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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

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake persists during July 2017-April 2018

Chillan, Nevados de (Chile) Hundreds of ash-bearing explosions; dome appears in crater in mid-December 2017

Marapi (Indonesia) Two explosions during April-May 2018 cause ashfall to the southeast

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Thermal anomalies show that lava lake remains active through May 2018

Ebeko (Russia) Ash explosions remained frequent through May 2018, with plumes typically rising more than 1 km

Langila (Papua New Guinea) Gradual decline in activity after July 2017, but continuing through May 2018

Pacaya (Guatemala) Pyroclastic cone fills MacKenney crater; lava flows emerge from fissures around the crater rim

Reventador (Ecuador) Near-daily explosions produce 1-km-high ash plumes and incandescent blocks on all flanks, October 2017-March 2018.

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Daily explosions with minor ash and block avalanches at Caliente, November 2017-April 2018

Sheveluch (Russia) Intermittent thermal anomalies along with gas and steam emissions continue through April 2018

Kikai (Japan) Elevated thermal activity during February-April 2018; one earthquake swarm in March

Dieng Volcanic Complex (Indonesia) Phreatic explosion on 1 April 2018 at Sileri Crater



Masaya (Nicaragua) — June 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake persists during July 2017-April 2018

Nicaragua's Volcan Masaya has an intermittent lava lake that has attracted visitors since the time of the Spanish Conquistadores; tephrochronology has dated eruptions back several thousand years. The unusual basaltic caldera has had historical explosive eruptions in addition to lava flows and actively circulating magma at the lava lake. An explosion in 2012 ejected ash to several hundred meters above the volcano, bombs as large as 60 cm fell around the crater, and ash fell to a thickness of 2 mm in some areas of the park. Brief incandescence and thermal anomalies of uncertain origin in April 2013 were followed by very little activity until the reemergence of the lava lake inside Santiago crater was reported in December 2015. By late March 2016 the lava lake had grown and intensified enough to generate a significant thermal anomaly signature (BGVN 41:08, figure 49) which persisted at a constant power level through April 2017 (BGVN 42:09, figure 53) with an increase in the number of thermal anomalies from November 2016 through April 2017. Although the MIROVA thermal anomaly signal decreased slightly in intensity during May 2017, INETER scientists reported continued strong convection at the lava lake. Similar activity continued throughout July 2017-April 2018 and is covered in this report with information provided by the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and satellite thermal data.

A persistent thermal signature in the MIROVA data during July 2017-April 2018 supported the visual observations of the active lava lake at the summit throughout this period (figure 58). MODVOLC thermal alerts were also issued every month, with the number of alerts ranging from a high of 17 in November 2017 to a low of six in April 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. MIROVA thermal data for Masaya for the year ending on 11 May 2018 showed a persistent and steady level of heat flow consistent with the observations of the active lava lake inside Santiago crater. Courtesy of MIROVA.

INETER made regular visits to the summit most months in coordination with specialists from several universities to gather SO2 data; CO2, H2S and gravity measurements were also taken during specific site visits. Thermal measurements around the lava lake inside Santiago crater taken on 24 February 2018 indicated temperatures ranging from 210-389°C. Seismicity remained very low throughout the period. The lava lake was actively convecting each time it was visited, and Pele's hair was abundant around the summit area (figures 59-64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. The lava lake at Masaya was actively convecting on 22 August 2017 when observed by INETER scientists. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua. Agosto, 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Pele's hair near the summit of Masaya on 22 August 2017. Scale is likely a few tens of centimeters. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua. Agosto, 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. The summit crater (Santiago) of Masaya with an active lava lake and fumarole plume (white circle) during 8-16 January 2018. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua. Enero, 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Thermal measurements of the lava lake inside Santiago crater at the summit of Masaya on 24 February 2018 indicated temperatures in the 210-389°C range. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua. Febrero, 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Nindiri plateau, the broad, flat area inside the summit crater of Masaya, was covered with Pele's hair and basaltic tephra on 6 March 2018. Courtesy of Carsten ten Brink.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. The lava lake inside Santiago crater at Masaya was actively convecting on 1 April 2018. Courtesy of Alexander Schimmeck.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Alexander Schimmeck, flickr (URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alschim/), photo used under Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) (URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/); Carsten ten Brink, flickr (URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/carsten_tb/), photo used under Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) (URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/).


Nevados de Chillan (Chile) — June 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevados de Chillan

Chile

36.868°S, 71.378°W; summit elev. 3180 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Hundreds of ash-bearing explosions; dome appears in crater in mid-December 2017

Nevados de Chillán is a complex of late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes constructed in the Chilean Central Andes. The Nuevo and Arrau craters are adjacent vents on the NW flank of the cone of the large stratovolcano referred to as Volcán Viejo. An eruption started with a phreatic explosion and ash emission on 8 January 2016 from a new crater on the E flank of Nuevo. Explosions continued through September 2017 with ash plumes rising several kilometers and Strombolian activity sending ejecta hundreds of meters (BGVN 42:10). This report covers continuing activity from September 2017-May 2018. Information for this report is provided by Chile's Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)-Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Oficina Nacional de Emergencia-Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI), and by the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

About 150 ash-bearing explosions were recorded during September and October 2017, with plumes rising almost 2 km above the summit. Activity decreased during the second half of October, and no ash plumes were recorded during November. A significant increase in activity in early December led to over 200 explosions with ash emissions. An overflight on 21 December 2017 produced images of a fissure at the bottom of the new crater. The presence of a growing lava dome in the crater was confirmed in early January 2018. Frequent Strombolian explosions produced nighttime incandescence at the summit and down the flanks. Hundreds of ash-bearing explosions occurred during February 2018; the largest plume rose 2.5 km above the summit, and many smaller pulses produced ash and steam that rose 1.5 km. Sporadic incandescence at night and continued explosions of magmatic gases were typical during March 2018. A large explosion on 31 March coincided with the first appearance of a low-level MODIS thermal anomaly in the MIROVA data, and incandescence from explosions at night indicated that the dome continued to grow during April and May. SERNAGEOMIN reported that the top of the lava dome was visible from the E flank for the first time at the end of May 2018.

Activity during September-December 2017. SERNAGEOMIN reported 117 ash-bearing explosions between 16 and 30 September 2017 (figure 17). The one that released the most energy occurred on 19 September. The plumes of steam and ash rose up to 1,800 m above the crater. The Buenos Aires VAAC observed a narrow plume of ash in satellite imagery moving N at 3.9 km altitude and dissipating rapidly on 15 September, and a similar plume moving SE near the summit on 26 September 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Over 100 ash-bearing explosions were reported at Nevados de Chillán during late September 2017, including ones on 15 September (upper left), 20 September (upper right), 23 September (lower left) and 24 September (lower right). Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

During the first two weeks of October 2017 there were 30 ash-bearing explosions recorded. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported small sporadic puffs of ash on 6 October 2017 that were visible in the webcam (figure 18), but not in satellite data, and a similar dense but short-lived plume on 14 October. SERNAGEOMIN reported a series of pulsating low-energy explosions visible in the webcam that drifted SW on 11 and 12 October 2017, and rose no more than 1 km above the summit.. Only two ash-bearing explosions were recorded during the second half of the month. The volcano was much quieter during November; plumes of steam were observed rising only 100 m above the summit throughout the month, with no ash-bearing plumes reported.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Ash plumes at Nevados de Chillán on 6 (left) and 11 (right) October 2017 were two of the 30 plumes recorded during the first half of October. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

A significant increase in activity in early December 2017 resulted in 245 explosions associated with ash emissions during the first two weeks, some rising as high as 3,000 m above the summit. The Buenos Aires VAAC reported a puff of ash on 1 December that rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted S, dissipating rapidly. The next day another plume rose slightly higher, to 4.3 km. A dense emission on 4 December rose to 4.9 km and drifted SE before dissipating in a few hours and was not visible in satellite data. On 11 and 14 December, short-lived emissions rose to 4.3 km (figure 19). A yellow cloud of sulfur formed on 11 December within 300 m of the active crater. The webcams also recorded sporadic nighttime incandescence during increased explosions in the early morning of 14 December. Continuous steam emissions with pulses of minor ash were first noted on 16 December; they were visible in satellite imagery the next day at 3.9-4.3 km altitude drifting NE, and by 18 December, consisted only of water vapor.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. An increase in explosive activity at Nevados de Chillán in December 2017 resulted in numerous explosions with ash plumes including on 1 December (upper left), 2 December (upper right), 4 December (lower left), and 11 December (lower right). Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

In a special report released on 19 December, OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported an increase in surface activity over the previous three days, recording minor explosions averaging four per hour, and seismic pulses lasting 5-10 minutes; they also noted harmonic tremor with the increase in explosion frequency. A detailed review of images taken during an overflight on 21 December revealed a fissure 30-40 m long trending NW at the bottom of the crater. Incandescence at night was regularly observed after 20 December (figure 20), and ash emissions rose to 3,000 m above the summit during the second half of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Phreatic explosions with steam and minor ash were common at Nevados de Chillán during the last two weeks of December 2017. Ash emissions and pyroclastic flows (top image) were noted during 12-19 December, and numerous incandescent blocks accompanied the explosions on 28 December (bottom image). Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Activity during January-April 2018. SERNAGEOMIN volcanologists identified a growing lava dome within the new crater during two overflights on 9 and 12 January 2018 (figures 21); it was emerging from the fissure first identified on 21 December. During the first two weeks of January SERNAGEOMIN reported 1,027 pulsating explosions associated primarily with magmatic gases, and very little ash that rose up to 1,000 m above the summit. Confirmed ash emissions were reported on 11 January at 4.3 km altitude faintly visible moving SE in satellite imagery, according to the Buenos Aires VAAC. Nighttime incandescence from the growing dome was periodically observed (figure 22). Based on the overflight data and satellite imagery, they calculated a growth rate for the dome of 1,360 m3 per day. They estimated the size at 37,000 m3 by mid-month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. During an overflight at Nevados de Chillán on 9 January 2018, SERNAGEOMIN scientists observed the growing dome within the crater. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Incandescence at night increased from the growing dome at Nevados de Chillán on 13 January 2018. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Overflights on 23 and 31 January measured temperatures of 305-480°C over the surface of the dome, with the highest values at the fissure. The growth rate calculated after these overflights was 2,540 m3 per day. The webcam revealed emissions of ash and water vapor during the second half of the month that rose less than 1,000 m above the summit crater.

An explosion on 2 February 2018 sent an ash plume to 2,500 m above the summit (figure 23). Vibrations from the explosion were reported in Las Trancas (10 km) and at the Gran Hotel Termas de Chillan (5 km). SERNAGEOMIN began referring to the active crater as Nicanor, and the dome was named Gil-Cruz. During the first two weeks of February, 840 explosions associated with plumes of magmatic gases were reported. The plumes generally rose as high as 1,500 m above the summit and were often accompanied by incandescence at night. Two overflights on 7 and 14 February recorded temperatures of 500 and 550°C. SERNAGEOMIN determined a dome growth rate of 1,389 m3 per day, and a total volume of 82,500 m3 by mid-month. At least four explosions on 14 February were characterized by two simultaneous plumes, one of white steam and the other darker with a higher ash content according to SERNAGEOMIN. The highest plume that day reached 1,200 m above the summit crater. The Buenos Aires VAAC also reported a small pulse of ash on 14 February that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted SE. The dome continued to grow slowly during the rest of February, with a small increase in size noted during a 22 February flyover. Plumes of mostly water vapor with minor ash rose a maximum of 1,080 m above the summit during the hundreds of small explosions that took place.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. A substantial explosion on 2 February 2018 at Nevados de Chillán sent an ash plume 2,500 m above the summit and generated vibrations that were felt 10 km from the summit. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Sporadic incandescence at night and continued explosions of magmatic gases were typical during March 2018, with plume heights reaching 2,000 m over the Nicanor crater. During an overflight on 11 March, a temperature of 330°C was measured around the Gil-Cruz dome, which had grown to a volume of about 100,000 m3 but still remained below the crater rim. Morphological changes in the still-slowly growing dome included fracture lines and unstable large vertical blocks. A significant decrease in seismic energy was noted beginning on 24 March that ended when two larger explosions occurred on 30 and 31 March (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. A substantial explosion on 31 March 2018 at Nevados de Chillán generated distinct ash and steam plumes (top) and sent several large blocks down the flanks (bottom). Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

During an overflight on 3 April 2018, scientists observed energetic pulses of steam and minor ash from the central NW-SE trending fissure inside the crater. They noted that lapilli from explosions had been ejected as far as 1 km from the fissure, and that the Gil-Cruz dome had increased in volume since 11 March; they also observed an area of subsidence on the top of the growing dome (figure 25). The dome was expanding toward the E side of the crater, and the top of the dome rose above the crater rim. They measured a maximum temperature of 670°C on the surface of the dome. The decrease in daily seismicity, the larger explosions of the previous days, and the increased size of the dome with greater risk of collapse, pyroclastic flows, and lahars, all led SERNAGEOMIN to raise the alert level at Chillan to Orange on 5 April 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. The growing lava dome at Nevados de Chillán, referred to as Gil-Cruz, had an active steam plume at the center when photographed by SERNAGEOMIN during an overflight on 3 April 2018. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

The Buenos Aires VAAC reported continuous emissions of steam and gas with minor ash along with a small pulse of ash on 2 April 2018. Low-altitude plumes of mostly water vapor were common throughout April 2018. Incandescence from explosions was visible on clear nights during the month, and ejecta rose as high as 250 m above the crater and was scattered around the crater rim. Seismicity remained constant at moderate levels related to the repeated explosions and the growth of the dome. A faint ash plume could be seen in visible satellite imagery on 18 April at 3.7 km altitude drifting E.

Observations reported on 1 May 2018 from the previous flyover indicated that the rate of growth of the dome had slowed to about 690 m3 per day, and the estimated volume had grown to about 150,000 m3. Activity remained at similar levels throughout May 2018. Seismic instruments recorded long-period seismicity and tremor episodes similar to previous months that corresponded with surface explosions and the extrusion of the lava dome. Seismic energy levels were moderate but fluctuated at times. Plumes of predominantly water vapor with minor gas rose a few hundred meters above the summit drifting generally S or SE before dissipating. Incandescence was often observed on clear nights, accompanied by ejection of incandescent blocks that were observed generally 100 to 150 m above the active crater. A larger explosive event took place on 7 May. Occasional plumes with minor ash were reported on 11 May. SERNAGEOMIN reported on 24 May 2018 that the top of the lava dome was visible from the E flank.

Geologic Background. The compound volcano of Nevados de Chillán is one of the most active of the Central Andes. Three late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes were constructed along a NNW-SSE line within three nested Pleistocene calderas, which produced ignimbrite sheets extending more than 100 km into the Central Depression of Chile. The largest stratovolcano, dominantly andesitic, Cerro Blanco (Volcán Nevado), is located at the NW end of the group. Volcán Viejo (Volcán Chillán), which was the main active vent during the 17th-19th centuries, occupies the SE end. The new Volcán Nuevo lava-dome complex formed between 1906 and 1945 between the two volcanoes and grew to exceed Volcán Viejo in elevation. The Volcán Arrau dome complex was constructed SE of Volcán Nuevo between 1973 and 1986 and eventually exceeded its height.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); Oficina Nacional de Emergencia - Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI), Beaucheff 1637/1671, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.onemi.cl/); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); 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/).


Marapi (Indonesia) — June 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Marapi

Indonesia

0.38°S, 100.474°E; summit elev. 2885 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Two explosions during April-May 2018 cause ashfall to the southeast

The Marapi volcano on Sumatra (not to be confused with the better known Merapi volcano on Java) previously erupted on 4 June 2017, generating dense ash-and-steam plumes that rose as high as 700 m above the crater and caused minor ashfall in a nearby district (BGVN 42:10). The volcano is monitored by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation or CVGHM).

On 27 April 2018, a phreatic explosion produced an ash plume that rose 300 m above the crater rim (figure 8); a thin ash deposit was reported in the Cubadak area (Tanah Datar Regency), about 12 km SE. Another explosion at 0703 on 2 May 2018 (figure 9) produced a voluminous dense gray ash plume that rose 4 km above the crater rim and drifted SE; seismic data recorded by PVMBG indicated that the event lasted just over 8 minutes (485 seconds).

The Alert Level has remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), where it has been since August 2011. Residents and visitors have been advised not to enter an area within 3 km of the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Ash plume from a phreatic explosion at Marapi on 27 April 2018. Courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (BNPB).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. An explosion from Marapi on 2 May 2018 sent an ash plume to a height of 4 km. Courtesy of PVMBG.

Geologic Background. Gunung Marapi, not to be confused with the better-known Merapi volcano on Java, is Sumatra's most active volcano. This massive complex stratovolcano rises 2000 m above the Bukittinggi plain in the Padang Highlands. A broad summit contains multiple partially overlapping summit craters constructed within the small 1.4-km-wide Bancah caldera. The summit craters are located along an ENE-WSW line, with volcanism migrating to the west. More than 50 eruptions, typically consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been recorded since the end of the 18th century; no lava flows outside the summit craters have been reported in historical time.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/).


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — June 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies show that lava lake remains active through May 2018

As has been the case since at least 1971, the active lava lake in the summit crater of Nyiragongo was present during a tourist visit in June 2017, and seismicity was recorded in the crater in October 2017 (BGVN 42:11). Thermal data from satellite-based instruments shows that an open lava lake remained through 23 May 2018. MIROVA analysis of MODIS satellite thermal data (figure 64) shows nearly daily strong thermal anomalies. Similarly, MODVOLC alerts for the same time period shows a consistently frequent number of anomalies (figure 65).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Thermal anomaly MIROVA plot of log radiative power at Nyiragongo for the year ending 23 May 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Map showing MODVOLC alert pixels at Nyiragongo, reflecting MODIS satellite thermal data, for the year ending 23 May 2018. Each pixel shows a thermal alert for a ground area of about 1.5 km2. Nyiragongo (many pixels) is in the center of the map, and Nyamuragira volcano (fewer pixels) is about 13 km to the NNW. Courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

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. In contrast to the low profile of its neighboring shield volcano, Nyamuragira, 3470-m-high Nyiragongo displays the steep slopes of a stratovolcano. 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: 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/).


Ebeko (Russia) — June 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash explosions remained frequent through May 2018, with plumes typically rising more than 1 km

The most recent eruption at Ebeko, a remote volcano in the Kuril Islands, began in October 2016 (BGVN 42:08) with explosive eruptions accompanied by ashfall. Frequent ash explosions were observed through November 2017 and the eruption remained ongoing at that time (BGVN 43:03). Activity consisting of explosive eruptions, ash plumes, and ashfalls continued during December 2017 through May 2018 (table 6). Eruptions were observed by residents in Severo-Kurilsk (about 7 km E), by volcanologists, and based on satellite imagery. The Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) is responsible for monitoring Ebeko, and is the primary source of information. The Aviation Color Code (ACC) remained at Orange throughout this reporting period. This color is the second highest level of the four color scale.

Table 6. Summary of activity at Ebeko volcano from December 2017 to May 2018. Aviation Color Code (ACC) is a 4-color scale. Data courtesy of KVERT

Date Plume Altitude Plume Distance Plume Direction Other observations
1-4 and 7 Dec 2017 2 km -- -- ACC at Orange. Ashfall reported in Severo-Kurilisk. Explosions on 2-4 and 7 Dec.
8, 9, 11 Dec 2017 2.3 km -- -- Explosions.
16, 18-19, and 21-22 Dec 2017 3.5 km 16 km SSW Explosions. Ash plume and weak thermal anomaly on 16 Dec.
25 Dec 2017 1.5 km -- -- Explosion.
01-05 Jan 2018 -- -- -- No activity noted.
08-10 Jan 2018 2.5 km -- -- Explosions.
11-12, 14-16, and 18 Jan 2018 3.1 km -- -- Explosion. Minor ashfall reported in Severo-Kurilsk on 15,16, and 18 Jan.
22-23 Jan 2018 2 km -- -- Explosions.
26-27 and 29-31 Jan 2018 2.5 km -- -- Explosions. Ashfall reported in Severo-Kurilsk on 29 Jan.
05-08 Feb 2018 2.4 km -- -- Explosions. Ashfall reported in Severo-Kurilisk on 8 Feb.
09-10 and 14 Feb 2018 2.2 km -- -- Explosions.
17-18 and 20-21 Feb 2018 2.4 km -- -- Explosions. Ashfall reported in Severo-Kurilisk on 17-18 Feb.
23-25 and 27-28 Feb 2018 3.3 km -- -- Explosions.
06 Mar 2018 1.7 km -- -- Explosions.
12-13 Mar 2018 2.7 km -- -- Explosions.
18 and 21-22 Mar 2018 1.8 km -- -- Explosions. Ashfall reported in Severo-Kurilisk on 17 and 21 Mar.
23-25 and 28-29 Mar 2018 2.3 km -- -- Explosions.
31 Mar-06 Apr 2018 2.7 km -- -- Explosions.
07 and 11-12 Apr 2018 1.8 km -- -- Explosions. Ashfall reported in Severo-Kurilisk on 6 Apr.
15 and 17-19 Apr 2018 2.6 km -- -- Explosions.
21 and 25 Apr 2018 2.5 km -- -- Explosions.
01-03 May 2018 2.8 km -- -- Explosions.
04 and 06-10 May 2018 2.4 km -- -- Explosions.
12-14 May 2018 2.8 km 21 km SW Explosions. Ash plume drifted SW on 13 May.

Minor ash explosions were reported throughout the period from December 2017 through May 2018 (figure 17). Minor amounts of ash fell in Severo-Kurilisk at the end of 2017 and into 2018. Ash was reported on 2-4, and 7 December 2017; 15, 16, 18, and 29 January 2018; 8, 17, and18 February; 17 and 21 March; and 6 April. Ash plume altitudes during this reporting period ranged from 1.5 to 3.5 km (table 6); the summit is at 1.1 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Explosions from Ebeko sent ash up to an altitude of 1.5 km, or about 400 m above the summit, on 6 February 2018. Courtesy of T. Kotenko (IVS FEB RAS).

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/); 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/).


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — June 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Langila

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gradual decline in activity after July 2017, but continuing through May 2018

Langila, one of the most active volcanoes of New Britain (figure 7), has been intermittently ejecting ash since April 2016 (BGVN 42:09). Volcanic ash warnings continue to be issued by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). Recent ash plume altitudes (table 5) are in the range of 1.5-2.5 km, but several in mid-April to mid-May 2018 reached up to twice that level. Thermal anomaly data acquired by satellite-based MODIS instruments showed a gradual decrease in power level and occurrence through mid- to late-2017, followed by significantly fewer alerts and anomalies in the first half of 2018. Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) data indicates the activity during 2017 was primarily located in Crater 2 (northern-most crater).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Satellite imagery showing Langila volcano at the far NW end of New Britain island. The brown color of recent lava flows and other volcanic deposits are easily noticeable compared to green vegetated areas. The volcano is about 9 km due south of the community labeled Poini. Imagery in this view is from sources listed on the image; courtesy of Google Earth.

Table 5. Reported data by Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) on ash plume altitude and drift from Langila based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind model data between 21 June 2017 and 28 May 2018.

Dates Ash Plume Altitude (km) Ash Plume Drift Other Observations
07 Aug 2017 2.1 55 km NW --
09 Aug 2017 1.8 N --
16 Aug 2017 2.1 NW --
01-02 Sep 2017 1.8 N, NW --
07-08, 10-12 Sep 2017 1.8-2.4 NNW, NW, SW --
22-23 Sep 2017 2.1 NNW --
04 Oct 2017 1.8 N Minor ash emission
11, 15-16 Oct 2017 1.8-2.1 NE, NNW, NW --
17-18, 20 Oct 2017 1.5-1.8 NE, NNW, NW --
05 Nov 2017 3.7 SE, ESE --
15-16 Nov 2017 1.8-2.7 S, SW --
15 Apr 2018 3.7 S --
24 Apr 2018 4 SW Ash dissipated in 6 hours
13 May 2018 5.5 W At 0709; ash dissipated in 6 hours
17-18, 21-22 May 2018 2.1-2.4 WSW, W, WNW --
23, 26-28 May 2018 2.4-3 WSW, W, NW --

MIROVA analysis of thermal anomalies measured by MODIS satellite sensors show a gradual decline of radiative power from early June 2017 to the end of the year (figure 8). Sporadic low-power anomalies occurred in January, April, and May 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Thermal anomalies from MODIS data analyzed by MIROVA, plotted as log radiative power vs time for the year ending 6 June 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Thermal alerts from MODVOLC analyses were concentrated between early June 2017 and late September 2017 (figure 9), with only one pixel being measured in 2018 through early June, that alert being on 5 January 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Map showing thermal anomalies from MODIS data analyzed by MODVOLC for the year ending 6 June 2018. Courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

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

Information Contacts: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea.


Pacaya (Guatemala) — May 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Pyroclastic cone fills MacKenney crater; lava flows emerge from fissures around the crater rim

Extensive lava flows, bomb-laden Strombolian explosions, and ash plumes emerging from MacKenney crater have characterized persistent activity at Pacaya since 1961. The latest eruptive episode began with intermittent ash plumes and incandescence in June 2015; the growth of a new pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater was confirmed in mid-December 2015. Strombolian activity from the cone continued during 2016 and it grew sporadically through September 2017 (BGVN 42:12). Lava flows first emerged from fissures around the summit during January-April 2017. Explosions from the cone summit caused growth and destruction of the top of the cone; by the end of September it was about 10 m above the elevation of the crater rim. This report describes the continued growth of the pyroclastic cone and the increasing emergence of lava flows around the summit during October 2017-March 2018. Information was provided primarily by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH) and satellite thermal data.

Thermal activity was relatively quiet at Pacaya during October and November 2017. The pyroclastic cone inside MacKenney crater continued to grow as material from Strombolian explosions sent ejecta a few tens of meters above the cone and onto its flanks, slowly filling the area within the crater. In late November, small lava flows began to emerge from the crater. Material flowed from the 2010 fissure on the NW side of the crater, and also appeared from new lateral fissures on the W and SW flanks. Multiple small short-lived lava flows traveled a few hundred meters down the flanks with increasing frequency during January through March 2018. Strombolian activity from the summit of the cone occasionally reached over 100 m; by the end of March, the summit of the cone remained about 25 m above the crater rim, and much of the crater was filled with ejecta (figure 84).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. A satellite image of Pacaya dated 7 March 2018 shows MacKenney crater at the summit nearly full of ejecta from the growing pyroclastic cone, and at least two small steam plumes on the SW flank from fissures that show dark traces of recent fresh lava. Courtesy of DigitalGlobe and Google Earth.

Activity during October-December 2017. Activity during October 2017 consisted primarily of degassing with small plumes of steam and gas rising 100 m above the summit, and weak Strombolian explosions. . By the end of the month, the cone inside MacKenney crater rose about 10 m above the crater rim. At night, incandescent ejecta could be seen 25-100 m above the summit of the cone. During the last week of October strong winds dispersed the plumes SW and SE, and ashfall was reported 2 km from the crater in El Rodeo.

Steam and gas plumes generally rose no more than 25 m above the summit for the first 20 days of November 2017. Beginning on 21 November, more substantial steam and gas plumes, rising 500 m, were observed in the webcam (figure 85). An increase in tremor activity on 28 November coincided with an increase in explosive activity, a gray ash plume, and the appearance of a small lava flow on the NW flank that extended about 30 m. By the end of the month the cone had reached about 25 m above the rim of MacKenney crater and continued to grow from the accumulation of tephra fragments ranging in size from one millimeter to 50 cm that were ejected 25-100 m above the summit (figure 86). Explosions could be heard up to 1 km from the cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. A steam plumes rises about 500 m above the summit of Pacaya on 21 November 2017. Courtesy of Michigan Technological University and INSIVUMEH (Departamento de Investigación y servicios Geofísicos, Informe mensual de la actividad volcánica, novembre 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. The pyroclastic cone at Pacaya had nearly filled MacKenney Crater by 17 November 2017 (upper photo). An explosion from the summit of the cone with ash and ejecta was captured by the thermal camera on 17 November (lower image). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Departamento de Investigación y servicios Geofísicos, Informe mensual de la actividad volcánica, novembre 2017).

Strombolian explosions rising to 25 m continued in early December. On 10 December 2017, INSIVUMEH noted that there were two lava flows, one flowing on the SE flank with a length of 50-75 m and a second flowing NW towards Cerro Chino for 75-100 m. Strombolian explosions were reported 100 m above the summit of the cone on 15 December, and 25-50 m high on 25 December. The flow on the NW flank was about 100 m long on 26 December.

Activity during January-March 2018. Weak Strombolian activity continued from the cone during January 2018 with ejecta reaching 50 m above the summit. Small lava flows on the NW flank, generally only a few tens of meters long, were visible as incandescence at night (figure 87). While the height of the cone inside MacKenney crater remained about 25 m above the crater rim, material from the continuing low-level explosions had filled a large area of the crater by the end of the month. Blocks up to 1 m in diameter were also dislodged by the tremors and flow activity on the SW flank of MacKenney crater (figure 88). An increase in explosive activity beginning on 20 January resulted in audible explosions heard 2 km from the cone and fine ash deposited on the flanks. A new, larger flow also emerged from the crater early on 20 January and descended about 400 m down the SW flank, with material spalling off the front as it cooled. The following day, low-level Strombolian activity continued, and the flow remained active 200 m down the SW flank. During the last few days of January, the flow rate decreased, and the active flow was only 25 m long (figure 89).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Incandescence from the summit of Pacaya on 8 January 2018, viewed from the SW flank, was caused by Strombolian activity and lava flows. Photo by Instagram user @cesiasocoy, courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Departamento de Investigación y servicios Geofísicos, Informe mensual de la actividad volcánica, enero 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Low-level Strombolian activity sent ejecta up to 50 m above the summit of the cone at MacKenney crater on Pacaya during most of January 2018. The top of the cone inside the crater was just visible above the crater rim at the summit in this view from the NW flank taken on 17 January 2018. White blocks at the base of the SW slope on the right of the image are recently dislodged, 1-m-diameter blocks. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Departamento de Investigación y servicios Geofísicos, Informe mensual de la actividad volcánica, enero 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Lava flows on the SW flank of Pacaya on 25 January 2018, photographed by Instagram user @Carolinegod1. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Departamento de Investigación y servicios Geofísicos, Informe mensual de la actividad volcánica, enero 2018).

Low-level steam and occasional gas plumes rising up to 300 m above the summit were typical during February 2018 (figure 90). In addition, intermittent lava flows continued to travel tens to a few hundred meters down the S, SW, and W flanks. A 25-m-long flow was observed on the SW flank on 2 February. On 8 February, a 150-m-long flow was noted, also on the SW flank. INSIVUMEH reported a 300-m-long lava flow from the NW area of crater on 9 February in the region of the 2010 fissure; it traveled NW towards Cerro Chino crater. A flow 75-100 m long was observed on the SW flank on 10 February; the next day 150-m-long flows were visible on both the SW and W flanks. Flows on both flanks were 100 m long on 12 February. A 30-m-long flow appeared on the SW flank on 13 February. The flow on the NW flank that began on 9 February was 20-m-wide and only 50 m long during the afternoon of 14 February. A flow was also visible on 14 February extending 250 m down the SW flank (figure 91).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. A vigorous steam plume rose 300 m from the summit of the pyroclastic cone inside MacKenney crater at Pacaya during February 2018. The top of the cone was just visible above the crater rim in this view from the NW. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Departamento de Investigación y servicios Geofísicos, Informe mensual de la actividad volcánica, febrero 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Steaming lava flowed on the SW flank of Pacaya on 14 February 2018 and dislodged loose debris on the slope. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Departamento de Investigación y servicios Geofísicos, Informe mensual de la actividad volcánica, febrero 2018).

Multiple lava flows on the SW flank ranged from 50-200 m long during 15-20 February. A flow on the W flank grew from 25 to 150 m during 17-23 February (figure 92). A flow reached 500 m down the SW flank on 25 February and after flow-front collapses was still 300 m long by the end of the month. A new surge of lava on 27 February emerged from the fissure on the NW flank of MacKenney crater and traveled 150 m towards Cerro Chino crater. Explosive activity remained constant; weak explosions, generally 3-5 times per hour, scattered ejecta on the flanks of the cone and created incandescence at night that often reached 15-35 m above the cone. The explosions also generated weak avalanches that sent material up to 1 m in diameter down the S and SW flanks to an area frequented by park visitors. Explosions were sometimes heard up to 3 km from the crater. Strombolian explosions increased in height towards the end of the month; they were reported at 150 m above the summit on 26 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. A lava flow emerged from a fissure on the W flank of Pacaya on 18 February 2018 and was imaged with a thermal camera as it traveled 150 m down the flank. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Departamento de Investigación y servicios Geofísicos, Informe mensual de la actividad volcánica, febrero 2018).

Strombolian activity and persistent lava flows throughout March 2018 resulted in continued growth of the pyroclastic cone within the MacKenney crater. Low-level steam and gas plumes generally rose a few tens of meters above the summit; occasional plumes rose as high as 500 m. Small lateral fissures near the crater rim produced repeated small lava flows that generally flowed less than 250 m SW and W. Weak explosions averaging 3-5 per hour sent ejecta 10-50 m above the pyroclastic cone.

During the first week of March, flows on the SW flank were active as far as 500 m down the flank. A flow on 4 March was 65 m long, and one on 5 March ranged from 50-200 m long (figure 93). During the second week, two flows were active to 300 m down the W flank, and two others on the SW flank were 150-200 m long. A flow was reported 200 m down the E flank on 16 March. Multiple lava flows were visible during 17-23 March; one traveled 250 m down the SW flank, two others went 150 m down the W flank and remained active through the end of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Landsat satellite imagery from 5 March 2018 shows a thermal anomaly from a SW-directed lava flow at Pacaya, about 250 m long. Landsat 8 image processed by Rudiger Escobar (Michigan Technological University), courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Departamento de Investigación y servicios Geofísicos, Informe mensual de la actividad volcánica, marzo 2018).

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/).


Reventador (Ecuador) — May 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Near-daily explosions produce 1-km-high ash plumes and incandescent blocks on all flanks, October 2017-March 2018.

Historical records of eruptions at Ecuador's Volcán El Reventador date back to 1541 and include numerous lava flows and explosive events (figure 74). 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. Persistent ash emissions and incandescent block avalanches characterized activity during January-September 2017 with large pyroclastic and lava flows during June and August (BGVN 43:01). Explosions that produced ash plumes and incandescent blocks continued throughout October 2017-March 2018. Information is provided primarily by the Instituto Geofisico-Escuela Politecnicia Nacional (IG-EPN) of Ecuador, the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and also from satellite-based MODIS infrared data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Aerial image of Reventador's inner caldera with its pyroclastic cone emitting a plume of steam and ash. View is looking to the W. Photograph taken during 1-7 December 2017, copyright by Martin Rietze and used with permission.

Persistent, near-daily ash emissions were typical for Reventador during October 2017-March 2018 (figure 75). In general, the plumes drifted W and NW over sparsely populated nearby areas, but occasional wind-direction changes resulted in ashfall in larger communities within 30 km to the S and SW. The plume heights were commonly 1,000 m above the summit, with the highest plume rising 5 km (to 8.5 km altitude) in October. Most days that the summit and slopes were not obscured by weather clouds, there were observations of incandescent blocks falling at least 300-500 m down the flanks. Larger explosions generated Strombolian fountains and incandescent blocks that traveled 800 m down the flanks every week, even farther on occasion (figure 76). Heavy rains caused one lahar in late November; no damage was reported. Small pyroclastic flows on the flanks were observed once or twice each month (figure 77). The lava flows of June and August 2017 continued to cool on the flanks (figure 78). Thermal activity was somewhat higher during October 2017 with 19 MODVOLC thermal alerts issued, but it remained constant throughout the rest of the period with 8-11 alerts each month. The MIROVA radiative power data showed a similar pattern of moderate, ongoing activity during this time.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. A dense ash plume rose from Reventador during the first week of December 2017, viewed from a shelter 3.5 km E of the summit. Photograph taken during 1-7 December 2017, copyright by Martin Rietze and used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Incandescent blocks rolled hundreds of meters down the flanks of Reventador during the first week of December 2017. Photograph taken during 1-7 December 2017, copyright by Martin Rietze and used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. A small pyroclastic flow traveled down the flank of Reventador during the first week of December 2017 while an ash plume rose about 1 km above the summit. Photograph taken during 1-7 December 2017, copyright by Martin Rietze and used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. The lava flows from June and August 2017 were still cooling on the flanks of Reventador during the first week of December 2017. Photograph taken during 1-7 December 2017, copyright by Martin Rietze and used with permission.

Activity during October-December 2017. The Washington VAAC issued ash advisories every day but one during October 2017. IGEPN reported near-daily emissions of ash, with plumes rising over 1,000 m many days of the month and rising to 500-800 m the other days. Plume drift directions were generally W or NW. Incandescence at the summit crater was visible on most nights, and incandescent block avalanches were seen rolling 400-800 m down the flanks during 15 nights of the month. Explosive activity intensified for several days near the end of the month (figure 79). A possible pyroclastic flow traveled down the SE flank in the morning of 24 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Strombolian explosions from two vents at the summit and incandescence on the SE flank of Reventador were captured on 24 October 2017 by B. Bernard. Photo taken from the Hosteria Reventador, 7.2 km SE from the summit. Courtesy of IGEPN (Informe Especial del Volcán El Reventador – 2017 – No. 5, Actualización de la actividad del volcán, 30 de octubre del 2017).

IGEPN scientists in the field during 23-25 October 2017 noted a high level of explosive activity with loud noises and vibrations felt in the vicinity of Hostería Reventador, about 7.2 km SE of the volcano. Thermal imaging data gathered during their trip indicated that the maximum temperatures of the explosions were over 500°C and that the lava flows of June and August were much cooler with temperatures ranging between 100 and 150°C (figure 80). A dense ash plume rose to more than 2,800 m above the summit and drifted N and E on 25 October (figure 81).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Thermal imaging at Reventador on 24 October 2017 indicated that the temperatures of explosions were over 500°C, and that the lava flows of June and August 2017 were much cooler, around 100-150°C. Image taken by M. Almeida from the Hosteria Reventador, 7.2 km SE from the summit. Courtesy of IGEPN (Informe Especial del Volcán El Reventador – 2017 – No. 5, Actualización de la actividad del volcán, 30 de octubre del 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. A dense ash plume rose at least 2,800 m above the summit of Reventador on 25 October 2017 and drifted NE. Photo by B Bernard, courtesy of IGEPN (Informe Especial del Volcán El Reventador – 2017 – No. 5, Actualización de la actividad del volcán, 30 de octubre del 2017).

The Washington VAAC reported numerous ash emissions during 24-26 October 2017 at altitudes of 5.8-6.1 km, drifting N and NE from the summit about 35 km. IGEPN reported continuing ash emissions beginning on 27 October that lasted for several days, including observations that day of a plume that rose to 4,900 m above the summit. The Washington VAAC reported the plume at 8.5 km altitude, the highest for the period of this report. During the last few days of October, the wind changed to the S, resulting in reports of moderate ashfall in Napo province in the towns of San Luis, San Carlos (9 km S), El Salado (14 km S), El Chaco (33 km SW), and Gonzalo Díaz de Pineda (El Bombón, 26 km SW).

Persistent ash emissions continued during November 2017 along with observations of incandescence at the summit crater. Plumes of steam, gas, and ash were reported over 600 m above the summit throughout the month; the Washington VAAC issued multiple daily aviation alerts with plume heights averaging 4.3-4.9 km altitude, usually drifting W. Higher altitude plumes over 6.0 km were reported a few times with the highest during 11-12 November rising to 6.7 km. There were reports in the morning of 1 November of ashfall in Borja and San Louis (SE) and on 4 November of minor ashfall in the communities adjacent to the volcano. Incandescent blocks were seen rolling 300 m down the flanks during 7-9 November. Heavy rains on 20 November resulted in a lahar on the E flank. During 22-27 November blocks rolled as far as 800 m down all the flanks, with many on the S and SE flanks (figure 82).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Steam, gas, and ash plumes, and incandescent blocks rolling down the flanks were common occurrences at Reventador throughout November 2017. Top: An ash and steam plume on 22 November 2017 rose over 600 m and drifted W. Bottom: Incandescent blocks rolled as far as 800 m down the flanks on 23 November 2017, mostly on the S and SE flanks. Courtesy of IGEPN webcam (Informe Diario del Estado del Volcán Reventador Nos. 2017-326, and 2017-327).

Although multiple daily aviation alerts continued throughout December 2017 from the Washington VAAC, weather clouds often prevented satellite observations of the ash plumes. When visible, plume heights were generally 4-5 km altitude, drifting W or NW; the highest plume on 17 December reached 5.5 km and drifted WNW before dissipating. IGEPN noted incandescence at the summit on almost all nights it was visible; incandescent blocks traveled as far as 900 m down all the flanks on 11 December, and 400-800 m most nights. They also reported ash plumes rising more than 600 m above the summit 24 days of the month. A video of typical activity at Reventador was taken by Martin Rietze during 1-7 December 2017, along with numerous excellent photographs (figures 83-85).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Strombolian explosions at Reventador during the first week of December 2017 sent showers of incandescent debris skyward (upper photo) before sending larger incandescent blocks hundreds of meters down the flanks of the cone (lower photo) while a dense ash plume rose from the summit area. Photographs taken during 1-7 December 2017, copyright by Martin Rietze and used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Lightning strikes were photographed within the dense ash plumes that rose from the summit of Reventador during the first week of December 2017. Photograph copyright by Martin Rietze and used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Explosions at Reventador during the first week of December 2017 produced dense ash plumes and small pyroclastic flows down multiple flanks. The flanks were bare at the beginning of the ash emission event (upper photo) but small pyroclastic flows can be seen descending the flanks a few moments later (lower photo). Photograph taken during 1-7 December 2017, copyright by Martin Rietze and used with permission.

Activity during January-March 2018. Except for several cloudy days during the third week of January 2018 when no observations were possible, IGEPN reported recurring emissions of steam, gas, and ash rising over 600 m and drifting mostly W or NW throughout the month. During 11-12 January ash plumes briefly drifted E. Incandescent block avalanches were reported most often traveling 200-400 m down the S and SE flanks; a few times they travelled up to 800 m down all the flanks. Other than the cloudy days of 20-24 January, the Washington VAAC issued multiple daily aviation alerts. When ash plumes were visible in satellite imagery, plume altitudes ranged from 4.3-4.9 km, except for 30-31 January when they were reported at 5.2 km (figure 86).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Ash plumes and incandescent blocks were reported numerous times at Reventador during January 2018. Top left: Steam, gas, and ash were reported rising over 600 m and drifting NW and E on 2 January. Top right: on 3 January, the drift directions of the steam, gas, and ash plumes were W and NE. Lower left: Incandescent blocks were reported travelling 800 m down all the flanks on 12 January. Lower right: Ash plumes on 30 January were reported by the Washington VAAC at 5.2 km altitude, the highest during the month; they drifted N and W. Courtesy of IGEPN (Informe Diario del Estado del Volcán Reventador, Nos. 2018-2, 2018-3, 2018-12, and 2018-30).

Multiple daily aviation alerts continued from the Washington VAAC throughout February 2018. While daily plume heights mostly averaged 4.3-4.9 km altitude, there were a greater number of higher-altitude ash plumes than during recent months. A plume on 5 February was reported at 6.1 km drifting 15 km N and a plume the following day drifted 30 km ENE at 7.6 km altitude. A plume on 16 February rose to 5.5 km and drifted 55 km NW; one on 22 February rose to 7.0 km and drifted almost 100 km SE before dissipating. The next day, a plume rose to 5.5 km and drifted 35 km SE. Two separate plumes were observed in satellite imagery drifting NE on 25 February, the first rose to 5.5 km and drifted 110 km and the second rose to 6.4 km and drifted 45 km before dissipating. IGEPN reported a plume of steam, gas, and ash on 27 February that rose over 1,000 m above the summit and drifted NE. Although IGEPN only reported incandescent avalanche blocks on 11 days in February, more likely occurred because the view was obscured by weather clouds for 14 days of the month.

Minor ashfall in the vicinity of the volcano was reported by IGEPN on 1 March 2018. They also noted steam and gas plumes containing moderate amounts of ash that rose over 2,000 m above the summit and drifted SW and S that day (figure 87). IGEPN reported ash emissions around 600 m or higher above the summit on 21 days during the month. In addition to persistent incandescent activity at the summit, avalanche blocks rolled down all the flanks 800 m numerous times. A pyroclastic flow was reported 400 m down the S flank on 13 March (figure 88). Incandescent blocks rolled 1,000 m down all the flanks on 22 March. Other than a plume reported in satellite imagery at 5.8 km moving E on 26 March, all of the ash plumes reported by the Washington VAAC during March ranged from 3.9-4.9 km altitude and generally drifted NW or W.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. A plume of steam, gas, and ash rose from Reventador on 1 March 2018; IGEPN reported it as rising over 2,000 m above the summit and drifting SW and S. A small pyroclastic flow also appeared to descend the flank. Courtesy of IGEPN (Informe Diario del Estado del Volcán Reventador, No. 2018-60).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Continued explosions at Reventador during March 2018 produced abundant incandescent avalanche blocks, ash plumes, and a few pyroclastic flows. Top: Abundant incandescent blocks rolled 800 m down all the flanks on 6 March 2018. Bottom: An ash plume rose over 600 m above the summit and drifted NW while a pyroclastic flow traveled 400 m down the S flank on 13 March 2018. Courtesy of IGEPN (Informe Diario del Estado del Volcán Reventador, Nos. 2018-65 and 2018-72).

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, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IGEPN), 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/); Martin Rietze (URL: http://mrietze.com/web16/Ecuador17.htm).


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — May 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions with minor ash and block avalanches at Caliente, November 2017-April 2018

The dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex on the W flank of Guatemala's Santa María volcano has been growing since 1922. The youngest of the four vents in the complex, Caliente, has been actively erupting with ash explosions, pyroclastic, and lava flows for more than 40 years. During January-October 2017 (BGVN 42:12), daily weak ash emissions sent ash plumes to altitudes around 3.3 km, and ashfall was frequent in villages and farms within 12 km S and SW. The lava dome that appeared within the summit crater of Caliente in October 2016 continued to grow, increasing the frequency of block avalanches moving down the flanks. Several lahars affected the major drainages during May-October. Guatemala's INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meterologia e Hidrologia) and the Washington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center) provided regular updates on the continuing activity during the time period of this report from November 2017-April 2018.

Activity at Santa Maria was very consistent with little variation during November 2017-April 2018. Plumes of steam with minor magmatic gases rose continuously from the Caliente crater 300-500 m above the summit, drifting SW or SE before dissipating. In addition, tens of daily explosions with varying amounts of ash rose to altitudes of around 3.5-4.0 km and usually traveled short distances of 20-30 km before dissipating. The longest-lived plume, on 22 March 2018 drifted 100 km before dispersing. Almost all of the plumes drifted SW or SE; minor ashfall occurred in the mountains and was reported at the fincas up to 15 km away in those directions several times each month. Continued growth of the lava dome at Caliente resulted in block avalanches descending its flanks every day. The MIROVA plot of thermal energy during this time shows a consistent level of heat flow with minor variations. The spike of strongest heat flow in late March 2018 corresponds with the largest ash plume reported (figure 70) for the period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. MIROVA plot of thermal energy from Santa Maria for the year ending 12 July 2018 shows persistent low levels of heat flow. The spike at the end of March 2018 corresponds to the largest reported ash plume for the period. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during November 2017-January 2018. During November 2017, persistent steam plumes rose 100-500 m above the summit crater at Caliente, and generally drifted SE. Tens of weak explosions daily created ash plumes that rose to about 3.2 km altitude and drifted usually SE. These resulted in ashfall reported near Finca San José on 9, 26, and 28 November, and in the mountains around Finca la Florida on 27 November. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission seen in satellite imagery on 18 November drifting S about 15 km from the summit at 4.3 km altitude. Block avalanches were reported daily, they usually extended down the SE flank, occasionally making it to the base of the dome.

Characteristic steam plumes rising 100-500 m continued daily throughout December 2017. Numerous daily weak to moderate explosions generated ash plumes that rose to around 3.0-3.3 km altitude and drifted most often to the SW. Weak to moderate, and occasionally strong block avalanches descended the SE flank of the dome most days.

The Caliente dome maintained constant degassing with mostly steam plumes and occasional magmatic gas throughout January 2018 (figure 71). The plumes rose 50-300 m above the dome; most plumes came from the crater, but a few rose from fissures on the flanks. Explosions with ash plumes rose to 2.8-3.5 km altitude and generally drifted W or SW (figure 72). The seismic station registered 15-21 weak to moderate explosions per day. Ash generally drifted to the E or SE and caused ashfall in the regions around the fincas of San José, Patzulin, La Quina and others. Finca San José reported ashfall in the vicinity on 6, 7, and 9 January, and El Faro noted nearby ashfall on 9 January. A small plume with minor ash content was noted in satellite imagery by the Washington VAAC on 10 January drifting E at 4.3 km altitude. Ash emissions extended about 35 km SW before dissipating on 12 January, also at 4.3 km. Weak and moderate-size block avalanches occurred daily with blocks generally descending the SE or E flank of the dome.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. A typical plume of steam and magmatic gas rose from the Caliente vent at Santa Maria on 8 January 2018. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de actividad volcánica enero 2018, Volcán Santiaguito, 1402-03).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. An explosion at the Caliente dome of Santa Maria on 7 January 2018 sent ash a few hundred meters above the summit crater. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Informe mensual de actividad volcánica enero 2018, Volcán Santiaguito, 1402-03).

Activity during February-April 2018. Plumes of steam and gas continued rising daily to a few hundred meters above Caliente during February 2018. Weak and moderate explosions with steam and ash rose to 2.6-3.2 km altitude and drifted variably S, SE, W, or SW during the month (figure 73). Explosions averaged about 14 per day. Ashfall was reported in the fincas to the E and SE during the first week, including at Finca San José on 5 February, and la Florida on 10 February; they occurred in the mountainous areas W and SW during the rest of the month. Ashfall was also reported around the perimeter of the volcano several times during the last week of the month. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume at 4.6 km altitude on 12 February drifting rapidly W, and a thin veil of gas and minor ash on 28 February extending about 15 km SW from the summit at 4.3 km altitude. Observations of repeated block avalanches down the SE flank throughout the month concurred with thermal measurements on 28 February that showed the hottest areas of the dome at the summit and on the SE flank (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. An explosion of steam and ash rose from Caliente at Santa Maria on 18 February 2018. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 17 al 23 de febrero de 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Material inside the summit crater of Caliente at Santa Maria measured about 140°C on 28 February 2018, and showed the warmest region on the SE flank where most of the block avalanches occurred. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo:, Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 24 de febrero al 02 de marzo de 2018).

Block avalanches down the SE and S flanks of Caliente from the growing summit dome persisted at weak to moderate levels throughout March 2018 (figure 75). Ten to twenty daily ash-bearing explosions usually rose to about 3.2 km altitude and drifted SW or SE causing ashfall around the perimeter. Ashfall was reported in the mountains around Finca San José on 4-6, 9, 20, and 23 March, and in the Palajunoj area on 11 March. Steam plumes rising from the summit of Caliente to 2.9-3.1 km altitude drifting SE or SW were a daily feature of activity (figure 76). The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume on 5 March that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted SW before dissipating within 15 km of the summit. On 21 March, an emission was observed in satellite imagery that extended about 35 km SW from the summit at 4.6 km altitude. Another ash plume the following day also rose to 4.6 km altitude and extended almost 100 km SW before dissipating. That same day, 22 March, MODVOLC issued four thermal alerts for Santiaguito, and the MIROVA system showed a spike in thermal activity as well (figure 70).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Block avalanches descended the SE flank of Caliente at Santa Maria on 6 March 2018. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo:, Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 03 al 09 de marzo de 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. A typical steam plume rose from Caliente summit during the last week of March 2018. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Santiaguito (1402-03), Semana del 17 al 23 de marzo de 2018).

Multiple daily explosions with ash rose up to 3.2 km altitude during April 2018. The plumes drifted SW or SE, spreading fine-grained ash over the nearby hills. Finca San José reported ashfall on 2 April and the Palajunoj area reported ashfall on 10, 13, 15, and 17 April. Abundant degassing of mostly steam plumes at the Caliente crater continued throughout the month, as did the constant descent of block avalanches down the SE flank.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is one of the most prominent of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The 3772-m-high stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a large, 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit to the lower flank and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four westward-younging vents, the most recent of which is Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html).


Sheveluch (Russia) — May 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies along with gas and steam emissions continue through April 2018

An eruption at Sheveluch has been ongoing since 1999, and volcanic activity was previously described through January 2018 (BGVN 43:02). Ongoing activity has consisted of pyroclastic flows, explosions, and lava dome growth with a viscous lava flow in the N. According to the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), moderate emissions of gas-and-steam have continued, and ash explosions up to 10-15 km in altitude could occur at any time. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) throughout this reporting period from February through April 2018.

KVERT reported continuous moderate gas-and-steam plumes from Sheveluch during February-April 2018 (figure 49). Satellite imagery interpreted by KVERT showed a thermal anomaly over the volcano on 13 days during February, 21 days in March, and 15 days in April. Cloud cover obscured satellite imagery the remainder of the time during this reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Photo of the lava dome at Sheveluch on 25 March 2018. Courtesy of Yu. Demyanchuk (IVS FEB RAS, KVERT).

The MIROVA system detected intermittent low-power thermal anomalies from February through April 2018. Thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were not detected during this period.

Geologic Background. The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 km3 volcano is one of Kamchatka's largest and most active volcanic structures. The summit of roughly 65,000-year-old Stary Shiveluch is truncated by a broad 9-km-wide late-Pleistocene caldera breached to the south. Many lava domes dot its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large horseshoe-shaped caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. At least 60 large eruptions have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Widespread tephra layers from these eruptions have provided valuable time markers for dating volcanic events in Kamchatka. Frequent collapses of dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera.

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


Kikai (Japan) — May 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

30.793°N, 130.305°E; summit elev. 704 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elevated thermal activity during February-April 2018; one earthquake swarm in March

Heightened activity at Kikai (also known as Satsuma Iwojima) was reported during January 2013-July 2014 (BGVN 3907), which included one eruption with intermittent explosions, occasional ash and steam plumes, and sporadic weak seismic tremor. Subsequently, seismicity remained at background levels, and plume activity was low. A short-lived period of heightened activity occurred in March 2018, with increased daily plume heights, sulfur dioxide output, and seismicity. Activity returned to background levels by 26 April. This report is based on information supplied by the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA).

JMA reported that one small-amplitude short-duration volcanic tremor was detected on 16 March 2018. The number of volcanic earthquakes increased on 19 March, with 93 occurrences, prompting JMA to raise the Alert Level from 1 (active volcano) to 2 (restricted area around the crater), on a 5-level scale. The report noted increased thermal activity since February, with occasional visual observations of incandescence. Plume heights and volcanic earthquakes briefly increased during 22-23 March (figure 8, plot 4).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Plots showing multi-year records of measured plume heights (1 and 4) and volcanic earthquakes (2 and 5) during January 1998-April 2018 from Kikai. Explosive events are indicated by the small volcano icons along the top of plot 1. Plot 3 indicates measured sulfur dioxide in tons/day since 2012. The orange diamonds on plot 4 indicate observations of incandescence. Plume heights are measured in meters above the crater. This record is from a seismic station located less than 1 km from the summit. Courtesy of Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The number of volcanic earthquakes was low during 27 March-2 April. A white plume at the Iwo-dake summit crater rose to 1,800 m above the crater rim in late March (figure 8, plot 4), the highest seen in many years. At the same crater a highly sensitive surveillance camera revealed incandescence at night on 27 and 28 March due to increased thermal activity. No incandescence was observed after 12 April (figure 8, plot 4).

In its report for 20-26 April, JMA noted a white plume at the Iwo-dake summit crater that rose to 700 m above the rim. A field survey conducted on 25 and 26 April confirmed the slight expansion of a thermal anomaly area when compared to 24 and 25 March, but the release amount of sulfur dioxide was slightly less than 300 tons per day (compared with 600 tons on March 24) (figure 8, plot 3).

On 27 April 2018, with volcanic earthquakes being small in number and no observed volcanic tremor, JMA determined that activity had decreased and reduced the warning level from 2 to 1.

Geologic Background. Kikai is a mostly submerged, 19-km-wide caldera near the northern end of the Ryukyu Islands south of Kyushu. Kikai was the source of one of the world's largest Holocene eruptions about 6300 years ago. Rhyolitic pyroclastic flows traveled across the sea for a total distance of 100 km to southern Kyushu, and ashfall reached the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The eruption devastated southern and central Kyushu, which remained uninhabited for several centuries. Post-caldera eruptions formed Iodake lava dome and Inamuradake scoria cone, as well as submarine lava domes. Historical eruptions have occurred in the 20th century at or near Satsuma-Iojima (also known as Tokara-Iojima), a small 3 x 6 km island forming part of the NW caldera rim. Showa-Iojima lava dome (also known as Iojima-Shinto), a small island 2 km east of Tokara-Iojima, was formed during submarine eruptions in 1934 and 1935. Mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred during the past few decades from Iodake, a rhyolitic lava dome at the eastern end of Tokara-Iojima.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/).


Dieng Volcanic Complex (Indonesia) — May 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Dieng Volcanic Complex

Indonesia

7.2°S, 109.879°E; summit elev. 2565 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic explosion on 1 April 2018 at Sileri Crater

Dieng has had a history of intermittent phreatic explosions. In 2017, explosions occurred on 30 April, 24 May, and 2 July (BGVN 42:10). Another phreatic explosion occurred on 1 April 2018. The volcano is monitored by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation or CVGHM).

PVMBG reported that a phreatic explosion at the Sileri Crater lake (Dieng Volcanic Complex) occurred at 1342 on 1 April 2018, ejecting mud and material 150 m high, and up to 200 m in multiple directions. The event was preceded by black emissions that rose 90 m, and then diffuse white emissions that rose 150 m. The report noted that few tourists were in the area due to rainy weather; visitors are not permitted within 200 m of the crater rim.

According to a news report (The Jakarta Post) that cited an official of the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), no toxic gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, or sulfur dioxide were detected in the explosion.

Geologic Background. The Dieng plateau in the highlands of central Java is renowned both for the variety of its volcanic scenery and as a sacred area housing Java's oldest Hindu temples, dating back to the 9th century CE. The Dieng volcanic complex consists of two or more stratovolcanoes and more than 20 small craters and cones of Pleistocene-to-Holocene age over a 6 x 14 km area. Prahu stratovolcano was truncated by a large Pleistocene caldera, which was subsequently filled by a series of dissected to youthful cones, lava domes, and craters, many containing lakes. Lava flows cover much of the plateau, but have not occurred in historical time, when activity has been restricted to minor phreatic eruptions. Toxic gas emissions are a hazard at several craters and have caused fatalities. The abundant thermal features and high heat flow make Dieng a major geothermal prospect.

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/); The Jakara Post (URL: http://www.thejakartapost.com).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 43, Number 02 (February 2018)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Aira (Japan)

Explosions gradually decrease in frequency during 2015-2016

Ambae (Vanuatu)

New eruption begins in early September 2017, forcing evacuation of thousands

Ambrym (Vanuatu)

Elevated seismicity in early August 2017-early November 2017, lava lakes remain

Fernandina (Ecuador)

Brief fissure eruption sends lava flow down the SW flank in early September 2017

Fuego (Guatemala)

Seven eruptive episodes during July-December 2017

Sheveluch (Russia)

Ash explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lava dome growth continue through January 2018

Stromboli (Italy)

Moderate increase in thermal energy and explosion rate, April-August 2017

Tinakula (Solomon Islands)

Short-lived ash emission and large SO2 plume 21-26 October 2017; historical eruption accounts

Tungurahua (Ecuador)

Ash emissions, explosions, and pyroclastic flows 26 February-16 March 2016; no further activity through 2017

Yasur (Vanuatu)

Typical ongoing eruptive activity and thermal anomalies through January 2018



Aira (Japan) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions gradually decrease in frequency during 2015-2016

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 been the most active site since 2006. Tens of explosions and ash-bearing emissions have been occurring monthly for the last several years and were continuous through October 2015. After a three-month break, activity resumed in February 2016 and lasted through August 2016. No further activity was reported through December 2016. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provided regular reports on activity, and the Tokyo VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center) issued hundreds of reports about ash plumes during 2015-2016.

The number of explosive events at the Showa crater of Sakurajima increased from January-May 2015. During the period, ash emissions commonly rose 3,000 m above the crater rim, and a few exceeded 4,000 m; tephra was often ejected 1.3 km and as far as 1.8 km from the crater. Incandescence was observed every week; multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported monthly from January-June 2015. The Tokyo VAAC issued 845 reports between 1 January and 14 October 2015. The number of monthly explosions decreased sharply during June-August. Tiltmeter and strainmeter data indicated continuing inflation through mid-August when the inflation rate increased significantly for a brief period. This was followed by deflation for the remainder of 2015. Pyroclastic flows were reported in March, April, and June. Minor emissions occurred at Minamidake crater in May, June, and August. Activity increased at both craters during September, with the first substantial explosion at Minamidake in almost a year. An emission from Showa on 2 November 2015 was noted in a JMA weekly report, but its composition was not described; the last confirmed ash emission of the year was on 14 October 2015.

After three months of quiet, a substantial explosion at Showa in early February 2016 marked the beginning of a new eruptive episode that continued through the end of July, after which explosive activity ceased at Showa for the remainder of the year (figure 49). Minor emissions were reported at Minamidake through August 2016. Pyroclastic flows occurred in April and June from explosions at the Showa crater. Inflation was measured again beginning in April 2016 and continued through December 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Explosions from the Showa crater at Sakurajima, January 2013-December 2016. Data do not include activity at Minamidake crater, or passive (non-explosive) ash or steam emissions from Showa. After many years of multiple monthly explosions, activity decreased in September 2015. A smaller burst of activity occurred from February to July 2016. Data compiled from JMA reports.

Activity during January-May 2015. JMA reported 61 explosions from the Showa crater during January 2015, twice the number recorded in December 2014 (figure 50). Explosions on 4 and 30 January sent ejecta as far as 1.8 km from the crater. The maximum plume height reported by JMA was 4,000 m above the crater rim on 23 January. Lapilli up to 2 cm in diameter from recent explosions were found in Kurokami (3.5 km E) and Arimura (3 km S) during JMA field visits on 16 and 30 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. An ash emission at Sakurajima on 20 January 2015 was captured by a webcam in Kagoshima (10 km W). Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

The number of explosions increased to 88 during February 2015, with events on 21 and 22 February sending tephra 1.8 km from the crater. Plumes rose as much as 3,500 m above the rim during the month. During a field survey on 4 March scientists observed ash deposits with fragments up to 2 cm in diameter, in an area 3 km S of Showa Crater. JMA reported that the largest number of explosions they have recorded in a month, 178, occurred at the crater in March. Numerous plumes rose 3,300 m above the crater. A small pyroclastic flow on 17 March traveled 600 m SE.

Seismicity below the island increased briefly between 31 March and 2 April 2015. An explosion on 17 April sent tephra 1.8 km from the crater rim. Two pyroclastic flows were reported on 18 and 28 April 2015; Showa crater had 112 explosions throughout the month. The pyroclastic flow on 28 April travelled 500 m down the SE flank. The highest ash plume rose 4,000 m on 24 April. JMA calculated that about 1.2 million tons of ash fell during April, the largest monthly amount recorded since 2006.

Several of the 169 explosions at the Showa crater during May 2015 produced ejecta that was deposited up to 1.8 km from the crater. Many explosions had plume heights exceeding 3,000 m. A small emission, rising 200 m, was observed from the Minamidaki crater on 12 May and was the first in several months. JMA scientists observed 2-cm-diameter tephra in the vicinity of Kurojin-cho, Kagoshima-shi on 14 May, likely from an explosion the previous day; significant ashfall covered the ground as well. The highest ash plume of the month rose 4,300 m above the Showa crater on 21 May 2015 (figures 51 and 52).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. An ash plume rose 4,300 m above Sakurajima on 21 May 2015, shown in this webcam image from Kagoshima. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. A dense plume of ash drifted S and E from Sakurajima on 21 May 2015. This natural-color satellite image was taken by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Activity during June-December 2015. Five of the 64 explosions recorded during June produced ejecta that landed up to 1.3 km from the Showa Crater (figure 53). A 3,300-m-high ash plume on 1 June was the highest for the month. After three explosions on 4 June, a small pyroclastic flow traveled 400 m down the E flank. A second small event on 22 June at Minamidake produced a gray plume that rose 200 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Ash rose from Showa Crater at Sakurajima on 9 June 2015. Image taken by a drone managed by Naoto Yoshitome and Krishima Aerial Photography. Courtesy of Naoto Yoshitome, Twitter.

Activity decreased significantly beginning in July 2015, with 14 explosions reported from the Showa Crater, and declined further during August with only 5 explosions. A small explosion from the Minamidake crater on 16 July sent emissions likely containing ash (described as "non-white") to 200 m. A rapid increase in seismicity directly beneath Minamidake began on 15 August and lasted about 48 hours; along with tiltmeter and strainmeter observations of rapid inflation (figure 54), this led JMA to briefly raise the Alert Level from 3 (Do not approach the volcano) to 4 (Prepare to evacuate) an a scale of 2-5. They lowered it back to 3 on 1 September 2015. Only small explosions with tephra ejected up to 800 m were recorded during the rest of the August. Minor emissions occurred at Minamidake Crater on 30 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. An interference image of Sakurajima using PALSAR-2 high-resolution mode (3 m resolution) data comparing displacement between 4 January and 16 August 2015. The data showed a displacement toward the satellite (inflation) of about 16 cm maximum (within the white square), on the E side of the Minamidake summit crater. The synthetic aperture radar (PALSAR - 2) equipped with Daichi 2 (Land Observing Satellite No. 2 "Daichi 2" (ALOS- 2)) can measure the displacement of the ground surface (how much the ground moved) by taking the difference between two sets of observation data. Such an analysis method is called interference SAR analysis (or interferometry, InSAR). The color changes represent the differences in the two observations, a pattern of green to red to blue indicates movement of the surface towards the satellite (inflation); a pattern of green to blue to red indicates movement away from the satellite (deflation). Courtesy of JAXA (http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/ALOS-2/img_up/jpal2_sakurajima_20150816-17.htm).

Incandescence at the Showa Crater was observed several times during September 2015; 46 explosive events were reported. The first significant explosions at the Minamidake summit crater since 7 November 2014 occurred on 13 and 28 September. The 28 September plume rose to 2,700 m above the crater rim. Tiltmeter data indicated no additional inflation since the rapid ground deformation of 15-16 August. The last explosive event of 2015 reported by JMA at the Showa crater was on 17 September and at the Minamidaki crater on 29 September.

The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash emission on 14 October 2015 that rose to 1.8 km and drifted SW. This was the last VAAC report until 5 February 2016. No explosions were recorded at the Showa crater in October, but minor ash emissions were reported on 14, 15, 21, 22, and 30 October. No activity was observed at Minamidake. Data from continuous GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) observations suggested that deflation began after the 15 August rapid inflation event.

A minor emission was reported by JMA from the Showa crater on 2 November 2015, the last emission reported for the year. After not having explosive activity since late September, JMA lowered the Alert Level to 2 (Do not approach the crater) on 25 November, reducing the exclusion area to 1 km around the two craters. Only steam plumes rising 50-200 m above the Showa crater and 50-600 m above the Minamidake crater were observed during December 2015.

Aerial observation on 2 December 2015 revealed 100-m-high steam plumes around the floor of the Showa crater. Thermal observations showed high heat flow around the edges and at the center of the crater floor, unchanged since the previous observation in August 2015; 200-m-high steam plumes around the Minamidake crater prevented observation of the crater floor.

Activity during 2016. No explosive activity was observed at Showa or Minamidake craters from October 2015 to 5 February 2016. JMA raised the Alert Level back to 3 after a substantial explosion on 5 February sent incandescent tephra up to 1.8 km from the Showa crater; lightning was observed in the ash cloud (figure 55). The Tokyo VAAC reported that an ash plume visible in satellite imagery was at 3 km altitude drifting SE. Multiple explosions continued from the Showa crater for the rest of February with ash plumes rising to 2.2 km above the crater, and tephra was frequently ejected 1.3 km from the crater. Four MODVOLC thermal alerts in February were the only alerts for 2016. At the Minamidake summit crater, minor emissions occurred on 8, 9, and 20 February with plumes rising 800 m above the crater rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Incandescent tephra explodes from Showa crater at Sakurajima on 5 February 2016 after three months of inactivity. Photo by Kyoto News/AP. Courtesy of the Washington Post.

Eight explosions at the Showa crater were reported by JMA, and six at the Minamidake summit crater during March 2016. Ash plumes at Minamidake on 4, 8, and 11 March rose 1,600-1,900 m above the crater rim; on 25 and 26 March they rose 2,000 m. Minor emissions were also noted on 14 and 15 March. Three explosions from the Showa Crater on 26 March sent ash plumes 2,700 m high (figure 56); tephra as large as 8 mm in diameter was found in areas 4 km E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Multiple explosions on 26 March 2016 at Sakurajima sent tephra as large as 8 mm in diameter as far as 4 km from Minamidake crater. Image taken from a drone managed by Naoto Yoshidome. Courtesy of Naoto Yoshidome, Twitter.

Activity increased during April 2016 with 51 emission events that included 15 explosions at Showa, and JMA reported inflation again after several months of stability. Reports of falling tephra, 2 cm in diameter, came from a town 3 km S after explosions were witnessed during 1-3 April. On 1 April, an explosion at Minamidake summit crater produced an ash plume which rose 800 m above its crater rim; another on 3 April rose 1,700 m. Minor emissions also occurred at Minamidake on 5, 6, and 9 April. Explosions on 6 and 8 April at Showa sent ash plumes 3,500-3,700 m high and tephra 1.3 km. During the 8 April explosion at Showa, a small pyroclastic flow traveled 400 m down the E flank, the first since June 2015. A 2,200-m-high ash plume rose from Showa crater on 17 April. Minor emissions that rose 800 m were detected at Minamidake on 20 and 28 April. Two explosions occurred on 27 April at Showa, followed by additional explosions on 28, 29, and 30 April; the events generated ash plumes that rose 3,000 m. Pyroclastic flows were generated during the events of 28 and 30 April; they each flowed about 500 m, SE and E, respectively.

A large explosion at the Showa crater on 1 May sent an ash plume to 4,100 m above the crater rim (figure 57). It was the first time since 21 May 2015 that a plume rose higher than 4,000 m. At the Minamidake summit crater, ash emissions on 1 and 13 May rose 3,500 and 3,700 m, respectively, the first plumes at Minamidake over 3,000 m since October 2009. An explosion on 8 May at Showa sent an ash plume over 3,300 m above the crater rim, and tephra reached 1,300 m from the crater. Numerous ash emissions continued throughout the month, some with plumes rising to 3,500 m. The Tokyo VAAC issued 26 reports between 13 and 22 May. Activity diminished toward the end of the month, but minor inflation continued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. An explosive eruption at Sakurajima's Showa Crater on 1 May 2016 sent an ash plume 4,100 m above the crater that drifted SE. It was the highest plume in the last year. Taken with the "Cattle Root" webcam, courtesy of JMA (May 2016 Monthly Sakurajima report).

Multiple ash emissions in early June 2016 produced plumes as high as 2,000 m above the Showa crater rim. An explosion on 3 June produced a pyroclastic flow that traveled 400 m SE, and tephra that was ejected 800 m from the crater. An emission at the Minamidake crater on 3 June rose 1,500m high. No further explosive activity was reported for June; only a minor emission from the Showa crater on 29 June. During the month, the Tokyo VAAC issued only six reports (during 2-3 June).

Two explosive events were recorded at Showa crater in July 2016. An explosion occurred on 2 July that produced a 1,200-m-high ash plume and sent large blocks 800 m from the crater. A substantial explosion on 26 July at Showa sent blocks 800 m from the crater, and produced an ash plume that rose 5,000 m. A minor amount of ashfall on the W and SW flanks of Sakurajima was observed, and ashfall was confirmed in a wide area from Kagoshima City (10 km W) to Hioki City (25 km NW). The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume drifting SW at 6.1 km altitude that day.

Minor emissions were observed at the Minamidake crater intermittently throughout August 2016, but no emissions or explosions were reported from Showa. The Tokyo VAAC reported a low-level ash plume on 22 August at 1.2 km altitude drifting 50 km SW (figure 58). This was the last VAAC report for 2016. Although there were no emissions or explosive activity reported from either crater during September-December 2016, inflation of the volcano continued, and thus the Alert Level remained at 3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. An ash emission rose from Sakurajima's Minamidake crater on the morning of 22 August 2016. This was the last reported ash emission of 2016. Taken from the Tarumizu City MBC (Minaminihon Broadcasting Co., Ltd.) webcam no. 14, located about 14 km E. Courtesy of Minaminihon Broadcasting Co., Ltd. (http://www.mbc.co.jp/web-cam/).

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/); 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/); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (URL: http://global.jaxa.jp/); Associated Press (URL: http://www.ap.org/); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/ ); Naoto Yoshidome, Twitter (URL: https://twitter.com); Minaminihon Broadcasting Co., Ltd (MBC). (http://www.mbc.co.jp/web-cam/).


Ambae (Vanuatu) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambae

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption begins in early September 2017, forcing evacuation of thousands

Ambae (formerly called Aoba) is a large basaltic shield volcano in the New Hebrides arc that has generated periodic phreatic and pyroclastic explosions originating in the summit crater lakes Manaro Lakua and Voui during the last 25 years; the central edifice with the active summit craters is also commonly referred to as Lombenben, Manaro Voui, or simply the Manaro volcano. From late November 2005 to mid-February 2006 explosions from Lake Voui resulted in the formation of a pyroclastic cone in the lake. By late November 2006 the side of the cone was breached, and its central crater filled with lake water (figure 30, BGVN 31:12). The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) reported intermittent increases in degassing activity between 2006 and August 2017, and minor ash emissions during June-July 2011 and August 2016. An explosive eruption from a new pyroclastic cone in the lake began in mid-September 2017 and lasted through mid-November. This report summarizes activity between 2010 and the new eruption in September 2017 and provides details for the eruption through December 2017, with information provided primarily by the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory of VMGD, the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data from several sources.

Local ashfall around the pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui during June-July 2011 and August 2016 were the only eruptive events between February 2006 and September 2017, although intermittent SO2 emissions were noted throughout the period. Renewed explosive activity was reported beginning on 6 September 2017. Lava was first observed on 22 September emerging from a vent at the summit of the pyroclastic cone. Ash plumes and fountaining lava persisted for a few weeks as the pyroclastic cone increased in size. Activity became more intermittent by mid-October, but explosions still produced ash plumes; the highest was reported at 9.1 km altitude. Pulses of thermal activity suggesting lava flows continued through early November. The last ash emission of the year was reported on 23 November 2017, after which only steam and gas were noted.

Activity during 2010-August 2017. After several years of quiet since early 2006, substantial gas plumes were observed beginning in December 2009 and the Volcanic Alert Level was raised to 1 (on a 0-5 scale). Plumes of gas emissions were observed during 6-11 April 2010, and steam emissions were photographed during 3-4 June 2010 (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Steam plumes rose from the crater of the pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui at Ambae on 4 June 2010. Courtesy of Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) (Vanuatu Volcanic Activity Bulletin No. 1-Ambae activity, Monday, July 11th, 2011).

Sulfur dioxide emissions were often elevated, and plumes were identified multiple times with satellite instruments during 2011 (figure 33). Local ashfall around the crater of the pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui was reported after explosions and seismicity on 4 June 2011; additional explosions occurred on 10 July 2011. Compared to January 2010, the cone was significantly eroded when photographed on 12 July 2011.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. SO2 plumes from Ambae and Ambrym volcanoes during 2011. SO2 plumes drifted W from both Ambae (N) and Ambrym (S) on 19 April 2011 (left). The SO2 plume from Ambae is small but also distinct from the much larger plume from Ambrym on 30 October 2011 (right). It is often difficult to distinguish between the two sources of the SO2. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

While no ash emissions or explosions were reported during 2012 from Ambae, SO2 plumes were recorded by satellite instruments every month except June and August (figure 34). Villagers in Ambanga reported a "phase of minor activity" beginning in December 2012. Increased SO2 plumes were recorded in satellite data during December as well (figure 35). Nearby Ambrym often produces large SO2 plumes which obscure SO2 emissions from Ambae.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. SO2 plumes were recorded every month of 2012 except June and August. Plumes emerging from Ambae are often difficult to distinguish from larger plumes released from Ambrym, located 100 km S. Data from the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite on both 9 January and 5 April (top images) showed SO2 emissions from three volcanos in the New Hebrides arc; from N to S, Gaua, Ambae, and Ambrym. Plumes from both Ambae and Ambrym drifted SE on 21 September (lower left), and smaller plumes drifted W from both Ambrym and Ambae on 3 November (lower right). Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Increased gas emissions from Ambae were reported by nearby residents in Ambanga during December 2012. More frequent SO2 emissions were also recorded by the OMI satellite instrument including on 1 (top left), 12 (top right), 17 (bottom left), and 21 (bottom right) December 2012. Courtesy of NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center.

Site observations during 30 January-2 February 2013 confirmed continuing degassing at Lake Voui, and remnants of the old pyroclastic cone still visible in the lake. The Aura satellite instrument detected SO2 emissions a number of times throughout 2013-2016 (figure 36), and VMGD noted continuing unrest multiple times during 2015.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Selected SO2 emissions during 2013-2016 at Ambae. SO2 emissions drifted W from both Ambae (N) and Ambrym (S) on 13 February 2013 (top left). A rare image of an SO2 plume from Ambae with no plume from Ambrym was recorded on 5 May 2014 (top right). SO2 emissions were also distinct from each volcano on 10 November 2015 (bottom left) and 28 December 2016 (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

VMGD reported that during 18-19 August 2016 a steam plume was accompanied by a small ash emission in the caldera area. The Vanuatu Volcanic Alert Level (VVAL) was raised from 1 to 2 on 21 August 2016 and remained there for just over a year. Changing conditions were first reported by VMGD on 30 August 2017.

Activity during September-December 2017. The Alert Level was raised to 3 on 6 September 2017, indicating that a minor eruption was occurring. A week later VMGD reminded residents of the 3 km danger zone around the lake and added a 1 km exclusion zone within that area (figure 37). Explosive activity began building a new pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui, and ash plumes generated local ashfall on the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. "Safety Map" showing hazard zones in the summit area of Ambae, consisting of a Danger Zone A (red oval line) around the summit caldera and a 1-km-radius Exclusion Zone around Manaro Voui. Courtesy of VMGD (Vanuatu Volcano Alert Bulletin No 10-Ambae Activity, Friday September 15th 2017).

On 22 September 2017, lava was observed at the surface by VMGD staff, there was a MODVOLC thermal alert, and a volcanic ash advisory was issued by the Wellington VAAC. The VAAC report estimated the ash plume observed in satellite data to be at an altitude of 3 km drifting E. On 23 September the VMGD stated that activity had continued to increase, prompting them to raise the VVAL to 4, indicating that a moderate eruption was taking place. They warned that ejecta and gas would affect an area within 6.5 km of Lake Voui, and many communities were at risk from various types of volcanic activity (figure 38). A dense plume of dark ash was photographed on 23 September by airplane travelers going to Ambae (figure 39).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Volcanic hazard map for Ambae. On 23 September 2017, VMGD raised the alert level to 4 and warned that ejecta and gas would likely affect an area within 6.5 km of Lake Voui (pink zone). Villages located in the gray and orange areas of the map could see ashfall and other hazards such as lahars and pyroclastic flows. The lighter area outlined with a dashed border indicates where villages would be more susceptible to ashfall and acid rain based on the general wind direction. Courtesy of VMGD (Vanuatu Volcano Alert Bulletin No. 11 - Ambae Activity, Saturday, September 23rd, 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Ash emission photographed on 23 September 2017 from an airplane going to Ambae. Courtesy of Batik Bong Shem, Facebook.

Eruptive activity increased over the next few days. Larger explosions generated ash plumes that caused local ashfall. A photo taken on 24 September showed incandescent ejections and an ash plume rising from the pyroclastic cone (figure 40). The Wellington VAAC reported intermittent emissions that day at 2.4 km altitude drifting N, and again on 26 September at 2.1 km altitude drifting W. The New Zealand Defense Force conducted an overflight on 25 September 2017 and witnessed incandescence at the summit and lava flowing into the lake (figures 41, 42, and 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. An eruption from the pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui at Ambae on 24 September 2017. Courtesy of Yumi Toktok Stret News, Facebook.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) aerial survey on 25 September 2017 showed large columns of gas, ash, and volcanic rocks emerging from Lake Voui on Ambae. Courtesy of NZDF.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Lava flows into Lake Voui at Ambae, causing steam plumes. Incandescence is visible at the cone's summit through the clouds. The photo was likely taken on 25 or 26 September 2017. Posted by Geoff Reid NZ on Facebook on 2 October 2017.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Incandescent lava from the crater of the Lake Voui cone was photographed at Ambae on 25 September 2017. Image courtesy of Reuters, reported by BBC.

A 27 September a news article from ABC.net stated that about 8,000 residents had been evacuated from the northern and southern parts of the island to eastern and western areas. An overflight by the New Zealand Defence Force showed ongoing activity. Multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued nearly every day from 22 September through 7 October.

Photographs and thermal infrared images taken by VMGD during observation flights on 30 September and 1 October 2017 showed explosions of tephra, and lava flowing from small vents into the lake (figures 44-48). The number of vents on the cone varied from 2 to 4 during the observation flights.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Aerial view of the pyroclastic cone that formed in Lake Voui during September in the Ambae summit caldera. The active lava-producing vents are near the center of the island. The blue steaming zone is a lava flow. The white steaming to the right is lava entering the lake. Photo taken on 30 September 2017. Courtesy of VMGB, posted on Facebook 2 October 2017.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. The pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui at the summit of Ambae had active steam, ash, and gas emissions, in addition to lava flowing into the lake, on 1 October 2017. Courtesy of VMGD.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Aerial view of the cone that formed in Lake Voui during September 2017 in the summit caldera of Ambae. The Manaro Lakua lake can be seen in the background. The active vents are near the center of the island. The white steaming zone at the far end of the island was caused by lava flows entering the lake. Photo taken on 1 October 2017. Courtesy of VMGB, posted on Facebook 2 October 2017.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Infrared aerial view of the volcanic cone that has formed in Lake Voui during September 2017 near the summit of Ambae Island. The active lava producing vents are the hottest areas near the center of the island (inwhite). The white streak in the foreground is a lava flow. The red areas in the foreground are areas where lava recently entered the lake. The caldera rim at the summit of Ambae is visible in the background. Photo taken on 1 October 2017. Courtesy of VMGB, posted on Facebook, 2 October 2017.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Closeup view of a lava flow from the cone entering into Lake Voui at Ambae on 1 October 2017. Courtesy of VMGB, posted on Facebook 2 October 2017.

On 6 October 2017, the VMBG noted that there was no evidence of the eruption escalating; the Alert Level was lowered to 3 and residents and tourists were reminded to stay outside of the Red Zone, defined as a 3 km radius around the active cone. The Wellington VAAC reported ash emissions on 9 October visible in satellite imagery spreading N of the island as high as 3.7 km altitude. They reported low-level (2.4-4.6 km) ash plumes daily through 15 October. A short-lived eruption on 13 October produced an ash plume clearly visible in satellite imagery that rose to 9.1 km altitude.

Webcam observations and seismic analysis reported on 13 October by VMGD indicated ongoing minor explosive activity and ash emission from vents on the cone in Lake Voui over the previous several days (figure 49). Lava had apparently ceased flowing to the lake. The local population from Ambae and neighboring islands could still hear some of the explosions, see volcanic ash and gas plumes, and see incandescence at night. Multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 15 and 16 October, and again during 19-23 October. Wellington VAAC reports during 22-23 October indicated intermittent low-level ash plumes at 2.4-3.7 km altitude moving E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. An ash plume rises over Ambae island on 12 October 2017 in this photo taken from Santo - Pekoa Airport 65 km W on Espiritu Santo Island. Photo by Steve Clegg, courtesy of VMGD (posted on their Facebook page).

A new surge of activity created multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts between 27 October and 1 November 2017. The Wellington VAAC reported an ash plume on 29 October at 6.1 km altitude drifting SE. The activity ceased, and the plume dissipated by the end of the day. VMGD reported on 31 October that seismic activity was ongoing, and explosions could be seen in webcam photos; incandescence and explosions were also heard and seen from neighboring islands at night.

Webcam photos from 5 and 6 November showed that ash emissions and incandescent explosions continued (figures 50 and 51). The Wellington VAAC reported an ash emission rising to 4.3 km altitude and drifting W on 5 November. By the next day the altitude of the ash plume had dropped to 2.1 km. This was followed late on 6 November by an ash emission reported at 3.9 km altitude extending 25 km W and SW of the volcano, which continued through the next day. Another emission on 8 November drifted W at 3 km altitude for several hours before dissipating. Fourteen MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 5 November, and two more the next day. A final alert on 9 November was the last for 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Webcam images of Ambae indicate that ash emissions and incandescent explosions were continuing on 5 November 2017. Image taken from the Saratamata webcam located 22 km NE on the NE tip of Ambae Island. Courtesy of VMGD, posted on Facebook 5 November 2017.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Steam and ash emissions were visible from the Saratamata webcam (22 km NE) in the early morning of 6 November 2017. Courtesy of VMGD, posted on Facebook 5 November 2017 (UTC).

VGO reported on 8 November 2017 that the eruption had been continuing, and photos taken during the first week of the month confirmed that the pyroclastic cone in Lake Voui continued to grow in height and size, with frequent explosions and ash plumes. The Wellington VAAC reported a ground observation of an ongoing minor eruption on 21 November that produced an ash plume that rose to 1.8 km altitude. By the following day, the plume appeared to be mostly steam. A new eruption the next day (23 November) produced a plume estimated at 3.7 km altitude moving W. An ash emission later that day was estimated at 3 km altitude drifting N based on satellite imagery. It had dissipated by the following day, and there were no further VAAC reports issued during 2017.

By 7 December 2017, activity had decreased significantly, and emissions consisted of only steam and gas plumes; VMGD lowered the Alert Level from 3 to 2, and reduced the restricted area to within 2 km of the active vent in Lake Voui, noting that the eruption had ceased. The MIROVA plot of Log Radiative Power at Ambae (Aoba) correlates well with visual and thermal observations of activity between 23 September and early November 2017 (figure 52). Significant quantities of SO2 were released at Ambae during October-December 2017 (figure 53). SO2 emissions continued into December after the ash emissions ceased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. The MIROVA plot of Log Radiative Power at Ambae (Aoba) for the year ending on 29 December 2017 correlates well with visual and thermal observations of activity between 23 September and early November 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Significant quantities of SO2 were released from Ambae during October-December 2017. Variable wind directions seem to create complex patterns of SO2 plumes. Emissions on 23 and 28 October (top), 8, 13, and 17 November (middle row and bottom left) all show plumes that appear to be mostly sourced from Ambae, but some component of source from Ambrym is also likely. By 31 December 2017 (bottom right) SO2 emissions at Ambae were still significant even though no ash emissions had been reported for over a month. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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, 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/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/NZ/messages.html); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); New Zealand Defence Force (URL: http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/); BBC News (URL: http://www.bbc.com/news); ABC News (http://abcnews.go.com/); Batik Bong Shem, Facebook (URL: https://www.facebook.com/batick.shem); Yumi Toktok Stret News, Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/ytsnews.today/); Geoff Reid NZ, Facebook (URL: https://www.facebook.com/GeoffReidNZ/).


Ambrym (Vanuatu) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

16.25°S, 168.12°E; summit elev. 1334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Elevated seismicity in early August 2017-early November 2017, lava lakes remain

Occasional weak eruptions and low-level ash emissions are typical of activity at Ambrym. The most recent ash emission was on 3 April 2017 (BGVN 42:05). The current report summarizes activity from late April through December 2017.

On 30 August 2017, the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) reported that "drastic changes" at Ambrym prompted an increase in the Alert Level from 2 to 3 (on a scale of 0-5). Areas deemed hazardous were near and around the active vents (Benbow, Maben-Mbwelesu, Niri-Mbwelesu and Mbwelesu), and in downwind areas prone to ashfall. According to a news report (Radio New Zealand), a representative of VMGD indicated that the Alert Level change was based on increased seismicity detected since the beginning of August, but which became more notable on 25 August.

According to VMGD, aerial observations on 24 and 30 September, and 1 and 6 October, combined with analysis of seismic data, confirmed that minor eruptive activity within the caldera was characterized by hot volcanic gas and steam emissions. Areas deemed hazardous were within a 2-km radius from Benbow Crater and a 3-km radius from Marum Crater.

A news report (The Vanuatu Independent) quoted an official from VMGD as stating that on 8 November 2017 at 0500, the Niri-Mbwelesu eruptive vent emitted a minor ash plume. On 7 December 2017, VGO lowered the Alert Level to 2, noting that activity had stabilized by the end of November and was characterized by gas-and-steam emissions. Seismicity had also declined. The report reminded the public to stay outside of the Permanent Danger Zone, defined as a 1-km radius from Benbow Crater and a 2.7-km radius from Marum Crater.

During the reporting period, thermal anomalies based on MODIS satellite instruments and analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, continued to be numerous every month, possibly reflecting lava lakes in Benbow and Marum craters. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system also detected numerous hotspots every month within 5 km of the volcano.

Geologic Background. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic, then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the caldera floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department, 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/); Radio New Zealand (URL: https://www.radionz.co.nz); The Vanuatu Independent (URL: https://vanuatuindependent.com/); 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/); Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA), Mirova (collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence, Italy)(URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it).


Fernandina (Ecuador) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Fernandina

Ecuador

0.37°S, 91.55°W; summit elev. 1476 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Brief fissure eruption sends lava flow down the SW flank in early September 2017

Eruptions at Fernandina Island in the Galapagos often occur from vents located around the caldera rim along boundary faults and fissures, and occasionally from side vents on the flank. The last eruption in 2009 generated fountaining basaltic lava along several fissure vents. Lava flowed down the SW flank and entered the sea for a few weeks during April 2009. A new eruption began on 4 September 2017 after eight years of no surface activity, and lasted for about one week. Information about this new eruption was provided by Ecuador's Institudo Geofisica, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), the Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos (DPNG), the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and several sources of satellite data.

A brief fissure vent eruption began on 4 September 2017 at Fernandina, located at the SW rim of the caldera. Small amounts of ash were noted in the plume that rose 2.5 km, but most of the emission was steam and SO2. Vegetation fires were ignited on the SW flank, but lava did not reach the ocean. There was no sign of volcanic activity within the summit crater. A significant area with thermal anomalies was seen in infrared satellite data through 7 September.

Eruption of early September 2017. After eight years of little activity, Fernandina (La Cumbre) began a new eruptive phase on 4 September 2017, at approximately 1225 (Galápagos time) (figure 22). Inflation between March 2015 and September 2017 was 17 cm centered on the caldera; 5 cm of that inflation occurred in the last two months before the eruption (figure 23).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Fernandina began a new eruption on 4 September 2017. The initial plume was mostly steam, but contained significant SO2 and possibly minor ash. Photo by DPNG personnel, courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME ESPECIAL VOLCÁN FERNANDINA N°1 – 2017, Lunes, 04 Septiembre 2017 16:49).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Interferogram image of Fernandina between 19 March 2015 and 4 September 2017 shows about 17 cm of inflation in the caldera. Each concentric band of colors within the caldera represents several centimeters of inflation. Created by Yu Zhou and Mike Stock, courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME ESPECIAL DEL VOLCÁN FERNANDINA N°2 – 2017, Miércoles, 06 Septiembre 2017 17:16).

Seismic activity began with hybrid-type earthquakes (fractures with fluid movements) followed by Long Period (LP) earthquakes (fluid movements). The seismic network of the Geophysical Institute installed in the Galapagos began to detect activity at the volcano around 0955 on 4 September 2017. The beginning of the eruption was associated with a volcanic tremor that began at 1225. At 1428, an eruptive column was visible in satellite imagery, interpreted at an approximate height of 4,000 m above the crater, drifting WNW (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. This false-color satellite image of Fernandina on 4 September 2017 showed the eruption column drifting NW estimated at 4,000 m altitude. Source: http://goes.higp.hawaii.edu/cgi-bin/imageview?sitename=galapagos. Courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME ESPECIAL VOLCÁN FERNANDINA N°1 – 2017, Lunes, 04 Septiembre 2017 16:49).

The Washington VAAC reported that satellite imagery indicated a lava eruption which produced a plume of steam and gas that rose to 2,400 m above sea level and extended about 60 km W of the summit. While initially no ash was reported in the plume, a few hours later a new VAAC report suggested that minor ash was possibly present, although it was most likely primarily SO2. Satellite data reported by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center showed SO2 emissions on 4-6 and 8 September (figure 25).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. SO2 emissions from Fernandina were identified with the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite and the OMPS instrument on Japan's Suomi satellite during 4-8 September 2017. Upper left: A small SO2 emission emerges very close in time to the first reported observation of the eruption on 4 September. Upper right: The low-resolution OMPS image clearly shows a large plume drifting W about 24 hours later. Lower left and right: SO2 is present NW of the Galapagos over the eastern Pacific on 6 and 8 September. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Thermal alerts indicative of fresh lava flows from the rim of the summit crater were first reported by MODVOLC on 4 September 2017 (UTC), and abundant through 7 September (figure 26). No thermal anomalies were recorded in MODVOLC data on 8 September. An additional group of alert pixels was recorded on 9 September, but it's not clear if they were caused by fresh lava flows or burning fires; a few more intermittent pixels were recorded through 20 September. The MIROVA system also captured a significant spike in heatflow at Fernandina during the same period (figure 27). Some of the anomalies measured by both systems were likely the result of the fires caused by the lava flows as well as the flows themselves.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Map showing the location of new lava flows at Fernandina during 4-7 September 2017 using MODVOLC thermal alerts. Fires may have caused some of the alert pixels. Courtesy of HIGP MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. MIROVA thermal anomalies show a spike in activity at Fernandina during the period of the September 2017 eruption in this graph of log radiative power for the year ending on 16 October 2017. The initial spike that was located more than 5 km from the summit confirms the lava flows were located on the crater rim and flank and not in the summit crater. Some anomalies may also be due to the fires caused by the lava flows. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Incandescence was first observed during the night of 4 September (figure 28). Lava flows apparently originated from a circumferential fissure near the fissure of the 2005 eruption on the SSW rim of the caldera. The lava flowed down the S and SW flanks but did not reach the sea. Active lava flows were observed during the night of 5 September (figure 29). The intensity of the eruption decreased significantly after about 48 hours.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Incandescence at Fernandina on 4 September 2017. Photo by Alex Medina, courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME ESPECIAL DEL VOLCÁN FERNANDINA N°2 – 2017, Miércoles, 06 Septiembre 2017 17:16).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. A lava flow is visible on the SW flank of Fernandina on 5 September 2017. Photo by Alex Medina, courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME ESPECIAL DEL VOLCÁN FERNANDINA N°2 – 2017, Miércoles, 06 Septiembre 2017 17:16).

A technical team from the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park (DPNG) made an aerial inspection using the seaplane Sea Wolf on 7 September 2017. They observed a radial fissure in the same area where the 2005 eruption occurred, and several lava flows. No recent volcanic activity or any landslides were seen inside the caldera. The lava flows had ceased movement, but there were isolated fires burning patches of vegetation surrounded by older lava flows (figures 30 and 31). The lava had traveled from the summit crater at about 1,200 m down to 500 m elevation. While lava was not observed flowing into the sea, coastal monitoring by the park rangers showed water vapor on the SW coast, so it was possible that lava had reached the ocean through subsurface lava tubes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Lava flows burn vegetation on Fernandina during the eruption of September 2017. Observers on a 7 September 2017 flyover by DPNG reported that the active flows had ceased, but vegetation was burning at four different sites. Courtesy of Directorate of the Galapagos National Park (DPNG) (11/09/2017– Sobrevuelo al volcán La Cumbre, en Galápagos).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Vegetation on Fernandina burns on 7 September 2017 after lava flows erupted beginning on 4 September 2017. There was no evidence of flowing lava during the overflight. Courtesy of the Galapagos Conservancy.

Geologic Background. Fernandina, the most active of Galápagos volcanoes and the one closest to the Galápagos mantle plume, is a basaltic shield volcano with a deep 5 x 6.5 km summit caldera. The volcano displays the classic "overturned soup bowl" profile of Galápagos shield volcanoes. Its caldera is elongated in a NW-SE direction and formed during several episodes of collapse. Circumferential fissures surround the caldera and were instrumental in growth of the volcano. Reporting has been poor in this uninhabited western end of the archipelago, and even a 1981 eruption was not witnessed at the time. In 1968 the caldera floor dropped 350 m following a major explosive eruption. Subsequent eruptions, mostly from vents located on or near the caldera boundary faults, have produced lava flows inside the caldera as well as those in 1995 that reached the coast from a SW-flank vent. Collapse of a nearly 1 km3 section of the east caldera wall during an eruption in 1988 produced a debris-avalanche deposit that covered much of the caldera floor and absorbed the caldera lake.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec ); Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos (DPNG), Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos, Ecuador (URL: http://www.galapagos.gob.ec/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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 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 ); Galapagos Conservancy, (URL:https://www.galapagos.org).


Fuego (Guatemala) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seven eruptive episodes during July-December 2017

Guatemala's Volcán de Fuego was continuously active throughout 2017, and has been erupting vigorously since 2002; historical observations of eruptions date back to 1531. These eruptions have resulted in major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and damaging lahars. Reports of activity are provided by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), and aviation alerts of ash plumes are issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite data from NASA, NOAA, and other sources provide valuable information about heat flow and gas emissions.

Activity remained high at Fuego throughout July-December 2017. Background levels of activity included frequent explosions (4-6 per hour) with incandescent material rising 150 m above the summit and sending blocks 200 m down the flanks. Block avalanches commonly traveled down the major ravines for hundreds of meters. Ash plumes regularly rose 500-1,000 m above the summit (4.3-4.8 km altitude); ashfall affected communities SW of the summit within 15 km every week. During the multiple short-lived (48-hour or less) eruptive episodes, the hourly explosion rates increased significantly (6-12 per hour), and incandescent material often rose 300 m above the summit; one or more lava flows would also travel more than a kilometer down major ravines. Higher ash plumes (often rising to 5-6 km altitude) during the eruptive episodes sent ash plumes drifting hundreds of kilometers in various directions causing ashfall in cities tens of kilometers away in various directions. Pyroclastic flows often accompanied the eruptive episodes. Seven episodes were reported by INSIVUMEH during July-December 2017 (table 17); they are clearly discernible as periods of higher heat flow in the MIROVA thermal anomaly data (figure 73) as well.

Table 17. Eruptive episodes at Fuego during July-December 2017. Information provided primarily by INSIVUMEH. Some ash plume information is from the Washington VAAC.

Dates Episode Ash plume height Ash plume drift Ashfall areas Lava flow distances Lava flow drainages Pyroclastic flows
11-12 Jul 2017 6 5.1 km 35 km W 10-20 km WSW 2.3 km, 1.7 km Las Lajas, Santa Teresa --
07-08 Aug 2017 7 -- 20 km W 10-20 km W 1.5 km, 700 m Ceniza, Santa Teresa -- 
19-21 Aug 2017 8 6.1 km 75 km W, SW, WNW 20 km WSW 1.4 km, 1.2 km Ceniza, Santa Teresa (Seca) Santa Teresa
12-13 Sep 2017 9 4.6 km 65 km N 10-20 km WSW 1.3 km Seca (Santa Teresa) Seca (Santa Teresa)
27-28 Sep 2017 10 4.7 km 25 km W More than 30 km N, E 800 m, 500 m Seca, Las Lajas --
05-07 Nov 2017 11 4.8 km 25 km W, SW 8-12 km SW 1.2 km, 800 m Seca, Ceniza --
10-11 Dec 2017 12 5.0 km 20 km S, SW 20 km S, SW 1.5 km Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza --
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. MIROVA thermal anomaly data for Fuego for 2017 shows the continuing activity that included intermittent pulses of high-heat-flow from twelve defined eruptive episodes shown by red arrows. Courtesy of MIROVA. Eruptive episodes defined by INSIVUMEH.

Activity during July 2017. Activity increased at Fuego during July 2017, compared with the previous month. INSIVUMEH reported that explosions per hour increased during 6-7 July from 4-7 to 7-10; a lava flow also traveled 1.5 km down Las Lajas ravine. Incandescent material was ejected 100-200 m above the crater rim and caused avalanches of material that traveled down the Ceniza (SSW), Taniluyá (SW), Santa Teresa (SW), and Trinidad (S) drainages (figure 74). Ash plumes during 7-9 July caused ashfall in Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and possibly San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km N).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Incandescent material was ejected over a hundred meters above the summit of Fuego and blocks of material traveled hundreds of meters down the flank on 9 July 2017. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH and OVFGO (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 08 al 14de julio 2017).

The Washington VAAC reported dense ash emissions seen in satellite data on 10 July extending WNW 60 km from the summit at 4.6 km altitude. They noted that ashfall was reported 10 km SW from the summit the following morning. The 6th eruptive episode of the year occurred on 11-12 July 2017. Explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1.3 km above the crater and drifted 35 km W, and shock waves rattled nearby structures. Ash fell in areas to the SW. Two lava flows were fed by lava fountains 150-250 m high; one flow traveled 2.3 km down the Las Lajas drainage and another traveled 1.7 km down the Santa Teresa (SW) drainage. The increased activity levels lasted for about 31 hours, with tens of explosions. Weak-to-moderate explosions continued afterwards, generating ash plumes that rose 850 m and drifted 6 km W.

Multiple explosions continued generating ash plumes and block avalanches during 13-14 July. On 16 July, a 30-m-wide, 2-m-deep, hot lahar descended tributaries of the Pantaleón (W) drainage, carrying blocks more than 2 m in diameter, branches, and tree trunks. The lahars again overtook the road between communities on the SW flank, isolating the village of Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW) and the Palo Verde estate. The Washington VAAC estimated that the ash plumes released early on 16 July rose to 5.2 km altitude, and drifted SE from the summit. By afternoon they had risen to 5.8 km and were drifting SW, extending about 75 km. Explosions during 17-18 July produced dense ash plumes that drifted 15 km W and NW causing ashfall in Panimache, Morelia, and Santa Sofía. Satellite imagery on 19 July showed an ash plume extending 65 km WNW of the summit in a narrow band at 4.3 km altitude. Similar plumes were reported daily between 19-23 July at 4.3-4.9 km altitude drifting generally W up to about 50 km before dissipating (figure 75).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Ash emissions were reported almost daily from Fuego during July 2017. A small pulse of ash on 20 July was captured on the Panimaché I webcam (10 km SW) in this view looking NE in the early morning. Courtesy of OVFGO-INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 15 al 21 de julio 2017).

Activity during August 2017. MODVOLC thermal alerts that were issued on 28 and 30 July confirmed the continuing incandescent summit activity which produced block avalanches down the major drainages. Multiple daily alerts were also issued during 15 days of August. Coordinadora Nacional Para la Reduccion de Desastres (CONRED) reported increased activity on 4 August that included 300-m-high ejections of incandescent material and a lava flow that traveled 600 m down the Ceniza ravine. During 7-8 August two lava fountains rose 150 m high, prompting INSIVUMEH to announce the seventh effusive episode at Fuego in 2017. The fountains fed lava flows, 1.5 km and 700 m long, in the Ceniza and the Santa Teresa ravines (figure 76). Explosions (occurring at a rate of 6-8 per hour) produced ash plumes that drifted 20 km W, causing ashfall in Panimache, Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, and Yepocapa. The Washington VAAC also noted increasing ash emissions on 7 August. Weather clouds prevented observations from satellite images on 7 and 8 August, but the VAAC reported a "" strong hotspot in infrared imagery on 8 August. Although the lava flow in the Ceniza drainage remained active, explosive activity decreased to an average of three explosions per hour the following week, with ash emissions rising to 4.4-4.6 km and drifting 10 or more km W and SW, bringing ashfall to communities on the W and SW flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. A lava flow at Fuego during eruptive episode 7 descends the SE flank on 7 August 2017. Courtesy of OVFGO-INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo:, Volcán Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 5 al 11 de agosto 2017).

Activity intensified again during 19-20 August, when constant explosions generated ash plumes that rose 2.3 km above the crater and drifted more than 50 km W and SW. INSIVUMEH reported that the eighth effusive episode at Fuego in 2017 began on 20 August and lasted for about 48 hours. Two lava fountains, each 300 m high, fed lava flows that traveled 1.4 km SSW down the Ceniza ravine and 1.2 km W down the Seca (Santa Teresa) ravine (figure 77). Incandescent block avalanches occurred throughout the crater. Pyroclastic flows (figure 78) were concentrated in the Santa Teresa ravine, possibly filling the drainage with deposits (similar to activity from 5 May) and increasing the chances for lahars. A bright hotspot was visible in satellite imagery from 19-21 August. Seismicity remained elevated through 21 August. During 21 August, the Washington VAAC reported the ash plume near 5.5 km altitude extending 75 km WNW. A remnant cloud of ash was detected in satellite imagery over 200 km WNW of the summit in extreme SE Mexico late on 21 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Incandescent explosions and block avalanches descend the SE flank of Fuego during eruptive episode 8, 19-21 August 2017 in this view from the Panimaché I webcam. Courtesy of OVGFO-INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán de Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 19 al 25 de agosto 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. A pyroclastic flow descends the Santa Teresa ravine at Fuego during eruptive episode 8 on 21 August 2017 in this view from the Panimaché I webcam. Courtesy of OVGFO-INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán de Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 19 al 25 de agosto 2017).

INSIVUMEH reported that on 25 August multiple lahars descended the Pantaleón, Cenizas, El Jute, and Las Lajas drainages on Fuego's W, SSW, and SE flanks. The lahar in the Pantaleón river (fed by the Santa Teresa and El Mineral rivers) was 35 m wide, 2.5-3 m deep, and carried trees and blocks more than 2-3 m in diameter. The Cenizas lahar was about 25 m wide, 3 m deep, and carried blocks up to 2 m in diameter. The lahars in El Jute and Las Lajas drainages were 20 m wide, 1.5 m deep, and carried tree debris and blocks up to 2 m in diameter.

Explosions during 26-29 August generated ash plumes that rose as high as 950 m above the crater and drifted 7-12 km SW, W, and NW. The Washington VAAC reported near continuous emissions of ash on 28 August moving WSW and extending about 100 km at 4.6 km altitude, rising to 5.8 km altitude the following day. Incandescent material was ejected 100-200 m above the crater rim and caused avalanches of material around the crater area. Explosions were audible within a 20-km radius, and shock waves vibrated local structures. Ash fell in areas downwind including Panimache I and II, Morelia, Finca Palo verde, Sangre de Cristo, and El Porvenir. On 29 August, lahars 10 m wide and 1.5 m deep again descended the Santa Teresa and El Mineral drainages, carrying tree debris and blocks up to 2 m in diameter.

Activity during September 2017. Lahars were reported in the Santa Teresa and El Mineral drainages intermittently during September. Ash emissions continued to cause ashfall in communities within 10 km W and SW throughout the month. Continuous ejection of incandescent blocks rose 200-300 m above the crater and sent material 300 m down the flanks. The Washington VAAC reported a continuous plume of ash detected in satellite imagery and in the webcam extending about 95 km WSW on 8 September at 4.6 km altitude. INISVUMEH reported that the increase in activity during 8 September fed a lava flow that traveled 800 m down Barranca Seca.

The ninth eruptive episode of 2017 began late on 12 September and lasted about 35 hours (figure 79). Pyroclastic flows descended the Seca (Santa Teresa) ravine on the W flank, along with a lava flow that traveled 1.3 km during the episode. Ashfall was reported in Morelia, Palo Verde Estate, Sangre de Cristo, El Porvenir, Santa Sofía, and Panimaché I and II. The Washington VAAC reported that an ash plume extended about 65 km N from the summit on 13 September at 4.6 km altitude. After several days of weather clouds obscuring the satellite images, they reported a plume drifting W on 17 September extending 95 km from the summit. A hotspot intermittently appeared during 13-17 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Incandescent lava rises 200-300 m above the summit of Fuego, and a lava flow traveled down the Santa Theresa ravine on the W flank during eruptive episode 9 on 12 September 2017. View from Panimaché I webcam. Courtesy of OVFGO-INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán de Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 09 al 15 de septiembre 2017.

The Washington VAAC reported weak puffs of ash drifting N and quickly dissipating on 25 September, and another ash plume extending 15 km W on 28 September at 4.6 km. Hotspots were also observed both days in satellite images. INSIVUMEH reported eruptive episode 10 during 27-28 September, lasting about 40 hours. The ash plume generated during the episode drifted in multiple directions simultaneously (figure 80) and resulted in ashfall more than 30 km from the crater, primarily N and NE, in La Soledad (7 km N), Pastores (20 km NNE), San Miguel Dueñas (10 km NE) and Antigua Guatemala (20 km NE). The incandescent material reached 300 meters above the crater and fed two lava flows, the first went 300 m down the Seca Canyon, and the second traveled 500 m down Las Lajas Canyon.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. The ash plumes drift in multiple directions (W, NW, SW and S) from the summit of Fuego on 28 September 2017 during eruptive episode 10. Image taken in San Pedro Yepocapa, 8 km NW. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Reporte Semanal de Monitoreo: Volcán de Fuego (1402-09), Semana del 23 al 29 de septiembre 2017).

Seven lahars were recorded during September in the main ravines of Fuego, on days 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 27, and 29, as a result of the unusually large amount of rainfall during the month (1,059 mm) (figure 81). The larger ones at the beginning of the month contained blocks up to 3 m in diameter, and many were warm enough to generate steam with strong odors of SO2. Several roads were damaged.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. High rainfall (1,059 mm) during September 2017 generated large lahars in the Seca, Mineral, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lahas, El Jute, and Honda ravines at Fuego, shown in purple. Many dirt roads (shown in red) were damaged. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (VOLCÁN DE FUEGO, INFORME MENSUAL, Septiembre 2017).

Activity during October 2017. Overall activity was quieter during October 2017. Background levels of activity included incandescent material rising up to 250 m above the summit and falling a similar distance down the flanks, and ash plumes rising to 4.4-5.0 km altitude and drifting more than 25 km W, NW, and E. Eight to twelve explosions per hour were not uncommon, although 4-6 per hour were more typical. A few of the block avalanches traveled 2 km down the flanks. The communities that experienced persistent ashfall were all located 10-20 km SW, and included Morelia, Palo Verde Farm, Sangre de Cristo, El Porvenir, Santa Sofía, and Panimaché I and II. Due to the wind conditions and increased activity during the first week of October, ashfall was also reported farther away in Guatemala City (40 km NE), Antigua Guatemala, Villa Nueva (30 km ENE) and San Miguel Petapa (35 km ENE). INSIVUMEH reported three increases in explosive activity during the month on 2, 3, and 5 October, but they did not develop into eruptive episodes.

Four lahars were reported on 1, 2, and 4 October in the Seca and Mineral drainages. They carried blocks of volcanic rocks and debris as large as 3 m in diameter and were 6-12 m wide and 1-2 m deep. The Washington VAAC reported a series of explosions on 4 October, after which ash emissions were seen in multispectral imagery at 5.2 km altitude drifting SW that reached as far as 75 km. They reported occasional puffs of ash on 15 October extending up to 95 km W of the summit. By 17 October, imagery showed continuous emissions with an ash plume extending 95 km SSW from the summit before dissipating. A possible ash plume was reported by the Washington VAAC on 31 October extending 45 km W from the summit at 4.3 km altitude.

Activity during November 2017. There were numerous periods of intermittent ash emissions during November. Continuous emissions often drifted 65-100 km or more SW or W at altitudes around 4.6-5.2 km during periods of activity. INSIVUMEH reported that during 2-3 November tremor at Fuego increased. Explosions during the first week averaged 5-8 per hour and ash plumes rose as high as 1.3 km above the crater. Incandescent material was ejected 300 m above the crater, causing avalanches that were confined to the crater. The 11th eruptive episode in 2017 began on 5 November and lasted for two days. Lava flowed 1-1.2 km W down the Seca drainage and 800 m SSW down the Ceniza drainage. Avalanches of material from the ends of the lava flows descended the flanks and reached vegetated areas.

Ashfall was reported in areas downwind in the communities 8-12 km SW including Morelia, Santa Sofia, Palo Verde Farm, and Panimaché I and II throughout the month. Shockwaves from explosions often rattled windows and roofs around the volcano. Avalanche blocks were reported in the Cenizas, Trinidad, Taniluyá and Seca canyons. Multiple VAAC reports were issued on 25 days of November, and multiple daily MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 20 days of the month. On 10 November the emissions extended about 275 km WSW from the summit. A lahar during the third week descended the Seca and el Mineral drainages.

Activity during December 2017. Explosions averaged 4-8 per hour during most of December sending incandescent material 200-250 m above the crater. INSIVUMEH reported that the 12th eruptive episode at Fuego in 2017 began on 10 December and, based on seismicity, lasted for about 36 hours. Ash plumes from moderate-to-strong explosions rose as high as 1.2 km above the crater rim and drifted 20 km S and SW. Lava flowed as far as 1.5 km W down the Seca (Santa Teresa), SW down the Taniluyá, and SSW down the Ceniza ravines. Ash fell many times in the communities of La Rochela, San Andrés Osuna, Morelia, and Panimaché I and II. On 12 December there was an average of 10 explosions per hour, generating avalanches in the Ceniza and Taniluyá drainages and ashfall in nearby areas. Ashfall was also reported in San Miguel Dueñas, Alotenango, and Ciudad Vieja (13.5 km NE) on 14 December.

Multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared on 20 days during December, and the Washington VAAC issued 91 reports of continuous or intermittent ash plume activity. During eruptive episode 12 on 11 December, they reported an intense hot spot seen at the crater in satellite imagery despite meteoric cloud cover. For most of the second half of December, either continuous or intermittent ash emissions drifted 100-150 km WNW from the summit before dissipating. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 20 December drifting WNW at 5.8 km altitude that extended over 300 km from the summit. A remnant of the plume was observed almost 450 km away late on 20 December before dissipating. Plumes were repeatedly observed over 200 km from the summit during 20-25 December.

Geologic Background. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. 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 Acatenango. In contrast to 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: Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php ); Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).


Sheveluch (Russia) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lava dome growth continue through January 2018

An eruption at Sheveluch has been ongoing since 1999, and volcanic activity was previously described through August 2017 (BGVN 42:08). Ongoing activity consists of pyroclastic flows, explosions, and lava dome growth with a viscous lava flow in the N. Strong fumarole activity, ash explosions, hot avalanches and incandescence from the dome accompany this process. Explosions and ash flows were reported by Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) during the August 2017 through January 2018 period.

During this report period the Aviation Color Code (ACC) remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale), except for 10 January 2018 when it was briefly elevated to Red (highest level) and lowered back to Orange later the same day. Satellite infrared data also showed increased activity on this day. Ash plume altitudes ranged from a low of 5 km to a high of 11 km on 10 January 2018. The farthest lateral extent of the ash plume was reported at 990 km to the NE on 8 November 2017.

On 4 and 8 August 2017 large ash clouds reached altitudes of 6.5 km and approximately 10 km, respectively. Ashfall was reported in Klyuchi Village (50 km SW) on 8 August and drifted about 180 km E, NW, and NE during 12 and 15-16 August. On 7 September ash plumes rose to 8-10 km altitude and drifted NE, SE, and S; another ash plume was photographed on 8 September (figure 47). On 15-22 September ash plumes rose to 9-10 km altitude and drifted about 400 km NW, E, and SE. Explosions on 10 October generated ash plumes to 10 km altitude and drifted about 250 km N (figure 48). Plumes comprised of re-suspended ash drifted about 350 km SE on 12 October and about 230 km SE on 13 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Photo of an ash cloud from Sheveluch generated by an explosion on 8 September 2017. Photo by G. Teplitsky; courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Explosions from Sheveluch sent ash up to 10 km altitude on 10 October 2017. Photo from a webcam, courtesy of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

Explosions on 2 and 8 November generated ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 8 km and drifted approximately 990 km NE. Weather prevented observations on the other days from 4-10, 12-17, and 19-24 November. A strong explosive event on 5 December generated ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 10.5 km and 5 km and drifted NE and E, respectively. Explosions on 26 December generated an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 8 km and drifted about 300 km NE.

On 10 January 2018 satellite images captured an ash cloud with a dimension of 192 x 132 km drifting 230 km NE from explosions rising to altitudes of 10-11 km. In response, KVERT raised the ACC to Red. Later that same day, satellite images showed the ash cloud expanded to 350 x 180 km in dimension and had drifted 400 km E; the ACC was lowered back to Orange. The 10 January explosions began at 1035 with resulting ash that drifted about 900 km E during 10-11 January.

Thermal anomalies. As reported by KVERT, satellite imagery continue to detect the existence of a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch. The anomaly was reported on 10-30 days every month from August 2017 through January 2018. Detections of the thermal anomaly were lower in certain months because cloudy conditions obscured satellite imagery. The MIROVA system detected numerous hotspots every month during August 2017-January 2018, most of which were about 5 km or less from the summit with mainly low to a few high power signatures in August, September 2017 and January 2018. Thermal anomalies based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm were detected in 11-12 August 2017 and 10 January 2018 corresponding to the explosive eruptions on those days.

Geologic Background. The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 km3 volcano is one of Kamchatka's largest and most active volcanic structures. The summit of roughly 65,000-year-old Stary Shiveluch is truncated by a broad 9-km-wide late-Pleistocene caldera breached to the south. Many lava domes dot its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large horseshoe-shaped caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. At least 60 large eruptions have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Widespread tephra layers from these eruptions have provided valuable time markers for dating volcanic events in Kamchatka. Frequent collapses of dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera.

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


Stromboli (Italy) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Moderate increase in thermal energy and explosion rate, April-August 2017

Confirmed historical eruptions at Italy's Stromboli volcano go back 2,000 years as this island volcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea has been a natural beacon for eons with its near-constant fountains of lava. Eruptive activity at the summit consistently occurs from multiple vents at both a north crater area (N Area) and a southern crater group (S or CS Area) on the Terrazza Craterica at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a large scarp that runs from the summit down the NW side of the island (figures 102 and 103). Thermal and visual cameras placed on the nearby Pizzo Sopra La Fossa monitor activity at the Terrazza Craterica. Eruptive activity continued at low to moderate levels during 2015 and 2016, with intermittent periods of frequent explosions from both crater areas that sent ash, lapilli, and bombs across the Terrazza Craterica and onto the head of the Sciara del Fuoco (BGVN 42:07).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. A view of Stromboli looking SW with the Sciara del Fuoco on the NW flank on the right. Image taken during 10-12 June 2017. Copyrighted photo by Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. A view to the NW of the Terrazza Craterica from the summit of Stromboli shows the CS Area (left) and N Area (right) vents during 10-12 June 2017. Copyrighted photo by Martin Rietze, used with permission.

This report covers activity from January-October 2017. Activity similar to 2016 continued through March 2017 when an increase began in explosion rates. The increase peaked during June and then declined through August, returning to background levels in September (figures 104). Thermal energy increased beginning in early May and lasted through mid-August (figure 105). Multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued for Stromboli between 4 May and 25 August 2017. Weekly reports of activity were provided by the Instituto Nazionale de Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione de Catania, which monitors the gas geochemistry, deformation, and seismology, as well as the surficial activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Increased rates of explosive activity at Stromboli were recorded between early April and late August 2017, peaking during mid-June. Rates declined to background levels by early September. The green line represents the number of daily explosions from the S Area, the red line is the number of daily explosions from the N Area, and the blue line is the cumulative of the two areas. Graph includes activity from 28 March-30 October 2017. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 44/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 31/10/2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. After a lengthy period of low to intermittent thermal activity during 2015 and 2016, a distinct increase in thermal energy was recorded in satellite thermal imagery and is shown in the MIROVA system data for the year ending on 25 August 2017. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during January 2017 consisted of low to moderate intensity explosions from the southern crater area (S Area), and low intensity explosions at the northern crater area (N Area). Two vents in the S Area generated explosive activity. Modest explosions with ash and lapilli occurred regularly from the southernmost vent, and rare explosions were observed from the northernmost vent (figure 106). At the northern crater area (N Area) the southern vent was active, generating ash and lapilli that was ejected a few tens of meters from the vent. There were no explosions from the northern vent in the N Area.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Typical activity at Stromboli's Terrazza Craterica during January 2017 photographed from visible cameras on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa. Left: Explosions at the S Area on 23 January 2017 included moderate activity at the southern vent (yellow arrow) and low activity at the northern vent (white arrow). Right: The southern vent (green arrow) of the N Area showed moderate explosive activity on 17 January 2017. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 04/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 24/01/2017).

There were no notable changes in activity until the second week of February 2017 when explosive activity returned to the northern vent of the N Area. During the third week of February, a gradual increase in the rate and intensity of the explosions at both areas was observed which lasted throughout the rest of the month (figure 107). Coarse pyroclastic material was ejected onto the Terrazza Craterica and occasionally onto the Sciara del Fuoco. The stronger explosions generated modest plumes of dilute ash that quickly dissipated.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Explosive activity at Stromboli during the third week of February 2017: A) The colored arrows indicate the active vents in the S and N Areas as seen by the visible camera of the Pizzo. B) Explosion at the northern vent (blue arrow) of the N area (visible camera). C) Explosion at the southern vent (yellow arrow) of the S area (visible camera). D-F) explosions from the N and S Areas taken by the 400 level Thermal camera. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 08/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 21/02/2017).

During the first week of March 2017, the most active vents were the southernmost vent of the S Area and the northernmost vent of the N Area. The strongest explosions from the northern vent of the N Area produced dilute ash emissions and pyroclastic ejecta that landed on the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco. By the third week of March, and through the end of the month, most of the activity had shifted to the vents in the N Area and diminished in the S Area. On 28 March, Etna Observatory personnel restored operations at both the infrared and visible cameras on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa which allowed for more detailed observations of the activity at the summit (figure 108).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. The Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli seen from the thermal camera on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa on 31 March 2017, showing active vents in the two crater areas (AREA N, AREA CS). The abbreviations and arrows indicate the names and locations of the active vents. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 14/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del, vulcano Stromboli del 04/04/2017).

Throughout April 2017, the N1 vent produced low (less than 80 m high) to medium (80-150 m) intensity explosions containing ash, lapilli, and bombs. The N2 vent showed sporadic low intensity explosive activity with occasional ash emissions until 20 April when more coarse (lapilli and bombs) material was ejected. Vent C showed continuous degassing throughout the month, and low intensity explosions began there during the third week of April, causing intense spattering on 29 April. The S1 vent showed sporadic and weak explosive activity of low intensity with the ejection of coarse material until the third week when activity ceased. Vent S2 showed explosive activity of medium-low intensity (less than 120 m high) of coarse material sometimes mixed with ash. Explosion rates were around 2-10 events per hour during the first half of the month, rising to 10-15 per hour for the second half of April.

In the N Area, the N1 and N2 vents continued with a similar level of activity throughout May 2017 (figure 109). Explosions of low to medium intensity sent coarse ejecta of lapilli and bombs up to 150 m high at N1 and 120 m high at N2. The rate of explosions in the N Area ranged from 4-12 per hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. The Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli seen from the thermal camera located on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa on 18 May 2017, showing active vents in the two crater areas (AREA N, AREA CS). The abbreviations and arrows indicate the names and locations of the active vents. The vents in the N Area exhibited similar levels of activity throughout the month. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 21/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 23/05/2017).

In the S Area, activity was more variable during May, and the rate of explosions ranged from 2-10 per hour. Vent C also continued with intense degassing and low-intensity explosions and spattering. On 13 May, two emission points were observed at vent C, one a few meters S of the other. Vent S1 showed no activity until late in the second week of May when low to moderate intensity explosions rose up to 150 m with coarse ejecta. During 14-15 May, a second vent opened a few meters north of S1, and simultaneous explosions from both S1 vents sent jets of gas and incandescent material into the air. Activity decreased to low intensity explosions (less than 80 m high) with ejecta during the third week, but then increased significantly during the last week of the month. Ejecta reached 200 m high from the S1 vents (figure 110). The southern S1 vent built a surrounding hornito and produced high and narrow jets of incandescent material, while the northern emission point produced more modest jets of gas and material. Vent S2 was quiet for most of May, producing only low-intensity explosions of coarse material sometimes mixed with ash for a few days near the beginning of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. The Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli seen from the thermal camera on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa on 29 May 2017, showing active vents in the two crater areas (AREA N, AREA CS). The abbreviations and arrows indicate the names and locations of the active vents. The S1 vent in the CS Area produced high intensity jets of incandescent material that rose 200 m during the last week of the month. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 22/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 30/05/2017).

An increase in activity during June 2017 was apparent at both the N and S Areas (figure 111). Video taken by drone and from the summit during 10-12 June shows periodic explosions with ash, lapilli, and bombs ejected around the Terrazza Craterica (See Information Contacts for link). Vent N1 was characterized by low to medium-high intensity explosive activity that ejected lapilli and bombs to 200 m and was sometimes accompanied by ash that drifted S over the island. N2 also showed variable activity which ranged from low to high intensity (ejecta rising over 200 m high) during the first week, and low to medium-high (ejecta rose to 150 m) for the rest of the month (figure 112). Numerous bombs and lapilli were deposited both inside and outside the crater rim. Intense spattering was reported at N2 on 11, 12, 18, 19, and 26 June. The explosion rate in the N Area was 9-18 per hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Thermal activity increased during June 2017 at Stromboli. Simultaneous explosions from both the S (left) and N (right) Areas during 10-12 June 2017 were photographed from the summit. Copyrighted photo by Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. Increased thermal activity was apparent in the N Area of the Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli as seen from the thermal camera located on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa on 5 June 2017. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 23/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 06/06/2017).

In the CS Area, sporadic low-intensity explosions (less than 80 m high) characterized vent C, with modest spattering reported on 11, 12, 13, 26, 30 June 2017. Activity at S1 continued from two vents simultaneously with low to medium intensity explosive activity (figure 113 and 114). The vent at S2 reactivated briefly on 3 June after about a month of quiet with weak spattering activity but was not active again during the month. The CS Area was characterized by an explosion frequency of 1-10 per hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Explosions of incandescent ejecta from the CS Area at Stromboli during 10-12 June 2017. Copyrighted photo by Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. Increased activity at the CS Area of Stromboli on 26 June 2017 was recorded by the thermal camera located on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa. Activity at S1 continued from two vents simultaneously with low to medium intensity explosive activity for most of the month. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 26/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 27/06/2017).

During July 2017, thermal activity at the vents remained moderate to high; explosions at the N1 vent sent lapilli and bombs, sometimes mixed with ash, to 200 m above the vent. At vent N2, lapilli and bombs were ejected outside the crater rim, sometimes rolling down the Sciara del Fuoco to the ocean. The hourly frequency of explosions ranged from 5-18. At S1, both vents exploded simultaneously with lapilli, bombs and occasional ash rising to 150 m numerous times.

Beginning in the afternoon of 26 July, an explosive sequence at the CS Area lasting about 90 seconds was recorded with the thermal and visible image cameras on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa (figure 115). It began with explosions from vents C and S1, followed by a second explosion at S2. More explosions from C and S1 sent debris to the SE and were followed by fountaining to about 50 m from the vents for about a minute. INGV personnel witnessed 10-cm-diameter bombs on the SW side of the Pizzo at about 850 m elevation during a 30 July site visit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. The explosive sequence of 26 July 2017 at Stromboli was recorded by the thermal and visible cameras located on the Pizzo sopra la Fossa. Details of the 90-second-long event are described in the text. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 31/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 01/08/2017).

A return to background activity during August consisted of explosions of varying intensity from low (less than 80 m) to medium-low (ejecta sometimes reached 120 m in height) at both the N and CS Area vents. Explosion frequency ranged from 2-11 per hour, decreasing significantly by the end of the month. Activity continued to diminish during September. Periodic spattering from vent C occurred. Only one vent was active in the CS Area during the month. A brief increase in intensity at vent N1 during 8-9 September sent ejecta over 150 m high. By the end of September, few explosions reached over 80 m in height. A brief episode of intense spattering at vent C on 24 September sent bombs and lapilli to 40 m above the vent. Explosion frequency averaged only 2-6 per hour by the end of September.

Continuous spattering, occasionally intense, from vent C continued during October. The vents in the N Area produced low to moderate intensity explosions, and one vent in the CS Area produced low intensity explosions. A strong explosive sequence in the CS Area lasted for about five minutes on 23 October 2017 (figure 116). The first explosion of the sequence came from vent C and lasted 30 seconds. It destroyed the hornito formed around the vent. About a minute later, two explosions occurred at the S1 vent, reaching about 120 m in height and dispersing to the SE. Another explosion at vent C about 3 minutes later sent ejecta 100 m high. The event ended with a series of small ash emissions that rose a few tens of meters. Low intensity activity continued from both areas through the end of October, with low explosion rates of around 2-6 per hour.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. An explosive sequence from the CS Area at Stromboli on 23 October 2017 lasted about five minutes. Ejecta from vents C and S1 rose 100-150 m above the vents and dispersed SE. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 43/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 24/10/2017).

Geologic Background. Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at this volcano have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean." Stromboli, the NE-most of the Aeolian Islands, has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period from about 13,000 to 5000 years ago was followed by formation of the modern edifice. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent horseshoe-shaped scarp formed about 5000 years ago as a result of the most recent of a series of slope failures that extend to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

Information Contacts: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy, (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/en/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/); Martin Rietze, Taubenstr. 1, D-82223 Eichenau, Germany (URL: https://mrietze.com/, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5LzAA_nyNWEUfpcUFOCpJw/videos, http://mrietze.com/web16/Stromb_Vesuv17.htm).


Tinakula (Solomon Islands) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Short-lived ash emission and large SO2 plume 21-26 October 2017; historical eruption accounts

Remote Tinakula lies 100 km NE of the Solomon Trench at the N end of the Santa Cruz Islands, part of the country of the Solomon Islands, which generally lie 400 km to the W. It has been uninhabited since an eruption with lava flows and ash explosions in 1971 when the small population was evacuated (CSLP 87-71). The nearest inhabitants live on Te Motu (Trevanion) Island (about 30 km S), Nupani (40 km N), and the Reef Islands (60 km E); they occasionally report explosion noises from Tinakula. Ashfall from larger explosions has historically reached these islands. The last reported evidence of activity came from MODVOLC thermal alerts between August 2010 and October 2012, and observations of incandescent lava blocks rolling into the sea in May 2012. A new eruptive episode with a large ash explosion and substantial SO2 plume during 21-26 October 2017 is reported below, along with newly available historical newspaper accounts of earlier eruptions.

Reports of ash plumes are issued by the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC); the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) of the Solomon Islands Government also issues situation reports when significant activity is reported. Satellite data from infrared, visual, and SO2 monitoring instruments are an important source of information for this remote volcano. News reports from local (and social) media are often the only sources of information for the smaller events. Recently identified 19th- and 20th-century newspaper accounts of eruptive activity witnessed by sailors passing nearby is a valuable new resource for previously unreported events.

Eruption of 21-26 October 2017. Reports of a substantial explosion with an ash plume from Tinakula appeared on social media and in the local press during 22-26 October 2017. Staff from the Lata Met Service Office approached the island by boat on 23 October to make direct observations (figures 17-19). A video clip from the Himawari8 Satellite showing the ash plume explosion was posted by Stephan Armbruster on Twitter on 22 October. The Solomon Islands NDMO issued a situation report on 26 October showing ashfall covering vegetation on the island. According to the NDMO, ashfall was concentrated on the island, although a small amount of ash drifted SE and was reported to briefly contaminate drinking water in several communities in the nearby Reef Islands (60 km ENE) . Ashfall was also reported on Fenualoa Island (50 km ENE) (Radio New Zealand). The eruption was categorized by NMDO as a VEI 3. A team of geologists from NDMO brought seismic monitoring equipment to Tinakula in early November, and measured a high frequency volcanic tremor on 5 November 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. View from the SE of the eruption at Tinakula on 23 October 2017 during a site visit by staff from the Lata Office of the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service. Photo by Okano Gamara.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Ash and steam emissions rose from Tinakula on 23 October 2017 during a site visit by staff from the Lata Office of the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service. Photo by Okano Gamara.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Ash emission from Tinakula on 23 October 2017 during a site visit by staff from the Lata Office of the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service. Photo by Okano Gamara.

The Wellington VAAC first reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery shortly after midnight (UTC) on 21 October 2017. The plume was estimated to be at 4.6 km altitude and drifting N. About 90 minutes later they reported a second eruption with a much higher plume drifting SE at 10.7 km altitude using IR imagery cloud top temperatures to estimate the altitude. They reported ongoing ash emissions visible in satellite imagery drifting SE at 6.1 km altitude throughout the morning, dropping to 3 km altitude by the end of the day. The following day, 22 October, intermittent ash emissions were reported at 3.7 km altitude moving E. By that afternoon, they had dropped to 2.4 km, and had lowered to 1.8 km by late on 23 October. Ongoing low-level ash emission (2.1 km altitude) continued through 25 October; by early on 26 October, there was no further evidence of ongoing activity.

No MODVOLC thermal alerts were associated with this event, but there was a brief MIROVA signal from the MODIS infrared data during 20-23 October 2017 (figure 20). A major SO2 plume was released from Tinakula on 21 October, and a smaller one was recorded on 28 October as well (figure 21).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Moderate thermal signals were recorded from Tinakula on 20 and 23 October 2017 (top graph) by the MIROVA system that captures MODIS infrared satellite data. Another signal reported during the first week of March 2017 (bottom graph) could also have been an eruptive event, but no other corroborating evidence is available. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Major SO2 plumes from Tinakula and the Vanatu volcanoes of Ambae and Ambrym were released during October 2017. A substantial SO2 plume drifted in several directions from Tinakula on 21 October 2017 (left). Much smaller plumes are also visible from Ambae and Ambrym which are located farther south. On 28 October (right), a smaller SO2 plume was drifting SE from Tinakula while much larger plumes were apparent from Ambae and Ambrym. Data gathered by the OMI instrument on the Aura Satellite. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Summary of activity during 1971-2012. After the 1971 eruption, intermittent ash emissions, lava bombs, and pyroclastic flows were reported by geologists and sailors passing nearby in 1984, 1985, 1989-1990, 1995, and 1999. Infrared MODIS thermal data was first reported as MODVOLC thermal alerts beginning in 2000 and has provided satellite-based confirmation of thermal activity since then. Months with thermal activity included February 2000-May 2001, February 2006-November 2007, September-November 2008, August 2009, and January 2010-October 2012 (figure 22). No additional thermal alerts were issued through 2017. Since 2004, SO2 data has been gathered by satellite instruments and processed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; in February and April 2006 small SO2 plumes were recorded (figure 23).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Months with MODVOLC thermal alerts from MODIS infrared data for Tinakula, during January 2000-December 2017. The orange boxes indicate months where at least one MODVOLC thermal alert was issued; the number of alerts is indicated inside the square. Months highlighted in green represent contiguous periods of time of three months or greater with no recorded MODVOLC thermal alerts. Pale orange squares indicate months with no MODVOLC thermal alerts issued, but within a three-month buffer of an earlier thermal alert. Data courtesy of MODVOLC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. SO2 emission data captured by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite indicated small plumes from Tinakula (top center of images) on 12 and 14 February 2006 (top) and 21 and 23 April 2006 (bottom). Small plumes were also visible from Ambrym on 12 February, and from Ambae and Ambrym on 14 February and 21 and 23 April 2006. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Eruption reports during 1868-1932. Reports of eruptions at Tinakula between 1868 and 1932 have recently been found in 19th and 20th century newspaper accounts from Australia and New Zealand (table 6). The accounts describe incandescence, water discoloration of the sea, explosions, ash plumes, and lava flows extending from the summit to the ocean.

Table 6. Newly discovered historical newspaper accounts of volcanic activity from ships passing near Tinakula between 1868 and 1932. This is not a full eruptive history for the time period. Online links provided in the References section. Courtesy of Steve Hutcheon.

Date Account Reference
17 Oct 1868 Passed Volcano Island, one of the South (sic) Cruz group, on the 17th of October. It was then in active operation, vomiting forth immense volumes of fire and smoke. Note; Volcano Island is another name for Tinakula. The Age, Melbourne, 10 November 1868, page 2b; also in The Argus, Melbourne, 10 November 1868, page 4b
9 Oct 1869 On the 9th October sighted three low islands, also Volcano Island; the discharge from the latter was plainly visible. The Empire, Sydney, 27 October 1869, page 2a
29/30 Nov 1871 During the night, the active volcano, Tinakula, was passed. Large masses of red hot lava were emitted; and the sight is described as being very imposing and grand. The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 February 1872, page 6a
20 Jun 1887 When his vessel was off the Santa Cruz group Mount Tinakula became an active volcano. It broke out at 4 o'clock on the morning of June 20 and viewed from the ship's deck presented a most grand spectacle. The water for miles round was of a pea green color and had the appearance of being very shallow. The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, NSW, 20 July 1887, page 4f
~23 Aug 1910 Tinakula Island was found to be in an active state of eruption, and presented a fine sight. The ship Tambo departed Tarawa 19 August and arrived in Sydney on 31 August 1910. The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, NSW, 1 September 1910, page 7a
2/3 May 1932 The steamer passed within half a mile of the active volcano of Tinakula. It was at night, and the passengers obtained a remarkable view of the red hot lava streams flowing from the summit, which is 2000 ft. high, to the water's edge. Three eruptions occurred while the vessel was within view of the island, each preceded by an explosion which sounded like thunder. The New Zealand Herald, Auckland, NZ, 27 June 1932, page 6a; The Auckland Star, 10 September 1932 page 1h (Supplement)

References. The Age (Melbourne, Victoria) 10 November 1868, page 2b (URL: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article177002744).

The Empire (Sydney, NSW) 27 October 1869, page 2a, (URL: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60895166).

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) 19 Februay 1872, page 6a (URL: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13252748).

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW) 1887 20 July, page 4f (URL: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article239817295).

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW) 1 September 1910, page 7a (URL: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article237993807; http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15183461 ).

The New Zealand Herald (Auckland, NZ) 27 June 1932, page 6a (URL: https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH19320627.2.19 ).

The Auckland Star (NZ) 10 September 1932, page 1h (Supplement) (URL: https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19320910.2.180.6 ).

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

Information Contacts: National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Solomon Islands Government, Prince Philip Highway, Ranadi, Solomon Islands (URL: http://www.ndmo.gov.sb); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/NZ/messages.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html ); Radio New Zealand (URL: http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/342267/solomons-pm-calls-for-calm-in-communities-close-to-volcano); Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, SIBC Voice of the Nation, Honiara, Solomon Islands (URL: http://www.sibconline.com.sb/no-its-not-snow-in-the-solomons-its-ash-from-the-tinakula-volcano/); Andy Prata, AIRES Atmospheric Industrial Research and Environmental Solutions, Melbourne, Australia (URL: https://www.aires.space/, https://twitter.com/andyprata/status/922177129944625157); Gamara Okzman Bencarson, Facebook.


Tungurahua (Ecuador) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Tungurahua

Ecuador

1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions, explosions, and pyroclastic flows 26 February-16 March 2016; no further activity through 2017

Episodic eruptive activity at Ecuador's Tungurahua has persisted since November 2011. Periods of activity over several weeks that included ash plumes, Strombolian activity, pyroclastic flows, and lava flows were often followed by quiescence for a similar time span. This type of activity continued throughout 2015 (BGVN 42:08, 42:12); Strombolian activity, significant ash emissions, and SO2 plumes in mid-November 2015 marked the last significant activity for that year. The next episode began in late February 2016 and is discussed below with information provided by the Observatorio del Volcán Tungurahua (OVT) of the Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN) of Ecuador, aviation alerts from the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and other sources of satellite data.

The latest eruptive episode at Tungurahua lasted from 26 February-16 March 2016. Multiple explosions with ash plumes that rose 3-8 km were frequent. Incandescent blocks were ejected up to 1,500 m down most flanks. Pyroclastic flows affected many of the ravines, although no communities reported damage. Significant SO2 emissions were recorded by satellite data between 27 February-8 March. An inflationary trend was recorded from early March through late September 2016, after which a period of deflation began. Tungurahua had occasional seismic swarms after the eruption, but no reported surface activity for the remainder of 2016 and 2017.

IG reported an ash emission on 5 January 2016 that rose 2 km above the crater and drifted NE, causing minor ashfall in the Pondoa and Bilbao sectors. Otherwise, no volcanic activity was reported until a new episode began on 26 February 2016 with a seismic swarm followed by a series of explosions and ash plumes that rose 3-8 km above the crater (figures 96 and 97). Incandescent blocks were ejected up to a kilometer down the NW, W, and SW flanks (figure 98). Pyroclastic flows were also generated that descended through the gorges of Juive, La Hacienda, Mandur and Cusúa, reaching distances of 500-1,500 m (figure 99).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. An ash emission at Tungurahua observed from OVT on 26 February 2016. Courtesy of IG-EPN, (Explosion en el Volcan Tunguraha, No. 20 [1], Informe especial Tungurahia No. 1).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Ejecta traveled 1,000 m from the crater, an ash plume rose 2 km, and pyroclastic flows traveled down several drainages on the NW flank at Tungurahua on 26 February 2016 in this thermal image taken from the Mandur camera. Courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 836, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 23 de febrero al 01 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Incandescent blocks descended 1,000 m down the NW, W, and SW flanks of Tungurahua on 26 February 2016, and explosions were audible at OVT. Photo by F. Vásconez, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 836, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 23 de febrero al 01 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. Pyroclastic flows descended the Mandur, La Hacienda and other ravines on the W flank of Tungurahua on 26 February 2016 as far as 1 km. Photo by F. Vásconez, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 836, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 23 de febrero al 01 de marzo de 2016).

Continuous emissions with low to moderate ash content drifted W and SW on 27 February. The communities most affected by ashfall were Choglontus, Cotaló, El Manzano, Palitahua, Bilbao, Pillate, Juive, Ambato, Tisaleo, Riobamba, and Quero. The ash was mostly fine-grained, except in the area near Pillate and Choglontus, where the grain size reached up to 3 mm and consisted of reddish, black, gray, and beige fragments (figure 100). On the morning of 1 March 2015, several pyroclastic flows were observed descending through the Juive, Mandur, Achupashal, La Hacienda, and Romero ravines; they traveled 1.5-1.7 km (figure 101).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Coarse-grained ash fragments from Tungurahua collected in Ambato on 26 February 2016. Photo by Marco Montesdeoca (ECU911 Ambato), Courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (Explosion en el Volcan Tunguraha, No. 2, Informe especial Tungurahia No. 2, 26 de febrero del 2016 (16h45)).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. A pyroclastic flow descended 1.5 km down the Hacienda Ravine on 1 March 2016 at Tungurahua and was captured by the Mandur thermal camera. Courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 836, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 23 de febrero al 01 de marzo de 2016).

Ash emissions were constant throughout the first week in March (figures 102 and 103). During 1-5 March they drifted NW, SW and E, with ashfall reported in the towns of Pillate, Manzano, Choglontus, Palictahua and El Altar (figure 104). Incandescent blocks descended most of the flanks (figure 105). Beginning on 6 March, plumes drifted SW and S, with variable ash content. Pyroclastic flows along the W and NW flanks descended the Cusua, Juive, Mandur, Ashupashal, Romero, and Rhea drainages (figure 106), the farthest traveled went 2.2 km down the Ashupashal on 7 March. In addition to ash and other explosive debris, daily sulfur dioxide emissions were identified from 27 February-8 March 2016 by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite (figure 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Constant ash emissions rose at least 1 km above the summit of Tungurahua during the first week of March 2016. Photo take on 3 March 2016 by P. Espin. Courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 837, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 01 al 08 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. A dark ash plume formed a mushroom cloud over Tungurahua on 5 March 2016; it rose 2 km above the summit and drifted SW. Photo by E. Telenchana , courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 837, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 01 al 08 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. Ashfall in Choglontus on 6 March 2016 from Tungurahua. Photo by P. Espín, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 837, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 01 al 08 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Strombolian explosions send incandescent blocks down the flanks of Tungurahua on 6 March 2016. Photo by E. Gaunt, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 837, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 01 al 08 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Visual (upper) and thermal (lower) images of Tungurahua taken from Cotalo showing a pyroclastic flow extending down the Achupashal drainage on 6 March 2016. Photo by E. Gaunt, thermal image by M. Almeida, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 837, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 01 al 08 de marzo de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. Substantial SO2 emissions from Tungurahua were measured daily during 27 February-8 March 2016 by the OMI instrument on the Aura satellite. The plumes drifted 300 km or more W on 27 February, 1, 3, and 5 March. Columbia's Nevado del Riuz (upper plume in images) also produced SO2 emissions during this same period. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Beginning on 28 February, a strong inflationary trend (almost 3 cm) was observed in the GPS data at the Mazón (SW flank) station. Three inclinometers on the NW flank also indicated inflation during 28 February-4 March.

Episodic explosions on 8 March 2016 produced plumes with high ash contents that rose 6 km. Small pyroclastic flows descended the NW flank in the Mandur, Rea, Achupashal, and La Hacienda ravines. Sporadic emissions continued for most of the second week of March, with varying ash contents, reaching between 1.5 and 4 km above the crater and drifting to the SSW. Reports of ashfall were received in the sectors of Choglontús, Manzano, Pillate, El Altar, and Palitahua, and minor ashfall in Juive and Cusúa. Several ash plumes (figure 108) and a small pyroclastic flow were observed on 13 March 2016. The Manzano lookout reported loud noises on 14 March, and ashfall in the afternoon, but weather obscured views of emissions. Rainy weather on 16 March also obscured views, but Manzano, Chacauco, Cusúa, and Juive lookouts reported ashfall and explosions. There were no further reports from the observatory of ash emissions, ashfall, or explosions; only minor steam plumes were observed on clear days after 16 March 2016.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. An ash emission at Tungurahua on 13 March 2016 was the last photographed for the eruption. Photo by M. Córdova from OVT, courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME No. 838, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 08 al 15 de marzo de 2016).

The Washington VAAC reported possible ash emissions on 31 March 2016, but information from OVT indicated no surface activity. Intense rain on 28 March generated a small lahar that descended through the La Pampa ravine. Significant rainfall on 2 April caused lahars to affect Vazcun, Juive, Pondoa, Bilbao, Achupashal, Chontapamba and Malpayacu drainages. Seismicity continued to decrease throughout April 2016. A small swarm of Long Period seismic events (LP's) occurred between 1 and 20 May that were associated with fluid movements. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 3, 8, and 13 May, but OVT reported no surface activity during the entire month (figure 109).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Clear skies on 31 May 2016 at Tungurahua revealed a snow-covered summit with no evidence of emissions. Photo by M. Córdova, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 849, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 24 al 31 de mayo del 2016).

In a Special Report released on 2 June 2016, IG-EPN noted a clear inflationary trend in data collected from two stations at Tungurahua since the end of the eruption in mid-March. The Retu inclinometer, located N of the crater, showed inflation on the radial axis of about 600 μrad (microradians), and about 200 μrad on the tangential axis. The same axis at the Mandur inclinometer (on the NW flank) had a smaller but distinct (~30 μrad) inflationary signal (figure 110).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. The pattern of deformation registered at the Retu (Refugio Tungurahua) and Mndr (Mandur) inclinometers from 14 February-30 May 2016 at Tungurahua. The gray area corresponds to the eruption of 26 February -16 March. An inflationary trend is apparent on both axes at the Retu instrument and on the tangential axis of the Mndr site. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial Volcán Tungurahua - N°6, 2 de Junio de 2016).

A Washington VAAC report on 1 June 2016 noted that the Guayaquil Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) reported an ash plume at Tungurahua, but OVT confirmed no surface activity. A very small lahar was recorded in the La Pampa ravine on 2 June. Although there were rains of varying intensity many days during June, they did not generate significant lahars, except one of medium size that occurred on 21 June in the Achupashal ravine. The Washington VAAC noted a report from the Guayaquil MWO of an ash emission on 5 July, but it was not detected in satellite imagery, and the OVT reported no surface activity. There was no surface activity reported by OVT from July to mid-September (figure 111), and internal seismicity remained very low. Occasional rainy periods generated muddy water in the ravines, but no significant lahars were reported.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. The summit of Tungurahua showed no sign of surface activity on 1 August 2016. Photo by Bernard J., courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 858, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 26 de julio al 02 de agosto de 2016).

A significant increase in the number of LP seismic events began on 12 September 2016, and a small seismic swarm was recorded on 18 September (figure 112). Small fumaroles were visible at the edges of the crater on 15 and 16 September (figure 113). At this same time, the inflationary trend that had been ongoing since the eruption earlier in the year switched to deflation as measured at the Retu inclinometer.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. The number of different types of seismic events and explosions recorded at Tungurahua between 1 January and 18 September 2016. The largest spike between 26 February and 16 March corresponds to the eruption of that period. Other episodes of seismicity were recorded during May and mid-September, but did not result in ash emissions or explosions. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial Volcán Tungurahua - N°7, 18 de Septiembre de 2016).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Closeup images of the summit of Tungurahua on 15 (top) and 16 (bottom) September 2016 reveal minor fumarolic activity. Top: Steam rises from two snow free areas on 15 September (INFORME No. 865, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 13 al 20 de septiembre de 2016). Bottom: Fumarolic activity was also apparent in this telephoto image taken from OVT on 16 September. Photo by P. Ramón (Informe Especial Volcán Tungurahua - N°7, 18 de Septiembre de 2016). Courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN.

Another increase in LP seismicity and tremors occurred on 24 September, but there were no reports of surface activity other than minor steam fumaroles. Seismicity remained elevated through early October; a one-hour tremor event was reported on 1 October. Seismicity decreased gradually over the following two weeks. Low-energy steam and gas emissions from fumaroles located on the S and SW flanks were observed during a flyover on 7 October 2016. This corresponded to the warmest areas revealed in the thermal image of the summit (figure 114). with a TMA (maximum apparent temperature) of 47.9°C and 36.5°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. A thermal image of the summit of Tungurahua taken during a flyover on 7 October 2016 showed two areas on the crater rim with slightly elevated temperatures where fumarolic activity was occasionally observed. Image by P. Ramón, courtesy of OVT, IG-EPN (INFORME No. 868, SÍNTESIS SEMANAL DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN TUNGURAHUA, Semana: Del 4 al 11 de octubre de 2016).

Re-suspended ash from high winds in mid-November 2016 caused several VAAC notices to be issued, but no new emissions were reported by OVT through the end of 2016.

Tungurahua remained quiet throughout 2017. A 90-minute seismic swarm on 8 January 2017 and a minor increase in seismicity in the second half of March were the only seismic events above background levels. There were no emissions except for occasional minor fumarolic activity around the crater rim. Periods of heavy rainfall occasionally produced muddy water in the ravines; the only lahars were reported during 5-6 January, late April and 15 November.

Geologic Background. Tungurahua, a steep-sided andesitic-dacitic stratovolcano that towers more than 3 km above its northern base, is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. Three major edifices have been sequentially constructed since the mid-Pleistocene over a basement of metamorphic rocks. Tungurahua II was built within the past 14,000 years following the collapse of the initial edifice. Tungurahua II itself collapsed about 3000 years ago and produced a large debris-avalanche deposit and a horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the west, inside which the modern glacier-capped stratovolcano (Tungurahua III) was constructed. Historical eruptions have all originated from the summit crater, accompanied by strong explosions and sometimes by pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached populated areas at the volcano's base. Prior to a long-term eruption beginning in 1999 that caused the temporary evacuation of the city of Baños at the foot of the volcano, the last major eruption had occurred from 1916 to 1918, although minor activity continued until 1925.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec ); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); 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).


Yasur (Vanuatu) — February 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Yasur

Vanuatu

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Typical ongoing eruptive activity and thermal anomalies through January 2018

Regular monitoring reports about Yasur from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) indicated that the centuries-long eruptive activity continued from mid-June 2017 through January 2018. VMGD volcano bulletins on 21 July, 30 August, 29 September, 31 October, and 8 December 2017, and 30 January 2018, stated that major unrest was continuing, and the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-4). Based on seismic data, explosions continued to be intense. Visitors were reminded of the closed 395-m-radius Permanent Exclusion Zone (figure 48) and that volcanic ash and gas could impact other areas near the volcano due to trade winds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Oblique aerial photograph of Yasur with an overlay of designated hazard zones that may be closed depending on the level of eruptive activity. Courtesy of Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department.

During the reporting period thermal anomalies based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm were numerous every month. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system also detected numerous hotspots every month (figure 49).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Thermal anomalies detected in MODIS data by the MIROVA system (log radiative power) at Yasur for the year ending 23 February 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Atmospheric Effects

The enormous aerosol cloud from the March-April 1982 eruption of Mexico's El Chichón persisted for years in the stratosphere, and led to the Atmospheric Effects section becoming a regular feature of the Bulletin. Descriptions of the initial dispersal of major eruption clouds remain with the individual eruption reports, but observations of long-term stratospheric aerosol loading will be found in this section.

View Atmospheric Effects Reports

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

View Special Announcements Reports

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/).