Activity for the week of 12 March-18 March 2003
The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program. Updated by 2300 UTC every Wednesday, notices of volcanic activity posted on these pages are preliminary and subject to change as events are studied in more detail. This is not a comprehensive list of all of Earth's volcanoes erupting during the week, but rather a summary of activity at volcanoes that meet criteria discussed in detail in the "Criteria and Disclaimers" section. Carefully reviewed, detailed reports on various volcanoes are published monthly in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network.
New Activity / Unrest
| Andaman Islands (India)
| 12.278°N, 93.858°E
| Elevation 354 m
A team of scientists from India and Italy who visited Barren Island during 3-6 February found fumaroles on parts of the volcano's SW cone that reached temperatures up to 101°C. Neither magma nor gas emissions were observed in any of the various cones. The ground temperature was relatively high (40°C) from the middle to the upper part of the western cone and steaming ground was clearly visible at many sites. Several steam vents were visible within the 1995 lava flows. Blue fumes, which are indicative of the presence of SO2, and the smell of acidic gases were not recorded.
Source: Expedition team from the Indian Institute of Technology, University of Urbino, CNR-Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources, and University of Florence
| Luzon (Philippines)
| 13.257°N, 123.685°E
| Elevation 2462 m
PHIVOLCS raised the Alert Level at Mayon from 0 to 1 (on a scale of 0-5) after an explosion occurred on 17 March at 1819. The brief burst of ash and steam rose to ~1 km above the summit and drifted WNW. Prior to the explosion no significant seismicity was recorded. During 0900-1100 SO2 emission rates were higher than normal at 890 tons per day (500 tons are normally measured during repose), and electronic tiltmeters on the volcano's N and S flanks indicated a slight inflation of the edifice beginning on 13 March. PHIVOLCS emphasized that the 6-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone was in effect.
Sources: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Associated Press
| Hawaiian Islands (USA)
| 19.421°N, 155.287°W
| Elevation 1222 m
During 11-18 March at Kilauea, lava flowed into the sea at moderate levels at the West Highcastle entry. Many surface lava flows were visible along the Kohala lava flow. Tongues of lava were visible traveling down Pulama pali that were a part of the activity that began on 12 May 2002 (named the Mother's Day flow). Generally, seismicity remained at normal levels, with the long-lasting swarm of long-period earthquakes and tremor at Kilauea's summit, which began last June, continuing at moderate levels. Only small deformation changes were recorded.
Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)
| Hawaiian Islands (USA)
| 19.475°N, 155.608°W
| Elevation 4170 m
HVO reported on 16 March 2003 that renewed inflation at Mauna Loa's Moku`aweoweo summit caldera began in late February 2003. The GPS network first showed inflation in late April or May 2002, which tailed off and perhaps stopped in mid-winter. The lengthening, uplift, and tilting were interpreted to indicate resumed swelling of the magma reservoir within Mauna Loa. Seismicity remained at low levels.
Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)
| 19.023°N, 98.622°W
| Elevation 5393 m
Several emissions of steam, gas, and ash occurred during 12-18 March associated with the continued destruction of Popocatépetl's lava dome. The largest reported emission, on 13 March at 0916, produced a steam-and-ash cloud that reached a height of 1 km above the crater and drifted E. According to a news article, ash fell on several communities near the volcano.
Sources: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Associated Press
| Eastern Java (Indonesia)
| 8.108°S, 112.922°E
| Elevation 3657 m
During 3-9 March, volcanism at Semeru remained at high levels. "White-gray ash plume[s]" rose to low levels above the summit and several "pyroclastic avalanches" traveled 200-2,000 m into Besuk Kembar River. Seismicity was dominated by 794 explosion earthquakes. The Alert Level at Semeru remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).
Source: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM)
| Central Kamchatka (Russia)
| 56.653°N, 161.36°E
| Elevation 3283 m
During 7-14 March, seismicity remained above background levels at Shiveluch. Seismic data indicated that 13 ash-and-gas explosions reached heights of 2.3 km above the lava dome, and hot avalanches possibly occurred. Spasmodic volcanic tremor was recorded and gas-and-steam plumes rose to 800 m above the lava dome. During the report period, thermal anomalies were visible on satellite imagery and on 9 March ash deposits were seen extending ~20 km WSW. Shiveluch remained at Concern Color Code Yellow.
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
| 16.72°N, 62.18°W
| Elevation 915 m
During 7-14 March, volcanic and seismic activity at Soufrière Hills were at moderate levels that were similar to those of the previous 2 weeks. The lava dome continued to grow, but was not focused in any particular direction. Lava extruded into the center of the summit-dome complex, increasing the dome height to just over 1,100 m. Rockfalls and pyroclastic flows occurred down all of the volcano's flanks. Spectacular incandescence was visible at night in the Tar River Valley, NW in Tuitt's Ghaut, and on the N talus slopes. Small rockfalls and pyroclastic flows infrequently descended the volcano's W flank, to the top of Gage's Valley. Ash vented continuously in the dome summit area and sulfur dioxide emission rates were relatively low during the week. The Washington VAAC reported that several low-level ash plumes were visible on satellite imagery.
Sources: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| Aeolian Islands (Italy)
| 38.789°N, 15.213°E
| Elevation 924 m
INGV-CT reported that the eruption at Stromboli, which started on 28 December 2002, continued through 12 March. In early March two major lava flows spread NE and NW from the base of the NE crater. Hot aa lava blocks detached from lava-flow fronts causing several minor rockfalls and landslides along the Sciara del Fuoco. Lava entering the sea formed steam clouds. A decrease in lava-effusion rate from the 600-m-vent on 6 March led to a regression of the most advanced flow front to 300- to 400-m-elevation, and a smaller number of active ephemeral vents along the lava-flow field. Occasionally during 5-10 March, brown-to-pink ash emissions occurred at Crater 3 (the SW crater) that were probably produced from inner-crater collapses. No explosive activity has been observed at the summit craters since the start of the flank eruption. Detailed daily reports of volcanic activity (in Italian) are available at the INGV-CT website.
Source: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo (INGV)
| 1.467°S, 78.442°W
| Elevation 5023 m
During 11-18 March, several explosions occurred at Tungurahua. On the 11th three small-to-moderate explosions deposited ash in the town of Pillate. According to the Washington VAAC, a pilot reported ash to a height of ~8.2 km a.s.l. that day. On the 16th a fine layer of ash was deposited in the N-flank resort town of Baños. Explosions during the report period were accompained by Strombolian activity, gas-and-ash emissions, and loud roaring sounds. Seismicity was dominated by tremor and long-period earthquakes.
Sources: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| United States
| 56.17°N, 159.38°W
| Elevation 2507 m
The elevated seismicity that began in mid-December 2002 at Veniaminof continued during 7-14 March. On 11 March a 4-hour period of continuous seismic tremor was recorded, followed by 17 hours of discrete seismic events and 3- to 4-minute-long tremor bursts. This culminated with another 4-hour period of continuous tremor on 12 March. Seismicity then declined, and by the 14th was characterized by the occurrence of about one small-amplitude discrete seismic event every 1-2 minutes. AVO reported that based on this seismicity, low-level steaming and minor ash-emissions may occur at any time. The Concern Color Code remained at Yellow.
Source: US Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO)
News Feeds and Google Placemarks
The RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed is identical to the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report minus some features including the header information (latitude and longitude and summit elevation), the Geologic Summary, and a link to the volcano's page from the Global Volcanism Program. Each volcano report includes a link from the volcano's name back to the more complete information in the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report on the Smithsonian website.
The CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) feeds are XML files specifically formatted for disaster management. They are similar in content to the RSS feed, but contain no active links.
A Google Earth network link for the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report can be loaded into the free Google Earth software, and in turn will load placemarks for volcanoes in the current weekly report. Placemark balloons include the volcano name, report date, report text, sources, and links back to the GVP volcano page for that volcano and to the complete Weekly Report for that week.
Criteria & Disclaimers
The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report does not necessarily include all volcanic activity that occurred on Earth during the week. More than a dozen volcanoes globally have displayed more-or-less continuous eruptive activity for decades or longer, and such routine activity is typically not reported here. Moreover, Earth's sea-floor volcanism is seldom reported even though in theory it represents the single most prolific source of erupted material. The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report summarizes volcanic activity that meets one or more of the following criteria:
- A volcano observatory raises or lowers the alert level at the volcano.
- A volcanic ash advisory has been released by a volcanic ash advisory center (VAAC) stating that an ash cloud has been produced from the volcano.
- A verifiable news report of new activity or a change in activity at the volcano has been issued.
- Observers have reported a significant change in volcanic activity. Such activity can include, but is not restricted to, pyroclastic flows, lahars, lava flows, dome collapse, or increased unrest.
Volcanoes are included in the "New Activity/Unrest" section of the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report if the activity occurs after at least 3 months of quiescence. Once a volcano is included in the "New Activity/Unrest" section, updates will remain in that section unless the activity continues for more than 1 month without escalating, after which time updates will be listed in the "Continuing Activity" section. Volcanoes are also included in the "New Activity/Unrest" section if the volcano is undergoing a period of relatively high unrest, or increasing unrest. This is commonly equal to Alert Level Orange on a scale of Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, where Red is the highest alert. Or alert level 3 on a scale of 1-4 or 1-5.
It is important to note that volcanic activity meeting one or more of these criteria may occur during the week, but may not be included in the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report because we did not receive a report.
1. The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is intended to provide timely information about global volcanism on a weekly basis. Consequently, the report is generated rapidly by summarizing volcanic reports from various sources, with little time for fact checking. The accuracy of the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is dependent upon the quality of the volcanic activity reports we receive. Reports published in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network are monthly, and more carefully reviewed, although all of the volcanoes discussed in the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report are not necessarily reported in the Bulletin. Because of our emphasis on rapid reporting on the web we have avoided diacritical marks. Reports are updated on the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report web page as they are received, therefore information may be included regarding events that occurred before the current report period.
2. Rapidly developing events lead to coverage that is often fragmentary. Volcanoes, their eruptions, and their plumes and associated atmospheric effects are complex phenomena that may require months to years of data analysis in order to create a comprehensive summary and interpretation of events.
3. Preliminary accounts sometimes contain exaggerations and "false alarms," and accordingly, this report may include some events ultimately found to be erroneous or misleading.
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RSS and CAP Feeds
An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed for the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report first made available on 5 March 2008 can be utilized with the aid of various free downloadable readers. The report content of the news feed is identical to the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report minus some features including the header information (latitude and longitude and summit elevation), the Geologic Summary, and a link to the volcano's page from the Global Volcanism Program. Each volcano report includes a link from the volcano's name back to the more complete information in the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report on the Smithsonian website. On 12 March 2009, GeoRSS tags were added so that the latitude and longitude for each volcano could be included with the feed.
At the end of each individual report is a list of the sources used. We would like to emphasize that the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) website (http://www.wovo.org/) lists the regional volcano observatories that have the most authoritative data for many of these events.
CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) feeds are XML files specifically formatted for disaster management.
Google Earth Placemarks
A Google Earth network link for the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report was first made available on 1 April 2009. This file can be loaded into the free Google Earth software, and in turn will load placemarks for volcanoes in the current weekly report. Placemark balloons include the volcano name, report date, report text, sources, and links back to the GVP volcano page for that volcano and to the complete Weekly Report for that week.