Tinakula

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  • Last Known Eruption
  • 10.38°S
  • 165.8°E

  • 851 m
    2791 ft

  • 256010
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15 February-21 February 2012

According to NASA's Earth Observatory, thermal anomalies from Tinakula were detected in satellite data during 13-14 February and a gas plume with possible ash content rose from the volcano on 14 February.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory

Index of Weekly Reports


2012: February

Weekly Reports


15 February-21 February 2012

According to NASA's Earth Observatory, thermal anomalies from Tinakula were detected in satellite data during 13-14 February and a gas plume with possible ash content rose from the volcano on 14 February.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory


Index of Monthly 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.

09/1971 (CSLP 87-71) Activity increases; lava flows from crater and fissure

10/1971 (CSLP 87-71) Lava flows enter the sea, ash explosions, and strong seismicity; tsunami on 6 September

06/1984 (SEAN 09:06) Tephra ejection; W flank submarine cone recognized

06/1985 (SEAN 10:06) Vapor and ash emissions

01/2003 (BGVN 28:01) Observers and infrared data indicate eruptive activity since 1989

06/2004 (BGVN 29:06) Additional MODVOLC thermal anomalies identified from January 2001

03/2006 (BGVN 31:03) Eruption; increased thermal anomalies during February-April 2006

03/2007 (BGVN 32:03) Thermal anomalies suggest eruptions, but field reports absent

07/2007 (BGVN 32:07) Thermal anomalies suggest eruption, but field observations absent

10/2009 (BGVN 34:10) Eruption suggested by satellite thermal data and confirmed in the field

01/2010 (BGVN 35:01) Erupting in September 2009; ongoing MODVOLC thermal alerts into 2010

08/2011 (BGVN 36:08) MODVOLC thermal alerts extend through September 2011

02/2012 (BGVN 37:02) Thermal alerts measure probable continuing eruptions

06/2012 (BGVN 37:06) Recent observations on the volcano island


Contents of Monthly Reports

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

All times are local (= UTC + 11 hours)

09/1971 (CSLP 87-71) Activity increases; lava flows from crater and fissure

Card 1297 (27 September 1971) Activity increases; lava flows from crater and fissure

"Tinakula eruption activity increased. Population evacuated, lava pouring from crater and fissure to sea."

Information Contact: R. Thompson, Geological Survey of the Solomon Islands, Honiara.

10/1971 (CSLP 87-71) Lava flows enter the sea, ash explosions, and strong seismicity; tsunami on 6 September

Card 1300 (05 October 1971) Aerial observations; lava enters the sea

"Excellent aerial photographs of Tinakula were taken of the erupting volcano on 17 September by map-makers of Australia, and the company navigator, David Gadd gave an eyewitness account. From a study of the photographs it can be seen that at the beginning of the present eruption, ash covered the crater area to an estimated depth of 30 feet and drifts of ash can be seen on the flanks extending 200 m from the crater. The ash may have fallen further from the crater on the summit, particularly on the E and SE flanks where the prevailing wind has carried ash to the bush where the trees obscure it. Rigamoto Nakaera, master of the Belama, described the lava as pouring out of a fissure about 1,200 feet up the W wall of the Cirque caused by the landslide. Steam and white smoke appear to come from the crater. This was confirmed by Gadds observations from the air, who described the lava as pouring out of a crack when it opened about 10 feet. About enough lava to fill five dump trucks came out of the crack in each expulsion and the frequency of the expulsions varied from three in three minutes to one in twelve minutes. The lava, when it first emerged from the fissure, was cherry red even in daylight, and it quickly darkened to black as it flowed quickly down the 65° slope towards the sea. Some of the lava had hardened into a crust about 400 feet above the sea at some constriction and could be seen to exhibit boomerang-shaped ridges on the surface. These, however, got broken up and carried down to the sea by more lava.

"A strong smell of the H2S could be smelled in the plane at heights of between 1,800 and 2,500 feet. The sea was discolored for a distance of 500 m offshore and it could be seen to be bubbling violently 25-30 m from the cliff edge where the lava entered the sea. At the time the photographs were taken the lava had built out a buttress to the slope about 60 m wide and 20 m deep. The size of the buttress beneath the sea cannot be estimated, nor can the total volume of the lava expelled, as most of this is beneath the sea. The eruption continues and has increased in severity.

"Since the above report was written the island was observed on 20 September by the Bishop of Melanesia, who reported that the single lava flow pushing out of a fissure in the wall of the collapsed face had been joined by another lava stream flowing from the crater which was stated to be 50-100 yards wide. A telegram received from Santa Cruz, a district administrative station 25 miles from the volcano on 25 September, confirmed that evacuation was complete and that the eruption appeared to be getting more violent. The whole island was obscured by white smoke, and red flames could be seen at night. On 27 September earth tremors were reported to be felt on Santa Cruz and the volcano was still shrouded in smoke. So far we have been unable to get any seismological observer to observe the volcano."

Card 1301 (12 October 1971) Description of initial activity and tsunami on 6 September

"On 6 September [at about 1800], the people of Neo village on Trevanion island heard a low, continuous thundering sound coming from the volcano. At the same time a thick dark cloud poured from its summit until the sea between the volcano and Travanion Island, including the two Neo villages facing it, was engulfed in this low-lying thick dark smoke. The thundering sound and the dark smoke went on for about two hours. At about 2000 there was a sudden burst of a louder sound. Simultaneously, a huge flame shot up from the summit of the volcano. This flame was described as later dividing into two corkscrew-like tongues of fire, one slanted to the E and the other to the W side of the volcano.

There was no panic shown by the people who watched the episode at this stage as the older people assured the younger ones that the volcano used to behave in this manner many years ago and that they should not be alarmed. However, the comforting words did not last very long because about 30 minutes after the flame died down they heard the roaring sound of the breaking waves coming towards their shores. As the night was very bright with the moonlight, they saw that the sea began to recede in an unusual manner. Knowing that a [tsunami] was coming the families began to gather in groups and move to higher ground. Fortunately the sea did not reach the houses and no injuries occurred

Reports are still coming in from the areas affected by the [tsunami]. At Luesalemba one seagull motor and the canoe were damaged or destroyed. Further up, the NE coast was also affected, according to the reports received.

Another flame or fire flared up at about 0300 on 7 September and its subsequent [tsunami] was observed at 0630 traveling NE from the volcano.

There has not been a single aircraft or ship going between Santa Cruz and Honiara since the eruption so we have had to rely on non-specialist information. The most recent report has described a big increase of activity commencing on 1 October approximately, when at night large blocks of lava could be seen ejected from the crater and smoke and ash were rising to over 1,000 feet above the cone. The observers were all 25 miles from the volcano. During the day rain and cloud prevented observation. The latest report (5 October) is that the activity has died down a bit."

Information Contacts:
Card 1300 (05 October 1971) R. Thompson, Geological Survey Department, Honiara, Guadalcanal, B.S.I.P.
Card 1301 (12 October 1971) D. Dawea-taukalo, Sub Station, Graciosa Bay, Santa Cruz, B.S.I.P.; R.B. Thompson, Geological Survey Dept., Honiara, Guadalcanal, B.S.I.P.

06/1984 (SEAN 09:06) Tephra ejection; W flank submarine cone recognized

The following is from the cruise report of the USGS research vessel S.P. Lee, engaged in multichannel seismic profiling in the Vanuatu and Solomon Islands areas. The report was written by H.G. Greene, A. Macfarlane, and other members of the scientific party.

"On 3 June, Tinakula could be seen 'smoking' in the distance, some 25 km away. As the ship approached the island, large billowing clouds of steam were observed emanating from the summit of the volcano. Occasionally a large, billowing, dark gray, ash-laden plume was observed rising to several kilometers above the island without being disturbed by the prevailing SE trade winds, unlike the steam which was rapidly dissipated by those winds. The emanation of the ash appeared to take place at fairly regular intervals, about every 2 hours.

"The Lee passed within 400 m of Tinakula, on a W-E path along the N side of the island, which presented a good vantage point for observing the active vent at the head of the landslide scarp on the NW side of the volcano. As the ship drew abeam of Tinakula, rumbling sounds could be heard from within the active vent, immediately N of the central crater. Boulder-size (football-size) rocks were ejected from the vent, and were still steaming as they rolled and skipped down the steep, N-dipping scree slope and splashed into the sea. At least a dozen of the boulders and much more material of cobble size (65-250 mm in diameter) were seen being thrown from the vent every minute. Much of this debris was accumulating on the scree slope, which is actively infilling the void left by the 1971 landslide.

"Geophysical data collected by the Lee showed that another volcanic cone is present about 90 m beneath the surface of the water some 5 km W of Tinakula. This submarine volcano is a little smaller than Tinakula and in consequence not projecting above the sea surface. It has a very youthful geomorphic profile with sharp steep flanks, and appears from its morphology to be active. This volcano lies on the W flank of Tinakula and could be a vent associated with the same magmatic processes that are building the island today. This volcano or volcanic vent has not been identified before and is not on any bathymetric map."

Tinakula's last reported eruption started 6 September 1971, preceded by a small tsunami at the island. Intermittent explosive activity built a small summit cone, and incandescent blocks rolled down the volcano's flanks into the sea. A slow-moving lava flow extended about 300 m down the NW flank. About 160 people were evacuated from the island. The eruption ended in December 1971.

Information Contacts: A. Macfarlane, Dept of Geology, Mines, and Rural Water Supplies, Vanuatu; H.G. Greene, USGS.

06/1985 (SEAN 10:06) Vapor and ash emissions

On 13 June at 0946 geologists (about 4 km from Tinakula in a boat) observed a vapor and ash cloud rising slowly from the crater. The ash emission was followed about 5 minutes later by whitish vapor, and the eruption cloud drifted slowly toward the W from the crater.

Stopping ~50 m from the breached NW side of the volcano, the geologists observed rising steam, and large boulders that rolled down the flank before splashing into the sea. There was no lava flow.

During the following two hours, no further eruption was observed as the summit was nearly always covered with clouds. A possible site for a telemetering seismometer was selected on the E side of the volcano at Mendana Cone. Local people reported that the volcano has exhibited similar low-level eruptive behavior since 1984.

Information Contact: D. Tuni, Ministry of Natural Resources, Honiara.

01/2003 (BGVN 28:01) Observers and infrared data indicate eruptive activity since 1989

Following an eruption and tsunami from Tinakula (figure 1) during September-December 1971 (CSLP Cards 1297, 1300, and 1301), there were brief reports of large steam plumes and ash plumes in June 1984 (SEAN 09:06) and June 1985 (SEAN 10:06). Since that time there have been no reports in the Bulletin about this remote volcano. This report includes observations from a variety of sources. John Seach has provided information about activity during 1989-90 and 1995, as well as some insight into hazards faced by island residents in the area. Passengers on tour expedition ships noted continuing activity in May 1999 and November 2002. MODIS thermal alerts were triggered on three occasions during January-April 2001. In April 2002 excellent observations of eruptive activity were made by scientists on an Australian research vessel.

Figure 1. Sketch map of Tinakula island based on work and publications by G.W. Hughes (1972) and colleagues and summarized by Eissen and others (1991).

Observations in 1989-90 and 1995. John Seach observed Tinakula volcano from the Reef Islands (54 km ENE) from August 1989 to February 1990. Typical activity consisted of Vulcanian eruptions and ash emission to 200-400 m above the summit. Eruptions occurred in distinct bursts separated by intervals ranging from minutes to hours. Reports from sailors indicated that lava bombs frequently rolled down to the sea on the NW side of the volcano, and glowing avalanches were observed at night.

Tinakula was approached by motorized canoe on two occasions in 1995, but dangerous seas made landing impossible. Ongoing ash emissions originated from the summit area. The upper slopes of the volcano were bare and exposed to gas emissions. Regions of mass wasting on the flanks were common, and blocks of lava and rubble were found at sea level at various locations around the island. However, some of the lower flanks were covered with thick vegetation. During a Solair flight from Santa Cruz to Honiara in late September 1995, activity was observed at the summit crater with ash emissions drifting several kilometers towards the W.

The island has not been inhabited since the tsunami in 1971, but islanders from the outer Reef Islands occasionally travel to tend gardens on the SE flank. The ocean between Santa Cruz Island and Reef Islands is dangerous, with many currents and high seas regularly capsizing boats. Landing on the island is always dangerous due to prevailing swells and the lack of a suitable beach. The dominant SE trade winds blow ash and gases away from inhabited islands for most of the year, but a large eruption occurring in westerly winds may affect populations in the Reef Islands. Volcanic bombs (5 cm in diameter) of an unknown age located in villages on the Reef Islands (over 50 km away) were reported to have fallen from the sky.

Observations during May 1999. On the morning of 16 May 1999, Matthew Mumford, on a sailing expedition aboard the Akademik Shuleykin, noted as they approached Tinakula that ". . . a cloud of darkness was blown skyward before our bow. As the ash moved across the sky, the contrast of gray against the white pillows of cloud gave a clear indication of how active this volcano continues to be."

MODVOLC Thermal Alerts, 2000-2002. MODIS alerts for Tinakula on 15 January 2001, 6 March 2001, and 16 April 2001 provide objective evidence of continued volcanic activity. The maximum alert ratio was low (-0.75), indicating small-scale activity. The absence of alerts since April 2001 was judged more likely to be because the level of activity has dipped below the -0.8 alert-ratio threshold rather than because of a genuine cessation of activity.

Observations during April 2002. Scientists from the RV Franklin briefly investigated Tinakula during the SOLAVENTS expedition, 26 March-21 April 2002. A vent high up on the W flank was actively expelling gas/steam, which could be heard as a low roar 50 m from shore. Small avalanches down the steep W side were common, and one larger eruption observed from the vessel's bridge lasted about 5 minutes. Small optical transmission anomalies were detected in the water column and are probably turbidity induced-particulate plumes. A weak methane anomaly was also recorded ~2.8 km off the NW coast of Tinakula. The following is based on extracts from the daily narrative section of the cruise report (McConachy and others, 2002).

The Franklin arrived ~3.2 km off the W coast of Tinakula at 0705 on 6 April 2002 (figures 2-5) and in perfect conditions the Zodiac rescue boat was deployed with Able Seaman Graham and scientists Richard Arculus and Donn Tolia to commence water sampling. The zodiac was safely back on deck by 0815. The scientists reported a roaring noise from Tinakula's active crater heard when the boat was 50 m offshore.

Figure 2. Photo showing the N coast of Tinakula as viewed from the zodiac boat off the R/V Franklin, 6 April 2002. The landslide scarp descends to the sea on the NW side of the island. Ndeni Island can be seen in the background S of Tinakula. Photographed by Donn Tolia, Director, Geological Survey of the Solomon Islands; courtesy of CSIRO.
Figure 3. Close-up view of Tinakula showing the landslide scarp and embayment on the NW coast. The breached summit crater is mostly hidden by steam emissions. Photographed by Donn Tolia, Director, Geological Survey of the Solomon Islands; courtesy of CSIRO.
Figure 4. Photo of Tinakula taken from the RV Franklin, 6 April 2002. Photographed by Susan Belford; courtesy of CSIRO.
Figure 5. Photo of Tinakula in the distance taken from the RV Franklin, 6 April 2002. Photographed by Susan Belford; courtesy of CSIRO.

From virtually the same location a grab sample collected material from the 1971 eruption at around 950 m depth. An excellent, 75%-full load of exceptionally well-sorted black volcanic sand was recovered, consisting of plagioclase, pyroxene and red-brown fragments; no foraminifera were visible. A CTD-Hydrocast followed at around 0910. During this operation, smoke came from a vent 2/3 way up the summit on the W side of the sector collapse, and minor avalanches came down scree slopes on the N side of the collapse area. A number of light transmission anomalies were observed on the down cast and sampled on the upcast. They are most likely particle plumes following isopycnals (constant density surfaces) sloughing off the main slope.

Observations during November 2002. Passengers on the Zegrahm Expeditions cruise ship Clipper Odyssey observed that Tinakula was "active" on the morning of 18 November 2002, but no description of the activity was provided.

References. McConachy, T.F., Yeats, C.J., Arculus, R.J., Beattie, R., Belford, S., Holden, J., Kim, J., MacDonald, L., Schardt, C., Sestak, S., Stevens, B., and Tolia, D., 2002, SOLAVENTS-2002: Solomons Australia Vents Expedition Aboard the RV Franklin, 26 March-21 April 2002, edited by C.J. Yeats, CSIRO Exploration and Mining Report 1026F, 456 p.

Hughes, G.W., 1972, Geological map of Tinakula: Nendö sheet EOI 1, Soloman Geol. Survey, Honiara.

Eissen, J-P., Blot, C., and Louat, R., 1991, Chronology of the historic volcanic activity of the New Hebrides island arc from 1595 to 1991: Rapports Scientifiques et Technique, Sciences de la Terre, No. 2, ORSTOM, France.

Information Contacts: Timothy F. McConachy, CSIRO Exploration and Mining, PO Box 136, North Ryde, NSW 1670, Australia (Email: Tim.McConachy@csiro.au, URL: http://www.marine.csiro.au/nationalfacility/franklin/plans/2002/fr0302s.html); Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom (Email: d.coppola@open.ac.uk, d.a.rothery@open.ac.uk); John Seach, PO Box 16, Chatsworth Island, NSW 2469, Australia (Email: jseach@hotmail.com, URL: http://www.volcanolive.com/); Jeff and Cynthia Gneiser, Zegrahm & Eco Expeditions, 192 Nickerson Street #200, Seattle, WA 98109, USA (URL: http://www.zeco.com/whatsnew/travel_reports/2002/melanesia_wn.asp, Email: zoe@zeco.com); Matthew Mumford, Unit 1.02, 26 Kippax Street, Surrey Hills, NSW 2010, Australia (Email: matthew@mumford.com, URL: http://matthew.mumford.com/expdEtM2.htm).

06/2004 (BGVN 29:06) Additional MODVOLC thermal anomalies identified from January 2001

Inspection of Terra MODIS day- and night-time data (i.e. original data, rather than the thresholded alert data on the MODVOLC website) for 2001 and 2002 identified cloud-free intervals over Tinakula during January-April 2001, August-September 2001, January 2002, and August-September 2002. MODVOLC thermal alerts were previously reported for 15 January, 6 March, and 16 April 2001 (BGVN 28:01). Recognizable thermal anomalies not noted earlier by the automated system appeared at night on 10 January 2001 (alert ratio, -0.804), and during the day on 25 January 2001 (alert ratio, -0.790). This new information reinforces the interpretation that small-scale activity was occurring during the January-April 2001 time period.

Data acquisition and analysis. Reports from Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery provided analyses of MODIS thermal alerts during 2001 and 2002 (using the MODVOLC alert-detection algorithm) extracted from the MODIS Thermal Alerts website (http://modis.hgip.hawaii.edu/) maintained by the University of Hawaii HIGP MODIS Thermal Alerts team (BGVN 28:01). Rothery and Charlotte Saunders provided updates to 31 May 2004. MODVOLC data are now routinely available from the Aqua satellite (equator crossing times 0230 and 1430 local time) in addition to the original Terra satellite (equator crossing times 1030 and 2230 local time).

Information Contacts: David A. Rothery and Charlotte Saunders, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom (Email: d.a.rothery@open.ac.uk).

03/2006 (BGVN 31:03) Eruption; increased thermal anomalies during February-April 2006

According to Simon Carn, volcanic activity at Tinakula appears to have begun on 12 February 2006, with a small explosion followed by degassing. He noted some significant SO2 emissions on 14 February, as well as small plumes from Ambrym and Aoba. As of 16 February, there was still a small SO2 signal from Tinakula, but it was no bigger than that from Ambrym or Aoba. Andrew Tupper noted from visible MTSAT (Multi-functional Transport Satellite) images and an Aqua MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) screen shot that a plume on 14 February was moving NNE at ~ 10 km/hour and appeared to be not far above summit level; the plume did not register on the IR imagery. MTSAT is a dual-mission satellite for the Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport and the Japan Meteorological Agency performing an air traffic control and navigation, as well as a meteorological, functions.

On 27 February, Thomas Toba of the Solomon Islands government wrote to Herman Patia of the Rabaul Volcano Observatory, confirming Tinakula activity. Toba contacted authorities from the Temotu Provincial Headquarters who confirmed that there were several small explosions from this volcano around early to middle February 2006.

Satellite thermal-sensor data (using the MODVOLC alert-detection algorithm) revealed a period of thermal anomalies on the uninhabited island of Tinakula during cloud-free intervals in early to mid-February 2006 (table 1). The anomalies were particularly numerous on 11 February. The information was extracted from the MODIS Thermal Alerts website maintained by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) (see also BGVN 29:06 and 28:01). The satellites used were Aqua and Terra MODIS. Confirmation of the volcanic source of the anomalies was not broadly distributed until late March 2006.

Table 1. MODVOLC thermal anomalies at Tinakula for mid-February through mid-April 2006. Since the start of monitoring by MODIS satellite sensors on 8 May 2001, no thermal anomalies had been measured at Tinakula before 11 February 2006. Courtesy of University of Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology MODIS Hotspot Alert website.

    Date      Time         Satellite            Number of
    (2006)    (UTC)    (A=Aqua, T=Terra)    anomalies observed

    11 Feb    1125             T                    6
    11 Feb    1425             A                   10
    11 Feb    2350             T                    3
    12 Feb    0240             A                    4
    13 Feb    2340             T                    3
    15 Feb    1500             A                    2
    18 Feb    1430             A                    2
    03 Mar    2325             T                    1
    06 Mar    1430             A                    1
    08 Mar    1120             T                    1
    08 Mar    1420             A                    2
    13 Mar    1135             T                    1
    15 Mar    1425             A                    1
    20 Mar    1145             T                    1
    09 Apr    1420             A                    1
    14 Apr    1135             T                    1
    16 Apr    1125             T                    2
    16 Apr    1425             A                    1
    18 Apr    1410             A                    3
    19 Apr    1455             A                    1
    21 Apr    1445             A                    2

Information Contacts: Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 1680 East-West Road, POST 602, Honolulu, HI 96822 (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu); Simon Carn, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) Volcanic Emissions Group, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250 (Email: scarm@umbc.edu); Andrew Tupper, Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac, Email: A.Tupper@bom.gov.au); Thomas Toba, Ministry of Energy, Water, and Minerals Resources, Honiara, Solomon Islands (Email: t_toba@mines.gov.sb); Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcano Observatory, P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea (Email: hguria@global.net.pg).

03/2007 (BGVN 32:03) Thermal anomalies suggest eruptions, but field reports absent

No thermal anomalies at Tinakula were detected by MODIS satellite systems between 9 May 2001 and 11 February 2006, but anomalies were then detected through mid-April 2006 (BGVN 31:03). Thermal anomalies continued at about the same pace and intensity (in pixels) through 1 June 2006 (table 2). From 4 August 2006 through March 2007, on 19 different days there were 1- or 2-pixel thermal anomalies measured by MODIS.

Table 2. MODIS/MODVOLC thermal anomalies at Tinakula for mid-April 2006 through mid-April 2007 (continued from table in BGVN 31:03). Courtesy of the University of Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODIS Hotspot Alert System.

    Date (UTC)    Time (UTC)    Pixels    Satellite

    14 Apr 2006     1135          1         Terra
    16 Apr 2006     1125          2         Terra
                    1425          1         Aqua
    18 Apr 2006     1410          3         Aqua
    19 Apr 2006     1155          3         Terra
                    1455          1         Aqua
    21 Apr 2006     1145          1         Terra
                    1445          2         Aqua
    23 Apr 2006     1130          1         Terra
    25 Apr 2006     1420          2         Aqua
    28 Apr 2006     1150          3         Terra
    02 May 2006     1125          3         Terra
    04 May 2006     1110          2         Terra
    06 May 2006     1400          1         Terra
    16 May 2006     1135          2         Terra
    01 Jun 2006     1135          2         Terra
    01 Jun 2006     1435          3         Aqua
    04 Aug 2006     1135          1         Terra
    30 Oct 2006     1145          1         Terra
    08 Nov 2006     1135          2         Terra
    08 Dec 2006     1450          1         Aqua
    12 Dec 2006     1425          1         Aqua
    19 Dec 2006     1435          1         Aqua
    04 Jan 2007     1130          1         Terra
    11 Jan 2007     1135          1         Terra
    20 Jan 2007     1130          1         Terra
    27 Jan 2007     1135          1         Terra
    05 Feb 2007     1130          2         Terra
    17 Feb 2007     1155          1         Terra
    26 Feb 2007     1150          1         Terra
    28 Feb 2007     1140          1         Terra
    09 Mar 2007     1130          1         Terra
    16 Mar 2007     1140          2         Terra
    18 Mar 2007     1125          1         Terra
                    1425          1         Aqua
    20 Mar 2007     1415          1         Aqua
    30 Mar 2007     1150          2         Terra

According to a 1994 summary by the Solomon Island observatory (World Organization of Volcanic Observatories, 1997), "The last reported large eruption was in 1985. Tinakula is highly active [and] erupts andesitic ash almost every week." No recent field observations have been made by scientists.

Reference. World Organization of Volcanic Observatories (WOVO), 1997, Volcanoes of the Solomon Islands. 1. Tinakula, (section 0505-07), in Netter, C., and Cheminée, J-L. (eds.), Directory of Volcano Observatories, 1996-1997: WOVO/IAVCEI/UNESCO, Paris, 50 p.

Information Contacts: Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, MODIS Thermal Alert System, School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu); Solomon Island Observatory, Water and Mineral Resources Division, Honiara, Solomon Islands (URL: http://www.wovo.org/0505_07.htm).

07/2007 (BGVN 32:07) Thermal anomalies suggest eruption, but field observations absent

MODIS thermal anomaly data for Tinakula (table 3) suggests continuing eruptive activity during the period mid-April through mid-July 2007, but no validation by field observations has become available. Similar intermittent anomalies have been detected since mid-February 2006 (BGVN 31:03 and 32:03).

Table 3. MODIS/MODVOLC thermal anomalies at Tinakula for mid-April through mid-June 2007 (continued from table in BGVN 32:03); note particularly the anomalies recorded on 11 July 2007. Courtesy of the University of Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODIS Hotspot Alert website.

    Date           Time (UTC)    Pixels    Satellite

    12 Apr 2007      1420          1         Aqua
    17 Apr 2007      1140          1         Terra
    19 Apr 2007      1425          1         Aqua
    03 May 2007      1440          2         Aqua
    05 May 2007      1125          1         Terra
    05 May 2007      1425          1         Aqua
    10 May 2007      1145          2         Terra
    10 May 2007      1445          2         Aqua
    15 May 2007      1200          1         Terra
    18 Jun 2007      1150          2         Terra
    27 Jun 2007      1145          1         Terra
    27 Jun 2007      1445          1         Aqua
    29 Jun 2007      1130          1         Terra
    11 Jul 2007      1155          4         Terra
    11 Jul 2007      1455          4         Aqua
    13 Jul 2007      1145          1         Terra

Several photographs were taken offshore of the island during the February 2006 eruption (BGVN 31:03); figure 6 is an example of some activity during that eruption.

Figure 6. Lava blocks tumbling into the ocean on at Tinakula on the morning of 21 February 2006. Courtesy of Bill Yeaton.

Information Contacts: Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); Bill Yeaton (URL: http://www.billyeaton.com/).

10/2009 (BGVN 34:10) Eruption suggested by satellite thermal data and confirmed in the field

MODIS/MODVOLC satellite thermal alerts data for Tinakula (table 4) suggests continuing eruptive activity during the period mid-June 2007 through early December 2009; however, these data lack validation by field observations. Similar intermittent alerts have been detected since mid-February 2005 (BGVN 31:03, 32:03, and 32:07).

Table 4. MODIS/MODVOLC satellite thermal alerts measured at Tinakula during the period mid-June 2007 through early December 2009 (continued from table in BGVN 32:07). Note particularly the number of alerts recorded at 0230 on 15 February 2009 (5 pixels), indicating a possible eruption resulting in thermal anomalies covering an area of 5 to 7.5 km2. Courtesy of the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System.

    Date           Time     Pixels    Satellite
                   (UTC)

    24 Sep 2007    1140       2         Terra
    19 Oct 2007    1430       1         Aqua
    09 Nov 2007    1150       1         Terra
    19 Sep 2008    1130       1         Terra
    26 Sep 2008    1140       1         Terra
    04 Nov 2008    1145       1         Terra
    29 Nov 2009    1440       2         Aqua
    15 Feb 2009    0230       5         Aqua
    04 May 2009    1205       1         Terra
    12 Aug 2009    1140       1         Terra
    14 Aug 2009    1125       1         Terra

A possible observation of eruptive activity was found on a website by Clark Berge dated 22 September 2009: "A tall plume of steam and smoke streams from the top of a majestic cone rising direct from the sea.... During my visit to Temotu Province last week ... we circled [Tinakula in a motorized canoe], which seemed lush and harmless until we rounded a point and saw the steep black face of stone. Boulders were detaching themselves and bounding down the cliff amid a shower of sparks. I quickly realized the stones were glowing red!"

Information Contacts: Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); Clark Berge (URL: http://brclarkberge.blogspot.com/2009/09/tinakula-volcanoe.html).

01/2010 (BGVN 35:01) Erupting in September 2009; ongoing MODVOLC thermal alerts into 2010

Tinakula displayed intermittent MODIS/MODVOLC satellite thermal alerts February 2006-November 2007, and September 2008-August 2009 (BGVN 31:03, 32:03, 32:07, 34:10). Ground observations are rare at this frequently active but uninhabited island.

No thermal alerts were recorded between 15 August 2009 and 16 January 2010, although there was a ground observation of "steam and smoke" above the summit and incandescent blocks rolling down the flanks in mid-September (BGVN 34:10). Thermal anomalies were detected between 17 January 2010 and 24 February 2010 (table 5).

Table 5. MODIS/MODVOLC satellite thermal alerts recorded at Tinakula during 1 January-7 March 2010. Courtesy of the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System.

    Date           Time (UTC)    Pixels    Satellite

    17 Jan 2010      1150          1         Terra
    28 Jan 2010      1130          1         Terra
    28 Jan 2010      1435          1         Aqua 
    15 Feb 2010      1425          1         Aqua
    19 Feb 2010      2329          1         Terra
    20 Feb 2010      1135          2         Terra
    20 Feb 2010      1440          2         Aqua
    22 Feb 2010      1125          1         Terra
    22 Feb 2010      1430          1         Aqua
    24 Feb 2010      1415          1         Aqua
    27 Feb 2010      1145          1         Terra

ASTER images of Tinakula over a wide date range are available from the Geological Survey of Japan's Image Database for Volcanoes. One such image (figure 7) shows activity from 13 April 2006 (BGVN 31:03). On the Flickr website there is an image of an eruptive plume on 27 August 2006.

Figure 7. False-color VNIR (visible/near-infrared) image of Tinakula taken by the ASTER instrument aboard the Terra satellite on 13 April 2006 (2323 UTC). The image shows a S-blowing plume visible to the image's edge. The island is 3.6 km maximum diameter N-S. A distinct radially directed darker zone trending from the summit to the W side of the island represents a collapse feature (similar to the Sciara del Fuoco on Stromboli), a zone that funneled material from the active crater and remained as an area of ongoing erosion and deposition. In contrast, the rest of the island appears vegetated. [Image is also referred to as Scene ID: 84 187 6.] ASTER images stored in this database are supplied by GEOGrid. Courtesy of the Geological Survey of Japan.

Information Contacts: Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Earth Observation Grid (GEO Grid), National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) (URL: http://geodata1.geogrid.org/vsidb/image/index-E.html); and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) (URL: http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov).

08/2011 (BGVN 36:08) MODVOLC thermal alerts extend through September 2011

Our previous report on Tinakula (BGVN 35:01) summarized MODVOLC thermal alert data through 27 February 2010. This report notes MODVOLC alerts through September 2011. Tinakula is a rarely visited or monitored island in the Santa Cruz Island complex, which is part of the Solomon Island group in the South Pacific ocean (figures 8-10).

Figure 8. The location of Tinakula in the Santa Cruz Islands. Courtesy of McCoy and Cleghorn (1988).
Figure 9. Sketch map of Tinakula island based on work and publications by G.W. Hughes (1972) and colleagues, and summarized by Eissen and others (1991). (This previously appeared in BGVN 28:01.)
Figure 10. Stamp from the British Solomon Islands showing Tinakula. Top stamp shows the summit crater emitting a plume and well-developed radial channels with abundant material deposited on the volcano's lower right flank. Bottom stamp illustrates the large scar across the island's NW side. These stamps were featured on the website of Iomoon.com.

An image captured on 25 May 2010 by the MODIS instrument aboard the Aqua satellite, showed an ash plume from the volcano. It is not known whether plumes during the time period of this report were frequent.

MODVOLC thermal alerts continued through the rest of 2010 and through at least September 2011. During March 2010 through October 2010, the number of alerts ranged from zero to three per month. The number of alerts rose to 10 in November and to 20 in December, then decreased to 11 in January 2011. Between February and 26 September 2011, the number of alerts ranged from two to 12 per month. In July 2011, the two recorded alerts were 4 pixels each, a high during the time period for this report.

References. Eissen, J-P., Blot, C., and Louat, R., 1991, Chronology of the historic volcanic activity of the New Hebrides island arc from 1595 to 1991: Rapports Scientifiques et Technique, Sciences de la Terre, No. 2, ORSTOM, France. Hughes, G.W., 1972, Geological map of Tinakula: Nendö sheet EOI 1, Soloman Geol. Survey, Honiara. McCoy, P.C., and Cleghorn, 1988, Archaeological Excavations on Santa Cruz (Nendö), Southeast Solomon Islands: Summary Report, pp. 104-115 (map on 105 and at URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40386813?seq=2),in Archaeology in Oceania.

Information Contacts: Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); Iomoon.com (URL: http://www.iomoon.com/).

02/2012 (BGVN 37:02) Thermal alerts measure probable continuing eruptions

Since our last report of July 2011 (BGVN 36:08), MODVOLC thermal alerts have continued to be measured at a rate of 3 to 11 days per month over Tinakula volcano, a volcano in frequent, if not constant eruption. Thermal alerts occurred over 11 days in January 2012 and 7 in February 2012. This trend of alerts has continued since about August 2010; the eruption is reported to have begun ~September 2008. According to NASA, “Over the past decade satellites have detected intermittent ‘thermal anomalies’ on the island that suggest eruptions have taken place, but eyewitness observations are infrequent.”

During 13-14 February 2012, the satellite-borne MODIS radiometer detected a small plume in visible imagery (figure 11a). Figure 11b, a satellite image acquired 14 February 2012, shows a plume of volcanic gas, possibly mixed with a bit of ash, rising above the island’s summit.

Figure 11. Two satellite images of Tinakula, both acquired on 14 February 2012 and showing a small plume. (a) Image collected by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. (b) A natural-color view of an emerging plume in an image. Around the island, the reflection of sunlight on the ocean (sunglint) gives the sea water’s surface a milky appearance and also makes the ocean wave patterns readily visible. Image collected by MODIS on the Terra satellite. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Information Contacts: Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai’i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=77183).

06/2012 (BGVN 37:06) Recent observations on the volcano island

Since our recent brief report on Tinakula (BGVN 37:02), the Bulletin received an informal report from Timothy McConachy of Neptune Minerals, Inc., containing observations of Tinakula volcano made 10 May 2012 (Cook and others, 2012). Most of the following information in the next few paragraphs was extracted from that report.

The location of Tinakula with respect to other islands in the Santa Cruz Islands is shown in figure 12; figure 13 shows geological details of the Tinakula volcanic island.

Figure 12. The location of Tinakula in the Santa Cruz Islands; inset area shows location of Santa Cruz Islands with respect to New Guinea and Australia. Courtesy of McCoy and Cleghorn (1988). This map previously appeared in BGVN 36:08.
Figure 13. Sketch map of Tinakula island based on work and publications by G.W. Hughes (1972) and colleagues, and summarized by Eissen and others (1991). This figure previously appeared in BGVN 28:01 and 36:08.

Visit to Tinakula. Cook and others (2012) twice circumnavigated Tinakula clockwise in a banana boat with a 40-horse-power engine in the afternoon on Thursday, 10 May 2012. The day was sunny and clear with minor clouds and a NE breeze which stiffened during the afternoon; cloud cover increased during the afternoon. During the 2 transits they observed recent land slides, the NW collapse area (shown on Figure 13), and steam/gas plumes. A highlight of the visit was when red incandescent boulders of lava bounced down the large scree slope (up to 200-m-wide and 600- to 800-m-long) in the NW collapse sector. As they bounced, the boulders broke into smaller fragments and puffs of stream/gas were seen making white dotted tracks, or ‘vapour trails’ (figure 14). A number of the fragments from the larger boulders made their way into the sea, and plumes of steam rose along with the splash. When the larger boulders rolled into the sea, the authors could hear thudding sounds as they hit the water, followed by a hissing sound. At times the splash would rise 2 m or higher when the boulders hit the sea. Some of the boulders and fragments did not roll into the sea, but sat on the edge of the water, steaming and hissing for some time (between 3-5 min) before they cooled off.

Figure 14. The main scree slope in the NW collapse sector of the volcano, photographed at 1416 hours on 10 May 2012. White patches of steam/gas (‘vapour trails’) were caused by boulders bouncing down the slope. Courtesy of Cook and others (2012).

To the naked eye, there appeared to be a steady cloud above Tinakula (figure 15), quite visible even from the town of Lata (~35 km S of Tinakula, located on Graciosa Bay, Nendö Island - aka Ndende Island, the provincial capital of Temotu Province in the far eastern Solomon Islands). It was difficult for Cook and others (2012) to photograph the incandescent color of the boulders and it only became apparent on the second time around the volcano in the later part of the afternoon when the area was backlit by the sun. The boulders originated from an area obscured by steam and gas. When the authors turned the outboard motor off, they could hear rumbling and small explosions at times. The size of the boulders was difficult to judge, but they thought that the larger ones were the size of a small car. They were surprised to see coconut palms growing up the slopes on most sides of the volcano, up to 50 m above sea level, possibly planted by locals.

Figure 15. Cloud covering the summit of Tinakula at 1358 on 10 May 2012. The top of the volcano is virtually deforested. Courtesy of Cook and others (2012).

Other comments. MODVOLC satellite thermal imagery continued to measure several thermal alerts almost daily.

References. Cook, H.J., Koraua, B.L., and McConachy, T.F., 2012, Observations of Tinakula Volcano, 10 May 2012, Solomon Islands (-10.38°S / 165.8°E), Informal report, 12 pp.

Eissen, J-P., Blot, C., and Louat, R., 1991, Chronology of the historic volcanic activity of the New Hebrides island arc from 1595 to 1991: Rapports Scientifiques et Technique, Sciences de la Terre, No. 2, ORSTOM, France.

Hughes, G.W., 1972, Geological map of Tinakula: Nendö sheet EOI 1, Soloman Geol. Survey, Honiara.

McCoy, P.C., and Cleghorn, 1988, Archaeological Excavations on Santa Cruz (Nendö), Southeast Solomon Islands: Summary Report, pp. 104-115; in Archaeology in Oceania.

Information Contacts: Timothy F. McConachy, Neptune Minerals, Inc. (URL: http://www.neptuneminerals.com); Brent McInnes, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia (URL: http://www.csiro.au); MODVOLC, Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai’i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/).

The small 3.5-km-wide island of Tinakula is the exposed summit of a massive stratovolcano that rises 3-4 km from the sea floor at the NW end of the Santa Cruz islands. Tinakula resembles Stromboli volcano in containing a breached summit crater that extends from the 851-m-high summit to below sea level. Landslides enlarged this scarp in 1965, creating an embayment on the NW coast. The satellitic cone of Mendana is located on the SE side. The dominantly andesitic Tinakula volcano has frequently been observed in eruption since the era of Spanish exploration began in 1595. In about 1840, an explosive eruption apparently produced pyroclastic flows that swept all sides of the island, killing its inhabitants. Frequent historical eruptions have originated from a cone constructed within the large breached crater. These have left the upper flanks of the volcano and the steep apron of lava flows and volcaniclastic debris within the breach unvegetated.

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
2008 Sep 19 (?) 2012 Oct 23 Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
2006 Feb (in or before) 2007 Nov (in or after) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
[ 2002 Nov ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 1  
2002 Apr Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Upper NW flank
2000 Nov 2 (?) 2001 Apr 16 (?) Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
1999 May Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
1995 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
1989 Aug (in or before) 1990 Feb (in or after) Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
1984 Jun 3 (in or before) 1985 Jun 13 (in or after) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Upper NW flank
1971 Sep 6 1971 Dec 11 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Upper and lower NW flanks
1965 Nov 23 1966 Jun 11 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Upper NW flank
[ 1955 Aug ] [ 1955 Oct 15 ± 60 days ] Uncertain 2  
1951 Oct 23 1951 Nov 27 ± 30 days Confirmed 3 Historical Observations
1909 Aug Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1897 Mar 26 ± 5 days Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1886 Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations
1871 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1869 Mar Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1857 Aug Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1855 Aug Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1840 (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Historical Observations
1797 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
1768 Aug Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1595 Unknown Confirmed 3 Historical Observations
1050 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)

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
Tinakoro | Tamami


Cones
Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Mendana Cone 298 m
The northern side of conical Tinakula volcano at the NW end of the Santa Cruz Islands rises dramatically from the sea surface. The small 3.5-km-wide island is the exposed portion of a massive stratovolcano that rises 3-4 km from the sea floor. A large breached crater that extends from the 851-m-high summit to below the NW coast is visible at the right and has been the source of frequent historical eruptions dating back to the era of Spanish exploration in 1595. Ndeni Island (left) appears in the background south of Tinakula.

Photo by Donn Tolia, 2002 (Geological Survey of the Solomon Islands, courtesy of CSIRO).
An eruption plume rises above weather clouds over Tinakula volcano on February 21, 2006. Tinakula had resumed eruptive activity earlier that month.

Photo by Bill Yeaton, 2006.

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.

Fisher N H, 1957. Melanesia. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 5: 1-105.

Hughes G W, Craig P M, Dennis R A, 1981. Geology of the eastern Outer Islands. Solomon Is Geol Surv Bull, 4: 1-33.

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

Volcano Types

Stratovolcano
Pyroclastic cone

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Crustal thickness unknown

Rock Types

Major
Andesite / Basaltic Andesite
Minor
Basalt / Picro-Basalt
Dacite

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
0
19
19
20,155

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Tinakula 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.