
Jul 2019 1.5-2.1 --
Aug 2019 1.8-2.1 --
Sep 2019 1.5-2.1 --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Satellite image from Sentinel-2 (natural color) of an ash plume at Dukono on 4 August 2019, with the plume blowing almost straight up. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Instruments aboard NASA satellites detected high levels of sulfur dioxide near or directly above the volcano on 11, 20-22 April; 17, 22, and 27 May; 15-18 August; and 23-24 and 29 September. However, the cause of the high levels may, at least in part, have been due to other active volcanoes in the area.

Geologic Background. Reports from this remote volcano in northernmost Halmahera are rare, but Dukono has been one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. More-or-less continuous explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, occurred from 1933 until at least the mid-1990s, when routine observations were curtailed. During a major eruption in 1550, a lava flow filled in the strait between Halmahera and the north-flank cone of Gunung Mamuya. This complex volcano presents a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of the summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during historical time.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Poas (Costa Rica) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional phreatic explosions continue through September 2019

Activity at Poás is characterized by weak phreatic explosions and gas-and-ash-emissions, with a hot acid lake that occasionally disappears (BGVN 44:05). During the current reporting period of May-September 2019, this weak activity continued. The volcano is monitored by the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), and most of the material below comes from their weekly bulletins (Boletin Semanal Vulcanologia).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, a period of continuous emissions occurred during 30 April-1 May with plumes rising 300 m above the crater rim and drifting SW. Ash emissions were visible for a few hours on 30 April, and incandescence was visible at night. OVSICORI-UNA did not report any additional phreatic explosions in May until daily phreatic, geyser-type explosions were observed between 29 May and 1 June, which reached approximately 100 m above the vent. A phreatic explosion on 10 June reached approximately 20-30 m in height, and frequent small phreatic explosions (heights below 20 m) were reported through 16 June.

OVSICORI-UNA reported that on 12 June small geyser-like explosions ejected material less than 50 m high at a rate of about once per hour. At 0604 on 18 June an explosion that lasted about six minutes produced a plume of unknown height. Residents reportedly heard several loud noises during 0610-0615 and observed a plume rising from the crater. Ash fell in Cajón (12 km SW), San Luis de Grecia (11 km SW), Los Ángeles, San Miguel de Grecia (11 km SW), San Isidro (28 km SE), and San Roque (23 km SSE). Whitish ash deposits surrounding the crater, especially on the W and S sectors, were visible in webcam images. On 21 June frequent small phreatic explosions from vent A (Boca Roja) were visible during good viewing conditions ejecting material less than 10 m high.

No additional phreatic activity was reported by OVSICORI-UNA during rest of June or July. The small crater lake was still present on 5 July when visible in satellite imagery and as seen by visitors (figure 130), During the first part of August geyser-like explosions occurred on several days, and reached a maximum height of 50 m. This activity culminated on 17 August with about 30 explosions/day from the vent (Boca Roja). At least one event at 0650 on that day generated a 1-km-high plume of steam, gas, and fine particles. By 26 August, the geyser-type activity had ceased. Geyser-type phreatic explosions resumed on 12 September, reaching a maximum height of 30 m. The number of explosions increased up to 10-15 events/hour and then became continuous for a short time. A phreatic explosion occurred on 22 September at 2059 that generated a plume that rose 3 km above the crater rim and drifted NE. During 22-23 September explosions generated plumes that rose 1 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 130. View of the Poás crater on 5 July 2019. The volcano is surrounded by cloud-cover, and there is some steam rising from the crater lake. Photo by Sheila DeForest (Creative Commons BY-SA license).

According to OVSICORI-UNA, during 16-26 September sulfur dioxide emissions drifted W and NE, causing a sulfur odor in Alajuela, Heredia, San José, and Cartago. Acidic rain was recorded at an official's house in the Poás Volcano National Park (PNVP) on 23 September and at the Universidad Nacional Costa Rica (UNA) in Heredia (23 km SE) on 26 September. On 30 September, at 0540, a 5-minute long phreatic explosion ejected sediment, and produced a plume that rose 2 km above the crater rim and drifted SW. Ashfall and a sulfur odor was reported in Trojas de Sarchi (10 km SW) and Grecia (16 km SSW). Officials closed the PNVP because of the eruption and ongoing elevated seismicity; the park remained closed the next day.

During the first week of August, strong evaporation had reduced the intracrater lake significantly, and by mid-September, the lake had disappeared. At the end of September, however, some water had begun to accumulate again.

General monitoring data. During April and May, OVSICORI-UNA took few gas measurements due to an unfavorable wind direction. An SO2 measurement during the first part of June was between 100 and 200 t/d. Flux remained low through July, with low SO2/CO2 ratios, and high H2S/SO2 ratios, which OVSICORI-UNA stated were consistent with water infiltration. At the end of July, SO2 concentrations significantly increased to 300-800 t/d, with H2S disappearing and the CO2/SO2 ratio declining, with some fluctuations. Levels remained high through most of August, but had decreased to about 300 t/d by the end of the month. They rose again in September, with fluctuations, and on 29 September were measured at about 1,000 t/d before falling to between 300-400 t/d.

According to OVSICORI-UNA weekly reports, seismicity was relatively low during the reporting period, with a few VTs and LPs and normal background tremor. No significant deformation occurred, except for some deflation in June and July.

Geologic Background. The broad, well-vegetated edifice of Poás, one of the most active volcanoes of Costa Rica, contains three craters along a N-S line. The frequently visited multi-hued summit crater lakes of the basaltic-to-dacitic volcano, which is one of Costa Rica's most prominent natural landmarks, are easily accessible by vehicle from the nearby capital city of San José. A N-S-trending fissure cutting the 2708-m-high complex stratovolcano extends to the lower northern flank, where it has produced the Congo stratovolcano and several lake-filled maars. The southernmost of the two summit crater lakes, Botos, is cold and clear and last erupted about 7500 years ago. The more prominent geothermally heated northern lake, Laguna Caliente, is one of the world's most acidic natural lakes, with a pH of near zero. It has been the site of frequent phreatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions since the first historical eruption was reported in 1828. Eruptions often include geyser-like ejections of crater-lake water.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Sheila DeForest (URL: https://www.facebook.com/sheila.deforest).


Etna (Italy) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Five lava flows and numerous ash plumes and Strombolian explosions, April-September 2019

Italy's Mount Etna on the island of Sicily has had historically recorded eruptions for the past 3,500 years and has been erupting continuously since September 2013 through at least September 2019. Lava flows, explosive eruptions with ash plumes, and Strombolian lava fountains commonly occur from its summit areas that include the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC, formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC, formed in 2011). The newest crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), emerged during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. Varying activity that included several lava flows, Strombolian activity, and numerous ash plumes from most of the active summit vents and several flank fissures occurred during April-September 2019, the period covered in this report, with information provided primarily by the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Degassing of variable intensity was typical activity from all the vents at Etna during much of April 2019. Intermittent ash emission and Strombolian activity occurred at Bocca Nuova, especially during the last week. Minor ash emissions were reported from NEC and NSEC the last week as well. Most of the activity at the summit during May 2019 was focused around the New South East Crater (NSEC); repeated Strombolian activity was witnessed from the E vent near the summit throughout the month. Beginning on 30 May, two fissures opened on the N and SE flanks of NSEC and produced lava flows that traveled E and SE across the W wall of the Valle del Bove. The flows ceased during the first week of June; activity for the rest of that month consisted of intermittent explosions with small ash plumes from Voragine and Bocca Nuova. Discontinuous Strombolian explosions and isolated ash emissions from NEC, NSEC, and Bocca Nuova characterized activity during the first half of July 2019; the explosions intensified at NSEC later in the month. A lava flow emerged from the lower NE flank of NSEC on 18 July that lasted for several days. Explosions produced substantial ash plumes from the NSEC summit crater, causing ashfall nearby, and a new flow emerged from a fissure on the S flank of NSEC on 27 July.

Explosions with intermittent ash emissions during August 2019 were focused primarily on the North East Crater (NEC), with occasional ash emissions from Bocca Nuova. These continued into early September. Activity increased to include Strombolian explosions with the ash emissions at NEC, Bocca Nuova, and Voragine where a scoria cone formed deep within the crater from continued Strombolian activity. A lava flow emerged from the base of the scoria cone on 18 September and was active for about four days, sending branches of lava into multiple areas of the adjacent Bocca Nuova crater. Ash emissions at NEC continued during the end of the month. The multiple episodes of varying activity during the period were reflected in the MIROVA thermal energy data; spikes of thermal activity that corresponded to periods of lava effusion were apparent late May-early June, multiple times in July, and during the second half of September (figure 260).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 260. The multiple episodes of varying activity at Etna from 11 December 2018 through September 2019 were reflected in the MIROVA thermal energy data; spikes of thermal activity were apparent in late April, late May-early June, multiple times in July, and during the second half of September. The largest energy spikes correlated with lava flows. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during April-May 2019. During a site visit to the summit on 1 April scientists from INGV noted weak degassing from both pit craters, BN-1 and BN-2, within Bocca Nuova (BN); the Voragine (VOR) and North East Crater (NEC) were emitting abundant steam and gas emissions. The New Southeast Crater (NSEC) also had significant fumarolic activity concentrated primarily on the crater rim along with gas plumes visible from both the E vent and the 24 December 2018 flank fissure (figure 261). A brief episode of ash emission was observed from BN on the morning of 8 April. Persistent pulsating flashes of incandescence were noted at the E vent of NSEC during the second week. A new vent was observed in the inner wall of the Voragine crater during an inspection on 19 April, located immediately below the vent which formed on 12 January 2019 (figure 262). During the last week of April there were ten episodes of ash emission from BN, two from NEC, and one produced by the E vent at NSEC. Strombolian activity was observed on the morning of 28 April at BN-1, and persistent incandescence was visible from the E vent of NSEC. Early on 30 April both BN-1 and BN-2 were producing explosions every few seconds. Coarse ejecta (lapilli and bombs) rose higher than the crater rim; most fell back within the crater, but some material was observed on the rim the following day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 261. During a site visit to the summit of Etna on 1 April 2019 scientists from INGV noted weak degassing from both pit craters, BN-1 and BN-2, within Bocca Nuova (BN); Voragine (VOR) and North East Crater (NEC) were emitting abundant steam and gas emissions, and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) also had significant fumarolic activity concentrated primarily on the crater rim along with gas plumes visible from both the E vent (bocca orientale) and the 24 December 2018 flank fissure. Courtesy of INGV, photos by Laboratorio di Cartografia FlyeEye Team (Report 15/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 01/04/2019 - 07/04/2019, data emissione 09/04/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 262. A new vent was observed at the W rim of Etna's Voragine crater on 19 April 2019. INGV scientists concluded that it likely formed during 17-18 April. It was located immediately below a pit crater that opened on 12 January 2019. Inset shows thermal image of the vents. Courtesy of INGV (Report 17/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/04/2019 - 21/04/2019, data emissione 24/04/2019).

Activity at the summit during May 2019 was focused around the New South East Crater (NSEC). Discontinuous Strombolian activity was observed at the E vent of NSEC early on 2 May accompanied by ash emissions from the summit vent that rose about 1,000 m (figure 263). Explosion frequency increased beginning on 5 May with weak and discontinuous ash emissions reported from the NSEC summit for the next several days; ash emissions were also observed from the Saddle vent and the NSEC E vent during 6-8 May. In addition to ash emissions and Strombolian activity continuing from both the summit and E vents at NSEC during the third and fourth weeks, overnight on 17-18 May several larger Strombolian explosions sent pyroclastic ejecta tens of meters above the crater rim (figure 264). The explosion intervals ranged from a few minutes to a few hours. The new vent that had formed at Voragine in mid-April coalesced with the 12 January vent during the second week of May; dilute ash was observed from the BN-1 vent on 23 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 263. Strombolian activity at the E vent of NSEC at Etna was accompanied by ash emission on 2 May 2019. Left image is from the thermal camera at La Montagnola and the right image is from Tremestieri Etneo, taken by B. Behncke. Coutesy of INGV (Report 19/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 29/04/2019 - 05/05/2019, data emissione 07/05/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 264. Strombolian activity sent ejecta from a vent at Etna's NSEC crater on 14 May 2019 (a) and was captured by the Monte Cagliato thermal camera. Ash emission from the same vent was also visible that day (b) and on 17 May (c). Strombolian explosions from the E Vent of NSEC on 17 May (d) were captured by the EMOH (Montagnola) webcam. Courtesy of INGV (Report 21/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 13/05/2019 - 19/05/2019, data emissione 21/05/2019).

A fissure opened at the base of the N flank of NSEC shortly after midnight on 30 May 2019 at an elevation of about 3,150 m (figure 265). It produced mild explosive activity and a lava flow that spread towards the W wall of the Valle del Bove. By 0800 UTC the flow had reached an elevation of 2,050 m. A second fissure opened at 0335 the same morning at the base of the SE flank of NSEC at an elevation of 3,050 m. The lava flowed along the W wall of the Valle del Bove towards Serra Giannicola Grande and had reached an elevation of 2,260 m by 0815. Strong winds dispersed ash emissions from the fissures to the NE for much of the day; ashfall occurred in Linguaglossa (figure 266). The Toulouse VAAC reported an ash plume drifting ENE at 3.9 km altitude on 30 May. Samples of the ash that were collected and analyzed were shown to be about 70% lithic clasts, 25% crystals, and about 5% juvenile material. It became clear the next day that two vents along the SE-flank fissure initially produced separate flows that coalesced into a single flow which expanded along the W wall of Valle del Bove. By 0830 on 31 May that flow had reached an elevation of 1,700 m at the base of Serra Giannicola Grande. The fissure at the base of the N flank continued to propagate along the W wall of Valle del Bove also, and had reached an elevation of 2,050 near Monte Simone by 1030 on 31 May (figure 267). When the new eruptive activity began on 29 May, inclinometers measured slight but prolonged deflation of the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 265. Two fissures opened at Etna during the early morning of 30 May 2019. One started from the base of the N flank of the NSEC/SEC complex and flowed E towards the Valle del Bove, and a second fissure with two vents opened on the SE flank of NSEC and flowed SE towards Serra Giannicola Grande. Mapping of the lava flows were done with drones, using the Sentinel 2 satellite images of 30 May and thermal images from 2 June taken at the Schiena dell'Asino. Courtesy of INGV (Report 23/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/05/2019 - 02/06/2019, data emissione 04/06/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 266. Lava flows broke out at Etna on both the N and SE flanks of NSEC on 30 May 2019. Ash emissions were also produced from the fissures. The northern flank fissure is seen from the (a) Monte Cagliato thermal camera (EMCT) and (b) the Montagnola high definition camera (EMOH). The fissure on the SE flank was seen from the Montagnola thermal (c) and high definition (d) (EMOH) webcams. Ash emissions and lava flows were visible on the flank (e) and ashfall was recorded in Linguaglossa (f). Courtesy of INGV (Report 23/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/05/2019 - 02/06/2019, data emissione 04/06/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 267. Images of the active lava flows at Etna on 31 May 2019 indicated the extent of the flow activity. Lava was flowing from two vents along a fissure on the SE flank (a and b, drone images courtesy of the FlyEye Team OE). The thermal image of the flow (c) is from Schiena dell'Asi, the visible photo (d) is also taken from Schiena dell'Asi by L. Lodato. The thermal (e) and visual (f) images of the active lava fields were taken from the Monte Cagliato (EMCT) thermal webcam and the Monte Cagliato (EMCH) high definition webcam. Courtesy of INGV (Report 23/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/05/2019 - 02/06/2019, data emissione 04/06/2019).

Activity during June-July 2019. The flow from the N flank of NSEC ceased advancing on 1 June 2019, but the active spattering continued from the fissure on the SE flank for a few more days. The SE-flank flow had reached 1,700 m elevation in the Valle del Bove by the afternoon of 2 June (figure 268). The intensity and frequency of the explosions decreased over the next few days, with the active flow front receding back towards the vent until it stopped moving on 6 June. The NE rim of the summit cone at NSEC appeared lowered by several meters after the eruption ceased. The lava flows and explosions of 30 May-2 June produced persistent SO2 emissions that drifted E and N for over 800 km (figure 269).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 268. During the morning of 1 June 2019 Strombolian and effusive activity at Etna continued from the fissure on the SE flank of NSEC (a and b, photos by M. Neri). By the evening of 1 June there was only one remaining arm of the flow that was active (c) as seen in the Monte Cagliato (EMCT) thermal webcam. The following evening, 2 June, another thermal image(d, photo by S. Scollo) showed the remaining active arm. Courtesy of INGV (Report 23/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/05/2019 - 02/06/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 269. Active lava flows and Strombolian activity at Etna during 30 May-2 June 2019 contributed to significant SO2 plumes that drifted E and NE from the volcano during this time, extending as far as 800 km from the source. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Activity for the rest of June 2019 moved to the other craters, mainly Voragine, after the flows ceased at NSEC. On the morning of 6 June there were sporadic ash emissions from NEC that quickly dissipated. A small ash plume appeared from Bocca Nuova (BN) on 11 June. An explosive sequence that began on 13 June from the crater floor of Voragine continued intermittently through the third week of the month (figure 270) and produced several small ash plumes. A new vent opened on the crater floor and produced a small ash plume; ejecta also landed on the crater rim several times. On 22 June small, discontinuous ash emissions were produced from BN-1; they dispersed rapidly, but intermittent explosions continued during the following week. By the end of the month, only BN was exhibiting activity other than degassing; incandescence from the crater was seen during the night of 24 June and three isolated ash emissions were seen in the webcams on 26 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 270. An ash plume at Etna rose from the Voragine crater on 15 June 2019 during a series of intermittent explosions. Image taken from the Torre del Filosofo by M. Coltelli. Courtesy of INGV (Report 25/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 10/06/2019 - 16/06/2019, data emissione 18/06/2019).

Discontinuous Strombolian explosions and isolated ash emissions characterized activity during the first half of July 2019. Pulsating degassing from NEC produced ash emissions on 2 and 3 July (figure 271), and incandescence on 4 and 5 July. Intense degassing was observed at NSEC during 1-5 July, this turned into isolated ash emissions and Strombolian activity on 5 and 6 July from the E vent with explosions occurring every 1-5 minutes; the ejecta landed on the upper E flank. Dilute ash emissions were observed from Bocca Nuova on 6 July. NEC produced two major ash emissions on the evening of 8 July and the late morning of 13 July. The ash plumes quickly dispersed in the summit area. Strombolian activity at the E vent of NSEC was witnessed on 14 July. Explosive activity at Bocca Nuova remained deep within the crater during mid-July. Steam produced by the 13 June 2019 vent on the floor of Voragine occasionally contained dilute ash. During 15-17 July sporadic explosions were observed at NSEC accompanied by small puffs of ash that rapidly dispersed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 271. Surveillance cameras at Etna captured images of explosions with ash emissions from NEC on 2 (top) and 3 (bottom) July 2019. The left images are from Montagnola and the right images are from Monte Cagliato. Courtesy of INGV (Report 28/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 01/07/2019 - 07/07/2019, data emissione 09/07/2019).

Beginning early on 18 July, Strombolian activity increased at NSEC from an explosion every 1-2 minutes to multiple explosions per minute in the following hours. Continuous activity during the evening decreased sharply around 2200. About an hour later visual and thermal surveillance cameras on Monte Cagliato recorded the opening of a vent on the lower NE flank of NSEC; lava slowly advanced from the vent towards Valle del Leone (figures 272 and 273). Explosive activity resumed at the NSEC summit a few hours later, accompanied by occasional ash emissions from NEC and Bocca Nuova. Explosions tapered off briefly by noon on 19 July, but a sudden increase in explosive activity during the afternoon of 19 July produced Strombolian activity and sporadic ash emissions from three vents inside the NSEC crater. Ashfall was reported that evening in communities on the S flank of Etna. The Toulouse VAAC reported significant ash above the summit at 3.7 km altitude. Activity declined again later that evening at NSEC, but abundant ash emission began at NEC that lasted until the morning of 20 July. A new phase of explosive activity began at NSEC around 0700 on 20 July with an ash plume and an increase in lava emission from the vent on the NE flank (figure 274). By the evening of 20 July only a small amount of material was feeding the lava flow; the farthest advanced fronts were at an elevation around 2,150 m, above Monte Simone. A few small ash emissions were observed at Bocca Nuova on 21 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 272. Map of the summit craters of Etna showing the active vents and the lava flow of 19-21 July 2019. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. Black hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova, with NW BN-1 and SE BN-2; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. Courtesy of INGV (Report 30/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/07/2019 - 21/07/2019, data emissione 23/07/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 273. Activity at Etna on 18 and 19 July 2019 included a new lava flow from a vent on the NE flank of NSEC and Strombolian activity at the NSEC summit vent. (a) Start of the flow from a vent on the NE flank of NSEC seen from the high-resolution camera at Monte Cagliato (EMCH) at 2307 UTC on 18 July. (b) Strombolian activity at the NSEC and glow of the new lava flow on the right seen from Tremestieri Etneo, 2347 that evening. (c) A new advancing lava flow and brown ash emission from NEC seen from the EMCH camera, 0338 on 19 July; (d) lava flow seen from the thermal camera at Monte Cagliato, 0700 on 19 July. Courtesy of INGV (Report 30/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/07/2019 - 21/07/2019, data emissione 23/07/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 274. Activity at Etna on 20 July 2019 included (a) ash emission from both NSEC and NEC craters at 0402 seen from Tremestieri Etneo, (b) ash from NSEC and the active flow on the SE flank at 0608 seen from the Monte Cagliato high-resolution camera, (c) ash emission from NSEC at 0700 seen by Tremesteieri Etneo, and (d) explosive activity at NSEC and the lava flow on the W wall of the Valle del Bove at 0700 seen from the Monte Cagliato thermal camera. Courtesy of INGV (Report 30/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/07/2019 - 21/07/2019, data emissione 23/07/2019).

Visible and thermal images taken on 24 July 2019 indicated only degassing at BN-1 and BN-2, and limited degassing from low-temperature fumaroles from the multiple vents at VOR (figure 275). After a few days of quiet, NSEC resumed discontinuous ash emissions on 25 July. A sudden increase in the amplitude of volcanic tremor was noted early on 27 July, which was followed a few hours later by the opening of a new eruptive fissure on the S flank of NSEC (figure 276). Explosive activity intensified and produced a dense ash-rich plume that dispersed to the E at an estimated altitude of 4.5-5 km. A thin layer of ash was reported in Giarre, Riposto, and Torre Archirafi. A lava flow emerged from the S portion of the fissure and expanded SW and S. By 1135 the most advanced front had reached and passed the N side of the base of the Barbagallo Mountians at an elevation of about 2,850 m. It continued to spread down into the area between Monte Frumento Supino and the pyroclastic cones of 2002-2003 (figure 277). A series of particularly strong explosions occurred from NSEC around midday, producing an ash plume that rose to 7.5 km altitude. By this time the most advanced lava fronts were located at an elevation of about 2,600 m, but they were rapidly advancing SSW towards Monte Nero, surrounding Monte Frumento Supino from the W. Explosive activity decreased significantly early in the morning on 28 July; flow activity also slowed around the same time. Occasional puffs of reddish-brown ash were noted from NEC during the morning as well. The explosions and the lava effusion ceased on the evening of 28 July. An isolated ash emission from Bocca Nuova in the early hours of 31 July was the last activity reported in July. A substantial SO2 plume (6.59 DU) from the explosions on 27 July had drifted to the E coast of the Adriatic Sea by midday on 28 July and was detected in satellite instruments.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 275. Degassing was the only activity occurring at the multiple vents at Etna's Voragine crater on 24 July 2019. The joined pit crater from the 12 January and 18 April 2019 vents is at the upper left; the newest vent formed 16 June 2019 is at lower left and appears cool in the thermal image inset a. Photo and annotations by S. Branca. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. N° 31/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 22/07/2019 - 28/07/2019, data emissione 30/07/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 276. A new eruptive fissure at Etna opened on the S flank of NSEC on 27 July 2019 (line of red circles). The base map is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. Black hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN=Bocca Nuova, with NW BN-1 and SE BN-2; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. Courtesy of INGV (Report 31/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 22/07/2019 - 28/07/2019, data emissione 30/07/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 277. Lava flows and substantial ash emissions were reported at Etna on 27 July 2019. The lava flow at 1216 was located at about 2,600 m elevation (a). A thermal image of the S flank of NSEC showed the extent of the flow activity (b). A large ash plume formed after several explosions at NSEC at 1221 (c). Thermal images of the emissions were captured by the Montagnola (EMOT) webcam and by an INGV operator (d, e). Photos by S. Branca (a), B. Behncke (c), and E. Pecora (b, e). Courtesy of INGV (Report 31/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 22/07/2019 - 28/07/2019, data emissione 30/07/2019).

Activity during August-September 2019. Activity during August 2019 was focused primarily on the North East Crater (NEC), with occasional ash emissions from Bocca Nuova. The plumes were occasionally dense and dark brown from NEC. Weak emissions of dilute ash from NEC quickly dispersed on the morning of 4 August, followed by more intermittent ash emissions during 6-10 August; a few had significant concentrations of ash that drifted SE. Part of the N rim of NEC collapsed during the explosions of early August (figure 278). During a site inspection to the summit by INGV personnel on 16 August, continuous degassing at Bocca Nuova was interrupted every 10-15 minutes by explosions, but no ejecta was noted. Discontinuous emissions from NEC formed small ash plumes that rose a few hundred meters and remained in the summit area (figure 279). Thermal surveys that day indicated high temperatures of about 800°C along a 10-m-fracture zone on the northern rim of VOR. Ash emissions from NEC were persistent through 20 August when they decreased significantly; a few explosions had dilute ash emissions from Bocca Nuova that day and the next (figure 280). Sulfur dioxide emissions were notable during 19-22 August, drifting S and W hundreds of kilometers before dissipating. Isolated and dilute ash from NEC early on 28 August was interpreted by INGV as resulting from collapses along the inner crater walls. During site inspections on 27, 28, and 30 August, deep explosions from Bocca Nuova were heard, and degassing was observed at all of the summit vents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 278. Part of the N rim of the NEC crater at Etna collapsed during explosions in early August 2019. In this image from 10 August 2019 the collapsed N wall is shown by white arrows, the old crater rim is the dashed yellow line, and the new rim is the solid yellow line. Photo by Michele Mammino, courtesy of INGV (Report 33/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/08/2019 - 11/08/2019, data emissione 13/08/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 279. Discontinuous emissions at Etna on 16 August 2019 from the NEC crater formed small ash plumes that rose a few hundred meters and remained in the summit area (a). Smaller ash plumes remained within the crater (b and c). Courtesy of INGV (Report 34/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 12/08/2019 - 18/08/2019, data emissione 20/08/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 280. In the foreground weak degassing occurs on 21 August 2019 at Etna's BN-2 vent inside Bocca Nuova while a small ash plume in the background rises from NEC. Photo by F. Ciancitto, courtesy of INGV (Report 35/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 19/08/2019 - 25/08/2019, data emissione 27/08/2019).

Activity during September 2019 began with discontinuous and dilute ash emissions from NEC and Bocca Nuova, as well as episodes of Strombolian activity at both vents. This was followed by increased Strombolian activity, ash emissions, and a lava flow at Voragine. Isolated ash emissions occurred at NEC and VOR on 4 and 5 September. Sporadic deep explosions were heard from BN-1 during a site inspection on 7 September. Overnight during 7-8 September the visual webcams recorded incandescence at NEC and pyroclastic ejecta observed outside the crater rim that coincided with increased tremor activity. A more intense episode of Strombolian activity began the following evening at NEC. Activity was continuous from 1800 on 9 September to 0500 on 10 September, and produced dilute ash emissions that quickly dispersed (figure 281). Slight ashfall was reported in Piedimonte Etneo, Giarre-Riposto, and Rifugio Citelli. Continuous puffs of dilute ash were observed beginning at dawn on 11 September with sporadic ejecta again landing outside the crater rim. Significant SO2 plumes were measured by satellite instruments on 10 and 11 September (figure 282).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 281. Activity at Etna overnight during 9-10 September 2019 included Strombolian activity and dilute ash emissions from NEC that were observed from webcams on the S, W, and E flanks. Courtesy of INGV (Report 38/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 09/09/2019 - 15/09/2019, data emissione 17/09/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 282. Significant SO2 plumes from Etna were detected on 10 and 11 September 2019. Increased Strombolian activity was reported by INGV from the NEC crater during 9-11 September. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Center.

In addition to the Strombolian activity at NEC on 12 September, ash emissions began that morning at VOR. They increased in frequency and then transitioned to near-continuous Strombolian activity that produced ejecta which landed in the base of the adjacent Bocca Nuova crater. The explosions from the Strombolian activity were felt in Zafferana Etnea, Aci S. Antonio, Pedara, and neighboring areas. On 13 September the webcams observed multiple periods of continuous ash emissions from NEC and short, intense pulses of ash from VOR that accompanied Strombolian activity; coarse ejecta rose 20 m above and landed outside of the crater rim, producing impact craters on the W side of the summit between VOR and BN. The vent that sourced the Strombolian activity was located in the deepest part of the Voragine crater. By 15 September, continued ejecta had formed a scoria cone around the vent inside VOR (figure 283).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 283. On 13 September 2019 Strombolian activity at Etna's NEC and VOR craters increased (a). INGV personnel observed an ash emission from NEC (b), a Strombolian explosion with ejecta from VOR (c), and impact craters from the ejecta around the rim (d). The continued activity at VOR produced a scoria cone inside the crater that grew noticeably between 13 (e) and 15 (f) September. Photos (a) and (e) courtesy of L. D'Agata, photo (f) by B. Behncke. Courtesy of INGV (Report 38/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 09/09/2019 - 15/09/2019, data emissione 17/09/2019).

Explosive activity inside VOR increased on the afternoon of 18 September 2019. Pyroclastic ejecta and ash erupted from several vents and reached heights of several tens of meters. A lava flow emerged from the W base of the scoria cone and headed S, advancing several hundred meters (figure 284). It then flowed over the saddle that divides VOR and BN, split into two branches, and entered Bocca Nuova. One stream poured into BN-1, and another stopped near the edge of the BN-2 pit crater. By 22 September the flow was cooling, but strong Strombolian activity continued inside Voragine. NEC was characterized by large-scale ash emissions during the end of September, including one in the morning of 27 September that sent a plume over the S flank of Etna before dissipating (figure 285). Strombolian activity continued within Bocca Nuova during the last week of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 284. Significant Strombolian and lava flow activity at Etna affected the Voragine crater on 18 and 19 September 2019. Visible and thermal images of the scoria cone (cono scorie) and lava flow (colata) inside Etna's large Voragine crater on 19 September 2019 (top) were taken from the southern edge of BN. Photo by F. Ciancitto. The bottom images were taken from the SW rim of BN on 18 September (left) by M. Tomasello and (right) 19 September by INGV personnel. Courtesy of INGV (Report 39/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 16/09/2019 - 22/09/2019, data emissione 24/09/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 285. An ash emission from Etna's NEC crater early on 27 September 2019 sent a plume drifting S before dissipating. It was captured by both the high-definition webcam of Bronte (EBVH, left) and the Milo (EMV) webcam. Courtesy of INGV (Report 40/2019, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 23/09/2019 - 29/09/2019, data emissione 01/10/2019).

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/); 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/); Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Météo-France, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, F-31057 Toulouse cedex, France (URL: http://www.meteo.fr/aeroweb/info/vaac/).


Ubinas (Peru) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ubinas

Peru

16.355°S, 70.903°W; summit elev. 5672 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash explosions in June-August 2019

Prior to renewed activity in June 2019, the most recent eruptive episode at Ubinas occurred between 13 September 2016 and 2 March 2017, with ash explosions that generated plumes that rose up to 1.5-2 km above the summit crater (BGVN 42:10). The volcano remained relatively quiet between April 2017 and May 2019. This report discusses an eruption that began in June 2019 and continued through at least August 2019. Most of the Information was provided by the Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP), Observatoria Vulcanologico del Sur (IGP-OVS), the Observatorio Volcanológico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico) (OVI-INGEMMET), and the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Activity during June 2019. According to IGP, seismic activity increased suddenly on 18 June 2019 with signals indicating rock fracturing. During 21-24 June, signals indicating fluid movement emerged and, beginning at 0700 on 24 June, webcams recorded ash, gas, and steam plumes rising from the crater. Plumes were visible in satellite images rising to an altitude of 6.1 km and drifting N, NE, and E.

IGP and INGEMMET reported that seismic activity remained elevated during 24-30 June; volcano-tectonic (VT) events averaged 200 per day and signals indicating fluid movement averaged 38 events per day. Emissions of gas, water vapor, and ash rose from the crater and drifted N and NE, based on webcam views and corroborated with satellite data. According to a news article, a plume rose 400 m above the crater rim and drifted 10 km NE. Weather clouds often obscured views of the volcano, but an ash plume was visible in satellite imagery on 24 June 2019 (figure 49). On 27 June the Alert Level was raised to Yellow (second lowest on a 4-level scale).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Sentinel-2 satellite image in natural color showing an ash plume blowing north from Ubinas on 24 June 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during July 2019. IGP reported that seismic activity remained elevated during 1-15 July; VT events averaged 279 per day and long-period (LP) events (indicating fluid movement) averaged 116 events per day. Minor bluish emissions (magmatic gas) rose from the crater. Infrared imagery obtained by Sentinel-2 first showed a hotspot in the summit crater on 4 July.

According to IGP, during 17-19 July, gas-and-ash emissions occasionally rose from Ubinas's summit crater and drifted N, E, and SE. Beginning at 0227 on 19 July, as many as three explosions (two were recorded at 0227 and 0235) generated ash plumes that rose to 5.8 km above the crater rim. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that, based on satellite images, ash plumes rose to an altitude as high as 12 km. The Alert Level was raised to Orange and the public were warned to stay beyond a 15-km radius. Ash plumes drifted as far as 250 km E and SE, reaching Bolivia. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind, including the towns of Ubinas (6.5 km SSE), Escacha, Anascapa (11 km SE), Tonohaya (7 km SSE), Sacohaya, San Miguel (10 km SE), Huarina, and Matalaque, causing some families to evacuate. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 20-23 July ash plumes rose to an altitude of 7.3-9.5 km and drifted E, ESE, and SE.

IGP reported that activity remained elevated after the 19 July explosions. A total of 1,522 earthquakes, all with magnitudes under 2.2, were recorded during 20-24 July. Explosions were detected at 0718 and 2325 on 22 July, the last ones until 3 September. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that an ash plume rising to an altitude of 9.4 km. and drifting SE was identified in satellite data at 0040 on 22 July (figure 50). Continuous steam-and-gas emissions with sporadic pulses of ash were visible in webcam views during the rest of the day. Ash emissions near the summit crater were periodically visible on 24 July though often partially hidden by weather clouds. Ash plumes were visible in satellite images rising to an altitude of 7 km. Diffuse ash emissions near the crater were visible on 25 July, and a thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images. During 26-28 July, there were 503 people evacuated from areas affected by ashfall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Image of ash streaming from the summit of Ubinas on 22 July 2019 captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite. Courtesy of NASA's Earth Observatory (Joshua Stevens and Kathryn Hansen).

Activity during August 2019. IGP reported that during 13-19 August blue-colored gas plumes rose to heights of less than 1.5 km above the base of the crater. The number of seismic events was 1,716 (all under M 2.4), a decrease from the total recorded the previous week.

According to IGP, blue-colored gas plumes rose above the crater and eight thermal anomalies were recorded by the MIROVA system during 20-26 August. The number of seismic events was 1,736 (all under M 2.4), and there was an increase in the magnitude and number of hybrid and LP events. Around 1030 on 26 August an ash emission rose less than 2 km above the crater rim. Continuous ash emissions on 27 August were recorded by satellite and webcam images drifting S and SW.

IGP reported that during the week of 27 August, gas-and-water-vapor plumes rose to heights less than 1 km above the summit. The number of seismic events was 2,828 (all under M 2.3), with VT signals being the most numerous. There was a slight increase in the number of LP, hybrid, and VT events compared to the previous week. The Alert Level remained at Orange.

Thermal anomalies. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system detected a large concentration of anomalies between 19 July until almost the end of August 2019, all of which were of low radiative power (figure 51). Infrared satellite imagery (figure 52) also showed the strong thermal anomaly associated with the explosive activity on 19 July and then the continuing hot spot inside the crater through the end of August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Log radiative power MIROVA plot of MODIS thermal anomalies at Ubinas for the year ending on 4 October 2019. Thermal activity began in the second half of July. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Sentinel-2 satellite images (Atmospheric penetration rendering, bands 12, 11, 8A) showing thermal anomalies during the eruption on 19 July (left) and inside the summit crater on 29 July 2019 (right). A hot spot inside the crater persisted through the end of August. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. A small, 1.4-km-wide caldera cuts the top of Ubinas, Peru's most active volcano, giving it a truncated appearance. It is the northernmost of three young volcanoes located along a regional structural lineament about 50 km behind the main volcanic front of Perú. The growth and destruction of Ubinas I was followed by construction of Ubinas II beginning in the mid-Pleistocene. The upper slopes of the andesitic-to-rhyolitic Ubinas II stratovolcano are composed primarily of andesitic and trachyandesitic lava flows and steepen to nearly 45 degrees. The steep-walled, 150-m-deep summit caldera contains an ash cone with a 500-m-wide funnel-shaped vent that is 200 m deep. Debris-avalanche deposits from the collapse of the SE flank about 3700 years ago extend 10 km from the volcano. Widespread plinian pumice-fall deposits include one of Holocene age about 1000 years ago. Holocene lava flows are visible on the flanks, but historical activity, documented since the 16th century, has consisted of intermittent minor-to-moderate explosive eruptions.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Observatoria Vulcanologico del Sur (IGP-OVS), Arequipa Regional Office, Urb La Marina B-19, Cayma, Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovs.igp.gob.pe/); Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); 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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Instituto Nacional de Defensa Civil Perú (INDECI) (URL: https://www.indeci.gob.pe/); Gobierno Regional de Moquegua (URL: http://www.regionmoquegua.gob.pe/web13/); La Republica (URL: https://larepublica.pe/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


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

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent explosions with local ashfall, March-August 2019; frequent lahars during June; increased explosions in early July

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

Activity at Santa Maria continued with little variation from previous months during March-August 2019, except for a short-lived increase in the frequency and intensity of explosions during early July that produced minor pyroclastic flows. Plumes of steam with minor magmatic gases rose continuously from both the S rim of the Caliente crater and from the summit of the growing dome throughout the period. They usually rose 100-700 m above the summit, generally drifting W or SW, and occasionally SE, before dissipating. In addition, daily explosions with varying amounts of ash rose to altitudes of around 2.8-3.5 km and usually extended no more than 25 km before dissipating. Most of the plumes drifted SW or SE; minor ashfall occurred in the adjacent hills almost daily and was reported at the fincas located within 10 km in those directions several times each month. Continued growth of the Caliente lava dome resulted in daily block avalanches descending its flanks to the base of the dome. The MIROVA plot of thermal energy during this time shows a consistent level of heat from early December 2018 through April 2019, very little activity during May and June, and a short-lived spike in activity from late June through early July that coincides with the increase in explosion rate and intensity. Activity decreased later in July and into August (figure 95).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Thermal activity at Santa Maria from 8 December 2018 through August 2019 was similar to previous months. A noticeable decrease in activity occurred during May and early June 2019 with a short-lived spike during late June and early July that corresponded to an increase in explosion rate and intensity during that brief interval. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Explosive activity increased slightly during March 2019 to 474 events from 409 events during February, averaging about 15 per day; the majority of explosions were weak to moderate in strength. The moderate explosions generated small block avalanches daily that sent debris 300 m down the flanks of Caliente dome; the explosions contained low levels of ash and large quantities of steam. Daily activity consisted mostly of degassing around the southern rim of the crater and within the central dome, with plumes rising about 100 m from the S rim, and pulsating between 100-400 m above the central dome, usually white and sometimes blue with gases; steam plumes drifted as far as 10 km. The weak ash emissions resulted in ashfall close to the volcano, primarily to the W and SW in the mountainous areas of El Faro, Patzulín, La Florida, and Monte Bello farms. During mid-March, residents of the villages of Las Marías and El Viejo Palmar, located S of the dome, reported the smell of sulfur. The seismic station STG3 registered 8-23 explosions daily that produced ash plumes which rose to altitudes between 2.7 and 3.3 km altitude. Explosions from the S rim were usually steam rich, while reddish oxidized ash was more common from the NE edge of the growing dome in the summit crater (figure 96). The constant block avalanches were generated by viscous lava slowly emerging from the growing summit dome, and also from the explosive activity. On the steep S flank of Santa Maria, blocks up to 3 m in diameter often produce small plumes of ash and debris as they fall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Mostly steam rose from the S rim of the Caliente dome at Santa Maria throughout March-August 2019. On 1 March 2019, oxidized reddish ash from the growing dome was also part of the emissions (left). The dome continued to grow, essentially filling the inside of the summit crater of Caliente. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE ACTIVIDAD VOLCÁNICA MARZO 2019, VOLCÁN SANTIAGUITO).

Late on 4 March 2019 an explosion was heard 10 km away that generated incandescence 100 m above the crater and block avalanches that descended to the base of the Caliente dome; it also resulted in ashfall around the perimeter of the volcano. Powerful block avalanches were reported in Santa María creek on 8 March. Ashfall was reported in the villages of San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj on 14 March. Ash plumes on 18 March drifted W and caused ashfall in the villages of Santa María de Jesús and Calaguache. A small amount of ashfall was reported on 26 March around San Marcos Palajunoj. The Washington VAAC reported volcanic ash drifting W from the summit on 8 March at 4.6 km altitude. A small ash plume was visible in satellite imagery moving WSW on 11 March at 4.6 km altitude. On 20 March a plume was detected drifting SW at 3.9 km altitude for a short time before dissipating.

Explosion rates of 10-14 per day were typical for April 2019. Ash plumes rose to 2.7-3.2 km altitude. Block avalanches reached the base of the Caliente dome each day. Steam and gas plumes pulsated 100-400 m above the S rim of the crater (figure 97). Ashfall in the immediate vicinity of the volcano, generally on the W and SW flanks was also a daily feature. The Washington VAAC reported multiple small ash emissions on 2 April moving W and dissipating quickly at 4.9 km altitude. An ash plume from two emissions drifted WSW at 4.3 km altitude on 10 April, and on 22 April two small discrete emissions were observed in satellite images moving SE at 4.6 km altitude. Ashfall was reported on 13 and 14 April in the nearby mountains and areas around Finca San José to the SE. On 15 and 23 April, ash plumes drifted W and ashfall was reported in the area of San Marcos and Loma Lina Palajunoj.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Degassing from the Caliente dome at Santa Maria on 3 April (left, infrared image) and 13 April 2019 (right) produced steam-rich plumes with minor quantities of ash. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo:, Volcán Santiaguito, Semana del 30 de marzo al 05 de abril de 2019).

Constant degassing continued from the S rim of the crater during May 2019 while pulses of steam and gas rose 100-500 m from the dome at the center of the summit crater. Weak to moderate explosions continued at a rate of 8-12 per day. White and gray plumes of steam and ash rose 300-700 m above the crater daily. A moderate-size lahar on 16 May descended the Rio San Isisdro; it was 20 m wide and carried blocks 2 m in diameter. Ashfall was reported on the W flank around the area of San Marcos and Loma Lina Palajunoj on 21 and 24 May. INSIVIUMEH reported on 29 and 30 May that seismic station STG8 recorded moderate lahars descending the Rio San Isidro (a drainage to the Rio Tambor). The thick, pasty lahars transported blocks 1-3 m in diameter, branches, and tree trunks. They were 20 m wide and 1.5-2 m deep.

Weak to moderate explosions continued during June 2019 at a rate of 9-12 per day, producing plumes of ash and steam that rose 300-700 m above the Caliente crater. On 1 June explosions produced ashfall to the E over the areas of Calaguache, Las Marías and other nearby communities. Ash plumes commonly reached 3.0-3.3 km altitude and drifted W and SW, and block avalanches constantly descended the E and SE flanks from the dome at the top of Caliente. Ashfall was reported at the Santa María de Jesús community on 7 June. Ashfall to the W in San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj was reported on 10, 15, 18, 20, and 22 June. Ashfall to the SE in Fincas Monte Claro and El Patrocinio was reported on 26 June. A few of the explosions on 28 June were heard up to 10 km away. On 29 June ash dispersed to the W again over the farms of San Marcos, Monte Claro, and El Patrocinio in the area of Palajunoj; the next day, ash was reported in Loma Linda and finca Monte Bello to the SW. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 29 June that rose to 4.3 km and drifted W; two ash clouds were observed, one was 35 km from Santa Maria and the second drifted 55 km before dissipating.

With the onset of the rainy season, eight lahars were reported during June. The Rio Cabello de Ángel, a tributary of Río Nimá I (which flows into Rio Samalá) on the SE flank experienced lahars on 3, 5, 11, 12, 21, and 30 June (figure 98). The lahars were 15-20 m wide, 1-2 m deep, and carried branches, tree trunks and blocks 1-3 m in diameter. On 12 and 15 June, lahars descended the Río San Isidro on the SW flank. They were 1.5 m deep, 15-20 m wide and carried tree trunks and blocks up to 2 m in diameter.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Activity at Santa Maria on 12 June 2019 included explosions with abundant ash and lahars. This lahar is in the Rio Nimá I, and started in the Rio Cabello de Ángel. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito, Semana del 08 al 14 de junio de 2019).

An increase in the frequency and intensity of seismic events was noted beginning on 28 June that lasted through 6 July 2019. Explosions occurred at a rate of 5-6 per hour, reaching 40-45 events per day instead of the 12-15 typical of previous months. Ash plumes rose to 3.5-3.8 km altitude and drifted W, SW, and S as far as 10 km, and ashfall was reported in San Marcos Palajunoj, Loma Linda villages, Monte Bello farms, El Faro, La Mosqueta, La Florida, and Monte Claro. Activity decreased after 7 July back to similar levels of the previous months. As a result of the increased activity during the first week of July, several small pyroclastic flows (also known as pyroclastic density currents or PDC's) were generated that traveled up to 1 km down the S, SE, and E flanks during 2-5 and 13 July, in addition to the constant block avalanches from the dome extrusion and explosions (figure 99). As activity levels decreased after 6 July, the ash plume heights lowered to 3.3 km altitude, while pulsating degassing continued from the summit dome, rising 100-500 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. An increase in explosive activity at Santa Maria during the first week of July 2019 resulted in several small pyroclastic flows descending the flanks, including one on 3 July 2019 (left). An ash emission on 19 July 2019 rose above the nearby summit of Santa Maria (right). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE ACTIVIDAD VOLCÁNICA JULIO 2019, VOLCÁN SANTIAGUITO).

The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume on 2 July from a series of emissions that rose to 3.9 km altitude and drifted W. Satellite imagery on 4 July showed a puff of ash moving W from the summit at 4.3 km altitude. The next day an ash emission was observed in satellite imagery moving W at 4.9 km altitude. A plume on 11 July drifted W at 4.3 km for several hours before dissipating. Ashfall was reported on 2 July at the San Marcos farm and in the villages of Monte Claro and El Patrocinio in the Palajunoj area. On 4 and 6 July ash fell to the SW and W in San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj. On 5 July there were reports of ashfall in Monte Claro and areas around San Marcos Palajunoj and some explosions were heard 5 km away. In Monte Claro to the SW ash fell on 7 July and sounds were heard 5 km away every three minutes. Incandescence was observed in the early morning on the SE and NE flanks of the dome. During 8 and 9 July, four to eight weak explosions per hour were noted and ash dispersed SW, especially over Monte Claro; pulsating degassing noises were heard every two minutes. Monte Bello and Loma Linda reported ashfall on 12, 16, 17, 19, and 20 July. On 15, 22, 26, and 29 July ash was reported in San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj; 33 explosions occurred on 25 July. Two lahars were reported on 8 July. A strong one in the Rio San Isidro was more than 2 m deep, and 20-25 m wide with blocks as large as 3 m in diameter. A more moderate lahar affected Rio Cabello de Angel and was also 2 m deep. It was 15-20 m wide and had blocks 1-2 m in diameter.

Activity declined further during August 2019. Constant degassing continued from the S rim of the crater, but only occasional pulses of steam and gas rose from the central dome. Weak to moderate explosions occurred at a rate of 15-20 per day. White and gray plumes with small amounts of ash rose 300-800 m above the summit daily. Block avalanches descended to the base of the dome and sent fine ash particles down the SE and S flanks. Ashfall was common within 5 km of the summit, generally on the SW flank, near Monte Bello farm, Loma Linda village and San Marcos Palajunoj. Explosions rates decreased to 10-11 per day during the last week of the month. Degassing and ash plumes rose to 2.9-3.2 km altitude throughout the month.

On 1 August ash plumes drifted 10-15 km SW, causing ashfall in that direction. On 3 and 27 August ashfall occurred at Monte Claro and El Patrocinio in the Palajunoj area to the SW. On 7 and 31 August ashfall was reported in Monte Claro. San Marcos and Loma Linda Palajunoj reported ash on 11, 16, 19, and 23 August. On 21 August ashfall was reported to the SE around Finca San José. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery on 10 August 2019 drifting W at 4.3 km altitude a few kilometers from the summit which dissipated quickly. On 27 August a plume was observed 25 km W of the summit at 3.9 km altitude, dissipating rapidly. On 3 August a moderate lahar descended the Rio Cabello de Ángel that was 1 m deep, 15 m wide and carried blocks up to 1 m in diameter along with branches and tree trunks. A large lahar on 20 August descended Río Cabello de Ángel; it was 2-3 m high, 15 m wide and carried blocks 1-2 m diameter, causing erosion along the flanks of the drainage (figure 100).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. A substantial lahar at Santa Maria on 20 August 2019 sent debris down the Río Cabello de Ángel in the vicinity of El Viejo Palmar (left), the spectrogram of the seismic signal lasted for 2 hours and 16 minutes (top right), and the seismograph was saturated with the lahar signal in red (bottom right). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito, Semana del 17 al 23 de agosto de 2019).

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); 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/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html).


Stromboli (Italy) — September 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

38.789°N, 15.213°E; summit elev. 924 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Major explosions on 3 July and 28 August 2019; hiker killed by ejecta

Near-constant fountains of lava at Stromboli have served as a natural beacon in the Tyrrhenian Sea for at least 2,000 years. Eruptive activity at the summit consistently occurs from multiple vents at both a north crater area (N area) and a southern crater group (CS area) on the Terrazza Craterica at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the volcano-island. Periodic lava flows emerge from the vents and flow down the scarp, sometimes reaching the sea; occasional large explosions produce ash plumes and pyroclastic flows. Thermal and visual cameras that monitor activity at the vents are located on the nearby Pizzo Sopra La Fossa, above the Terrazza Craterica, and at multiple locations on the flanks of the volcano. Detailed information for Stromboli is provided by Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) as well as other satellite sources of data; March-August 2019 is covered in this report.

Typical eruptive activity recorded at Stromboli by INGV during March-June 2019 was similar to activity of the past few years (table 6); two major explosions occurred in July and August with a fatality during the 3 July event. In the north crater area, both vents N1 and N2 emitted fine (ash) ejecta, occasionally mixed with coarser lapilli and bombs; most explosions rose less than 80 m above the vents, some reached 150 m. Average explosion rates ranged from 1 to 12 per hour. In the CS crater area continuous degassing and occasional intense spattering were typical at vent C, vent S1 was a low-intensity incandescent jet throughout the period. Explosions from vent S2 produced 80-150 m high ejecta of ash, lapilli, and bombs at average rates of 2-17 per hour.

After a high-energy explosion and lava flow on 25 June, a major explosion with an ash plume and pyroclastic flow occurred on 3 July 2019; ejecta was responsible for the death of a hiker lower down on the flank and destroyed monitoring equipment near the summit. After the explosion on 3 July, coarse ejecta and multiple lava flows and spatter cones emerged from the N area, and explosion rates increased to 4-19 per hour. At the CS area, lava flows emerged from all the vents and spatter cones formed. Explosion intensity ranged from low to very high with the finer ash ejecta rising over 250 m from the vents and causing ashfall in multiple places on the island. This was followed by about 7 weeks of heightened unrest and lava flows from multiple vents. A second major explosion with an ash plume and pyroclastic flow on 28 August reshaped the summit area yet again and scattered pyroclastic debris over the communities on the SW flank near the ocean.

Table 6. Summary of activity levels at Stromboli, March-August 2019. Low-intensity activity indicates ejecta rising less than 80 m, medium-intensity is ejecta rising less than 150 m, and high-intensity is ejecta rising over 200 m above the vent. Data courtesy of INGV.

Month North (N) Area Activity Central-South (CS) Area Activity
Mar 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N1 and N2. Coarse-grained ejecta (lapilli and bombs) from N1, fine-grained ash mixed with coarse material from N2. Explosion rates of 3-12 per hour. Medium-intensity explosions from both S area vents, lapilli and bombs mixed with ash, 2-9 explosions per hour.
Apr 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N1 and N2. Coarse-grained ejecta (lapilli and bombs) from N1, fine-grained ash from N2. Explosion rates of 5-12 per hour. Continuous degassing from C, low-intensity incandescent jets form S1, up to 4 emission points from S2, mostly fine-grained ejecta, 4-15 explosions per hour.
May 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N1 and N2. Mostly fine-grained ejecta, occasionally mixed with coarser material. Explosion rates of 2-8 per hour. Continuous degassing from C, low-intensity incandescent jets form S1, low- to medium-intensity explosions from C, S1, and S2. Mostly fine-grained ejecta, occasionally mixed with coarser material. Explosion rates of 5-16 per hour.
June 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N1 and N2. Mostly fine-grained ejecta, occasionally mixed with coarser material. Explosion rates of 1-12 per hour. Continuous degassing at C and sporadic short duration spattering events, low- to medium-intensity incandescent jets at S1, multiple emission points from S2. Ejecta of larger lapilli and bombs mixed with ash. Explosion rates of 2-17 per hour. High-energy explosion on 25 June.
Jul 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions at both N1 and N2. Coarse ejecta after major explosion on 3 July. Intermittent intense spattering. Explosions rates of 4-19 per hour. Lava flows from all vents. Major explosion and pyroclastic flow, 3 July, with fatality from falling ejecta. Lava flows from all vents. Continuous degassing and variable intensity explosions from low to very high (over 200 m). Coarse ejecta until 20 July; followed by mostly ash.
Aug 2019 Low- to medium-intensity explosions from the N area, coarse ejecta and occasional intense spattering. Explosion rates of 7-17 per hour. Lava flows. Low- to high-intensity explosions; ash ejecta over 200 m; ashfall during week 1 in S. Bartolo area, Scari, and Piscità. Major explosion on 28 August, with 4-km-high ash plume and pyroclastic flow; lava flows. Explosion rates of 4-16 per hour.

Thermal activity was low from March through early June 2019 as recorded in the MIROVA Log Radiative Power data from MODIS infrared satellite information. A sharp increase in thermal energy coincided with a large explosion and the emergence of numerous lava flows from the summit beginning in late June (figure 144). High heat-flow continued through the end of August and dropped back down at the beginning of September 2019 after the major 28 August explosion.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 144. Thermal activity at Stromboli was low and intermittent from 12 November 2018 through early June 2019, based on this MIROVA plot of thermal activity through August 2019. A spike in thermal energy in late June coincided with a major explosion on 3 July and the emergence of lava from the summit area. Heightened activity continued from 3 July through 28 August with multiple lava flows emerging from both crater areas. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during March-June 2019. Activity was low during March 2019. Low- to medium-intensity explosions occurred at both vents N1 and N2 in the north area. Ejecta was mostly coarse grained (lapilli and bombs) from N1 and fine-grained ash mixed with some coarse material from N2. Intense spattering activity was reported from N2 on 29 March. Explosion rates were reported at 5-12 per hour. At the CS area, medium-intensity explosions from both south area vents produced lapilli and bombs mixed with ash at a rate of 2-9 explosions per hour.

During a visit to the Terrazza Craterica on 2 April 2019, degassing was visible from vents N1, N2, C, and S2; activity continued at similar levels to March throughout the month. Low- and medium-intensity explosions with coarse ejecta, averaging 3-12 per hour, were typical at vent N1 while low-intensity explosions with fine-grained (ash) ejecta occurred at a similar rate from N2. Continuous degassing was observed at the C vent, and low-intensity incandescent jets were present at S1 throughout the month. Multiple emission points from S2 (as many as 4) produced low- to medium-intensity explosions at rates of 4-14 explosions per hour; the ejecta was mostly fine-grained mixed with some coarse material. Frequent explosions on 19 April produced abundant pyroclastic material in the summit area.

Low to medium levels of explosive activity at all of the vents continued during May 2019. Emissions consisted mostly of ash occasionally mixed with coarser material (lapilli and bombs). Rates of explosion were 2-8 per hour in the north area, and 5-16 per hour in the CS Area. Explosions of low-intensity continued from all the vents during the first part of June at rates averaging 2-12 per hour, although brief periods of high-frequency explosions (more than 21 events per hour) were reported during the week of 10 June. Strong degassing was observed from crater C during an inspection on 12 June (figure 145); by the third week, continuous degassing was interrupted at C by sporadic short-duration spattering events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 145. The Terrazza Craterica as seen from the Pizzo sopra la Fossa (above, near the summit) at Stromboli on 12 June 2019. In red are the two craters (N1 and N2) of the N crater area, in green is the CS crater area with 2 vents (C1 and C2) in the central crater and S2, the largest and deepest crater in the CS area, also with at least two vents. S1 is hidden by the degassing of crater C. Photograph by Giuseppe Salerno, courtesy of INGV (Report 25/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 10/06/2019-16/06/2019).

Late on 25 June 2019, a high-energy explosion that lasted for 28 seconds affected vent C in the CS area. The ejecta covered a large part of the Terrazza Craterica, with abundant material landing in the Valle della Luna. An ash plume rose over 250 m after the explosion and drifted S. After that, explosion frequency varied from medium-high (17/hour) on 25 June to high (25/hour) on 28 June. On 29 June researchers inspected the summit and noted changes from the explosive events. Thermal imagery indicated that the magma level at N1 was almost at the crater rim. The magma level at N2 was lower and explosive activity was less intense. At vent C, near-constant Strombolian activity with sporadic, more intense explosions produced black ash around the enlarged vent. At vent S2, a pyroclastic cone at the center of the crater produced vertical jets of gas, lapilli, and bombs that exceeded 100 m in height (figure 146).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 146. A high-energy explosion at Stromboli late on 25 June 2019 affected vent C in the CS Area (top row). The ejecta covered a large part of the Terrazza Craterica. An ash plume rose over 250 m after the explosion and drifted S. On 29 June (bottom row) thermal imagery indicated that the magma level at N1 was almost at the crater rim. At vent C, near-constant Strombolian activity was interrupted with sporadic, more intense explosions. At vent S2, a pyroclastic cone at the center of the crater produced vertical jets of gas, lapilli, and bombs that exceeded 100 m in height. Photo 2f by L. Lodato, courtesy of INGV (Rep 27/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 24/06/2019-30/06/2019).

Activity during July 2019. A large explosion accompanied by lava and pyroclastic flows affected the summit and western flank of Stromboli on 3 July 2019. Around 1400 local time an explosion from the CS area generated a lava flow that spilled onto the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco. Just under an hour later several events took place: lava flows emerged from the C vent and headed E, from the N1 and N2 vents and flowed N towards Bastimento, and from vent S2 (figure 147). The emergence of the flows was followed a minute later by two lateral blasts from the CS area, and a major explosion that involved the entire Terrazza Craterica lasted for about one minute (figure 148). Within seconds, the pyroclastic debris had engulfed and destroyed the thermal camera located above the Terrazza Craterica on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa and sent a plume of debris across the W flank of the island (figure 149). Two seismic stations were also destroyed in the event. The Toulouse VAAC reported a plume composed mostly of SO2 at 9.1 km altitude shortly after the explosion. They noted that ash was present in the vicinity of the volcano, but no significant ashfall was expected. INGV scientists observed the ash plume at 4 km above the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 147. A major eruptive event at Stromboli on 3 July 2019 began with an explosion from the CS area that generated a lava flow at 1359 (left). About 45 minutes later (at 1443:40), lava flows emerged from all of the summit vents (right), followed closely by a major explosion. Courtesy of INGV (Eruzione Stromboli. Comunicato straordinario del 4 luglio 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 148. A major explosion at Stromboli beginning at 1445 on 3 July 2019 was preceded by lava flows from all the summit vents in the previous 60 seconds (top row). This thermal camera (SPT) and other monitoring equipment on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa above the vents were destroyed in the explosion (bottom row). Courtesy of INGV (Il parossismo dello Stromboli del 3 luglio 2019 e l'attività nei giorni successivi: il punto della situazione al 13 luglio 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 149. The monitoring equipment at Stromboli on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa above the summit was destroyed in the major explosion of 3 July 2019 (left, photo by F. Ciancitto). Most of the W half of the island was affected by pyroclastic debris after the explosion, including the town of Ginostra (right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 28/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 01/07/2019 - 07/07/2019).

Two pyroclastic flows were produced as a result of the explosions; they traveled down the Sciara and across the water for about 1 km before collapsing into the sea (figure 150). A hiker from Sicily was killed in the eruption and a Brazilian friend who was with him was badly injured, according to a Sicilian news source, ANSA, and the New York Post. They were hit by flying ejecta while hiking in the Punta dei Corvi area, due W of the summit and slightly N of Ginostra, about 100 m above sea level according to INGV. Most of the ejecta from the explosion dispersed to the WSW of the summit. Fallout also ignited vegetation on the slopes which narrowly missed destroying structures in the town. Ejecta blocks and bombs tens of centimeters to meters in diameter were scattered over a large area around the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa and the Valle della Luna in the direction of Ginostra. Smaller material landed in Ginostra and was composed largely of blonde pumice, that floated in the bay (figure 151). The breccia front of the lava flows produced incandescent blocks that reached the coastline. High on the SE flank, the abundant spatter of hot pyroclastic ejecta coalesced into a flow that moved 200-300 m down the flank before cooling, crossing the path normally used by visitors to the summit (figure 152).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 150. At the time of the major explosion of Stromboli on 3 July 2019 people on a German ship located about 2 km off the northern coast captured several images of the event. (a) Two pyroclastic flows traveled down the Sciara del Fuoco and spread over the sea up to about 1 km from the coast. (b) The eruption column was observed rising several kilometers above the summit as debris descended the Sciara del Fuoco. (c) Fires on the NW flank were started by incandescent pyroclastic debris. The photos were taken by Egon Karcher and used with permission of the author by INGV. Courtesy of INGV (Il parossismo dello Stromboli del 3 luglio 2019 e l'attività nei giorni successivi: il punto della situazione al 13 luglio 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 151. Pumice filled the harbor on 4 July 2019 (left) and was still on roofs (right) on 7 July 2019 in the small port of Ginostra on the SW flank of Stromboli after the large explosion on 3 July 2019. Photos by Gianfilippo De Astis, courtesy of INGV (Il parossismo dello Stromboli del 3 luglio 2019 e l'attività nei giorni successivi: il punto della situazione al 13 luglio 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 152. A small lava flow high on the SE flank of Stromboli formed during the 3 July 2019 event from abundant spatter of hot pyroclastic ejecta that coalesced into a flow and moved 200-300 m down the flank before cooling, crossing the path normally used by visitors to the summit. Photo by Boris Behncke taken on 9 July 2019, courtesy of INGV (Il parossismo dello Stromboli del 3 luglio 2019 e l'attività nei giorni successivi: il punto della situazione al 13 luglio 2019).

INGV scientists inspected the summit on 4 and 5 July 2019 and noted that the rim of the Terrazza Craterica facing the Sciara del Fuoco in both the S and N areas had been destroyed, but the crater edge near the central area was not affected. In addition, the N area appeared significantly enlarged and deepened, forming a single crater where the former N1 and N2 vents had been located; an incandescent jet was active in the CS area (figure 153). Explosive activity declined significantly after the major explosions, although moderate overflows of lava continued from multiple vents, especially the CS area where the flows traveled about halfway down the southern part of the Sciara del Fuoco; lava also flowed E towards Rina Grande (about 0.5 km E of the summit). The main lava flows active between 3 and 4 July produced a small lava field along the Sciara del Fuoco which flowed down to an elevation of 210 m in four flows along the S edge of the scarp (figure 154). Additional block avalanches rolled to the coastline.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 153. The summit craters of Stromboli were significantly altered during the explosive event of 3 July 2019. The rim of the Terrazza Craterica facing the Sciara del Fuoco in both the CS and N areas was destroyed, but the crater edge near the CS area was not affected. In addition, the N area was significantly enlarged and deepened, forming a single crater where the former N1 and N2 vents had been located; an incandescent jet was active in the CS area. Courtesy of INGV (Report 28/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 01/07/2019 - 07/07/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 154. The main lava flows active between 3 and 4 July at Stromboli after the major explosion on 3 July 2019 produced a small lava field along the Sciara del Fuoco. Left: Aerial photo taken by Stefano Branca (INGV-OE) on 5 July; the yellow arrow shows a small overflow from the N crater area, the red arrow shows the largest overflow from the CS crater area. Right: Flows from the CS area traveled down to an elevation of 210 m in four flows along the S edge of the scarp. Additional block avalanches rolled to the coastline. Right photo by Francesco Ciancitto taken on 5 July 2019. Courtesy of INGV (Il parossismo dello Stromboli del 3 luglio 2019 e l'attività nei giorni successivi: il punto della situazione al 13 luglio 2019).

During the second week of July lava flows continued; on 8 July volcanologists reported two small lava flows from the CS area flowing towards the Sciara del Fuoco. A third flow was noted the following day. The farthest flow front was at about 500 m elevation on 10 July, and the flow at the center of the Sciara del Fuoco was at about 680 m. An overflow from the N area during the evening of 12 July produced two small flows that remained high on the N side of the scarp; lava continued flowing from the CS area into the next day. A new flow from the N area late on 14 July traveled down the N part of the scarp (figure 155).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 155. During the second week of July 2019 lava flows at Stromboli continued from both crater areas. Top left: Lava flows from the CS area flowed down the Sciara on 9 July while Strombolian activity continued at the summit, photo by P. Anghemo, mountain guide. Bottom left: A lava flow from the CS area at Stromboli is viewed from Punta dei Corvi during the night of 12-13 July 2019. Photo by Francesco Ciancitto. Right: The active flows on 10 July (in red) were much closer to the summit crater than they had been during 3-4 July (in yellow). Courtesy of INGV, top left and right photos published in Report 29/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 08/07/2019 - 14/07/2019; bottom left photo published in 'Il parossismo dello Stromboli del 3 luglio 2019 e l'attività nei giorni successivi: il punto della situazione al 13 luglio 2019'.

A new video station with a thermal camera was installed at Punta dei Corvi, a short distance N of Ginostra on the SW coast, during 17-20 July 2019. During the third week of July lava continued to flow from the CS crater area onto the southern part of the Sciara del Fuoco, but the active flow area remained on the upper part of the scarp; block avalanches continuously rolled down to the coastline (figure 156). During visits to the summit area on 26 July and 1 August activity at the Terrazza Craterica was observed by INGV scientists. There were at least six active vents in the N area, including a scoria cone and an intensely spattering hornito; the other vents were ejecting coarse material in jets of Strombolian activity. In the CS area, a large scoria cone was clearly visible from the Pizzo, with two active vents generating medium- to high-intensity explosions rich in volcanic ash mixed with coarse ejecta (figures 157 and 158). Some of the finer-grained material in the jets reached 200 m above the vents. A second smaller cone in the CS area faced the southernmost part of the Sciara del Fuoco and produced sporadic low-intensity "bubble explosions." Effusive activity decreased during the last week of July; the active lava front was located at about 600 m elevation. Blocks continued to roll down the scarp, mostly from the explosive activity, and were visible from Punta dei Corvi.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 156. Lava continued to flow from the CS area at Stromboli during the third week of July 2019, although the active flow area remained near the top of the scarp. Block avalanches continued to travel down the scarp. Image taken by di Francesco Ciancitto from Punta dei Corvi on 19 July 2019. Courtesy of INGV (Report 30/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/07/2019 - 21/07/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 157. Thermal and visible images of Terrazza Craterica at the summit of Stromboli from the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa on 1 August 2019 showed significant changes since the major explosion on 3 July 2019. A large scoria cone was present in the CS area (left) and at least six vents from multiple cones were active in the N area (right). The active lava flow 'Trabocco Lavico' emerged from the southernmost part of the CS area (far left). Courtesy if INGV (Report 32/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 29/07/2019 - 04/08/2019.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 158. At the summit of Stromboli on 1 August 2019 two active vents inside a large cone in the CS area generated medium- to high-intensity explosions rich in volcanic ash mixed with coarse ejecta (left). There were at least six active vents in the N area (right), including a scoria cone and an intensely spattering hornito; the other vents were ejecting coarse material in jets of Strombolian activity. Courtesy of INGV (Report 32/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 29/07/2019 - 04/08/2019).

Activity during August 2019. A small overflow of lava on 4 August 2019 from the N area lasted for about 20 minutes and formed a flow that went a few hundred meters down the Sciara del Fuoco. Observations made at the summit on 7 and 8 August 2019 indicated that nine vents were active in the N crater area, three of which had scoria cones built around them (figure 159). They all produced low- to medium-intensity Strombolian activity. In the CS area, a large scoria cone was visible from the summit that generated medium- to high-intensity explosions rich in volcanic ash, which sometimes rose more than 200 m above the vent. Lava overflowing from the CS area on 8 August was confined to the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco, at an elevation between 500 and 600 m (figure 160). Occasional block avalanches from the active lava fronts traveled down the scarp. Ashfall was reported in the S. Bartolo area, Scari, and Piscità during the first week of August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 159. Nine vents were active in the N crater area of Stromboli on 7 August 2019, three of which had scoria cones built around them. They all produced low- to medium-intensity Strombolian activity (top). In the CS area (bottom), a large scoria cone was visible from the summit that generated medium- to high-intensity explosions rich in volcanic ash, which sometimes rose more than 200 m above the vent. Visible images taken by S. Consoli, thermal images taken by S. Branca. Courtesy of INGV (Report 33/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/08/2019 - 11/08/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 160. Multiple Lava flows were still active on the Sciara del Fuoco at Stromboli on 7 August 2019. Top images by INGV personnel S Branca and S. Consoli, lower images by A. Di Pietro volcanological guide. Courtesy of INGV (Report 33/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/08/2019 - 11/08/2019).

Drone surveys on 13 and 14 August 2019 confirmed that sustained Strombolian activity continued both in the N area and the CS area. Lava flows continued from two vents in the CS area; they ceased briefly on 16 and 17 August but resumed on the 18th, with the lava fronts reaching 500-600 m elevation (figure 161). A fracture field located in the southern part of the Sciara del Fuoco was first identified in drone imagery on 9 July. Repeated surveys through mid-August indicated that about ten fractures were identifiable trending approximately N-S and ranged in length from 2.5 to 21 m; they did not change significantly during the period. An overflight on 23 August identified the main areas of activity at the summit. A NE-SW alignment of 13 vents within the N area was located along the crater edge that overlooks the Sciara del Fuoco. At the CS area, the large scoria cone had two active vents, there was a pit crater, and two smaller scoria cones. A 50-m-long lava tube emerged from one of the smaller lava cones and fed two small flows that emerged at the top of the Sciara del Fuoco (figure 162).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 161. Detail of a vent at Stromboli on 14 August 2019 located in the SW part of the Sciara del Fuoco at an elevation of 730 m. Flow is tens of meters long. Courtesy of INGV (COMUNICATO DI DETTAGLIO STROMBOLI del 20190816 ORE 17:05 LT).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 162. Thermal and visual imagery of the summit of Stromboli on 23 August 2019 revealed a NE-SW alignment of 13 vents within the N area located along the crater edge that overlooks the Sciara del Fuoco. At the CS area, the large scoria cone had two active vents (1 and 2), there was a pit crater (3), and two smaller scoria cones (4). A 50-m-long lava tube formed from one of the smaller lava cones (5) and fed two small flows that emerged at the top of the Sciara del Fuoco. Photos by L. Lodato and S. Branca, courtesy of INGV (Report 35/2019, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 19/08/2019 - 25/08/2019).

INGV reported a strong explosion from the CS area at 1217 (local time) on 28 August 2019. Ejecta covered the Terrazza Craterica and sent debris rolling down the Sciara del Fuoco to the coastline. A strong seismic signal was recorded, and a large ash plume rose more than 2 km above the summit (figure 163). The Toulouse VAAC reported the ash plume at 3.7-4.6 km altitude, moving E and rapidly dissipating, shortly after the event. Once again, a pyroclastic flow traveled down the Sciara and several hundred meters out to sea (figures 164). The entire summit was covered with debris. The complex of small scoria cones within the N area that had formed since the 3 July explosion was destroyed; part of the N area crater rim was also destroyed allowing lava to flow down the Sciara where it reached the coastline by early evening.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 163. A major explosion at Stromboli on 28 August 2019 produced a high ash plume and a pyroclastic flow. The seismic trace from the STR4 station (top left) indicated a major event. The ash plume from the explosion was reported to be more than 2 km high (right). The thermal camera located at Stromboli's Punta dei Corvi on the southern edge of the Sciara del Fuoco captured both the pyroclastic flow and the ash plume produced in the explosion (bottom left). Seismogram and thermal image courtesy of INGV (INGVvulcani blog, 30 AGOSTO 2019INGVVULCANI, Nuovo parossismo a Stromboli, 28 agosto 2019). Photo by Teresa Grillo (University of Rome) Courtesy of AIV - Associazione Italiana di Vulcanologia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 164. A pyroclastic flow at Stromboli traveled across the sea off the W flank for several hundred meters on 28 August 2019 after a major explosion at the summit. Photo by Alberto Lunardi, courtesy of INGV (5 SETTEMBRE 2019INGVVULCANI, Quando un flusso piroclastico scorre sul mare: esempi a Stromboli e altri vulcani).

At 1923 UTC on 29 August a lava flow was reported emerging from the N area onto the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco; it stopped at mid-elevation on the slope. About 90 minutes later, an explosive sequence from the CS area resulted in the fallout of pyroclastic debris around Ginostra. Shortly after midnight, a lava flow from the CS area traveled down the scarp and reached the coast by dawn, but the lava entry into the sea only lasted for a short time (figure 165).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 165. Lava flows continued for a few days after the major explosion of 28 August 2019 at Stromboli. Left: A lava flow emerged from the N crater area on 29 August 2019 and traveled a short distance down the Sciara del Fuoco. Incandescent blocks from the flow front reached the ocean. Photo by A. DiPietro. Right: A lava flow that emerged from the CS crater area around midnight on 30 August 2019 made it to the ocean around dawn, as seen from the N ridge of the Sciara del Fuoco at an altitude of 400 m. Photo by Alessandro La Spina. Both courtesy of INGV. Left image from 'COMUNICATO DI ATTIVITA' VULCANICA del 2019-08-29 22:20:06(UTC) – STROMBOLI', right image from INGVvulcani blog, 30 AGOSTO 2019 INGVVULCANI, 'Nuovo parossismo a Stromboli, 28 agosto 2019'.

An overflight on 30 August 2019 revealed that after the explosions of 28-29 August the N area had collapsed and now contained an explosive vent producing Strombolian activity and two smaller vents with low-intensity explosive activity. In the CS area, Strombolian activity occurred at a single large crater (figure 166). INGV reported an explosion frequency of about 32 events per hour during 31 August-1 September. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite captured small but distinct SO2 plumes from Stromboli during 28 August-1 September, even though they were challenging to distinguish from the larger signal originating at Etna (figure 167).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 166. A 30 August 2019 overflight of Stromboli revealed that after the explosions of 28-29 August the N area had collapsed and now contained a single explosive vent producing Strombolian activity and two smaller vents with low intensity explosive activity. In the CS area, a single large crater remained with moderate Strombolian activity. No new lava flows appeared on the Sciara del Fuoco, only cooling from the existing flows was evident. Courtesy of INGV (Report 35.6/2019, Stromboli, Daily Bulletin of 08/31/2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 167. Small but distinct SO2 signals were recorded from Stromboli during 28 August through 1 September 2019; they were sometimes difficult to discern from the larger signal originating at nearby Etna. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Geologic Background. Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at this volcano have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean." Stromboli, the NE-most of the Aeolian Islands, has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period took place between about 13,000 and 5,000 years ago. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent horseshoe-shaped scarp formed about 5,000 years ago due to a series of slope failures that extend to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild Strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

Information Contacts: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy, (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/); 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/); Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Météo-France, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, F-31057 Toulouse cedex, France (URL: http://www.meteo.fr/aeroweb/info/vaac/); AIV, Associazione Italiana di Vulcanologia (URL: https://www.facebook.com/aivulc/photos/a.459897477519939/1267357436773935; ANSA.it, (URL: http://www.ansa.it/sicilia/notizie/2019/07/03/-stromboli-esplosioni-da-cratere-turisti-in-mare); The New York Post, (URL: https://nypost.com/2019/07/03/dozens-of-people-dive-into-sea-to-escape-stromboli-volcano-eruption-in-italy/).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 42, Number 11 (November 2017)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Fuego (Guatemala)

Five eruptive episodes and destructive lahars, January-June 2017

Karymsky (Russia)

Moderate ash explosions continue into September 2017

Kick 'em Jenny (Grenada)

Short eruption on 29 April 2017

Kilauea (United States)

Episode 61g lava flow continues with many breakouts; firehose enters the sea at Kamokuna ocean entry

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Eruption appears to have subsided after March 2017; ash plumes persist into October

Nishinoshima (Japan)

April-July 2017 episode creates additional landmass from two lava flows

Nyamuragira (DR Congo)

Thermal activity decreases and ends in May 2017

Nyiragongo (DR Congo)

Lava lake persists through October 2017

Reventador (Ecuador)

Ongoing ash emissions, block avalanches, and pyroclastic flows through December 2016

Suwanosejima (Japan)

Persistent ash plumes, explosions, and Strombolian activity during September 2015-December 2016



Fuego (Guatemala) — November 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Five eruptive episodes and destructive lahars, January-June 2017

Guatemala's Volcán de Fuego was continuously active throughout 2016, and has been erupting since 2002. Historical observations of eruptions date back to 1531, and radiocarbon dates are confirmed back to 1580 BCE. These eruptions have resulted in major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and damaging lahars. Daily explosions that generated ash plumes to within 1 km above the summit (less than 5 km altitude) were typical. In addition, there were 16 eruptive episodes that included Strombolian activity, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and ash plumes rising above 5 km altitude (BGVN 42:10). Lahars flowed down several drainages during January-June, August, and September. Similar activity continued during January-June 2017 and included five eruptive episodes and numerous lahars. In addition to regular reports from the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) provides aviation alerts. Locations of many towns and drainages are listed in table 12 (BGVN 42:05).

Explosions with ash emissions continued daily at Fuego during January-June 2017; five episodes of increased activity generated higher ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows (table 14). The first eruptive episode of the year occurred on 25-26 January, consisting of two lava flows and an 8.6-km-long pyroclastic flow. The next eruptive episode, during 24-25 February, also generated two lava flows and a 7-km-long pyroclastic flow. Numerous ash plumes during March rose to within 1 km of the summit, and incandescent blocks traveled more than 200 m from the crater, but no lava or pyroclastic flows were reported. Eruptive episode 3 began on 1 April and included three lava flows up to 2 km long, and an ash plume reported at 9.1 km altitude. Significant lahars affected four ravines near the end of the month. Pyroclastic flows affected five ravines during eruptive episode 4 during 4-5 May, along with two lava flows, 1.5 and 1.2 km long. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume from this event at 12.2 km altitude. Major lahars occurred eight times during May, transporting blocks up to a meter in diameter down the major drainages. There were seven periods of increased activity during June. The period of activity during 5-6 June, designated Episode 5, generated two lava flows (2 and 3 km long) and a pyroclastic flow.

Table 14. Eruptive episodes at Fuego during January-June 2017. Data courtesy of INSIVUMEH and the Washington VAAC.

Dates Episode Max Ash Plume altitude Ash Plume drift Ash Plume max distance Ashfall report location Lava Flow drainages Lava Flow lengths Incandescence above crater Pyroclastic Flow Drainages
25-26 Jan 2017 1 5.5 km W, SW 30 km 30 km W, SW Ceniza, Trinidad 1,000 m 300 m Ceniza, 8.6 km
24-25 Feb 2017 2 7.6 km W, SW, NW, N, NE, E 25 km 20 km NE, E Santa Teresa, Las Lajas -- 300 m Trinidad, 7 km
1-2 Apr 2017 3 9.1 km NW, W, SW 30 km Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Santiago Atitlán, Chicacao, Mazatenango, and Retalhuleu. Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, Trinidad 2 km 300 m --
4-5 May 2017 4 6.0 km S, SW, W, NW 15 km More than 25 km Seca, Las Lahas 1.5 km, 1.2 km 200 m Seca, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, and Las Lajas
5-6 Jun 2017 5 6 km W, SE, NW More than 20 km San Pedro Yepocapa, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Panimaché, El Porvenir and Sangre de Cristo Santa Teresa, Ceniza 3 km, 2 km 200 m Santa Teresa

Activity during January 2017. The last eruptive episode (16) of 2016, during 20-21 December, included Strombolian activity that produced three lava flows, a large pyroclastic flow, and ashfall in villages 10-12 km SW (BGVN 42:10). VAAC reports indicated ash emissions visible as far as 230 km SW during the episode. Intermittent ash emissions and thermal alerts were reported during the rest of December as well. Activity increased during January 2017, with ash falling mostly on the S and SW flanks. INSIVUMEH reported Vulcanian explosions on 3 and 4 January which contained abundant ash and sent plumes to 5 km above sea level that drifted NW, W, SW, and S (figure 60). Ashfall was reported in Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Santa Sofia, Morelia, Palo Verde Farm, Panimache I and II, La Rochelle, San Andrés Osuna, Siquinalá and Escuintla. Sounds and shockwaves were heard and felt 8 km from the volcano.

Figure 60. Ash emission at Fuego on 4 January 2017. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, ENERO 2017).

The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions at 4.3 km altitude (500 m above the summit) on 1 January extending about 35 km W of the summit early in the day. A second plume rose to 5.5 km and drifted a similar distance SE. A third ash plume a few hours later was spotted at 4.6 km altitude drifting W. By late in the day on 3 January, a broken plume of gas and ash was visible in satellite imagery 300 km SW. A well-defined plume on 4 January extended 90 km SW at 4.9 km altitude. Emissions rose to 5.8 km altitude on 5 January. Daily ash plumes during 2-8 January rose to 4.3-5.8 km and generally drifted W or SW up to 50 km. They also reported intermittent ash emissions in satellite imagery on 11 January, and visible in the webcam on 22 January.

The first eruptive episode of the year began on 25 January 2017 with constant explosions generating an ash plume that rose to 4.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW. Incandescence was visible 200 m above the crater, a lava flow traveled 1,000 m down the Ceniza canyon, and block avalanches descended the Ceniza and Trinidad ravines. Ash emissions later reached 5.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW more than 30 km. Strombolian activity ejected material 300 m above the crater and sent bombs more than 300 m from the crater. A second lava flow traveled down the Trinidad ravine later in the day. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions during 25-28 January 2017 that rose to 4.6-5.5 km altitude extending over 200 km W. During the early morning of 26 January, a pyroclastic flow descended 8.6 km down the Ceniza canyon. INSIVUMEH estimated the volume of the flow to be over 11,000,000 m3 (figure 61). Extensive new pyroclastic flow deposits were observed filling parts of the ravine. A light layer of ash covered the vegetation in La Rochela as a result of the pyroclastic flow. INSIVUMEH reported ashfall in San Pedro on 26 January.

Figure 61. A pyroclastic flow at Fuego traveled 8.6 km down the Ceniza canyon during the early hours of 26 January 2017, part of the first eruptive episode of the year. The volume of the flow was measured by INSIVUMEH scientists as over 11,000,000 m3. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, ENERO 2017).

Activity during February 2017. An increase in activity on 2 February resulted in weak and moderate explosions that lasted 5-10 minutes and generated ash plumes that rose to 4.5 km altitude. The plumes drifted 15 km W and ashfall was reported in San Pedro Yepocapa and Sangre de Cristo. During 31 January-4 February the Washington VAAC noted several ash emissions (figure 62). They rose to altitudes ranging from 3.7-4.9 km and drifted S and W. Ash was visible 180 km SW on 2 February.

Figure 62. Ash emission at Fuego on 3 February 2017. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, FEBRERO 2017).

On the morning of 24 February, eruptive episode 2 began with explosions and ash plumes rising to 4.6 km altitude and drifting W and SW. Explosions were heard by nearby residents every few minutes, and by the evening two lava flows were observed in the Santa Teresa and Las Lajas ravines. Incandescence reached 300 m above the crater and fell more than 300 m from the crater on the flanks, generating block avalanches. By the next morning ash plumes were observed at 5 km altitude drifting more than 25 km NW, N, NE and E. A pyroclastic flow descended the Trinidad ravine on the morning of 25 February, and traveled about 7 km. Ash on the SE flank was reported in El Rodeo, El Zapote, La Réunion, Alotenango, and San Vicente Pacaya (figure 63). On 25 February, the Washington VAAC reported large areas of dissipating ash moving in multiple directions. Ash emissions at 5-5.2 km altitude were drifting 65 km NE, at 5.8 km altitude they were drifting 130 km NE and also SE, at 6.4 km they were moving S, and another simultaneous plume was observed at 7.6 km drifting 30 km SW.

Figure 63. Ash dispersion map of the 24-25 February 2015 eruption episode 2 at Fuego. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, FEBRERO 2017).

Activity during March 2017. Daily weak and moderate explosions characterized activity during March 2017. Incandescence rose to 250 m above the crater and generated bombs and block avalanches that traveled more than 200 m from the crater (figure 64), but no new lava or pyroclastic flows were reported. INSIVUMEH reported an average of 17 explosions per day during the month, which generated ash plumes that rose to 4.4-4.9 km. Block avalanches were observed in the lower part of the Las Lajas ravine. Ashfall was reported in San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, Palo Verde, Santa Sofía, Morelia, and Panimaché I and II. Three to six explosions per hour were recorded on 9, 10, 27, 29, and 31 March. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions during 8-10, and 13 March. Plumes were observed rising to 4.6 km and moving W, 4.9 km moving S and SE, and 5.8 km drifting 80 km SE during these days. Lahars were reported on 17 and 21 March in the Las Lajas, Santa Teresa, and Ceniza ravines. The road to the village of La Rochela was cut off for a few days by the lahar in the Ceniza ravine.

Figure 64. Explosions generated ash plumes and block avalanches often during March 2017 at Fuego, including on 26 March in the early morning when this webcam image was taken. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, MARZO 2017).

Activity during April 2017. Persistent degassing during April sent steam emissions to 4.1-4.5 km altitude that dispersed in almost every direction, due to numerous changes in wind direction throughout the month. Weak to moderate Strombolian explosions created ash plumes that rose to 4.2-5.0 km and drifted primarily W and SW. Incandescence from the explosions was visible primarily at night and in the early morning around 100-300 m above the crater. The explosions also generated block avalanches that traveled more than 300 km from the summit. There were two spikes in explosive activity during April. The first, on 1 April, led to eruptive episode 3. The second, on 21 April, was less intense. These periods averaged 5-7 explosions per hour with ash plumes rising to 4.6-4.9 km and drifting in various directions.

Eruptive episode 3 began around midday on 1 April 2017, with Strombolian explosions that produced ash plumes up to 5 km that drifted more than 30 km NW, W, and SW; it lasted for about 16 hours. Ash fell in Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Santiago Atitlán, Chicacao, Mazatenango, and Retalhuleu. Lava flows traveled down the Las Lajas, Santa Teresa and Trinidad ravines as far as 2 km. The eruption was categorized by INSIVUMEH as a VEI 2 event with moderate to strong Strombolian explosions. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume on 1 April that rose to 6.4 km altitude. The densest part of the plume was moving NW with some material fanning out to the NNE. They later revised their report with information that a new emission had risen to 9.1 km altitude and drifted NE. Ash emissions continued the next day with plumes moving NNW at 5.5 km and NNE at 8.2 km; bright incandescence appeared at the summit along with elevated seismicity. By the end of 2 April, the higher plume was diffuse as it dissipated over the far western Caribbean of the coast of Belize and Yucatan.

The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission to 4.5 km altitude on 21 April that extended 30 km NE of the summit. Occasional puffs of ash continued throughout the day and rose to 4.9 km altitude later in the day. By the next day, a plume was visible at 4.6 km extending 80 km E; it was later reported at 4.9 km altitude. By 23 April a faint plume extended 90 km S before dissipating. INSIVUMEH also reported ashfall in Palo Verde Farm, Santa Sofía, Morelia, and Panimaché I and II other times during the month.

Significant lahars affected several ravines on 20, 23, and 24 April 2017. Rain, hail and snowfall caused a lahar in Ceniza Canyon on 20 April (figure 65). On 23 April, lahars flowed down the Santa Teresa, Trinidad, Ceniza and Las Lajas ravines after 160 mm of rainfall in three days. These ravines are tributaries of the larger Pantaleón, Achíguate, and Guacalate rivers. Another lahar on 24 April in Ceniza Canyon was audible more than 1 km from the ravine.

Figure 65. View of Fuego after an intense rain and hailstorm on 20 April 2017 that caused a lahar in Ceniza Canyon. Photo by Francisco Juarea, courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, Abril 2017).

Activity during May 2017. Eruptive episode 4 began on 4 May 2017. A lava flow on the NE flank descended the Seca ravine for 1,500 m (figure 66). Explosions increased to 5-7 per hour, and were visible 200 m above the summit. Another lava flow descended 1.2 km down the Las Lajas ravine. Pyroclastic flows descended Barranca Seca, filling the channel and overflowing to the SE into Rio Mineral. They also affected Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, and Las Lajas canyons (figure 67) raising the imminent threat of lahars in these drainages. INSIVUMEH estimated that 14 million cubic meters of material was emplaced from the pyroclastic flows.

Figure 66. A lava flow descends the Barranca Seca at Fuego on 4 May 2017 during eruptive episode 4. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, Mayo 2017).
Figure 67. Pyroclastic flows descend several drainages on the SE slope of Fuego on 5 May 2017 during eruptive episode 4, as viewed from la Finca la Reunión. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, Mayo 2017).

INSIVUMEH reported ash emissions during this episode as high as 6 km altitude. The ash dispersed S, SW, W and NW, and ashfall was reported in communities more than 25 km from the crater (figure 68). Energy levels decreased after about 24 hours. INSIVUMEH characterized the event as a VEI 3 eruption. The Washington VAAC was unable to observe the activity in satellite imagery due to cloud cover until the morning of 5 May, when they reported ash plumes moving SW at about 4.6 km altitude and also ENE at 5.5 km altitude. They reported a new, much higher ash plume midday on 5 May at 12.2 km altitude that was drifting E at about 50 km per hour, in addition to the lower level emissions around 4.6 km that drifted SW which generated ashfall in the immediate vicinity of the volcano. The Washington VAAC reported another ash emission on 7 May that rose to 4.9 km altitude and drifted SW about 10 km from the summit. Another plume appeared in satellite imagery the next day moving SW at 4.6 km about 15 km from the summit. The Washington VAAC reported no additional plumes until 31 May when satellite imagery showed a plume with possible ash extending about 25 km NE from the summit at 4.9 km altitude. Ashfall was reported during the month in Morelia, La Rochela, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo, Palo Verde farm, Panimache I and II, San Pedro Yepocapa and Escuintla.

Figure 68. Ashfall from eruptive episode 4 at Fuego during 4-5 May 2017 was reported in communities more than 25 km from the volcano, and dispersed S, SW, W, and NW. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, Mayo 2017).

Moderate and strong lahars were recorded on six days in May (figure 69). Five took place in Seca barranca (13, 14, 19, 23, and 27 May), one in the Ceniza ravine (14 May), and two in Las Lajas canyon (both on 29 May). They transported very fine-grained material that had the consistency of wet concrete, and included blocks up to one meter in diameter.

Figure 69. A vehicle trapped in a lahar at Fuego in May 2017 surrounded by blocks as large as one meter in diameter. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, Mayo 2017).

Activity during June 2017. Weak and moderate daily explosions continued at Fuego during June 2017. They generated ash plumes that drifted more than 12 km, incandescence and block avalanches, and ashfall more than 30 km NW, W, and SW. Numerous lahars were also reported. The 20-25 daily explosions generally sent ash plumes to 4.2-4.5 km altitude that drifted mostly W and SW. The incandescence from Strombolian explosions generally extended 150-200 m above the crater (figure 70). Ashfall from these events was reported in in Morelia, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo, La Rochela, and Panimache I and II.

Figure 70. A Strombolian explosion on 30 June 2017 at Fuego reached 150-200 m above the crater and sent avalanche blocks down the flanks. This was typical behavior for the month of June. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, Junio 2017).

There were seven periods of increased explosive activity during June 2017 (table 15), including eruptive episode 5. Many of the increases in energy levels were observed in the seismic record (figure 71) and reported by OVFGO (the Fuego Volcano Observatory). They noted an average of 5-8 explosions per hour during these events, and ash emissions rising to 4.6-4.9 km altitude, drifting W, SW, and S. None of the ash plumes reported by INSIVUMEH were observed by the Washington VAAC in satellite imagery due to weather clouds. The Washington VAAC did observe bright hotspots in shortwave imagery on 6 June.

Table 15. Periods of increased eruptive activity at Fuego during June 2017. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, Junio 2017).

Date Activity
1 Jun 2017 Ashfall in San Pedro Yepocapa; avalanche blocks descend more than 150 meters.
5 Jun 2017 Eruptive episode 5. Ashfall in San Pedro Yepocapa, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Panimaché, El Porvenir and Sangre de Cristo; lava flows 500 m down Barranca Santa Teresa.
12 Jun 2017 Ashfall in San Miguel Dueñas, Antigua Guatemala, and San Lucas Sacatepéquez.
13 Jun 2017 Ash dispersed NW and N more than 35 km.
13 Jun 2017 Ash dispersed NE and N more than 20 km.
14 Jun 2017 Ash dispersed more than 25 km NW and N.
16 Jun 2017 Ashfall in the villages of Panimache, Morelia, Santa Sofia and Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa.
Figure 71. RSAM graph for Fuego during June 2017 shows spikes in seismic energy caused by eruptive episode 5 (red arrow), increases in explosive activity (yellow arrows), and several lahars (blue arrows). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, Junio 2017).

Eruptive episode 5 for 2017 began during the late afternoon of 5 June. Moderate and strong Strombolian explosions generated an ash plume that rose to 6 km altitude and drifted more than 20 km W, SE, and NW from the crater. Sounds as loud as a freight train were reported nearby, and vibrations were felt in communities around the volcano. Lava flowed 3 km down the Santa Teresa ravine and 2 km down Ceniza canyon. Volcanic bombs rose 200 m high, and fell more than 300 m from the summit crater. Pyroclastic flows descended the Santa Teresa canyon on the W flank.

Thirteen lahars were reported during June (table 16). They descended the Santa Teresa, Mineral, Trinidad, Ceniza, Las Lajas, and El Jute ravines, tributaries of the Pantaleón, Achíguate and Guacalate rivers. Overflows from the drainages damaged several roads and river crossings in the region.

Table 16. Lahars at Fuego during June 2017. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (INFORME MENSUAL DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, Junio 2017).

Date Barranca (ravine)
1 Jun 2017 Santa Teresa
2 Jun 2017 Santa Teresa (twice)
4 Jun 2017 Santa Teresa
5 Jun 2017 Santa Teresa
7 Jun 2017 Santa Teresa, Mineral
9 Jun 2017 Las Lajas, El Jute
9 Jun 2017 Las Lajas, El Jute, Ceniza
10 Jun 2017 Ceniza
12 Jun 2017 Santa Teresa, Mineral, Ceniza
12 Jun 2017 Ceniza, Pantaleon
13 Jun 2017 Ceniza, Santa Teresa, Mineral
18 Jun 2017 El Jute, Trinidad

Satellite thermal data. The eruptive episodes reported by INSIVUMEH at Fuego during 2016 and the first half of 2017 are readily apparent in the MIROVA Log Radiative Power thermal data, and are also present going back at least to mid-2015 (figure 72). INSIVUMEH reported new lava flows and Strombolian activity each time (except for 2016 episode 8), which were the likely sources of the pulses of thermal activity. Details of the eruptive episodes for 2016 are discussed in BGVN 42:10 and 42:06.

Figure 72. MIROVA thermal anomaly graphs of MODIS infrared satellite data spanning 5 February 2015-19 September 2017 illustrating the recurring nature of eruptive episodes at Fuego. INSIVUMEH described 16 episodes during 2016, and five episodes during January-June 2017, shown as numbers over the red arrows. Episode 8 for 2016 is not shown; it was primarily a pyroclastic flow which did not generate the same thermal signal caused by lava flows during the other episodes. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

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


Karymsky (Russia) — November 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

54.049°N, 159.443°E; summit elev. 1513 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Moderate ash explosions continue into September 2017

Recent activity at Karymsky has consisted of ash explosions and thermal anomalies, often separated by several months of quiet (BGVN 40:09 and 42:08). No ash explosions occurred between the middle of October 2016 and the end of May 2017 (BGVN 42:08). This report covers activity from June through November 2017 using information compiled from the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and several sources of satellite data.

After months of quiet, KVERT reported that, based on Tokyo VAAC data, an ash explosion began at 0040 (local time) on 4 June 2017 (table 10). The Aviation Color Code (ACC) was raised from Green (lowest level on a four-color scale) to Orange (the second highest level). Subsequent ash explosions occurred on 8 June, 26 June and 18 July (figure 1).

Table 10. Summary by month of ash plumes and thermal anomalies reported for Karymsky during 2016. Details include UTC dates of thermal anomalies and ash plumes; and maximum plume altitude, and maximum distance of ash plume drift. Sources are KVERT and Tokyo VAAC for ash plume data, and KVERT for thermal data.

Month Thermal Anomalies (KVERT) Date of Ash Plumes Max Plume Altitude (km) Max Plume Distance (km)
Jun 2017 3-8, 10-12, 14-17, 23-24, 27-28 3-4, 8, 24, 26 6 165
Jul 2017 1-3. 7, 11-12, 18-20 10-11, 18, 20 1.7 170
Aug 2017 1,3,4,6-11 3-4, 7-9, 12-13 -- 400
Sep 2017 1,6, 8, 15-16, 23-25 19, 20, 23 7 100
Oct 2017 -- 3, 11-12, 14 -- 320
Nov 2017 -- -- -- --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Aerial photo of an ash explosion at Karymsky on 18 July 2017. Courtesy of A. Belousov (IVS FEB RAS).

Toward the end of August, KVERT noted only gas-and-steam emissions, and the ACC was lowered to Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) on 30 August. This diminished activity continued until 20 September, when ash explosions at 0420 (local) prompted KVERT to raise the ACC back to Orange.

After 20 September, the volcano was either obscured by clouds or relatively quiet. After 11 October the moderate activity was associated with gas-steam emissions. On 19 October, the ACC was lowered to Yellow and then to Green (lowest level) on 26 October. Gas-and-steam activity continued through the end of November.

Thermal anomalies. Thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were not observed at Karymsky during the reporting period, except for a possible hotspot on 8 June 2017 that was slightly E of the craters. The MIROVA system detected at least nine days with low to moderate power hotspots in June, two in July, and one in August, all of which were within 3 km of the volcano. No hotspots were recorded September through November 2017.

Geologic Background. Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, located immediately south. The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the stratovolcano began about 2000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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/).


Kick 'em Jenny (Grenada) — November 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Kick 'em Jenny

Grenada

12.3°N, 61.64°W; summit elev. -185 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Short eruption on 29 April 2017

A submarine volcano located about 8 km off the N coast of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles island arc, Kick 'em Jenny most recently had erupted during 23-24 July 2015 (BVGN 40:08), when two submarine explosions had been detected. This report covers a short-lived eruption on 29 April 2017 as reported by the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

An advisory notice issued on 29 April 2017 by the Grenada National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) in collaboration with UWI-SRC reported increased seismicity associated with the volcano, including a high-amplitude signal lasting 25 seconds. The notice advised marine operators to strictly observe a 5-km maritime exclusion zone (figure 10). Another NaDMA notice on 3 May set the alert level at Yellow, indicating that all vessels should observe the 1.5 km exclusion zone, though as a precaution remaining outside the 5-km zone was recommended.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Map showing the two maritime exclusion zones defined at Kick 'em Jenny, north of the island of Grenada. Courtesy of NaDMA.

As described by Latchman et al. (2017) in an SRC Open File report on 11 July 2017, subsequent eruptive activity on 29 April 2017 consisted of one event which lasted 14 minutes, followed by about an hour of tremor. The period of unrest began on 8 April with one earthquake. On the days following that first event, and prior to the eruption, there were 0-2 daily volcano-tectonic earthquakes, with 16 in all leading up to the eruption. The eruption was felt in northern Grenada and Martinique as an extended period of shaking, and very high-amplitude T-phases were recorded in Montserrat. There was no surface activity observed. After the eruption there was a sharp increase in the number of hybrid seismic events, with an additional 84 events up to 2 May, after which the activity ceased (figure 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Seismicity associated with the 2017 period of unrest at Kick 'em Jenny plotted as a daily count during 1 April through 15 May (top) and as an hourly count during 24 April-1 May 2017 (bottom). From Latchman et al. (2017); courtesy of University of the West Indies, Seismic Research Centre.

According to UWI-SRC, the 2017 precursory seismicity was low level, the eruption occurred without intensification of the seismicity, and the post-eruption seismicity was relatively abundant, but short-lived. This volcanic episode came just 21 months after an episode consisting of two weeks of precursory seismicity, two hour-long eruptions on 23 and 24 July, and rapid decay of post-eruption seismicity.

Reference: Latchman J, Robertson R, Lynch L, Dondin F, Ramsingh C, Stewart R, Smith P, Stinton A, Edwards S, Ash C, Juman A, Joseph E, Nath N, Juman I, Ramsingh H, Madoo F, 2017, 2017/04/29 Eruption of Kick-'em Jenny Submarine Volcano: SRC Open File Report Kick-'em-Jenny, Grenada 201706_VOLC1, Seismic Research Centre, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, West Indies.

Geologic Background. Kick 'em Jenny, a historically active submarine volcano 8 km off the N shore of Grenada, rises 1300 m from the sea floor. Recent bathymetric surveys have shown evidence for a major arcuate collapse structure, which was the source of a submarine debris avalanche that traveled more than 15 km W. Bathymetry also revealed another submarine cone to the SE, Kick 'em Jack, and submarine lava domes to its S. These and subaerial tuff rings and lava flows at Ile de Caille and other nearby islands may represent a single large volcanic complex. Numerous historical eruptions, mostly documented by acoustic signals, have occurred since 1939, when an eruption cloud rose 275 m above the sea. Prior to the 1939 eruption, which was witnessed by a large number of people in northern Grenada, there had been no written mention of the volcano. Eruptions have involved both explosive activity and the quiet extrusion of lava flows and lava domes in the summit crater; deep rumbling noises have sometimes been heard onshore. Historical eruptions have modified the morphology of the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Seismic Research Centre (SRC), The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies (URL: http://www.uwiseismic.com/); National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA), Fort Frederick, Richmond Hill, St. George's, Grenada, West Indies (URL: http://nadma.gd/).


Kilauea (United States) — November 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Episode 61g lava flow continues with many breakouts; firehose enters the sea at Kamokuna ocean entry

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano continues the long-term eruptive activity that began in 1983 with lava flows from the East Rift Zone (ERZ) and a convecting lava lake inside Halema'uma'u crater. The US Geological Survey's (USGS) Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) has been monitoring and researching the volcano for over a century, since 1912. HVO quarterly reports of activity for January-June 2017, by HVO scientists Lil DeSmither, Tim Orr, and Matt Patrick, form the basis of this report. MODVOLC, MIROVA, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) provided additional satellite information of thermal anomalies and SO2 plumes.

The lava lake level inside Halema'uma'u crater continued to rise and fall periodically during January-June 2017. The lava continued to circulate, and periodic rockfalls and veneer collapses caused small explosions within the lake. A few pieces of lapilli and minor ash landed at the Jagger Overlook. There were no major changes at the Pu'u 'O'o crater during the period; only minor fluctuations occurred in the lava pond lake level, and periodic rockfalls briefly disturbed the pond surface. There were, however, many surface breakouts along almost the entire length of the episode 61g lava flow from near the base of Pu'u 'O'o all the way to the Kamokuna ocean entry, about 12 km S. After the collapse of a large part of the delta at the Kamokuna ocean entry on 31 December 2016, lava continued to pour into the sea, and a new submarine delta began to grow. Instability of the sea cliff led to fractures and additional collapses during January and February. By the end of March, a small new delta was again visible above sea-level. It collapsed into the sea on 3 May, but another new delta quickly began to grow and reappeared by the end of the month. The "firehose" solidified and formed a ramp to the delta; surface flows caused thickening of the delta through the end of June.

Activity at Halema'uma'u. The lava lake inside 1-km-wide Halema'uma'u crater at Kilauea's summit was relatively quiet during the first half of 2017. It is located within the 200-m-wide "Overlook crater" at the SE edge of Halema'uma'u. The lava lake level rose and fell in reaction to typical summit pressure changes, as reflected in numerous deflation-inflation (DI) events. The rise and fall of the lake level generally took place over the course of several hours to days. At its highest level, the lake was 9 m below the floor of Halema?uma?u crater on 4 January 2017. Two weeks later, the lake dropped to its lowest level measured, 52.5 m, on 17 January. It was at a very similar height again, 52 m below the rim, on 23 June. There were two unusually large, fast drops in the lava lake level during June. The first, from 13 to 14 June, was a drop of 24 m in 24 hours. The second was a drop of 30 m over two days (21 to 23 June), which was the greatest single drop in lava level since mid-January.

The circulation pattern of the lava lake surface remained consistent, upwelling from the north end of the lake and migrating to the southern edge (and the southeast sink) where the crust descended. Short-lived spatter sources around the lake, generally caused by a disruption of the lake surface (e.g., rock falls), would temporarily (and sometimes only locally) redirect the lake surface towards the spatter source. Seismic tremor levels fluctuated along with spattering intensity. During much of the second quarter of 2017, spattering in the southeast sink was located inside of a large grotto with stalactites hanging from the roof.

The rockfalls and veneer collapses from January through June were not large enough to trigger any significant explosions, but there were several smaller events. The first, observed on 9 January at approximately 1320, occurred during Kona winds (stormy, rain-bearing winds that blow over the islands from the SW or SSW, in the opposite direction of the normal trade winds). It did not produce an explosive deposit or excessive amounts of tephra in the collection buckets near the Halema?uma?u Overlook and parking lot (500 m S of active lava lake), but did send ash and at least one 2-3 mm lapillus to the Jaggar Overlook and parking lot (about 1.8 km NW of the lava lake), and generated a composite seismic event. Composite events were also triggered on 14 January (2250) when a large piece of veneer collapsed off the northern crater wall, and on 16 January (1524) after a small rockfall from the southern inner edge of the Overlook crater (the smaller crater inside Halema?uma?u that contains the lava lake). On 23 March at 0036, a slice of the Overlook crater's southern ledge collapsed into the lake, triggering brief spattering and another composite event. On 26 May at 1114 HST, a piece of the northern Overlook crater wall collapsed into the lake (figure 281). This triggered a composite seismic event, lake surface agitation and spattering, and produced a dusting of ash on the cars in the HVO parking lot (at the Jaggar Overlook). Other veneer, grotto, and ledge failures often triggered brief spattering, localized subsidence of the crust, and composite seismic events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 281. Webcam image from the HMcam on the rim of the Overlook crater at Kilauea on 26 May 2017 at 1116 HST, less than two minutes after a collapse, showing the agitated lava lake surface. A large chunk from the northern crater wall, directly above the active spattering, fell into the lake, which triggered spattering and a composite seismic event. The area of the wall that collapsed is discernible above the spatter by the newly exposed wall rock that is lighter in color. Courtesy of HVO (Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Quarterly Report for April - June 2017).

Activity at Pu'u 'O'o. There were no major changes in Pu'u 'O'o crater during the first half of 2017, and there was still an active lava pond in the West pit at the end of June (see figure 258, BGVN 41:08 for detailed crater map). The pond level appeared to be relatively steady, ranging from 19 to 21 m below the pit rim (849-851 m elevation), and the pond diameter ranged from 43 m in March to 47 m at the end of May. A time-lapse camera looking into the West pit lava pond, which was installed on 16 March, revealed a few rockfalls and collapses. The pond surface was completely disturbed on 18 April at 0809 HST and again on 20 May at 2304; overnight on 4-5 May a talus deposit appeared on the pit floor, suggesting rockfalls. On 31 May a ledge just above the West pit lava pond surface, representing the pond level from a few months prior, had a pile of rubble from a portion of the east wall collapsing.

Summary of episode 61g breakouts. Throughout the first half of 2017, there were many active surface breakouts along almost the entire length of the episode 61g flow field (figure 282). Near the 61g vent, a new breakout started on 22 January, which traveled along the southern margin of the flow field before it stopped on the morning of 9 February. The breakout that had started on 21 November 2016, also ended on 9 February, possibly because the system was starved of supply after a week and a half of deflation. A new breakout began on the upper part of Pulama Pali on 10 February that lasted through early April. Two breakouts appeared in the Royal Gardens subdivision on 15 February and 1 March, each lasting a few weeks. During the day of 5 March, a breakout began approximately 1.3 km downslope of the vent that remained weakly active on the upper flow field through the end of June. Two new breakouts started in mid-June that were also active through the end of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 282. Map of the episode 61g flow field at Kilauea produced on 10 July 2017, showing the flow margin expansion (red) since 30 March 2017. During this time, the flow field expanded an additional 183 hectares from the previous 846 hectares (as of March 30), to a total of 1,029 hectares, increasing the flow field area by 22 percent. Courtesy of HVO (Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Quarterly Report for April - June 2017).

Details of episode 61g breakouts. On 10 February 2017 around 0710 a new breakout was reported on the steep part of Pulama Pali on the western flow field; by the next day pahoehoe surface flows were advancing across the coastal plain. Incandescence from the surface breakouts on the pali was only visible for the first few days, but the breakout continued to feed the surface flows on the coastal plain. By 14 February the flows had advanced approximately 2.3 km from the base of the pali (about 1.2 km from the coast), and by 25 February the flow was approximately 660 m from the ocean. These sluggish pahoehoe flows were largely outside the National Park boundary as they widened the eastern edge of the 61g flow margin. The flow advanced to within approximately 300 m of the road (500 m from the ocean) by 2 March. Breakouts then opened on the upper half of the coastal plain around 7 March, remaining weakly active through the end of March. On 8 April, tiny remnant surface flows from the breakout were found on the coastal plain. The spiny pahoehoe was 500 m out from the base of the pali and 2.8 km from the ocean, but the breakout was confirmed by thermal images to have ended by 10 April.

There were two breakouts that began near the top of Royal Gardens subdivision, on 15 February and 1 March 2017. The first started during the day, with glow visible in the R3cam at sundown. By 18 February the breakout was visible from the HPcam on the steep part of Pulama Pali, and remained active on the pali until the evening of 12 March. The 1 March breakout began higher upslope, with incandescence visible at sundown. This breakout slowly advanced and after a few days could not be seen from the webcam. Thermal images from 16 March indicated that the flow was no longer active.

During the day of 5 March 2017, a breakout began approximately 1.3 km downslope of the episode 61g vent (visible in the R3cam). By the middle of March, this was the most active breakout on the flow field, with surface activity expanding both sides of the flow field, and ranging between approximately 2 and 3.5 km from the vent. It was visible from the FEMA emergency road on 28 April on the upper pali. There was very little advancement over the next few weeks, until it reached the top of the steep part of the pali on 17 May. By 23 May, the sluggish pahoehoe flow front was approximately 400 m out from the base of the pali, and there were many small pahoehoe and aa channels on the steep pali face. Four days later (27 May), there were still breakouts on the pali, and the flow front had advanced another 100 m along the western margin of the 61g flow field. Satellite imagery from 2 June showed the breakout was still active, but by 13 June no activity was found on the coastal plain, and thermal imagery showed no active breakouts on 21 June. The 5 March breakout remained weakly active on the upper flow field (above the pali) through the end of June.

Two new breakouts started in June 2017, and remained active through the end of the month. The first started around 0600 HST on 13 June (figure 283), approximately 1.1 km from the episode 61g vent, located just upslope of the 5 March breakout point. These surface flows quickly became the most active along the 61g flow field. The second breakout originated from the upper pali (near the top of Royal Gardens subdivision) during the day of 26 June, and advanced down the pali east of the main flow field, reaching the base during the night of 4 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 283. The 13 June breakout point approximately 1.1 km from the 61g vent, along the tube system at Kilauea. The breakout uplifted (about 2 m) and cracked the older flow (center) as it pushed its way to the surface and oozed through the cracks in multiple locations around the central uplifted area. Photo by L. DeSmither on 21 June 2017. Courtesy of HVO (Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Quarterly Report for April - June 2017).

Activity at Kamokuna ocean entry. After the ten hectare (25 acre) delta and sea cliff collapse on 31 December 2016, the ocean entry consisted of a single vigorous lava stream (informally called "the firehose") entering directly into the ocean from the episode 61g lava tube; it was located 21 m above the water (figure 284). Interactions between the lava and sea water produced a single robust plume and sporadic littoral explosions that threw spatter up to roughly 30 m above the top of the sea cliff. Spatter from these explosions fell on the cliff adjacent to the ocean entry, and began to build a littoral cone that was first noticed on 28 January on the cliff's edge. The sea cliff in the immediate area and downwind of the ocean entry was blanketed in a layer of Pele's hair and Limu o Pele (Pele's seaweed) which fell from the plume and added to the ground cover as the firehose continued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 284. Lava pours into the ocean at the Kamokuna ocean entry at Kilauea. Left: "The firehose" on 28 January 2017 exits the tube as a wide, thin sheet in this photo taken from the nearby observation point. Right: By 1 February, the lava stream changed to a cylindrical hose shape. Photos by M. Patrick, courtesy of HVO (Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Quarterly Report for January – March 2017).

A discolored water plume was visible at the ocean entry flanking an area of darker water directly out from the entry point, on either side. Thermal images taken in mid-March 2017 indicated that the discolored area was also heated, with the anomalous area extending out about one kilometer (figure 285).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 285. Photo and thermal images taken of the Kamokuna ocean entry at Kilauea during a 30 March 2017 overflight. Left: Photo of the ocean entry and distinct plumes of steam and discolored water (photo by L. DeSmither). Right: A thermal image showing the heated water plume with the small area of cool water directly in front of the ocean entry. The hot material spread horizontally along the base of the sea cliff directly in front of the ocean entry, is the newly forming delta. On the 61g flow field (upper right), two small breakouts are visible on the coastal plain near the base of Pulama Pali, and the 5 March breakout (top-center), is discernable on the upper flow field near Pu'u 'O'o. Courtesy of HVO (Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Quarterly Report for January - March 2017).

Many large ground cracks were noticed in the sea cliff inland from the entry after the 31 December 2016 Kamokuna delta collapse, including a set of en echelon cracks at the edge of the old sea cliff where over 1.6 hectares (about 4 acres) had collapsed. On a 25 January 2017 overflight, thermal images revealed a hot crack parallel to the sea cliff and a corresponding collapse pit on the trace of the lava tube, suggesting major instability. A few days later (28 January) the crack was measured at 30 cm wide, up to 220°C, was visibly very deep, and the seaward side of the crack was sloping slightly towards the ocean (figure 286). HVO scientists could also occasionally feel slow ground shaking at an observation point 240 m east of the ocean entry. When measured again (in the same spot) on 1 February, the crack was 75 cm wide. Upon further examination, grinding noises were coming from the crack and the seaward side of the crack was visibly swaying about 1 cm.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 286. Photos of the large ground crack near the Kamokuna ocean entry at Kilauea, with yellow arrows pointing out two distinctive flow edges for comparison. Left: A photo taken on 28 January 2017 (by M. Patrick), when the crack was measured at 30 cm wide (just above the lower arrow). Right: Photo taken on 2 February, after a large portion of the sea cliff collapsed into the ocean, the crack measured 100 cm (photo by T. Orr). Courtesy of HVO (Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Quarterly Report for January - March 2017).

On the morning of 1 February around 0735, a small collapse of the sea cliff was reported near the firehose. The next day, the firehose was no longer visible from the observation point (possibly due to erosion of the sea cliff), but sporadic littoral explosions were still occurring. HVO personnel returned to the crack (which had begun steaming) for observations and to record video of the cliff oscillating. At 1255, about 30 seconds after the camera began to record, the seaward slab of the crack began to fall away. After the collapse only a small piece of the slab remained, and the crack measured 100 cm in width, 25 cm more than the previous day, most of which occurred during the collapse and in the few minutes following (figure 286). By 8 February, the remaining slab of cliff was gone, one piece collapsed at 1507 on 2 February, and the rest collapsed sometime between 6 and 8 February. The littoral cone that had been building on the edge of the cliff fell in with the collapse, but by 8 February, another had formed on the new sea cliff edge above the ocean entry.

During January, the firehose exited the tube as a thin broad sheet, but by the end of the month had changed into a cylindrical stream (figure 284). The output amount slowly began to wane, and on 8 March the ocean entry plume shut off for about 30 minutes between 1616 and 1646 with only a little puff of steam visible in between. The plume shut off briefly again several times on 18, 19, and 20 March for periods up to about 90 minutes in length.

From January through March 2017, the firehose continued with no sign of a delta forming, which suggested steep bathymetry below the ocean entry. By 22 March, the firehose was no longer visible from the public viewing area but incandescence was visible near the water surface, suggesting that the firehose was becoming encased in lava and a small delta was finally beginning to form. On 24 March, there were few, if any, littoral explosions, and the thick plume at the ocean entry made it impossible to see any signs of a delta, but time-lapse images verified the formation of one. There were many floating, steaming blocks in the water offshore of the entry. An overflight on 30 March showed a thick haze that was obscuring the small delta at the base of the cliff, where only brief tiny spots of incandescence could be seen near the water's surface. Images from a thermal camera indicated hot material from the delta extending approximately 60 m east along the cliffs base at the ocean entry.

By the end of March 2017, the firehose flow activity was no longer visible and a tiny new delta began to form. On 8 April, the delta was estimated to be extending roughly 25 m out from the base of the sea cliff (using cliff height for scale). A sparse field of dense angular blocks were deposited on 25 March between 0803 and 0808 HST on the sea cliff near the ocean entry, which covered an area of approximately 70 x 70 m (the largest block observed was 50 cm across).

During the first half of April the small delta was mostly obscured by the ocean entry plume. By the end of the month, the delta size was estimated to be 1.2 hectares (roughly 3 acres, using time-lapse images). On 3 May, nearly the entire delta collapsed between 0955 and 1000 HST, following a large steam plume and weak spattering from one of the cracks on the delta, along with delta subsidence in the preceding 20 minutes before the collapse. Many small pieces of the remnant delta fell off over the next few hours.

The delta quickly began to rebuild after the collapse, and on 23 May coast-parallel cracks were apparent on the new delta. The tubed-over firehose created a ramp-like feature near the cliff face where the 61g tube exited the older sea cliff (figure 287). This ramp was narrow at the point where the tube exits the cliff, and flared out as it reached the surface of the delta, insulating the 61g lava on its way to the delta. Near the top of the ramp there was an area of concentrated degassing, and evident cracks in the ramp revealed incandescence. On 16 June, surface flows on the delta covered a large portion of the surface, including the coast-parallel cracks so they were no longer visible.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 287. A view of the crusted over firehose ramp on 29 June 2017 at the Kamokuna ocean entry of Kilauea where the 61g lava tube exits the sea cliff and feeds the ocean entry from an established tube on the delta. On the west (left) side of the ramp, there are cracks in the crusted surface where delta surface flows likely originated that show incandescence beneath. Photo by L. DeSmither, courtesy of HVO (Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Quarterly Report for April - June 2017).

Time-lapse images from 25 June revealed that firehose activity returned briefly between 1139 and 1149 HST, and produced channelized surface flows that continued into the following day (when a skylight was visible on the delta). The delta had grown to approximately 2.4 hectares (6 acres) by 29 June (figure 288), and had also thickened significantly from the recent surface flows on the delta. Much of the delta surface was covered by the repeated surface flows, but there was still a coast-parallel crack visible on the western side.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 288. The lava delta at Kamokuna ocean entry at Kilauea on 23 May 2017 (left) and 13 July 2017 (right) showing the thickening of the delta near the cliff face caused by repeated small surface flows. These flows appear to have doubled the thickness of the delta and created a distinctly sloped surface from the base of the cliff to the sea. Photos by L. DeSmither, courtesy of HVO (Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Quarterly Report for April - June 2017).

Satellite thermal anomaly and SO2 data. Satellite thermal anomaly data for Kilauea can be closely correlated with ground-based observations by HVO scientists, thus providing validation of remote-sensing data. The MODVOLC thermal alert system captured distinct anomalies during January-June 2017 from Halema?uma?u Crater, Pu'u 'O'o Cone, the episode 61g flow, and the Kamokuna ocean entry (figure 289). The changes from month to month in the locations of the hotspots, especially the locations of the breakouts of episode 61g flow, are readily apparent in the MODVOLC images, and match the descriptions of these events provided by HVO scientists.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 289. Thermal alerts identified by the MODVOLC system by month at Kilauea, January-June 2017. The thermal anomaly signatures of the lava lakes at Halema'uma'u crater and Pu'u 'O'o crater persist throughout the period; while the changes in the locations of the thermal anomalies of the episode 61g flow and the Kamokuna ocean entry closely match ground observations by HVO staff, described in the text. Courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System .

The MIROVA thermal anomaly information, which plots Middle InfraRed Radiation from the MODIS data, also shows the locations and movements of the sources of heat at Kilauea over time (figure 290), and this information correlates closely with ground observations by HVO staff. Note that the MIROVA center point for relative distances described here is about 10.5 km (0.1°) E of the summit on the western Halema'uma'u crater rim. The anomaly locations at about 10 km distance correspond to both the lava pond at Pu'u 'O'o crater and the Halema'uma'u crater lava lake. Those about 20 km away correspond to the Kamokuna ocean entry. Anomalies that migrate over time between 10 and 20 km distance trace the movement of the episode 61g flow breakouts between Pu'u 'O'o and the Kamokuna ocean entry.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 290. The MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Kilauea tracks both radiative power and the distance of the radiative power from the assigned "summit" location (about 10.5 km E of the high point on the western Halema'uma'u crater rim). In this chart of the distance to the thermal anomalies during the year ending 17 August 2017, the variations in distance (y-axis) correspond closely to changes in the locations of the active lava flow sites. The Halema'uma'u and Pu'u 'O'o craters are located about 10 km away; the episode 61g flow field has anomalies that track between 10 and 20 km away; and the Kamokuna ocean entry is represented by the anomalies about 20 km distant. See additional discussion in the text. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Plumes of SO2 emissions visible in satellite data are common at Kilauea (figure 291). The normal trade winds send most emissions to the SW, but occasional "Kona" winds blow in the opposite direction and disperse SO2 to the NE from the summit. Large lava breakouts and activity at the summit crater can produce substantial SO2 plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 291. Sulfur dioxide emissions data from the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite for selected days at Kilauea during January and March 2017. Top Left: uncommon "Kona winds" blowing from SW to NE over the island, opposite to the normal trade winds dispersed the SO2 plume to the NE on 5 January 2017. Top Right: The more common trade wind direction, to the SW, carried a typical size SO2 plume on 10 January 2017. Bottom: The significant breakout from episode 61g that began on 5 March likely produced the larger than normal SO2 plumes captured on 5 and 6 March 2017. Courtesy of NASA GSFC.

Geologic Background. Kilauea, which overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano's surface is younger than 600 years. A long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

Information Contacts: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), U.S. Geological Survey, PO Box 51, Hawai'i National Park, HI 96718, USA (URL: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/); 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: http://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — November 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption appears to have subsided after March 2017; ash plumes persist into October

The eruption of Klyuchevskoy that began in late August 2015 continued with fluctuating activity through March 2017 (BGVN 42:04) (figure 20). Although lava effusion ended in early November 2016, explosive activity was observed through March 2017 (BGVN 42:04). Similar eruptive activity continued through October 2017 as reported here, exhibiting moderate to strong ash explosions. The Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) is responsible for monitoring this volcano, and is the primary source of information. Times are in UTC (local time is UTC + 12 hours).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Ash plume rising from the summit crater of Klyuchevskoy on 30 March 2017. Courtesy of Yu. Demyanchuk (IVS FEB RAS, KVERT).

KVERT reported that weak to moderate ash explosions and thermal anomalies occurred throughout March-October 2017 (table 17). The last time ash was reported during the period of this report was on 7 September 2017. The volcano is often obscured by clouds that prevent plumes from being detected in satellite imagery. However, excellent clear views from space were obtained on 10 June (figure 21) and 17 August 2017 (figures 22 and 23) that showed typical ash plumes. Ground-based observers also noted erupting ash plumes, some not identified in satellite imagery, including one on 8 October 2017 (figure 24).

Table 17. Summary of ash plumes and Aviation Color Codes at Klyuchevskoi from March through mid-October 2017. Data courtesy of KVERT.

Dates Ash plume altitude Ash plume drift Aviation Color Code (ACC)
02 Mar 2017 8-9 km 110 km NW and NE Raised to Orange
08 Mar 2017 5.5 km 20 km NW Orange
16 Mar 2017 -- -- Lowered to Yellow
24 Mar 2017 -- -- Lowered to Green
28 Mar 2017 5-6 km 108 km ENE Raised to Yellow
29 Mar 2017 7.5 km 75 km SW Raised to Orange
01-04 Apr 2017 5-6 km 400 km various directions Lowered to Yellow
21-28 Apr 2017 -- 125 km SW Orange
5-6, 10-11 May 2017 -- 270 km SE and NW Orange
17 May 2017 6 km 180 km N and NE Orange
01-02 Jun 2017 6 km 400 km SSE Orange
02-09 Jun 2017 5 km 325 km NE, SE, and SW Orange
09-16 Jun 2017 6-7 km 580 km SW and SE Orange
16-17, 22 Jun 2017 6-7 km 300 km E and W Orange
24, 26 Jun 2017 5-6 km 112 km S and SE Orange
01-03, 05-06 Jul 2017 5 km 160 km SE, E, and SW Orange
08, 12-13 Jul 2017 5 km 50 km SE Orange
19-20 Jul 2017 -- 300 km SW, SE, E, and NE Orange
22-27 Jul 2017 -- 120 km E and NE Orange
02-03 Aug 2017 -- 65 km SW and 250 km ESE Orange
11-12, 15-17 Aug 2017 -- 315 km E and NW Orange
19 Aug 2017 6 km 140 km NW, 270 km SE, 90 km NE Orange
20 Aug 2017 -- 200 km NW Orange
21 Aug 2017 -- 480 km NW Orange
22 Aug 2017 -- 110 km NW, W, and SW Orange
23 Aug 2017 -- 220 km NW Orange
24-25, 30 Aug 2017 6 km 550 km various directions Lowered to Yellow
07 Sep 2017 6 km 50 km NE Orange
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. A brown ash plume can be seen rising from Klyuchevskoy on 10 June 2017 in this image taken from space looking NE. The tall peak adjacent to Klyuchevskoy and to the S is Kamen; adjacent and just S of that is Bezymianny. The snow-covered mass to the NW contains Ushkovsky volcano. South of the Klyuchevskoy-Kamen pair is the snow-covered active volcano Tolbachik, east of which are the snow-free Zimina (to the north) and Udina volcanos. Courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center (photo ISS052-E-896).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 satellite captured this image of a volcanic ash plume streaming W from Klyuchevskoy on 19 August 2017. The plume is brown; clouds are white. Note that there is also a smaller white plume extending SW from Bezymianny, about 10 km S. An enlarged image of the "Detail" area is shown in the next figure. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory; image by J. Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Detail from an Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 image of Klyuchevskoy erupting on 19 August 2017. The ash plume is rising about 6 km above the summit. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory; image by J. Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Ash plume rising from the summit crater of Klyuchevskoy on 8 October 2017. Courtesy of I. Borisov (IVS FEB RAS).

Thermal alerts in the MODVOLC system ended on 2 November 2016, corresponding to the end of lava effusion reported by KVERT (BGVN 42:04). The number of MIROVA thermal anomalies decreased significantly in early November 2016 as well (figure 25), then gradually declined further over the next few months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. MODIS thermal anomalies identified in the MIROVA system, plotted as log radiative power for the year ending 24 October 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); 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/); 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/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


Nishinoshima (Japan) — November 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

27.247°N, 140.874°E; summit elev. 25 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


April-July 2017 episode creates additional landmass from two lava flows

Japan's Nishinoshima volcano erupted above sea level in November 2013 for the first time in 40 years. Between then and November 2015 the island grew from 0.29 to 2.63 km2 as a result of numerous lava flows erupting from vents around a central pyroclastic cone (BGVN 41:09). Eruptive activity ended in November 2015, and no additional activity was observed during 2016. A new eruption that included ash emissions and lava flows began in April 2017, and continued until mid-August 2017. Two major lobes of lava emerged from the central crater of the pyroclastic cone and flowed SW and W, expanding the size of the island to about 2.2 km in the E-W dimension and 1.9 km in the N-S dimension, a total area of about 3 km2.

Information comes primarily from monthly reports provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and reports and photographs taken by the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), which monitors the volcano due to its remote location in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 940 km S of Tokyo along the Izu-Bonin arc. Satellite thermal data (MODIS) also provides valuable information about the active heat flow at the volcano.

Changes during November 2013-October 2015. Nishinoshima grew about twelve times in area between 6 November 2013 and 11 October 2015, after nearly two years of constant eruptive activity (figure 39). JCG presented a map in November 2015 showing the areas added to Nishinoshima between November 2013 and November 2015 (figure 40). The Ocean Information Division of JMA conducted a seabed topographic survey in a 4-km radius around the island between 22 June and 9 July 2015 that revealed the new submarine topography (figure 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Nishinoshima grew about twelve times in area between 6 November 2013 and 11 October 2015. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured these images of the old and new island on those two dates. The top image shows the area on 6 November 2013, two weeks before the eruption started. The second image was acquired on 11 October 2015, after nearly two years of constant eruptive activity. In both images, pale areas just offshore likely reveal volcanic gases bubbling up from submerged vents or sediments disturbed by the eruption. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Changes in the shape and size of Nishinoshima between 21 November 2013 and 17 November 2015. Black dots outline areas above sea level prior to 21 November 2013. The sets of three numbers in the legend represent dates as follows '25' is 2013, '26' is 2014 and '27' is 2015. These numbers are followed by month and day. For example 26..12..25 is 25 December 2014. The total area of the island is shown after each date. The red outline shows the outer edge of land as of 17 November 2015. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 20 November 2015).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. The Ocean Information Division of JMA conducted a seabed bathymetric survey in a 4-km radius around Nishinoshima between 22 June and 9 July 2015 that revealed the new submarine topography after almost two years of eruption. The dashed blue line shows the area above sea level prior to November 2013. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 20 October 2015).

Activity during October-December 2015. The JCG visited Nishinoshima on 13 October, 17 November, and 22 December 2015 (BGVN 41:09). Explosions with ash plumes (figures 42 and 43) and active lava flows from a hornito on the flank (figures 44 and 45) were observed on 13 October. On 17 November they observed crater-like depressions on the N flank of the pyroclastic cone (figure 46).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Ash explosion from the pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima on 13 October 2015. Japanese text means "crater". Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 16 October 2015).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Plumes of discolored water surround Nishinoshima while an explosion emits ash from the pyroclastic cone on 13 October 2015. Japanese text means "discolored water area". Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 16 October 2015).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Lava flowed from a hornito on the NE flank of the pyroclastic cone (arrow at left, "lava flow outlet") at Nishinoshima on 13 October 2015. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 16 October 2015).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Thermal imagery revealed lava flowing N and W from the hornito on the NE side of the pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima on 13 October 2015. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 16 October 2015).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Crater depressions appeared on the N side of the pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima on 17 November 2015. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 20 November 2015).

By the time of their visit on 22 December, there were no further signs of activity from the pyroclastic cone (figure 47), and a comparison of thermal imagery between 17 November and 22 December (figure 48) showed a dramatic decline in heat flow. Aerial photography of the island that day revealed the extent of the new island compared with the pre-November 2013 landmass (figure 49).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. The pyroclastic cone and summit crater at Nishinoshima were quiet when observed by the JCG on 22 December 2015. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 25 December 2015).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. A comparison of thermal imagery from 22 December 2015 (left) and 17 November 2015 (right) reveals a decrease in heat flow at Nishinoshima from both the summit crater and the hornito on the SW flank. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 25 December 2015).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Composite of aerial photographs of Nishinoshima on 22 December 2015. Green and yellow outlines show areas that were above sea level on 21 November 2013 for comparison. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 25 December 2015).

Activity during 2016. The Japan Coast Guard continued with monthly observations during 2016, with visits on 19 January, 3 February, 5 March, 14 April, 20 May, 7 June, 19 July, 18 August, 15 September, and 6 October 2016. Only weak fumarolic activity was observed during the February visit (figure 50). Thermal measurements consistently remained at or below 100°C during the year; plumes of light brown to yellowish-green discolored water generally extended 200-400 m away from the coastline, suggesting continued submarine hydrothermal activity. The discolored water extended 1,000 m off the N coast during the 5 March visit. Dense steam filled the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone on 14 April (figure 51). During their 20 May visit, JCG noted a slight increase in size of the beach areas around the shoreline; this increase continued for several months, likely a result of fresh lava flows breaking down into sand from the wave action. During May and June, small amounts of magmatic gas were visible rising a few tens of meters above the summit crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Weak fumarolic activity from the S side of the crater rim was the only notable activity observed at Nishinoshima during a visit by JCG on 3 February 2016. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 5 February 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Steam emanated from the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima during a visit by the Japan Coast Guard on 14 April 2016. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 19 April 2016).

On 17 August, JMA cancelled the maritime volcano warning (preventing vessels from approaching within 1.5 km), as a result of the decreased activity. Professor Kenji Nogami of the Tokyo Institute of Volcanic Fluid Research Center noted an increase in the discolored water area, extending about 1,000 m on the S side of the island during the JCG overflight on 15 September. JCG conducted a new submarine survey of the area during 22 October-10 November 2016 to provide data for new maritime charts. No additional reports were issued until a new eruptive episode was observed on 20 April 2017.

While the Japan Coast Guard did not observe volcanic activity during 2016, the MIROVA data suggests that low levels of heat flow were intermittent throughout the year, with slight increases during May-June, July-August, and September-October 2016 (figure 52). The heat flow recorded by MIROVA during 2016 was about an order of magnitude less that that during the period with active lava flows in September-November 2015.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. MIROVA Radiative Power thermal anomaly graph for Nishinoshima from 16 August 2015 through 15 November 2017. Data is from the MODIS satellite instrument. Active lava flows were observed by the JCG through mid-November 2015 (top graph). Only minor fumarolic activity was intermittently observed during 2016. Renewed lava flows and Strombolian activity were again observed beginning on 21 April 2017 (bottom graph). Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during April-October 2017. The JCG observed renewed eruptive activity when they visited Nishinoshima on 20 April 2017. They confirmed the existence of a new lava flow from the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone on 21 April. They also observed a gray ash plume 500 m wide rising 1,000 m above the crater, Strombolian explosions at intervals of tens of seconds, and molten lava within the crater. A new lava flow appeared on the N side of the cone, although it had not yet reached the ocean. By the time of the next overflight on 27 April, JCG confirmed that the lava flow had reach the ocean on the W and SW coast of the island (figure 53), and a new pyroclastic cone had formed within the summit crater. Strong MODVOLC multi-pixel thermal alerts first appeared on 18 April, and persisted with no more than a few day's break until early August 2017. The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume on 20 April at 2.4 km altitude drifting W, but it was not identifiable in satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. New lava flows (outlined in white) reach the ocean on the W and SW coast of Nishinoshima on 27 April 2017. Ash emissions rose from the summit crater, and steam plumes emerged from the numerous places where the lava entered the sea. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 28 April 2017).

Strombolian explosions were observed every 40-60 seconds during an overflight on 2 May 2017. They emerged from the new pyroclastic cone at the center of the summit crater. Ash plumes rose 500 m and drifted SW. Two vents on the N side of the crater produced lava that flowed to the ocean on the SW coast of the island (figure 54). Areas of new lava extended about 170 m W and 180 m SW into the ocean. Continued ash emissions were drifting N from the island on 24 May, and lava continued flowing into the sea along the SW shore.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. A thermal image of Nishinoshima taken on 2 May 2017 reveals an active lava flow emerging from the N flank of the crater and flowing SW into the ocean. Two vents are identified with the white arrows. The red arrow identifies the pyroclastic cone within the summit crater. The new areas of lava extended about 170 m W and 180 m SW into the ocean. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 10 May 2017).

During the next overflight on 6 June, JCG confirmed a new lava flow emerging from the W flank of the pyroclastic cone and flowing to the sea (figure 55). In late June 2017, JMA published a new bathymetric map of Nishinoshima and surrounding waters as of October 2016. JCG noted that explosions continued at 30-second intervals during their 29 June overflight. Ash plumes rose to about 200 m above the crater rim, and lava was entering the sea on the W side of the island (figure 56). The new lava flows now extended into the sea about 330 m to the W and 310 m to the SW (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. A thermal image of lava flowing into the ocean on the W side of Nishinoshima captured during a JCG overflight on 6 June 2017. A new lava flow (red arrow) flows W from the crater to the sea while the lobes of the existing flow continue to extend into the ocean. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 9 June 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. A thermal image of Nishinoshima taken on 29 June 2017 reveals lava entering the sea on the W side of the island, and a new vent with fresh lava on the S side of the pyroclastic cone (white circle). Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 5 July 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Two lobes of fresh lava flows extend S and SW from Nishinoshima on 29 June 2017 as ash emissions rise from the central crater. Lava is actively flowing into the sea on the W side of the W lobe, but is no longer active on the SW lobe. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 5 July 2017).

The Tokyo VAAC reported multiple ash emissions during June. An eruption generated an ash plume on 8 June that rose to 1.2 km altitude and drifted SW. Emissions were observed in satellite imagery for the next 24 hours before dissipating. Another ash plume on 26 June was reported drifting NE at 3 km altitude. Ash seen on 30 June was reported drifting W at 2.1 km altitude for most of the day before dissipating. The Tokyo VAAC reported a possible eruption on 2 July that sent an E-drifting ash plume to 1.5 km altitude. It was later reported at 3 km altitude before dissipating. Ash and bombs were observed exploding from the central crater during the 11 July 2017 JCG overflight. Lava was also still entering the sea on the W side of the island (figure 58).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Strombolian explosions and lava entering the sea were captured in this thermal image taken from the W side of Nishinoshima on 11 July 2017. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 14 July 2017).

The JCG visited the island on 11 and 24 August 2017. They did not witness any eruptive activity, but diffuse steam plumes were seen rising from the crater rim. They also noted steam plumes from lava that was still entering the sea on the W side of the island on 11 August, but not during the 24 August flyover. Aerial photos taken that day showed the extent of new land formed since late April (figure 59). Additional flyovers by JCG on 15 September and 7 October confirmed a lack of active lava flows, and only minor steam plumes were reported rising from the crater rim. The last MODVOLC thermal alert appeared on 5 August. The MIROVA thermal anomaly signals that had abruptly reappeared in late April gradually tapered off throughout August, confirming a decrease in the heat flow as the lava flows cooled (figure 52).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Composite of aerial photos taken on 24 August 2017 showing the increased landmass at Nishinoshima from the new lava flows that erupted between 18 April and 11 August. The green outline shows the area of the old (pre-Nov 2013) Nishinoshima still visible on 24 August. The blue outline represents the shoreline prior to the eruption of 18 April. The yellow outline shows the shoreline as of 29 June 2017, and the red outline shows the area outline as of 24 August 2017. Courtesy of Japan Coast Guard (Status of volcanic activity at Nishinoshima, 29 August 2017).

Geologic Background. The small island of Nishinoshima was enlarged when several new islands coalesced during an eruption in 1973-74. Another eruption that began offshore in 2013 completely covered the previous exposed surface and enlarged the island again. Water discoloration has been observed on several occasions since. The island is the summit of a massive submarine volcano that has prominent satellitic peaks to the S, W, and NE. The summit of the southern cone rises to within 214 m of the sea surface 9 km SSE.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Coast Guard (JCG), Policy Evaluation and Public Relations Office, 100-8918, 2-1-3 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Telephone, 03-3591-6361 (URL: http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/info/kouhou/h29/index.html); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.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/).


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — November 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal activity decreases and ends in May 2017

The Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is part of the western branch of the East African Rift System. Nyamuragira (or Nyamulagira), a high-potassium basaltic shield volcano on the W edge of VVP, includes a lava field that covers over 1,100 km2 and contains more than 100 flank cones in addition to a large central crater (see figure 54, BGVN 40:01). A large lava lake that had been active for many years emptied from the central crater in 1938. Numerous flank eruptions have been observed since that time, the most recent during November 2011-March 2012 on the NE flank. This was followed by a period of degassing with SO2-rich plumes, but no observed thermal activity, from April 2012 through April 2014. Lava fountains at the central crater in July 2014 signaled the return of a lava lake, which was confirmed in November 2014. The lake lasted through April 2016 when its thermal signal abruptly disappeared (see figure 62, BGVN 42:06).

Thermal activity suggesting reappearance of the lava lake began again in early November 2016, and strengthened in both frequency and magnitude into early January 2017, continuing with a strong signal through April 2017 before tapering off during May 2017. No further activity was reported through November 2017. Ground-based observations are scarce due to the unstable political climate, but occasional information is available from the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), MONUSCO (the United Nations Organization working in the area), geoscientists who study Nyamuragira, and travelers who visit the site. The most consistent data comes from satellite: thermal data from the MODIS instrument processed by the MODVOLC and MIROVA systems, SO2 data from the AURA instrument on NASA's OMI satellite, and NASA Earth Observatory images from a variety of satellites.

Thermal MODIS data indicated that a renewed period of activity began in late November 2016 after a period of quiescence since mid-May 2016. The first MODVOLC alert pixels appeared on 27 November. They were intermittent during December, but increased significantly during January-April 2017, with 30-50 alert pixels each month. They stopped abruptly on 2 May 2017. The MIROVA thermal anomaly graph shows a similar pattern of increasing thermal values from January through April 2017, with both the frequency and intensity tapering off during May 2017 (figure 69). No thermal anomalies were reported within 5 km of the summit from June through November 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Thermal anomalies at Nyamuragira for the year ending on 27 November 2017 show a pattern of increasing frequency and intensity from January through April, with values tapering off during May, and no further heat flow activity within 5 km of the summit after the last week of May 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

During the period from December 2016 to April 2017 thermal anomalies were relatively high, but there were no reported SO2 anomalies from the OMI satellite instrument. This is in contrast with the period from April 2014-April 2016 when both SO2 values and thermal anomaly values were high. Very little ground-based data is available to confirm the eruptive activity of 2017. A photograph from an Instagram user of an image reported as Nyamuragira on 26 January 2017 shows the lava lake at the bottom of the summit crater (figure 70). Bubbling lava from the crater was photographed by Charley Kasereka on 11 March 2017 (see figure 66, BGVN 42:06). An image captured in May 2017 shows steam at the summit crater and lava flows around the caldera, with Nyiragongo in the background (figure 71). A photograph posted 16 September 2017 shows volcanologist Dario Tedesco on the crater rim surrounded by plumes of steam (figure 72).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Photo of the active lava lake in the summit crater of Nyamuragira on 26 January 2017. Courtesy of Tim Best Direct (posted on Instagram).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Sunset at Nyamuragira on 21 May 2017 appeared to show fresh steaming lava in the area between the pit crater and the caldera rim, with a possible new overflow of the rim in the foreground. The image is looking SE and shows the larger Nyiragongo with a steam plume rising from the summit crater in the background. Courtesy of Tropic Air Kenya (posted on Instagram).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Thick steam plumes rise from the crater of Nyamuragira as volcanologist Dario Tedesco collects samples in this photo posted on 18 September 2017. Courtesy of Vincent Tremeau (posted on Instagram).

Geologic Background. Africa's most active volcano, Nyamuragira, is a massive high-potassium basaltic shield about 25 km N of Lake Kivu. Also known as Nyamulagira, it has generated extensive lava flows that cover 1500 km2 of the western branch of the East African Rift. The broad low-angle shield volcano contrasts dramatically with the adjacent steep-sided Nyiragongo to the SW. The summit is truncated by a small 2 x 2.3 km caldera that has walls up to about 100 m high. Historical eruptions have occurred within the summit caldera, as well as from the numerous fissures and cinder cones on the flanks. A lava lake in the summit crater, active since at least 1921, drained in 1938, at the time of a major flank eruption. Historical lava flows extend down the flanks more than 30 km from the summit, reaching as far as Lake Kivu.

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Goma, North Kivu, DR Congo (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Observatoire-Volcanologique-de-Goma-OVG-180016145663568/); Virunga Volcanoes, managed by a Belgian-Luxembourgian (BeLux) scientific consortium mainly coordinated by the Royal Museum for Central Africa, the European Center for Geodynamics and Seismology and the National Museum of Natural History of Luxembourg (URL: http://www.virunga-volcanoes.org/); Vincent Tremeau, Instagram user vtremeau (URL: https://www.instagram.com/p/BZMGqX5Bhwl/); Charly Kasereka, Instagram user charlykasereka (URL: https://www.instagram.com/charlykasereka/); Tropic Air Kenya, Instagram user tropicairkenya (URL: https://www.instagram.com/p/BUXbNzjlh4Q/); Tim Best Direct, Instagram user timbestdirect (URL: https://www.instagram.com/p/BPvUgL9BfaX/).


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — November 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists through October 2017

The lava lake in Nyiragongo's main crater has been observed since 1971, and might have been present even before then. There is no regular ground monitoring of the volcano, but occasional field visits by scientific teams and tourist expeditions provide some information about its activity. Two teams of scientists that visited the volcano during March 2016 provided observations of a new vent (BGVN 42:01). This report describes activity during January-October 2017.

Volcano Discovery reported that on 6 June 2017 a team visited the summit (figure 62) and stayed for three days. They noted that the surface of the lava lake (about 220 m across was continuously in motion as exploding gas bubbles created small degassing fountains that recycled the cold black crust back into the incandescent liquid lava. Strong degassing also occurred from the edges of the lava lake, the 2016 hornito, and along the southern fracture zone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Photo of the summit caldera at Nyiragongo showing its terraces and lava lake in early June 2016. Courtesy of Ingrid Smet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Photo of the lava lake surface at Nyiragongo, early June 2017. The thin black crust is continuously broken apart by heat and degassing from the underlying liquid lava, creating the fractured surface. Courtesy of Ingrid Smet.

According to a news account (Metro) that cited a statement issued by the Goma Volcanic Observatory, Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamulagira volcanoes experienced intense seismic activity in their respective craters around 17-18 October 2017, before decreasing. Consistent with the presence of the active lava lake, thermal anomalies in satellite-based MODIS data identified by the MODVOLC and MIROVA systems were recorded almost daily during the reporting period.

Geologic Background. One of Africa's most notable volcanoes, Nyiragongo contained a lava lake in its deep summit crater that was active for half a century before draining catastrophically through its outer flanks in 1977. The steep slopes of a stratovolcano contrast to the low profile of its neighboring shield volcano, Nyamuragira. Benches in the steep-walled, 1.2-km-wide summit crater mark levels of former lava lakes, which have been observed since the late-19th century. Two older stratovolcanoes, Baruta and Shaheru, are partially overlapped by Nyiragongo on the north and south. About 100 parasitic cones are located primarily along radial fissures south of Shaheru, east of the summit, and along a NE-SW zone extending as far as Lake Kivu. Many cones are buried by voluminous lava flows that extend long distances down the flanks, which is characterized by the eruption of foiditic rocks. The extremely fluid 1977 lava flows caused many fatalities, as did lava flows that inundated portions of the major city of Goma in January 2002.

Information Contacts: Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Goma, North Kivu, DR Congo (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Observatoire-Volcanologique-de-Goma-OVG-180016145663568/); 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/); Metro, Mass Transit Media, Gallery Ravenstein 4, 1000 Brussels, Belgium (URL: https://fr.metrotime.be/).


Reventador (Ecuador) — November 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing ash emissions, block avalanches, and pyroclastic flows through December 2016

The andesitic Volcán El Reventador lies well east of the main volcanic axis of the Cordillera Real in Ecuador and has historical observations of eruptions with numerous lava flows and explosive events going back to the 16th century. The largest historical eruption took place in November 2002 and generated a 17-km-high eruption cloud, pyroclastic flows that traveled 8 km, and several lava flows. Eruptive activity has been continuous since 2008. From January-April 2016, monthly eruptive activity included ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, and ejected incandescent blocks (BGVN 42:07), along with a lava flow observed in January. Similar ongoing activity during May-December 2016 is described below with information provided by the Instituto Geofisico-Escuela Politecnicia Nacional (IG-EPN) of Ecuador, and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Ash emissions and incandescent blocks traveling down all the flanks of Reventador persisted throughout May-December 2016 (table 8, figure 56). Ash emissions averaged 12 or 13 per month, although they were only observed during clear days. Emission heights were generally less than 1,000 m above the 3,210-m-high summit, but they were reported at 2 km above the summit once in May, several times in November, and once in December. Incandescent blocks were mostly reported traveling 800-1,500 m down the flanks, although larger events during September sent them as far as 2.2 km. Pyroclastic flows were much less common, reported three times in May, twice in September, and twice in December. A single lava flow was noted in November 2016.

Table 8. Number of eruptive events at Reventador during May-December 2016. Reported events include ash emissions, observations of incandescent blocks traveling down the flanks, and pyroclastic flows. The number of clear days per month during which these observations were made is shown in the right hand column. Information from IG daily reports.

Month Ash Emissions Incandescent Blocks Pyroclastic Flows Clear Days
May 2016 10 12 3 22
Jun 2016 5 9 0 13
Jul 2016 14 7 0 22
Aug 2016 13 7 0 23
Sep 2016 11 19 2 25
Oct 2016 10 14 0 26
Nov 2016 18 11 0 27
Dec 2016 20 4 2 23
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Chart showing numbers of emission events per month at Reventador, May-December 2016. Reported events include ash emissions (blue), incandescent blocks rolling down the flanks (orange) and pyroclastic flows (gray). Data from IG daily reports. Numbers include observations on clear days only, not every day of the month. Number of clear days per month are shown in table 8.

Thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA system at Reventador showed that the nature of the ongoing eruptive activity during May-December 2016 included significant sources of heat (figure 57). Moderate to high heat levels of thermal anomalies were recorded numerous times every month during the period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Thermal anomalies were persistent at Reventador for the year ending 29 March 2017. Activity was variable, but power output remained largely in the moderate to high value range with anomalies reported every week. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Incandescent blocks descended the flanks on 12 days during May 2016, typically to distances between 1-1.5 km; the NE, S, and SE flanks were most affected. IG reported ash emissions during ten days of the month, rising 300-1,500 m above the summit crater, except for a 2,000-m-high plume reported on 25 May. The prevailing winds sent the plumes to the NW or SW. The Washington VAAC observed ash emissions in satellite imagery at 4.6 km altitude (1 km above the summit) on 27 May extending 10 km WNW from the summit. On 30 May, they observed ash emissions extending both N and S at 7 km altitude. Pyroclastic flows descended the flanks three times; 1.5 km down the SE flank on 18 May, 1 km down the SE flank on 24 May, and 2 km down the SW flank on 25 May.

During fieldwork from 8 to 10 June 2016, IG staff working near the base of Reventador witnessed persistent activity, noting a 2-km-high ash plume on 9 June (figure 58) and audible sounds. They also reported evidence of recent pyroclastic flows visible primarily on the N and S flanks, and fine gray ash covering vegetation within the E and NE sides of the summit caldera (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Photo showing Reventador erupting on 9 June 2016, along with the coincident seismic and spectral signals from the eruption. The 2-km-high plume was dense with ash. View from the SW flank. Photo by G. Viracucha, courtesy of IG (Actividad superficial del Volcan el Reventador, 24 Junio 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Vegetation covered with fine gray ash inside the summit caldera at Reventador during 8-10 June 2016. Photo by G. Viracucha, courtesy of IG-EPN (Actividad superficial del Volcan el Reventador, 24 Junio 2016).

The weather during June 2016 prevented visual observations of activity during 17 days of the month. Even so, IG reported nine observations of incandescent blocks travelling 800-1,500 m down most of the flanks, and five observations of ash emissions, most of them rising only a few hundred meters above the summit. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission at 6.7 km altitude (3.5 km above the summit) visible in clear satellite imagery on 5 June. It was drifting W about 75 km from the summit. They also noted a small emission of possible ash at 4.9 km altitude drifting W the next day. IG reported a plume on 10 June at 1,500 m above the summit drifting NW.

Persistent activity during July and August 2016 included 14 and 13 reports of ash emissions, respectively, and 6 and 7 reports of incandescent blocks from the summit. The ash emissions ranged from 300-800 m above the summit in July and 100-1,000 m above the summit during August. The incandescent blocks traveled down all the flanks at various times to distances up to 1,000 m from the summit. The Washington VAAC reported that satellite imagery on 16 July showed a possible ash cloud centered 30 km W of the summit at 4.6 km altitude. On 8 August they observed an ash emission in multi-spectral imagery moving WNW extending about 35 km from the summit at 6.1 km altitude. Another plume the next day was picked up in multi-spectral imagery at 5.2 km altitude the same distance from the summit.

Activity generating incandescent blocks down the flanks increased during September 2016, and was reported on 19 days. Most reports indicated blocks travelling 1,000 m down several different flanks. Larger events during 19-20 September sent blocks 2,000-2,200 m down the SW and SE flanks. Ash emissions were reported ten times by IG during the month, with plume heights ranging from 200 to 1,200 m above the summit. The Washington VAAC only reported a single ash emission rising to 4.3 km altitude and drifting SE on 8 September. Two pyroclastic flows traveled down the SE flank; on 14 September one traveled 1,800 m, and on 19 September one traveled 1,500 m.

During October 2016, there were 10 ash emission events and 14 incandescent block events; during November, there were 18 ash events and 11 incandescent block events. Ash plume heights above the crater during October were all under 1,000 m, but several rose as high as 2 km during 12-17 November. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission at 3.9 km altitude on 20 October moving WNW about 25 km from the summit. They also observed a hotpot in satellite imagery the same day. On 31 October, they observed two diffuse ash emissions extending 30 km NW from the summit at 5.8 km altitude. A lava flow extended 300 m down the SE flank on 26 November.

Ash emissions were reported by IG on 20 days during December, the most for this reporting period. Plume heights ranged from 400 to 2,000 m above the summit crater, usually drifting W or NW. Incandescent blocks were only reported four times. Except for 13 December when they traveled 1,500 m down the SSW flank, they traveled 800 m down various flanks. The ash emission reported by the Washington VAAC on 9 December was moving SW near 6.1 km altitude. Other VAAC reports during December indicated only puffs of gas with minor volcanic ash noted in the webcam. Pyroclastic flows were reported on 9 and 26 December.

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), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — November 2017 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent ash plumes, explosions, and Strombolian activity during September 2015-December 2016

Suwanosejima, an andesitic stratovolcano in Japan's northern Ryukyu Islands, was intermittently active for much of the 20th century, producing ash plumes, Strombolian eruptions, and ash deposits. Continuous activity since October 2004 has consisted generally of multiple ash plumes most months rising a few hundred meters above the summit to altitudes between 1 and 2 km, and tens of reported explosions. Activity between January and September 2015 included small eruptions in July and August that produced ash plumes rising to 3-4 km altitude. Increased activity beginning in August 2015 included incandescence at the crater and increased explosive activity with incandescence in September; 89 explosions occurred that month, and ash fell in the village 4 km SSW (BGVN 42:01). Eruptive activity for the period of September 2015-December 2016 included intermittent explosions, ash plumes up to 4.3 km altitude, ashfall within a 5-km radius, and Strombolian activity. Information is provided primarily by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), and the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Activity during September-December 2015. Numerous explosions were reported by the JMA during 24-30 September. The Tokyo VAAC reported a plume at 2.1 km altitude extending SE on 24 September; subsequent reports noted there were no observations of ash emissions or plumes in satellite data during that time, and no further VAAC reports were issued after 30 September (until January 2016).

JMA reported that explosions at the Otake crater on 2, 13, and 31 October 2015 produced gray-and-white emissions and rose a maximum of 800 m above the summit (at ~800 m elevation). Explosions occurred on 1 and 20 November as well; the plume rose 1 km above the crater rim on 1 November. Ashfall was confirmed in the small village 4 km SSW after both events. There were no explosions reported during December 2015; only steam emissions rose 600 m above the summit crater, and rumbling was heard on 12 December from the nearby settlement. Incandescence was visible with a thermal camera at night during September-December 2015.

Activity during 2016. According to JMA, explosions and intermittent emissions occurred during most months of 2016 (table 12). Ashfall in the village 4 km SSW of the summit was reported during January-April, July-August, and October-November. Steam-and-ash plume heights ranged from 800 to 2,700 m above the crater rim. The number of monthly seismic events was low in January (25), increasing to a maximum of 1,195 in April. It dropped below 200 by July, and below 100 during November and December. Incandescence at night was reported often every month. An overflight on 31 May 2016 revealed a steam plume rising 400 m above Otake crater (figure 20). Strombolian activity on 15 September and 23 November 2016 ejected incandescent blocks onto the crater rim (figure 21). An ash emission on 25 November sent gray and white ash and steam 1,800 m above the crater rim (figure 22). Incandescent blocks from an explosion were also observed on 17 December.

Table 12. Activity at Suwanosejima during 2016 reported by JMA. Times are local.

Month No. of explosions Emission events Max plume height (m above crater) Dates of ashfall in village 4 km SSW No. of seismic events Other activity detail
Jan 2016 1 Yes, small -- 22, 23 25 Occasional incandescence at night; explosion at 2114 on 6 Jan.
Feb 2016 0 Occasional small 800 m 22 64 Occasional incandescence at night.
Mar 2016 13   1,700 m 7, 20, 21 170 Incandescence at night; shockwaves felt 20-21 Mar.
Apr 2016 14 -- 1,700 m 11, 15, 18, 19 1,195 Incandescence at night; occasional rumbling; seismicity increased 24-26 Apr.
May 2016 5 Steam plumes 1,200 m None 396 Incandescence at night; overflight (figure 20); steam plume 400 m above crater on 31 May drifted NE.
Jun 2016 0 Occasional 1,900m None 606 Incandescence at night.
Jul 2016 0 Occasional 1,900 m 23 142 Incandescence at night.
Aug 2016 26 -- 2,700 m on 12 and 28 1, 2 171 Incandescence at night; tephra around crater on 12 and 28 Aug; infrasound on 13, 14 Aug; rumbling on 25 Aug.
Sep 2016 1 3 Ash to 1,900 m on 17, steam to 2,400 m on 5 None 106 Incandescence almost every day; Strombolian activity and explosion at 2305 on 15 Sep (figure 21).
Oct 2016 0 Occasional 1,200 m 6, 30 102 Incandescence almost every day.
Nov 2016 11 Occasional ash emissions 1,800 m 5, 6, 26, 29 56 Constant incandescence; Strombolian explosion at 2325 on 23 Nov sent blocks around crater (figure 22).
Dec 2016 7 Occasional ash emissions 2,500 m at 1356 on 13 None 33 Incandescence at night; large explosion at 2020 on 13 Dec; incandescent blocks on 17 Dec.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Aerial photos of Otake crater at Suwanosejima on 31 May 2016. Upper image is the close-up view outlined in red below. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary on Suwanosejima, May 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Strombolian activity and explosion at Suwanosejima on 15 September 2016 sent a large incandescent block outside the crater rim (center left). Courtesy of JMA "Paris tree" webcam (Volcanic activity commentary on Suwanosejima, September 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Explosive activity at Suwanosejima during November 2016 produced Strombolian activity and ash emissions. A Strombolian explosion on 23 November (top photo) sent incandescent blocks around the crater rim (left center, viewed by the JMA "Nogi" webcam). An ash emission on 25 November (bottom photo) sent ash and steam 1,800 m above the crater rim (viewed by the JMA "Campsite" webcam). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary on Suwanosejima, November 2016).

The Tokyo VAAC also reported information about ash plumes and explosions during 2016 (table 13). Explosions were reported during every month of 2016 except February, and ranged from two in January to 19 in August. Most plume heights were lower than 2.7 km altitude. Exceptions included: an explosion on 1 August produced an ash plume that rose to 3.4 km altitude and drifted S; a plume rose to 3 km on 29 November and also drifted S; and the largest of the year, an ash plume that rose to 4.3 km altitude and drifted E, on 13 December (figure 23).

MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on 20 April, 4 May (3), and 17 May 2016.

Table 13. Summary of activity reported at Suwanosejima during 2016 by the Tokyo VAAC. Time in UTC.

Month Explosion Count Explosion Days Plume Heights Drift Directions
Jan 2016 2 4, 6 1.5 km SE
Feb 2016 0 -- -- --
Mar 2016 14 2 (2), 4, 6, 7 (2), 10, 21, 22 (2), 23, 26 (2), 30 1.2-2.4 km SE, W, N
Apr 2016 13 5, 10, 14 (2), 15, 17 (2), 18, 19 (3), 20, 21 1-2.4 km E, W, SE, S, N
May 2016 5 3 (2), 4 (2), 18 1.5-2.1 km E, SE, W
Jun 2016 4 13 (3), 14 1.8-2.7 km E
Jul 2016 4 18 (2), 22, 31 1.5-2.7 km NE, E, N, NW, W
Aug 2016 19 1 (3), 10 (3), 11, 12, 14 (2), 17, 25, 26 (2), 27 (2), 28 (2), 31 1.0-3.4 km SW, SE, W, NW
Sep 2016 2 15, 16 2.7 km W
Oct 2016 5 6 (2), 25 (2), 26 1.5-1.8 km E, S, NE
Nov 2016 18 5, 6, 8, 10 (2), 11 (3), 12 (2), 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, 25 (2), 29 1.2-2.1, 3.0 km on 29 E, SW, SE, S, W
Dec 2016 4 13 (2), 16, 17 4.3 on 13, 1.8 km NE, SE, SW, W
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. The largest ash explosion of 2016 at Suwanosejima (viewed from the JMA "Parquet" webcam) occurred on 13 December 2016 and sent a plume to 4.3 km altitude (3,500 m above the crater rim). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary on Suwanosejima, December 2016).

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

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

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/).