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.

 Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 39, Number 04 (April 2014)

All information contained in these reports is preliminary and subject to change.

Ambrym (Vanuatu)

Frequent thermal alerts and gas emissions continue

Etorofu-Yakeyama [Grozny Group] (Japan - administered by Russia)

23 years of quiet ended by occasional minor 2013-2014 eruptions

Fuego (Guatemala)

Explosions, ash plumes, lava flows, and lahars during April 2013-June 2014

Kizimen (Russia)

Evidence for eruption ceases after 9 December 2013; steaming continues

Nyiragongo (DR Congo)

Lava lake dynamic but largely at low levels during mid-2011

Tinakula (Solomon Islands)

Abnormal rumbling after M 7.9 earthquake of 6 February 2013



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

All times are local

Frequent thermal alerts and gas emissions continue

Our previous report on Ambrym (BGVN 38:05) indicated that daily degassing and an infrequent ash plume occurred through July 2013, along with frequent MODVOLC thermal alerts, consistent with the hot molten surface of the volcano's active lava lakes. The volcano, whose location was shown in the previous report in figure 27, consists of two craters, Marum and Benbow, each with a lava lake. According to the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO), the last known eruption was in 2009. The island of Ambrym has ~7,000 inhabitants, many of whom live within the hazard zone (see figure 28 in BGVN 38:05). This report updates information through July 2014.

According to NASA's Earth Observatory, a satellite image acquired on 9 August 2013 showed steam-and-gas plumes rising from Ambrym's Benbow cone and from the active lava lake in Mbwelesu Crater (one of three active sub-craters of the Marum cone) (figure 27). Another Earth Observatory image on 7 January 2014 showed a plume from Ambrym spreading across the South Pacific Ocean (figure 28). The strong reflection of the sun off the sea surface is called "sunglint."

Figure 27. NASA Earth Observatory satellite image of Ambrym on 9 August 2013. The image shows the two active craters on the volcanic island. According to the caption, deep within Benbow (left) and Marum (right) craters, vents continuously release steam, sulfur dioxide, and other volcanic gases into the atmosphere. These gases frequently stream over the other islands in Vanuatu, along the W edge of the South Pacific. The orange spot in Marum crater is a persistent lava lake. This natural-color image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory (image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data from the NASA EO-1 team, caption by Robert Simmon).
Figure 28. NASA Earth Observatory satellite photo of Ambrym (lower left) on 7 January 2014. In this natural-color image acquired by MODIS aboard the Aqua satellite, a vog plume from Ambrym spreads across the South Pacific. (Vog results when volcanic gases, primarily sulfur dioxide and other oxides of sulfur, react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight.) Some contribution to the vog may come from Gaua volcano, which the plume passes directly over but there have been no recent reports on events there. Courtesy of NASA (image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC).

As in previous years, MODVOLC thermal alerts during the reporting period were frequent, ranging from several per week to multiple times per day. This activity is consistent with the presence of active lava lakes.

According to VGO, the current alert level remains in mid-2014 at 1 (increased activity, danger near crater only).

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

Information Contacts: MODVOLC - HIGP, 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://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); and Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) (URL: http://www.geohazards.gov.vu).

Etorofu-Yakeyama [Grozny Group]

Japan - administered by Russia

45.012°N, 147.871°E; summit elev. 1158 m

All times are local

23 years of quiet ended by occasional minor 2013-2014 eruptions

Several minor eruptions occurred at Etorofu-Yakeyama (Ivan Grozny or Grozny Group) during 2012 and 2013. Our previous report 12/1992 (BGVN 17:12) described a 3 May 1989 eruption. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the Tokyo Volcano Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT) were primary sources for this report discussing events as late as April 2013 with no further notice of eruptions through July 2014.

An andesitic lava dome forms the peak of Etorofu-Yakeyama. The Etorofu-Yakeyama complex also includes a ~3-3.5 km long caldera open to the S. The complex has erupted multiple times during 1968-1989.

As seen in figures 4 and 5, Etorofu-Yakeyama rests on E-central Iturup Island (known as Etorofu-to, ??? in Japanese and Ostrov Iturup in Russian). According to Siebert and others (2010), nine other volcanoes reside on Iturup Island; the neighboring volcano, Sashiusudake [???, Baransky], is located ~14 km NE. The island's extreme S end lies ~100 km NE of Shiretoko Peninsula on the island of Hokkaido, Japan.

Figure 4. Etorofu-Yakeyama on Iturup Island and the regional area including Hokkaido, Japan (more than 200 km SW) and Sakhalin, Russia (more than 350 km NW). Three settlements on Iturup Island are noted here: Kuril'sk, Goyachiye Klyuchi, and Burevestnik. Green triangles indicate volcanic centers from the Global Volcanism Program's Volcanoes of the World database. Annotated GoogleMap image.
Figure 5. Etorofu-Yakeyama located on a topographic map (100 m contour lines). Etorofu-Yakeyama sits ~6 km from the Pacific Ocean shore and ~14 km SW of the stratovolcano Sashiusudake (also known as Baransky). Map published by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan and annotated with placenames from JMA reports.

2012 eruptions. According to SVERT, Etorofu-Yakeyama erupted on 16 August 2012, for the first time since 1989. The plume from the lava dome inside the caldera resulted in light ashfall in the Goryachiye and Kuril`sk settlements (to the N; figure 4). JMA reported the eruption started on 15 August and ended on 26 August 2012 as noted in table 1. Based on MTSAT-2 satellite images, JMA noted an ash plume reached 4 km altitude on 25 August. The Tokyo VAAC issued a Volcanic Ash Advisory (VAA) on 25 August. No additional ash observations were issued after 25 August 2012.

Table 2. A synopsis of eruptions that took place at Etorofu-Yakeyama during 1968-2012. The designations in parentheses next to the Gregorian year denote the Japanese imperial calendar year. Taken from the JMA website.

Year Phenomenon Activity, damage, etc.
1968 Eruption February
1970 Eruption na
1973 Eruption
Small explosion at summit crater in early January.
Series of strong explosions at summit crater on 16 May and formation of a large crater.
1989 Explosion Explosions during 3-14 May, 19 June, and early August with a
volcanic plume 2 km high
2012 Eruption Eruption during 15-26 August with a plume 4-5 km high

On 16 August 2012, F. Greenberg, a Sakhalin Region Emergency Ministry representative, reported that gas emissions on the NE slope had increased on 14 August which suggested unrest. Hokkaido University researchers associated with JMA visited Etorofu-to Island and reported eruptive activity started on 15 August.

Four eruptions occurred during 25-26 August. One plume rose 4-5 km. Figure 6 shows the volcano erupting on 25 August 2012. The next day in the same general area the researchers reported fumarolic activity on the NE side where the ash plume vented (figure 7). SVERT reported during 23 August-3 September increased fumarolic activity at Etorofu-Yakeyama. The Aviation Color code during that interval was Yellow.

Figure 7. Etorofu-Yakeyama seen during an eruption as viewed from NW on 25 August 2012. Courtesy of JMA and Hokkaido University. Photo by M. Nakagawa.
Figure 8. Etorofu-Yakeyama during fumarolic activity viewed from N on 26 August 2012. The double peaked topography to the left of the active dome is called Boshizan. Courtesy of JMA and Hokkaido University. Photo by M. Nakagawa.

2013 eruptions. Ash fall was reported several times during February-April 2013. SVERT reported that on 16 February, a gas and ash plume rose to an altitude of about 3 km. Tokyo VAAC reported a possible eruption occurred on 29 March. The possible ash plume rose to 2.1 km and drifted E.

On 3 April 2013 an eruption took place that was later reported by Interfax, Russia & FSU General News. 2-3 mm of ash was deposited on Kuril`sk and other settlements. Plume height was not recorded due to cloud cover in the area. On 4 April, the Tokyo VAAC detected an ash plume with an altitude of ~3 km drifting W and NW in satellite images. No additional ash observations were issued after 4 April 2013.

Reference. Siebert, L, Simkin, T, and Kimberly, P, 2010, Volcanoes of the World, Univ of California Press, 551 pp.

Geologic Background. Etorofu-Yakeyama (Ivan Grozny), is located in the center of Iturup Island. It has a 3-3.5 km diameter caldera that is open to the south, where the large, 1158-m-high andesitic extrusion dome was emplaced. Several other lava domes of Holocene age were constructed to the NE; extrusion of these domes has constricted a former lake in the northern side of the caldera to an extremely sinuous shoreline. Historical eruptions, the first of which took place in 1968, have been restricted to Etorofu-Yakeyama.

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 (Tokyo VAAC) (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/vaac_list.htm; http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/Archives/2006_vaac_list.html); Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT) (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/en/svert.html); EMERCOM Crisis Management Centre (URL: http://en.mchs.ru/Forces_and_Facilities/National_Emergency_Management_Centre); Sakhalin Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics FEB RAS (IMGG FEB RAS), 693022, Russia, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Nauki str. 1B (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/); RIA Novosti (URL: http://en.rian.ru); Itar-Tass (http://www.itar-tass.com); and Interfax, Russia, & FSU General News (URL: http://connection.ebscohost.com).



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

All times are local

Explosions, ash plumes, lava flows, and lahars during April 2013-June 2014

In this report we highlight Fuego's ongoing eruptive activity during April 2013-June 2014. During this reporting period continued monitoring by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH) included ground-based observations, field visits, and seismic monitoring. Aviation reports were abundant from the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). The active summit crater was a frequent source of thermal alerts from the MODVOLC system which is based on infrared radiation detected in space by the MODIS instruments.

Advancing lava flows and ash explosions. INSIVUMEH reported that lava flows advanced from Fuego's summit during the entire reporting interval. By 29 June 2014, a lava flow was extending 150 m toward the TaniluyÁ drainage and generating avalanches that reached the Ceniza drainage. Earlier in the year, lava flows up to 550 m long reached vegetated areas on the SW flank.

INSIVUMEH and Washington VAAC reported frequent ash explosions from Fuego's summit crater during April 2013-June 2014 (figure 28). Ash plumes typically rose 100-800 m above the summit. Significant ash plumes drifted 10-20 km from the summit in the direction of prevailing winds. An exceptional case occurred when ash drifted 30 km NW during activity on 30 December 2013. Constant fumarolic activity generated diffuse, white plumes that rose approximately 150 m above the summit. Incandescent explosions were also frequently observed at night and reached 200 m above the summit (figure 29).

Figure 28. Two satellite images captured incandescence from Fuego on 18 January 2014 (top) and 4 December 2013 (bottom). (top) This EO-1 ALI image is the product of 3 bands: band 10 for thermal, band 9 for clouds, and band 4 for near-infrared. A small, round ash plume was also visible drifting NE of the summit. (bottom) This Landsat 8 image is a combination of visible and infrared bands (band 7 for near-infrared, band 6 for thermal infrared, and band 3 for chlorophyll absorption). Image processed by Rüdiger Escobar Wolf (Michigan Tech University) and acquired by NASA/USGS.
Figure 29. Comparisons of infrared video images with seismic traces for Fuego during 21-22 April 2014. These still views (A-C) enabled viewers to gauge the degree, timing, and correlation between major explosions accompanied by incandescence and seismic signals. The respective images coincide with the points along the seismic trace intersected with the heavy black vertical lines. Courtesy of Rüdiger Escobar Wolf (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvGw7AUCtCo), INSIVUMEH, US-AID, and Michigan Tech University.

Figure 29 shows moderate-sized (~200-m-high) incandescent plumes occurring at the time of high-amplitude seismic signals (panels A and B) whereas minor explosions (panel C) produced little-to-no seismic signal (note that no significant seismicity occurred near the 10:20 tickmark). The Michigan Tech research team postulated that the lack of seismic signal in panel C is the result of the seismometer only registering the ground coupled airwaves during the sequence as opposed to the explosion signature (personal communication by Rüdiger Escobar-Wolf). Some of the explosions recorded during this time were heard in neighboring communities.

Shockwaves from explosions, rumbling from avalanches, and ashfall from explosive events were frequently reported by inhabitants from local communities (table 9). Windows and metal roofs rattled during major events and there were such numerous reports received by INSIVUMEH from residents within 10 km of the summit.

Table 9. Ashfall from explosions at Fuego was reported in numerous communities during 27 March 2013 - 19 June 2014. A map of town locations can be found in BGVN 36:06, figure 16. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Year Date Town reporting ashfall
2013 27 March-2 April Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and Hagia Sophía
28 Jun. Panimaché (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW)
18 Nov. Panimaché (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW)
21 Nov. Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW)
2014 3 Jan. Panimaché (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and Sofía I and II (12 km SW)
13 Jan. Panimaché (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW)
2 Feb. Panimaché (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and the W flank
25 Mar. Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW) and surrounding areas
22-23 Mar. Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW)
10-11 Apr. Panimaché (8 km SW) and Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW)
20-22 Apr. Panimaché (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and Santa Sofía (12 km SW)
25-28 Apr. Panimaché (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and Santa Sofía (12 km SW)
18-19 Jun. Within 15 km of the summit, mainly El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Los Yucales (12 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Morelia (10 km SW), and Panimaché (I and II, ~8 km SW). Also, ashfall was reported in Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW) on 18 June.

Thermal anomaly detection during 2013-2014. Except for June 2014, hotspots at the summit region were detected by satellite remote sensing instruments during each month of this reporting period (table 10). Platforms capturing the infrared data included MODIS (onboard the Terra and Aqua satellites), Landsat 8, and EO-1 Advanced Land Imaging (ALI).

Table 10. The MODVOLC system generated thermal alerts from Fuego during April 2013-May 2014. Courtesy of HIGP.

Year Month Day #Pixels/Day
2013 Apr. 14 2
Apr. 21 1
Apr. 23 1
Apr. 25 2
Apr. 26 3
Apr. 27 4
Apr. 28 9
May 9 1
Jun. 15 1
Jun. 17 1
Jul. 8 2
Jul. 10 2
Jul. 12 1
Jul. 15 1
Jul. 22 2
Jul. 26 1
Jul. 28 2
Jul. 29 1
Aug. 8 1
Aug. 9 1
Aug. 11 1
Aug. 15 2
Aug. 18 2
Aug. 19 1
Aug. 20 4
Aug. 23 1
Sept. 3 1
Sept. 14 1
Oct. 5 1
Oct. 11 2
Oct. 14 2
Nov. 4 4
Nov. 15 1
Nov. 18 1
Nov. 19 3
Nov. 20 2
Nov. 24 2
Nov. 27 1
Dec. 3 1
Dec. 5 1
Dec. 10 2
Dec. 15 5
Dec. 16 2
Dec. 28 2
Dec. 30 1
2014 Jan. 2 1
Jan. 5 1
Jan. 7 4
Jan. 11 1
Jan. 15 2
Jan. 18 5
Jan. 20 1
Jan. 22 1
Jan. 23 2
Jan. 25 5
Jan. 28 1
Jan. 29 2
Jan. 31 1
Feb. 2 1
Feb. 4 1
Feb. 5 5
Feb. 6 1
Feb. 7 1
Feb. 8 1
Feb. 12 1
Feb. 21 2
Feb. 24 1
Mar. 1 1
Mar. 5 1
Mar. 11 3
Mar. 20 1
Mar. 21 1
Mar. 23 4
Mar. 25 2
Mar. 27 1
Mar. 28 1
Mar. 29 1
Mar. 30 2
Apr. 1 1
Apr. 15 1
Apr. 16 1
Apr. 21 1
Apr. 22 1
Apr. 27 1
May 17 1
May 18 2
May 19 2

Lahar hazards. Drainages within the southern sector of Fuego were frequently at risk for lahars during 2013-2014. In particular, the rivers Las Lajas, El Jute, Honda, Seca, Ceniza, Santa Teresa, and TaniluyÁ were inundated by lahars during this reporting period (table 11). A map of river locations can be found in figure 7 of BGVN 30:08.

Table 11. During May 2013- June 2014, weak- to strong-flowing lahars from Fuego were frequently triggered by heavy rainfall, mainly during May-September (the rainy season) each year. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Year Date Drainages Dimensions Load Damage/At risk
2014 9 Jun. Las Lajas & El Jute (SE) na 1.5 m diameter blocks na
5 Jun. Honda (E), El Jute (SE), Ceniza (SSW), & Santa Teresa (S) na 1.5 m diameter blocks na
2 Jun. Las Lajas & El Jute (SE) na 1.5 m diameter blocks na
1 Jun. Las Lajas (SE), Honda (E), & Seca (W) na na Traffic crossing the Río Seca was disrupted as well as the road crossing on the W and S sides
2013 11 Sept. Las Lajas & El Jute (SE) 30 m wide; 4 m deep 2 m diameter blocks; branches and tree trunks na
10 Sept. Taniluyá (SW) 15-20 m wide; 1-2 m deep Tree trunks Roads were blocked in Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and Santa Sofía (12 km SW) for two hours
9 Sept. Las Lajas & El Jute (SE) na 2 m diameter blocks na
17 Aug. Las Lajas, Ceniza (SSW), & El Jute (SE) 30 m wide blocks na
5 Jul. Las Lajas & El Jute (SE) na 0.5 m in diameter na
27 Jun. Las Lajas & El Jute (SE) na 1.5 m diameter blocks; branches and tree trunks na
8 Jun. Las Lajas (SE), El Jute (SE), &Ceniza (SSW) na na na
2 Jun. Ceniza (SSW) blocks; trees and logs na na
29 May Las Lajas & El Jute (SE) na 0.5 m in diameter na

Geologic Background. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. Construction of Meseta dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km onto the Pacific coastal plain. Growth of the modern Fuego volcano followed, continuing the southward migration of volcanism that began at Acatenango. In contrast to the mostly andesitic Acatenango, eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Ministero de Communicaciones, Transporto, Obras Públicas y Vivienda, 7a. Av. 14-57, zona 13, Guatemala City 01013, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/inicio.html); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/); and Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC).



55.131°N, 160.32°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local

Evidence for eruption ceases after 9 December 2013; steaming continues

On 28 July 2014 KVERT (the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team) listed the recent Kizimen eruption as occurring during the interval 9 December 2010 to 9 December 2013 without any subsequent unrest. Our previous report (BGVN 38:04) noted seismicity, lava flows, ash plumes, and occasional pyroclastic flows during October 2011 to May 2013. In this report we note that the eruption continued, although lava extrusion was diminished, at least through mid-September 2013. After that time, the eruption became weak and ended on 9 December 2013. MODVOLC thermal alerts ceased during 12 July 2013 to at least as late as 25 July 2014.

According to KVERT, moderate seismic activity continued during 31 May-13 September 2013. Video and satellite data showed that lava continued to extrude from the summit during this time, producing incandescence, strong gas-and-steam activity, and hot avalanches on the W and E flanks. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (Level 3 of 4; Aviation Color Codes are described more fully in figure 16 in BGVN 38:04).

By mid-September 2013, activity had decreased. KVERT reported that both video and satellite data indicated less incandescence from the crater during the previous few weeks, and seismicity had decreased significantly by the end of August 2013. Lava may have continued to extrude from the crater at a low rate. On 13 September 2013, the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow (Level 2).

According to KVERT, weak seismic activity continued during 29 November-6 December 2013. Video showed gas-and-steam activity and satellite images showed a weak thermal anomaly on a daily basis; those anomalies were probably too weak to trigger a MODVOLC thermal alert. On 9 December 2013, the Alert Level was lowered to Green.

The number of MODVOLC thermal alerts was relatively low through May 2013 (see figure 17 in BGVN 38:04), and during 2013 decreased further during the months of June (7 alerts), July (2 alerts), and August (6 alerts). From 12 July 2013 through 15 July 2014, MODVOLC thermal alerts were absent.

Two natural-color images of Kizimen collected by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 appear in figures 20 and 21. The respective images depict seasonal changes from early fall 2013 to late spring 2014 and show ongoing steam emission on 17 June 2014.

Figure 20. NASA Earth Observatory satellite photo showing Kizimen partly covered in snow on 2 September 2013. A diffuse white plume drifted SE from the summit. The branching lava flow on the E flank began forming in September 2011. Courtesy of Robert Simmon, NASA Earth Observatory.
Figure 21. NASA Earth Observatory satellite photos showing Kizimen with considerable portions of the winter's snowpack absent on 17 June 2014. A white steam and gas plume drifted S from the summit volcano. Courtesy of Robert Simmon, NASA Earth Observatory.

Geologic Background. Kizimen is an isolated, conical stratovolcano that is morphologically similar to St. Helens prior to its 1980 eruption. The summit consists of overlapping lava domes, and blocky lava flows descend the flanks of the volcano, which is the westernmost of a volcanic chain north of Kronotsky volcano. The 2334-m-high edifice was formed during four eruptive cycles beginning about 12,000 years ago and lasting 2000-3500 years. The largest eruptions took place about 10,000 and 8300-8400 years ago, and three periods of long-term lava dome growth have occurred. The latest eruptive cycle began about 3000 years ago with a large explosion and was followed by intermittent lava dome growth lasting about 1000 years. An explosive eruption about 1100 years ago produced a lateral blast and created a 1.0 x 0.7 km wide crater breached to the NE, inside which a small lava dome (the fourth at Kizimen) has grown. Prior to 2010, only a single explosive eruption, during 1927-28, had been recorded in historical time.

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/); MODVOLC - HIGP, 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://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); and NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).


DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local

Lava lake dynamic but largely at low levels during mid-2011

Information from observers monitoring Nyiragongo is intermittent and difficult to obtain because of ongoing difficulties related to securing funding for the observatory in Goma. A team of scientists visited Nyiragongo during 30 May-9 June 2011; this report is based on two published reports describing that visit. The first report (Burgi, 2011) originally appeared in French. The report said the expedition included team members from the Société de Volcanologie Geneve (SVG, Geneva, Switzerland), the Second University of Naples (Naples, Italy), INGV Catania (Catania, Italy), l'Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (D.R. Congo), and the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) (Copenhagen, Denmark). The second report consisted of an article (Burgi and others, 2014) published in May 2014 in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Information from observers monitoring Nyiragongo is intermittent and difficult to obtain because of ongoing difficulties related to securing funding for the observatory in Goma.

In BGVN 35:09, in the caption for figure 45, we reported that during June 2010 Nyiragongo's lava lake rim or levee (labeled z) was 15-20 m above the crater floor (e) and was confined within an almost circular scoria wall (y). In the SVG report covering the June 2011 visit, it was reported in a caption for the same figure that "The lava lake rim or levee (z) was 6 m above the crater floor (e) in June 2010, which was not the case in May 2011, since the edge W had collapsed in the meantime."

The team employed a hand-held portable infrared-laser rangefinder with integral tilt meter. Surveying from the second terrace (y) allowed the team to estimate the lava lake's E-W axis, 260 m; and the N-S axis, 228 m. Those diameters enabled the team to estimate the lake surface area to be 46,000 m2, an increase of 6,000 m2 since June 2010.

The measurements during 30 May-9 June 2011 also indicated that the level of the chilled lava on the crater floor, 128-130 m below the second terrace, had not changed since 2010 (last two points at right in figure 51). This defied a simple linear extrapolation of the curve for the previous few years, which projected the crater floor would undergo continued rise in 2011. The team concluded that the activity of the lava lake must have declined. The team found a lack of evidence for lava overflow leaving deposits on the crater floor for almost a year, again consistent with no increase in lava lake level.

Figure 51. A diagram showing the level (comparative elevation) of Nyiragongo's active crater floor, in meters below the crater rim, during January 2002 to June 2011. The last data point is from the field visit discussed here. The January 2002 level of the crater floor is not known with precision, but was probably between 900 and 1000 m below the rim. This plot is a continuation of the one presented as figure 46 in BGVN 35:09. Burgi and others (2014) discuss the absolute elevation of the crater floor during the visit, 3,025 m (a.s.l). High levels from eruptions during 1972-1977 and 1982-1995 are noted with arrows. Taken from Burgi (2011).

The team first found that the level of the lava lake had receded to an elevation ~15 m below the edge of the pit crater. The lava lake's elevation was stable until late afternoon on 3 June, when a loud noise and a "large burst" occurred within the lava lake. Lava drained from the lava lake, lowering its surface by 25-30 m in less than 1 minute. The team estimated that overall this drainage swept away more than 1 x 106 m3 of magma within a few minutes. In the subsequent hours, the convective motion of the lava lake ceased and was followed by strong strombolian eruptions in the northern part of the lava lake. In this phase, material from the lake sprayed to heights of ~50 m above the lake.

Compared to the edge of the pit crater, the lava lake level continued to drop during 4 June-6 June, with a total drop (including the first major pulse) of ~33 m, placing the lava lake surface to almost 45 m below the edge of the pit crater by 8 June (figure 52). By the end of the team's crater visit, the level had reached ~55 below the edge of the pit crater.

Figure 52. Photos of Nyiragongo's crater floor and the pit crater within it, documenting the rapid drop in the level of the lava lake seen during 2-8 June 2011. The white arrow in each photo is showing the same datum on the wall of the pit crater, 12 m below the pit crater's rim. For the specified times and dates, the following values represent the vertical distance of the lava lake below the edge of the pit crater: (A) 1400 on 2 June, 12 m; (B) 0815 on 4 June, 37 m; and (C) 0945 on 8 June, 45 m. Photos courtesy of Patrick Marcel, published in Burgi and others (2014).

Based on their measurements and the assumption that the deeper edifice takes the shape of an inverted cone, the team concluded that the volume of magma contained in the lava lake during their June 2011 visit was approximately 10 x 106 m3. Small but repeated movements of the edifice produced by the fluctuating level of the lava lake were interpreted as sufficient to weaken the edifice, which had already fissured during previous eruptions.

Satellite data and imagery during July 2012.The Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that beginning on 3 July 2012 Nyiragongo emitted a series of ash plumes up to an altitude of 5.5 km, or approximately 2 km above the summit. They noted that sulfur dioxide emissions from Nyiragongo are common, but ash emissions are unusual.

Figure 53 shows MODIS imagery of Nyiragongo discussed by the NASA Earth Observatory. They commented on the absence of signs of increased activity and that activity at the volcano appeared similar to that during the previous 10 years.

Figure 53. MODIS Aqua satellite image on 5 July 2012 showing emissions streaming SW from Nyiragongo, with a plume emitting from nearby Nyamuragira also visible. Courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

References. Burgi, P.-Y. (2011), Rapport de L'activité éruptive du Nyiragongo, MaiJuin, 2011, Societe de Volcanologie Geneve, 110 Bulletin Mensuel, pp. 3-8.

Burgi, P.-Y., T. H. Darrah, D. Tedesco, and W. K. Eymold, 2014, Dynamics of the Mount Nyiragongo lava lake, J. Geophys. Res., Solid Earth, 119, pp. 4106-4122, doi:10.1002/2013JB010895.

Geologic Background. One of Africa's most notable volcanoes, Nyiragongo contained a lava lake in its deep summit crater that was active for half a century before draining catastrophically through its outer flanks in 1977. In contrast to the low profile of its neighboring shield volcano, Nyamuragira, 3470-m-high Nyiragongo displays the steep slopes of a stratovolcano. Benches in the steep-walled, 1.2-km-wide summit crater mark levels of former lava lakes, which have been observed since the late-19th century. Two older stratovolcanoes, Baruta and Shaheru, are partially overlapped by Nyiragongo on the north and south. About 100 parasitic cones are located primarily along radial fissures south of Shaheru, east of the summit, and along a NE-SW zone extending as far as Lake Kivu. Many cones are buried by voluminous lava flows that extend long distances down the flanks of the volcano, which is characterized by the eruption of foiditic rocks. The extremely fluid 1977 lava flows caused many fatalities, as did lava flows that inundated portions of the major city of Goma in January 2002.

Information Contacts: Pierre Vetsch, Société de Volcanologie Genève (SVG), PO Box 6423, CH-1211 Geneva 6, Switzerland (URL: http://www.volcan.ch/); Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov); and Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Météo-France, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, F-31057 Toulouse cedex, France (URL: http://www.meteo.fr/aeroweb/info/vaac/).


Solomon Islands

10.38°S, 165.8°E; summit elev. 851 m

All times are local

Abnormal rumbling after M 7.9 earthquake of 6 February 2013

Since the previous Bulletin report, which noted rumblings heard from the direction of the crater and small explosions emitting molten boulders (BGVN 37:06), there have been no further clear reports of eruptions that have come to our attention. A tectonic earthquake in February 2013 was accompanied by a cluster of foreshocks, a mainshock of magnitude M 7.9, followed by aftershocks. It took at least 10 lives. Around the time of the earthquake, 6 February, villagers on a neighboring island noted unusual activity, possibly associated with outgassing or a brief eruption at uninhabited Tinakula.

Anomalous volcano behavior. On 8 February, villagers of the island of Santa Cruz, among the closest inhabitants to Tinakula, reported having heard abnormal noises and rumblings coming from the volcano during the previous two days. First-hand reports also noted additional anomalies, including thin cloud cover around Tinakula's summit. The details remained equivocal and there were no similar announcements of uncharacteristic behavior during this reporting interval.

The Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that the significant seismic activity led them to undertake an interval of heightened monitoring for both the volcanoes Traitor's Head in Vanuatu and Tinakula in the Solomon Islands (ICAO, 2014). Moreover, owing to the minor eruption of the volcano Gaua on the island of Vanuatu in April 2013, a Volcanic Ash Advisory was issued for the greater surrounding area, including the Tinakula region. The VAAC continued heightened monitoring through August 2013 due to the ongoing minor seismic activity and minor volcanic eruptions on White Island of New Zealand.

The following passages shift our discussion from the volcano to the regional geography and to events associated with the M 7.9 earthquake and tsunamis.

M 7.9 earthquake. The M 7.9 earthquake on 6 February 2013 occurred ~100 km SW of Tinakula (at 10.38°S, 165.8 °E), generating tsunamis at numerous monitoring locations (figure 16). As noted below, one aftershock, M 7, struck ~9 km from Tinakula but no damage was reported on the uninhabited island.

Figure 16. The relative positions of uninhabited Tinakula and inhabited Santa Cruz (Nendo) Island. Areas of denser white clouds over and downwind of topographic highs are probably attributable to meteorological phenomena, rather than eruptions or outgassing. The 6 February 2013 M 7.9 earthquake struck ~100 km SW of Tinakula. An aftershock struck ~9 km from Tinakula. Tsunamis ravaged coastal settlements on Santa Cruz (Nendo) Island. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

In the days preceding the 6 February event, more than 40 small earthquake events of M 4.5 or higher occurred within 80 km of the M 7.9 earthquake. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noted that more than 12 of these were M 5-6; an additional 7 events were greater than M 6. The majority of the seismic activity had epicenters between 40 km SE and 68 km SW of Tinakula with focal depths of 10 to 46 km.

Strong aftershocks continued through 8 February 2013. The largest aftershocks in this recording period occurred on 8 February. One, M 7.0, had its epicenter 65 km SE of Tinakula. A second, M 7.0, at 10 km focal depth, had its epicenter only 9 km SSW of Tinakula.

Over the course of 6-8 February there were over 100 tsunami run- ups, with typical displacements of 1-2 m. The events spurred circum-Pacific tsunami warnings and collectively took 10-11 lives near the epicenter on islands such as Santa Cruz (Nendo), Tomotu Noi, and Lata. Damage included the destruction or serious damage to 743 houses, as well as a dock at Lata island.

The region is regularly rocked by large earthquakes and was struck on 28 October 2013 by one of M 7.7. No abnormal activity from the volcano was noted.

Reference. ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), (17-20 February) 2014, International Airways Volcano Watch Operations Group (IAVWOPSG); 8th Meeting, Melbourne, Australia, 17 to 20 February 2014, ICAO (URL: http://www.icao.int/safety/meteorology/iavwopsg/IAVWOPSG Meetings Metadata/IAVWOPSG.8.WP.024.5.en.pdf ).

Geologic Background. The small 3.5-km-wide island of Tinakula is the exposed summit of a massive stratovolcano that rises 3-4 km from the sea floor at the NW end of the Santa Cruz islands. Tinakula resembles Stromboli volcano in containing a breached summit crater that extends from the 851-m-high summit to below sea level. Landslides enlarged this scarp in 1965, creating an embayment on the NW coast. The satellitic cone of Mendana is located on the SE side. The dominantly andesitic Tinakula volcano has frequently been observed in eruption since the era of Spanish exploration began in 1595. In about 1840, an explosive eruption apparently produced pyroclastic flows that swept all sides of the island, killing its inhabitants. Frequent historical eruptions have originated from a cone constructed within the large breached crater. These have left the upper flanks of the volcano and the steep apron of lava flows and volcaniclastic debris within the breach unvegetated.

Information Contacts: NOAA (URL: http://www.noaa.gov/); and Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) (http://vaac.metservice.com/wellington).

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 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.

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 Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

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 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.


False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Africa (northeastern) and Red Sea

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Africa (eastern)

False Report of Elgon Eruption

Kermadec Islands

Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion

Tonga Islands

Floating Pumice (Tonga)

Fiji Islands

Floating Pumice (Fiji)

New Britain


Andaman Islands

False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions

Sangihe Islands

1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake

Kawio Barat


False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

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

Mikura Seamount

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


False Report of New Volcano



Costa Rica

Laguna Poco Sol


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-Gibraltar Fracture Zone

Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands

Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge

 Special Announcements

Special Announcement Reports