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Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

You are currently viewing Archived reports for the week of 18 February-24 February 2009.


















 Activity for the week of 18 February-24 February 2009

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
Chaiten Chile New
Galeras Colombia New
Redoubt United States New

Aira Kyushu (Japan) Ongoing
Barren Island Andaman Islands (India) Ongoing
Fuego Guatemala Ongoing
Guagua Pichincha Ecuador Ongoing
Karymsky Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) Ongoing
Kilauea Hawaiian Islands (USA) Ongoing
Popocatepetl Mexico Ongoing
Rabaul New Britain (Papua New Guinea) Ongoing
Santa Maria Guatemala Ongoing
Sheveluch Central Kamchatka (Russia) Ongoing
Soufriere Hills Montserrat Ongoing
Suwanosejima Ryukyu Islands (Japan) Ongoing
Tungurahua Ecuador Ongoing
Ubinas Peru Ongoing


New Activity / Unrest


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

SERNAGEOMIN reported that on 19 February a partial lava-dome collapse of the S flank of Chaitén's Domo Nuevo 1 and Domo Nuevo 2 lava-dome complex generated lateral explosions, block-and-ash flows, and pyroclastic flows. A pyroclastic flow traveled S down the Chaitén (Blanco) River valley, stopping within about 5 km of Chaitén town (10 km SW). Ash plumes rose to an altitude of 9.1 km (30,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and SE. Ash fell in Futaleufú (about 65 km ESE), and, according to ONEMI, accumulated to thicknesses of 3-5 mm. Overflights revealed that the tree leaves in a forest near the S flank were burned and steam rose from new deposits in the Chaitén River valley. Ash-and-steam plumes rose to altitudes of 7.1-9.1 km (23,300-30,000 ft) a.s.l. A 500 x 500 m scar from the partial dome collapse was seen on the S flank. Seismicity decreased to pre-collapse levels by the afternoon. The steaming from pyroclastic flow deposits was again seen in the channel and on the shores of the Chaitén River valley during an overflight the next day, but had greatly decreased by 21 February. Using photos taken during 19 and 20 February overflights, scientists estimated that 10 million cubic meters of material was removed from the S flank of the dome complex. According to a news article, about 200 people were living in Chaitén town on 19 February. ONEMI reported that many of those people self-evacuated, but about 46 people remained in the town, refusing to leave. On 23 February, lahars traveled down river valleys and an off-white plume was seen on the web camera rising about 1 km above the lava domes.

Based on SIGMET notices, analysis of satellite imagery, and web camera views, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 23-24 February ash plumes rose to altitudes 2.1-3 km (7,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE and E.

Sources: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Oficina Nacional de Emergencia-Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI), Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Patagonia Times



Volcano index photo  Galeras  | Colombia  | 1.22°N, 77.37°W  | Elevation 4276 m

INGEOMINAS reported an explosive eruption from Galeras that began at 0705 on 20 February; the Alert Level was raised from II (Orange; "probable eruption in term of days or weeks") to I (Red; "imminent eruption or in progress"), on a scale of 4-1. The eruption was accompanied by shock waves detected in several local communities and produced sounds heard in Popayán (about 160 km NNE). Observers from areas on the E flank reported two explosions, incandescent blocks ejected above the summit, ash emissions, and sulfur gas odor. An ash plume rose to an altitude of 12.5 km (41,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E, W, and N. Ashfall was reported in areas to the W. Gas plumes with a low ash content continued, especially in the afternoon, and rose 700 m above the summit. On 21 February, the Alert Level was lowered to back to II. During 22-24 February, occasional steam plumes rose 500 m above the summit and drifted NNW.

Source: Servicio Geológico Colombiano (SGC)



Volcano index photo  Redoubt  | United States  | 60.485°N, 152.742°W  | Elevation 3108 m

AVO reported that during 18-24 February seismic activity at Redoubt was variable but remained elevated above background levels. Web camera views and satellite imagery showed no unusual activity; steam plumes within the summit crater were seen on the web camera on 23 and 24 February.

Source: US Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO)



Ongoing Activity


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

JMA lowered the Alert Level for Sakura-jima from 3 to 2 (on a scale of 1-5) on 19 February because deformation was absent, seismicity was low, and no eruptions occurred after 5 February. Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 22 February an explosion produced a plume that rose to an altitude of 2.7 km (9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N.

Sources: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)



Volcano index photo  Barren Island  | Andaman Islands (India)  | 12.278°N, 93.858°E  | Elevation 354 m

Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 20-21 February ash plumes from Barren Island rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted about 75-90 km WNW, NW, and N.

Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)



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

Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that on 18 February ash plumes from Fuego rose to an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted WSW. On 20 and 24 February, INSIVUMEH reported that explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.1-4.7 km (13,500-15,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 6-8 km SW. Some explosions produced rumbling sounds and shock waves. Incandescent material was ejected 150 m above the crater. Incandescent avalanches of blocks traveled down the W and SW flanks.

Sources: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)



Volcano index photo  Guagua Pichincha  | Ecuador  | 0.171°S, 78.598°W  | Elevation 4784 m

The IG reported four moderate phreatic explosions from Guagua Pichincha were detected by the seismic network during 16-17 February, following a few days of slightly increased seismicity and rainfall. IG recommended that visitors stay out of the caldera.

Source: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG)



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

KVERT reported that during 13-20 January seismic data from Karymsky was unavailable and clouds prevented satellite image observations. The Level of Concern Color Code remained at Orange. Based on information from KEMSD and observations of satellite imagery, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 21-22 February eruptions produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 3-4.3 km (10,000-14,000 ft) a.s.l.

Sources: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)



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

HVO reported that during 18-24 February lava flowed SE from underneath Kilauea's Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex through a lava tube system, reaching the Waikupanaha ocean entry and occasionally producing explosions. On 17 February, four large explosions that accompanied a collapse of the Waikupanaha bench ejected rocks and spatter 275 m inland. Lava also entered the ocean at Waha'ula during 18-20 February, and at a second point further E, named Poupou, starting on 18 February. Incandescence originated from the Prince lobe on 20 February. Thermal anomalies noted on the coastal plain suggested surface flows.

The vent in Halema'uma'u crater continued to produce a predominantly white plume that drifted mainly SW; incandescence was intermittently seen from the vent. Small amounts of ejected tephra, including Pele's hair and some spatter, were routinely collected. Geologists utilizing an infrared imager during an overflight on 20 February saw a small, hot degassing vent deep below the vent rim. The sulfur dioxide emission rate at the summit was 1,400, 1,500, 1,300, and 900 tonnes per day on 17, 18, 19, and 20 February, respectively; the 2003-2007 average rate was 140 tonnes per day.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)



Volcano index photo  Popocatepetl  | Mexico  | 19.023°N, 98.622°W  | Elevation 5393 m

CENAPRED reported that emissions of steam and gas from Popocatépetl were visible during 18-24 February; the plumes occasionally contained slight amounts of ash.

Source: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED)



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

Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 22-23 February ash plumes from Rabaul caldera's Tavurvur cone rose to altitudes of 1.8-3 km (6,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S, W, and NW.

Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)



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

Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that on 18 February a dense ash plume from Santa María's Santiaguito lava dome complex drifted W. On 20 February, INSIVUMEH reported that an explosion produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 3.2 km (10,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. On 24 February, an explosion produced a white plume that rose 500 m above the summit and drifted SW. Incandescence was seen SW of Caliente dome.

Sources: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (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 at background levels during 13-20 February. Based on interpretations of seismic data, ash plumes likely rose to an altitude of 4.6 km (15,100 ft) a.s.l. Lava flows continued to be active on the S and N flanks. Fumarolic activity was seen during 12-13 and 19 February. Analysis of satellite imagery revealed a daily thermal anomaly on the lava dome and an ash plume that drifted 31 km NW on 17 February. The Level of Concern Color Code remained at Orange.

Based on information from KEMSD and analysis of satellite imagery, the Tokyo VAAC reported that an eruption on 18 February produced a plume that rose to an altitude of 4.9 km (16,000 ft) a.s.l.

Sources: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), 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 13-20 February activity from the Soufrière Hills lava dome was at a low level. Four rockfalls were detected and seismicity had increased slightly compared to previous weeks. On 16 February, heavy rainfall triggered a small pyroclastic flow on the N side of the lava dome and a substantial lahar NW in the Belham River. A thermal camera showed a large amount of steaming in the Dyer's area (NW) during this period, and occasionally for a few days after. The Hazard Level was lowered to 3 on 19 February.

Source: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO)



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

JMA reported that Suwanose-jima erupted explosively on 18 February; a colored plume rose 400 m above the crater and drifted E. Two explosive eruptions occurred the next day. Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported explosions on 20 and 21 February. Details of possible resultant ash plumes were not reported.

Sources: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)



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

The IG reported that, although cloud cover occasionally prevented visual observation during 18-24 February, ash plumes from Tungurahua were seen and rose to altitudes of 6-8 km (19,700-26,200 ft) a.s.l. The plumes drifted mainly W and NW. Ashfall was reported almost daily and was noted in areas to the SW, W, and NW. Blocks were often seen or heard rolling down the flanks, and roaring or explosion noises were noted. On 18 February, incandescence in the crater was seen and a lahar traveled down a drainage to the W. Strombolian activity at the summit was observed during 19-20 and 22-23 February.

Source: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG)



Volcano index photo  Ubinas  | Peru  | 16.355°S, 70.903°W  | Elevation 5672 m

Based on a SIGMET notice and a pilot observation, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that on 23 February an ash plume from Ubinas rose to altitudes of 6.2-7.6 km (20,500-25,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S. Ash was not seen on satellite imagery.

Source: Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)



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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.

5. USGS Disclaimer Statement for this Website:

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.

Some of the documents on this server may contain live references (or pointers) to information created and maintained by other organizations. Please note that USGS does not control and cannot guarantee the relevance, timeliness, or accuracy of these outside materials.

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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)