Bristol Island

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 59.017°S
  • 26.533°W

  • 1100 m
    3608 ft

  • 390080
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

Most Recent Weekly Report: 15 June-21 June 2016 Citation IconCite this Report


The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that on 16 June a diffuse ash plume from Bristol Island's Mt. Sourabaya was visible in satellite images rising to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting SE. The report noted low confidence in the plume altitude due to weather clouds in the area.

Source: Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)

Weekly Reports - Index


2016: May | June


15 June-21 June 2016 Citation IconCite this Report


The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that on 16 June a diffuse ash plume from Bristol Island's Mt. Sourabaya was visible in satellite images rising to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting SE. The report noted low confidence in the plume altitude due to weather clouds in the area.

Source: Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


1 June-7 June 2016 Citation IconCite this Report


The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that weather clouds mostly prevented satellite observations of Bristol Island's Mt. Sourabaya during 1-6 June, though a thermal anomaly was detected during 1-2 and 5-6 June.

Source: Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


25 May-31 May 2016 Citation IconCite this Report


According to NASA's Earth Observatory, a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite image of Bristol Island acquired on 28 May showed an ash plume from Mt. Sourabaya drifting NE. Based on satellite image analysis, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 29-31 May gas plumes with possible minor ash content drifted as far as 185 km N, NNE, and SE at an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l.

Sources: NASA Earth Observatory; Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


4 May-10 May 2016 Citation IconCite this Report


Based on analysis of satellite images, an eruption at Bristol Island likely began on 24 April, the first eruption since 1956. Landsat images detected a plume and a thermal anomaly in the main crater at the top of Mt. Sourabaya. By 1 May the anomaly was elongated to the W, suggesting that lava had breached the crater rim.

Source: Matthew Patrick, US Geological Survey - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory


The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Bristol Island.

Eruptive History


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


Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
2016 Apr 24 2016 May 28 Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
1956 Jan 11 1956 Jan 19 (?) Confirmed 3 Historical Observations West flank
1950 Mar 27 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1936 Dec 18 1937 Jan 1 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1935 Dec 31 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1823 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations

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.

Photo Gallery


The largely glacier-covered, 9 x 10 km Bristol Island is one of the largest of the South Sandwich Islands. Both summit and flank vents on Bristol Island have been active during historical time. The latest eruption, during 1956, originated from the west-flank crater, and deposited cinder over the icecap. The extensive icecap on Bristol Island and the difficulty of landing make it the least explored of the South Sandwich Islands.

ASTER satellite image, 2002 (National Aeronautical and Space Administration, courtesy of ASTER science team).
See title for photo information.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database


There are no samples for Bristol Island in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites