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Report on Chirinkotan (Russia) — December 2014


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 39, no. 12 (December 2014)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Chirinkotan (Russia) Through April 2015, thermal anomalies & gas-steam plumes continue

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2014. Report on Chirinkotan (Russia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 39:12. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN201412-290260



48.98°N, 153.48°E; summit elev. 724 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

This Bulletin report discusses activity at Chirinkotan from May 2014 to late-April 2015. The information presented here was primarily sourced from the Sakhalin Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (SVERT). SVERT is in charge of monitoring volcanic activity within the Kuril Islands from Onekotan in the N to Kunashir in the S (figure 2). The volcano also forms an island of the same name. Figure 1 in BGVN 38:12 provides a view of Chirinkotan's location within the Kuril Islands.

Our last Bulletin report (BGVN 38:12) recorded Chirinkotan activity that occurred from May 2013 to April 2014. During that interval, gas-and-steam emissions and thermal alerts were frequently observed and reported (table 1 in BGVN 38:12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Maps highlighting the location of Chirinkotan, within the Kuril Islands. On the larger map, Chirinkotan is represented by a red dot directly above the label "Chirinkotan." The map also shows the other islands of the Kuril archipelago, which are located between the Kamchatka Peninsula (Russia, top center) and Hokkaido (Japan, lower left). Also marked on this map are appoximate seafloor convergence rates (arrows) and the location of the trench's E margin (heavy dashed line). The index map, in the top left corner, shows the general area in which the Kuril Islands are located. 'KC' represents the Kamchatka Current and 'SWC' represents the Soya warm current. Image taken from Belousov and others (2009).

May 2014 to late-April 2015. Due to similarities between Chirinkotan's activity from May 2014 through late-April 2015 and May 2013-April 2014 (BGVN 38:12), we once again use a table to summarize Chirinkotan's activity.

Due to their inaccessibility, SVERT relies on satellite monitoring to monitor volcanic activity within the Kuril Islands. On the basis of those observations, SVERT often reported thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam emissions at Chirinkotan during this reporting interval (May 2014 to late April 2015). SVERT frequently reported that clouds obscured views of Chirinkotan, which halted collection of satellite data.

SVERT also reports Chirinkotan's Aviation Color Code (ACC). The ACC is a four color scale used by some volcano observatories and the aviation community to communicate volcanic-ash hazards of a volcano. The colors in order of increasing volcanic activity are Green, Yellow, Orange and Red.

In an overview, the ACC stood at Yellow during the following periods: May 2014 to the beginning of June 2014; late November 2014 to late February 2015; and from mid-March to late April 2015. SVERT reported Chirinkotan's ACC as Green during June to late November 2014 and early March 2015.

Table 2 summarizes available SVERT data on Chirinkotan's activity. The table is divided into two columns labeled Date and Comments. The Date column refers to the week during which Chirinkotan activity was observed or reported by SVERT. The Comments column details Chirinkotan's ACC and what activity occurred at Chirinkotan on a particular day or during a particular week.

Table 2. Table condensing Chirinkotan's activity and cases where cloud cover hindered observations between May 2014 and late April 2015. The information in the table was observed in satellite data by SVERT personnel. Bulletin editors gathered this information from available SVERT material (generally published on the end date of the date ranges in the left column).

Date Comments
29 Apr-5 May 2014

ACC: Yellow

29 April: Weak thermal anomaly

Cloud cover often obscured view of Chirinkotan

06-12 May 2014

ACC: Yellow

7 May: Gas-and-steam emission

Cloud cover often obscured view

13-19 May 2014 ACC: Yellow

Chirinkotan covered by clouds during this entire week

03-09 Jun 2014

ACC: Green (according to 6 June 2014 SVERT report)

24 May: Eruption began. Clear thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam emissions. Ash sometimes observed in gas-and-steam emissions

4-5 June: Weak thermal anomalies

5 June: Thermal anomalies possibly due to lava flow

Cloud cover not mentioned in available SVERT material

25 Nov-01 Dec 2014

ACC: Yellow (according to 27 November 2014 SVERT report)

Since 21 November: Thermal anomaly and increased steam-gas

25 November: Thermal anomaly

27 November: Gas-and-steam emission extended 40 km SE

28 and 30 November: Weak gas-and-steam emissions

On other days, obscured by clouds

02-08 Dec 2014

ACC: Yellow

2-5 and 7 December: Thermal anomaly

3 December: Weak gas-and-steam emission

Chirinkotan sometimes hidden by clouds

09-15 Dec 2014 ACC: Yellow

10-11 and 13-14 December: Thermal anomaly

On other days, Chirinkotan hidden by clouds

16-22 Dec 2014

ACC: Yellow

15 and 21 December: Thermal anomaly

Clouds often obscured views of Chirinkotan

30 Dec 2014-

05 Jan 2015

ACC: Yellow

30 December 2014: Thermal anomaly

5 January 2015: Gas-and-steam emissions to an altitude of 3 km drifting SE

Clouds often obscured views

06-12 Jan 2015 ACC: Yellow

8 and 10-11 January: Thermal anomaly

Clouds obscured Chirinkotan on other days

13-19 Jan 2015

ACC: Yellow

13-14 January: Weak gas-and-steam emissions

13 and 15 January: Thermal anomaly

Clouds obscured Chirinkotan on other days

27 Jan-02 Feb 2015

ACC: Yellow

31 January: Weak gas-and-steam emissions

Clouds obscured Chirinkotan on other days

03-09 Feb 2015 ACC: Yellow

6 and 8 February: Weak gas-and-steam emissions

Chirinkotan obscured by clouds on other days

04 Mar 2015 ACC: Green (according to 4 March 2015 SVERT report)
17-23 Mar 2015

ACC: Yellow (according to 20 March 2015 issued SVERT report)

19-20 March: Thermal anomaly

20 March 2015 SVERT report noted activation due to observed thermal anomalies

Chirinkotan often obscured by clouds

24-30 Mar 2015

ACC: Yellow

27 March: Thermal anomaly

Clouds obscured Chirinkotan on other days

31 Mar-06 Apr 2015

ACC: Yellow

5 April: Thermal anomaly

Chirinkotan often obscured by clouds

07-13 Apr 2015

ACC: Yellow

6 April: Thermal anomaly

8 April: Weak gas-and-steam emissions

11 April: Satellite observations indicated volcanic activity was occurring

Chirinkotan often obscured by clouds

14-20 Apr 2015

ACC: Yellow

17-18 April: Thermal anomaly

Clouds obscured Chirinkotan on other days

21-27 Apr 2015

ACC: Yellow

During 20-26 April, obscured by clouds

References. Belousov, A., Belousova, M., and Miller, T., 2009, Kurile Islands, pp 520-525 in: Encyclopedia of Islands, Gillespie, R. and Clague D., eds., University of California Press, 1111 pp., accessed on 29 April 2015, (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/lavdi/staff/belousov/kuriles-2009.pdf).

Geological Summary. The small, mostly unvegetated 3-km-wide island of Chirinkotan occupies the far end of an E-W volcanic chain that extends nearly 50 km W of the central part of the main Kuril Islands arc. It is the emergent summit of a volcano that rises 3000 m from the floor of the Kuril Basin. A small 1-km-wide caldera about 300-400 m deep is open to the SW. Lava flows from a cone within the breached crater reached the shore of the island. Historical eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. Lava flows were observed by the English fur trader Captain Snow in the 1880s.

Information Contacts: Sakhalin Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics (IMG&G) Far East Division Russian Academy of Sciences (FED RAS), 1B Science St., Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, 693022, Russia (URL: http://www.imgg.ru/).