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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Aira (Japan) Ash plumes continue at the Minamidake crater from July through December 2018

Ibu (Indonesia) Thermal anomalies and ash explosions from the crater continue during May-November 2018

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake activity continued from May through October 2018; lava lake lower than recent months

Sarychev Peak (Russia) Thermal anomalies, surface activity, and ash explosions during October-November 2017 and September-October 2018

Suwanosejima (Japan) Multiple explosive events with incandescence and ash plumes during November 2018

Etna (Italy) Lava flows emerge from NSEC in late August and late November 2018; Strombolian activity continues from multiple vents

Dukono (Indonesia) Regular ash explosions continuing as of September 2018

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) Ash plumes on 8 June, 21 September, and 5 October 2018

Langila (Papua New Guinea) Several weak ash plumes during June, September, and October 2018

Sangeang Api (Indonesia) Ongoing crater activity and thermal anomalies during September 2017-October 2018

Sheveluch (Russia) Thermal anomalies along with minor gas and steam emissions continue through October 2018

Gamalama (Indonesia) Weak explosion on 4 October 2018



Aira (Japan) — January 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes continue at the Minamidake crater from July through December 2018

Sakurajima is one of the most active volcanoes in Japan and is situated in the Aira caldera in southern Kyushu. It regularly produces ash plumes and scatters blocks onto the flanks during explosions. This report covers July through December 2018 and describes activity at the Minamidake crater, which has continued with the activity typically observed at Sakurajima volcano. In late 2017 the eruptive activity has migrated from being centered at the Showa crater, to being focused at the Minamidake crater. This change has continued into the later half of 2018. The following activity summarizes information issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the Japan Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity from July through December 2018 was focused at the summit Minamidake crater with 8 to 64 ash emission events per month, with 50-60% being explosive in nature during four of the six months reported (table 20, figure 67). The maximum explosions per day was 64 on 31 August (figure 68). No pyroclastic flows were recorded during this time. Recent activity at the Showa crater has been declining and no activity was observed during the reporting period. Sakurajima has remained on Alert Level 3 on a 5-level scale during this time, reflecting the regular ash plumes and volcanic blocks that erupt out onto the slopes of the volcano during explosive events.

Table 20. Monthly summary of eruptive events recorded at Sakurajima's Minamidake crater in Aira caldera, July-December 2018. The number of events that were explosive in nature are in parentheses. No events were recorded at the Showa crater during this time. Data courtesy of JMA (July to December 2018 monthly reports).

Month Ash emissions (explosive) Max. plume height above the crater Max. ejecta distance from crater
Jul 2018 29 (16) 4.6 km 1.7 km
Aug 2018 64 (37) 2.8 km 1.3 km
Sep 2018 44 (22) 2.3 km 1.1 km
Oct 2018 8 (0) 1.6 km --
Nov 2018 14 (2) 4 km 1.7 km
Dec 2018 56 (34) 3 km 1.3 km
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Satellite images showing ash plumes from Sakurajima's Minamidake summit crater (Aira caldera) in August, September, and November 2018. Natural color satellite images (bands 4, 3, 2) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Explosions per day at Sakurajima's Minamidake summit crater (Aira caldera) for July through December 2018. Data courtesy of JMA.

Activity through July consisted of 29 ash emission events (16 of which were explosive) producing ash plumes up to a maximum height of 4.6 km above the crater and ballistic ejecta (blocks) out to 1.7 km from the crater, but ash plumes were more commonly 1.2 to 2.5 km high. The largest explosive event occurred on 16 July, producing an ash plume up to 4.6 km from the vent and ejecting ballistic rocks out to 1.3-1.7 km from the crater (figure 69). On 17 July, sulfur dioxide emissions were measured at 1,300 tons per day, and on 26 July emissions were measured to be 2,100 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Ash plumes erupting from the Sakurajima Minamidake crater (Aira caldera) on 16 July 2018 at 1538 (upper) and 1500 (lower) local time. The ash plumes reached 4.6 km above the crater rim and ejected rocks out to 1.3-1.7 km from the crater. Higashikorimoto webcam images courtesy of JMA (July 2018 monthly report).

During August the Minamidake crater produced 64 ash emission events (37 explosive in nature) with a maximum ash plume height of 2.8 km above the crater, and a maximum ballistic ejecta distance of 1.3 km from the crater on 31 August (figure 70). Ash plumes were more commonly up to 1 to 2.1 km above the crater. Sulfur dioxide emissions were very high on 2 August, measured as high as 3,200 tons per day, and was measured at 1,500 tons per day on 27 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Activity at Sakurajima volcano (Aira Caldera) in August 2018. Top: A gas-and-ash plume that reached 2.8 km above the crater at 1409 on 29 August. Bottom: Scattered incandescent blocks out to 1-1.3 km from the crater on the flanks of Sakurajima after an explosion on 31 August. Higashikorimoto and Kaigata webcam images courtesy of JMA (August 2018 monthly report).

Throughout September 44 ash emission events occurred, with 22 of those being explosive in nature. The Maximum ash plume height reached 2.3 km above the crater, and the maximum ejecta landed out to 1.1 km from the crater. An explosive event on 9 September ejected material out to 700 m away from the crater and on 22 September an event scattered blocks out to 1.1 km from the crater (figure 71).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Incandescent blocks on the flanks of Sakurajima volcano (Aira caldera) after an explosion on 22 September 2018 at 2025. The event scattered blocks out to 1.1 km from the Minamidake crater. Kaigata webcam image courtesy of JMA (September 2018 monthly report).

October and November were relatively quiet with regards to the number of ash emission events with only 22 events over the two months. The maximum ash plume heights reached 1.6 and 4 km, respectively. An observation flight on 22 October showed the currently inactive Showa crater restricted to minor fumarolic degassing, and steam-and-gas and dilute ash plume activity in the Minamidake crater (figure 72). An eruption on 14 November at 0043 local time produced an ash plume to over 4 km above the crater and scattered incandescent blocks out to over 1 km from the crater (figure 73). This was the first ash plume to exceed a height of 4 km since 16 July 2018. Two events occurred during 16-19 November that produced ash plumes up to 1.6 km. Sulfur dioxide measurements were 3,400 tons on 4 October, 400 tons on 17 October, 1,000 tons on 23 October, 1,100 tons on 6 November, and 1,400 tons on 20 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Minor fumarolic degassing has occurred in Sakurajima's Showa crater (Aira caldera) and the vent has been blocked by ash and rock. The active Minamidake crater is producing a blue-white plume to 400 m above the crater and a dilute brown plume that remained within the crater. Images taken by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force 1st Air Group P-3C on 22 October 2018, courtesy of JMA (October 2018 monthly report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Eruption of Sakurajima (Aira caldera) on 14 November at 0043 local time ejecting incandescent blocks more than 1 km from the crater and an ash plume up to 4 km above the crater. Photos courtesy of The Asahi Shimbun.

Small ash plumes continued through December with 56 ash emission events, 34 of which were explosive in nature. The maximum ash plume height above the crater reached 3 km, and the maximum distance that ejecta traveled from the vent was 1.3 km, both during an event on 24 December (figure 74). An explosive event produced an ash plume that reached a height of 2.5 km above the crater and scattered ejecta out to 1.1 km from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. An explosive event at 1127 on 24 December 2018 at Sakurajima's Minamidake crater (Aira caldera). The ash plume reached 3 km above the crater rim. Higashikorimoto webcam image courtesy of JMA (December 2018 monthly report).

Intermittent incandescence was observed at the summit at nighttime throughout the entire reporting period. Areas of elevated thermal energy within the Minamidake crater were visible in cloud-free Sentinel-2 satellite images (figure 75) and elevated temperatures were detected in MIROVA on a few days.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing the summit area of Sakurajima volcano, Aira caldera, in October 2018. The areas of elevated thermal activity (bright orange-red) are visible within the Minamidake crater. No thermal anomalies are visible within the Showa crater. Thermal (Urban) satellite images (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); 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/); The Asahi Shimbun (URL: http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201811140035.html accessed on 12 March 2018).


Ibu (Indonesia) — December 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies and ash explosions from the crater continue during May-November 2018

Continuing activity at Ibu has consisted of numerous thermal anomalies and, except apparently for the period from September 2017 through early March 2018, intermittent ash explosions (BGVN 43:05). This activity continued through November 2018. The Alert Level has remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 2 km away from the active crater, and 3.5 km away on the N side.

Ash plumes were seen frequently during May-November 2018 (table 4). Plume heights above the crater were generally 400-80 m. However, ash plumes on 28 and 29 July rose 5.5 and 4.8 km, respectively. Seismicity associated with ash plumes were characterized by explosion and avalanche signals.

Table 4. Ash explosions reported at Ibu, May-November 2018. Data courtesy of PVMBG and Darwin VAAC.

Date Time Ash plume (height above crater rim) Plume Drift
05 May 2018 0622 600 m N, NE
06 Jun 2018 1206 500 m N
12 Jun 2018 1750 600 m N
14-19 Jun 2018 -- 200-600 m N
21 Jun 2018 0857 600 m N
22-26 Jun 2018 -- 850 m WNW, W
27 Jun 2018 -- 500 m W
06 Jul 2018 -- 800 m N
10-15 Jul 2018 -- 200-800 m --
28 Jul 2018 1852 5.5 km SE
29 Jul 2018 1612 4.8 km N, SE
13 Aug 2018 0259 600 m --
20 Aug 2018 1742 1.2 km --
24 Aug 2018 0838 800 m S
28, 30 Sep 2018 -- 500 m N, NE
06 Oct 2018 -- 500 m WSW
19 Oct 2018 1223 400 m N
26 Nov 2018 -- 500 m SE

The number of thermal anomalies during this time, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, ranged from 2 days/month (July) to 9 days/month (September); some events were two pixels. Days with anomalies and ash explosions were not well correlated. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected numerous hotspots every month of the reporting period, almost all of which were within 5 km of the volcano and of low-to-moderate power. Infrared satellite imagery showed that the volcano had at least two, and sometimes three, active dome or vent locations (figure 14).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Sentinel-2 satellite images of Ibu on 19 August 2018. Top image (infrared, bands 12, 11, 8A) shows a large central hotspot and a smaller thermal area immediately to the west. Bottom image (natural color, bands 8, 4, 3) shows both an ash plume (gray) and steam plume (white), along with fresh and older lava in the crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Masaya (Nicaragua) — November 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 activity continued from May through October 2018; lava lake lower than recent months

Masaya is one of the most active volcanoes in Nicaragua and one of the few volcanoes on Earth to contain an active lava lake. The edifice has a caldera that contains the Masaya (also known as San Fernando), Nindirí, San Pedro, San Juan, and Santiago (currently active) craters. In recent years, activity has largely consisted of lava lake activity along with dilute plumes of gas with little ash. In 2012 an explosive event ejected ash and blocks. This report summarizes activity during May through October 2018 and is based on Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) reports and satellite data.

Reports issued from May through July 2018 noted that Masaya remained relatively calm. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show consistently high temperatures in the Santiago crater with the active lava lake present (figure 65).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing the detected heat signature from the active lava lake at Masaya during May-July 2018. The lava lake is visible (bright yellow-orange) and a gas-and-steam plume is visible traveling towards the W to SW. Thermal (urban) satellite images (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Reports from August through October 2018 indicated relatively low levels of activity. On 28 September the lava lake within the Santiago crater was observed with a lower surface than previous months. Fumarole temperatures up to 340°C were recorded (figure 66). Sentinel-2 thermal images show the large amount of heat consistently emanating from the active lava lake (figure 67). Sulfur dioxide was measured on 28 and 30 August with an average of 1,462 tons per day, a higher value than the average of 858 tons per day detected in February. Sulfur dioxide levels ranged from 967 to 1,708 tons per day on 11 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. FLIR (forward-looking infrared) and visible images of the Santiago crater at Masaya showing fumarole temperatures. The scale in the center shows the range of temperatures in the FLIR images. Courtesy of INETER (September 2018 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing the heat signature from the active lava lake at Masaya during August-October 2018. The lava lake is visible (bright yellow-orange) and a gas-and-steam plume is visible traveling towards the SW. Thermal (urban) satellite images (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Overall, activity from May through October 2018 was relatively quiet with continued lava lake activity. The thermal energy detected by the MIROVA algorithm showed fluctuations but were consistent (figure 68). The MODVOLC algorithm for near-real-time thermal monitoring of global hotspots detected 4-8 anomalies per month for this period, which is lower than previous years (figure 69).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Middle infrared MODIS thermal anomalies at Masaya for April through October 2018. The data show relatively constant thermal activity related to the persistent lava lake. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Thermal alerts for Masaya in May through October 2018. Courtesy of HIGP - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://webserver2.ineter.gob.ni/vol/dep-vol.html); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).


Sarychev Peak (Russia) — November 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Sarychev Peak

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies, surface activity, and ash explosions during October-November 2017 and September-October 2018

Located on Matua Island in the central Kurile Islands, Russia, Sarychev Peak (figures 19 and 20) had a significant eruption in June-July 2009 (BGVN 34:06, 35:09). Prior to this, a 1946 eruption resulted in the crater with a diameter and depth of approximately 250 m, with steep, sometimes overhanging crater walls. The N crater wall may have collapsed after a 1960 eruption, based on eyewitness accounts. A 1976 eruption included strong emissions and lava flows which resulted in a crater diameter of approximately 200 m and a floor 50-70 m below the rim. The eruption on 11-16 June 2009 encompassed more than ten large explosions, resulting in pyroclastic flows and ash plumes. The area of island covered by the June 2009 pyroclastic flows was more than 8 km2 (BGVN 34:06). Monitoring reports come from the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) and the Sakhalin Island Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Photo looking into the crater of Sarychev Peak from the crater rim on 27 June 2017. Courtesy of V. Gurianov, Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB, RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Sentinel-2 satellite image (natural color, bands 4, 3, 2) of Sarychev Peak on 8 September 2017. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Thermal anomalies were noted by the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies over a period of five hours on 14 October 2017 in satellite data from Terra MODIS, S-NPP VIIRS, and Himawari-8; a plume of unknown composition accompanied the anomaly. A smaller thermal anomaly was present on 12 October, but not seen the following day during favorable viewing conditions. Another thermal anomaly was reported by SVERT on 21 October; views on other days that week of 17-23 October were obscured by clouds. On 7 November gas emissions and an elongated area of snow melt and potential thermal signature was visible on the N flank of the volcano (figure 21). On 8 and 13 November steam emissions were reported by SVERT and cloud cover prevented additional observations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite images of Sarychev Peak on 7 November 2017. Top image (natural color, bands 4, 3, 2) shows a white plume rising from the summit crater and a dark area extending about 1.25 km NW on the snow-covered slopes. Bottom image (atmospheric penetration, bands 12, 11, 8A) shows hot areas (in orange) of volcano material near the summit within the dark area seen in visible imagery. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The volcano was usually cloud-covered after mid-November 2017 through mid-February 2018. A small white plume seen in Sentinel-2 imagery on 20 February 2018 was not accompanied by a noticeable thermal anomaly, and the island appeared completely snow-covered. No activity of any kind was seen on the next cloud-free images taken on 4 and 11 May 2018, when the summit crater was filled with snow.

KVERT noted in a September report that there had been a thermal anomaly periodically observed after 7 May 2018. Fumarolic plumes were visible on 5 and 18 June 2018 (figure 22). Thermal anomalies were present on 8 and 11-12 September. Moderate explosions were reported during 11-15 September 2018, with ash emissions rising 3-4 km. On 14 September ash plumes drifted as far as 120 km NNE and the Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange. Explosions on 17 September generated ash plumes that rose as high as 4.5 km and drifted 21 km NE. Additional ash plumes identified in satellite images drifted 265 km E during 17-18 September. The eruption continued through 21 September, and a thermal anomaly was again visible on 22 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Fumarolic activity at Sarychev Peak on 18 June 2018. Courtesy of FEC SRC Planeta, Institute of Volcanology and Seismology FEB RAS, KVERT.

Based on Tokyo VAAC data and satellite images, KVERT reported that at 1330 on 10 October 2018 an ash plume reached 1.7-2 km altitude and drifted 95 km E. SVERT reported that on 15 October an ash plume rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted 65-70 km E. KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly was also identified in satellite images on 15 October. No further activity was seen through the end of October.

Thermal anomalies identified in MODIS data by the MIROVA system during October 2016-October 2018 occurred intermittently during the summer months each year (figure 23). However, most of those events were low-power and located several kilometers from the crater, so the heat source is unclear.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Thermal anomalies detected by the MIROVA system using MODIS data at Sarychev Peak for the year ending 18 October 2017 (top) and ending 24 October 2018 (bottom), plotted as log radiative power. Most of the events shown were located several kilometers from the summit crater. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Sakhalin Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics (IMG&G) Far East Division Russian Academy of Sciences (FED RAS), 1B Science St., Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, 693022, Russia (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/); 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/); NOAA, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1225 W. Dayton St. Madison, WI 53706, (URL: http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — January 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Multiple explosive events with incandescence and ash plumes during November 2018

Suwanosejima, an andesitic stratovolcano in Japan's northern Ryukyu Islands, was intermittently active for much of the 20th century, producing ash plumes, Strombolian explosions, and ash deposits. Continuous activity since October 2004 has produced intermittent explosions, generating ash plumes in most months that rise hundreds of meters above the summit to altitudes between 1 and 3 km. Ongoing activity for the second half of 2018 is covered in this report with information provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Activity during July-December 2018 was intermittent with explosions reported twice in September and 21 times during November. Incandescent activity was observed a few times each month, increasing significantly during November. Thermal data support a similar pattern of activity; the MIROVA thermal anomaly graph indicated intermittent activity through the period that was most frequent during October and November (figure 33). MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued once in September (9), three times in October (7, 21), and four times on 14 and 15 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. MIROVA thermal data for Suwanosejima from 7 February through December 2018 indicated intermittent activity at the summit that increased to more significant activity during October and November before declining by the end of the year. Courtesy of MIROVA.

There were no explosions at Suwanosejima during July or August 2018; steam plumes rose 900-1,000 m above the crater rim and incandescence was intermittently observed on clear nights. During September incandescence was also observed at night; in addition, explosions were reported on 12 and 13 September, with ash plumes rising 1,100 m above the crater rim. October was again quiet with no explosions, only steam plumes rising 800 m, and occasional incandescence at night, although thermal activity increased (figure 33).

More intense activity resumed during November 2018 with 21 explosions reported. On 9 and 14 November tephra was ejected up to 700 m from the Mitake crater. The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery at 2.4 km altitude moving E on 14 November. The next day, a plume was reported at 2.7 km altitude drifting NW but it was not visible in satellite imagery. JMA reported gray ash plumes that rose up to 2,000 m above the crater rim on 16 and 23 November (figure 34). The ash plume on 23 November was visible in satellite imagery drifting N at 2.7 km altitude. On 30 November the Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite data drifting SE at 2.4 km altitude. Incandescence was often observed at night from the webcams throughout the month. Ashfall was confirmed in the village 4 km SSW on 14, 17, and 23 November, and sounds were reported on 20 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Ash plumes rose 2,000 m above the crater rim at Suwanosejima on 23 November 2018 as seen with the 'campsite' webcam. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary (November, 2018) of Suwanose Island).

During December 2018, no explosive eruptions were reported, but an ash plume rose 1,800 m above the summit on 26 December. Incandescence was observed on clear nights in the webcam. Throughout 2018, a total of 42 explosive events were reported; 21 of them occurred during November (figure 35).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Eruptive activity at Suwanosejima during 2018. Black bars represent heights of steam, gas, or ash plumes in meters above crater rim (left axis), gray volcanoes along the top represent explosions, usually accompanied by ash plumes, red volcanoes represent large explosions with ash plumes, orange diamonds indicate incandescence observed in webcams. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity of Suwanose Island in 2018).

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

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


Etna (Italy) — December 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows emerge from NSEC in late August and late November 2018; Strombolian activity continues from multiple vents

Italy's Mount Etna on the island of Sicily has had historically recorded eruptions for the past 3,500 years and has been erupting continuously since September 2013 through at least November 2018. Lava flows, explosive eruptions with ash plumes, and Strombolian lava fountains commonly occur from its summit areas that include the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC) (formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) (formed in 2011). A new crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), emerged during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC and has become the highest part of the SEC-NSEC complex. Activity during late 2017 and early 2018 consisted mostly of sporadic Strombolian activity with infrequent minor ash emissions from multiple vents at various summit craters. Lava flow activity resumed in late August 2018 and again in late November and is covered in this report with information provided primarily by the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

After several months of low-level activity in early 2018, increases in Strombolian activity at several vents began in mid-July (BGVN 43:08). This was followed by new lava flows emerging from the saddle cone and the E vent of the NSEC complex in late August. Discontinuous low-intensity Strombolian activity and intermittent ash emissions were reported from multiple vents at various summit craters during September through November. In late November, renewed Strombolian activity and a new, small flow emerged from a small scoria cone inside the E vent of the NSEC crater and persisted through the end of the month. The MIROVA thermal anomaly correspond to ground observations of increased thermal activity at Etna beginning in mid-July, peaking in late August, and increasing again at the end of November 2018 (figure 222).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 222. MIROVA thermal anomaly graph for Etna from April through early December 2018 shows the increases in thermal activity from lava flows and increased Strombolian activity in late August and late November. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Low-energy Strombolian activity resumed at both of the Bocca Nuova BN-1 vents as well as the vents in the Northeast Crater (NEC) during the second week of July 2018 and continued throughout the month. The activity from BN-1 was nearly continuous, but not always visible; occasionally, lava fragments rose 100 m and could be seen outside of the crater rim. Intermittent ash emissions accompanied the Strombolian activity. Activity at NEC was characterized by strong and prolonged explosions (up to several tens of seconds), sometimes with reddish-brown ash emissions (figure 223). Three vents on the floor of NEC continued to widen due to collapse of the inner walls. A seismic swarm on 18-19 July was located between 4 and 9 km depth.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 223. Ash emissions from the Northeast Crater of Etna on a) 27 July and b) 28 July 2018 rose a few tens of meters and quickly dispersed. Left image by INGV personnel, right image by volcanology guide Francesco Ciancitto. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 31/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 23/07/2018 - 29/07/2018, data emissione 31/07/2018).

During a field inspection on 30 July INGV personnel noted activity at the three vents at the bottom of Northeast Crater; the farthest west produced ash emissions, the center produced steam, and the vent under the NE crater wall produced Strombolian activity that sent ejecta as high as the crater rim. Frequent ash emissions from NEC were observed on 3, 4, and 5 August. During the first week of August 2018 Strombolian activity also continued at BN-1 (figure 224). The webcam at Montagnola (EMOH) recorded incandescence at night from Bocca Nuova.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 224. Activity during the first half of August 2018 at Etna was concentrated at BN-1, the Northeast Crater (NEC), and the E vent of the New Southeast Crater (NSEC), shown in red. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 33/2018, ETNA, Weekly Bulletin, 08/06/2018 - 12/08/2018, issue date 08/14/2018).

After several months of calm, explosive activity also resumed at the E vent of the of the New Southeast Crater, high on the E flank, in early August. An explosion in the early morning of 1 August 2018 generated a gray-brown ash plume that rose several hundred meters above the summit (figure 225). Smaller emissions occurred throughout the day, and the EMOH camera recorded sporadic Strombolian explosions at night, which continued through the first week of August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 225. After several months of calm, a resurgence of explosive activity was observed at the E vent (formed 25 November 2015) on the high E flank of the New Southeast Crater. The activity started with an explosion at 0408 UTC (= local time -2 hours), and generated a gray-brown ash plume that rose several hundred meters above the top of the volcano (a, b). In the following hours other smaller ash emissions occurred, and in the evening, the EMOH camera recorded sporadic Strombolian explosions (c). This activity continued, with fluctuations in the frequency and magnitude of the explosions, for the rest of the month (d, e, f). Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 32/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 30/07/2018 - 05/08/2018, data emissione 07/08/2018).

Similar activity at BN-1, NEC, and the reactivated vent at NSEC continued through the second and third weeks of August. On 16 August 2018 a new vent opened in the BN-2 area on the E side of the Voragine (inactive since December 2015) and exhibited both degassing and Strombolian activity (figure 226). During that week Strombolian activity also continued at the NEC, but activity became more sporadic at the E vent of NSEC. During the last week of August, Strombolian activity and intense degassing continued in the western sector of Bocca Nuova (BN-1). Occasionally, lapilli fragments a few centimeters in diameter were ejected onto the S rim of the crater. Strombolian activity also continued from multiple vents at the bottom of NEC. The frequency and intensity of explosions was variable and increased significantly during 22 August, ejecting coarse pyroclastic material outside the crater rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 226. The crater floor of Bocca Nuova at Etna on 16 and 17 August 2018 with thermal (a) and visible (b) images. The incandescent areas are highlighted with colors ranging from yellow to red and white in the thermal image. BN-1 (reactivated in November 2016) is in the foreground, and vent BN-2, which re-opened on 16 August in the south-eastern sector of the Bocca Nuova, is in the back (upper right). Thermal image by Francesco Ciancitto, photograph by Marco Neri. Courtesy of INGV (L'Etna non va in vacanza: aumenta di intensità l'attività eruttiva sommitale, 23 Agosto 2018, INGV Blog).

Beginning on 23 August 2018 about 1800 UTC, activity resumed at the saddle cone located between the old cone of the Southeast Crater (SEC) and the new cone (NSEC). Strombolian activity, initially modest, quickly became more intense, producing almost continuous explosions with the launch of coarse ejecta up to a height of 100-150 m. At 1830 UTC, while Strombolian explosions of modest intensity were also taking place at the E vent of NSEC, a small lava flow emerged from the E vent and traveled a few hundred meters E towards the Valle del Bove. Shortly after 1830 UTC another lava overflow was also observed moving N from the saddle cone (figures 227 and 228).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 227. Strombolian ejecta rose 100 m from the cono della sella (saddle cone) at the New Southeast Crater of Etna and lava flowed from both the E vent (left) and N from the saddle cone (right), shortly before midnight on 23 August 2018. Photo by Boris Behncke, courtesy of INGV blog 25 August 2018 (L'Etna fa gli straordinari: attività eruttiva al Nuovo Cratere di Sud-Est).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 228. Map of the summit crater area (DEM 2014, Aerogeophysics Laboratory - Rome Section 2, modified). BN = Bocca Nuova; VOR = Voragine; NEC = Northeast Crater; SEC = Southeast Crater; NSEC = New Southeast Crater. The yellow dots indicate the position of the degassing vents and those in red are the vents with Strombolian activity. The map also shows the flows produced by the saddle cone and the E vent of NSEC through 27 August 2018. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. N° 35/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 20/08/2018 - 26/08/2018, data emissione 28/08/2018).

Strombolian explosions of moderate intensity continued throughout the night from the saddle cone. The following morning (24 August) a small lava overflow emerged from the vent and stopped after traveling a few tens of meters towards the S flank of the NSEC cone (figure 228, small orange flow within saddle, and figure 229b). The Strombolian activity was accompanied by an abundant and continuous emission of ash, whichformed a small plume that rose a few hundred meters from the vent (figure 229c). The Strombolian activity at the saddle cone decreased gradually on 25 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 229. Eruptive activity at Etna during 23-24 August 2018. a) 23 August shortly before midnight; Strombolian activity from the saddle cone and lava flows from the E vent of the NSEC (white arrow) and from the cone of the saddle northwards (red arrow). Photo by B. Behncke taken from Fornazzo. b) 24 August, Strombolian activity and small lava overflow southward taken by the thermal camera of La Montagnola. c) 24 August, ash emitted during the Strombolian activity from the cone of the saddle, taken by the visible camera of La Montagnola. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 35/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 20/08/2018 - 26/08/2018, data emissione 28/08/2018).

Strombolian activity was continuing on 27 August 2018 at NSEC, and the flow to the N into the Valle del Leone began cooling after lava stopped feeding it that evening. The same day, a new lava overflow emerged from the E vent of NSEC (figure 230) and flowed E towards the Valle del Bove for about 24 hours (figure 231).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 230. Map of the summit crater area of Etna (DEM 2014, Aerogeophysics Laboratory - Rome Section 2, modified). BN = Bocca Nuova; VOR = Voragine; NEC = Northeast Crater; SEC = Southeast Crater; NSEC = New Southeast Crater. The yellow dots are degassing vents and those in red have Strombolian activity. The map also shows the flows produced by NSEC during the last two weeks of August 2018. The yellow flow was cooling by 27 August when the new red flow emerged from the E vent of NSEC and lasted for about 24 hours. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 36/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/08/2018 - 02/09/2018, data emissione 04/09/2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 231. A thermal image taken by Pizzi Deneri on 27 August 2018 at Etna shows the two flows on the flanks of NSEC. View is from the N. The flow labelled in red flows E from the E vent, and the other flow travels N from the Cono della sella (saddle cone) into the Valle del Leone and then moves east. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. 36/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 27/08/2018 - 02/09/2018, data emissione 04/09/2018).

Discontinuous Strombolian activity continued from NSEC after the effusive activity ended in late August. Several loud explosions from NSEC were reported by people living near the E flank of Etna during the first week of September. Strombolian activity, modest ash emissions, and significant gas emissions were also produced by BN-1; BN-2 exhibited only continuous degassing activity. Explosive activity declined during the second week of September. Discontinuous low-intensity Strombolian activity and intermittent ash emissions from Bocca Nuova, New Southeast Crater, and Northeast Crater characterized activity for the remainder of September. During the last week of the month, NEC produced frequent gray-brown ash emissions from a vent located in the western part of the crater floor, and included jets of ash, blocks, and volcanic bombs (figure 232).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 232. Ash emissions from Etna's Northeast Crater in late September 2018. The four top images are explosions from a vent at the bottom of NEC on 24 September 2018; the bottom image is one of the many ash emissions observed on 30 September. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. N° 40/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 24/09/2018 - 30/09/2018, data emissione 02/10/2018).

Discontinuous low-intensity Strombolian activity and intermittent ash emissions from the Bocca Nuova, the New Southeast Crater, and Northeast Crater characterized activity during all of October 2018. Two vents remained active at the bottom of Bocca Nuova (BN-1). During a visit on 16 October, INGV-OE geologists noted that the northernmost vent produced nearly continuous Strombolian activity with frequent explosions; occasionally fragments exceeded the crater rim in height but still fell within the crater. The southernmost vent, on the crater floor about 130 m from the edge, was characterized by explosive activity that produced mainly spattering which covered both the crater floor and walls (figure 233). On 25 October the webcam at Bronte recorded an ash emission from Bocca Nuova that resulted from three closely-spaced explosions. The ash was red and dispersed rapidly to the S causing ashfall near Torre del Filosofo and Rifugio Sapienza.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 233. Inside the Bocca Nuova BN-1 crater at Etna on 16 October 2018, two vents were active. The northernmost vent (yellow arrow) had Strombolian activity; the southernmost vent, visible on the right, produced mostly "spattering". Photo by M. Coltelli, courtesy of INGV (Rep. N° 43/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/10/2018 - 21/10/2018, data emissione 23/10/2018).

Strombolian activity at NSEC gradually intensified during the first week of November 2018 and was sometimes accompanied by ash emissions that rapidly dispersed, falling mainly near the vent and in the Valle del Bove to the E. Audible explosions from the activity were heard in Zafferana Etnea on the E flank. Several clear views of the summit and details of the active vents were well exposed during an overflight on a clear 9 November day (figure 234).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 234. An aerial view of the Etna summit craters taken on a clear 9 November 2018 day with the assistance of the 2nd Coast Guard Core of Catania. View is to the NW. BN = Bocca Nuova; VOR = Voragine; NEC = Northeast Crater; SEC = Southeast Crater; NSEC = New Southeast Crater. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. N° 46/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/11/2018 - 11/11/2018, data emissione 13/11/2018).

Three vents were visible at BN-1 during the 9 November 2018 overflight (figure 235); continuous Strombolian activity occurred at vent 1, whose fallout of pyroclastic debris remained within the crater; discontinuous Strombolian activity was observed at vent 2 associated with weak, pulsing ash emissions; only degassing activities were observed at vent 3. At BN-2, intense degassing accompanied discontinuous Strombolian activity that was associated with weak pulsating ash emissions, and several high temperature gas emission points. Scientists also observed a collapse on a portion of the northern inner wall of BN-1 from the explosion on 25 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 235. Aerial view of Bocca Nuova (BN) and Voragine (VOR) at Etna on 9 November 2018 taken with helicopter support of the 2nd Coast Guard Core of Catania. The yellow hatched line indicates the wall of the area that collapsed on 25 October 2018. Inset a) thermal image of Bocca Nuova showing the structure of the three eruptive vents within BN-1 and the eruptive vent within the BN-2. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. N° 46/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/11/2018 - 11/11/2018, data emissione 13/11/2018).

Modest outgassing continued at Voragine (VOR) from the 7 August 2016 vent near the rim during November. At NEC, continuous and intense Strombolian activity from the crater floor caused pyroclastic ejecta to land outside the crater rim (figure 236). At the NSEC complex, high-temperature anomalies were visible at the NW crater edge, and the E vent of NSEC had a small scoria cone that produced discontinuous Strombolian explosions and minor ash emissions (figure 237).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 236. Aerial view of Voragine (VOR) and the Northeast Crater (NEC) at Etna taken on 9 November 2018 with helicopter support of the 2nd Coast Guard Core of Catania. The 7 August 2016 vent at VOR had a vigorous steam emission (yellow arrow). Inset a) thermal image showed the Strombolian activity in the bottom of NEC. Courtesy of INGV (Rep. N° 46/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/11/2018 - 11/11/2018, data emissione 13/11/2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 237. Thermal activity was evident in several places at the SEC-NSEC complex at Etna during the 9 November 2018 overflight with the helicopter of the 2nd Coast Guard Core of Catania (inset a, upper image). The small scoria cone (conetto di scorie) was visible inside the E vent (Bocca orientale) of the New Southeast Crater, seen from the East on 9 November (lower image). Upper image from INGV weekly (Rep. N° 46/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/11/2018 - 11/11/2018, data emissione 13/11/2018), lower image by Stefano Branca (INGV-Osservatorio Etneo) from INGV blog (Piccoli coni crescono: aggiornamento sullo stato di attività dell'Etna al 7 dicembre 2018).

A seismic swarm with over 40 events affected the W flank of Etna on 20 November 2018; the hypocenters were located between 15 and 27 km depth. A small lava flow also emerged on 20 November from the scoria cone inside the E vent at NSEC. The flow lasted for a few hours and remained inside the E vent. A new flow from the same scoria cone at the NSEC east vent appeared on 26 November accompanied by continued Strombolian activity. The flow remained high on the E flank at an elevation of about 3,200 m. Flow activity continued into the first days of December with frequent incandescent blocks moving down the NSEC E flank (figure 238). Elsewhere at Etna, Strombolian activity continued accompanied by sporadic and modest ash emissions from Bocca Nuova, the New Southeast Crater and the Northeast Crater through the end of November (figure 239).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 238. Strombolian activity and emission of a small lava flow from the E vent of the New Southeast Crater was seen from the E at dawn on 29 November 2018. The lava flow was very short, but the detachment and rolling of numerous incandescent blocks from the front and sides of the flow created the impression that the flow reached the base of the New Southeast Crater cone. The scoria cone inside the E vent grew considerably compared to its size observed on 9 November (figure 237). Photo by Giò Giusa. Courtesy of INGV, INGV Blog (Piccoli coni crescono: aggiornamento sullo stato di attività dell'Etna al 7 dicembre 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 239. Incandescence from Strombolian activity was visible inside the NSEC (right) and BN (left) craters at Etna on 22 November 2018 as viewed from Tremestieri Etneo. Photo by B. Behncke, courtesy of INGV (Rep. N° 48/2018, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 19/11/2018 - 25/11/2018, data emissione 27/11/2018).

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

Information Contacts: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/ ); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).


Dukono (Indonesia) — December 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Regular ash explosions continuing as of September 2018

The long-term eruption at Dukono has been characterized by frequent ash explosions through at least March 2018 (BGVN 43:04). The current report shows that this pattern continued through at least September 2018. The data below were provided by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Between April and September 2018 there were about five reports per month about ash plumes. Altitudes generally ranged from 1.4-2.1 km, although 3 km was reported during 2-8 May and 3.4 km was reported during 25-31 July (table 18).

Table 18. Monthly summary of reported ash plumes from Dukono for April-September 2018. The direction of drift for the ash plume through each month was highly variable. Data courtesy of the Darwin VAAC and PVMBG.

Month Plume Altitude (km) Notable Plume Drift
Apr 2018 1.5-2.1 --
May 2018 1.5-3 Ash plumes drifted as far as 225 km NW on 28 May
Jun 2018 1.4-2.1 --
Jul 2018 1.8-3.4 --
Aug 2018 1.8-2.4 --
Sep 2018 1.8-2.1 --

No thermal anomalies at Dukono, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were detected during the reporting period. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected a low-power hotspot in early April (about 2.5 km from the volcano) and a possible low-power hotspot in late August 2018 (about 5 km from the volcano).

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

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


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — November 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes on 8 June, 21 September, and 5 October 2018

Typical activity at Ulawun consists of sporadic explosions with weak ash plumes. During 2017, sporadic explosions occurred between late June through early November with ash plumes rising no more than 3 km in altitude (BGVN 42:12). This report describes activity between January and September 2018.

According to the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) stated that on 8 June 2018 an ash plume rose to an altitude of 2.1 km and drifted W. The Darwin VAAC also reported that a pilot observed an ash plume on 21 September 2018 rising to an altitude of 3.7 km and drifting W. Ash was not confirmed in satellite images, though weather clouds obscured views.

On 5 October 2018 the Darwin VAAC identified a steam-and-ash emission in satellite images rising to an altitude of 4.6 km and drifting WSW. It was also reported by ground observers. The Rabaul Volcano Observatory reported that during 1-12 October white, and sometimes light gray, emissions rose from the summit crater; seismicity was low.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the north coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

Information Contacts: 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/); 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.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — November 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)


Several weak ash plumes during June, September, and October 2018

After Vulcanian activity in the latter part of 2009, activity at Langila subsided, with infrequent activity until 2016, when activity increased somewhat through May 2018 (BGVN 34:11, 35:02, 42:01, and 42:09). This pattern of intermittent activity continued through October 2018. No reports were available from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory during the current reporting period (June-October 2018), but volcanic ash warnings were issued by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Four explosions were reported by the Darwin VAAC in June 2018, generating ash plumes that rose 2.1-3.4 km (table 6). There were no reports of an explosion in July or August 2018. Additional ash plumes were detected on 29 September and 30 October 2018

Table 6. Reports of ash plumes from Langila during 1 June-30 October 2018 based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind model data. Courtesy of the Darwin VAAC.

Date Ash plume altitude (km) Ash plume drift Observations
07 Jun 2018 3.4 SW Detached from the summit.
10 Jun 2018 2.1 -- Dissipated.
17 Jun 2018 2.4 W --
20-21 Jun 2018 2.4 W, NW --
29 Sep 2018 2.4 NE --
30 Oct 2018 2.7 SE --

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/).


Sangeang Api (Indonesia) — November 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangeang Api

Indonesia

8.2°S, 119.07°E; summit elev. 1949 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing crater activity and thermal anomalies during September 2017-October 2018

A significant increase in the number of thermal anomalies at Sangeang Api was recorded during February and June through mid-August 2017, along with a small Strombolian eruption in mid-July that generated an ash plume (BGVN 42:09). The high number of thermal anomalies continued through at least 20 October 2018. The current report summarizes activity between 1 September 2017 and 20 October 2018. The volcano is monitored by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Based on a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) from PVMBG, on 9 May 2018 a gas emission was observed at 1807 that rose to an altitude of 4,150 m and drifted W. Consequently, the Aviation Color Code was raised from unassigned to Yellow. Clear thermal satellite imagery the next day showed hot material traveling about 500 m SE out of the summit crater and continuing another 500 m down the E flank (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Sentinel-2 satellite image of Sangeang Api on 10 May 2018. This "Atmospheric penetration" view (bands 12, 11, and 8A) highlights hot material extending more than a kilometer from the vent in the summit crater to the SE and onto the E flank. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub.

Based on another VONA from PVMBG, an ash emission at 1338 on 15 October 2018 rose 250 m above the summit and drifted SW, W, and NW. The VONA noted that the ash emission possibly rose higher than what a ground observer had estimated. Seismic data was dominated by signals indicating emissions as well as local tectonic earthquakes. The Aviation Color Code was raised from Yellow to Orange.

During the reporting period, MODIS satellite instruments using the MODVOLC algorithm recorded thermal anomalies between 3 and 12 days per month, many of which had multiple pixels. October 2017 had the greatest number of days with hotspots (12), while the lowest number was recorded during December 2017 through February 2018 (3-4 days per month). The vast majority of anomalies issued from the summit; a few were along the E flanks. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, recorded numerous hotspots during the previous 12 months through mid-October 2018, except for the second half of January 2018 (figure 19). Almost all recorded MIROVA anomalies were within 5 km of the volcano and of low to moderate radiative power.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Thermal anomalies identified by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) at Sangeang Api for the year ending 19 October 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

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


Sheveluch (Russia) — November 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies along with minor gas and steam emissions continue through October 2018

Volcanic activity at Sheveluch declined during the period of May through October 2018. This decline followed a lengthy cycle of eruptive activities which began in 1999, including pyroclastic flows, explosions, and lava dome growth, as previously reported through April 2018 (BGVN 43:05). According to the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), during this time a thermal anomaly was detected in satellite imagery and two gas-and-steam events were reported in July and October 2018. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

KVERT reported that satellite data showed a plume of re-suspended ash up to 62 km to the SE of the volcano on 18 July 2018. Moderate gas and steam emissions rose from the volcano on 19-26 October 2018. Thermal anomalies were frequently reported by KVERT during May through October 2018. The MIROVA system detected intermittent low-power thermal anomalies during this time.

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/); 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/).


Gamalama (Indonesia) — November 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Gamalama

Indonesia

0.8°N, 127.33°E; summit elev. 1715 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak explosion on 4 October 2018

The most recent of the previous intermittent weak explosions on Gamalama was on 3 August 2016, which produced an ash plume and ashfall that closed a nearby airport for a day (BGVN 42:03). This report discusses eruptive activity in October 2018. The volcano is monitored by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM).

PVMBG reported that an explosion at 1152 on 4 October 2018, likely phreatic, generated an ash plume that rose about 250 m above the summit and drifted NW. Eight volcanic earthquakes were recorded about an hour before the event. Based on satellite data and information from PVMBG, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that during 5-6 October ash plumes rose to an altitude of 2.1 km and drifted W and NW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4); visitors and residents were warned not to approach the crater within a 1.5-km radius. On 10 October PVMBG reported only gas emissions (mostly water vapor), and the Aviation Color Code was lowered from Orange to Yellow.

No significant SO2 levels near the volcano were recorded by NASA's satellite-borne ozone instruments (Suomi NPP/OMPS and Aura/OMI) during early October. However, Simon Carn reported that the newer TropOMI instrument aboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite showed significant SO2 levels as high as 12 TRM/DU (levels in middle troposphere layer, as measured in Dobson Units) on 4 October 2018 (figure 7).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Weak SO2 emissions from Gamalama on 4 October 2018 were detected by the Sentinel-5P TROPOMI instrument. Courtesy of Simon Carn.

Geologic Background. Gamalama is a near-conical stratovolcano that comprises the entire island of Ternate off the western coast of Halmahera, and is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. The island was a major regional center in the Portuguese and Dutch spice trade for several centuries, which contributed to the thorough documentation of Gamalama's historical activity. Three cones, progressively younger to the north, form the summit. Several maars and vents define a rift zone, parallel to the Halmahera island arc, that cuts the volcano. Eruptions, recorded frequently since the 16th century, typically originated from the summit craters, although flank eruptions have occurred in 1763, 1770, 1775, and 1962-63.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 5+7, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL:http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 43, Number 04 (April 2018)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Dukono (Indonesia)

Ongoing ash explosions, thermal anomalies, and sulfur dioxide emissions through March 2018

Erta Ale (Ethiopia)

New eruptive event forms lava lake and multiple large flow fields 3 km S of South Pit Crater, January 2017-March 2018

Etna (Italy)

Persistent degassing from multiple vents; minor ash emissions and pyroclastic ejecta, September 2017-March 2018

Kadovar (Papua New Guinea)

First confirmed historical eruption, ash plumes, and lava flow, January-March 2018

Karymsky (Russia)

Eruptive activity that began in June 2017 stops after an explosion on 27 January 2018

Kusatsu-Shiranesan (Japan)

Phreatic explosion at Motoshiranesan cone on 23 January 2018 results in one fatality and several injuries

Mayon (Philippines)

Explosion on 13 January 2018 begins new eruptive episode; 5-km-high ash plume on 22 January

Popocatepetl (Mexico)

Ongoing steam, gas, and ash emissions along with intermittent explosions, August 2017-February 2018

Sinabung (Indonesia)

Large explosion with 16.8 km ash plume, 19 February 2018

Stromboli (Italy)

Intermittent explosions and 100-m-long lava flow, November 2017-February 2018



Dukono (Indonesia) — April 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Dukono

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing ash explosions, thermal anomalies, and sulfur dioxide emissions through March 2018

The current eruption at Dukono has been ongoing since 1933, with frequent explosions and ash plumes between August 2014 and March 2017 (BGVN 42:06). Similar activity has continued during April 2017-March 2018. Monitoring of the volcano is the responsibility of the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), also known as the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM).

Thermal measurements made by MODIS satellite instruments and processed by MIROVA show regular low-to-moderate thermal anomalies from April to October 2017 (figure 8), but none after December 2017 or in early 2018. MODVOLC analyses of thermal satellite data identified anomalies on 11 April, 29 April, 9 July, 1 August, and 21 August 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA system for the year ending 9 March 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Explosions were frequently reported by both PVMBG and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), with ash plumes rising only a few hundred meters above the Malupang Warirang crater and drifting in various directions (table 17). Some plumes during this reporting period drifted for more than 100 km, with the longest reaching 230 km W on 27 May 2017.

Table 17. Monthly summary of reported ash plumes from Dukono for March 2017-March 2018. The direction of drift for the ash plume through each month is highly variable; only notable significant plumes are listed. Data courtesy of Darwin VAAC and PVMBG.

Month Plume Altitude (km) Notable Plume Drift
Apr 2017 1.8-2.4 --
May 2017 1.8-2.4 230 km W (27 May)
Jun 2017 1.5-3.0 140 km E (07 Jun)
Jul 2017 1.5-2.7 --
Aug 2017 1.8-2.1 150 km (17 Aug)
Sep 2017 1.5-2.4 --
Oct 2017 1.5-2.1 140-170 km (08 Oct)
Nov 2017 1.8-2.3 170 km (04-05 Nov)
Dec 2017 1.8-2.1 --
Jan 2018 2.1 --
Feb 2018 1.5-2.1 --
Mar 2018 1.5-3.0 --

According to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, SO2 emissions are commonly detected from Dukono, but usually only at low levels, using the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) aboard NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) Aura satellite and the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) aboard the NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite. The strongest emissions captured in satellite data during this report period was on 6 March 2018 (figure 9).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Sulfur dioxide emissions from Dukono can be identified using the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite, as seen in this example from 6 March 2018. The highest amount of SO2 (red) is centered over the volcano. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — April 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruptive event forms lava lake and multiple large flow fields 3 km S of South Pit Crater, January 2017-March 2018

Ethiopia's Erta Ale basaltic shield volcano has had at least one active lava lake since the mid-1960s, and possibly much earlier. Two active craters (North Pit and South Pit) within the larger oval-shaped Summit Caldera have exhibited periodic lava fountaining and lava lake overflows over the years. A new eruptive event located about 3 km SE of the Summit Crater appeared on 21 January 2017. Activity at the eruption site increased during subsequent months, sending lava flows several kilometers NE and SW from a newly formed lava lake. This report discusses activity from February 2017 through March 2018 as the flows traveled as far as 16 km from the main vent. Information comes from satellite thermal and visual imagery, and photographs and reports from ground-based expeditions that periodically visit the site.

Summary of activity, February 2017-March 2018. The 21 January 2017 activity at Erta Ale was the first time a vent outside of the Summit Caldera has been observed (figure 50). The initial vent or vents created multiple lava flows that traveled generally NE and SW from their sources, creating at least one lava lake that persisted for about a year (figure 51). The flows began inside an older caldera at a location about 3 km SE of the South Pit Crater, but eventually overflowed the caldera rim in multiple directions. As the flow fields enlarged, thermal imagery captured hot-spots along the flows that were likely produced by breakouts, skylights into lava tunnels, and hornitos, as well as multiple surges of flows across the growing fields (figure 52). The imagery also showed the locations of the advancing flow fronts which had reached over 5 km SW of the source by August 2017 and over 16 km NE of the source by March 2018, eventually reaching the alluvial plain NE of Erta Ale. Thermal anomaly data indicated that the maximum thermal energy output happened in April 2017, gradually decreasing through March 2018. The far NE front of the northeast flow field was still active at end of March 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. The summit of Erta Ale has two oblong NW-trending calderas. The northern Summit Caldera contains the North Pit Crater and the South Pit Crater. The North Pit Crater has had a solidified lava lake with a large hornito emitting magmatic gases and incandescence at night, and the South Pit Crater has had an active lava lake for many years that last overflowed its rim during mid-January 2017. The new eruption began at vents located about 3 km SE of the South Pit Crater near the northern rim of a second caldera referred to here as the Southeast Caldera, on 21 January 2017. The new eruption had not yet begun in this 16 January 2017 image. See figure 46 (BGVN 42:07) for additional images the following week that show the first flows from the new vents. Images copyright by Planet Labs Inc., 3 m per pixel resolution, and used with permission under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA 4.0), annotated by GVP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. A new lava lake formed during late January 2017 at the new eruption site about 3 km SE of the South Pit Crater at Erta Ale, inside the Southeast Caldera. This view is likely from the rim of the Southeast Caldera, looking SE or E. Visitors were not able to get closer to the vent due to the active flows for several months. Photo by Stefan Tommasini taken during February 2017, courtesy of Volcano Discovery (Erta Ale volcanic activity: 2017 overview and June update, 27 June 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. An active new pahoehoe lava field flowed over older lava flows inside the Southeast Caldera at Erta Ale during February 2017. This photo was likely taken from the northern or western rim of the Southeast Caldera. Photo by Stefan Tommasini, courtesy of Volcano Discovery (Erta Ale volcanic activity: 2017 overview and June update, 27 June 2017).

When the new eruptive episode began, the lava lake at the South Pit Crater drained rapidly to around 80-100 m below the rim, according to visitors to the site a few weeks later. The crater was emitting a strong thermal signal by early March 2017 as the lake level rose again. Visitors in April witnessed a fluctuating lake level rising and falling by up to 20 m every 30 minutes over several days. The thermal signal remained strong at the South Pit Crater through March 2018. Due to significant political instability in the area, ground visits are intermittent, but high-quality photographs were taken in February 2017, December 2017, and January 2018 that show the new lava lake and parts of the new flow fields.

Activity during late January-March 2017. The new eruptive event at Erta Ale began in late January 2017 at the northern end of the Southeast Caldera located; the first lava flows observed were locatedabout 3 km SE from the main Summit Caldera (figure 45 (BGVN 42:07) and figure 50). Two separate vent areas appeared active initially. The northern vent sent lava flows to the NE for several kilometers and to the SW a much shorter distance. The southern vent sent a stream of lava to the S. By the end of January 2017 the North and South Pit Craters at the Summit Caldera were still thermally active, but the signals were much stronger from the new vent areas in the Southeast Caldera (figure 53). A faint thermal signal from about 5 km E of the northern vent suggested the extent of the new flows in that direction.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. A Sentinel-2 image from 29 January 2017 shows the initial activity at the new Southeast Caldera vents of Erta Ale (labelled Event 1 and Event 2). Weak thermal signals are apparent from the North and South Pit Craters (Pit Crater Nord, Pit Crater Sud) within the Summit Caldera, and much stronger thermal signals are evident from two areas inside the Southeast Caldera. A faint signal from about 5 km E of the new vents indicates possible flow activity breaking out of lava tubes in that region (Skylight). Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Le point sur l'activité des volcans Etna, Erta Ale, Fuego, Piton de la Fournaise et Bogoslof, 3 février 2017).

A small group of travelers led by Ethiopian geologist Enku Mulugeta visited Erta Ale during the first half of February 2017. They reported that within the main Summit Caldera, the hornito in the North Pit Crater had collapsed and the lava lake in the South Pit Crater was about 80-100 m below the caldera floor level. The eruption in the Southeast Caldera was still very active, and they photographed the sizable new lava field which contained numerous pahoehoe flows, actively spattering hornitos, and a large lava lake (figures 51, 52, and 54). During the following months activity remained high both at the new eruption site and at the Summit Caldera where the lava lake in the South Pit Crater gradually rose back up to about 50 m below the caldera floor. Culture Volcan annotated a series of Sentinel-2 satellite thermal images which show the progression of the lava flows through the following year.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. A large new lava field quickly formed inside the Southeast Caldera at Erta Ale after the beginning of the new eruptive event in late January 2017. When photographed here in February 2017, pahoehoe flows had spread outward from a central vent area (glow at top center) for over a kilometer in multiple directions. View is likely to the E from the W rim of the Southeast Caldera. Photo by Stefan Tommasini, February 2017, courtesy of Volcano Discovery (Erta Ale volcanic activity: 2017 overview and June update, 27 June 2017).

By 10 March 2017 only the southern vent area was active inside the Southeast Caldera. It continued to feed the lava field; lava was actively flowing S from the vent towards the W rim of the Southeast Crater, and NE, breaking out from lava tubes which blocked the thermal signal until about 2.6 km NE of the vent (figure 55). Thermal signals from both the North and South Pit Craters were distinct and stronger than in late January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. The thermal signals at both the North and South Pit Craters at Erta Ale were stronger in this 10 March 2017 image than in late January. Only one main source of lava is apparent at the Southeast Caldera. Lava flows directly from the primary vent SW towards the W rim of the caldera, and also surfaces from tunnels about two kilometers NE in an actively moving lava front. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Un point sur l'activité des volcans Etna et Erta Ale, 13 mars 2017).

A site visit to the South Pit Crater on 20 March 2017 demonstrated that the lake level had risen significantly since its drop in early February, and was once again actively convecting (figure 56). By the end of March 2017, satellite thermal imagery made clear the increasing thermal signal at the South Pit Crater, and in the Southeast Caldera, the major increase in effusion to the NE from the main vent. The width of the flow field had increased to about 1,400 m, and the farthest front was about 3,400 m NE from the vent (figure 57). The lava at the source measured about 180 x 75 m in size, suggesting a lava lake; a smaller overflow to the SW appeared to have reached the W rim of the Southeast Caldera by 30 March 2017 near the area where a new flow had first appeared in a 23 January 2017 satellite image (see figure 46, BGVN 42:07).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. The South Pit Crater of Erta Ale on 20 March 2017 had risen significantly from its drop in February and was actively convecting. Photo by Jean-Michel Escarpit, courtesy of Cultur Volcan (Un point sur l'activité des volcans Fuego, Manam et Erta Ale, 22 mars 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. The thermal signal at the South Pit Crater continued to increase in this 30 March 2017 satellite image of Erta Ale. The main vent in the Southeast Caldera had dimensions of about 180 x 75 m, suggesting a lake had formed. A large increase in the thermally active area to the NE indicated that the flow field was expanding significantly in that direction, with a few small thermal anomalies between the lake and lava field suggesting a number of small flows or lava tube breakouts. Flow activity also continued to the SW reaching the W rim of the Southeast Crater where lava had flowed past the crater rim in late January (see figure 46, BGNV 42:07). Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Un point sur l'activité des volcans Klyuchevskoy et Erta Ale, 31 mars 2017).

Activity during April-May 2017. In the next Sentinel-2 satellite image from 9 April (figure 58), the distance to the farthest front of the lava flow had increased to about 4,600 m from the lava lake, and a new flow had appeared a few hundred meters east of the lake that extended about 1,100 m ENE from its source. Lava also flowed SW from the source to the SW rim of the Southeast Crater, appearing to pond against and flow slightly beyond the rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. The lava flows continued to extend NE from their source inside the Southeast Crater at Erta Ale in this Sentinel-2 satellite image from 9 April 2017. The farthest edge of the northeast flow front was about 4,600 m from the lake. A new arm of lava flowed more than a kilometer ENE from its source close to the lake. Another thermal signature SW of the lake indicated an accumulation of lava near or slightly spilling over the SW rim of the Southeast Crater. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Le point sur l'activité des volcans Erta Ale et Bogoslof, 16 avril 2017).

A group visited Erta Ale during 11-15 April 2017 in collaboration with Addis Ababa University geologist Enku Mulugeta. They noted that fluctuating lava lake levels at the South Pit Crater were cycling every 30 minutes or so between 40 and 50 m below the caldera floor (figures 59 and 60). Lava tubes from the walls of the crater would feed the lake with fresh lava after it drained. Two coalesced hornitos, about 7 m high, were present in the NE part of the crater, emitting SO2 gas and occasional lava. At the North Crater Pit, noisy degassing of SO2 from several hornitos at the center of the solidified crust was apparent. Observers at the Southeast Caldera could see the lava lake with the top about 10 m below its crater rim, and minor fountaining during the night, but they were not able to get closer than about 700 m due to the active flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. The lava lake level at the South Pit Crater at Erta Ale during April 2017 was fluctuating by 10-20 m every 30 minutes or so. The high-stand of the lava is shown here. Courtesy of Toucan Photo.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. The lava lake level at the South Pit Crater at Erta Ale during April 2017 was fluctuating by 10-20 m every 30 minutes or so. The low stand of the lava is shown here as the lava drains away. Courtesy of Toucan Photo.

By the end of April 2017 satellite thermal imagery indicated that the northeast flow field at the Southeast Caldera extended more than 7 km NE from the lake and was curving towards the E (figure 61). The lava lake was still thermally active, as was the South Pit Crater to the NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Erta Ale on 29 April 2017 shows the growth of the northeast lava field from earlier in the month to more than 7 kilometers from its source. The South Pit Crater was still active, as was the source of the northeast lava field. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (L'activité effusive reste soutenue à l'Erta Ale, 3 mai 2017).

Eleven days later, activity was quite different in the Southeast Caldera. Satellite imagery from 9 May 2017 (figure 62) showed a new, relatively narrow but bright lava flow moving NE for 2-3 km originating in a location slightly NE of the original lava lake; activity farther NE had diminished from the previous image. A subsequent image on 18 May looked similar, but by 19 May the narrow flow had been replaced by a much broader area of thermal anomaly in the region immediately E of the source. By 29 May 2017, the source of the lava appeared to have shifted several hundred meters SE of the earlier location, and a strong thermal signal once again extended NE across the northeast flow field from the new source for about two kilometers (figure 63).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. A Sentinel-2 satellite image of Erta Ale on 9 May 2017 showed a shift to the NE in the location of the source of the active flows. A new narrow flow had traveled 2-3 km NE from a source located NE of the lava lake. The more distant northeast flow field had a much smaller thermal signature than on 29 April. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Breakout sur le volcan Erta Ale, 11 mai 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. A significant shift to the SE in the location of the lava source from a few weeks earlier is apparent in this Sentinel-2 satellite image of Erta Ale captured on 29 May 2017. A strong thermal anomaly trended NE across the northeast flow field for about two kilometers. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Erta Ale: une éruption vraiment exceptionnelle, 11 juin 2017).

Activity during June-August 2017. The rapidly changing flow field was significantly different again less than two weeks later in satellite imagery captured on 8 June 2017. Lava was flowing N, SE, and S across the northeast lava field, extending beyond the rim of the Southeast Caldera to the N and E. Another very strong thermal signal emerged from the SW corner of the Southeast Caldera where lava was flowing W and S outside the caldera rim forming a new southwest lava field (figure 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. A Sentinel-2 satellite image of Erta Ale on 8 June 2017 shows significant changes in the location of the active flow fields from less than two weeks earlier. The South Pit Crater in the Summit Caldera still had a strong thermal signal suggesting an active lake in the crater. Flows in the Southeast Caldera appeared to be moving N, E, and S across the northeast lava field, and a new area with flows moving S and W from the SW rim of the Southeast Caldera formed the new Southwest lava field. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Erta Ale: une éruption vraiment exceptionnelle, 11 juin 2017).

During June 2017, the most aggressive flow activity contributed to significant growth of the southwest lava field. By 28 June, infrared imaging detected flow fronts 4,500 m SW of the vent; they had extended to about 5,100 m, nearing the base of the SW flank of Erta Ale, by 5 July (figure 65). Flow activity also persisted in the northeast flow field with activity concentrated about 1.5 km NE of the vent on 28 June. Movement increased at the northeast flow field beginning in late June and it had extended to about 3.5 km NE of the lava lake by 5 July 2017.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Lava flow activity at the Southeast Caldera of Erta Ale during June 2017 was concentrated in the growing southwest flow field which had extended about 5,100 m from its lava lake source by 5 July 2017 in this Landsat 8 satellite image. The northeast flow field began extending farther NE during the first week of July, reaching 3,500 m from the lake by 5 July. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus and NASA/USGS with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Un point sur l'activité des volcans Copahue et Erta Ale, 8 juillet 2017).

Significant movement to the NE in the northeast flow field was apparent in satellite images beginning on 21 July 2017; the head of the flow had reached about 9.5 km from the lava lake by 28 July 2017, mostly focused in a narrow channel (figure 66). Activity decreased in the southwest flow field during July; the lava front had advanced only a few hundred meters by the end of July from its position on 5 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. The northeast flow field at Erta Ale lengthened significantly during July 2017; the leading edge was about 9.5 km NE of the lava lake by 28 July 2017, as captured in this Sentinel-2 satellite image. The southwest flow field had extended just a few hundred meters SW from its location on 5 July. The distance between the South Pit Crater and the Southeast Caldera lava lake is about 2.7 km. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Les actus du jour: Katla en alerte jaune et quelques changements à l'Erta Ale, 29 juillet 2017).

During August 2017, lava continued to flow from the Southeast Caldera lava lake in two directions. The northeast flow front extended to 12 km from the vent by 17 August and had reached over 14 km by 7 September. The southwest flow field, while it remained in roughly the same area, had a decreased but still significant thermal signature in early September, suggesting continued but diminished activity throughout the period (figures 67).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. During August 2017, lava continued to flow in two directions from the Southeast Caldera lava lake at Erta Ale. The northeast flow field had reached over 14 km from the lake by 7 September 2017 when this Landsat 8 satellite image was taken. The Southwest flow field, while it remained in roughly the same area, still had a significant thermal signature suggesting continued activity. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus and NASA/USGS with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (volcan Erta Ale: ça continue; Fernandina: c'est moins sûr, 12 septembre 2017).

Activity during September-December 2017. In a Sentinel-2 satellite image from 26 September 2017, it was clear that the South Crater Pit was still thermally active, and that the southwest flow field had largely cooled with only a small area on its NW edge still producing a thermal anomaly (figure 68). In contrast, the northeast flow field had advanced about 1 km in the previous three weeks and was less than a kilometer from the edge of the valley alluvium. It finally reached the edge of the older lava field and began to advance across the alluvium NE of the volcano, more than 16 km from the lava lake, on 16 October 2017 (figure 69). Based on satellite imagery, Cultur Volcan interpreted that activity slowed significantly during November 2017, and while the thermal signal remained strong near the head of the flow, it did not advance significantly across the alluvium.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. The South Pit Crater at Erta Ale still had an active lava lake on 26 September 2017 in this Sentinel-2 satellite image. The southwest lava field had largely cooled, with only a small thermal anomaly along it NW edge. The northeast lava field continued to be active; it had advanced about 1 km NE in about three weeks and was about 650 m from the edge of the alluvium. A significant number of hotspots along the northeast lava flow suggest that several skylights existed into lava tubes or there were small breakouts. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Les actus du jour: Heard Island, Erta Ale, Pacaya, Fuego, Sangay, Ol Doynio Lengai, 5 octobre 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Erta Ale's northeast flow field reached the alluvium about 16 km E of the Southeast Caldera lava lake by 16 October 2017, as recorded in this Sentinel-2 satellite image. The distance between the ends of the two easternmost tongues of lava is about 1 km. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Erta Ale: ça y est, le champ de lave entre dans la plaine!, 18 octobre 2017).

Visitors to the South Pit Crater in mid-December 2017 reported that its lava lake continued to be active and its level was about 60 m below the rim. They were also able to visit the Southeast Caldera lava lake, 2.7 km SE of the South Pit Crater, and take photographs from its rim; it was about 200 m long and 100 m wide and filled with slowly convecting lava (figures 70, 71). Satellite imagery from 25 December 2017 showed the active lake at the South Pit Crater, the active lake at the Southeast Caldera, and numerous skylights and overflows along the 16-km-long northeast flow field (figure 72).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. The Southeast caldera lava lake at Erta Ale, its surface crusted over with slightly cooled lava, with dimensions of about 200 x 100 m in mid-December 2017. Photograph by FB88, courtesy of Culture Volcan (Un point sur l'activité à l'Erta Ale, 31 décembre 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. The Southeast Caldera lava lake at Erta Ale was slowly convecting during mid-December 2017. Photographed by FB88, courtesy of Culture Volcan (Un point sur l'activité à l'Erta Ale, 31 décembre 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery from 25 December 2017 of Erta Ale showed the active lake at the South Pit Crater (Summit lava lake), the active lake at the Southeast Caldera (Rift-Zone lava lake), and numerous skylights and overflows along the 16-km-long northeast flow field. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Un point sur l'activité à l'Erta Ale, 31 décembre 2017).

Activity during January-March 2018. By mid-January 2018 thermal activity was concentrated a few kilometers back from the front of the northeast flow, about 12 km from the lava lake (figure 73). A Volcano Discovery tour group visited during 13-26 January 2018 and was able to access and photograph both the North and South Pit Craters and the new lake and flow fields around the Southeast Caldera with ground-based and aerial drone photography (figures 74-84).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. By 19 January 2018, thermal activity at Erta Ale's northeast flow field was concentrated a few kilometers back from the front of the flow, about 12 km from the Southeast Caldera lava lake. The South Pit Crater and Southeast Caldera lava lakes are visible on the left. Small hot-spots near the Southeast Caldera lava lake could be hornitos or skylights into lava tubes. Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus with annotations provided by Culture Volcan (Le point sur l'activité des volcans Erta Ale, Kadovar (Mis à jour) et Nevados de Chillan, 21 janvier 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. In this aerial view taken in January 2018 by a drone of the central part of Erta Ale's Summit Caldera, steam plumes rose from the North Pit Crater (left) and South Pit Crater (right). The fresh black lava around the South Pit Crater overflowed onto the caldera floor in January 2017 shortly before the beginning of the eruptive events in the Southeast Caldera a few kilometers to the south. Photograph by Stefan Tommasini taken during 13-26 January 2018, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. The North Pit Crater inside the Summit Caldera at Erta Ale contained a large collapsed vent in January 2018 that formed after the magma drained away from the crater in January 2017. Photograph by Stefan Tommasini taken during 13-26 January 2018, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. The lava lake in the South Pit Crater of Erta Ale's Summit Caldera was tens of meters below the rim in January 2018. Magma drained away and parts of the crater walls collapsed in January 2017, followed by repeated filling and draining of the lava lake during 2017. Photograph by Stefan Tommasini taken during 13-26 January 2018, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. This aerial view by drone shows the large lava lake that formed at Erta Ale's Southeast Caldera during 2017; it was still slowly convecting in January 2018. The lake dimensions were about 100 x 200 m. Photograph by Stefan Tommasini taken during 13-26 January 2018, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Recently cooled black crust is overrun and consumed by molten lava that quickly cools and crusts over in Erta Ale's Southeast Caldera lava lake in January 2018. Photograph by Stefan Tommasini taken during 13-26 January 2018, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Lava appears to flow into the Southeast Caldera lava lake at Erta Ale from a vent at the far edge and slowly spread across the lake during January 2018. Photograph by Stefan Tommasini taken during 13-26 January 2018, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Lava splashes as it flows into the Southeast Caldera lava lake at Erta Ale in January 2018. Photograph by Anastasia Ganuschenko taken during 13-26 January 2018, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Downwelling consumes lava inside the Southeast Caldera lava lake at Erta Ale in January 2018. Photograph by Stefan Tommasini taken during 13-26 January 2018, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Incandescence is visible inside a hornito that formed through lava spattering along the new flows in the Southeast Caldera at Erta Ale in January 2018. Photograph by Anastasia Ganuschenko taken during 13-26 January 2018, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Many layers of fresh Pahoehoe lava flows were cool enough to walk on in some areas of the Southeast Caldera lava fields in January 2018. Photograph by Stefan Tommasini taken during 13-26 January 2018, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Fresh lava flows were easily distinguished from older ones by their silver hue and dark black crust at Erta Ale's Southeast Caldera lava fields in January 2018. Photograph by Stefan Tommasini taken during 13-26 January 2018, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

By late March 2018 no thermal signal appeared in satellite imagery at the site of the Southeast Caldera lava lake, although the South Pit Crater was still visible. A large increase in the area of fresh flows and multiple thermal anomalies were present at the flow front of the northeast lava field 14-16 km from the former lava lake (figure 85). During the second half of March, the flow progressed several hundred meters out into the alluvial plain.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery captured on 15 March 2018 showed a large increase in the area of fresh lava flows at the NE front of the northeast lava field at Erta Ale when compared with an image from 19 January 2018. Over the next ten days, images showed the narrow finger of lava that just touches the alluvium in this image creep about a kilometer out into the alluvial plain. Courtesy of Courtesy of ESA/Copernicus, published by Cultur Volcan (Les actus volcaniques du jour: Erta Ale, Maly-Semiachik, Suwanose-Jima et Ebeko, 28 mars 2018).

MIROVA thermal anomaly data. The MIROVA thermal anomaly data captures information about the distance of the anomalies from the summit as well as the radiative power released from Erta Ale. Both sets of information agree well with observations from the Sentinel-2 and Landsat satellite data. The plot of distance from the summit (figure 86) shows that during August 2016-mid-January 2017 the thermal anomalies were located very close to the summit point, representing heat flow from both the South and North Pit Craters within the Summit Caldera. Beginning on 21 January 2017, the jump in location of the anomalies corresponded with the beginning of the eruption in the Southeast Caldera. The MIROVA thermal anomalies progressed farther from the summit point during March and April 2017, when the northeast flow field was lengthening to the NE. The thermal signal jumps back closer to the summit point in early May corresponding to when new breakouts were spotted near the Southeast Caldera lava lake; the flows again traveled away from the lake during June and July 2017. Active lava flows from mid-August 2017 through March 2018 were visible in satellite imagery 12-16 km from the lava lake, which is reflected in the MIROVA data (figure 86).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. MIROVA data showing the distance from the summit point of thermal anomalies at Erta Ale. Upper graph is the year ending 18 July 2017. Lower graph is the year ending 9 March 2018. They correspond well with locations of thermal anomalies that appear in numerous satellite images during that time. Note the distance scale change. See text and earlier figures for details. Courtesy of MIROVA.

The MIROVA data for the radiative power released from Erta Ale during August 2016-March 2018 also corresponds well with satellite and ground observations (figure 87). The levels of radiative power were moderate and constant during August 2016 to mid-January 2017 when only the lava lake and hornitos at the South and North Pit Craters were active (see also figure 47, BGVN 42:07). A moderate spike in the radiative power corresponds to the overflow of the South Pit Crater during 16-20 January 2017, followed by a large spike in radiative power on 21 January when the eruption started in the Southeast Caldera. This was followed by an extended period of increased radiative power as extensive flow fields formed in the Southeast Caldera. The graph is also able to distinguish the movement of the flows from near the Southeast Caldera lava lake to farther away and then near again during March-June 2017. The radiative power graph from 10 March 2017-9 March 2018 clearly shows a gradual decrease in the amount of radiative power over the period, suggesting a decline in flow activity, which corresponds well to satellite observations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. MIROVA plots of radiative power at Erta Ale for 18 July 2016-18 July 2017 (upper) and 9 March 2017-9 March 2018 (lower). Note the different y-axis scales for VRP due to the large spike on 21 January 2017 at the beginning of the Southeast Caldera eruptive episode. The plots record both the movement of the flow fields away from and closer to the summit point during March-June 2017, and then the gradual decrease in radiative energy from May 2017 through early March 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: European Space Agency (ESA), Copernicus (URL: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus; Robert Simon, Sr., Data Visualization Engineer, Planet Labs Inc. (URL: http://www.planet.com/) [Images used under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/]; Cultur Volcan, Journal d'un volcanophile (URL: https://laculturevolcan.blogspot.com); Toucan Photo (URL: http://www.toucan.photo/); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); 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/).


Etna (Italy) — April 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent degassing from multiple vents; minor ash emissions and pyroclastic ejecta, September 2017-March 2018

Italy's Mount Etna on the island of Sicily has had historically recorded eruptions for the past 3,500 years and has been erupting continuously since September 2013 through at least March 2018. Lava flows, explosive eruptions with ash plumes, and lava fountains commonly occur from its major summit crater areas that include the North East Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the South East Crater (SEC) (formed in 1978), and the New South East Crater (NSEC) (formed in 2011). A new crater, referred to as the "Cono della sella" or CdS, emerged during early 2017 in the saddle between SEC and NSEC (figure 206).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 206. A modified digital elevation model (DEM) of the summit area at Etna showing the major craters. The hatched black lines highlight the rims of the summit craters: BN = Bocca Nuova, which contains the NW depression (BN-1) and the SE depression (BN-2); VOR = Voragine with an active vent on its E rim that opened in August 2016; NEC = Northeast Crater; SEC = South-East Crater; NSEC = New Southeast Crater; and "Cono della Sella" or CdS, which emerged in early 2017, shown in red. The yellow dots indicate the locations of significant degassing vents at VOR, BN, and NSEC. Courtesy of INGV (Report 51/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 11/12/2017-17/12/2017, issue date-19/12/2017).

The most recent eruptive episode began with ash emissions from a new vent in the saddle between NSEC and SEC on 20 January 2017, followed by Strombolian activity a few days later (BGVN 42:10). Activity intensified at the end of February when the first of several lava flows emerged from this and other adjacent vents. By mid-March 2017, Strombolian activity, ash emissions, and lava flows had created a cone higher than the adjacent NSEC and SEC cones, referred to as the "Cono della Sella" (CdS) or saddle cone. An effusive episode at the end of April 2017 sent flows down both the N and S flanks of the new cone from multiple vents. Intermittent Strombolian activity and persistent fumarolic activity continued from multiple crater areas, and minor ash emissions were observed a few times through August 2017. The Osservatorio Etneo (OE), which provides weekly reports and special updates on activity, is run by the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV). This report uses information from INGV to summarize events between September 2017 and March 2018.

Although still exhibiting intermittent volcanism, activity at Etna was at low levels during September 2017-March 2018. A comparison of the thermal activity of that period with the previous interval of November 2016-August 2017 (figure 186, BGVN 42:10) demonstrates the order of magnitude decrease from the earlier period (figure 207). Persistent degassing occurred throughout this interval, often with incandescent gas and periodic ash emissions resulting from continued subsidence around crater vents and from small explosive events. Ashfall was reported once in the cities S of Etna in mid-January 2018, and a minor episode of Strombolian activity and ash emissions took place at the eastern vent of NSEC in mid-February 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 207. Thermal activity at Etna was substantially decreased compared to earlier in 2017 (figure 186, BGVN 42:10) as seen in this MIROVA graph that plots data for the year ending on 12 July 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during September-December 2017. Active degassing at the beginning of September 2017 occurred from the vent at the E rim of the Voragine crater (VOR), and from the NW vent of Bocca Nuova (BN-1) (figure 208). At the Northeast Crater (NEC) and the SE Crater (SEC)-New South East Crater (NSEC) complex, which included the new "Cono del Sella" (CdS), there was widespread degassing from the fumarolic fields located in the bottoms and walls of the craters. Minor explosive activity was reported on 19 September 2017 from BN and NSEC, and nighttime incandescence was reported from the other craters. On 20 September small sporadic ash emissions were noted from NSEC and VOR. Incandescence at night was observed at the SEC-NSEC complex for the remainder of the month, and strong degassing continued at the VOR vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 208. Active degassing was evident at the summit craters of Etna on 24 August 2017. a) degassing from Bocca Nuova (BN). b) the active vent on the E rim of Voragine (VOR) was mostly steam. Courtesy of INGV (Report 35/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 21/08/2017-27/08/2017, issue date 29/08/2017).

Occasional ash emissions were observed during the second week of October 2017 from the Cono della Sella (CdS) (figure 209). A minor ash emission was also reported on 16 October from the SEC-NSEC complex. Minor emissions of brown ash were reported from BN-1 during the last week of October. In the late afternoon of 26 October, a single explosion occurred at one of the three mouths of the Cono della Sella crater. The explosion generated a short jet of incandescent material and a small ash plume that quickly dispersed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 209. An ash emission occurred on 13 October 2017 from the Cono della Sella (CdS) at Etna. These images were taken from the M. Cagliato (left) and La Montagnola (right) webcams. Intense degassing from VOR was also visible in the La Montagnola image. Courtesy of INGV (Report 42/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 09/10/2017-15/10/2017, issue date 17/10/2017).

Cloudy weather during November resulted in limited visibility for much of the month. A small, isolated explosion containing minor ash occurred at SEC on 14 November 2017. During the third week of November, a new pit crater appeared at the bottom of NEC that measured 70 x 50 m (figure 210), and intense degassing was observed from BN-1. Frequent small ash emissions were reported from CdS during 24-26 November. In the last week of the month, pulsating degassing from the craters could be detected during periods of limited visibility, as well as a series of explosions with ash emissions from SEC.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 210. A new pit crater opened at the bottom of NEC at Etna during the third week of November 2017. A) Map of the summit crater area (DEM 2014) showing the pit crater location at the bottom of the NEC and one of the main fumaroles at the bottom (orange arrow). B) View of the bottom of NEC from the S on 23 November 2017, the orange arrow is the fumarole and the white hatched line indicates the rim of the new pit crater. C) The S flank of the NEC, showing the locations of the thermal cameras that created the images of the new pit in images D and E. Courtesy if INGV, (Report 48/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 20/11/2017-26/11/2017, issue date 28/11/2017).

Degassing from the summit craters persisted throughout December 2017 with intermittent incandescence observed from fumaroles at NSEC. A few ash emissions were recorded from CdS, including overnight on 14-15 December (figure 211).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 211. Minor degassing, fumaroles, and incandescence were recorded at the summit craters of Etna in early December 2017. a) Degassing from BN and VOR on the morning of 13 December 2017, seen from the S. b) Image taken from the high-resolution webcam at Monte Cagliato (EMCH, E side of Etna) showing incandescence at the E vent of NSEC in the early hours of 12 December 2017. c) Puff of ash emitted by CdS on the morning of 15 December 2017, recorded by the Montagnola (EMOV) webcam. Courtesy of INGV (Report 51/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 11/12/2017-17/12/2017, issue date 19/12/2017).

Activity during January-March 2018. Similar activity continued throughout January 2018; a small ash emission was observed from CdS on 5 January, and a puff of brown ash emerged from NSEC the next day. Incandescence degassing also continued from the NSEC vents. During the second week of the month, 20 small explosive events were observed from the eastern vent at NSEC, although cloud cover obscured the summit for much of the time. Minor ash emissions continued from NSEC for the rest of the month, along with nighttime incandescence, especially strong from BN-1. On 22 January a modest ashfall affected the communities S of Etna including the city of Catania (27 km S); the lack of visibility prevented identification of which crater produced the ash. By the end of the month, the pit crater at the base of NEC had expanded, causing erosion of the inner E wall (figure 212). In spite of the low level of activity during this period, SO2 emissions were occasionally recorded with satellite instruments. The most significant SO2 plumes were measured during the last few days of January (figure 213).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 212. Activity during January 2018 at Etna included strong incandescence from BN-1, numerous small explosive events from NSEC, and expansion of the pit crater at the base of NEC. The hatched black lines highlight the edge of the summit craters: BN = Bocca Nuova, including the NW depression (BN-1) and the SE depression (BN-2); VOR = Voragine; NEC = Northeast Crater; SEC = South-East Crater; NSEC = New Southeast Crater. The yellow dots indicate the positions of the degassing vents of VOR, NEC and NSEC (E vent and "Cono della Sella"). The yellow dots with a red border indicate the vents characterized by strong incandescence (BN-1) and occasional ash emissions (NSEC, E vent). Courtesy of INGV, Report 06/2018, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 29/01/2018-04/02/2018, issue date, 06/02/2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 213. Significant SO2 plumes were measured from Etna on 29 (left) and 31 (right) January 2018 by the OMI instrument on NASA's Aura satellite. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Two weak ash emissions occurred at NSEC during the first week of February 2018. The frequency of explosions increased during 15-16 February to 1-2 events per hour, producing moderate amounts of brown-gray ash and incandescent pyroclastic material (figure 214); heightened activity lasted for several days. The explosions were heard 20 km E and S from the summit. Faint, non-explosive emissions of gray ash were observed on the morning of 17 February 2018 from NEC (figure 215).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 214. Ash and incandescent material were ejected from the E vent of NSEC at Etna during 17 February 2018. a) Ash emission from the E vent at NSEC viewed by the Tremestieri Etneo webcam from the S flank on the morning of 17 February 2018. b) Incandescent material ejected during one of the explosions from the same vent, on the evening of 17 February 2018. Photo by Michele Mammino, used by INGV with permission of the author. Courtesy of INGV (Report 08/2018, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 12/02/2018-18/02/2018 (issue date 20/02/2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 215. A weak ash emission rose from Etna's NEC at 1005 local time on 17 February 2018, as seen by the Zafferana Etnea webcam. Courtesy of INGV, Report 08/2018, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico e sismico del vulcano Etna, 12/02/2018-18/02/2018, issue date 20/02/2018).

Degassing continued at the summit craters for the remainder of February and throughout March 2018. During an inspection by INGV on 10 March, the expansion of the pit crater at the bottom of NEC was noted, as was continuing collapses of the internal walls which produced minor ash emissions. Activity at the E vent of NSEC included a minor ash emission on 2 March 2018; occasional ejection of incandescent pyroclastic material and modest ash emissions continued throughout the month (figure 216). The ash emissions occurred at irregular intervals, varying from a few tens of minutes to a few hours, more frequently in the last days of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 216. Explosive activity from the vent on the E side of NSEC at Etna, taken from the Tremestieri Etneo webcam on the S flank on 8 March 2018. Ash emissions were accompanied by incandescent tephra that landed on the flanks. Photographic sequence by B. Behncke. Courtesy of INGV, Report 11/2018, Bollettino Settimanale, 05/03/2018-11/03/2018, issue date 13/03/2018).

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

Information Contacts: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/ ); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/).


Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) — April 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

3.608°S, 144.588°E; summit elev. 365 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


First confirmed historical eruption, ash plumes, and lava flow, January-March 2018

The first confirmed historical eruption at Kadovar began around mid-day local time on 5 January 2018, according to witnesses. The steeply-sloped island is approximately 1.4 km in diameter and is located about 25 km NNE from the mouth of the Sepik River on the mainland of Papua New Guinea (figure 1). This report covers activity from the beginning of the eruption on 5 January through March 2018. Information about the eruption is provided by the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite sources, news reports, and local observers. A possible eruption was witnessed by explorers in 1700; no other activity was reported until an outbreak of thermal activity in 1976 (NSEB 01:14-01:11, SEAN 03:09) and a short period of seismic unrest in 2015, according to RVO.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Kadovar Island is located about 25 km NNE from the mouth of the Sepik River on the mainland of Papua New Guinea. Nearby active volcanoes include Blup Blup (12 km N) and Bam (21 km W); residents of Kadovar were evacuated initially to Blup Blup before being moved to an area near Wewak, the nearest community on the mainland, about 105 km W. The red triangles are Holocene volcanoes, and the blue (cyan) triangles are Pleistocene volcanoes. Base map courtesy of Google Earth.

Ash and steam emissions from Kadovar were first reported on 5 January 2018. After about 24 hours, more than half of the island was covered by volcanic debris. Activity intensified over the next two weeks; RVO identified five distinct vents located at the summit and along the SE coast. Dense ash plumes and steam rose from the summit vents, and a slowly-extruding lava flow emerged from a vent near the shoreline on the SE flank. Persistent steam and intermittent ash plumes were produced from the summit vent through the end of March. The lava flow grew outward from the shore for tens of meters before collapsing in early February, but it reappeared a few days later. By the end of the first week of March 2018 the flow was about 17 m above sea level; its growth rate had slowed, adding only one meter by late March.

The NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring system generated an alert for an ash cloud moving WNW, as imaged by S-NPP VIIRS, at 0330 UTC on 5 January 2018; Himawari-8 imagery subsequently showed that the eruption began around 0220 UTC. The Darwin VAAC reported two discrete ash plumes drifting W at 2.1 km altitude during the day. After local reports of the eruption Samaritan Airlines flew administrators from the Wewak district to investigate, enabling photographs of ash and steam emissions (figure 2).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Steam and ash emerged from a vent near the summit of Kadovar Island and drifted WNW on 5 January 2018. The view is looking NW with the SE flank of Kadovar in the foreground. In the upper photo, the island in the background is Viai Island about 30 km NW. Photo by Ricky Wobar, administrator of the Wewak district. Courtesy of Samaritan Aviation, posted on Facebook on 5 January 2018.

The following day, 6 January 2018, photos from a Samaritan Air flight showed that dark gray ash and steam plumes rising from a crater on the SE side of the summit had intensified (figures 3 and 4). It was estimated that 50 or 60% of the island was covered in volcanic debris, which appeared to be primarily ash along with some pyroclastic flows. According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the entire population of Kadovar, about 600 people who lived on the N side of the island, was relocated to nearby Blup Blup Island which is home to about 800 residents. RVO reported minor ashfall on Kairiru and Mushu islands (115 km WNW), and on mainland Papua New Guinea at Mt. Uru in Yangoru (130 km W), Woginara (140 km W), and the Wewak District (100 km W).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Ash and steam plumes rose from distinct vents on the SE side of the summit at Kadovar. View is to the NE, with Blup Blup volcano located about 12 km in the distance. Photo by Ricky Wobar likely taken on 6 January 2018, published by ABC News on 8 January 2018. Courtesy of ABC News.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Ash and steam emissions intensified from vents at the summit of Kadovar Island on 6 January 2018. Posted on Facebook, 6 January 2018 by Samaritan Aviation.

Also on 6 January 2018, missionary Brandon Buser set out from Wewak to visit Bam by boat. He observed the steam and ash plumes of Kadovar from about 75 km away. About 25 km W of the island, he felt falling ash. From a few hundred meters offshore he witnessed the ash and steam plumes rising from near the summit as he circled the S and E sides of the island (figures 5-8).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Locations of the following photographs of the eruption at Kadovar on 6 January 2018 correspond closely to the purple spots where the boat slowed down on its trip around the island. North is to the top. Numbers indicate approximate locations of the following figures 6-12. Courtesy of Brandon Buser. Base map courtesy of Google Earth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. An ash plume drifted NW from the summit of Kadovar as viewed from a boat a few hundred meters off the SW flank on 6 January 2018. Courtesy of Brandon Buser.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Ash drifted WNW from Kadovar and also covered the vegetation on the SSW flank on 6 January 2018 in this view from a boat a few hundred meters off the SSW flank. Courtesy of Brandon Buser.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Dark ash and white steam both rose from vents at the summit of Kadovar on 6 January 2018. Debris and ashfall killed and denuded the trees on the SE flank, and covered the ground. View is from a boat a few hundred meters off the SE flank. Courtesy of Brandon Buser.

While preparing to head E to Bam, Buser witnessed an explosion that sent large plumes of ash and steam skyward from the SE flank, and a significant cloud of volcanic debris was ejected outward and down the SE flank; large boulders fell into the ocean. Heading rapidly E away from the eruption, he took additional photographs (figures 9-12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Dark gray ash and white steam billowed up from a vent near the summit of Kadovar on 6 January 2018 at the start of an explosion. The denuded vegetation and bare slopes on the SE flank indicated the extent of the recent activity. The view is from a boat a few hundred meters offshore of the NE flank. Courtesy of Brandon Buser.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. An explosion witnessed at Kadovar on 6 January 2018. Steam rose from a vent near the summit (right), dark gray ash billowed up from the SE flank, and brown dust and debris descended the SE flank into the ocean (left) in this view from a few hundred meters off the NE flank. Courtesy of Brandon Buser.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. A large explosion at Kadovar witnessed on 6 January 2018. Light gray steam and ash rose from near the summit and drifted NW covering the N half of the island in ash; a large eruption of dark gray ash shot upward from a different vent on the SE flank surrounded by dust and debris that traveled outward at its base. Larger debris caused splashing in the water off the SE flank (left). View is from a few kilometers off the NE flank. Courtesy of Brandon Buser.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. The plumes of steam, ash, and debris from the explosion moments earlier at Kadovar on 6 January 2018 rose and began to drift NW covering the island. Blocks landing in the ocean on the SE flank created spray along the shoreline (left). View is from a boat a few kilometers NE of the island. Courtesy of Brandon Buser.

The Darwin VAAC reported on 6 January 2018 that a continuous ash plume was identifiable in satellite imagery moving W and WNW at 2.1 km altitude. By 7 January, the plume could be identified about 220 km WNW in satellite images (figure 13). During their return trip from Bam on 8 January 2018, the missionaries again circled the island and noted that the eruption seemed to be occurring from different vents. The island was covered in ash, and they became covered with wet ash as they traveled under the drifting ash plume. The Darwin VAAC reported the plume drifting WNW extending about 185 km on 8 January. They also noted that the influence of the sea breeze was also spreading minor ash to the SW. Continuous ash emissions were observed by the Darwin VAAC through 11 January, drifting W and NW at 2.1 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured the eruption of Kadovar that began two days earlier on 7 January 2018 as a plume of ash and steam that streamed NW from its crater. A second smaller plume, also drifting NW, is visible SE of Kadovar from unrelated activity at nearby Manam, one of Papua New Guinea's most active volcanos. Brown-green plumes visible in the water S of Kadovar near the coast of the mainland, are caused by sediment from the Sepik and Ramu rivers on the mainland. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

RVO reported a significant escalation in activity during 12-13 January 2018. An explosion during the previous night ejected large incandescent boulders from the fracture on the SE flank. Residents on Blup Blup (15 km N) could see incandescence high on the volcano's flank. During a flyover on 13 January, RVO noted variable steam and gas emissions rising to 1 km above the Main Crater and identified five distinct vents (figure 14). The SE Coastal Vent was very active with dense white steam emissions rising 600 m from the vent (figure 15). A dome of lava was visible at the base of the steam plume, but no incandescence was observed. The Southern Coastal Vent had been vigorously steaming a few days earlier, and RVO interpreted it to be the source of the incandescent blocks in the explosion a few days before.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. A sketch map of the five newly identified vents at Kadovar, 14 January 2018, from an RVO overflight the previous day. Courtesy of RVO (VOLCANO INFORMATION BULLETIN- No. 08 14/01/2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. A vigorous steam plume rose from the SE Coastal Vent at Kadovar on 13 January 2018 while an ash plume rose from Main Crater at the summit. Photo by the office of Allan Bird, Governor of East Sepik Province. Courtesy of RVO (VOLCANO INFORMATION BULLETIN- No. 08 14/01/2018).

Reports of continuous ash emissions at 2.1 km altitude drifting WNW from the Darwin VAAC resumed on 16 January. A brief emission to 3.7 km was also noted that day. Pilot reports on 17 and 18 January indicated that ash was still in the area as high as 3-3.7 km altitude drifting W. The reports of emissions from the Darwin VAAC continued through 24 January. Ash emissions were generally continuous at altitudes from 2.4 to 3 km, although low level emissions of primarily steam and gas were observed on 20 January that included intermittent phases of increased ash content. The plume drift direction was variable, with periods when ash drifted S and SE in addition to the generally prevailing NW and W directions.

During 18-22 January 2018, the Main Crater continued to produce moderate to dark gray ash plumes that rose 500-800 m above the summit, drifting locally S and SE, and a continuous steam plume from the SE Coastal Vent rose as high as 800 m above the island. An incandescent lava flow slowly extruded from the SE Coastal Vent. By the last week of January, the ash plumes were only rising about 100 m above the Main Crater and drifting W; weak incandescence was still observed at night. The white steam plume from the SE Coastal Vent rose closer to 400 m above the island. RVO estimated that the lava flow had risen to about 50 m above sea level and extended 150-200 m out from the coast.

In their report on 2 February 2018, RVO noted that the lava flow continued to grow. A distinct lobe had pushed out from the seaward nose of the flow, by about 20-30 m; it appeared to be channeled by levees which had developed at the flow's sides. At 1830 local time on 1 February, a collapse of the side of the flow facing Blup Blup was observed; it resulted in a plume of gray ash and then vigorous steaming at the collapse site, which also was incandescent at night. The main body of the flow significantly bulged upwards, with a distinct 'valley' visible between the bulge and the island's flank.

RVO reported that on 9 February the lava flow at the SE Coastal Vent had collapsed, causing 5-6 minor tsunamis less than 1 m high that were observed by residents on Blup Blup's E and W coasts. The waves were reported at 1050, before the main collapse of the dome. In a 12 February report, RVO noted that activity from Main Crater consisted of white plumes rising 20 m and drifting a few kilometers SE accompanied by weak nighttime crater incandescence. Activity renewed at the SE Coastal Vent shortly after the collapse of the flow on 9 February 2018; lava re-emerged a few days later, connecting a lava island to the coastline again. Continuous steam emissions from both the Main Crater and the SE Coastal Vent were interrupted by dark ash plumes on 16 and 20-22 February, and occasional explosions were heard by residents on nearby islands. Minor ashfall was reported on Blup Blup on 21 and 22 February.

Eruptive activity continued during March 2018, although at a slower rate. The Main Crater generally produced continuous emissions of white steam and intermittent explosions with dark ash plumes; incandescence was usually visible at night from Blup Blup. According to the Darwin VAAC, a pilot reported an ash plume at 3.9 km altitude drifting SE on 2 March; it was not visible in satellite imagery due to meteoric clouds. The lava flow extruding from the SE Coastal Vent continued to grow, creating a dome that grew from 7-8 m above sea level to 10-17 m above sea level by 8 March. Dark ash emissions from the vent and nighttime incandescence were common. The growth rate slowed later in the month, and only one meter of change was observed between 10 and 20 March.

Satellite data. The MIROVA project recorded thermal anomalies from Kadovar in early January and early March 2018 (figure 16). MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on three days; 15 and 22 January, and 7 February 2018. During January, small SO2 plumes were recorded by NASA satellites on four occasions (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. The MIROVA project thermal anomaly graph for Kadovar from 11 May 2017 through March 2018. The first anomaly in early January 2018 correlates with observations of the first reported explosion. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. SO2 plumes from Kadovar were detected several times during January 2018 by the OMI instrument on NASA's Aura satellite. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Geologic Background. The 2-km-wide island of Kadovar is the emergent summit of a Bismarck Sea stratovolcano of Holocene age. Kadovar is part of the Schouten Islands, and lies off the coast of New Guinea, about 25 km N of the mouth of the Sepik River. The village of Gewai is perched on the crater rim. A 365-m-high lava dome forming the high point of the andesitic volcano fills an arcuate landslide scarp that is open to the south, and submarine debris-avalanche deposits occur in that direction. Thick lava flows with columnar jointing forms low cliffs along the coast. The youthful island lacks fringing or offshore reefs. No certain historical eruptions are known; the latest activity was a period of heightened thermal phenomena in 1976.

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea, Contact: steve_saunders@mineral.gov.pg, ima_itikarai@mineral.gov.pg; 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/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); NOAA, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1225 W. Dayton St., Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA (URL: http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/); International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) (URL: http://www.ifrc.org/); Samaritan Aviation (URL: http://samaviation.com/, https://www.facebook.com/samaritanaviation/); Brandon Buser (URL: https://ethnos360.org/missionaries/brandon-and-rachel-buser, https://www.facebook.com/brandon.buser.35); ABC News (URL: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-08/tsunami-warning-for-communities-near-erupting-png-volcano/9311544); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/).


Karymsky (Russia) — April 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptive activity that began in June 2017 stops after an explosion on 27 January 2018

Recent activity at Karymsky has consisted of ash explosions on 4 June and 20 September 2017, separated by a period of relative quiet (BGVN 42:11). The volcano was quiet after 20 September until another ash explosion on 4 December 2017. This report covers activity from 1 December 2017 through March 2018, using information compiled from the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) and the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). According to KVERT, an explosion on 27 January 2018 was last through at least 31 March.

Based on satellite data, KVERT reported that an explosion began at about 0630 on 4 December 2017 and generated an ash cloud that rose to an altitude of 2.7 km and drifted 200 km E. An ash cloud 16 x 12 km in dimension was identified in satellite images about three hours after the explosion, 92 km E of the volcano. The Aviation Color Code was raised from Green to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale). A thermal anomaly was identified in satellite data during 3 and 5-6 December.

According to KVERT, another ash plume was identified in satellite data drifting 114 km ENE on 14 December. No further ash emissions were noted afterward; the Aviation Color Code was thus lowered on 24 December to Yellow.

A small ash cloud was identified in satellite imagery drifting near Karymsky on 18 January 2018, and a thermal anomaly was identified on 19 and 23 January. Gas-and-steam plumes drifted 30 km NE and NW on 21 and 25 January, and an ash plume drifted about 100 km NE on 23 January. An explosion at 1430 on 27 January generated ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 5.2 km and drifted 80 km NE-NNE, prompting KVERT to raise the Aviation Color Code to Orange.

Moderate gas-and-steam emissions continued during February and March. Thermal anomalies were detected in satellite images on 3, 9, and 18 February, and 23-26 March; during other days, the volcano was either quiet or obscured by clouds. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange through the end of the reporting period.

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

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


Kusatsu-Shiranesan (Japan) — April 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Kusatsu-Shiranesan

Japan

36.618°N, 138.528°E; summit elev. 2165 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic explosion at Motoshiranesan cone on 23 January 2018 results in one fatality and several injuries

The large Kusatsu-Shiranesan volcanic complex comprises three overlapping pyroclastic cones and numerous summit craters; it is located about 150 km NW of Tokyo in the Gunma Prefecture of central Japan. Intermittent short-lived historic activity has been reported from the northernmost Shiranesan cone since the beginning of the 19th century. An explosion at the southernmost Motoshiranesan cone in January 2018 resulted in one fatality and several injuries. Information about the event was gathered from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and various news sources.

Summary of activity during 1976-2014. Small phreatic explosions in the Mizugama and Yugama craters at the northernmost part of the Kusatsu-Shiranesan volcanic complex occurred in 1976, 1982, and 1983 (figure 14). Larger ash-bearing explosions in November and December 1983 sent tephra 30-40 km to communities downwind to the SE from the Yugama and adjacent Karagama craters on the Shiranesan cone. Intermittent increases in seismic activity near the Yugama crater coincided with water discoloration in the crater lake, and possible ejections of debris from hydrothermal activity in 1989 and 1996. Increased hydrothermal activity was noted on the N flank of Yugama during 2013-2014. Seismic swarms, deformation, thermal, and fumarolic activity increased briefly during early June 2014 in the area around the Yugama crater lake, but no eruption was observed. In late June 2014, JMA reported dying vegetation in a forested area 3 km SW of the Motoshiranesan summit area.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Subfeatures of the Kusatsu-Shiranesan volcanic complex as seen in Google Earth imagery, looking N. The northernmost bleached area includes the historically active Yugama, Mizugama, and Karagama craters, part of the Shiranesan cone. In the center of the complex is the Ainomine cone which has a ski area on the S flank. The southernmost edifice is the Motoshiranesan cone which has multiple craters at its summit, including Kagamiike or "Mirror pond". The explosions of 23 January 2018 occurred at Kagamiike and the adjacent crater to the N, in area referred to by JMA as Honkonoyama. Courtesy of Google Earth.

Activity during 2014-2017. Seismicity remained elevated from March to mid-August 2014 around the Yugama crater area. Ground deformation data suggested inflation between March 2014 and April 2015 in that area. Field surveys conducted on 4-5 and 10-11 November 2014 indicated fumarolic areas on the N and NE flanks of the Mizugama crater, but no other significant activity. Short-lived increases in seismicity were observed during January-February 2015. A field survey in May 2015 confirmed ongoing thermal activity on the N and NE wall of the Yugama crater, and the N and NE flank of the Mizugama crater. A small-amplitude, 2-minute-long tremor during late June 2015 was the first since January 2013; it was not accompanied by eruptive activity. The fumarolic activity on the N wall of the Yugama Crater was higher during a field survey in October 2015 than in had been the previous May.

Thermal activity was ongoing at Yugama and Mizugama craters during 2015-2017 along with intermittent fumarolic activity in the same general area, but no significant seismicity was reported. By June 2017 the decrease in the concentration of components derived from high-temperature volcanic gas in the lake, and the stable low-level seismicity in the area, led JMA to lower the warning level from 2 to 1 (on a 5 level scale) on 7 June 2017; they noted that the thermal activity continued around the Yugama crater throughout the rest of the year (figures 15-17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. A minor thermal anomaly persisted inside the NE crater wall at Yagama Crater at Kusatsu-Shiranesan throughout 2015-2017. Both visual (upper) and thermal (lower) images were taken during an overflight on 1 November 2017. View is to the north. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, Kusatsu-Shirane, November 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Thermal anomalies persisted on the N and NE flank of the Mizugama crater at Kusatsu-Shiranesan during 2015-2017. These visual (upper) and thermal (lower) images were captured on 1 November 2017. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, Kusatsu-Shirane, November 2017).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Daily earthquake frequency at Kusatsu-Shiranesan during 1 January 2011-30 November 2017. Although earthquake counts temporarily increased during March-August 2014 and in January and February 2015, no eruptive activity was reported. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, Kusatsu-Shirane, November 2017).

Activity during January-March 2018. JMA reported that at 0959 on 23 January 2018 an eruption began at Kusatsu-Shiranesan coincident with the onset of volcanic tremor which prompted JMA to raise the Alert Level to 3 (on a scale of 1-5); there had been no prior indications of an impending eruption. Skiers at the popular Kusatsu Kokusai ski resort, located on the Ainomine cone, took video showing a plume of tephra and ejected bombs rising from vents around the Kagamiiki and adjacent crater at the summit of the Motoshiranesan cone (see Information Contacts for Mainichi for video link). Motoshiranesan is immediately adjacent S of the Ainomine cone and about 2 km SSE of the Yagama Crater on the Shiranesan cone where all previous historical activity had been reported (figures 14 and 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Locations and images of the active vents at Kusatsu-Shiranesan during the eruptive event of 23 January 2018. Upper left: View is looking W at the Motoshiranesan summit craters. The crater with the pond in Box 1 is Kagamiike (yellow Japanese characters). Boxes 1 and 2 in the upper left photo are enlarged in the lower photos. Upper right topographic map shows the locations in red of the three vents. The upper red line and dot correspond to the vents shown in the lower right box 2. The lower red bar on the topographic map (near the small pond) corresponds to the vent shown in the lower left image as box 1. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, Kusatsu-Shirane, January 2018).

Photos and video posted in news articles showed tephra shooting tens of meters into the air, drifting E, and blanketing the nearby hillside (figure 19); JMA noted ashfall in Nakanojo-machi, in the Gunma Prefecture, about 8 km E. Tephra hit a gondola, shattering glass and injuring four skiers (figure 20). Material fell through the roof of a lodge, where about 100 people had already been evacuated. Ground Self-Defense Force troops were engaging in ski training at the time of the event; one member died from the impact of large tephra blocks, and seven others were injured.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Tephra from Mount Kusatsu-Shiranesan covers the N flank of the Motoshiranesan cone and much of the Ainomine cone in this view to the W taken on 23 January 2018. Photo by Suo Takeuma, AP, courtesy of CNN (Japanese man killed by falling rocks after volcano erupts at ski resort, 23 January 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Fist-sized tephra blocks and ash ejected from the eruption of Mount Kusatsu-Shiranesan cover the floor of a damaged gondola at the Kusatsu Kokusai Ski Resort on 24 January 2018, courtesy of The Mainichi Japan (Damaged ski resort gondolas show the power of Gunma Pref. volcanic eruption, 25 January 2018).

The following day, on 24 January 2018, JMA noted that volcanic earthquakes were numerous but decreasing in number, and two 2-3-minute-long periods of volcanic tremor were detected at 1015 and 1049. Minor but elevated seismicity continued through 30 January, punctuated by periods of tremor. The largest fissure where the eruption occurred was oriented E-W, located just inside the N rim of the northernmost crater at the Motoshiranesan summit (figure 21). Kenji Nogami, a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, confirmed that the event appeared to have been "a typical phreatic eruption" (Japan Times).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. The largest fissure vent active in the 23 January 2018 explosion at Kusatsu-Shiranesan was still surrounded by ash and tephra when photographed during an overflight on 28 January 2018. The summit ropeway station of the ski area is at the image top just NW of the explosion vent. Courtesy of The Mainichi (Visitor traffic plunges in Kusatsu hot spring resort after deadly eruptions, 30 January 2018).

The Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center issued a single volcanic ash advisory on 23 January indicating a possible eruption, but it was not identifiable from satellite data. Observations made on 14 February 2018 confirmed the presence of the vents in the Kagamiike and adjacent crater, but there was no evidence of thermal activity and little fumarolic activity in the area (figure 22). Seismicity decreased steadily after the explosion on 23 January 2018 through the end of March 2018 and no further activity was reported (figure 23).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Vents from the 23 January 2018 eruption at Kusatsu-Shiranesan were still visible at the craters on 14 February 2014 during a helicopter overflight by JMA. The upper image, looking W, shows the large vent at the N side of the crater immediately N of the Kagamiike crater, as well as a smaller vent located to the W on the E flank of the adjacent slope. The lower image shows two smaller vents on the inner wall of the adjacent Kagamiike crater. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, Kusatsu-Shirane, February 2018).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Seismicity decreased steadily at Kusatsu-Shiranesan after the explosion on 23 January 2018. Graph shows the number of daily seismic events during 1 January-31 March 2018. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, Kusatsu-Shirane, March 2018).

Geologic Background. The Kusatsu-Shiranesan complex, located immediately north of Asama volcano, consists of a series of overlapping pyroclastic cones and three crater lakes. The andesitic-to-dacitic volcano was formed in three eruptive stages beginning in the early to mid-Pleistocene. The Pleistocene Oshi pyroclastic flow produced extensive welded tuffs and non-welded pumice that covers much of the E, S, and SW flanks. The latest eruptive stage began about 14,000 years ago. Historical eruptions have consisted of phreatic explosions from the acidic crater lakes or their margins. Fumaroles and hot springs that dot the flanks have strongly acidified many rivers draining from the volcano. The crater was the site of active sulfur mining for many years during the 19th and 20th centuries.

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); The Mainichi (URL: http://mainichi.jp/english/, eruption video URL-https://mainichi.jp/movie/video/?id=121708141#cxrecs_s); The Japan Times (URL: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/); Cable News Network (CNN), Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (URL: http://www.cnn.com/).


Mayon (Philippines) — April 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 13 January 2018 begins new eruptive episode; 5-km-high ash plume on 22 January

Steep-sloped and symmetrical Mayon has recorded historical eruptions back to 1616 that range from Strombolian fountaining to basaltic and andesitic flows, as well as large ash plumes, and devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars. A lava dome that grew during August-October 2014 resulted in rockfalls, pyroclastic flows, and lava flows from the summit crater that led to evacuations in nearby communities (BGVN 41:03). Activity declined during November and December 2014 and remained low throughout 2015. By February 2016 the Alert Level was reduced to 0 (on a 0-5 scale) by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) which monitors the volcano. A seismic swarm in August 2016, and the beginning of a new eruption in January 2018 are covered in this report with information provided primarily by PHIVOLCS.

After a brief seismic swarm in August 2016, Mayon remained quiet until a phreatic explosion on 13 January 2018 sent an ash plume 2,500 m above the summit and scattered ash over numerous nearby communities. The growth of a new lava dome sent lava flows down the flanks and ash plumes multiple kilometers above the summit during subsequent weeks. Lava fountaining produced incandescence at the summit for many weeks. Lava collapse events from the flow fronts sent pyroclastic density currents (PDC's) down multiple ravines during January and February 2018. Lava fountaining activity became nearly continuous at the beginning of February but began to taper off by mid-month. Flows had reached as far as 4.5 km down ravines, and lava-collapse generated pyroclastic density currents reached 5 km from the summit crater. The pyroclastic activity continued through February from the gravity-driven collapsing flow fronts even though fountaining and lava effusion had decreased. Brief periods of fountaining and gravity-driven lava flow were noted throughout March 2018, but activity had essentially ceased by month's end.

Activity during 2016-2017. Very low seismicity of 0-2 volcanic earthquakes per day was typical for January and early February 2016; the largest number recorded was 12 on 9 January. On 12 February 2016, PHIVOLCS noted that seismicity had remained at baseline levels of 0-2 earthquakes per day for the previous six months, indicating that rock fracturing associated with magmatic activity had diminished. Ground deformation information suggested a return to pre-2014 eruption positions, and low levels of SO2 flux had been consistent since November 2015. They reduced the Alert Level to 0.

Increasing SO2 flux above 1,000 tons/day beginning in July 2016 was accompanied by ground deformation measurements suggesting renewed inflation. A brief swarm of 146 earthquakes was recorded by the Mayon Volcano Observatory's seismic network from 3-6 August; they were located 10 km away on the SE flank. This change led PHIVOLCS to raise the Alert Level back to 1 on 8 September 2016. Seismicity and SO2 levels remained very low through the end of 2016, but GPS data suggested continued inflation. Slight inflation was recorded throughout 2017. Rare days of small seismic swarms of more than 10 earthquakes occurred during 2017, but otherwise seismicity and SO2 flux values remained within background levels.

Activity during January 2018. A sudden phreatic eruption at 1621 local time on 13 January 2018 sent a gray steam-and-ash plume 2,500 m above the summit that drifted SW. The activity lasted for a little under two hours. Traces of ash fell on the Barangays of Anoling (4 km SW), Sua (6 km SW), Quirangay (9 km SW), Tumpa (9 km SW), Ilawod (10 km SW), and Salugan (8 km SW) in the city of Camalig and in the Barangays of Tandarora (26 km WSW), Maninila (8 km SW), and Travesia (10 km SW) in the municipality of Guinobatan. Incandescence at the summit crater was first observed a few hours later. As a result, PHIVOLCS raised the Alert Level from 1 to 2 early the next day.

Two more phreatic explosions occurred the following morning (14 January) at 0849 and 1143 that each produced ash plumes, but they were largely obscured by summit clouds. Minor amounts of ash were reported in Camalig. By the evening, PHIVOLCS had raised the Alert Level again to 3 after three explosions, 158 rockfall events, and the observation of bright incandescence at the summit crater. By 2000 on 14 January they noted the growth of a new lava dome and the beginnings of a lava flow towards the southern flank.

Two lava collapse events on the morning on 15 January each lasted 5-10 minutes. They originated from the lava flow front and produced rockfall and small-volume pyroclastic density currents. Ash plumes drifted SW and rained ash on Travesia, Muladbucad Grande, Maninila, Masarawag, Poblacion, Iraya, Ilawod, Calzada, Inamnan Grande, Inamnan Pequeno, Maguiron, Quitago and Mauraro in the municipality of Guinobatan and on the Baranguays of Cabangan, Anoling, Sua, Tumpa, Quirangay, Gapo, and Sumlang, and Baranguays 1 to 7 in the municipality of Camalig. A degassing event at 1107 produced a grayish to dirty white ash column that rose to a maximum of height of approximately 1,000 m above the summit before drifting WSW.

Lava effusion continued from the summit during 16-21 January 2018 with flows down the Mi-isi and Bonga gullies and occasional short-duration lava fountaining. Tens of daily lava collapse events accompanied the growth of the flow in the Mi-isi gully which had reached about 3 km from the summit by 18 January. Debris from the growing summit dome also descended the Matanag and Buyuan Gullies. Pyroclastic density currents descended the Mi-isi, Matanag, and Buyuan Gullies. Ash plumes rose up to 2 km and drifted SW from the summit crater and caused ashfall in Camalig, Guinobatan, and Polangui (figures 26-28).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Mayon emitted ash and steam along with pyroclastic density currents that flowed down the SW flank on 16 January 2018. View is looking N from S of the airport in Lagazpi City, Philippines, about 12 km S. Courtesy of The Express, photo from European Pressphoto Agency.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Pyroclastic density currents (PDC's) descended the W flank of Mayon on 16 January 2018. Incandescence at the base of the PDC was also visible. Lava was fountaining at the summit and incandescent blocks were rolling down the Mi-isi drainage on the S flank. Image taken near Legazpi city, 12 km S. Courtesy of The Express, photo from European Pressphoto Agency.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Lava flows at Mayon descended the Mi-isi drainage on the S flank and were visible from Legazpi city on 17 January 2018. Courtesy of The Express, photo from European Pressphoto Agency.

Activity increased on 22 January 2018 with lava fountains at the summit reaching 200-500 m high, the lava flow into the Mi-isi drainage extending beyond 3 km, and two new flows in the Bonga gully and upper Buyuan watershed. A dense 5-km-tall ash plume erupted at 1243 during a phreatomagmatic event that lasted for 8 minutes (figure 29). It generated pyroclastic density currents in several drainages within 4 km of the summit vent including Mi-isi, Bonga, Buyuan, Basud, San Andres, Buang, Anoling and other minor drainages. Ash was blown W and fell on the municipalities of Guinobatan, Camalig, Oas, Polangui and Iriga City. Five additional episodes of lava fountaining to 700 m occurred overnight that fed the Mi-isi and Bonga gully flows, and generated ash plumes to 2.5 and 3 km above the summit. This increase in activity led PHIVOLCS to raise the Alert Level to 4. By the following day, more than 50,000 people had evacuated to emergency shelters and civil aviation authorities temporarily closed airports in the cities of Legazpi and Naga.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite acquired this image of the area around Mayon in the Philippines on 22 January 2018. The image combines natural-color data with thermal infrared bands (7-2-1). The substantial ash plume from the explosion that day rose to 10.9 km altitude and drifted NW and W, and the emerging lava dome appeared as a thermal hotspot at the summit. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Numerous episodes of intense lava fountains during the nights of 23-26 January each lasted from a few minutes to more than an hour. They generated 150-600 m high fountains and continued to feed the flows in the Mi-isa and Bonga gullies. Ash plumes also rose from 0.5-5 km above the crater. The Mi-isa gully flow remained at 3 km from the summit, and the Buyuan flow had reached 1 km by 24 January. Pyroclastic density currents in the Mi-isi, Lidong/Basud, and Buyuan drainages were also observed. The PDCs in the Buyuan drainage traveled more than 5 km from the summit crater (figures 30-33).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Ash and steam plumes rose from the summit crater of Mayon while lava flows descended drainages on the S flank as seen from the town of Daraga, 10 km S, on 23 January 2018. Courtesy of The Express, photo from European Pressphoto Agency.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. An ash plume rises, likely from a pyroclastic density current, in a drainage on the SE flank of Mayon, a few kilometers N of the town of Daraga on 23 January 2018. Courtesy of The Express, photo from European Pressphoto Agency.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Ash and pyroclastic density currents emerged from the summit of Mayon on 24 January 2018, sending ashfall to nearby communities and filling drainages with pyroclastic debris. Image taken from Daraga, 10 km S. Courtesy of The Express, photo from European Pressphoto Agency.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Lava flows were very active on the S flank of Mayon, visible from about 12 km SSE in Legazpi on 25 January 2018. Courtesy of The Express, AFP/Getty Images.

By the evening of 26 January 2018, the lava fountaining episodes had transitioned into aseismic lava effusion, feeding incandescent flows into the Bonga and Mi-isi gullies on the S flank, and advancing the flow in the Bonga significantly downslope to 1.8 km. Fewer fountaining episodes continued during 27-28 January. Heavy rainfall during 28-29 January remobilized deposits from pyroclastic density currents and generated sediment-laden stream flows in several channels (figure 34) and channel-confined lahars on the Binaan Channel.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Sediment-laden streams posed hazards to residents of Camalig (11 km SW) at Mayon on 28 January 2018 after heavy rains and numerous PDC's had filled the drainages with debris. Courtesy of The Express, photo from European Pressphoto Agency.

A significant increase in lava effusion and fountaining at the summit during the evening of 29 January 2018 fed PDCs into the Mi-isi and Bonga Gullies, and resulted in significant ashfall in Camalig and Guinobatan to the SW. Intermittent lava fountaining to 200 m, flow-front collapses that generated PDC events, low-level ash emissions, and slow lava effusion from the summit crater continued during 30 January-4 February (figures 35 and 36). The Mi-isi and Basud lava flows had advanced to 3.2 and 3.6 km, respectively, from the summit crater by 1 February, and the Bonga-Buyuan flow had advanced 4.3 km by 3 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Steam-and-ash plumes rose steadily above Mayon on 31 January 2018. Image taken at the port in Legazpi City, about 15 km S. Courtesy of The Express, Getty Images.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Lava effusion at the summit of Mayon had decreased from a week earlier (see figure 33) by 31 January 2018. Courtesy of The Express, Getty Images.

Activity during February-March 2018. Lava fountaining reached 550 m above the summit crater on 5 February and increased to near-continuous activity the next day. Lava flows and incandescent rockfalls were observed throughout the night in the Mi-isi and Bonga-Buyuan channels. High volumes of incandescent lava flows advanced to 3.2, 4.5, and approximately 3.0 km down the Mi-isi, Bonga-Buyuan and Basud channels. Pyroclastic density currents from the collapsing flow fronts reached 4.6, 4.4, and 4.2 km from the summit crater in the same drainages during 7 February. Near-continuous fountaining accompanied by steam plumes that rose up to 800 m continued through 10 February.

Lava fountaining became sporadic and weak beginning on 11 February. Heavy rainfall during 13 February generated channel-confined lahars in the Anoling channel. By 14 February, lava flows remained at 3.3 km, 4.5 km, and 900 m down the Mi-isi, Bonga and Basud gullies, and PDCs had deposited material to distances of 4.6, 4.5, and 4.2 km in the same drainages. Intermittent lava fountaining continued through 22 February. The fountains generally rose 100-600 m above the summit and were often audible more than 10 km from the summit.

Quieter lava effusion with fewer fountaining events was more typical behavior beginning on 23 February. Numerous episodes of lava-collapse pyroclastic density currents were visually observed on the Mi-isi, Basud, and Bonga-Buyuan Gullies within 2-4 kilometers of the summit crater during the second half of February. Deflation of the lower slopes that began on 20 February was recorded by electronic tiltmeter, consistent with the transition to seismically quieter lava effusion at the summit crater. However, the overall electronic tiltmeter and the continuous GPS data indicated that the volcano was still inflated relative to October and November 2017 levels.

Weak fountaining, lava effusion, and degassing were noted during 25-28 February. The sporadic fountains generated plumes that rose 800 m, and weak effusion continued to feed the flows in the drainages. Gravity-driven lava flow movement and degassing with ash plumes rising 600 m above the summit were the primary activity at Mayon on 1 March, although occasional lava fountaining events were still observed. Based on the decrease in activity at the summit, the decrease in seismicity, continued deflation, and significantly lower SO2 emissions, PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 3 on 6 March 2018.

Brief periods of weak fountaining and lava flows were observed during 7-24 March. The fountaining generated dark gray ash plumes that rose 100-300 m above the summit crater before drifting SW, and were sometimes audible more than 10 km from the summit crater. At night, lava flows continued moving downslope within 3.3, 4.5, and 1.9 km of the crater in the Mi-isi, Bonga, and Basud gullies. Steam plumes rose as high as 2.5 km above the summit before drifting SW on 7 March. Intermittent bluish steam-laden plumes rose to 700 m before drifting SW on 14 March. A slight inflation of the lower flanks beginning on 11 March 2018 was recorded by electronic tiltmeters through at least 22 March. Overall deformation data indicated that the edifice was still inflated relative to pre-eruption baselines.

Beginning around 24 March 2018, the primary activity consisted of intermittent lava collapse events in the Mi-isi gully located between 4-5 km from the summit and steam-laden plumes that drifted SW from the summit. Lava flow effusion at the crater was last detected on 18 March. Ground deformation since 20 February 2018 recorded deflation despite short-term episodes of inflation of its lower and middle slopes, and incandescence at the summit had diminished from intense to faint. Lava flows had begun to stabilize, producing fewer rockfalls and infrequent pyroclastic density currents, the last of which was observed on 27 March 2018. This continued decrease in activity led PHIVOLCS to lower the Alert Level to 2 on 29 March 2018.

VAAC, SO2, and MIROVA information. The Tokyo VAAC reported the first ash emission from Mayon on 13 January 2018 as a plume that rose to 5.2 km altitude and drifted SW. Many subsequent ash emissions were obscured by meteoric clouds and were only occasionally observed in satellite imagery. The ash plume from the large explosion on 22 January was observed in satellite imagery at 10.9 km altitude drifting NW. Numerous daily VAAC reports were issued through February; they were intermittent in March, ending on 23 March 2018. Plumes generally were reported at 5.2-7.6 km altitudes. Small sulfur dioxide plumes were captured by the OMI and OMPS satellite instruments on several days between 22 and 31 January 2018 (figure 37).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. SO2 anomalies from Mayon were captured by the OMPS and OMI instruments on the SUOMI and AURA satellites during January 2018. Upper left: 22 January 2018; upper right: 23 January 2018; lower left: 26 January 2018; lower right: 31 January 2018. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

The MIROVA project thermal anomaly graph of log radiative power clearly captured the onset of activity at Mayon in mid-January 2018 (figure 38). Thermal activity increased through early February and then slowly decreased through mid-March 2018 when lava effusion ended.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. The sudden onset of thermal activity at Mayon is apparent in this MIROVA project graph of log radiative power for the year ending on 11 May 2018. The data is based on the satellite-based MODIS infrared thermal imagery. Thermal activity peaked at the end of January and dropped off gradually through mid-March 2018; it then decreased abruptly after that. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); The Express (URL: https://www.express.co.uk); European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) (URL: http://www.epa.eu/); Getty Images (URL: https://www.gettyimages.com/); Agence France Presse (AFP) (URL: https://www.afp.com/).


Popocatepetl (Mexico) — April 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Popocatepetl

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing steam, gas, and ash emissions along with intermittent explosions, August 2017-February 2018

Located 60 km SE of Mexico City, frequent historical eruptions have been reported from Popocatépetl going back to the 14th century. Activity increased in the mid-1990s after about 50 years of quiescence, and the current eruption, which has been ongoing since January 2005, has included frequent ash plumes and numerous episodes of lava-dome growth and destruction within the 500-m-wide summit caldera. Multiple emissions of steam and gas occur daily, rising generally 1-4 km above the 5.4-km-elevation summit; many contain small amounts of ash. Larger, more explosive events that generate ashfall in neighboring communities often occur every week.

Activity through July 2017 was typical of the ongoing eruption with near-constant emissions of water vapor, gas, and minor ash, as well as multiple explosions every week with ash-plumes and incandescent blocks sent down the flanks (BGVN 42:09). This report covers similar activity through February 2018. Information about Popocatépetl comes from daily reports provided by México's Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED); ash emissions are also reported by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite visible and thermal imagery and SO2 data also provide important observations.

Near-constant emissions of steam and gas, often with minor ash content, were typical activity for throughout August 2017-February 2018. Intermittent larger explosions with plumes of moderate ash content that generated ashfall in nearby communities were reported in most months, including several times during October and November 2017, reaching communities as far as 70 km away. Incandescence at the summit was often observed on clear nights, and Strombolian activity that sent incandescent blocks several hundred meters down the flanks occurred at least once each month during September 2017-January 2018. The tallest ash plumes during the period reached 9.1 km altitude in mid-October and 10.3 km altitude at the end of January 2018. Thermal anomalies were persistently detected in satellite data throughout the period, and SO2 plumes were recorded every month with satellite instruments.

Activity during August-September 2017. The Washington VAAC reported satellite observations of an ash plume extending 55 km W of the summit at 6.4 km altitude on 31 July 2017; the plume was mostly gas and steam with a small amount of ash. CENAPRED reported ashfall in Ozumba (18 km W) on 1 August from a plume that rose 2 km above the summit. They also noted numerous low-intensity explosions with steam, gas, and ash during 5-7 August. A small explosion early on 14 August produced a 500-m-high plume with minor ash content that drifted SW. Two explosions later in the day generated ash plumes that rose 0.8 and 1.5 km from the summit and drifted W (figure 94). Another explosion on 15 August produced a plume over 1 km in height with moderate ash content. On 21 August CENAPRED reported an ash plume that rose 4 km and drifted NW (figure 95). The Washington VAAC reported this plume extending 33 km W from the summit at 7.6 km altitude. Later in the day the ash cloud was observed about 230 km W of the summit, and a new cloud at a slightly lower altitude had drifted 45 km NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. An ash plume drifted W from Popocatépetl on 14 August 2017 as seen from the Tlamacas webcam located about 5 km N of the volcano. Courtesy of CENAPRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. An ash plume at Popocatépetl rose 4 km above the summit on 21 August 2017 and drifted over 200 km W before dissipating. View is from the Altzomoni webcam, located about 10 km N of the summit. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

CENAPRED noted 22 explosions with ash during 25-26 August that drifted N and NW. They were observed in satellite imagery by the Washington VAAC at 7.6 km altitude. Eleven explosions with small amounts of ash were reported by CENAPRED on 27 August. There were daily explosions during 28-31 August, but weather clouds obscured views of the summit. Incandescence at the summit crater was observed on many clear nights during August.

During 1-11 September 2017 cloudy conditions generally prohibited observations of the summit, but low-intensity emissions of steam and gas were briefly observed, many containing minor ash. Five explosions with minor ash emissions were reported by CENAPRED on 12 September; the Washington VAAC noted the ash plume in satellite imagery at 6.7 km altitude drifting slowly N. CENAPRED reported 22 explosions with ash and incandescent rocks on the NE flank during 12-13 September.

The Washington VAAC reported ash plumes on 13 September at 8.2 km altitude, on 18 September at 6.4 km altitude drifting W, and on 23 September near 7 km altitude moving to the NNE. Numerous explosions were reported by CENAPRED during 27 and 28 September (figure 96). The Washington VAAC reported the dense ash plume from these explosions at 6.7 km altitude drifting WSW. It extended 130 km W of the volcano by early afternoon on 27 September. CENAPRED reported that an explosion late on 30 September sent incandescent fragments 0.8 km from the crater and produced a dense ash column that rose more than 2 km above the summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. A dense ash emission from Popocatépetl on 27 September 2017 extended 130 km W before dissipating as viewed from the Altzomoni webcam, located about 10 km N of the summit. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Activity during October-November 2017. The ash plume from the explosion late on 30 September 2017 was visible in satellite imagery the following morning located 15 km SW from the summit at 7.9 km altitude according to the Washington VAAC. CENAPRED reported three explosions on 2 October and five explosions the next day, causing ashfall in Atlautla (17 km W), Tepetlixpa (21 km W), and Ozumba. Three explosions on 5 October resulted in ashfall in Totolapan (32 km W), Tlalnepantla (40 km W), and Cuernavaca (64 km W), and closer to the volcano in Ecatzingo (15 km SW), Atlautla, and Tepetlixpa. Lahars were also observed on the W flank, but there were no reports of damage. Two more explosions on 6 October led to ashfall reported from Zacualpan de Amilpas (30 km SW) and Tetela del volcán (18 km SW) (figure 97). The Washington VAAC reported the 6 October emissions at 6.4 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Webcam image showing one of the two explosions on 6 October 2017 at Popocatépetl that caused ashfall in Zacualpan de Amilpas (30 km SW) and Tetela del volcán (18 km SW). The Tlamacas webcam is located about 5 km N of the volcano. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

The first of two explosions on 7 October 2017, shortly after midnight, produced a plume that rose over 2 km and drifted SW with ashfall reported in Tetela del volcán; incandescent blocks were also sent down the flanks (figure 98). The second explosion produced an ash plume that rose 3 km and drifted NNE. The Washington VAAC reported continuing ash emissions during 7-11 October. Numerous plumes rose to 5.8-9.1 km altitude and drifted in several different directions; the plume extended 130 km SW from the summit on 10 October. CENAPRED reported three explosions on 8 October (figure 99) and two on 9 October. Numerous low-intensity exhalative events during 10-12 October produced ash plumes less than 1 km above the crater that drifted SW. Ashfall was reported in several communities during this time including Ozumba, México City (60 km NW), Milpa Alta (45 km NW), Xochimilco (56 km NW), Tlalpan (68 km NW), Coyoacán (66 km NW), Iztapalapa (57 km NW), Magdalena Contreras (72 km NW), and Iztacalco (64 km NW).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Incandescent blocks visible in this image traveled down the flanks of Popocatépetl during the early morning of 7 October 2017. The Tlamacas webcam is located about 5 km N of the volcano. Courtesy of CENAPRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. Multiple explosions from Popocatépetl on 8 October 2017, including the one seen here, caused ashfall in several communities NW of the volcano. The Tlamacas webcam is located about 5 km N of the volcano. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

CENAPRED noted incandescence at the crater during most nights from 14 to 31 October, as well as steam, gas, and minor ash from hundreds of low-intensity emission events each day. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions visible in satellite imagery on 16, 20-22, and 26 October drifting in several different directions at altitudes of 5.8-7.6 km. The plume observed on 22 October reached 60 km from the summit before dissipating. CENAPRED reported two explosions with ash plumes each day during 25-27 October. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume on 29 October at 6.1 km altitude drifting E about 35 km from the summit, and another at 6.7 km the following day along with an infrared hotspot visible at the summit.

The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily ash advisories throughout November 2017. CENAPRED reported hundreds of daily low intensity emissions of gas and steam that often contained minor ash; the plumes generally rose about 1 km above the summit and most often drifted SW. They also observed incandescence at the crater on all clear nights. They reported Strombolian activity on 3 November in the early morning that lasted for several hours. Explosions early on 4 November resulted in minor ashfall in Yecapixtla (29 km SW) and Zacualpan de Amilpas and other areas to the SW. A Strombolian episode later that day lasted for about an hour and resulted in minor ashfall in Tetela del Volcán. Another explosion that night sent incandescent fragments 200 m down the flanks.

An explosion on 6 November sent an ash plume 2.5 km above the summit crater that drifted SW and sent incandescent fragments 500 m down the flank. Another explosion during the early morning of 7 November produced a 2-km-high ash plume. Moderate amounts of ash rose 1 km above the summit on 8 November. There were three explosions on 10 November; the largest produced a 3-km-high ash plume that drifted SW. Continuous low-level emission of gas and ash on 14 November resulted in ashfall reported in Totolapan, Yecapixtla, Ocuituco (23 km SW), Tetela del Volcán, and Ecatzingo. An explosion on 17 November sent an ash plume 2.5 km above the summit that drifted SW. During 18-19 November five explosions caused ash plumes to rise 2 km above the summit and incandescent blocks to fall down the E flank.

Around 1030 on 20 November, seismic activity increased and was accompanied by a constant plume of steam, gas, and moderate ash that rose about 1.5 km and drifted E. During 20-21 November eight explosions were reported, with five more the following day. During the afternoon of 23 November a continuous ash emission that lasted 90 minutes drifted SSE at 2 km above the summit, and spread ash over communities to the SSE including Huaquechula (30 km SSE), Tepeojuma (38 km SE), Atlixco (23 km SE), and Izúcar de Matamoros (50 km SE) (figure 100). Another significant ash emission during the afternoon of 24 November sent a column of ash to 4 km above the summit, drifting SSE; it lasted for almost two hours (figure 101). The Washington VAAC reported the plume at 8.5 km altitude. Ashfall was reported in San Pedro Benito Juárez (12 km SE) and Atlixco. Late that evening, an explosion sent incandescent fragments 1 km down the flanks and generated an ash plume that rose to 2.5 km above the summit and also drifted SSE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. A continuous ash emission at Popocatépetl that lasted for 90 minutes drifted SSE at 2 km above the summit, and spread ash over several communities to the SSE on 23 November 2017. The Tlamacas webcam is located about 5 km N of the volcano. Courtesy of CENAPRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. A substantial ash emission at Popocatépetl during the afternoon of 24 November 2017 sent a column of ash to 4 km above the summit that drifted SSE; it lasted for almost two hours. The Washington VAAC reported the plume at 8.5 km altitude. The Altzomoni webcam is located about 10 km N of the summit. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

A flyover by CENAPRED and the Federal Police on 25 November 2017 allowed evaluation of the changes in the summit crater from the recent explosions. They noted that the internal crater within the summit crater had increased its dimensions, reaching a diameter of 370 m and a depth of 110 m (figure 102). A 3-km-tall ash plume resulted from continuous emissions that began in the afternoon of 27 November and lasted for two hours. The Washington VAAC reported the plume at 7.9 km altitude. The plume drifted SSE, and dispersed ash over communities in that region including Tochimilco (16 km), Izucar de Matamoros, Atlixco, and Huaquechula.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. During a flyover on 25 November 2017, CENAPRED observed that the increased size of the internal summit crater at Popocatépetl was 370 m in diameter and 110 m deep. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Activity during December 2017-February 2018. The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily reports of ash emissions during 1-12 and 24-31 December 2017. CENAPRED noted hundreds of daily low-intensity emissions of gas and steam, most with small quantities of ash, throughout December, as well as multiple ash emissions on many days that rose generally 1-2.5 km above the summit. In the early morning of 2 December an explosion caused an ash plume to rise 2.5 km above the summit. A second plume rose 1 km later that day; they both drifted SSE. An explosion in the afternoon of 9 December sent an ash plume over 2.5 km above the summit that drifted NE. The Washington VAAC reported the plume at 7.6 km altitude. Later that evening Strombolian activity sent incandescent blocks down the flanks and generated an ash plume that drifted E. Incandescence was observed at the summit crater during the nights of 17-21 and 24-29 December. Continuous emissions of steam, gas, and moderate-density ash were reported drifting NW for about 90 minutes on 29 December. An explosion on 31 December at 1032 generated a 2-km-high ash plume that also drifted NW.

There were multiple daily reports of ash emissions issued by the Washington VAAC during most days of January 2018. CENAPRED noted hundreds of daily low-intensity emissions of gas and steam, many with small quantities of ash, throughout the month, as well as explosions with ash emissions on many days that generally rose 1-2.5 km above the summit. They also observed incandescence at the summit crater multiple days each week. Ongoing low-level emissions of steam, gas, and minor ash were reported during 4-5 January. During the evening of 5 January activity increased, and the ash plume rose to 800 m and drifted SE. In addition, incandescent blocks were ejected 200-300 m down the flanks for about two hours.

An explosion on 18 January 2018 generated an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the summit and drifted E while incandescent blocks were ejected up to 700 m down the flanks. An episode of Strombolian activity in the early morning of 25 January produced an ash plume that rose 2 km above the summit and drifted N and NE, resulting in reports of ashfall in San Pedro Nexapa (14 km NE) and Amecameca (19 km NE). It lasted for about 2 hours. Four explosions were reported during the afternoon of 29 January and an explosion the following afternoon produced an ash plume that rose more than 3 km above the summit, and was dispersed to the NW. An explosion on 31 January also produced a substantial ash plume that the Washington VAAC reported at 10.3 km altitude moving NNE (figure 103).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. An ash plume rose to 10.3 km altitude from Popocatépetl on 31 January 2018 and drifted NNE. The Altzomoni webcam is located about 10 km N of the summit. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Activity was somewhat quieter at Popocatépetl during February 2018. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 14 days during the month. CENAPRED reported tens, not hundreds, of daily low-intensity emissions of gas and steam that often contained minor amounts of ash. They also noted one or more explosions with ash emissions on many days that rose generally 1-1.5 km above the summit and drifted in various directions. During many clear days they observed nearly constant emissions of steam, gas, and minor ash that reached 500-800 m above the summit. An explosion on 20 February produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the summit. Continuous steam and gas emissions during 22-23 February were accompanied by minor incandescence intermittently observed at the summit.

Satellite data. Sulfur dioxide emissions were large enough to be recorded by satellite instruments several times every month during August 2017-February 2018 (figure 104). Variable wind directions and persistent emissions produced relatively long-lived plumes that dispersed over large areas of Mexico.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. The OMI instrument on NASA's AURA satellite recorded evidence of significant monthly SO2 emissions at Popocatépetl, including on 27 September 2017 (upper left), 13 October 2017 (upper right), 31 October 2017 (lower left) and 25 December 2017 (lower right). Variable wind directions and persistent emissions produced relatively long-lived plumes that dispersed over large areas of Mexico. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Thermal anomaly data provided by the MIROVA project are consistent with the visual record of persistent incandescent and explosive activity at the summit (figure 105). Multiple MODVOLC thermal alerts were also recorded every month from October 2017-February 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Thermal anomalies detected by satellite-based MODIS instruments and recorded through the MIROVA project show the pattern of continued moderate-level activity at Popocatépetl during the year ending 12 July 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m wide crater. The generally symmetrical volcano is modified by the sharp-peaked Ventorrillo on the NW, a remnant of an earlier volcano. At least three previous major cones were destroyed by gravitational failure during the Pleistocene, producing massive debris-avalanche deposits covering broad areas to the south. The modern volcano was constructed south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone. Three major Plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 CE, have occurred since the mid-Holocene, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and voluminous lahars that swept basins below the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since Pre-Columbian time.

Information Contacts: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/), Daily Report Archive http://www.cenapred.unam.mx:8080/reportesVolcanGobMX/BuscarReportesVolcan); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Sinabung (Indonesia) — April 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Large explosion with 16.8 km ash plume, 19 February 2018

Indonesia's Sinabung volcano has been highly active since its first confirmed Holocene eruption during August and September 2010; ash plumes initially rose up to 2 km above the summit, and falling ash and tephra caused fatalities and thousands of evacuations (BGVN 35:07). It remained quiet after the initial eruption until 15 September 2013, when a new eruptive phase began that has continued uninterrupted through February 2018. Ash plumes rising several kilometers, avalanche blocks falling several kilometers down the flanks, and deadly pyroclastic flows travelling more than 4 km have all been documented repeatedly during the last several years. Details of events during October 2017-March 2018, including the largest explosion to date on 19 February 2018, are covered in this report. Information is provided by, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), referred to by some agencies as CVGHM or the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and the Badan Nacional Penanggulangan Bencana (National Disaster Management Authority, BNPB). Additional information comes from satellite instruments and local observers.

When activity began in 2010, and again when eruptions resumed in 2013, many news accounts included statements that Sinabung had last been active 400 years ago, or even saying specifically that the last eruption was in 1600 CE. Those claims appear to have been caused by a misunderstanding related to the boundary time that Indonesian volcanologists use to categorize volcanoes. Those volcanoes with historical activity, defined as being about 400 years ago (corresponding to the beginning of the Dutch East India Company era), are in the "Type A" group. Those in the "Type B" group, including Sinabung prior to 2010, have not had reported activity in more than 400 years. Using charcoal associated with the most recent pyroclastic flow, Hendrasto et al. (2012) determined that the last previous eruptive activity was 1200 years before present using carbon dating techniques, or 740-880 CE (at 1 sigma).

Although activity remained high from October 2017 through March 2018, a gradual decline in the overall eruptive activity from the beginning of 2017 was apparent. The number of explosions per month generally declined, with no explosions reported during March 2018, for the first time since August 2013 (figure 45). The thermal anomaly record was similar; periods of high heat flow persisted through mid-November 2017, followed by a gradual reduction in the amount of thermal activity, although the intensity remained consistent, according to the MIROVA project (figure 46). Much of the heat flow was attributed to the dome growth at the summit; the dome was destroyed in the large explosion of 19 February 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. The number of explosions per month at Sinabung as reported by PVMBG from January 2017-March 2018. Only partial data was reported for 18-31 January 2018, and no explosions were observed during March 2018.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Thermal anomaly data at Sinabung from satellite-based MODIS instruments, plotted on a Log Radiative Power scale, persisted through the end of 2017 and then decreased in frequency through the end of February 2018. Much of the heat flow was attributed to a dome near the summit which was destroyed in the 19 February 2018 explosion. Graph shows thermal anomalies between 11 May 2017 and 1 April 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Throughout the period from October 2017 through 19 February 2018, steam plumes were constantly rising to heights of 1,000-2,400 m above the summit. Avalanche blocks were ejected daily down the E and S flanks from 500-3,500 m, and multiple pyroclastic flows each month traveled between 1,000 and 4,600 m down the SE flank. Tens of explosions occurred monthly, generating ash plumes that rose from 500 to 5,000 m above the summit. Explosive activity was more intermittent during February than the previous months, until 19 February when the largest explosion to date occurred; it included an ash plume that rose to at least 16.8 km altitude and at least ten pyroclastic flows. In spite of the size of the explosion, no injuries or fatalities were reported as most nearby communities had been evacuated from the ongoing activity. Activity decreased substantially during March 2018; there were no explosions, block avalanches, or pyroclastic flows reported, only steam plumes rising 1,000 m above the summit.

Activity during October 2017-January 2018. During October 2017, steam plume heights reached 1,500 m above the summit. Avalanche blocks traveled down the E and S flanks 500-2,500 m, and eight pyroclastic flows traveled 1,000-4,500 m down the SE and S flanks. Ash plume heights ranged from 500 to 3,600 m above the summit. The Darwin VAAC issued 38 aviation alerts during the month. On 1 October they reported an ash plume drifting both NW at 4.6 km altitude and NE at 3.7 km. The next day, the webcam observed an ash emission that rose to 5.5 km altitude. On 4 October an ash plume was spotted in the webcam rising to 5.8 km altitude and drifting ENE. Later that day it had detached from the volcano and was seen drifting NW in satellite imagery. An ash plume on 5 October rose to 3.9 km altitude and drifted ESE. Two ash emission were reported on 7 October; the first rose to 3 km altitude, the second rose to 4.3 km, they both dissipated quickly. On 8 October, three plumes were reported. The first rose to 4.6 km and drifted WSW, the second rose to 3 km and drifted S and the third rose to 3.4 km and also drifted S. The following day, an ash plume rose to 4.6 km and drifted E. BNPB stated that on 11 October, an event at Sinabung generated an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater and drifted ESE, causing ashfall in several local villages. On 12 October an event produced an ash plume that rose 2 km above the crater and was followed by pyroclastic flows traveling 1.5 and 2 km down the S and ESE flanks, respectively.

PVMBG reported ash plumes rising to 3.7 km on 11, 12, and 13 October 2017. Later on 13 October the Jakarta MWO reported an ash plume at 4.3 km. The next day PVMBG reported an ash plume at 5.5 km altitude. A plume on 15 October rose to 3 km and drifted E. A steam plume on 16 October drifted down the SE flank before drifting SE no 16 October (figure 47). On 17 October, a discrete emission rose a few hundred meters above the summit drifted NE. Later that day, an ash plume was seen in the webcam moving SE at 3.4 km. On 18 October, two ash emissions were reported. The first rose to 3.7 km and drifted E, the second rose to 3.9 km and drifted W. An ash plume rose to 4.6 km altitude on 21 October, and to 3.9 km, drifting S, on 23 October. The next day, three ash plumes were reported; the first rose to 3 km, the second to 4.6 km, and the third to 3.7, all drifting E. After five days of quiet, the webcam observed ash plumes that rose to 4.3 km on 30 October, and to 3.9 km on 31 October. Only two MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued, on 20 and 27 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. A steam plume drifted down the SW flank of Sinabung before moving SE on 16 October 2017. View is from the SE. Courtesy of PVMBG.

Steam plumes were higher during November 2017, rising 2,400 m above the summit. Block avalanches traveled 500-3,000 m down the E and S flanks most days, and ten pyroclastic flows traveled between 2,000-3,500 m down the ESE and S flanks. The ash plumes rose 700-3,200 m above the summit. The Darwin VAAC issued 41 aviation alerts in November. Near-daily ash plumes were observed mostly in the webcam and occasionally in satellite imagery. They generally rose to 3.4-4.9 km altitude; the most common drift directions were S and SW. A number of times, multiple ash plumes were reported in a single day. On 14 November, four ash plumes were observed. The first rose to 3.7 km, the second and third rose to 4.6 km and drifted S and SSW, the last rose to 3.9 km and also drifted SSW. On 20 November a discrete emission produced an ash plume that rose to 5.5 km altitude and drifted SSW. Three ash plumes were recorded the next day, rising 3.9-4.6 km and drifting in multiple directions under variable winds. An ash plume on 23 November was reported by PVMBG at 6.7 km altitude drifting W, the highest noted for the month. MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared twice on 5 November, once on 14 November, and three times on 17 November.

Activity during December 2017 was similar to the previous two months; steam plumes rose 2,000 m above the summit, block avalanches traveled 500-3,500 m down the E and S flanks numerous times, and nine pyroclastic flows descended the ESE and S flanks distances ranging from 2,000 to 4,600 m. Ash plume heights were from 700-4,000 m above the summit. The Darwin VAAC issued 43 aviation alerts in December 2017. They reported ash plume heights of 3.4-4.9 km altitude on most days. Every day during 10-19 December, ash plumes were reported at altitudes of 4.6-5.5 km drifting SW, E or SE. PVMBG reported ash plumes on 26, 27 and 28 December that rose to 3.9, 5.2, and 5.5 km, respectively. BNPB reported pyroclastic flows on 27 December that traveled 3.5-4.6 km SE, and ashfall was reported in many nearby villages including Sukanalu Village (20 km SE), Tonggal Town, Central Kuta, Gamber (4 km SE), Berastepu (4 km SE), and Jeraya (6 km SE). The highest ash plume of the month rose to 6.4 km altitude on 29 December and drifted E. This was followed by another discrete ash emission the same day that rose to 5.8 km and two plumes the next day that rose to 5.2 km and drifted W. There was only one MODVOLC thermal alert issued on 7 December.

The Darwin VAAC issued 56 aviation alerts for January 2018. Multiple discrete ash emissions were reported on most days. Plume altitudes generally ranged from 3.4 to 5.5 km. A 6.1 km altitude plume was visible in satellite imagery on 18 January (figure 48). The drift directions were highly variable throughout the month. Most plumes dissipated within six hours. Incandescent blocks were reported by PVMBG falling 500-1,500 m down the ESE flank on most days when the summit was visible. They also reported a pyroclastic flow on 27 January that traveled 2,500 m ESE from the summit (figure 49). Three MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 6 January, and one on 12 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. An ash plume rose 3,000 m from the summit of Sinabung on 18 January 2018 in this view looking at the SE flank. Photographer unknown, courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Twitter.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. A pyroclastic flow descended 2,500 m down the SE flank of Sinabung on 27 January 2018 while an ash plume also drifts SE in this view of the SE flank. Photographer unknown, courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Twitter.

Activity during February 2018. During most of February, steam plumes rose only 1,000 m above the summit, and avalanche blocks traveled 500-2,500 m down the ESE and S flanks. Far fewer ash emissions were reported than previous months, but the largest explosive event recorded to date took place on 19 February (figure 50). The Darwin VAAC issued 29 aviation alerts during February 2018. Short-lived ash emissions were reported on 1, 3, 5, 11, and 15 February. The ash plume heights ranged from 3.4-4.6 km altitude, and they drifted S or SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. A very large ash plume rose to 16.8 km altitude from Sinabung on 19 February 2018. Image is from several tens of kilometers from the volcano a few hours after the eruption. No fatalities were reported. Photographer unknown, courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Twitter.

The large explosion was first reported by the Darwin VAAC at 0255 UTC on 19 February 2018. It produced an ash plume, which was clearly observed in satellite imagery (figure 51), that quickly rose to at least 16.8 km altitude and began drifting NW (figure 52). It also produced a large SO2 plume that was recorded by satellite instruments (figure 53). Over the next 15 hours the plume dispersed in three different directions at different altitudes. The highest part of the plume drifted NW at 13.7 km and was visible over 300 km from the summit. The lower part of the plume drifted S initially at 6.7 km and gradually lowered to 4.3 km; it was visible 75 km from the summit before dissipating. A middle part of the plume drifted NW at 9.1 km during the middle of the day. Three subsequent minor ash emissions were observed on 20 and 25 February that rose to 3.4 km altitude. There were no VAAC reports issued during March 2018. A MODVOLC thermal alert issued on 11 February was the last for several months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of the ash plume at Sinabung at 0410 UTC on 19 February 2018, just a few hours after it began. The ash plume rose over 16 km high and drifted in multiple directions. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. The large ash plume of 19 February 2018 at Sinabung, viewed here from within a few kilometers of the summit in the first hour or so after the eruption, rose quickly to over 16 km altitude. Photographer unknown, courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Twitter.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Two different Ozone Monitoring Instruments measured the SO2 plume released by Sinabung in the explosion on 19 February 2018. The upper left image was recorded about three hours after the explosions (0616-0621 UTC, 19 February 2018) by the Ozone Mapper Profiler Suite (OMPS) instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite. The upper right image was recorded about 27 hours after the explosion (0619-0802 UTC, 19 February 2018) by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on the Aura satellite, and shows the multi-directional dispersal of the SO2 plume during that time. The lower image uses the data captured at the same time as the upper left image and displays it using different software and detailed background information. The maximum gas concentrations reached 140 Dobson Units. Upper images courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and lower image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

As many as 10 pyroclastic flows were observed during the 19 February explosion, traveling as far as 4.9 km SSE and 3.5 km E (figures 54 and 55). Ash and tephra as large as a few millimeters in diameter fell in areas downwind, including Simpang Empat (7 km SE), the Namanteran district, Pqyung (5 km SSW), Tiganderket (7 km W), Munthe, Kutambaru (20 km NW), Perbaji (4 km SW), and Kutarayat (figure 56 and 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. A pyroclastic flow traveled several kilometers SSE from Sinabung on 19 February 2018 as tephra fell from the rising ash cloud in this view from several kilometers away to the NE. Photographer unknown, courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Twitter.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. The dark gray ash plume rose skyward while the large brown pyroclastic flows traveled SE from Sinabung on 19 February 2018 as viewed from the town of Kutarakyat located 5 km NE of the volcano. Photo by Endro Rusharyanto, courtesy of the Associated Press (AP).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Small tephra fragments fell on the village of Gurukinayan (13 km E) and other villages SE of Sinabung during the eruption of 19 February 2018. Photographer unknown, courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Twitter.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Ash from the eruption at Sinabung on 19 February 2018 covered vegetable plants the following day in the village of Payung (5 km SSW). Photograph by Antara Foto, Ahmad Putra via Reuters.

Villagers were temporarily evacuated from nearby villages, but were able to return a few days later (figure 58). Conditions in five districts were so dark that visibility was reduced to about 5 m. In addition, ashfall was recorded as far away as the town of Lhokseumawe, 260 km N. Magma Indonesia reported that the lava dome that had been growing at the summit for some time was destroyed in the 19 February explosion (figure 59). A PVMBG volcanologist reported the volume of the destroyed lava dome was at least 1.6 million cubic meters.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Villagers from Gurukinayan (13 km E) were evacuated as ash spread over the town from the eruption of Sinabung on 19 February 2018, but they returned to their homes a few days later. Photographer unknown, courtesy of Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Twitter.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. The summit of Sinabung, before (top) and after (bottom) the large explosion of 19 February 2018. The dome size in the upper photo is similar to that shown figure 43 (BGVN 42:12) from September 2017. The lower image was taken within a week after the explosion. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia, via Twitter.

Reference: Hendrasto M, Surono, Budianto A, Kristianto, Triastuty H, Haerani N, Basuki A, Suparman Y, Primulyana S, Prambada O, Loeqman A, Indrastuti N, Andreas A S, Rosadi U, Adi S, Iguchi M, Ohkura T, Nakada S, Yoshimoto M, 2012. Evaluation of Volcanic Activity at Sinabung Volcano, After More Than 400 Years of Quiet. Journal of Disaster Research, vol. 7, no. 1, p. 37-44.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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/); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Head of Information Data and Public Relations Center of BNPB via Twitter (URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Associated Press (AP), Endro Rusharyanto, Photographer (URL: http://www.ap.org/); Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/).


Stromboli (Italy) — April 2018 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent explosions and 100-m-long lava flow, November 2017-February 2018

Confirmed historical eruptions at Stromboli go back 2,000 years; this island volcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea has been a natural beacon with its near-constant fountains of lava for eons. 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. Thermal and visual cameras that monitor activity at the vents are located on the nearby Pizzo Sopra La Fossa, above the Terrazza Craterica, and at a location closer to the summit craters.

Eruptive activity during January-October 2017 peaked during June and then declined through August, returning to background levels in September; it included 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 43:02). This report covers similar activity from November 2017-February 2018. Weekly reports of activity were provided by Italy's Instituto Nazionale de Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione de Catania, which monitors the gas geochemistry, deformation, and seismicity, as well as surficial activity.

An explosive sequence on 1 November 2017 followed less than two weeks after a similar event on 23 October (BGVN 43:02) in the CS Area, creating Strombolian activity that sent ejecta 300 m high. Intermittent explosions and spattering continued until the next large explosion on 1 December, also in the CS Area. A general increase in seismicity was recorded during December 2017; intense spattering in the N Area on 15 December formed a lava flow that traveled 100 m N from the rim of the vent before stopping. The number of explosive events remained high (more than 20 per hour) through December, when both the intensity and rate of activity declined significantly, reaching levels below 10 events per hour in early February, and remaining there for the rest of the month. The general levels of intensity in the N and CS Areas, apart from the larger explosive events, were variable throughout November 2017-February 2018, generally increasing during December and decreasing during January (table 3). This pattern of activity is also reflected in the variation of the thermal activity that was recorded in the MIROVA thermal data during that time (figure 117), and the MODVOLC thermal alert data which recorded two alerts in November, and 14 in December, but none after that through February 2018.

Table 3. General intensity and activity levels at the summit vents in the N Area and CS Area at Stromboli, November 2017-February 2018. Intensity values correspond to the height of the ejecta above the vent: Low = less than 80 m high, Med-Low = less than 120 m High, Medium = less than 150 m high, Med-High = sometimes to 200 m, High = over 200 m. Coarse ejecta consisted of lapilli and bombs, and fine ejecta was primarily ash and smaller lava fragments.

Month N Area Activity N Area Intensity N Area Explosions/Hour CS Area Activity CS Area Intensity CS Area Explosions/Hour
Nov 2017 Explosions with lapilli and bombs at both vents N1 and N2, occasional vertical lava jets at N1 Mostly Low to Med-Low, Medium during last week 5-12 Continuous degassing, explosions with lapilli and bombs, and intense spattering episodes at C, explosions with lapilli and bombs and vertical lava jets at S2, S1 only active during 1 Nov explosion Low and Med-Low 1-7
Dec 2017 Explosions with lapilli and bombs at both N1 and N2, mixed with ash at N1 during last week; intense spattering mid-month (lava flow) Variable, Low to High 5-18 Continuous degassing interrupted by intense spattering and explosions at C, weakened by month's end; No activity at S1, explosions at S2 of lapilli and bombs mixed with meter-size fragments of lava during first half of month; predominantly fine ash mixed with coarse material during second half of month Med-Low at C; variable Low to High at S2 2-15
Jan 2018 Explosions at N1 and N2; more lapilli and bombs during first half of month, mostly ash mixed with coarser material during second half of month Variable, Mostly Low to Medium, occasional High 3-21 Continuous degassing activity interrupted sporadically by explosions of coarse material at C; No activity at S1 until incandescence and occasional ash during last week; explosions at S2 of predominantly fine ash occasionally mixed with coarse lapilli and bombs Variable, Low to Med-High 1-10
Feb 2018 Explosions of mostly coarse material (lapilli and bombs) sometimes mixed with ash from N1. More fine ash, less coarse material from N2. Med-Low at N1, Low at N2 2-9 Continuous degassing at C, two points of incandescence after mid-month; occasional incandescence and modest ash emissions at S1 during first half of month; Explosions of predominantly fine ash at S2 Low 1-5
Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. MIROVA thermal data for Stromboli for the year ending on 2 May 2018 showed a gradual increase in thermal energy during mid-November 2017, peaking in mid-December, and then decreasing rapidly in early January to low levels by the end of the month that persisted through February 2018. Courtesy of MIROVA.

On 1 November 2017 at 0829 UTC a strong explosive sequence that lasted about 2 minutes was observed in the CS Area of the Terrazza Craterica (figure 118). The first explosion sent bombs and lapilli around the slopes of the terrace and the ejecta exceeded 300 m in height. Two more explosions followed soon after, sending material about 150 m into the air.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. The explosive sequence of 1 November 2017 at Stromboli, taken from the INGV thermal and visual cameras at the 400 m level sent ash, bombs, and lapilli as high as 300 m. The time period covered by the explosions is about two minutes. Courtesy of INGV (Report 45/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 07/11/2017).

A survey by INGV scientists during 3-5 November 2017 evaluated the effects of this and the previous explosion on 23 October on the Terrazza Craterica. They noted that a large depression with a vent at the base, formed in the CS Area after the 23 October explosions, had been significantly enlarged during the 1 November explosions. Continuous spattering and strong incandescence were observed during the survey at the 4-m-wide C vent. They also observed that the explosive activity at S2 was produced by three emission points. They noted that the N1 site consisted of a single hornito and a secondary vent on the side flank (figure 119).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. Several changes to the Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli were visible after the two strong explosive sequences of 23 October and 1 November 2017. a) The Terrazza Craterica on 5 November 2017; b) vent C on 30 September 2017 and c) on 5 November 2017 after the two major explosions; d) vent N1 on 30 September and e) on 5 November 2017. Photograph by D. Andronicus, courtesy if INGV (Report 45/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 07/11/2017).

The 23 October 2017 explosions ejected light brown scoriaceous material S and SE, almost reaching the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa 300 m to the E. A wide band of lithic blocks was also observed on the N flank of the W part of the Valle della Luna, an open area located S of the Terrazza, over a ridge at a higher elevation. During the 1 November explosions abundant black scoriaceous material formed spatter that covered the entire Terrazza Craterica and reached the W wall of the Pizzo facing the craters. Some of this material additionally landed on the NW ridge of the Valle della Luna and on its N flank. Blocks as large as 2 m were ejected during the 1 November event, along with reddish debris that dispersed in a wide area of the Terrazza Craterica and onto the SE flank at the S end of the Pizzo.

Vent C exhibited continuous degassing activity interrupted by short spattering episodes observed mainly on 15 and 21 November 2017. During 20-24 November, a new vent opened between vents S2 and C, which was sporadically active with incandescence and small explosions of fine-grained material. Three emission points were active from the C vent area at the end of November (figure 120).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. The two crater areas on the Terrazza Craterica at Stromboli are visible from the thermal camera on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa, seen here on 27 November 2017. The abbreviations and arrows indicate the names and locations of the active vents. Three emission points were active at vent C at the end of November 2017. Courtesy of INGV (Report 48/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 28/11/2017).

On 1 December 2017 at 1242 UTC a strong new explosive sequence in the CS crater area was recorded by the seismic network, although weather conditions permitted only observations of incandescence during the event. A large crater was noted a few days later in the area where the three emission points had been active at vent C. A general increase in seismic activity was observed beginning on 4 December that included increases in tremor amplitude, frequency and amplitude of VLP quakes, and the amplitude of explosion earthquakes. On 9 December, numerous explosions from vent S2 combined with strong winds and sent debris as far as the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa located 300 m E (figure 121).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. The infrared camera on the Pizzo Sopra La Fossa captured an explosion produced by vent S2 in the CS Area at Stromboli on 9 December 2017; ejecta reached the Pizzo area. Courtesy of INGV (Report 50/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 12/12/2017).

The general increase in seismicity continued into the second week of December 2017. On 15 December 2017 intense spattering began at vent N1 at 1019 UTC. At 1330 the lava overflowed the crater rim and flowed N towards the Pianoro area, the N facing slope of the Terrazza Craterica, reaching about 100 m from the rim of N1 before stopping by 1530 that afternoon (figure 122).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. Images taken by the infrared camera at the 400 m level of the lava overflow on 15 December 2017 from the N1 vent at Stromboli. Courtesy of INGV (Report 51/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 19/12/2017).

A survey by INGV scientists on 15 December 2017 revealed that the biggest change caused by the 1 December explosion was the formation of a new cone at vent S2 (figure 123a) with an inner crater that was almost 40 m wide. Emissions of dark ash 2-3 times per hour were observed along with spattering and ejected blocks of lava. Vent C, which had been a small pit crater prior to the explosion (figure 123b), had become a small cone that was degassing from the crater, with two smaller lateral vents exhibiting weak but continuous spattering activity (figure 123c). Vent N2 was characterized by infrequent Strombolian activity (1-2 explosions per hour). Most of the activity on 15 December was at vent N1 (figure 123a, e), where INGV scientists observed a new vent with continuous and increasing spattering that soon formed a lava flow. The flow traveled quickly across the crater area. Between 1300 and 1420, 3-4 violent and prolonged explosions at N1 ejected lava fragments tens of meters from at least four emission points. The area was covered with abundant scoriaceous material with average dimensions of 5-6 cm, and numerous fragments of black scoriaceous spatter ranging in size from 20 to 40 cm long; a few were as large as 100 cm.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. INGV scientists recorded the changes at Stromboli's summit on 15 December 2017 that resulted from the explosions of 1 December, as well as events that day that generated a short lava flow. a) the Terrazza Craterica on 15 December 2017; b) vent C on 5 November and c) on 15 December after the explosions of 1 December created a cone; d) vent N1 on 5 November and e) on 15 December; the lava flows were produced by vents N1a and N1d. Photo by D. Andronicus, courtesy if INGV (Report 51/2017, Bollettino settimanale sul monitoraggio vulcanico, geochimico, delle deformazioni del suolo e sismico del vulcano Stromboli del 19/12/2017.

Activity diminished during January 2018; low- to medium-intensity explosions were typical in the N Area and degassing continued with intermittent explosive activity at the CS Area. During February 2018 activity decreased further with the overall explosion rate averaging generally less than 10 events per hour, a significant decline after the increases in activity that began in early November 2017 (figure 124).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. The hourly frequency of the explosive events at Stromboli as recorded by the surveillance cameras from 1 July 2017-5 March 2018, averaged by day. The information is grouped by explosions at the N Area and the CS Area, and also shown as the total average. The Total value is the sum of the average hourly frequency by day of all the explosive events produced by the active vents. Courtesy of INGV (Repprt 10/2018, Stromboli, Bollettino Settimanale, 26/02/2018 - 04/03/2018, issue date 06/03/2018).

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/).

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/).