Activity for the week of 24 December-30 December 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.
New Activity / Unrest
| Chuginadak Island (USA)
| 52.825°N, 169.944°W
| Elevation 1730 m
AVO reported that on 24 December the Volcano Alert Level for Cleveland was raised to Advisory, and the Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow, due to a persistent thermal anomaly near the summit visible on satellite imagery acquired the day before. The previous Alert Levels were listed as Unassigned. Cloud cover prevented observations during 25-27 December. The thermal anomaly was again detected on 28 December, but was absent the next two days. No current seismic information was available because Cleveland does not have a real-time seismic network.
Source: US Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO)
| Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
| 53.321°N, 158.712°E
| Elevation 3430 m
KVERT reported that during 23-24 December gas-and-steam plumes from Koryaksky containing a small amount of ash were detected on satellite images. On 24 December observers from the Nalychevo valley reported that a dark plume rose 200-300 m from a fumarolic vent (about 3 km a.s.l.) on the NW flank of Koryaksky and a boom was heard later that night. Ash plumes detected in satellite imagery on 25 December drifted about 200 km NE. On 28 December, KVERT raised the Alert Level to Orange and reported that a Vulcanian eruption was occurring. Ash plumes rose to an altitude of 4 km (13,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW.
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
Piton de la Fournaise
| Reunion Island (France)
| 21.244°S, 55.708°E
| Elevation 2632 m
OVPDLF reported that during 22-28 December lava from Piton de la Fournaise continued to issue from an active vent in the N part of Dolomieu crater, beneath "La Soufrière" and about 200 m below the crater rim. Gas plumes often reduced visibility. On 24 December, a small cone formed at the vent and occasionally produced lava fountains. During 27-28 December ten active channels were visible on the inner flanks of the crater. On 29 December, no lava was visible at the cone and lava flows were not apparent. The crater was sometimes filled with bluish gas during 29-30 December.
Source: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF)
| 16.72°N, 62.18°W
| Elevation 915 m
MVO reported that during 19-26 December activity from Soufrière Hills lava dome was characterized by increased lava extrusion, rockfalls, and pyroclastic flows. Lava extrusion on the N, W, and SW sides of the dome continued and incandescence on the dome was visible at night when weather was favorable. Rockfall events increased by 80 percent compared to the previous week. Pyroclastic flows began to enter Tyers Ghaut (NW) on 20 December and likely reached the bottom of the ghaut (ravine) on 21, 23, and 25 December. On 22 December, the Hazard Level was increased to 4 due to the repeated occurrences of pyroclastic flows in the lower part of Tyers Ghaut. On 24 December, a large pyroclastic flow that reached Plymouth (about 5 km W), and possibly the sea, generated an ash plume to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. Large incandescent blocks, deposited by rockfalls and pyroclastic flows, were visible on multiple occasions at night in the upper and middle parts of Tyers Ghaut.
Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that during 26-30 December ash plumes drifted W, WSW, SW, and S. Intermittent thermal anomalies were detected on satellite imagery on 27 December. Plumes rose to altitudes of 2.1-4.9 km (7,000-16,000 ft) a.s.l. on 28 and 30 December.
Sources: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| 1.467°S, 78.442°W
| Elevation 5023 m
The IG reported that during 23 and 25-29 December ash plumes from Tungurahua rose to altitudes of 6-9 km (19,700-29,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted mostly S, SW, W, and NW. On 23 December incandescent material rolled down Tungurahua's flanks and a possible pyroclastic flow traveled 700 m down the NW flank. Ashfall was reported and explosions vibrated windows and the ground in areas to the SW. During 24-29 December roaring and "cannon shot" noises were reported almost daily; windows and the ground vibrated on 24, 28, and 30 December. A lahar traveled SW down the Mapayacu ravine on 27 December. Incandescence at the summit and ashfall in areas downwind were noted on 25, 26, 28, and 29 December. Explosions ejected blocks that rolled 500 m down the flanks on 25 December, 1500 m on 29 December, and 800 m on 30 December. On 30 December heavy black ash fell in areas to the SW.
Source: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG)
| Bougainville (Papua New Guinea)
| 6.137°S, 155.196°E
| Elevation 1855 m
Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 29 December an ash plume from Bagana drifted about 75 km W. On 30 December an ash plume rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW.
Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)
| 42.833°S, 72.646°W
| Elevation 1122 m
SERNAGEOMIN reported that, although inclement weather mostly prevented observations of Chaitén during 24-29 December, a gas-and-steam plume was seen on a web camera rising above Domo Nuevo 2 on 25 and 28 December. The plume was brown mainly at the base and rose to an altitude of about 3.1 km (10,200 ft) a.s.l. The Alert Level remained Red.
Based on analysis of satellite imagery and web camera views, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 25-26 and 29 December ash plumes continuously rose to altitudes 2-2.1 km (6,500-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NNE.
Sources: Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)
| Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
| 54.049°N, 159.443°E
| Elevation 1513 m
KVERT reported that on 18 and 20 December seismic activity at Karymsky was at background levels; possible explosions may have generated ash-and-gas plumes to an altitude of 3 km (9,800 ft) a.s.l. on 18 December. Analysis of satellite imagery revealed a thermal anomaly in the crater during 21-26 December and ash plumes that drifted 80 km E during 21-23 December. Ash deposits 26 km long to the SE and 9 km long to the NE were noted on 21 December. The Level of Concern Color Code remained at Orange.
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
| Hawaiian Islands (USA)
| 19.421°N, 155.287°W
| Elevation 1222 m
HVO reported that during 24-30 December lava flowed SE through a tube system from underneath Kilauea's Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex, reaching the Waikupanaha ocean entry. Thermal anomalies were detected on satellite imagery at the base of the pali and on the coastal plain. Explosions at the ocean entry were noted on 26 and 29 December.
Earthquakes were variously located beneath the caldera, along the S-flank fault, and along the SW rift zone. The vent in Halema'uma'u crater continued to produce a predominantly white plume that drifted mainly SW. Following a decreasing trend since 15 December, the vent produced minimal amounts of tephra that mostly consisted of fine rock dust. The sulfur dioxide emission rate at the summit was 400 and 800 tonnes per day on 24 and 29 December, respectively; the 2003-2007 average rate was 140 tonnes per day.
Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)
| Central Kamchatka (Russia)
| 56.056°N, 160.642°E
| Elevation 4754 m
KVERT reported that seismic activity at Kliuchevskoi was above background levels during 19-26 December. Gas-and-steam plumes containing ash rose to an altitude of 7 km (23,000 ft) a.s.l. during 20-24 December. Lava effusion on the NW flank continued and Strombolian activity was noted during 21-25 December. Analysis of satellite imagery revealed a large daily thermal anomaly in the crater. Ash plumes drifted 270 km E and NE during 20-25 December.
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
| New Britain (Papua New Guinea)
| 4.271°S, 152.203°E
| Elevation 688 m
RVO reported that during 20-26 December gray ash plumes from Rabaul caldera's Tavurvur cone rose to altitudes of 1.7-2.2 km (5,600-7,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE and W. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind, including Kokopo Town (SE). Rumbling and roaring noises were reported on some days. Explosions or forceful emissions sometimes ejected incandescent lava fragments that fell back into the crater and occasionally onto the slopes.
Based on analysis of satellite imagery and pilot observations, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 30 December an ash plume rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.4 km (6,000-8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N and NW.
Sources: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO)
| 14.757°N, 91.552°W
| Elevation 3745 m
Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that a small ash plume from Santa María's Santiaguito lava dome complex drifted NW on 23 December. The next day a plume drifted W, and on 25 December a puff of ash drifted WNW.
Source: Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| Central Kamchatka (Russia)
| 56.653°N, 161.36°E
| Elevation 3283 m
KVERT reported that seismic activity at Shiveluch was above background levels during 19-26 December. Based on interpretations of seismic data, ash plumes rose to an altitude of 8.5 km (27,800 ft) a.s.l. on 19 and 20 December and to an altitude of 5 km (16,400 ft) a.s.l. during 21-26 December. An ash plume was seen on 22 December at an altitude of 5 km (16,400 ft) a.s.l. and gas-and-steam emissions were noted on 23 and 24 December. Analysis of satellite imagery revealed a daily thermal anomaly on the lava dome. The Level of Concern Color Code remained at Orange.
Based on information from KEMSD and analysis of satellite imagery, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 26-27 and 30 December eruptions produced plumes to altitudes of 5.5-7 km (18,000-23,000 ft) a.s.l.
Sources: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
| Ryukyu Islands (Japan)
| 29.638°N, 129.714°E
| Elevation 796 m
Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported explosions from Suwanose-jima during 26-28 and 30 December. Plumes rose to altitudes of 1.5-1.8 km (5,000-6,000 ft) a.s.l. during 27-28 December.
Source: Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
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.
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