Zubair Group

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 15.05°N
  • 42.18°E

  • 191 m
    626 ft

  • 221020
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

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Most Recent Weekly Report: 11 January-17 January 2012


Satellite imagery acquired on 15 January from the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's EO-1 satellite showed that the eruption in the northern part of the Zubair Group appeared to have stopped. The S end of the new island is about 500 m NNW of Rugged Island.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory


Most Recent Bulletin Report: April 2013 (BGVN 38:04)


Eruption on new island continues into January 2012

In BGVN 36:11 we reported on an ongoing submarine eruption in the N portion of Yemen's Zubair group of islands in the Red Sea that began between 13 and 15 December 2011. A new island emerged in this vicinity and was large enough to resolve in satellite imagery by 23 December 2011. The latitude and longitude given in the header for this report is for the volcanic island of Jebel Zubair (15.05°N, 42.18°E), the largest island of the Zubair Group (figure 5). The new island emerged approximately 15.158°N, 42.101°E, or ˜10 km NW off the NW coast of Jebel Zabair. A bathymetric sketch map made in 1973 indicated a water depth of about 100 m in that area. The S end of the new island is about 500 m NNW of Rugged Island. The Zubair group is located ˜74 km off the NW coast of Yemen, in the S Red Sea. They are comprised of over 10 isolated uninhabited volcanic islands and rock outcrops extending NNE to SSE over an area of ˜258 km2.

Figure 5. Map and index map of the 10 islands of the Zubair Group (Yemen) showing the site of the new eruption and its associated emergent island. Islands are represented by gray shading; other features are identified by the legend at left. The cross section at the bottom is along line A-B through the S portion of the group. Modified from Gass and others (1973); index map modified from MapsOf.net.

By 7 January 2012, the island had grown to about 530 x 710 m, and a gas-and-steam plume containing ash rose from a distinct cone (figure 6). A video from a Yemeni miliary helicopter uploaded on YouTube on 2 January 2012 showed violent explosions typical of shallow submarine eruptions. The satellite image in figure 6 shows that a new island in the Zubair Group is the source of the volcanic plume.

Figure 6. This satellite image, acquired 7 January 2012, shows that the island had risen above water. A plume of steam, other volcanic gases, and ash rises from a distinct cone. The land surrounding the vent had grown, and was about 530 by 710 m in dimension. Once above water, past eruptions in the Zubair Islands were primarily effusive, with low viscosity lava forming thin lava flows. This natural-color image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory web site; image by Robert Simmon, using ALI data from the EO-1 Team; caption by Robert Simmon.

Natural-color images from the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on Landsat-7 on 15 January and 15 February 2012 show the new island, but no plume rising from it or any other indication of eruption continuing.

MODVOLC, using data from the Aqua Modis satellite, measured a 2-pixel thermal alert at 2235 hr UTC, 11 January 2012, at latitude 15.16EN, longitude 42.10EE, just S of Haycock Island. This was the only thermal alert measured in the area during the December 2011-January 2012 time period.

References: Gass, I.G., Mallick, D.I.J., and Cox, K.G., 1973, Volcanic islands of the Red Sea. Journal of the Geological Society of London, v. 129, no. 3, pp. 275-309.

Vervaeck, A., 2012 (17 January), Surtseyan eruption along the coast of Yemen forms a new island - January 15 new ALI satellite image, Earthquake newsreport web site (URL: http://earthquake-report.com/2011/12/29/surtseyan-eruption-along-the-coast-of-yemen-forms-a-new-island-today-eruption-cloud-stain); accessed 21 May 2013.

YouTube video uploaded by Naif8989889 on 2 January 2012, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoMLNEJC-Nk&feature=gu&context=G2d0c74aFUAAAAAAAAAA).

Information Contacts: NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://www.earthobservatory.gov).

Index of Weekly Reports


2012: January
2011: December

Weekly Reports


11 January-17 January 2012

Satellite imagery acquired on 15 January from the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's EO-1 satellite showed that the eruption in the northern part of the Zubair Group appeared to have stopped. The S end of the new island is about 500 m NNW of Rugged Island.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory


4 January-10 January 2012

A satellite image acquired on 7 January showed the newly-formed island in the northern part of the Zubair Group. The island had grown to about 530 x 710 m, and a gas-and-steam plume containing ash rose from a distinct cone.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory


21 December-27 December 2011

An eruption from the northern part of the Zubair Group continued during 21-27 December. MODIS imagery from NASA's satellites on 22 December showed a plume, possibly containing ash, rising from what was thought to be a submarine eruption. Imagery acquired on 23 December from the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's EO-1 satellite showed a new island at the location with a plume rising from it, roughly 500 m N of Rugged Island and more than 500 m in diameter. The island was not present in a similar image acquired on 24 October 2007.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory


14 December-20 December 2011

According to local news, fishermen from the port city of Salif on the western Red Sea coast of Yemen reported an off shore eruption from the island of Jebel Zubair, about 60 km SW, with lava fountains rising 20-30 m above the summit on 19 December. On 19 December a SO2 cloud was detected in an OMI satellite image. MODIS imagery from 20 December shows a plume rising from a submarine eruption about 1.5 km SW of Haycock and N of Rugged (near the N end of the Az-Zubair island group), and about 12 km NE of Jebel Zubair island. A bathymetric sketch map made in 1973 indicates a water depth of about 100 m in that area.

Sources: Yemen Observer; Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring; NASA Land Atmosphere Near Real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE)


Index of Bulletin Reports


Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

11/2011 (BGVN 36:11) December 2011 submarine eruption spotted by fishermen; island emerges

04/2013 (BGVN 38:04) Eruption on new island continues into January 2012




Bulletin Reports

All information contained in these reports is preliminary and subject to change.


11/2011 (BGVN 36:11) December 2011 submarine eruption spotted by fishermen; island emerges

Following two M 3 earthquakes in the region on 13 December 2011, fishermen in Salif City, Yemen, reported an eruption in the Zubair island group that began as late as 18 December 2011. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images of the area also first revealed a plume on 18 December, and this and later MODIS images fixed the vent's location at a spot in the N portion of Yemen's Jebel Zubair (Zubair Group, figure 1). A new island emerged in this vicinity and was large enough to resolve in satellite imagery by 23 December 2011. The latitude and longitude given in the title for Jebel Zubair (15.05°N, 42.18°E) indicate the largest island of the Zubair Group (figure 1); the new island emerged at approximately 15.158°N, 42.101°E.

Figure 1. Map and index map of the 10 islands of the Zubair Group (Yemen) with our indication of the site of the new eruption and its associated emergent island. The islands emerge in the southern Red Sea, dotting an elongate region of about 8 x 27 km. Islands represented by gray shading; other features identified by legend at left. Plotted earthquake epicenters are given in table 1. The cross section at bottom is along line A-B. Modified from Gass and others (1973); index map modified from MapsOf.net.

Initial reports. According to an article published in the Yemen Observer on 19 December, the fishermen who first reported the eruption stated that it was near Saba island (figure 1). They stated that they could see the eruption from 3 hours travel time away. The fishermen reported that the volcano had been "popping up red lava that reached 20-30 meters high." The same day, an EOS-AURA Ozone Monitoring Istrument (OMI) image showed an SO2 cloud in the area (figure 2). According to Volcano Discovery, a reader from Yemen confirmed the reported eruption, and added that an earthquake was felt on 19 December. Two other seismic events in the Zubair Group were recorded by the Seismological and Volcanological Observatory Center (SVOC) on 13 December (table 1, figure 1).

Figure 2. An SO2 cloud over the area of the Zubair island group captured by the AURA satellite's OMI imager between 1023 and 1205 on 19 December 2011. Scale at right is in Dobson Units (DU). The mass of SO2 depicted on this image was 0.403 kilotons (kt); the area of the cloud was ~45,352 km2; the maximum SO2 values on the image occured at 15.28°N and 14.28°E and reached 1.4 DU. Courtesy of Simon Carn and NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Aura/OMI.

Table 1. Seismic events recorded in the Zubair Group in December 2011. Courtesy of the Seismological and Volcanological Observatory Center (SVOC).

    Date            Time    Location               Depth     Magnitude     Distance from
                                                                           eruption site

    13 Dec 2011     0122    15.037°N, 42.176°E     38 km       3.7            15.6 km
    13 Dec 2011     0501    15.167°N, 42.172°E      6 km       3.9             7.7 km

On 20 December, the Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported a white plume that may have contained some unidentifiable ash (as reported that day from an aircraft in the area). Their report included a remark that the eruption seemed to be a continuing submarine eruption that began on 18 December. They stated that the plume was not identifiable in their satellite data. On 22 December, the Emirates News Agency published an article reporting that the head of SVOC stated that, based on preliminary data, there was no danger to marine navigation.

Small plumes were visible on MODIS imagery beginning on 18 December (figure 3). While cloud cover and dust plumes rendered the images speculative on a few days, others provided a clear view of the plumes, and highlighted their origin (figure 3f). The plumes did not appear to originate from one of the Zubair islands, but instead from just N of Rugged and ~ 1.5 km SW of Haycock islands (figure 4; also see "Eruption site" on figure 1). The lack of plumes prior to 18 December 2011, and the persistence of plumes after, indicates that the eruption began breaking the surface of the Red Sea sometime during 17-18 December.

Figure 3. Satellite images of the Zubair Group captured during 17-22 December 2011. Images b-f show small plumes (circled) emanating from ~1.5 km SW of Haycock and just N of Rugged. A dust plume somewhat obscures the visibility in (b) and clouds are present in (c) and (d). Pixel resolution in each image is 250 m. All images acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite except (d), which was acquired by the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite. Images courtesy of NASA's Land Atmosphere Near Real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE).
Figure 4. NASA Earth Observatory images captured by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite on (a) 24 October 2007 and (b) 23 December 2011. The 23 December 2011 image shows that an apparent new island is the eruption site, less than 1 km to the N of Rugged Island. An eruptive plume is seen rising and drifting to the N. Courtesy of Jesse Allen and Michon Scott, NASA Earth Observatory.

New island. Finally, following approximately a week of widespread speculation on the exact location of the plume's source, NASA Earth Observatory published a high resolution satellite image of a new eruption (acquired 23 December 2011), clearly showing the off-island source of the eruptive plumes (figure 4b). From comparison with an image acquired on 24 October 2007, the 23 December 2011 image clearly shows that the eruption site was less than 1 km due N of Rugged Island, and was an apparent new island (figure 4). Their report stated that "The image . . . shows an apparent island where there had previously been an unbroken water surface." As of 28 December 2011, all information seems to point to the formation of a new, as yet unnamed, island in the Red Sea.

Reference. Gass, I.G., Mallick, D.I.J., and Cox, K.G., 1973, Volcanic islands of the Red Sea, Journal of the Geological Society of London, v. 129, p. 275-310 (DOI: 10.1144/gs

Information Contacts: MapsOf.net (URL: http://mapsof.net/); The Yemen Observer, P.O. Box 19183, Sana'a, Rep. of Yemen (URL: http://www.yobserver.com/); Seismological and Volcanological Observatory Center (SVOC), P.O. Box 87175, Dhamar, Yemen (URL: http://www.nsoc.org.ye/); Simon Carn, NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring, Aura/OMI (URL: http://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Météo France, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, 31057 Toulouse Cedex 1, France (URL: http://www.meteo.fr/vaac/eindex.html); Emirates News Agency, 3790 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (URL: http://wam.org.ae/); NASA's Land Atmosphere Near Real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) (URL: http://lance.nasa.gov/); NASA Earth Observatory (Jesse Allen and Michon Scott), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).

04/2013 (BGVN 38:04) Eruption on new island continues into January 2012

In BGVN 36:11 we reported on an ongoing submarine eruption in the N portion of Yemen's Zubair group of islands in the Red Sea that began between 13 and 15 December 2011. A new island emerged in this vicinity and was large enough to resolve in satellite imagery by 23 December 2011. The latitude and longitude given in the header for this report is for the volcanic island of Jebel Zubair (15.05°N, 42.18°E), the largest island of the Zubair Group (figure 5). The new island emerged approximately 15.158°N, 42.101°E, or ˜10 km NW off the NW coast of Jebel Zabair. A bathymetric sketch map made in 1973 indicated a water depth of about 100 m in that area. The S end of the new island is about 500 m NNW of Rugged Island. The Zubair group is located ˜74 km off the NW coast of Yemen, in the S Red Sea. They are comprised of over 10 isolated uninhabited volcanic islands and rock outcrops extending NNE to SSE over an area of ˜258 km2.

Figure 5. Map and index map of the 10 islands of the Zubair Group (Yemen) showing the site of the new eruption and its associated emergent island. Islands are represented by gray shading; other features are identified by the legend at left. The cross section at the bottom is along line A-B through the S portion of the group. Modified from Gass and others (1973); index map modified from MapsOf.net.

By 7 January 2012, the island had grown to about 530 x 710 m, and a gas-and-steam plume containing ash rose from a distinct cone (figure 6). A video from a Yemeni miliary helicopter uploaded on YouTube on 2 January 2012 showed violent explosions typical of shallow submarine eruptions. The satellite image in figure 6 shows that a new island in the Zubair Group is the source of the volcanic plume.

Figure 6. This satellite image, acquired 7 January 2012, shows that the island had risen above water. A plume of steam, other volcanic gases, and ash rises from a distinct cone. The land surrounding the vent had grown, and was about 530 by 710 m in dimension. Once above water, past eruptions in the Zubair Islands were primarily effusive, with low viscosity lava forming thin lava flows. This natural-color image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory web site; image by Robert Simmon, using ALI data from the EO-1 Team; caption by Robert Simmon.

Natural-color images from the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on Landsat-7 on 15 January and 15 February 2012 show the new island, but no plume rising from it or any other indication of eruption continuing.

MODVOLC, using data from the Aqua Modis satellite, measured a 2-pixel thermal alert at 2235 hr UTC, 11 January 2012, at latitude 15.16EN, longitude 42.10EE, just S of Haycock Island. This was the only thermal alert measured in the area during the December 2011-January 2012 time period.

References: Gass, I.G., Mallick, D.I.J., and Cox, K.G., 1973, Volcanic islands of the Red Sea. Journal of the Geological Society of London, v. 129, no. 3, pp. 275-309.

Vervaeck, A., 2012 (17 January), Surtseyan eruption along the coast of Yemen forms a new island - January 15 new ALI satellite image, Earthquake newsreport web site (URL: http://earthquake-report.com/2011/12/29/surtseyan-eruption-along-the-coast-of-yemen-forms-a-new-island-today-eruption-cloud-stain); accessed 21 May 2013.

YouTube video uploaded by Naif8989889 on 2 January 2012, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoMLNEJC-Nk&feature=gu&context=G2d0c74aFUAAAAAAAAAA).

Information Contacts: NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://www.earthobservatory.gov).

The 5-km-long Jebel Zubair Island is the largest of a group of 10 small islands and submerged shoals that rise from a shallow platform in the Red Sea rift. The platform and eruptive vents forming the islands and shoals of the Zubair Group are oriented NNW-SSE, parallel to the rift. An early explosive phase was followed by a brief period of marine erosion, and then by renewed explosive activity accompanied by the extrusion of basaltic pahoehoe lava flows. This latest phase of activity occurred on the morphologically youngest islands of Zubair, Centre Peak, Saba, and Haycock. Historical explosive activity was reported from Saddle Island in the 19th century. Spatter cones and pyroclastic cones were erupted along fissures that form the low spine of Zubair Island.

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
2011 Dec 18 2012 Jan 13 ± 1 days Confirmed 2 Historical Observations N of Rugged Island
[ 1846 Aug 14 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 2   Saddle Island
1824 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Saddle Island

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Synonyms

Zebayir, Jebel

Cones

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Centre Peak Cone
Connected Island Cone
Haycock Island Cone
Low Island Cone
Quoin Island Cone
Rugged Island Cone
Saba Island Cone
Saddle Island
    Sella
Cone 15° 7' 0" N 42° 6' 29" E
Table Peak Cone
The Zubair island group in the Red Sea rift rises from a shallow platform in the Red Sea rift in this composite NASA Landsat image with north to the top. The 5-km-long Jebel Zubair Island (lower center) is the largest of a group of 10 small islands and submerged shoals. Late-stage explosive and effusive activity has taken place on the islands of Zubair, Centre Peak (SW of Zubair), and Saba (NW of Zubair). Historical explosive activity was reported in the 19th century from Saddle Island, the largest of three small islands at the upper left.

NASA Landsat7 image (worldwind.arc.nasa.gov)

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Gass I G, Mallick D I J, Cox K G, 1973. Volcanic islands of the Red Sea. J Geol Soc London, 129: 275-310.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Katsui Y (ed), 1971. List of the World Active Volcanoes. Volc Soc Japan draft ms, (limited circulation), 160 p.

Richard J J, Neumann van Padang M, 1957. Africa and the Red Sea. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI 4: 1-118.

Volcano Types

Shield
Pyroclastic cone(s)
Fissure vent(s)

Tectonic Setting

Rift zone
Oceanic crust (< 15 km)

Rock Types

Major
Basalt / Picro-Basalt
Trachybasalt / Tephrite Basanite

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
7
7
7
671,171

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Zubair Group Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.