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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Aira (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Agung (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Agung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kerinci (Indonesia) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent explosions with ash plumes, February-May 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Suwanosejima (Japan) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash plumes continued during January through June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Great Sitkin

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small steam explosions in early June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ibu (Indonesia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ebeko (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Yasur (Vanuatu) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Geologic Background. Yasur, the best-known and most frequently visited of the Vanuatu volcanoes, has been in more-or-less continuous Strombolian and Vulcanian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. This style of activity may have continued for the past 800 years. Located at the SE tip of Tanna Island, this mostly unvegetated pyroclastic cone has a nearly circular, 400-m-wide summit crater. The active cone is largely contained within the small Yenkahe caldera, and is the youngest of a group of Holocene volcanic centers constructed over the down-dropped NE flank of the Pleistocene Tukosmeru volcano. The Yenkahe horst is located within the Siwi ring fracture, a 4-km-wide, horseshoe-shaped caldera associated with eruption of the andesitic Siwi pyroclastic sequence. Active tectonism along the Yenkahe horst accompanying eruptions has raised Port Resolution harbor more than 20 m during the past century.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); The Captain Cook Society (URL: https://www.captaincooksociety.com/home/detail/225-years-ago-july-september-1774); Royal Museums Greenwich (URL: https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/13383.html); Wikimedia Commons, (URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Landing_at_Tana_one_of_the_New_Hebrides,_by_William_Hodges.jpg); Nick Page, Australia,Flickr: (URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/152585166@N08/).


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

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Emily Stanford (Twitter: https://twitter.com/NerdyBatLady, image posted at https://twitter.com/NerdyBatLady/status/1098052063009792001/photo/1).


Ambae (Vanuatu) — June 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Declining thermal activity and no explosions during February-May 2019

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

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

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

Geologic Background. The island of Ambae, also known as Aoba, is a massive 2500 km3 basaltic shield that is the most voluminous volcano of the New Hebrides archipelago. A pronounced NE-SW-trending rift zone dotted with scoria cones gives the 16 x 38 km island an elongated form. A broad pyroclastic cone containing three crater lakes (Manaro Ngoru, Voui, and Manaro Lakua) is located at the summit within the youngest of at least two nested calderas, the largest of which is 6 km in diameter. That large central edifice is also called Manaro Voui or Lombenben volcano. Post-caldera explosive eruptions formed the summit craters about 360 years ago. A tuff cone was constructed within Lake Voui (or Vui) about 60 years later. The latest known flank eruption, about 300 years ago, destroyed the population of the Nduindui area near the western coast.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Sangay (Ecuador) — July 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).

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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/).