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Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

You are currently viewing Archived reports for the week of 20 August-26 August 2008.


















 Activity for the week of 20 August-26 August 2008

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.

Name Location Activity
Kasatochi Andreanof Islands (USA) New
Kirishimayama Kyushu (Japan) New
Soufriere Hills Montserrat New

Aira Kyushu (Japan) Ongoing
Batu Tara Komba Island (Indonesia) Ongoing
Bezymianny Central Kamchatka (Russia) Ongoing
Chaiten Chile Ongoing
Chikurachki Paramushir Island (Russia) Ongoing
Cleveland Chuginadak Island (USA) Ongoing
Dukono Halmahera (Indonesia) Ongoing
Fuego Guatemala Ongoing
Karymsky Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) Ongoing
Kilauea Hawaiian Islands (USA) Ongoing
Llaima Chile Ongoing
Okmok Fox Islands (USA) Ongoing
Pacaya Guatemala Ongoing
Rabaul New Britain (Papua New Guinea) Ongoing
Santa Maria Guatemala Ongoing
Semeru Eastern Java (Indonesia) Ongoing
Sheveluch Central Kamchatka (Russia) Ongoing
Suwanosejima Ryukyu Islands (Japan) Ongoing
Tungurahua Ecuador Ongoing


New Activity / Unrest


Volcano index photo  Kasatochi  | Andreanof Islands (USA)  | 52.177°N, 175.508°W  | Elevation 314 m

AVO reported that during 20-26 August seismic activity from Kasatochi was detected by stations on Great Sitkin, approximately 40 km W. Clouds prevented satellite image observations. Active fumaroles and hot pyroclastic flow deposits over much of the volcano were observed on 22 August by a visiting scientist. On 23 August, the smell of sulfur was reported in the town of Adak. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch and the Aviation Color Code at Orange.

Source: US Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO)



Volcano index photo  Kirishimayama  | Kyushu (Japan)  | 31.934°N, 130.862°E  | Elevation 1700 m

Based on reports from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported a possible eruption of Kirishima on 22 August. The altitude and direction of a possible resultant plume were not reported.

Source: Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)



Volcano index photo  Soufriere Hills  | Montserrat  | 16.72°N, 62.18°W  | Elevation 915 m

MVO reported that during 15-22 August, evidence suggested that the W side of the Soufrière Hills lava dome continued to grow. Cloud cover prevented visual observations. Rockfalls and long-period seismicity increased. Most of the rockfalls occurred on the W side of the lava dome in a new channel that developed below Gages Wall. Ash plumes occasionally generated by the rockfalls were most noticeable on 16 and 17 August. On 19 August a pyroclastic flow descended the Tar River Valley. According to news reports, on 25 August a rainfall-induced pyroclastic flow occurred on the W flank, split into two parts, and caused ashfall and a strong scent of gases in areas N. The event enlarged and steepened the rockfall gully below Gages Wall. The Hazard Level remained at 3.

Sources: Caribbean Net News, Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO)



Ongoing Activity


Volcano index photo  Aira  | Kyushu (Japan)  | 31.593°N, 130.657°E  | Elevation 1117 m

Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported an explosion from Sakura-jima on 23 August. The altitude and direction of a possible resultant plume were not reported.

Source: Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)



Volcano index photo  Batu Tara  | Komba Island (Indonesia)  | 7.791°S, 123.585°E  | Elevation 633 m

Scientists on a boat passing Batu Tara about 24 km to the N observed six distinct eruptions of ash plumes from the westernmost area of the summit crater during a 45-minute period on 25 August. The plumes rose to an estimated altitude of 1.1-1.5 km (3,600-5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W.

Source: Tristram Burley, personal communication



Volcano index photo  Bezymianny  | Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | 55.972°N, 160.595°E  | Elevation 2882 m

KVERT reported that seismic activity at Bezymianny was slightly above background levels during 14 and 16-18 August and at background levels during 15 and 20-21 August. Analysis of satellite imagery revealed a thermal anomaly over the lava dome during 14-15 and 18-21 August. The thermal anomaly enlarged just before an explosion on 19 August. The explosion produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 9 km (29,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 1,200 km W. Staff at a seismic station about 50 km W reported ashfall and the smell of volcanic gas. The Level of Concern Color Code was lowered to Yellow.

Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)



Volcano index photo  Chaiten  | Chile  | 42.833°S, 72.646°W  | Elevation 1122 m

Based on web camera views, pilot observations, and analysis of satellite imagery, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 20-23 and 26 August ash plumes from Chaitén rose to altitudes of 2.1-3 km (7,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE, E, and NE. A thermal anomaly over the lava dome was detected on satellite imagery during 22-23 August.

Source: Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)



Volcano index photo  Chikurachki  | Paramushir Island (Russia)  | 50.324°N, 155.461°E  | Elevation 1781 m

KVERT reported that clouds prevented satellite image views of Chikurachki during 15-22 August. The level of seismicity was unknown because Chikurachki lacks dedicated seismic instruments. The Level of Concern Color Code remained at Orange.

Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)



Volcano index photo  Cleveland  | Chuginadak Island (USA)  | 52.825°N, 169.944°W  | Elevation 1730 m

AVO reported that cloud cover prevented satellite observations of Cleveland during 20-26 August, although a possible thermal anomaly was present on 24 August. On 25 August the Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Advisory and the Aviation Color Code to Yellow.

Source: US Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO)



Volcano index photo  Dukono  | Halmahera (Indonesia)  | 1.693°N, 127.894°E  | Elevation 1229 m

Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 24 August an ash plume from Dukono rose to an altitude of 2.7 km (9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW. On 26 August, ash plumes rose to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and WNW.

Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)



Volcano index photo  Fuego  | Guatemala  | 14.473°N, 90.88°W  | Elevation 3763 m

INSIVUMEH reported that on 20 August lahars descended several rivers to the S and SE of Fuego, carrying fine material as well as blocks up to 1 m in diameter. Strong currents in Río Cenizas and El Jute were noted. During 25-26 August, explosions produced ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 4.1 km (13,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW. Fumarolic plumes rose to an altitude of 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l. and also drifted SW. A 300-m-long lava flow traveled W towards the Santa Teresa ravine.

Source: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)



Volcano index photo  Karymsky  | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)  | 54.049°N, 159.443°E  | Elevation 1513 m

KVERT reported that seismic activity at Karymsky was at typical levels during 14-15, 17, and 19-20 August. They also reported possible explosions during 14-15 and 17-20 August. Volcanic tremor was detected on 14 and 20 August. The Level of Concern Color Code remained at Orange.

Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)



Volcano index photo  Kilauea  | Hawaiian Islands (USA)  | 19.421°N, 155.287°W  | Elevation 1222 m

HVO reported that during 20-26 August, lava flowed SE through a lava tube system from underneath Kilauea's Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex to the Waikupanaha ocean entry. On 20 August, geologists observed bursting lava bubbles from an area E of Waikupanaha that threw molten fragments 10-20 m into the air. The sulfur dioxide emission rate at Pu'u 'O'o was 3,200 and 1,800 tonnes per day on 20 and 22 August, respectively; the average background rate is about 2,000 tonnes per day.

Kilauea earthquakes were centered in various locations along the Koa'e fault system, S and W of the caldera, beneath the summit, along the S-flank faults, and along the E and SW rift zones. Beneath Halema'uma'u crater, more than 40 small earthquakes per day (background 40) also occurred but were too small to be located more precisely. About 100 earthquakes were detected on 26 August. The vent in Halema'uma'u crater continued to produce a predominantly white plume with minor ash content that drifted mainly SW. The plume was occasionally tinged brown. Weak night-time incandescence was intermittently seen at the base of the plume, and rock impacts and muted rushing sounds were heard in the vicinity of the crater. On 21 August, an earthquake was accompanied by a 400-m-high jet of mostly gas that rose vertically, then drifted SW. The jet also contained some rock dust and bits of volcanic glass. Several small ash ejections occurred on 25 August. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 600-1,000 tonnes per day during 20-25 August. The pre-2008 background rate was 150-200 tonnes per day.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)



Volcano index photo  Llaima  | Chile  | 38.692°S, 71.729°W  | Elevation 3125 m

SERNAGEOMIN reported that steam plumes from the pyroclastic cones in Llaima's main crater were visible during periods of clear weather on 16 August. Steam plumes rose from the W flank where lava flows were active in February and July. On 17 August, sporadic gas-and-ash emissions were observed. Cloud cover prevented observations during 18-20 August. On 21 August, three explosions produced ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 3.6 km (11,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. Gas and steam was emitted in between explosions; resultant plumes rose to an altitude of 3.4 km (11,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 9 km E. During an overflight, scientists observed steam-and-gas plumes being emitted from a small crater in the N sector of the main crater. A larger crater, about 100 m in diameter, in the central sector emitted ash. The ash plumes rose to an altitude of 3.4 km (11,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. A thin layer of ash blanketed the E flank. Ash-and-gas plumes from the main crater drifted W on 22 August. On 23 August, observers reported that incandescent material was ejected less than 1 km above the crater. The next day, an ash plume drifted about 1.5 km SSE. Ash blanketed some areas of the flanks. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Yellow.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)



Volcano index photo  Okmok  | Fox Islands (USA)  | 53.43°N, 168.13°W  | Elevation 1073 m

AVO reported that seismic activity at Okmok decreased on 19 August to near pre-eruption levels and remained low during 20-24 August. Occasional bursts of volcanic tremor were detected. Although satellite views were hindered due to cloud cover, a possible thermal anomaly in the crater was present on 21, 24, and 25 August. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch and the Aviation Color Code at Orange.

Source: US Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO)



Volcano index photo  Pacaya  | Guatemala  | 14.382°N, 90.601°W  | Elevation 2569 m

INSIVUMEH reported that during 21-26 August, fumarolic plumes from Pacaya's MacKenney cone rose to an altitude of 3.2 km (10,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and SW. Incandescence from the crater was occasionally seen at night. Lava flows on the SW flank branched and traveled a maximum of 300 m; lava continued to fill in the area between MacKenney cone and Cerro Chino crater to the N. Avalanches occurred from the lava-flow fronts on 26 August.

Source: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)



Volcano index photo  Rabaul  | New Britain (Papua New Guinea)  | 4.271°S, 152.203°E  | Elevation 688 m

RVO reported that ash plumes from Rabaul caldera's Tavurvur cone continued to be emitted during 18-22 August, although less so than during 16-18 August. Some prolonged ash-free intervals were immediately followed by explosions that produced ash plumes. The plumes drifted NW and caused ashfall in areas downwind. Occasionally incandescence at the summit was observed and roaring noises were heard. Explosions also ejected incandescent lava fragments.

Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 23 August ash plumes rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW.

Sources: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO)



Volcano index photo  Santa Maria  | Guatemala  | 14.757°N, 91.552°W  | Elevation 3745 m

INSIVUMEH reported that during 21-26 August explosions from Caliente, a unit of Santa María's Santiaguito lava dome complex, produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.3 km (9,200-10,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S, SW, and W. Constant degassing was noted.

Source: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)



Volcano index photo  Semeru  | Eastern Java (Indonesia)  | 8.108°S, 112.922°E  | Elevation 3657 m

Based on pilot reports and observations of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 21-22 August ash plumes from Semeru rose to an altitude of 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W.

Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)



Volcano index photo  Sheveluch  | Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | 56.653°N, 161.36°E  | Elevation 3283 m

KVERT reported that seismic activity at Shiveluch was slightly above background levels during 15-22 August. Analysis of satellite imagery revealed a thermal anomaly on the lava dome on 15, 18, and 21 August. The Level of Concern Color Code remained at Orange.

Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)



Volcano index photo  Suwanosejima  | Ryukyu Islands (Japan)  | 29.638°N, 129.714°E  | Elevation 796 m

Based on reports from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported explosions from Suwanose-jima during 24-26 August. Resultant plumes rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.4 km (6,000-8,000 ft) a.s.l. during 25-26 August.

Source: Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)



Volcano index photo  Tungurahua  | Ecuador  | 1.467°S, 78.442°W  | Elevation 5023 m

The IG reported that on 19 August fumarolic plumes from Tungurahua rose 20 m above the NE crater and on 20 August, steam-and-ash plumes rose about 50 m above the crater. On 21 August, intense rains prompted the Tungurahua Observatory (OVT) to issue a warning of potential lahars in the Vascún river. A natural dam in the river was previously identified as potentially hazardous. On 23 August, a person in El Salado detected vibrations. The dam ruptured and material descended the Vascún river to the N at speeds of 10-15 m/s, destroying a house, damaging and demolishing bridges, and destroying multiple public swimming pools in the Baños area. Two people were injured and two people were missing.

Source: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG)



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 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

Criteria

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.


Disclaimers

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.

4. Many news agencies do not archive the articles they post on the Internet, and therefore the links to some sources may not be active. To obtain information about the cited articles that are no longer available on the Internet contact the source.

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Information presented on this website is considered public information and may be distributed or copied. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credit is requested. We strongly recommend that USGS data be acquired directly from a USGS server and not through other sources that may change the data in some way. While USGS makes every effort to provide accurate and complete information, various data such as names, telephone numbers, etc. may change prior to updating. USGS welcomes suggestions on how to improve our home page and correct errors. USGS provides no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of furnished data.

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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.

 Acronyms and Abbreviations

a.s.l. - above sea level

AVO - Alaska Volcano Observatory

AVHRR - Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer

CENAPRED - Centro Nacionale de Prevencion de Desastres (México)

CONRED - Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres

COSPEC - Correlation Spectrometer

CVGHM (formerly VSI) - Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation

CVO - Cascades Volcano Observatory (USGS)

GMS - Geostationary Meteorological Satellite

GOES - Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite

GVO - Goma Volcano Observatory

GVP - Global Volcanism Program (Smithsonian Institution)

HVO - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS)

ICE - Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (Costa Rica)

IG - Instituto Geofísico (Ecuador)

IGNS - Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (New Zealand) - now GNS Science

INETER - Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (Nicaragua)

INGEMMET - Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico (Peru)

INGEOMINAS - Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería (Colombia)

INGV-CT - Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - Sezione di Catania (Italy)

INSIVUMEH - Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hidrologia (Guatemala)

IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (France)

JMA - Japanese Meteorological Agency

KEMSD - Kamchatkan Experimental and Methodical Seismilogical Department

KVERT - Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team

M - magnitude

METEOSAT - Meteorological Satellite

MEVO - Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory

MODIS - Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer

MVO - Montserrat Volcano Observatory

MWO - Meteorological Watch Office

NEIC - National Earthquake Information Center

NIED - National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (Japan)

NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOTAM - Notice to Airmen

OVDAS - Observatorio Volcanologico de los Andes del Sur (Chile)

OFDA - Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance

ONEMI - Oficina Nacional de Emergencia - Ministerio del Interior (Chile)

OVPDLF - Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (France)

OVSICORI-UNA - Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (Costa Rica)

PHIVOLCS - Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philippines)

RSAM - Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurement

RVO - Rabaul Volcano Observatory

SERNAGEOMIN - Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria (Chile)

SIGMET - Significant Meteorological Information

SNET - Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (El Salvador)

SVERT - Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (Russia)

USAID - US Agency for International Development

USGS - United States Geological Survey

UTC - Coordinated Universal Time

VAAC - Volcanic Ash Advisory Center

VAFTAD - Volcanic Ash Forecast Transport And Dispersion

VDAP - Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (USGS)

VHP - Volcano Hazards Program (USGS)

VRC - Volcano Research Center (Japan)