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Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

You are currently viewing Archived reports for the week of 25 March-31 March 2009.


















 Activity for the week of 25 March-31 March 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
Ambrym Vanuatu New
Gorely Southern Kamchatka (Russia) New
Redoubt United States New
Reventador Ecuador New

Aira Kyushu (Japan) Ongoing
Asamayama Honshu (Japan) Ongoing
Barren Island Andaman Islands (India) Ongoing
Batu Tara Komba Island (Indonesia) Ongoing
Chaiten Chile Ongoing
Colima Mexico Ongoing
Fuego Guatemala Ongoing
Karymsky Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) Ongoing
Kilauea Hawaiian Islands (USA) Ongoing
Koryaksky Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) Ongoing
Krakatau Indonesia Ongoing
Rabaul New Britain (Papua New Guinea) Ongoing
Sheveluch Central Kamchatka (Russia) Ongoing
Suwanosejima Ryukyu Islands (Japan) Ongoing
Tungurahua Ecuador Ongoing


New Activity / Unrest


Volcano index photo  Ambrym  | Vanuatu  | 16.25°S, 168.12°E  | Elevation 1334 m

Based on information from the Port Vila airport tower, the Wellington VAAC reported that on 25 March an ash plume from Ambrym rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted about 55 km S. The next day, a pilot reported that "smoke" rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. Ash was not identified on satellite imagery.

Source: Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)



Volcano index photo  Gorely  | Southern Kamchatka (Russia)  | 52.559°N, 158.03°E  | Elevation 1799 m

KVERT reported that seismic activity from Gorely increased during 10-27 March. The Level of Concern Color Code was raised to Yellow.

Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)



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

On 25 March, AVO reported that a small explosion from Redoubt produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N to NW. Later that day AVO lowered the Volcanic Alert Level to Watch and the Aviation Color Code to Orange because seismicity had decreased during the previous 36 hours. On 26 March, multiple explosive eruptions produced plumes to altitudes of 6.1-19.8 km (20,000-65,000 ft) a.s.l. or greater. AVO raised the Alert Level to Warning and the Aviation Color Code to Red, the highest levels. The largest eruption, at 0924, also produced a lahar in the Drift River valley that was detected by seismic instruments.

During 27-28 March, seven explosive eruptions produced ash plumes to altitudes of 7.6-15.2 km (25,000-50,000 ft) a.s.l. An ash plume on 29 March rose to an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. Seismic and infrasound data did not show clear evidence that the plume was generated by an explosion. On 30 March, continuously emitted ash plumes of varying intensities were observed in a web camera, on satellite and radar images, and by pilots, and rose to altitudes less than 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. Occasionally, short-lived events produced ash plumes to an altitude of 8.2 km (27,000 ft) a.s.l. A thermal anomaly at the vent seen on satellite imagery was possibly due to the extrusion of a lava dome in the summit crater. On 31 March, emissions of steam, gas, and minor amounts of ash were seen on Redoubt Hut web camera. Resultant plumes rose to altitudes of 4.6-7.6 km (15,000-25,000 ft) a.s.l. Satellite images showed a broad layer of volcanic haze that extended E over the Kenai Peninsula, the Anchorage Bowl, and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.

According to news articles, 11 people were evacuated on 23 March from the Drift River Terminal, an oil storage facility about 35 km ENE of Redoubt that shut down because of the eruption. During 24-28 March, flights in and out of Anchorage and other local areas continued to be canceled or diverted; as many as 185 Alaska Airlines flights had been canceled since the beginning of the eruption. Ashfall was occasionally reported in Anchorage and areas NW.

Sources: US Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), Associated Press, Associated Press



Volcano index photo  Reventador  | Ecuador  | 0.077°S, 77.656°W  | Elevation 3562 m

The IG reported that seismicity from Reventador increased during 25-26 March. On 26 March, the seismic network detected an earthquake swarm consisting of long-period and hybrid events, interspersed with bands of harmonic tremor. Observers reported steam emissions with low ash content.

Source: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG)



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 that an explosion from Sakura-jima on 26 March produced a plume that rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE. JMA reported occasional weak eruptions during 27-30 March.

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



Volcano index photo  Asamayama  | Honshu (Japan)  | 36.406°N, 138.523°E  | Elevation 2568 m

JMA reported weak incandescence from Asama on 23 March. Strong steam emissions were seen on 30 March by an observer in Maebashi, 50 km E.

Sources: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Yukio Hayakawa, Gunma University



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 25-26 March ash plumes from Barren Island rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted about 110 km S.

Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)



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

Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 25-27 March ash plumes from Batu Tara rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted about 30-110 km NW.

Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)



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

SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 17-23 March Chaitén's lava-dome complex continued to grow from an area that includes the central spines and part of Domo Nuevo 1. This was also the main area where collapses from unstable slopes caused block-and-ash flows. Continuously emitted steam plumes with varying amounts of tephra and gas-and-ash plumes generated by block-and-ash flows drifted N and ESE. The block-and-ash flow volume was smaller compared to the previous week. The Alert Level remained at Red.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)



Volcano index photo  Colima  | Mexico  | 19.514°N, 103.62°W  | Elevation 3850 m

During 25-29 and 31 March, white and gray plumes from Colima rose to altitudes of 3.9-4.6 km (12,800-15,100 ft) a.s.l. and occasionally drifted SW, SE, E, and NE.

Source: Gobierno del Estado de Colima



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

On 27 and 30 March, INSIVUMEH reported that explosions from Fuego produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.1-4.8 km (13,500-15,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S and SW. Some explosions were accompanied by rumbling noises, shock waves detected 10 km away, and avalanches of blocks down the W and SW flanks. Fumarolic plumes drifted NE and SW. On 30 March, incandescent material was ejected 75 m into the air. Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that on 31 March an ash plume drifted E.

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



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

KVERT reported that seismic activity at Karymsky was elevated during 19-22 March and at background levels during 23-24 March. Based on interpretations of seismic data, ash plumes likely rose to an altitude of 2 km (6,600 ft) a.s.l. On 26 March, ash deposits extending 30 km S of the volcano were seen on satellite imagery. 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

During 24-31 March, HVO reported that lava flowed SE from underneath Kilauea's Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex through a lava tube system, reaching the Waikupanaha and Kupapa'u ocean entries. Daily thermal anomalies seen on satellite imagery suggested surface flows on the coastal plain.

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, and sounds resembling rushing gas were sometimes heard in the vicinity of the crater. Variable amounts of tephra and some Pele's hair were retrieved almost daily from collection bins placed near the plume. On 24 March, a dusty brown plume rose from the vent. Geologists utilizing an infrared camera saw at least two spattering openings deep below the vent rim. On 25 March, two more brown plumes were emitted. A larger collapse was followed by a large, dense, brown plume, and several more brown plumes over the next two hours. The rockfalls within the vent covered the previously seen hot vents. During 26-28 March, infrared camera views revealed a rising and falling lava surface deep below the crater floor. The lava surface was static, but circulating on 29 March. The sulfur dioxide emission rate at the summit was 500, 900, and 1,000 tonnes per day on 25, 26, and 30 March, respectively; the 2003-2007 average rate was 140 tonnes per day.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)



Volcano index photo  Koryaksky  | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)  | 53.321°N, 158.712°E  | Elevation 3430 m

KVERT reported that seismic activity at Koryaksky was at background levels during 20-27 March. Gas plumes containing a small amount of ash rose to an altitude of 4 km (13,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S, SE, W and NW during the reporting period. On 25 and 26 March, gas-and-ash plumes were also seen on satellite imagery and drifted 225 km SE. The Level of Concern Color Code remained Orange.

Based on information from the Yelizovo Airport and KEMSD, and analysis of satellite imagery, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 26-27 and 29 March ash plumes rose to altitudes of 3-3.7 km (10,000-12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S, SW, and W.

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



Volcano index photo  Krakatau  | Indonesia  | 6.102°S, 105.423°E  | Elevation 813 m

CVGHM reported that seismicity from Krakatau increased during 19-25 March. Fog prevented observations on 24 March. During periods of clear weather on 25 March, white-to-gray plumes rose 400 m above Anak Krakatau. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Source: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM)



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

RVO reported that during 21-26 March white and occasional gray ash plumes from Rabaul caldera's Tavurvur cone rose 500 m above the crater and drifted in variable directions. Incandescence from the summit crater was seen at night. Light ashfall was reported S of Duke of York Islands, about 20 km E.

Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO)



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

KVERT reported that seismic activity at Shiveluch was above background levels during 20-27 March. Based on interpretations of seismic data, ash plumes likely rose to an altitude of 6 km (19,700 ft) a.s.l. According to observers, fumaroles were active during 23-26 March and explosions produced ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 8 km (26,200 ft) a.s.l. on 24 March. Analysis of satellite imagery revealed a daily thermal anomaly on the lava dome and an ash plume that drifted 40 km S on 25 March. The Level of Concern Color Code remained at Orange.

Based on information from KEMSD, the Tokyo VAAC reported that eruptions during 27-28 March produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.3-5.5 km (14,000-18,000 ft) a.s.l.

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



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

Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported an explosion from Suwanose-jima on 28 March. JMA reported three explosions on 30 March. Details of possible resultant ash plumes on either day 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

During 25-27 and 30-31 March, IG reported that steam-and-ash plumes from Tungurahua rose to altitudes of 5.5-7 km (18,000-23,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW, NE, E, and SW. On 25 March, ashfall was reported in areas to the SW and lahars traveled down a drainage to the W. On 26 March, lahars traveled down multiple drainages to the W, SW, and S; a lahar in the Mapayacu drainage to the SW carried blocks up to 2 m in diameter. Inclement weather impaired visual observations during 28-29 March.

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.

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)