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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

All reports of volcanic activity published by the Smithsonian since 1968 are available through a monthly table of contents or by searching for a specific volcano. Until 1975, reports were issued for individual volcanoes as information became available; these have been organized by month for convenience. Later publications were done in a monthly newsletter format. Links go to the profile page for each volcano with the Bulletin tab open.

Information is preliminary at time of publication and subject to change.


Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Sabancaya (Peru) Explosions, ash and SO2 plumes, thermal anomalies, and lava dome growth during June-November 2019

Karangetang (Indonesia) Lava flows, strong thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and ash plumes during May-November 2019

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) New vent, lava fountaining, lava flow, and ash plumes in late September-October 2019

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Strong thermal anomalies and fumaroles within the summit crater during June-November 2019

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies during June-November 2019

Kerinci (Indonesia) Intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes during June-early November 2019

Bezymianny (Russia) Lava dome growth, ongoing thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, June-November 2019

Mayon (Philippines) Gas-and-steam plumes and summit incandescence during May-October 2019

Merapi (Indonesia) Low-volume dome growth continues during April-September 2019 with rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Significant eruption on 28 June produced an ash plume up to 15.2 km and pyroclastic flows

Tangkuban Parahu (Indonesia) Phreatic eruption on 27 July followed by intermittent explosions through to 17 September 2019

Sheveluch (Russia) Frequent ash explosions and lava dome growth continue through October 2019



Sabancaya (Peru) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W; summit elev. 5960 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions, ash and SO2 plumes, thermal anomalies, and lava dome growth during June-November 2019

Sabancaya is an andesitic stratovolcano located in Peru. The most recent eruptive episode began in early November 2016, which is characterized by gas-and-steam and ash emissions, seismicity, and explosive events (BGVN 44:06). The ash plumes are dispersed by wind with a typical radius of 30 km, which occasionally results in ashfall. Current volcanism includes high seismicity, gas-and-steam emissions, ash and SO2 plumes, numerous thermal anomalies, and explosive events. This report updates information from June through November 2019 using information primarily from the Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP) and Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico) (OVI-INGEMMET).

Table 5. Summary of eruptive activity at Sabancaya during June-November 2019 based on IGP weekly reports, the Buenos Aires VAAC advisories, the HIGP MODVOLC hotspot monitoring algorithm, and Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data.

Month Avg. Daily Explosions by week Max plume Heights (km above crater) Plume drift MODVOLC Alerts Min Days with SO2 over 2 DU
Jun 2019 12, 13, 16, 17 2.6-3.8 30 km S, SW, E, SE, NW, NE 15 20
Jul 2019 23, 22, 16, 13 2.3-3.7 E, SE, S, NE 7 25
Aug 2019 12, 30, 25, 26 2-4.5 30 km NW, W S, NE, SE, SW 7 25
Sep 2019 29, 32, 24, 15 1.5-2.5 S, SE, E, W, NW, SW 14 26
Oct 2019 32, 36, 44, 48, 28 2.5-3.5 S, SE, SW, W 11 25
Nov 2019 58, 50, 47, 17 2-4 W, SW, S, NE, E 13 22

Explosions, ash emissions, thermal signatures, and high concentrations of SO2 were reported each week during June-November 2019 by IGP, the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), HIGP MODVOLC, and Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data (table 5). Thermal anomalies were visible in the summit crater, even in the presence of meteoric clouds and ash plumes were occasionally visible rising from the summit in clear weather (figure 68). The maximum plume height reached 4.5 km above the crater drifting NW, W, and S the week of 29 July-4 August, according to IGP who used surveillance cameras to visually monitor the plume (figure 69). This ash plume had a radius of 30 km, which resulted in ashfall in Colca (NW) and Huambo (W). On 27 July the SO2 levels reached a high of 12,814 tons/day, according to INGEMMET. An average of 58 daily explosions occurred in early November, which is the largest average of this reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery detected ash plumes, gas-and-steam emissions, and multiple thermal signatures (bright yellow-orange) in the crater at Sabancaya during June-November 2019. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. A webcam image of an ash plume rising from Sabancaya on 1 August 2019 at least 4 km above the crater. Courtesy of IGP.

Seismicity was also particularly high between August and September 2019, according to INGEMMET. On 14 August, roughly 850 earthquakes were detected. There were 280 earthquakes reported on 15 September, located 6 km NE of the crater. Both seismic events were characterized as seismic swarms. Seismicity decreased afterward but continued through the reporting period.

In February 2017, a lava dome was established inside the crater. Since then, it has been growing slowly, filling the N area of the crater and producing thermal anomalies. On 26 October 2019, OVI-INGEMMET conducted a drone overflight and captured video of the lava dome (figure 70). According to IGP, this lava dome is approximately 4.6 million cubic meters with a growth rate of 0.05 m3/s.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. Drone images of the lava dome and degassing inside the crater at Sabancaya on 26 (top) and 27 (bottom) October 2019. Courtesy of INGEMMET (Informe Ténico No A6969).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows strong, consistent thermal anomalies occurring all throughout June through November 2019 (figure 71). In conjunction with these thermal anomalies, the October 2019 special issue report by INGEMMET showed new hotspots forming along the crater rim in July 2018 and August 2019 (figure 72).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Thermal anomalies at Sabancaya for 3 January through November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent, strong, and consistent. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Thermal hotspots on the NW section of the crater at Sabancaya using MIROVA images. These images show the progression of the formation of at least two new hotspots between February 2017 to August 2019. Courtesy of INGEMMET, Informe Técnico No A6969.

Sulfur dioxide emissions also persisted at significant levels from June through November 2019, as detected by Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data (figure 73). The satellite measurements of the SO2 emissions exceeded 2 DU (Dobson Units) at least 20 days each month during this time. These SO2 plumes sometimes occurred for multiple consecutive days (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Consistent, large SO2 plumes from Sabancaya were seen in TROPOMI instrument satellite data throughout June-November 2019, many of which drifted in different directions based on the prevailing winds. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Persistent SO2 plumes from Sabancaya appeared daily during 13-16 September 2019 in the TROPOMI instrument satellite data. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Geologic Background. Sabancaya, located in the saddle NE of Ampato and SE of Hualca Hualca volcanoes, is the youngest of these volcanic centers and the only one to have erupted in historical time. The oldest of the three, Nevado Hualca Hualca, is of probable late-Pliocene to early Pleistocene age. The name Sabancaya (meaning "tongue of fire" in the Quechua language) first appeared in records in 1595 CE, suggesting activity prior to that date. Holocene activity has consisted of Plinian eruptions followed by emission of voluminous andesitic and dacitic lava flows, which form an extensive apron around the volcano on all sides but the south. Records of historical eruptions date back to 1750.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URL: https://www.gob.pe/igp); Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

2.781°N, 125.407°E; summit elev. 1797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava flows, strong thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and ash plumes during May-November 2019

Karangetang (also known as Api Siau), located on the island of Siau in the Sitaro Regency, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, has experienced more than 40 recorded eruptions since 1675 in addition to many smaller undocumented eruptions. In early February 2019, a lava flow originated from the N crater (Kawah Dua) traveling NNW and reaching a distance over 3 km. Recent monitoring showed a lava flow from the S crater (Kawah Utama, also considered the "Main Crater") traveling toward the Kahetang and Batuawang River drainages on 15 April 2019. Gas-and-steam emissions, ash plumes, moderate seismicity, and thermal anomalies including lava flow activity define this current reporting period for May through November 2019. The primary source of information for this report comes from daily and weekly reports by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

PVMBG reported that white gas-and-steam emissions were visible rising above both craters consistently between May through November 2019 (figures 30 and 31). The maximum altitude for these emissions was 400 m above the Dua Crater on 27 May and 700 m above the Main Crater on 12 June. Throughout the reporting period PVMBG noted that moderate seismicity occurred, which included both shallow and deep volcanic earthquakes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. A Sentinel-2 image of Karangetang showing two active craters producing gas-and-steam emissions with a small amount of ash on 7 August 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Webcam images of gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Karangetang on 14 (top) and 25 (bottom) October 2019. Courtesy of PVMBG via Øystein Lund Andersen.

Activity was relatively low between May and June 2019, consisting mostly of gas-and-steam emissions. On 26-27 May 2019 crater incandescence was observed above the Main Crater; white gas-and-steam emissions were rising from both craters (figures 32 and 33). At 1858 on 20 July, incandescent avalanches of material originating from the Main Crater traveled as far as 1 km W toward the Pangi and Kinali River drainages. By 22 July the incandescent material had traveled another 500 m in the same direction as well as 1 km in the direction of the Nanitu and Beha River drainages. According to a Darwin VAAC report, discreet, intermittent ash eruptions on 30 July resulted in plumes drifting W at 7.6 km altitude and SE at 3 km, as observed in HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photograph of summit crater incandescence at Karangetang on 12 May 2019. Courtesy of Dominik Derek.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Photograph of both summit crater incandescence at Karangetang on 12 May 2019 accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of Dominik Derek.

On 5 August 2019 a minor eruption produced an ash cloud that rose 3 km and drifted E. PVMBG reported in the weekly report for 5-11 August that an incandescent lava flow from the Main Crater was traveling W and SW on the slopes of Karangetang and producing incandescent avalanches (figure 34). During 12 August through 1 September lava continued to effuse from both the Main and Dua craters. Avalanches of material traveled as far as 1.5 km SW toward the Nanitu and Pangi River drainages, 1.4-2 km to the W of Pangi, and 1.8 km down the Sense River drainage. Lava fountaining was observed occurring up to 10 m above the summit on 14-20 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Photograph of summit crater incandescence and a lava flow from Karangetang on 7 August 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

PVMBG reported that during 2-22 September lava continued to effuse from both craters, traveling SW toward the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense River drainages as far as 1.5 km. On 24 September the lava flow occasionally traveled 0.8-1.5 km toward the West Beha River drainage. The lava flow from the Main Crater continued through at least the end of November, moving SW and W as far as 1.5 km toward the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense River drainages. In late October and onwards, incandescence from both summit craters was observed at night. The lava flow often traveled as far as 1 km toward the Batang and East Beha River drainage on 12 November, the West Beha River drainage on 15, 22, 24, and 29 November, and the Batang and West Beha River drainages on 25-27 November (figure 35). On 30 November a Strombolian eruption occurred in the Main Crater accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions rising 100 m above the Main Crater and 50 m above the Dua Crater. Lava flows traveled SW and W toward the Nanitu, Sense, and Pangi River drainages as far as 1.5 km, the West Beha and Batang River drainages as far as 1 km, and occasionally the Batu Awang and Kahetang River drainages as far as 2 km. Lava fountaining was reported occurring 10-25 m above the Main Crater and 10 m above the Dua Crater on 6, 8-12, 15, 21-30 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Webcam image of gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Karangetang accompanied by incandescence and lava flows at night on 27 November 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia via Øystein Lund Andersen.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed consistent and strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit craters from late July through November 2019 (figure 36). Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 corroborated this data, showing strong thermal anomalies and lava flows originating from both craters during this same timeframe (figure 37). In addition to these lava flows, satellite imagery also captured intermittent gas-and-steam emissions from May through November (figure 38). MODVOLC thermal alerts registered 165 thermal hotspots near Karangetang's summit between May and November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Frequent and strong thermal anomalies at Karangetang between 3 January through November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) began in late July and were recorded within 5 km of the summit craters. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed ongoing thermal activity (bright orange) at Karangetang from July into November 2019. The lava flows traveled dominantly in the W direction from the Main Crater. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showing gas-and-steam emissions with a small amount of ash (middle and right) rising from both craters of Karangetang during May through November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite data detected multiple sulfur dioxide plumes between May and November 2019 (figure 39). These emissions occasionally exceeded 2 Dobson Units (DU) and drifted in different directions based on the dominant wind pattern.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. SO2 emissions from Karangetang (indicated by the red box) were seen in TROPOMI instrument satellite data during May through November 2019, many of which drifted in different directions based on the prevailing winds. Top left: 27 May 2019. Top middle: 26 July 2019. Top right: 17 August 2019. Bottom left: 27 September 2019. Bottom middle: 3 October 2019. Bottom right: 21 November 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Geologic Background. Karangetang (Api Siau) volcano lies at the northern end of the island of Siau, about 125 km NNE of the NE-most point of Sulawesi island. The stratovolcano contains five summit craters along a N-S line. It is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, with more than 40 eruptions recorded since 1675 and many additional small eruptions that were not documented in the historical record (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World: Neumann van Padang, 1951). Twentieth-century eruptions have included frequent explosive activity sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars. Lava dome growth has occurred in the summit craters; collapse of lava flow fronts have produced pyroclastic flows.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Dominik Derek (URL: https://www.facebook.com/07dominikderek/).


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Ulawun

Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New vent, lava fountaining, lava flow, and ash plumes in late September-October 2019

Ulawun is a basaltic-to-andesitic stratovolcano located in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea, with typical activity consisting of seismicity, gas-and-steam plumes, and ash emissions. The most recent eruption began in late June 2019 involving ash and gas-and-steam emissions, increased seismicity, and a pyroclastic flow (BGVN 44:09). This report includes volcanism from September to October 2019 with primary source information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

Activity remained low through 26 September 2019, mainly consisting of variable amounts of gas-and-steam emissions and low seismicity. Between 26 and 29 September RVO reported that the seismicity increased slightly and included low-level volcanic tremors and Real-Time Seismic Amplitude Measurement (RSAM) values in the 200-400 range on 19, 20, and 22 September. On 30 September small volcanic earthquakes began around 1000 and continued to increase in frequency; by 1220, they were characterized as a seismic swarm. The Darwin VAAC advisory noted that an ash plume rose to 4.6-6 km altitude, drifting SW and W, based on ground reports.

On 1 October 2019 the seismicity increased, reaching RSAM values up to 10,000 units between 0130 and 0200, according to RVO. These events preceded an eruption which originated from a new vent that opened on the SW flank at 700 m elevation, about three-quarters of the way down the flank from the summit. The eruption started between 0430 and 0500 and was defined by incandescence and lava fountaining to less than 100 m. In addition to lava fountaining, light- to dark-gray ash plumes were visible rising several kilometers above the vent and drifting NW and W (figure 21). On 2 October, as the lava fountaining continued, ash-and-steam plumes rose to variable heights between 2 and 5.2 km (figures 22 and 23), resulting in ashfall to the W in Navo. Seismicity remained high, with RSAM values passing 12,000. A lava flow also emerged during the night which traveled 1-2 km NW. The main summit crater produced white gas-and-steam emissions, but no incandescence or other signs of activity were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Photographs of incandescence and lava fountaining from Ulawun during 1-2 October 2019. A) Lava fountains along with ash plumes that rose several kilometers above the vent. B) Incandescence and lava fountaining seen from offshore. Courtesy of Christopher Lagisa.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Photographs of an ash plume rising from Ulawun on 1 October 2019. In the right photo, lava fountaining is visible. Courtesy of Christopher Lagisa.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Photograph of lava fountaining and an ash plume rising from Ulawun on 1 October 2019. Courtesy of Joe Metto, WNB Provincial Disaster Office (RVO Report 2019100101).

Ash emissions began to decrease by 3 October 2019; satellite imagery and ground observations showed an ash cloud rising to 3 km altitude and drifting N, according to the Darwin VAAC report. RVO reported that the fissure eruption on the SW flank stopped on 4 October, but gas-and-steam emissions and weak incandescence were still visible. The lava flow slowed, advancing 3-5 m/day, while declining seismicity was reflected in RSAM values fluctuating around 1,000. RVO reported that between 23 and 31 October the main summit crater continued to produce variable amounts of white gas-and-steam emissions (figure 24) and that no incandescence was observed after 5 October. Gas-and-steam emissions were also observed around the new SW vent and along the lava flow. Seismicity remained low until 27-29 October; it increased again and peaked on 30 October, reaching an RSAM value of 1,700 before dropping and fluctuating around 1,200-1,500.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Webcam photo of a gas-and-steam plume rising from Ulawun on 30 October 2019. Courtesy of the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO).

In addition to ash plumes, SO2 plumes were also detected between September and October 2019. Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI data showed SO2 plumes, some of which exceeded 2 Dobson Units (DU) drifting in different directions (figure 25). MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed strong, frequent thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit beginning in early October 2019 and throughout the rest of the month (figure 26). Only one thermal anomaly was detected in early December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI data showing a high concentration of SO2 plumes rising from Ulawun between late September-early October 2019. Top left: 11 September 2019. Top right: 1 October 2019. Bottom left: 2 October 2019. Bottom right: 3 October 2019. Courtesy of the NASA Space Goddard Flight Center.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Frequent and strong thermal anomalies at Ulawun for February through December 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) began in early October and continued throughout the month. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity in November was relatively low, with only a variable amount of white gas-and-steam emissions visible and low (less than 200 RSAM units) seismicity with sporadic volcanic earthquakes. Between 9-22 December, a webcam showed intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions were observed at the main crater, accompanied by some incandescence at night. Some gas-and-steam emissions were also observed rising from the new SW vent along the lava flow.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the N coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1,000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Christopher Lagisa, West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea (URL: https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa, images posted at https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa/posts/730662937360239 and https://www.facebook.com/christopher.lagisa/posts/730215604071639).


Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong thermal anomalies and fumaroles within the summit crater during June-November 2019

Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira) is a high-potassium basaltic shield volcano located in the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Previous volcanism consisted of the reappearance of a lava lake in the summit crater in mid-April 2018, lava emissions, and high seismicity (BGVN 44:05). Current activity includes strong thermal signatures, continued inner crater wall collapses, and continued moderate seismicity. The primary source of information for this June-November 2019 report comes from the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data and imagery from multiple sources.

OVG reported in the July 2019 monthly that the inner crater wall collapses that were observed in May continued to occur. During this month, there was a sharp decrease in the lava lake level, and it is no longer visible. However, the report stated that lava fountaining was visible from a small cone within this crater, though its activity has also decreased since 2014. In late July, a thermal anomaly and fumaroles were observed originating from this cone (figure 85). Seismicity remained moderate throughout this reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Photograph showing the small active cone within the crater of Nyamuragira in late July 2019. Fumaroles are also observed within the crater originating from the small cone. Courtesy of Sergio Maguna.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit between June through November (figure 86). The strength of these thermal anomalies noticeably decreases briefly in September. MODVOLC thermal alerts registered 54 thermal hotspots dominantly near the N area of the crater during June through November 2019. Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 corroborated this data, showing strong thermal anomalies within the summit crater during this same timeframe (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira during 30 January through November 2019 shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies through November with a brief decrease in activity in late April-early May and early September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed ongoing thermal activity at Nyamuragira into November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Africa's most active volcano, Nyamuragira, is a massive high-potassium basaltic shield about 25 km N of Lake Kivu. Also known as Nyamulagira, it has generated extensive lava flows that cover 1500 km2 of the western branch of the East African Rift. The broad low-angle shield volcano contrasts dramatically with the adjacent steep-sided Nyiragongo to the SW. The summit is truncated by a small 2 x 2.3 km caldera that has walls up to about 100 m high. Historical eruptions have occurred within the summit caldera, as well as from the numerous fissures and cinder cones on the flanks. A lava lake in the summit crater, active since at least 1921, drained in 1938, at the time of a major flank eruption. Historical lava flows extend down the flanks more than 30 km from the summit, reaching as far as Lake Kivu.

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sergio Maguna (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sergio.maguna.9, images posted at https://www.facebook.com/sergio.maguna.9/posts/1267625096730837).


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bagana

Papua New Guinea

6.137°S, 155.196°E; summit elev. 1855 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies during June-November 2019

Bagana volcano is found in a remote portion of central Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea. The most recent eruptive phase that began in early 2000 has produced ash plumes and thermal anomalies (BGVN 44:06, 50:01). Activity has remained low between January-July 2019 with rare thermal anomalies and occasional steam plumes. This reporting period updates information for June-November 2019 and includes thermal anomalies and intermittent gas-and-steam emissions. Thermal data and satellite imagery are the primary sources of information for this report.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed an increased number of thermal anomalies within 5 km from the summit beginning in late July-early August (figure 38). Two Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed faint, roughly linear thermal anomalies, indicative of lava flows trending EW and NS on 7 July 2019 and 6 August, respectively (figure 39). Weak thermal hotspots were briefly detected in late September-early October after a short hiatus in September. No thermal anomalies were recorded in Sentinel-2 past August due to cloud cover; however, gas-and-steam emissions were visible on 7 July and in September (figures 39, 40, and 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Thermal anomalies near the crater summit at Bagana during February-November 2019 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) increased in frequency and power in early August. A small cluster was detected in early October after a brief pause in activity in early September. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing small thermal anomalies at Bagana between July-August 2019. Left: A very faint thermal anomaly and a gas-and-steam plume is seen on 7 July 2019. Right: Two small thermal anomalies are faintly seen on 6 August 2019. Both Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit of Bagana on 18 September 2019. Courtesy of Brendan McCormick Kilbride (University of Manchester).

The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) scientific team partnered with the Rabaul Volcano Observatory and the Bougainville Disaster Office to observe activity at Bagana and collect gas data using drone technology during two weeks of field work in mid-September 2019. For this field work, the major focus was to understand the composition of the volcanic gas emitted at Bagana and measure the concentration of these gases. Since Bagana is remote and difficult to climb, research about its gas emissions has been limited. The recent advancements in drone technology has allowed for new data collection at the summit of Bagana (figure 41). Most of the emissions consisted of water vapor, according to Brendan McCormick Kilbride, one of the volcanologists on this trip. During 14-19 September there was consistently a strong gas-and-steam plume from Bagana (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Degassing plumes seen from drone footage 100 m above the summit of Bagana. Top: Zoomed out view of the summit of Bagana degassing. Bottom: Closer perspective of the gases emitted from Bagana. Courtesy of Kieran Wood (University of Bristol) and the Bristol Flight Laboratory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Photos of gas-and-steam plumes rising from Bagana between 14-19 September 2019. Courtesy of Brendan McCormick Kilbride (University of Manchester).

Geologic Background. Bagana volcano, occupying a remote portion of central Bougainville Island, is one of Melanesia's youngest and most active volcanoes. This massive symmetrical cone was largely constructed by an accumulation of viscous andesitic lava flows. The entire edifice could have been constructed in about 300 years at its present rate of lava production. Eruptive activity is frequent and characterized by non-explosive effusion of viscous lava that maintains a small lava dome in the summit crater, although explosive activity occasionally producing pyroclastic flows also occurs. Lava flows form dramatic, freshly preserved tongue-shaped lobes up to 50 m thick with prominent levees that descend the flanks on all sides.

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Brendan McCormick Kilbride, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom (URL: https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/brendan.mccormickkilbride.html, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrendanVolc); Kieran Wood, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1QU, United Kingdom (URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/engineering/people/kieran-t-wood/index.html, Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrKieranWood, video posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Hx645v0eU); University of Bristol Flight Laboratory, Bristol BS8 1QU, United Kingdom (Twitter: https://twitter.com/UOBFlightLab).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

1.697°S, 101.264°E; summit elev. 3800 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes during June-early November 2019

Kerinci, located in Sumatra, Indonesia, is a highly active volcano characterized by explosive eruptions with ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions. The most recent eruptive episode began in April 2018 and included intermittent explosions with ash plumes. Volcanism continued from June-November 2019 with ongoing intermittent gas-and-steam and ash plumes. The primary source of information for this report comes from Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and MAGMA Indonesia.

Brown- to gray-colored ash clouds drifting in different directions were reported by PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC, and MAGMA Indonesia between June and early November 2019. Ground observations, satellite imagery, and weather models were used to monitor the plume, which ranged from 4.3 to 4.9 km altitude, or about 500-1,100 m above the summit. On 7 June 2019 at 0604 a gray ash emission rose 800 m above the summit, drifting E, according to a ground observer. An ash plume on 12 July rose to 4 km altitude and drifted SW, as determined by satellite imagery and weather models. An eruption produced a gray ash cloud on 31 July that rose to 4.6 km altitude and drifted NE and E, according to PVMBG and the Darwin VAAC (figure 17). Another ash cloud rose up to 4.3 km altitude on 3 August. On 2 September a possible ash plume rose to a maximum altitude of 4.9 km and drifted WSW, according to the Darwin VAAC advisory.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. A gray ash plume at Kerinci rose roughly 800 m above the summit on 31 July 2019 and drifted NE and E. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Brown ash emissions rose to 4.4 km altitude at 1253 on 6 October, drifting WSW. Similar plumes reached 4.6 km altitude twice on 30 October and moved NE, SE, and E at 0614 and WSW at 1721, based on ground observations. On 1-2 November, ground observers saw brown ash emissions rising up to 4.3 km drifting ESE. Between 3 and 5 November the brown ash plumes rose 100-500 m above the summit, according to PVMBG.

Gas emissions continued to be observed through November, as reported by PVMBG and identified in satellite imagery (figure 18). Seismicity that included volcanic earthquakes also continued between June and early November, when the frequency decreased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showing a typical white gas-and-steam plume at Kerinci on 9 August 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite image with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Gunung Kerinci in central Sumatra forms Indonesia's highest volcano and is one of the most active in Sumatra. It is capped by an unvegetated young summit cone that was constructed NE of an older crater remnant. There is a deep 600-m-wide summit crater often partially filled by a small crater lake that lies on the NE crater floor, opposite the SW-rim summit. The massive 13 x 25 km wide volcano towers 2400-3300 m above surrounding plains and is elongated in a N-S direction. Frequently active, Kerinci has been the source of numerous moderate explosive eruptions since its first recorded eruption in 1838.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Bezymianny (Russia) — December 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

55.972°N, 160.595°E; summit elev. 2882 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome growth, ongoing thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, June-November 2019

The long-term activity at Bezymianny has been dominated by almost continuous thermal anomalies, moderate gas-steam emissions, dome growth, lava flows, and an occasional ash explosion (BGVN 44:06). The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT. Throughout the reporting period of June to November 2019, the Aviation Colour Code remained Yellow (second lowest of four levels).

According to KVERT weekly reports, lava dome growth continued in June through mid-July 2019. Thereafter the reports did not mention dome growth, but indicated that moderate gas-and-steam emissions (figure 32) continued through November. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, based on analysis of MODIS data, detected hotspots within 5 km of the summit almost every day. KVERT also reported a thermal anomaly over the volcano almost daily, except when it was obscured by clouds. Infrared satellite imagery often showed thermal anomalies generated by lava flows or dome growth (figure 33).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photo of Bezymianny showing fumarolic activity on 4 July 2019. Photo by O. Girina (IVS FEB RAS, KVERT); courtesy of KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Typical infrared satellite images of Bezymianny showing thermal anomalies in the summit crater, including a lava flow to the WNW. Top: 21 August 2019 with SWIR filter (bands 12, 8A, 4). Bottom: 17 September 2019 with Atmospheric Penetration filter (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Prior to its noted 1955-56 eruption, Bezymianny had been considered extinct. The modern volcano, much smaller in size than its massive neighbors Kamen and Kliuchevskoi, was formed about 4700 years ago over a late-Pleistocene lava-dome complex and an ancestral edifice built about 11,000-7000 years ago. Three periods of intensified activity have occurred during the past 3000 years. The latest period, which was preceded by a 1000-year quiescence, began with the dramatic 1955-56 eruption. This eruption, similar to that of St. Helens in 1980, produced a large horseshoe-shaped crater that was formed by collapse of the summit and an associated lateral blast. Subsequent episodic but ongoing lava-dome growth, accompanied by intermittent explosive activity and pyroclastic flows, has largely filled the 1956 crater.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Mayon (Philippines) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayon

Philippines

13.257°N, 123.685°E; summit elev. 2462 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas-and-steam plumes and summit incandescence during May-October 2019

Mayon, located in the Philippines, is a highly active stratovolcano with recorded historical eruptions dating back to 1616. The most recent eruptive episode began in early January 2018 that consisted of phreatic explosions, steam-and-ash plumes, lava fountaining, and pyroclastic flows (BGVN 43:04). The previous report noted small but distinct thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam plumes, and slight inflation (BGVN 44:05) that continued to occur from May into mid-October 2019. This report includes information based on daily bulletins from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery.

Between May and October 2019, white gas-and-steam plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 800 m on 17 May. PHIVOLCS reported that faint summit incandescence was frequently observed at night from May-July and Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed weaker thermal anomalies in September and October (figure 49); the last anomaly was identified on 12 October. Average SO2 emissions as measured by PHIVOLCS generally varied between 469-774 tons/day; the high value of the period was on 25 July, with 1,171 tons/day. Small SO2 plumes were detected by the TROPOMI satellite instrument a few times during May-September 2019 (figure 50).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery of Mayon between May-October 2019. Small thermal anomalies were recorded in satellite imagery from the summit and some white gas-and-steam plumes are visible. Top left: 30 May 2019. Top right: 9 June 2019. Bottom left: 22 September 2019. Bottom right: 12 October 2019. Sentinel-2 satellite images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Small SO2 plumes rising from Mayon during May-September 2019 recorded in DU (Dobson Units). Top left: 28 May 2019. Top right: 26 July 2019. Bottom left: 16 August 2019. Bottom right: 23 September 2019. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Continuous GPS data has shown slight inflation since June 2018, corroborated by precise leveling data taken on 9-17 April, 16-25 July, and 23-30 October 2019. Elevated seismicity and occasional rockfall events were detected by the seismic monitoring network from PHIVOLCS from May to July; recorded activity decreased in August. Activity reported by PHIVOLCS in September-October 2019 consisted of frequent gas-and-steam emissions, two volcanic earthquakes, and no summit incandescence.

Geologic Background. Beautifully symmetrical Mayon, which rises above the Albay Gulf NW of Legazpi City, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple edifice has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions date back to 1616 and range from Strombolian to basaltic Plinian, with cyclical activity beginning with basaltic eruptions, followed by longer term andesitic lava flows. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas. A violent eruption in 1814 killed more than 1,200 people and devastated several towns.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Merapi (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

7.54°S, 110.446°E; summit elev. 2910 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Low-volume dome growth continues during April-September 2019 with rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows

Merapi is an active volcano north of the city of Yogyakarta (figure 79) that has a recent history of dome growth and collapse, resulting in block-and-ash flows that killed over 400 in 2010, while an estimated 10,000-20,000 lives were saved by evacuations. The edifice contains an active dome at the summit, above the Gendol drainage down the SE flank (figure 80). The current eruption episode began in May 2018 and dome growth was observed from 11 August 2018-onwards. This Bulletin summarizes activity during April through September 2019 and is based on information from Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG, the Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology, a branch of PVMBG), Sutopo of Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), MAGMA Indonesia, along with observations by Øystein Lund Andersen and Brett Carr of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Merapi volcano is located north of Yogyakarta in Central Java. Photo courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A view of the Gendol drainage where avalanches and block-and-ash flows are channeled from the active Merapi lava dome. The Gendol drainage is approximately 400 m wide at the summit. Courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

At the beginning of April the rate of dome growth was relatively low, with little morphological change since January, but the overall activity of Merapi was considered high. Magma extrusion above the upper Gendol drainage resulted in rockfalls and block-and-ash flows out to 1.5 km from the dome, which were incandescent and visible at night. Five block-and-ash flows were recorded on 24 April, reaching as far as 1.2 km down the Gendol drainage. The volume of the dome was calculated to be 466,000 m3 on 9 April, a slight decrease from the previous week. Weak gas plumes reached a maximum of 500 m above the dome throughout April.

Six block-and-ash flows were generated on 5 May, lasting up to 77 seconds. Throughout May there were no significant changes to the dome morphology but the volume had decreased to 458,000 by 4 May according to drome imagery analysis. Lava extrusion continued above the Gendol drainage, producing rockfalls and small block-and-ash flows out to 1.2 km (figure 81). Gas plumes were observed to reach 400 m above the top of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. An avalanche from the Merapi summit dome on 17 May 2019. The incandescent blocks traveled down to 850 m away from the dome. Courtesy of Sutopo, BNPB.

There were a total of 72 avalanches and block-and-ash flows from 29 January to 1 June, with an average distance of 1 km and a maximum of 2 km down the Gendol drainage. Photographs taken by Øystein Lund Andersen show the morphological change to the lava dome due to the collapse of rock and extruding lava down the Gendol drainage (figures 82 and 83). Block-and-ash flows were recorded on 17 and 20 June to a distance of 1.2 km, and a webcam image showed an incandescent flow on 26 June (figure 84). Throughout June gas plumes reached a maximum of 250 m above the top of the crater

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. The development of the Merapi summit dome from 2 June 2018 to 17 June 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Photos taken of the Merapi summit lava dome in June 2019. Top: This nighttime time-lapse photograph shows incandescence at the south-facing side of the dome on the 16 June. Middle: A closeup of a small rockfall from the dome on 17 June. Bottom: A gas plume accompanying a small rockfall on 17 June. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Blocks from an incandescent rockfall off the Merapi dome reached out to 1 km down the Gendol drainage on 26 June 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Analysis of drone images taken on 4 July gave an updated dome volume of 475,000 m3, a slight increase but with little change in the morphology (figure 85). Block-and-ash flows traveled 1.1 km down the Gendol drainage on 1 July, 1 km on the 13th, and 1.1 km on the 14th, some of which were seen at night as incandescent blocks fell from the dome (figure 86). During the week of 19-25 July there were four recorded block-and-ash flows reaching 1.1 km, and flows traveled out to around 1 km on the 24th, 27th, and 31st. The morphology of the dome continued to be relatively stable due to the extruding lava falling into the Gendol drainage. Gas plumes reached 300 m above the top of the crater during July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. The Merapi dome on 30 July 2019 producing a weak plume. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Incandescent rocks from the hot lava dome at the summit of Merapi form rockfalls down the Gendol drainage on 14 July 2019. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.

During the week of 5-11 August the dome volume was calculated to be 461,000 m3, a slight decrease from the week before with little morphological changes due to the continued lava extrusion collapsing into the Gendol drainage. There were five block-and-ash flows reaching a maximum of 1.2 km during 2-8 August. Two flows were observed on the 13th and 14th reaching 950 m, out to 1.9 km on the 20th and 22nd, and to 550 m on the 24th. There were 16 observed flows that reached 500-1,000 m on 25-27 August, with an additional flow out to 2 km at 1807 on the 27th (figure 87). Gas plumes reached a maximum of 350 m through the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. An incandescent rockfall from the Merapi dome that reached 2 km down the Gendol drainage on 27 August 2019. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Brett Carr was conducting field work at Merapi during 12-26 September. During this time the lava extrusion was low (below 1 m3 per second). He observed small rockfalls with blocks a couple of meters in size, traveling about 50-200 m down the drainage every hour or so, producing small plumes as they descended and resulting in incandescence on the dome at night. Small dome collapse events produced block-and-ash flows down the drainage once or twice per day (figure 88) and slightly larger flows just over 1 km long a couple of times per week.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. A rockfall on the Merapi dome, towards the Gendol drainage at 0551 on 20 September 2019. Courtesy of Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

The dome volume was 468,000 m3 by 19 September, a slight increase from the previous calculation but again with little morphological change. Two block-and-ash flows were observed out to 600 m on 9 September and seven occurred on the 9th out to 500-1,100 m. Two occurred on the 14th down to 750-900 m, three occurred on 17, 20, and 21 September to a maximum distance of 1.2 km, and three more out to 1.5 km through the 26th. A VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) was issued on the 22nd due to a small explosion producing an ash plume up to approximately 3.8 km altitude (about 800 m above the summit) and minor ashfall to 15 km SW. This was followed by a block-and-ash flow reaching as far as 1.2 km and lasting for 125 seconds (figure 89). Preceding the explosion there was an increase in temperature at several locations on the dome. Weak gas plumes were observed up to 100 m above the crater throughout the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. An explosion at Merapi on 22 September 2019 was followed by a block-and-ash flow that reached 1.2 km down the Gendol drainage. Courtesy of BPPTKG.

Geologic Background. Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities during historical time.

Information Contacts: Balai Penyelidikan dan Pengembangan Teknologi Kebencanaan Geologi (BPPTKG), Center for Research and Development of Geological Disaster Technology (URL: http://merapi.bgl.esdm.go.id/, Twitter: @BPPTKG); Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/BNPB_Indonesia); Øystein Lund Andersen? (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB (Twitter: @Sutopo_PN, URL: https://twitter.com/Sutopo_PN); Brett Carr, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY, USA (URL: https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/user/bcarr).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Manam

Papua New Guinea

4.08°S, 145.037°E; summit elev. 1807 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Significant eruption on 28 June produced an ash plume up to 15.2 km and pyroclastic flows

Manam is a frequently active volcano forming an island approximately 10 km wide, located 13 km north of the main island of Papua New Guinea. At the summit are the Main Crater and South Crater, with four valleys down the NE, SE, SW, and NW flanks (figure 57). Recent activity has occurred at both summit craters and has included gas and ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows. Activity in December 2018 prompted the evacuation of nearby villages and the last reported activity for 2018 was ashfall on 8 December. Activity from January through September 2019 summarized below is based on information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), the University of Hawai'i's MODVOLC thermal alert system, Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI and NASA Aqua/AIRS SO2 data, MIROVA thermal data, Sentinel-2 satellite images, and observations by visiting scientists. A significant eruption in June resulted in evacuations, airport closure, and damage to local crops and infrastructure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. A PlanetScope image of Manam showing the two active craters with a plume emanating from the South Crater and the four valleys at the summit on 29 August 2019. Image copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.

Activity during January-May 2019. Several explosive eruptions occurred during January 2019 according to Darwin VAAC reports, including an ash plume that rose to around 15 km and dispersed to the W on the 7th. RVO reported that an increase in seismic activity triggered the warning system shortly before the eruption commenced (figure 58). Small explosions were observed through to the next day with ongoing activity from the Main Crater and a lava flow in the NE valley observed from around 0400. Intermittent explosions ejected scoria after 0600, depositing ejecta up to 2 cm in diameter in two villages on the SE side of the island. Incandescence at both summit craters and hot deposits at the terminus of the NE valley are visible in Sentinel-2 TIR data acquired on the 10th (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Real-Time Seismic-Amplitude Measurement graph representing seismicity at Manam over 7-9 January 2019, showing the increase during the 7-8 January event. Courtesy of RVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Sentinel-2 thermal infrared (TIR) imagery shows incandescence in the two Manam summit craters and at the terminus of the NE valley near the shoreline on 10 January 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel-Hub Playground.

Another explosion generated an ash plume to around 15 km on the 11th that dispersed to the SW. An explosive eruption occurred around 4 pm on the 23rd with the Darwin VAAC reporting an ash plume to around 16.5 km altitude, dispersing to the E. Activity continued into the following day, with satellites detecting SO2 plumes on both 23 and 24 January (figure 60). Activity declined by February with one ash plume reported up to 4.9 km altitude on 15 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. SO2 plumes originating from Manam detected by NASA Aqua/AIRS (top) on 23 January 2019 and by Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI on 24 January (bottom). Images courtesy of Simon Carn, Michigan Technological University.

Ash plumes rose up to 3 km between 1 and 5 March, and dispersed to the SE, ESE, and E. During 5-6 March the plumes moved E, and the events were accompanied by elevated seismicity and significant thermal anomalies detected in satellite data. During 19-22 March explosions produced ash plumes up to 4.6 km altitude, which dispersed to the E and SE. Simon Carn of the Michigan Technological University noted a plume in Aqua/AIRS data at around 15 km altitude at 0400 UTC on 23 January with approximately 13 kt measured, similar to other recent eruptions. Additional ash plumes were detected on 29 March, reaching 2.4-3 km and drifting to the E, NE, and N. Multiple SO2 plumes were detected throughout April (figure 61).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Examples of elevated SO2 (sulfur dioxide) emissions from Manam during April 2019, on 9 April (top left), 21 April (top right), 22 April (bottom left), 28 April (bottom right). Courtesy of the NASA Space Goddard Flight Center.

During 19-28 May the Deep Carbon Observatory ABOVE (Aerial-based Observations of Volcanic Emissions) scientific team observed activity at Manam and collected gas data using drone technology. They recorded degassing from the South Crater and Main Crater (figure 63 and 64), which was also detected in Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI data (figure 65). Later in the day the plumes rose vertically up to 3-4 km above sea level and appeared stronger due to condensation. Incandescence was observed each night at the South Crater (figure 66). The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume on 10 May, reaching 5.5 km altitude and drifting to the NE. Smaller plumes up to 2.4 km were noted on the 11th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Degassing plumes from the South Crater of Manam, seen from Baliau village on the northern coast on 24 May 2019. Courtesy of Emma Liu, University College London.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. A strong gas-and-steam plume from Manam was observed moving tens of kilometers downwind on 19 May 2019, viewed here form the SSW at dusk. Photo courtesy of Julian Rüdiger, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI SO2 data acquired on 22 May 2019 during the field observations of the Deep Carbon Observatory ABOVE team. Image courtesy of Simon Carn, Michigan Technological University.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Incandescence at the South Crater of Manam was visible during 19-21 May 2019 from the Baliau village on the northern coast of the island. Photos courtesy of Tobias Fischer, University of New Mexico (top) and Matthew Wordell (bottom).

Activity during June 2019. Ash plumes rose to 4.3 km and drifted SW on 7-8 June, and up to 3-3.7 km and towards the E and NE on 18 June. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data show hot material around the Main Crater on 24 June (figure 66). On 27 June RVO reported that RSAM (Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurement, a measure of seismic activity through time) increased from 540 to over 1,400 in 30 minutes. "Thundering noise" was noted by locals at around 0100 on the 28th. An ash plume drifting SW was visible in satellite images acquired after 0620, coinciding with reported sightings by nearby residents (figure 67). The Darwin VAAC noted that by 0910 the ash plume had reached 15.2 km altitude and was drifting SW. When seen in satellite imagery at 1700 that day the large ash plume had detached and remained visible extending SW. There were 267 lightning strokes detected within 75 km during the event (figure 68) and pyroclastic flows were generated down the NE and W flanks. At 0745 on 29 June an ash plume reached up to 4.8 km.

Villages including Dugulava, Yassa, Budua, Madauri, Waia, Dangale, and Bokure were impacted by ashfall and approximately 3,775 people had evacuated to care centers. Homes and crops were reportedly damaged due to falling ash and scoria. Flights through Madang airport were also disrupted due to the ash until they resumed on the 30th. The Office of the Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea reported that as many as 455 homes and gardens were destroyed. Humanitarian resources were strained due to another significant eruption at nearby Ulawun that began on 26 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite data show hot material around the Main Crater and a plume dispersing SE through light cloud cover on 24 June 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Himawari-8 satellite image showing the ash plume rising above Manam and drifting SW at 0840 on 28 June. Satellite image courtesy of NCIT ScienceCloud.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. There were 267 lightning strokes detected within 75 km of Manam between 0729 on 27 June and 0100 on 29 June 2019. Sixty of these occurred within the final two hours of this observation period, reflecting increased activity. Red dots are cloud to ground lightning strokes and black dots are in-cloud strokes. Courtesy of Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc.

Activity during July-September 2019. Activity was reduced through July and September. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume to approximately 6 km altitude on 6 July that drifted W and NW, another plume that day to 3.7 km that drifted N, and a plume on the 21st that rose to 4.3 km and drifted SW and W. Diffuse plumes rose to 2.4-2.7 km and drifted towards the W on 29 September. Thermal anomalies in the South Crater persisted through September.

Fresh deposits from recent events are visible in satellite deposits, notably in the NE after the January activity (figure 69). Satellite TIR data reflected elevated activity with increased energy detected in March and June-July in MODVOLC and MIROVA data (figure 70).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Sentinel-2 thermal infrared images acquired on 12 October 2018, 20 May 2019, and 12 September 2019 show the eruption deposits that accumulated during this time. A thermal anomaly is visible in the South Crater in the May and September images. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. MIROVA log radiative power plot of MODIS thermal infrared at Manam during February through September 2019. Increases in activity were detected in March and June-July. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Geologic Background. The 10-km-wide island of Manam, lying 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, is one of the country's most active volcanoes. Four large radial valleys extend from the unvegetated summit of the conical 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys" channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five small satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern, and western sides. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.

Information Contacts: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://SO2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/); Office of the Resident Coordinator, United Nations, Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea (URL: https://papuanewguinea.un.org/en/about/about-the-resident-coordinator-office, https://reliefweb.int/report/papua-new-guinea/papua-new-guinea-volcanic-activity-office-resident-coordinator-flash-2); Himawari-8 Real-time Web, developed by the NICT Science Cloud project in NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology), Japan, in collaboration with JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency) and CEReS (Center of Environmental Remote Sensing, Chiba University) (URL: https://himawari8.nict.go.jp/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn); Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado, USA (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/en?type=1, Twitter: @COweatherman, URL: https://twitter.com/COweatherman); Emma Liu, University College London Earth Sciences, London WC1E 6BS (URL: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/earth-sciences/people/academic/dr-emma-liu); Matthew Wordell, Boise, ID, USA (URL: https://www.matthhew.com/biocontact); Julian Rüdiger, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Saarstr. 21, 55122 Mainz, Germany (URL: https://www.uni-mainz.de/).


Tangkuban Parahu (Indonesia) — October 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Tangkuban Parahu

Indonesia

6.77°S, 107.6°E; summit elev. 2084 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic eruption on 27 July followed by intermittent explosions through to 17 September 2019

Tangkuban is located in the West Bandung and Subang Regencies in the West Java Province and has two main summit craters, Ratu and Upas (figure 3). Recent activity has largely consisted of phreatic explosions and gas-and-steam plumes at the Ratu crater. Prior to July 2019, the most recent activity occurred in 2012-2013, ending with a phreatic eruption on 5 October 2013 (BGVN 40:04). Background activity includes geothermal activity in the Ratu crater consisting of gas and steam emission (figure 4). This area is a tourist destination with infrastructure, and often people, overlooking the active crater. This report summarizes activity during 2014 through September 2019 and is based on official agency reports. Monitoring is the responsibility of Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Map of Tangkuban Parahu showing the Sunda Caldera rim and the Ratu, Upas, and Domas craters. Basemap is the August 2019 mosaic, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Background activity at the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu is shown in these images from 1 May 2012. The top image is an overview of the crater and the bottom four images show typical geothermal activity. Copyrighted photos by Øystein Lund Andersen, used with permission.

The first reported activity in 2014 consisted of gas-and-steam plumes during October-December, prompting PVMBG to increase the alert level from I to II on 31 December 2014. These white plumes reached a maximum of 50 m above the Ratu crater (figure 5) and were accompanied by elevated seismicity and deformation. This prompted the implementation of an exclusion zone with a radius of 1.5 km around the crater. The activity decreased and the alert level was lowered back to I on 8 January 2015. There was no further reported activity from January 2015 through mid-2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Changes at the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu during 25 December 2014 to 8 January 2015. Rain water accumulated in the crater in December and intermittent gas-and-steam plumes were observed. Courtesy of PVMBG (8 January 2015 report).

From 27 June 2019 an increase in activity was recorded in seismicity, deformation, gas chemistry, and visual observations. By 24 July the responsible government agencies had communicated that the volcano could erupt at any time. At 1548 on 26 July a phreatic (steam-driven) explosion ejected an ash plume that reached 200 m; a steam-rich plume rose to 600 m above the Ratu crater (figures 6, and 7). People were on the crater rim at the time and videos show a white plume rising from the crater followed by rapid jets of ash and sediment erupting through the first plume. Deposition of eruption material was 5-7 cm thick and concentrated within a 500 m radius from the point between the Rata and Upas craters, and wider deposition occurred within 2 km of the crater (figures 8 and 9). According to seismic data, the eruption lasted around 5 minutes and 30 seconds (figure 10). Videos show several pulses of ash that fell back into the crater, followed by an ash plume moving laterally towards the viewers.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. These screenshots are from a video taken from the Ratu crater rim at Tangkuban Parahu on 26 July 2019. Initially there is a white gas-and-steam plume rising from the crater, then a high-velocity black jet of ash and sediment rises through the plume. This video was widely shared across multiple social media platforms, but the original source could not be identified.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. The ash plume at Tangkuban Parahu on 26 July 2019. Courtesy of BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Volcanic ash and lapilli was deposited around the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu during a phreatic eruption on 26 July 2019. Note that the deposits have slumped down the window and are thicker than the actual ashfall. Courtesy of BNPB.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Ash was deposited on buildings that line the Ratu crater at Tangkuban Parahu during a phreatic eruption on 26 July 2019. Photo courtesy of Novrian Arbi/via Reuters.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. A seismogram showing the onset of the 26 July 2019 eruption of Tangkuban Parahu and the elevated seismicity following the event. Courtesy of PVMBG via Øystein Lund Andersen.

On 27 July, the day after the eruption, Øystein Lund Andersen observed the volcano using a drone camera, operated from outside the restricted zone. Over a period of two hours the crater produced a small steam plume; ashfall and small blocks from the initial eruption are visible in and around the crater (figure 11). The ashfall is also visible in satellite imagery, which shows that deposition was restricted to the immediate vicinity to the SW of the crater (figure 12).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Photos of the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu on 27 July 2019, the day after a phreatic eruption. A small steam plume continued through the day. Courtesy of Øystein Lund Andersen.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. PlanetScope satellite images showing the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu before (17 July 2019) and after (28 July 2019) the explosion that took place on 26 July 2019. Natural color PlanetScope Imagery, copyright 2019 Planet Labs, Inc.

Another eruption occurred at 2046 on 1 August 2019 and lasted around 11 minutes, producing a plume up to 180 m above the vent. Additional explosions occurred at 0043 on 2 August, lasting around 3 minutes according to seismic data, but were not observed. Explosions continued to be recorded at 0145, 0357, and 0406 at the time of the PVMBG report when the last explosion was ongoing, and a photo shows an explosion at 0608 (figure 13). The explosions produced plumes that reached between 20 and 200 m above the vent. Due to elevated activity the Alert Level was increased to II on 2 August. Ash emission continued through the 4th. During 5-11 August events ejecting ash continued to produce plumes up to 80 m, and gas-and-steam plumes up to 200 m above the vent. Ashfall was localized around Ratu crater. The following week, 12-18 August, activity continued with ash and gas-and-steam plumes reaching 100-200 m above the vent. During 19-25 August, similar activity sent ash to 50-180 m, and gas-and-steam plumes to 200 m. A larger phreatic explosion occurred at 0930 on 31 August with an ash plume reaching 300 m, and a gas-and-steam plume reaching 600 m above the vent, depositing ash and sediment around the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. A small ash plume below a white gas-and-steam plume erupting from the Ratu crater of Tangkuban Parahu on 2 August 2019 at 0608. Courtesy of PVBMG (2 August 2019 report).

In early September activity consisted of gas-and-steam plumes up to 100-180 m above the vent with some ash plumes observed (figure 14). Two larger explosions occurred at 1657 and 1709 on 7 September with ash reaching 180 m, and gas-and-steam up to 200 m above the vent. Ash and sediment deposited around the crater. Due to strong winds to the SSW, the smell of sulfur was reported around Cimahi City in West Bandung, although there was no detected increase in sulfur emissions. A phreatic explosion on 17 September produced an ash plume to 40 m and a steam plume to 200 m above the crater. Weak gas-and-steam emissions reaching 200 m above the vent continued through to the end of September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. A phreatic explosion at Tangkuban Parahu in the Ratu crater at 0724 on 4 September 2019, lasting nearly one minute. The darker ash plume reached around 100 m above the vent. Courtesy of PVGHM (4 September 2019 report).

Geologic Background. Gunung Tangkuban Parahu is a broad shield-like stratovolcano overlooking Indonesia's former capital city of Bandung. The volcano was constructed within the 6 x 8 km Pleistocene Sunda caldera, which formed about 190,000 years ago. The volcano's low profile is the subject of legends referring to the mountain of the "upturned boat." The Sunda caldera rim forms a prominent ridge on the western side; elsewhere the rim is largely buried by deposits of the current volcano. The dominantly small phreatic eruptions recorded since the 19th century have originated from several nested craters within an elliptical 1 x 1.5 km summit depression.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: https://www.oysteinlundandersen.com/tangkuban-prahu/tangkuban-prahu-volcano-west-java-one-day-after-the-26th-july-phreatic-eruption/); Reuters (URL: https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/editors-choice-pictures-idUSRTX71F3E).


Sheveluch (Russia) — November 2019 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

56.653°N, 161.36°E; summit elev. 3283 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent ash explosions and lava dome growth continue through October 2019

After a lull in activity at Sheveluch, levels intensified again in mid-December 2018 and remained high through April 2019, with lava dome growth, strong explosions that produced ash plumes, incandescent lava flows, hot avalanches, numerous thermal anomalies, and strong fumarolic activity (BGVN 44:05). This report summarizes activity between May and October 2019. The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT).

According to KVERT, explosive activity continued to generate ash plumes during May-October 2019 (table 13). Strong fumarolic activity, incandescence and growth of the lava dome, and hot avalanches accompanied this process. There were also reports of plumes caused by re-suspended ash rather than new explosions. Plumes frequently extended a few hundred kilometers downwind, with the longest ones remaining visible in imagery as much as 1,000-1,400 km away. One of the larger explosions, on 1 October (figure 52), also generated a pyroclastic flow. Some of the stronger explosions sent the plume to an altitude of 10-11 km, or more than 7 km above the summit. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) throughout the reporting period, except for several hours on 6 October when it was raised to Red (the highest level).

Table 13. Explosions and ash plumes at Sheveluch during May-October 2019. Dates and times are UTC, not local. Data courtesy of KVERT.

Dates Plume altitude (km) Drift Distance and Direction Remarks
30 Apr-02 May 2019 -- 200 km SE Resuspended ash.
03-10 May 2019 -- 50 km SE, SW Gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash.
13 May 2019 -- 16 km SE Resuspended ash.
11-12 Jun 2019 -- 60 km WNW Explosions and hot avalanches seen in video and satellite images.
24, 27 Jun 2019 4.5 E, W Ash plumes.
05 Aug 2019 2.5 40 km NW Diffuse ash plume.
25 Aug 2019 4.5-5 500 km NW Ash plumes.
29 Aug 2019 10 Various; 550 km N Explosions at 1510 produced ash plumes.
30 Aug 2019 7-7.5 50 km SSE Explosions at 1957 produced ash plumes.
03 Sep 2019 5.5 SE --
02-03, 05 Sep 2019 10 660 km SE Ash plumes seen in satellite images.
05 Sep 2019 -- -- Resuspended ash.
11-12 Sep 2019 -- 250 km ESE Resuspended ash plumes. Satellite and webcam data recorded ash emissions and a gas-and-steam plume with some ash drifting 50 km ESE on 12 Sep.
12-15, 17, 19 Sep 2019 -- 200 km SW, SE, NE Ash plumes.
20-21, 23, 26 Sep 2019 7 580 km ESE Explosions produced ash plumes.
29 Sep, 01-02 Oct 2019 9 1,400 km SE, E Explosions produced ash plumes. Notable pyroclastic flow traveled SE on 1 Oct.
04 Oct 2019 -- 170 km E Resuspended ash.
06 Oct 2019 10 430 km NE; 1,080 km ENE Ash plumes. Aviation Color Code raised to Red for several hours.
08 Oct 2019 -- 170 km E Resuspended ash.
06, 09 Oct 2019 6.5-11 1,100 km E --
11-13, 15 Oct 2019 6.5-7 620 km E, SE Explosions produced ash plumes.
16-17 Oct 2019 -- 125 km E Resuspended ash.
19-20 Oct 2019 -- 110 km SE Resuspended ash.
21 Oct 2019 10-11 1,300 km SE Explosions produced ash plumes.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. An explosion of Sheveluch on 1 October 2019. A pyroclastic flow was also reported by KVERT this day. Courtesy of Yu. Demyanchuk, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Numerous thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm, were observed every month. Consistent with this, the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system recorded thermal anomalies almost daily. According to KVERT, a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during the entire reporting period, although cloudy weather sometimes obscured observations.

Geologic Background. The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 km3 volcano is one of Kamchatka's largest and most active volcanic structures. The summit of roughly 65,000-year-old Stary Shiveluch is truncated by a broad 9-km-wide late-Pleistocene caldera breached to the south. Many lava domes dot its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large horseshoe-shaped caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. At least 60 large eruptions have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Widespread tephra layers from these eruptions have provided valuable time markers for dating volcanic events in Kamchatka. Frequent collapses of dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); 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/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).

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Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin - Volume 07, Number 03 (March 1982)

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Aira (Japan)

Frequent explosions; B-type earthquakes

Akan (Japan)

Sudden increase in local seismicity

Alaid (Russia)

Plume on satellite imagery

Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989) (Unknown)

Volcanic cloud remains in stratosphere; source still uncertain

Chichon, El (Mexico)

Large explosions; voluminous ashfalls; many deaths; first eruption in historic time

Colima (Mexico)

Lava extrusion continues

Concepcion (Nicaragua)

Small steam and ash eruptions

Descabezado Grande (Chile)

New fumarole in main crater

Erebus (Antarctica)

Lava lake level lower

Galunggung (Indonesia)

Heavy ashfall; mudflows; eight killed

Kilauea (United States)

Small intrusions into E and SW rifts

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Incandescent tephra; increased seismicity

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Strong explosions; pyroclastic flow; seismicity

Masaya (Nicaragua)

Bright yellow incandescence seen at night

Mehetia (France)

Seismic activity stops

Mombacho (Nicaragua)

Four hot-springs located

Momotombo (Nicaragua)

High temperatures at crater fumaroles

Negro, Cerro (Nicaragua)

Small gas plume from crater fumaroles

Pacaya (Guatemala)

Flank lava effusion continues

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Explosions from crater lake; seismicity summarized

San Cristobal (Nicaragua)

Small white plume almost all water vapor

St. Helens (United States)

First large explosion since October 1980; two new lobes added to lava domes

Telica (Nicaragua)

Last confirmed eruption on 2 March

Toya (Japan)

Cryptodome growth slows; local seismicity continues

Ushkovsky (Russia)

Glacier surge



Aira (Japan) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

31.593°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions; B-type earthquakes

The rate of explosions from the summit crater of Minami-dake declined in early and mid-February, then increased late in the month. Frequent explosions continued through March. Recorded explosions numbered 15 in February, 47 in March.

On 26 February, an explosion at 1044 produced a 1,600-m-high eruption column, then a continuous ash cloud was observed until 1150, and from 1430 until sunset ended visual observation from the JMA's Kagoshima Observatory. A 1,500-m-high eruption column was ejected at 1731. On 28 February a continuous ash cloud was observed 0620-1230, and three explosions were recorded the next day. On 24 March a 100-m-high incandescent column was observed for 15 seconds, and on the 28th a 200-m-high incandescent column lasting 30 seconds was accompanied by rumbling. Local seismicity was active in the first half of February, when explosive activity had declined. JMA scientists have observed that a swarm of B-type earthquakes, which they interpret as possibly caused by magma rising to a shallower depth, is often followed by increased explosive activity. In March local seismic events and continuous ash clouds were frequently observed, but only rarely did an explosion with a large amount of ejecta occur. There was some damage to nearby farm products.

Geologic Background. The Aira caldera in the northern half of Kagoshima Bay contains the post-caldera Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan's most active. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow accompanied formation of the 17 x 23 km caldera about 22,000 years ago. The smaller Wakamiko caldera was formed during the early Holocene in the NE corner of the Aira caldera, along with several post-caldera cones. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago on the southern rim of Aira caldera and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kitadake summit cone ended about 4850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minamidake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.

Information Contacts: JMA, Tokyo.


Akan (Japan) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Akan

Japan

43.384°N, 144.013°E; summit elev. 1499 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Sudden increase in local seismicity

On 21 March a strong (M 6.9) earthquake occurred near Urakawa, off the S coast of Hokkaido and 182 km SW of Akan. Local seismicity at Me-Akan increased after the earthquake, but the JMA has reported that there is no evidence of a causative relationship. The total number of seismic events recorded in March was 411 (table 1). The numbers of recorded seismic events at Me-Akan for 1977-81 are 97, 45, 491, 254, and 194.

Table 1. Number of seismic events recorded at Me-Akan during 19-31 March 1982. Courtesy of JMA.

Date Number of Events
19 Mar 1982 1
20 Mar 1982 3
21 Mar 1982 9
22 Mar 1982 55
23 Mar 1982 63
24 Mar 1982 26
25 Mar 1982 84
26 Mar 1982 24
27 Mar 1982 30
28 Mar 1982 13
29 Mar 1982 31
30 Mar 1982 50
31 Mar 1982 22

Geologic Background. Akan is a 13 x 24 km caldera located immediately SW of Kussharo caldera. The elongated, irregular outline of the caldera rim reflects its incremental formation during major explosive eruptions from the early to mid-Pleistocene. Growth of four post-caldera stratovolcanoes, three at the SW end of the caldera and the other at the NE side, has restricted the size of the caldera lake. Conical Oakandake was frequently active during the Holocene. The 1-km-wide Nakamachineshiri crater of Meakandake was formed during a major pumice-and-scoria eruption about 13,500 years ago. Within the Akan volcanic complex, only the Meakandake group, east of Lake Akan, has been historically active, producing mild phreatic eruptions since the beginning of the 19th century. Meakandake is composed of nine overlapping cones. The main cone of Meakandake proper has a triple crater at its summit. Historical eruptions at Meakandake have consisted of minor phreatic explosions, but four major magmatic eruptions including pyroclastic flows have occurred during the Holocene.

Information Contacts: JMA, Tokyo.


Alaid (Russia) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Alaid

Russia

50.861°N, 155.565°E; summit elev. 2285 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Plume on satellite imagery

Imagery from the GMS satellite revealed a narrow, linear eruption plume emerging from Alaid at 1100 on 29 March. The plume extended roughly 100 km to the ESE and was estimated to be roughly 2 hours old. Images returned 3 hours earlier and later showed no evidence of activity.

Geologic Background. The highest and northernmost volcano of the Kuril Islands, 2285-m-high Alaid is a symmetrical stratovolcano when viewed from the north, but has a 1.5-km-wide summit crater that is breached widely to the south. Alaid is the northernmost of a chain of volcanoes constructed west of the main Kuril archipelago. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the lower flanks of this basaltic to basaltic-andesite volcano, particularly on the NW and SE sides, including an offshore cone formed during the 1933-34 eruption. Strong explosive eruptions have occurred from the summit crater beginning in the 18th century. Reports of eruptions in 1770, 1789, 1821, 1829, 1843, 1848, and 1858 were considered incorrect by Gorshkov (1970). Explosive eruptions in 1790 and 1981 were among the largest in the Kuril Islands during historical time.

Information Contacts: M. Matson, NOAA/NESS.


Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989) (Unknown) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989)

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanic cloud remains in stratosphere; source still uncertain

The widely-distributed volcanic aerosol cloud remained in the lower stratosphere through early April. Since 29 January, each lidar measurement at MLO has detected the cloud. As of 9 April, it was centered at about 18 km altitude (with a peak backscattering ratio of 1.6) and was about 2 km thick. A balloon flight the first week in April from Laramie, Wyoming showed a broad layer centered at 18 km altitude. From Hampton, Virginia, lidar data 8 April showed a 3-km-thick layer centered at about 17 km altitude (backscattering ratio about 1.6). The cloud has also been intermittently present over Toronto, Canada (43.6°N, 70.5°W) since early March.

A NASA sampling aircraft flew S from San Francisco 18 March, and collected about 20 times the normal concentration of H2SO4 from a layer at the base of the stratosphere. Silicate particles about 0.25 µm in diameter were present both as discrete fragments and within the acid droplets. Chemical analysis of these particles showed that they contained no Na, and their Si/Al ratio was consistent with a basaltic composition. Additional sampling flights are planned in mid-April by NASA and LASL.

No eruption can be unequivocally identified as the source for the cloud. Careful inspection of satellite images has yielded no large eruption clouds that had gone unreported from the ground, but cloudy weather often obscured volcanically active areas of the world. The best candidate appears to be Pagan (18.13°N, 145.80°E), where moderate explosive activity was reported in early January. However, no ground observations are available between 6 January and 8 February, and the source eruption for the cloud probably occurred in mid-January. Careful inspection of images from the Japanese geostationary weather satellite by Yosihiro Sawada showed a possible volcanic cloud from Pagan 14 January at 1900 local time (0900 GMT), but interference from weather clouds made this impossible to confirm. Sawada observed a similar feature on an image returned at 2200 local time 19 January 1981, the same day that visiting islanders reported explosive activity.

[Unpublished data from NASA's Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS), which is sensitive to the SO2 that is emitted by most eruptions, strongly suggest that this cloud was ejected by Nyamuragira (Zaire) during the initial explosive phase of its December 1981-January 1982 eruption.]

Geologic Background. The enormous aerosol cloud from the March-April 1982 eruption of Mexico's El Chichón persisted for years in the stratosphere, and led to the Atmospheric Effects section becoming a regular feature of the Bulletin. Descriptions of the initial dispersal of major eruption clouds remain with the individual eruption reports, but observations of long-term stratospheric aerosol loading will be found here.

Information Contacts: R. Chuan, Brunswick Corp.; Y. Sawada, Meteorological Research Inst., Japan; N. Banks, USGS-HVO, HI; K. Coulson, MLO; W. Fuller, NASA, VA; D. Hofmann, Univ. of Wyoming; B. Ragent, NASA, CA; W. Evans, ARPX-AES, Downsview, Canada.


El Chichon (Mexico) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

El Chichon

Mexico

17.36°N, 93.228°W; summit elev. 1150 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Large explosions; voluminous ashfalls; many deaths; first eruption in historic time

After several weeks of local seismicity, explosions in late March and early April ejected a series of tephra columns, two of which penetrated well into the stratosphere. Officials reported that as many as 100 persons may have been killed by the eruption and associated seismic activity. Tephra falls were very heavy near the volcano, forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes, and causing major damage to crops and livestock.

Activity during 28-29 March 1982. The eruption began 28 March at 2332 and NOAA geostationary weather satellite imagery showed that the eruption column was about 100 km in diameter 40 minutes later. Analysis of an infrared image returned at 0300 yielded a cloud top temperature of -75°C, corresponding to an altitude of 16.8 km, ~ 1 km above the tropopause. Surface and vault microbarographs and a KS36000 (SRO-type) seismograph operated by Teledyne Geotech near Dallas, Texas (1,797 km from El Chichón) received 22 minutes of infrasonic signals generated by explosive activity. Nine distinct signals were recorded, including a strong gravity wave, indicating that the eruption column struck the tropopause. Instruments at McMurdo, Antarctica, 11,865 km from El Chichón, recorded about 2 hours of infrasonic signals. Nine intensity peaks were detected, of which five were clearly from the eruption.

Vigorous feeding of the plume continued for several hours but had clearly ended by 0600. A dense tephra cloud drifted ENE from the volcano and a much more diffuse plume moved in roughly the opposite direction (figure 1). By 0530 the next morning, satellite images showed the main plume extending from the Yucatán Peninsula, S of Cuba, to Haiti, and remnants of the more diffuse plume over the E Pacific Ocean at about 15°N, and 118-119°W. The U. S. National Weather Service analyzed wind directions and speeds at different altitudes near the volcano, and concluded that the ENE drift of the dense cloud indicated that it was in the upper troposphere, whereas the diffuse plume blown to the WSW was in the middle troposphere at roughly 6-7.5 km altitude. Initially, none of the tephra appeared to be drifting in a direction consistent with the lower stratospheric circulation, but significant aerosol development in the stratosphere is indicated by the lidar measurements described in the next-to-last paragraph of this report.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. NOAA geostationary weather satellite image returned 29 March at 1000, about 10.5 hours after El Chichón's initial explosion. A dense upper tropospheric eruption cloud drifts ENE, and a more diffuse cloud drifts WSW, probably in the mid-troposphere.

Heavy ashfall was reported from towns near the volcano. At Pichucalco, ~20 km NE of the summit, 15 cm of ash was reported, and 5 cm of ash fell at Villahermosa (population 100,000), 70 km NE of the volcano. Residents of Nicapa, a village on the NE flank, took refuge in a church that was toppled by a M 3.5 earthquake, killing 10 people and injuring about 200. Initial estimates of the number of additional deaths varied, ranging as high as 100, and many more were probably killed on the SW flank during this or subsequent eruptions (see 5 paragraphs below). Most of the casualties on the N flank were reportedly caused by fires started by incandescent airfall tephra. Tens of thousands of people fled the area. The heavy ashfall forced the closure of roads and the airports at Villahermosa and Tuxtla Gutiérrez (~ 70 km S of the volcano). Cocoa, coffee, and banana crops were destroyed, and the cattlemen's association requested that animals from a wide area be transported for butchering because ashfall had made grazing impossible.

Activity during 30 March-3 April 1982. A second but much smaller explosion was observed on the satellite imagery at about 0900 on 30 March. A thin plume drifted E about 120 km before dissipating. A somewhat larger explosion that was first visible at 1500 produced a cloud that rose into the mid-troposphere and moved about 350 km N. Activity was declining by 1900. Haze was widespread over central México, reducing visibility to about 8 km in México City ( ~ 650 km WNW of the volcano) and to only about 3 km in Tampico (~ 750 km NW of the volcano). A small explosion shortly before 1330 on 31 March produced a plume that reached the upper troposphere and blew to the E but dissipated quickly.

A small explosion during the early afternoon of 2 April ejected a mushroom-shaped cloud that rose to ~ 3.5 km altitude in 30 minutes. Satellite images showed renewed explosive activity early 3 April. An eruption column was emerging from the volcano by 0300 and blew to both the NE and SW. A series of gravity waves and acoustic signals from this activity were again recorded by Teledyne Geotech instruments near Dallas, Texas. The calculated start time for this activity was 0250 and signals continued for 14 minutes. As with the initial explosion 28 March, the powerful gravity waves generated by this event indicated that the eruption column struck the tropopause forcefully. Smaller explosions, calculated to have begun at 0312, generated acoustic waves and a single gravity wave that were received near Dallas for 10 minutes. During the next 5 hours, ash drifted over N Guatemala and Belize. At Nicapa, on the NE flank, 7.5 cm of new ash was reported and a haze of SO2 was visible during the day. Explosive activity resumed about 2000. Acoustic data recorded by Teledyne Geotech indicated that explosions probably occurred every 2-3 minutes, generating a few initial gravity waves and a complex series of acoustic waves that continued for 48 minutes. The total acoustic energy of this activity was significantly greater than that produced by the early morning explosions, and the eruption plume was denser and probably rose somewhat higher. It was initially elongate NE-SW and drifted over S México, N Guatemala and Belize. By noon the next day, a faint plume extended to about 25°N, 79°W, almost to Cuba, and lower altitude material, probably at only ~ 1.5 km, was drifting directly northward along the 95°W meridian.

Activity during 4 April 1982. A stronger explosion, possibly larger than the initial event on 28 March, first appeared on the NOAA geostationary weather satellite image returned at 0530 on 4 April and was reported by ground observers to have started at 0522. An infrared image 3.5 hours later showed a temperature of -76°C at the top of the eruption cloud, corresponding to an altitude of 16.8 km, identical to the altitude measured from the 28 March plume. Wind speeds near the volcano apparently remained relatively low and most of the cloud remained over S México and N Guatemala more than 24 hours later. In Pichucalco (~ 20 km NE of the summit) incandescent tephra could be seen rising from the volcano and the ash cloud darkened the sky during the morning as though it were night. Felt earthquakes were also reported early 4 April. At Ixtacomitán, 18 km ENE of the summit, there was a heavy fall of tephra no larger than 4 cm in diameter and the army was sent to evacuate 3,000 residents. No casualties were reported. All villages within 15 km of the summit had previously been evacuated and tens of thousands of people had fled their homes. Government officials reported ashfall over an area of 24,000 km2 and crop damage of $55,000,000.

A pumice flow deposit from the 4 April eruption extended ~ 5 km NE from the summit, terminating ~ 2 km from Nicapa. At its distal end, the deposit was about 100 m wide and 3 m thick and contained pumice blocks 1 m in diameter. Temperatures measured by a thermocouple at 40 cm depth on 8 April averaged 360°C, and were as high as 402°C. The pumice flow deposit appeared to have been emplaced as two separate events in rapid succession. Shortly afterward, an ash flow flattened trees in the valley surrounding the pumice flow deposit and left a relatively thin layer of ash that had a temperature of 94°C at 10 cm depth 3 days later.

Airfall tephra thickness in Nicapa, 7 km NE of the summit, totaled 25-40 cm [but see 7:4] after the 4 April eruption. Bombs as large as 50-60 cm in diameter had made numerous holes in the roofs of houses and many other roofs had collapsed. In hand specimen, the tephra appeared to be a crystal-rich andesite or dacite containing hornblende and considerable feldspar. In Ostuacán, 12.5 km NW of the summit, tephra was 15-20 cm thick after the 4 April eruption, including pumice as large as 15 cm in diameter. Many roofs had been destroyed. Extreme heat made it impossible to approach the village of Francisco León, 5 km SW of the summit. Midway between Ostuacán and Francisco León, a river was boiling and flattened trees could be seen upslope. Geologists thought it was likely that pyroclastic flows had moved through the area. Of the roughly 1,000 residents of Francisco León, about half had reportedly left before the eruption because of the many felt earthquakes in February and March, but the remainder were missing in early April. A helicopter flight over the village during the first week in April revealed no signs of life. Because of the danger of mudflows when the rainy season begins around the end of April, authorities established a prohibited zone extending outward 10 km from the summit.

By 5 April, the low-altitude plume from the second 3 April explosion had reached the S Texas coast and Brownsville reported visibility of only 6.5 km in haze. A few flights into small S Texas airports were cancelled, but winds initially forced most of this material into the Gulf of México. Low-altitude (1.5-2 km) ejecta from the 4 April explosion also moved northward, and a slight change in wind direction blew the ash cloud further N and inland over Texas by late 7 April. A light ashfall occurred in Houston during the night of 7-8 April and samples were collected for analysis by NASA geologists.

Activity during 5-11 April 1982. A plume generated by a smaller explosion was observed on satellite imagery at 1130 on 5 April. Ground observers reported that the comparatively minor activity lasted about 3 hours and that no incandescent tephra was ejected. A similar but possibly slightly larger explosion could be seen on the satellite image returned at 0930 on 6 April. Geologists reported that earthquakes as strong as magnitude 1.5 were recorded about every 3 minutes 6 April. Geologists working a few km NE of the summit reported that about 2 mm of wet ash fell at about 1000 on 8 April and 1130 on the 9th. Satellite images returned at 0728 on 9 April and 0238 on 10 April both showed small diffuse plumes, drifitng NNE and SSE respectively.

Data from laser radar (lidar) measurements at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (about 19.5°N, 155.6°W) during the nights of 9-10 and 10-11 April indicated that El Chichón had injected large quantities of volcanic material into the stratosphere. Several layers were detected, with strongest backscattering at an altitude of 25.7 km. Analysis of wind conditions at 25 km altitude in Hawaii and México indicated a likely drift of ~ 5-7 m/s (roughly 430-600 km/day) towards the W, which would carry volcanic debris from El Chichón to Hawaii in 1.5 to 2 weeks. Inspection of a satellite image returned late 11 April showed a moderately dense cloud extending from México to just W of Hawaii, spreading from roughly 300 km wide near the Mexican coast to nearly 850 km near its distal end.

No previous eruptions of El Chichón are known in historic time. Before the 1982 eruption, the volcano was heavily forested, with a shallow crater, 1,900 X 900 m, elongate NNW-SSE. Solfataras and hot springs were present in the crater and on the flanks. Müllerried (1933) describes voluminous airfall deposits from previous eruptions that he believed to be post-Pleistocene.

Reference. Müllerried, F.K.G., 1933, El Chichón, unico volcán en actividad en el sureste de México: Universidad de México, v. 5, no. 27, p. 156-170.

Geologic Background. El Chichón is a small, but powerful trachyandesitic tuff cone and lava dome complex that occupies an isolated part of the Chiapas region in SE México far from other Holocene volcanoes. Prior to 1982, this relatively unknown volcano was heavily forested and of no greater height than adjacent nonvolcanic peaks. The largest dome, the former summit of the volcano, was constructed within a 1.6 x 2 km summit crater created about 220,000 years ago. Two other large craters are located on the SW and SE flanks; a lava dome fills the SW crater, and an older dome is located on the NW flank. More than ten large explosive eruptions have occurred since the mid-Holocene. The powerful 1982 explosive eruptions of high-sulfur, anhydrite-bearing magma destroyed the summit lava dome and were accompanied by pyroclastic flows and surges that devastated an area extending about 8 km around the volcano. The eruptions created a new 1-km-wide, 300-m-deep crater that now contains an acidic crater lake.

Information Contacts: C. Lomnitz, S. de la Cruz-Reyna, F. Medina, UNAM, México; M. Krafft, Cernay; D. Haller, C. Kadin, M. Matson, NOAA/NESS; A. Krueger, NOAA/NWS; F. Mauk, Teledyne Geotech; C. Wilson, Univ. of Alaska; K. Coulson, T. DeFoor, MLO, HI; C. Wood, NASA, Houston; Notimex Radio, México; New York Times; UPI.


Colima (Mexico) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava extrusion continues

The following report from James Luhr supplements the report from Mexican scientists in 07:01.

"The andesitic block lava that began to flow from the summit crater dome in early December was the first to descend Colima's S flank for hundreds of years. Geologists from the Univ. of California at Berkeley observed the flow from the S side of the volcano starting 18 January, about the time of the report in 7:1. The new lava was moving down a polished avalanche chute with a slope of about 36°. On 20 January, the flow had a simple tongue shape and was some 600 m long. By 3 March, the lava had reached 1 km length. Block-and-ash flows were common from the uppermost margins of the lobe with surprisingly few from the flow front. In several instances, sizeable (2,000 m2 ?) areas on the flow surface suddenly shifted downslope 5-10 m, accompanied by only small amounts of ash and steam. This may be a major process of downslope movement of the flow. The active scree deposit below the lava contained blocks several meters in diameter, grading into a new sand and conglomerate wedge flooding the upper reaches of the Barranca Playa de Montegrande.

"Since the early part of Colima's lava eruption of 1975-76, through several episodes of dome growth, the andesitic magma has become progressively more basic. The latest lava continues this trend."

Geologic Background. The Colima volcanic complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the 4320 m high point of the complex) on the north and the 3850-m-high historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of cinder cones of late-Pleistocene age is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the Colima complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the south, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, and have produced a thick apron of debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions (most recently in 1913) have destroyed the summit and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.

Information Contacts: J. Luhr, Univ. of California, Berkeley.


Concepcion (Nicaragua) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Concepcion

Nicaragua

11.538°N, 85.622°W; summit elev. 1700 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small steam and ash eruptions

"A series of small steam and ash eruptions occurred from mid-January to mid-February. During flights over Concepción on 18 February and 4 March we saw a moderate-sized continuous white vapor plume being emitted from the crater."

Geologic Background. Volcán Concepción is one of Nicaragua's highest and most active volcanoes. The symmetrical basaltic-to-dacitic stratovolcano forms the NW half of the dumbbell-shaped island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua and is connected to neighboring Madera volcano by a narrow isthmus. A steep-walled summit crater is 250 m deep and has a higher western rim. N-S-trending fractures on the flanks have produced chains of spatter cones, cinder cones, lava domes, and maars located on the NW, NE, SE, and southern sides extending in some cases down to Lake Nicaragua. Concepción was constructed above a basement of lake sediments, and the modern cone grew above a largely buried caldera, a small remnant of which forms a break in slope about halfway up the N flank. Frequent explosive eruptions during the past half century have increased the height of the summit significantly above that shown on current topographic maps and have kept the upper part of the volcano unvegetated.

Information Contacts: S. Williams, R. Stoiber, Dartmouth College; I. Menyailov, V. Shapar, IVP, Kamchatka; D. Fajardo B., INETER.


Descabezado Grande (Chile) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Descabezado Grande

Chile

35.58°S, 70.75°W; summit elev. 3953 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New fumarole in main crater

Fumarolic activity was observed on the morning of 19 March. A white plume was rising from the summit crater during the 3 hours the observer was on Nevados de Chillán Volcano, 160 km to the S. The only recorded eruption at Descabezado Grande, in 1932, was from a crater at its NE foot. Weak fumarolic activity has been reported on the W slope at about 3,500 m, but none had previously been observed in the main crater.

Geologic Background. Volcán Descabezado Grande is a late-Pleistocene to Holocene andesitic-to-rhyodacitic stratovolcano with a 1.4-km-wide ice-filled summit crater. Along with Cerro Azul, only 7 km to the S, Descabezado Grande lies at the center of a 20 x 30 km volcanic field. A lateral crater, which formed on the upper NNE flank in 1932 shortly after the end of the major 1932 eruption from nearby Quizapu volcano on the N flank of Cerro Azul, was the site of the only historical eruption. The Holocene Alto de las Mulas fissure on the lower NW flank produced young rhyodacitic lava flows. Numerous small late-Pleistocene to Holocene volcanic centers are located N of the volcano. The northernmost of these, Lengua de Vulcano (or Mondaca), produced a very youthful rhyodacitic lava flow that dammed the Río Lentué.

Information Contacts: H. Moreno R., Univ. de Chile, Santiago.


Erebus (Antarctica) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

77.53°S, 167.17°E; summit elev. 3794 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake level lower

"The summit crater was visited by New Zealand and U.S. scientists during late November and December 1981, and on one day in late January 1982. The anorthoclase phonolite lava lake was still present and the pattern of activity was similar to that observed over the last 5 years.

"The lake was undergoing simple convection. Small Strombolian explosions continued at a frequency of 4-6/day. The eruptions were believed to originate from the Active Vent, adjacent to the lava lake. Many fresh bomb were found on the crater rim, suggesting that the eruptions were the strongest observed in the last 3 years. This may reflect an increase in distance between the lip of the Active Vent and the underlying magma level.

"The lava lake grew from small hornitos in 1972 to a semi-circular lake ~100 m long by 1976. Since then there has been little change in surface area, but a slight lowering in the lake level has occurred. No measurements of the magma column withdrawal were available but it was small, perhaps 5-10 m over the last 3 years. The withdrawal was possibly equivalent to the amount of material ejected by the small Strombolian eruptions. A deformation survey pattern set up in December 1980 was remeasured in December 1981; . . . data indicate [little change in the width] of the crater rim, [despite the] lowering of the column. Withdrawal was [however] suggested by the development of a semi-radial fracture, on the main crater floor, that parallels the inner crater rim."

Further References. Dibble, R.R., Kienle, J., Kyle, P.R., and Shibuya, K., 1984, Geophysical studies of Erebus volcano, Antarctica, from 1974 December to 1982 January, in Lynch, R.P. (ed.), Tenth Antarctic Issue: New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, v. 27, no. 4, p. 425-455.

Wiesnet, D.R., and D'Aguanno, J., 1982, Thermal imagery of Mount Erebus from the NOAA-6 satellite: Antarctic Journal of the United States, v. 17, no. 5, p. 32-34.

Geologic Background. Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost historically active volcano, overlooks the McMurdo research station on Ross Island. It is the largest of three major volcanoes forming the crudely triangular Ross Island. The summit of the dominantly phonolitic volcano has been modified by one or two generations of caldera formation. A summit plateau at about 3,200 m elevation marks the rim of the youngest caldera, which formed during the late-Pleistocene and within which the modern cone was constructed. An elliptical 500 x 600 m wide, 110-m-deep crater truncates the summit and contains an active lava lake within a 250-m-wide, 100-m-deep inner crater; other lava lakes are sometimes present. The glacier-covered volcano was erupting when first sighted by Captain James Ross in 1841. Continuous lava-lake activity with minor explosions, punctuated by occasional larger Strombolian explosions that eject bombs onto the crater rim, has been documented since 1972, but has probably been occurring for much of the volcano's recent history.

Information Contacts: P. Kyle, New Mexico Inst. of Mining & Tech.; P. Otway, NZGS, Wairakei.


Galunggung (Indonesia) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Galunggung

Indonesia

7.25°S, 108.058°E; summit elev. 2168 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Heavy ashfall; mudflows; eight killed

A brief explosive eruption began before dawn 5 April, ejecting incandescent tephra and "stones as big as a human head" according to press reports. An image returned at 0700 by the Japanese geostationary weather satellite showed an eruption column about 50 km in diameter. The next available image, at 1410, showed that feeding of the eruption column had stopped and the plume had drifted about 250 km to the N. As much as 25 cm of ash fell on the flanks and ashfalls were reported from as far away as Garut, 35 km to the NW. The activity was accompanied by strong felt seismicity, and felt events continued in midafternoon. Two persons were killed and as many as 31,000 were evacuated, but most of the evacuees returned home within a few hours.

A second explosive eruption occurred during the night of 8-9 April, associated with at least one felt earthquake. Hot mud flowed at 60 km/hour as far as 11 km down the SE flank, buried houses in at least six villages, and destroyed a bridge over the Cikunir River, which emerges from a large breach in the SE side of the crater (figure 1). Officials said that only about half of the 8.6 x 106 m3 of material in the crater had been ejected and feared that the steady rain falling on the area could trigger more mudflows. AFP reported eight persons dead, three missing, and 22 injured. UPI reported that many were burned or suffering from the effects of toxic volcanic gases. Authorities have forbidden entry into several areas where gases were seeping from cracks in the ground. The rice crop, within a month of its harvest, was destroyed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Sketch map of Galunggung crater and vicinity, showing the Gaunug Jadi lava dome, Walirang ridge, major drainages, and flank towns. A temporary volcano observatory was established in Cikasasah, 7 km SE of the crater. From Katili and Sudradjat, 1984.

Geologic Background. The forested slopes Galunggung in western Java are cut by a large horseshoe-shaped caldera breached to the SE that has served to channel the products of recent eruptions in that direction. The "Ten Thousand Hills of Tasikmalaya" dotting the plain below the volcano are debris-avalanche hummocks from the collapse that formed the breached caldera about 4,200 years ago. Historical eruptions have been infrequent and restricted to the central vent near the caldera headwall, but have caused much devastation. The first historical eruption in 1822 produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that killed over 4,000 people. A strong explosive eruption during 1982-1983 caused severe economic disruption to nearby populated areas.

Information Contacts: D. Haller, NOAA; C. Dan Miller, USGS; Jakarta DRS; AFP; UPI.


Kilauea (United States) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small intrusions into E and SW rifts

Summit seismicity had increased to nearly normal daily counts by late December 1981. Since January, several very small intrusions (occasionally seismic but generally aseismic) have been detected by changes in tilt, gas emission, and fumarole temperatures in the E and SW rifts. By late March, tiltmeters showed that the summit area had recovered most of the roughly 100 µrad of deflation recorded during the intrusion of magma into the S summit region and SW rift 10-12 August. The inflation center was in the S caldera-upper SW rift area. A 45-minute swarm of 400-500 earthquakes that started about 1430 on 23 March indicated that magma was forcing open a new channel (or reopening an old one). The seismic swarm was not accompanied by any detectable ground deformation. Overall seismicity in the SW rift remained high in early April but seismicity in the E rift was still relatively unchanged.

Geologic Background. Kilauea, which overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano's surface is younger than 600 years. A long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

Information Contacts: N. Banks, HVO.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Langila

Papua New Guinea

5.525°S, 148.42°E; summit elev. 1330 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Incandescent tephra; increased seismicity

"A fairly low level of activity prevailed in early March, but in the second half of the month activity at both craters intensified. Crater 3 erupted incandescent tephra 18-22 March, accompanied by frequent explosive detonations and loud rumbling. From 22 March until the end of the month glow and incandescent tephra ejections from Crater 2 were seen on most nights. Dark eruption clouds were occasionally seen, and loud explosions and rumblings were heard. Seismicity was stronger from 18 March, and correlated with the intensified visible activity."

Geologic Background. Langila, one of the most active volcanoes of New Britain, consists of a group of four small overlapping composite basaltic-andesitic cones on the lower eastern flank of the extinct Talawe volcano. Talawe is the highest volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila volcano was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the north and NE sides of Langila. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded since the 19th century from three active craters at the summit of Langila. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

Information Contacts: C. McKee, RVO.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Manam

Papua New Guinea

4.08°S, 145.037°E; summit elev. 1807 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong explosions; pyroclastic flow; seismicity

"Strong eruptive activity occurred in 2 intervals in March, the first during several days at the beginning of the month. Spearheaded projections of tephra from Southern crater were observed on 2 and 3 March. Tephra ejections were less intense 4-7 March, but instability of the rapidly accumulated tephra caused avalanches of this material to descend from the summit into the SW valley. Inspections by volcanologists on 10 and 11 March suggested these avalanches were small. No significant changes in tiltmeter readings accompanied this eruptive phase, but seismicity showed a marked intensification on 5 March.

"Much stronger activity occurred near the end of the month. A paroxysmal eruption was observed at 1207 on 27 March. The dark grey-brown Vulcanian eruption cloud ascended to 6-7 km. Lightning flashes were seen in parts of the cloud. Strong Strombolian explosive activity followed the paroxysmal eruption at about 1215. The E side of the island experienced a brief period of darkness and tephra falls were locally severe, but the maximum thickness of the tephra deposit was probably only a few mm. Fragments up to 7 cm in size were collected at one village. Vegetation was strongly affected by the tephra fall and water supplies were polluted, but no structural damage was done to houses. A pyroclastic flow descended the SE valley during the eruption, but stopped about halfway to the coast.

"Seismicity was very strong at the time of the eruption and was still high at month's end. Before and after the eruption discrete B-type earthquakes occurred at the rate of about 1 per minute. For about 15 hours from the commencement of visible activity, discontinuous seismic tremor was recorded. No significant changes were evident in tiltmeter readings."

Geologic Background. The 10-km-wide island of Manam, lying 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, is one of the country's most active volcanoes. Four large radial valleys extend from the unvegetated summit of the conical 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys" channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five small satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern, and western sides. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.

Information Contacts: C. McKee, RVO.


Masaya (Nicaragua) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

11.984°N, 86.161°W; summit elev. 635 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Bright yellow incandescence seen at night

"Bright yellow incandescence was plainly visible at night in Santiago Crater in early March. No change had occurred except for a small collapse of the inner crater walls. The huge gas plume still poured out continuously."

Geologic Background. Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. It lies within the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras pyroclastic shield volcano and is a broad, 6 x 11 km basaltic caldera with steep-sided walls up to 300 m high. The caldera is filled on its NW end by more than a dozen vents that erupted along a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. The twin volcanoes of Nindirí and Masaya, the source of historical eruptions, were constructed at the southern end of the fracture system and contain multiple summit craters, including the currently active Santiago crater. A major basaltic Plinian tephra erupted from Masaya about 6500 years ago. Historical lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and have confined a lake to the far eastern end of the caldera. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption overtopped the north caldera rim. Masaya has been frequently active since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold." Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals cause health hazards and crop damage.

Information Contacts: S. Williams and R. Stoiber, Dartmouth College; I. Menyailov and V. Shapar, IVP, Kamchatka; D. Fajardo B., INETER.


Mehetia (France) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Mehetia

France

17.874°S, 148.068°W; summit elev. 389 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic activity stops

Seismic activity that began in March 1981 ceased in December. Only a few low-energy events per month have been recorded since. Bathymetric reconnaissance around the island found evidence of an elliptical opening at 1,700 m below sea level on the SE flank, in the same location as the initial events of the earthquake swarm. RSP scientists interpreted the opening as a possible crater and the activity as a magmatic intrusion or eruption.

Geologic Background. The 1.5-km-wide, steep-sided island of Mehetia, the youngest and SE-most of the Society Islands, lacks a well-developed fringing coral reef. The ~400-m-high island (known as Meetia or Meketia in the Tahitian and Tuamotuan languages, respectively) is the summit of a large volcano that rises 4000 m from the sea floor. An older edifice is formed of a lava flow sequence overlain by hydromagmatic deposits and strombolian ejecta. A well-preserved Holocene crater, 150 m wide and 80 m deep, is located NW of the summit and has been the source of the youngest lava flows on the island (Binard et al., 1993). Polynesian legends mention "large fires," and the lack of vegetation on some lava flows suggests that the latest activity occurred within the last 2000 years (Talandier and Custer, 1976). Other recent activity originated from a submarine crater at 2500-2700 m depth on the SE flank.

Information Contacts: J.M. Talandier, Lab. de Géophysique, Tahiti.


Mombacho (Nicaragua) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Mombacho

Nicaragua

11.826°N, 85.968°W; summit elev. 1344 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Four hot-springs located

"Paolo Pisani, a consultant to INE, reported finding four previously unknown low-temperature hot springs on the S side of Mombacho. These are not believed to be new, however."

Geologic Background. Mombacho is an andesitic and basaltic stratovolcano on the shores of Lake Nicaragua south of the city of Granada that has undergone edifice collapse on several occasions. Two large horseshoe-shaped craters formed by edifice failure cut the summit on the NE and S flanks. The NE-flank scarp was the source of a large debris avalanche that produced an arcuate peninsula and a cluster of small islands (Las Isletas) in Lake Nicaragua. Two small, well-preserved cinder cones are located on the volcano's lower N flank. The only reported historical activity was in 1570, when a debris avalanche destroyed a village on the south side of the volcano. Although there were contemporary reports of an explosion, there is no direct evidence that the avalanche was accompanied by an eruption. Fumarolic fields and hot springs are found within the two collapse scarps and on the upper N flank.

Information Contacts: S. Williams, R. Stoiber, Dartmouth College; I. Menyailov, V. Shapar, IVP, Kamchatka; D. Fajardo B., INETER.


Momotombo (Nicaragua) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Momotombo

Nicaragua

12.423°N, 86.539°W; summit elev. 1270 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


High temperatures at crater fumaroles

"Temperatures of the crater fumaroles, measured on 13 March, were as high as 800°C. Heating has occurred since December 1981, but it was not apparent whether this was a result of dry-season effects or was a true increase in heat. A small gas plume was continuously emitted."

Further Reference. Menyailov, I.A., Nikitina, L.P., Shapar, V.N., Grinenko, V.A., Buachidze, G.I., Stoiber, R., and Williams, S., 1986, The chemistry, metal content, and isotope composition of fumarolic gases from Momotombo volcano, Nicaragua, in 1982: Volcanology and Seismology, no. 2, p. 60-70.

Geologic Background. Momotombo is a young stratovolcano that rises prominently above the NW shore of Lake Managua, forming one of Nicaragua's most familiar landmarks. Momotombo began growing about 4500 years ago at the SE end of the Marrabios Range and consists of a somma from an older edifice that is surmounted by a symmetrical younger cone with a 150 x 250 m wide summit crater. Young lava flows extend down the NW flank into the 4-km-wide Monte Galán caldera. The youthful cone of Momotombito forms an island offshore in Lake Managua. Momotombo has a long record of Strombolian eruptions, punctuated by occasional stronger explosive activity. The latest eruption, in 1905, produced a lava flow that traveled from the summit to the lower NE base. A small black plume was seen above the crater after a 10 April 1996 earthquake, but later observations noted no significant changes in the crater. A major geothermal field is located on the south flank.

Information Contacts: S. Williams and R. Stoiber, Dartmouth College; I. Menyailov and V. Shapar, IVP, Kamchatka; D. Fajardo B., INETER.


Cerro Negro (Nicaragua) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Cerro Negro

Nicaragua

12.506°N, 86.702°W; summit elev. 728 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small gas plume from crater fumaroles

"A very small gas plume was being emitted from a group of fumaroles on the NW inner crater wall. Maximum fumarole temperatures of 505°C were measured on 3 March."

Geologic Background. Nicaragua's youngest volcano, Cerro Negro, was created following an eruption that began in April 1850 about 2 km NW of the summit of Las Pilas volcano. It is the largest, southernmost, and most recent of a group of four youthful cinder cones constructed along a NNW-SSE-trending line in the central Marrabios Range. Strombolian-to-subplinian eruptions at intervals of a few years to several decades have constructed a roughly 250-m-high basaltic cone and an associated lava field constrained by topography to extend primarily NE and SW. Cone and crater morphology have varied significantly during its short eruptive history. Although it lies in a relatively unpopulated area, occasional heavy ashfalls have damaged crops and buildings.

Information Contacts: S. Williams and R. Stoiber, Dartmouth College; I. Menyailov and V. Shapar, IVP, Kamchatka; D. Fajardo B., INETER.


Pacaya (Guatemala) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

14.382°N, 90.601°W; summit elev. 2569 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Flank lava effusion continues

Rodolfo Alvarado reported that as of 4 March lava continued to flow from a hornito on the upper SW flank.

Geologic Background. Eruptions from Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, are frequently visible from Guatemala City, the nation's capital. This complex basaltic volcano was constructed just outside the southern topographic rim of the 14 x 16 km Pleistocene Amatitlán caldera. A cluster of dacitic lava domes occupies the southern caldera floor. The post-caldera Pacaya massif includes the ancestral Pacaya Viejo and Cerro Grande stratovolcanoes and the currently active Mackenney stratovolcano. Collapse of Pacaya Viejo between 600 and 1500 years ago produced a debris-avalanche deposit that extends 25 km onto the Pacific coastal plain and left an arcuate somma rim inside which the modern Pacaya volcano (Mackenney cone) grew. A subsidiary crater, Cerro Chino, was constructed on the NW somma rim and was last active in the 19th century. During the past several decades, activity has consisted of frequent strombolian eruptions with intermittent lava flow extrusion that has partially filled in the caldera moat and armored the flanks of Mackenney cone, punctuated by occasional larger explosive eruptions that partially destroy the summit of the growing young stratovolcano.

Information Contacts: R. Alvarado, Inst. Nacional de Electrificación; T. Casadevall, USGS.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruapehu

New Zealand

39.28°S, 175.57°E; summit elev. 2797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions from crater lake; seismicity summarized

Seismic activity, Crater Lake temperature, and strength and frequency of the lake's hydrothermal eruptions declined in February and early March, but increased again in mid-March.

Summit-area monitoring by NZGS personnel 11 February showed little change since the visit 6 days earlier. Only 4 small explosions from Crater Lake were noted in 8.5 hours. The largest, lasting about a minute, ejected three 30 m-high columns of muddy black water, which collapsed onto the lake surface to form small base surges. The temperature of the lake water had risen slightly, from 49° to 50.5°C. Distance-measuring and tilt surveys showed no significant changes. The next visit by geologists, on 5 March, lasted 4 hours, but no explosions were observed nor was there any evidence of new ash around the lake. However, climbers saw two very small explosions the next day. The lake temperature had dropped almost 10°C, to 41°C, in about 3 weeks. Only minor tilt changes were observed.

Park rangers received a report of an eruption at about 1215 on 16 March that generated a steam cloud filling the entire crater area to an estimated height of 1 km. NZGS personnel saw one steam explosion during a 2.5-hour visit 18 March. Continuous steaming of Crater Lake was reported during the early morning of 20 March. Geologists returned 23 March and observed 5 explosions from Crater Lake in 10 hours. Four were relatively small, producing columns of water 5-30 m high. However, a larger explosion at about 1430 produced large waves, and jets of black water that rose more than 100 m above the lake surface. Lake temperature had increased 6° since 5 March, to 47°C. No significant tilt changes were detected during surveys 23 and 26 March. A single Crater Lake explosion was observed during 5 hours of NZGS fieldwork 26 March.

The following is from reports by J.H. Latter. [For Latter's definitive analysis of this activity, see New Zealand Volcanological Record, no. 12, p. 31-37].

A period of higher-amplitude volcanic tremor began about 1600 on 14 January, climaxed 26 January and ended 30 January. Since then, strong tremor has been recorded only during an 8-hour period 10-11 February. Through 25 January, the tremor was dominantly high-frequency (3-4 Hz), suggesting that its origin was very shallow, but since then the strongest tremor has been mainly low-frequency (1-2 Hz). The focus of activity has evidently moved down to a lower level within the volcano. Latter notes that this could either be due to a process of withdrawal of magma, which up to now has been standing at a high level, or to the arrival of fresh magma from greater depths at the normal volcanic focus about 1 km below Crater Lake.

Only small volcanic earthquakes occurred between mid January and the end of February. A marked swarm of low-frequency volcanic earthquakes (B-type) took place, at about the normal focus, 20-22 February; activity peaked about 1200 on 20 February with several magnitude 2.1 earthquakes. This magnitude was relatively low, and it was not known whether the events were accompanied by eruptions. Latter notes that it was likely that the B-type swarm represented a minor stoppage in the volcano's conduits, but that the stoppage must have been rather weak since it was evidently overcome by quite small-magnitude earthquakes. Similar but smaller events took place 21-22 January (when no eruptions took place), and 3 and 14 February.

Shallower seismic activity peaked 23-25 January, when high-frequency tremor was fairly strong, preceded by the largest magnitude volcanic earthquakes at this level since 24 December (the so-called C-types, two ML 2.0 events). A smaller C-type earthquake (ML 1.8) occurred 28 January; since then there have been few, the largest only ML 1.6 (on 26 February). During the declining stages of activity 24-25 January, 31 January, and 24-26 February (after the B-type swarm mentioned above), high-frequency roof rock earthquakes with magnitudes between 1.6 and 1.9 have been detected.

Latter notes that "the best fit for B-type earthquake data suggests a mean depth of origin of 0.77 km beneath the floor of Crater Lake. Adopting an explosion model for the earthquakes, and equating the travel time (origin time of earthquake minus observed eruption time) of 8.5 seconds with upward movement of gas from this depth, gives an average velocity of the gas column of about 90 m/s. Applying the same velocity to the onsets of C-type earthquakes yields a depth of origin of about 250 m below the floor of the lake. This estimate, though crude, is probably of the right order, and suggests that magma had risen during the increased activity (since September 1981) by about 500 m.

"The decline in seismic activity at the end of January, and the change to tremor of deeper origin, appears more likely to have been due to withdrawal of magma than to a major blockage of conduits within the volcano. Although lake temperature has declined, partly no doubt because of the accelerated melt around Crater Lake during the long spell of fine weather, the volcano still gives the impression of being 'open vent.' The small magnitude (ML 2.1) of the largest earthquakes occurring since activity declined suggests that only minor blockages have formed, and have been fairly quickly overcome."

High-level (high-frequency) tremor continued 1-23 March, although none was recorded 4 or 7-10 March. Tremor was strong 11-16 March, peaking on the 13th, but remained much weaker than in late January. Occasional episodes of low-frequency tremor were recorded during the first 3 weeks in March, some lasting for several hours. These were interpreted by Latter as indicating movement at the base of the magma column, at least 500 m tall, that may extend from 200-300 to 700-800 m below Crater Lake. A swarm of B- and C-type earthquakes began on 15 March, culminating in a 6-minute B-type sequence 21 March that reached a magnitude of 2.7, the largest volcanic earthquake at Ruapehu since 2 January. Clouds obscured the volcano 21 March, so it was impossible to determine if an eruption accompanied this event. The swarm was continuing as of 23 March.

Geologic Background. Ruapehu, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is a complex stratovolcano constructed during at least four cone-building episodes dating back to about 200,000 years ago. The 110 km3 dominantly andesitic volcanic massif is elongated in a NNE-SSW direction and surrounded by another 100 km3 ring plain of volcaniclastic debris, including the Murimoto debris-avalanche deposit on the NW flank. A series of subplinian eruptions took place between about 22,600 and 10,000 years ago, but pyroclastic flows have been infrequent. A single historically active vent, Crater Lake, is located in the broad summit region, but at least five other vents on the summit and flank have been active during the Holocene. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred in historical time from the Crater Lake vent, and tephra characteristics suggest that the crater lake may have formed as early as 3000 years ago. Lahars produced by phreatic eruptions from the summit crater lake are a hazard to a ski area on the upper flanks and to lower river valleys.

Information Contacts: J. Latter, DSIR, Wellington; I. Nairn and B. Scott, NZGS, Rotorua; P. Otway, NZGS, Wairakei; R. Beetham, NZGS, Turangi.


San Cristobal (Nicaragua) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

San Cristobal

Nicaragua

12.702°N, 87.004°W; summit elev. 1745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small white plume almost all water vapor

"During a crater visit 9 March we found that the small white vapor plume was almost entirely made up of water vapor, with little acid gas content. We were unable to reach the fumaroles, but Bruce Gemmell of Dartmouth College measured fumarole temperatures as high as 590°C in December 1981.

Geologic Background. The San Cristóbal volcanic complex, consisting of five principal volcanic edifices, forms the NW end of the Marrabios Range. The symmetrical 1745-m-high youngest cone, named San Cristóbal (also known as El Viejo), is Nicaragua's highest volcano and is capped by a 500 x 600 m wide crater. El Chonco, with several flank lava domes, is located 4 km W of San Cristóbal; it and the eroded Moyotepe volcano, 4 km NE of San Cristóbal, are of Pleistocene age. Volcán Casita, containing an elongated summit crater, lies immediately east of San Cristóbal and was the site of a catastrophic landslide and lahar in 1998. The Plio-Pleistocene La Pelona caldera is located at the eastern end of the complex. Historical eruptions from San Cristóbal, consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been reported since the 16th century. Some other 16th-century eruptions attributed to Casita volcano are uncertain and may pertain to other Marrabios Range volcanoes.

Information Contacts: S. Williams and R. Stoiber, Dartmouth College, I. Menyailov and V. Shaper, IVP, Kamchatka; D Fajardo, INETER.


St. Helens (United States) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

St. Helens

United States

46.2°N, 122.18°W; summit elev. 2549 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


First large explosion since October 1980; two new lobes added to lava domes

The first explosive eruption in 17 months ejected a tephra cloud that briefly rose to more than 13.5 km altitude on 19 March. A directed blast from near the base of the lava dome spawned a multilobate avalanche that flowed several kilometers down the volcano's N flank. A mudflow moved down the N fork of the Toutle River, but caused only minor damage. Clouds produced by explosions 20-21 March were much smaller and contained only a little tephra. Lava extrusion began 21 March, adding a new lobe to the SE side of the crater's composite dome. No injuries resulted. Smaller explosions 4-5 April were followed by the extrusion of a second lobe onto the N side of the dome.

Premonitory activity during 26 February-18 March. Seismic activity began to increase 3 weeks before the March eruption and included a substantial number of deeper events, in contrast to previous dome extrusion episodes, which were typically preceded by only a few days of shallow seismicity. Earthquakes occurred in two zones, at about 1-3 and 4-12 km depth (below average seismic station elevation of about 1 km above sea level). An average of one event per day stronger than M 1.5 occurred in the shallow zone 26 February-12 March, with the rate of energy release remaining relatively constant. Most of the deeper events had negative magnitudes, and energy release from the deeper zone was about 2 orders of magnitude less than from the shallow zone. The end of deeper seismicity 12 March coincided with both an increase in the number of events (to an average of 3/day of mb > 1.5 through 17 March) and a jump in the rate of energy release.

Deformation in the crater accelerated rapidly in mid-March. Between 17 and 18 March, uplift of an area near the SW base of the dome accompanied about 30 cm of movement along a nearby thrust, higher than any rate of crater-floor thrust movement previously measured at Mt. St. Helens. Outward displacement rate of the N-crater rampart reached 32 cm/day, and a portion of the dome itself expanded 42 cm in the 24 hours ending shortly before the eruption. However, no deformation of the edifice as a whole was detected by measurements outside the crater. For the first 18 days of March, the rate of SO2 emission averaged 110 t/d, remaining at about the same level as it has since the lava extrusion episode of October-November 1981.

After remaining approximately constant for several days, the rate of seismic energy release increased again about noon 18 March, and 14 events larger than M 1.5 were recorded in the next 24 hours. A few brief (1-2 minutes or less) periods of low-level harmonic tremor were recorded during the afternoon of 19 March, as were 20 discrete events stronger than M 1.5. SO2 emission doubled to about 230 t/d. Tilt measured about 300 m N of the dome reversed about 1900 and seismic data showed that explosions began at 1928. After 2 minutes of initial seismicity there was a brief hiatus, followed by about 40 minutes of activity that declined gradually.

Explosive eruption on 19 March. A vertical tephra column, probably ejected from a vent near the center of the dome, reached its maximum altitude of more than 13.5 km (as measured by radar at Portland airport) at 1933 on 19 March. By 1950, radar data indicated that the altitude of the top of the column had dropped to 10.5 km. An infrared image returned at 2003 by a NOAA geostationary weather satellite showed a cloud-top temperature of -35°C, yielding an altitude of about 7 km. According to radar data, the eruption column contained 20-60 times less tephra than the cloud produced by the last significant explosion, in October 1980 [but see SEAN 07:04]. Ash blew SE at about 30 km/hr. Light ashfalls were reported as much as 80 km away, but caused only minor disruptions to auto travel. Bombs up to 3 m across fell 200-300 m from the dome. Frothy pumice (density about 0.8) fell 8 km away. Smaller explosions occurred at 0135 the next morning, when radar detected a cloud, containing a little ash, that rose to about 5.5 km altitude, and a small steam-and-ash column was ejected at 0415 on 21 March.

[Further investigation revealed a more complex sequence of events than was originally reported in the Bulletin. The following has been modified by R. Waitt and D. Swanson. A detailed description can be found in Waitt and others, 1983.] The initial avalanche apparently resulted from a directed blast that emerged from near the SW base of the dome. This blast destroyed the dome's SW margin, and struck the S wall of the crater, removing snow cover and rock. The resulting mixture of snow granules (0.5-2 mm in diameter), hot pumice, and lithic material [descended] the [E and] S crater walls, [flowed around] the E and W sides of the dome, joined N of it, then flowed out through the breach in the N side of the crater and continued for several kilometers down the N flank. Fed by water from the avalanche . . . and a [transient] pond [behind the dome], a complex mudflow sequence moved down the N fork of the Toutle River, which flows W . . . at the N foot of the volcano. Upstream deposits showed evidence of two distinct pulses, but gauges downstream registered only one well-defined peak. About 70 families were evacuated from the Toutle valley, but no major damage was reported. The mudflow buried trucks at an earthen flood-control dam and breached its S side. Three storms earlier this winter had produced higher peak river stages at Castle Rock, roughly 70 km downstream. Floods produced by these storms had breached the N side of the dam and the combined damage has essentially destroyed the dam's effectiveness.

Lava extrusion on 20-24 March. Seismographs began to record rockfall events, probably associated with extrusion of a new lobe of lava, during the evening of 20 March. This activity slowly increased, and aerial observers first saw the new lobe during the night. It emerged from a vent at the top of the most recent lobe (extruded October-November 1981) and flowed down the SE side of the dome, barely reaching the crater floor. Growth was fairly rapid through 23 March, but there was little apparent increase in size between the 23rd and 24th, and the number of rockfall events was noticeably declining early 24 March. By the time growth slowed, the volume of new lava appeared to be greater than that for any previous lobe. SO2 emission increased to 370 t/d 21 March, about 3.5 times background levels, but had dropped to 90 t/d by 24 March.

However, before dawn on 24 March new glowing radial cracks were observed in older portions of the dome. The N-crater rampart and the N side of the dome showed 12 cm of outward movement between the mornings of 23 and 24 March and 16-18 cm during field work 24 March. No unusual seismicity accompanied the movement, nor was any significant tilt measured N of the dome, but at similar stages of previous dome extrusion episodes, little or no deformation of any kind has been observed.

Poor weather prevented geologists from entering the crater again until early April. Seismicity remained at low levels through the end of March. SO2 emission dropped to about background levels 24 March, but by the next measurement, on 28 March, had increased to about 200 t/d and reached a rate of 440 t/d during a small gas explosion. On 29 March, the rate was still high, at 180 t/d, but weather conditions prevented further measurements until a week later. Seismographs began to record a few very small, brief (20 seconds or less) harmonic events 1-2 April, and these became more numerous 3-4 April. Occasional low-frequency earthquakes began to appear on the seismic records 3 April. A few were recorded the next morning, then these events increased to about 2 per hour after 1400. A further increase in seismicity was noted in the early evening, and at about 2000, University of Washington seismologists alerted USFS and Washington state officials that an eruption was imminent.

Renewed explosions and dome growth during 3-12 April. [A large rock avalanche and] explosive activity began at 2052 on 3 April, and three seismic pulses occurred in 3 minutes. A plume containing a little ash rose to 8.5 km (altitude data from Portland airport radar) and drifted NE. Minor ashfall was reported in Packwood, 65 km away. Seismographs recorded pulsating activity for the next several hours, then a pair of stronger events at 0035 and 0039 that accompanied the ejection of an ash-poor cloud to almost 10 km altitude (as measured by Portland airport radar). A small mudflow emerged from the breach in the N side of the crater and flowed a short distance down the N flank. After 10-15 minutes, seismicity briefly dropped to background levels, but apparent harmonic tremor began about 0230 and continued for the next 14 hours. Gas and/or rockfall events began at roughly 0330 and became increasingly frequent during the next several hours.

Before dawn, geologists observed a new lobe of lava on the N side of the composite dome. Growth of this lobe continued through 8 April, but had slowed considerably by the 9th. The April lava, perched on the N side of the dome, looked very similar to the October 1981 lobe but appeared to be smaller than any previously extruded. Gas emission events, including one that sent a plume to 7 km altitude at 1719 on 5 April, could be seen on seismic records, as well as large avalanche events as large chunks fell off the dome. Seismicity declined gradually as lava extrusion continued and had dropped to low levels by 12 April. By 10 April, deformation in the crater had decreased to levels typical of periods between extrusion episodes. As lava extrusion was beginning early 5 April, the rate of SO2 emission increased to 900 t/d, dropping to 500 t/d during the afternoon, and to 390 t/d, a typical value during dome extrusion episodes, on 6 April. No gas data were available 7 April but SO2 emission had returned to background levels 8-10 April.

Further Reference. Waitt, R.B., Pierson, T.C., MacLeod, N.S., and Janda, R.J., 1983, Eruption-Triggered Avalanche, Flood, and Lahar at Mount St. Helens-Effects of Winter Snowpack: Science, v. 221, no. 4618, 1394-1396 p.

Geologic Background. Prior to 1980, Mount St. Helens formed a conical, youthful volcano sometimes known as the Fuji-san of America. During the 1980 eruption the upper 400 m of the summit was removed by slope failure, leaving a 2 x 3.5 km horseshoe-shaped crater now partially filled by a lava dome. Mount St. Helens was formed during nine eruptive periods beginning about 40-50,000 years ago and has been the most active volcano in the Cascade Range during the Holocene. Prior to 2200 years ago, tephra, lava domes, and pyroclastic flows were erupted, forming the older St. Helens edifice, but few lava flows extended beyond the base of the volcano. The modern edifice was constructed during the last 2200 years, when the volcano produced basaltic as well as andesitic and dacitic products from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions in the 19th century originated from the Goat Rocks area on the north flank, and were witnessed by early settlers.

Information Contacts: T. Casadevall, R. Janda, C. Newhall, D. Swanson, R. Waitt, USGS CVO, Vancouver, WA; C. Boyko, S. Malone, E. Endo, C. Weaver, University of Washington; O. Karst, NOAA/NESS; D. Harris, University of Alberta; R. Bailey, USGS, Reston, VA.


Telica (Nicaragua) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Telica

Nicaragua

12.606°N, 86.84°W; summit elev. 1036 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Last confirmed eruption on 2 March

"The eruption sequence that began in mid-December 1981 appears to have drawn to a close. The last confirmed eruption occurred at approximately noon on 2 March, sending ash to Corinto and beyond. Since then the volcano has also been seismically quiet. A crater visit on 19 March revealed continued collapse of the crater walls. The vent was clogged with boulders and a ring of strongly jetting fumaroles was established around its margins."

Further Reference. Williams, S.N., 1985, La Erupción del Volcán Telica, Nicaragua, 1982; Boletín de Vulcanología (Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica), no. 15, p. 10-19.

Geologic Background. Telica, one of Nicaragua's most active volcanoes, has erupted frequently since the beginning of the Spanish era. This volcano group consists of several interlocking cones and vents with a general NW alignment. Sixteenth-century eruptions were reported at symmetrical Santa Clara volcano at the SW end of the group. However, its eroded and breached crater has been covered by forests throughout historical time, and these eruptions may have originated from Telica, whose upper slopes in contrast are unvegetated. The steep-sided cone of Telica is truncated by a 700-m-wide double crater; the southern crater, the source of recent eruptions, is 120 m deep. El Liston, immediately E, has several nested craters. The fumaroles and boiling mudpots of Hervideros de San Jacinto, SE of Telica, form a prominent geothermal area frequented by tourists, and geothermal exploration has occurred nearby.

Information Contacts: S. Williams and R. Stoiber, Dartmouth College; I. Menyailov and V. N. Shapar, IVP, Kamchatka; D. Fajardo B., INETER.


Toya (Japan) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Toya

Japan

42.544°N, 140.839°E; summit elev. 733 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Cryptodome growth slows; local seismicity continues

"The crustal deformation and local seismicity at Usu continued through 1981. The monthly number of recorded seismic events, having gradually declined since the major 1977 eruption, dropped further to about 308/month in 1981 but remained at about this level through the year (figure 20 and table 4). Gradually weakening steam activity from the craters formed in 1978 has been observed. Around these craters, there have been many fumaroles that vigorously emitted white vapor; highest temperature was 643°C in August 1981. According to the data from the Usu Volcano Observatory (Hokkaido University) the rate of uplift of the Usu-Shinzan cryptodome decreased from about 2/cm per day in 1980 to about 0.8 cm/day in 1981. The northward lateral movement of the N flank continued at a similar rate."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Graph of monthly numbers of recorded (white bars) and felt (black bars) seismic events at Usu, August 1977-December 1981, supplied by I. Yokoyama. [Eruptive] activity during a particular month is indicated by arrows. Earthquakes in August 1977 numbered at least 25,000.

Geologic Background. Usuzan, one of Hokkaido's most well-known volcanoes, is a small stratovolcano located astride the southern topographic rim of the 110,000-year-old Toya caldera. The center of the 10-km-wide, lake-filled caldera contains Nakajima, a group of forested Pleistocene andesitic lava domes. The summit of the basaltic-to-andesitic edifice of Usu is cut by a somma formed about 20-30,000 years ago when collapse of the volcano produced a debris avalanche that reached the sea. Dacitic domes erupted along two NW-SE-trending lines fill and flank the summit caldera. Three of these domes, O-Usu, Ko-Usu and Showashinzan, along with seven crypto-domes, were erupted during historical time. The 1663 eruption of Usu was one of the largest in Hokkaido during historical time. The war-time growth of Showashinzan from 1943-45 was painstakingly documented by the local postmaster, who created the first detailed record of growth of a lava dome.

Information Contacts: I. Yokoyama, Hokkaido Univ.


Ushkovsky (Russia) — March 1982 Citation iconCite this Report

Ushkovsky

Russia

56.113°N, 160.509°E; summit elev. 3943 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Glacier surge

The volcano's 17-km-long Bilchenok Glacier has begun to advance. The glacier, located in Plosky's caldera, has three large ice cascades on its NW flank. Previous surges of this glacier occurred in 1959, 1976, and 1977. Photo reconaissance flights over Kamchatkan glaciers 10-11 March revealed that Bilchenok's front was 1 km from its 1980 position and 500 m from the 1959 maximum surge. Its surface was broken into blocks, and rupture disturbances of the snow cover were observed.

Further Reference. Ovsyannikov, A.A., Khrenov, A.P., and Murav'yeva, Y.D., 1985, Recent activity of the Dal'nya Ploskaya volcano: Volcanology and Seismology, no. 5, p. 97-98.

Geologic Background. Ushkovsky volcano (formerly known as Plosky) is a large compound volcanic massif located at the NW end of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. It consists of the flat-topped Ushkovsky (Daljny Plosky), which is capped by an ice-filled 4.5 x 5.5 km caldera, and the adjacent slightly higher peak of Krestovsky (Blizhny Plosky) volcano. Two glacier-clad cinder cones with large summit craters form a high point within the Ushkovsky caldera. Linear zones of cinder cones are found on the SW and NE flanks and on lowlands to the west. The younger caldera at the summit of Daljny was formed in association with the eruption of large lava flows and pyroclastic material from the Lavovy Shish cinder cones at the foot of the volcano about 8600 years ago. The only known historical activity was an explosive eruption from the summit cone in 1890.

Information Contacts: V. Vinogradov, IVP.

Atmospheric Effects

The enormous aerosol cloud from the March-April 1982 eruption of Mexico's El Chichón persisted for years in the stratosphere, and led to the Atmospheric Effects section becoming a regular feature of the Bulletin. Descriptions of the initial dispersal of major eruption clouds remain with the individual eruption reports, but observations of long-term stratospheric aerosol loading will be found in this section.

Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989)  Atmospheric Effects (1995-2001)

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements

Additional Reports

Reports are sometimes published that are not related to a Holocene volcano. These might include observations of a Pleistocene volcano, earthquake swarms, or floating pumice. Reports are also sometimes published in which the source of the activity is unknown or the report is determined to be false. All of these types of additional reports are listed below by subregion and subject.

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


Central Chile and Argentina


Estero de Parraguirre


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

08/1997 (SEAN 22:08) False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

False report of volcanism intended to exclude would-be gold miners

12/1997 (SEAN 22:12) False Report of Somalia Eruption

Press reports of Somalia's first historical eruption were likely in error

11/1999 (SEAN 24:11) False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

05/2003 (SEAN 28:05) Har-Togoo

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (SEAN 30:12) Elgon

False report of activity; confusion caused by burning dung in a lava tube



False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption (Philippines) — August 1997

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

7.975°N, 123.23°E; summit elev. 1510 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


False report of volcanism intended to exclude would-be gold miners

In discussing the week ending on 12 September, "Earthweek" (Newman, 1997) incorrectly claimed that a volcano named "Mount Pinukis" had erupted. Widely read in the US, the dramatic Earthweek report described terrified farmers and a black mushroom cloud that resembled a nuclear explosion. The mountain's location was given as "200 km E of Zamboanga City," a spot well into the sea. The purported eruption had received mention in a Manila Bulletin newspaper report nine days earlier, on 4 September. Their comparatively understated report said that a local police director had disclosed that residents had seen a dormant volcano showing signs of activity.

In response to these news reports Emmanuel Ramos of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) sent a reply on 17 September. PHIVOLCS staff had initially heard that there were some 12 alleged families who fled the mountain and sought shelter in the lowlands. A PHIVOLCS investigation team later found that the reported "families" were actually individuals seeking respite from some politically motivated harassment. The story seems to have stemmed from a local gold rush and an influential politician who wanted to use volcanism as a ploy to exclude residents. PHIVOLCS concluded that no volcanic activity had occurred. They also added that this finding disappointed local politicians but was much welcomed by the residents.

PHIVOLCS spelled the mountain's name as "Pinokis" and from their report it seems that it might be an inactive volcano. There is no known Holocene volcano with a similar name (Simkin and Siebert, 1994). No similar names (Pinokis, Pinukis, Pinakis, etc.) were found listed in the National Imagery and Mapping Agency GEOnet Names Server (http://geonames.nga.mil/gns/html/index.html), a searchable database of 3.3 million non-US geographic-feature names.

The Manila Bulletin report suggested that Pinokis resides on the Zamboanga Peninsula. The Peninsula lies on Mindanao Island's extreme W side where it bounds the Moro Gulf, an arm of the Celebes Sea. The mountainous Peninsula trends NNE-SSW and contains peaks with summit elevations near 1,300 m. Zamboanga City sits at the extreme end of the Peninsula and operates both a major seaport and an international airport.

[Later investigation found that Mt. Pinokis is located in the Lison Valley on the Zamboanga Peninsula, about 170 km NE of Zamboanga City and 30 km NW of Pagadian City. It is adjacent to the two peaks of the Susong Dalaga (Maiden's Breast) and near Mt. Sugarloaf.]

References. Newman, S., 1997, Earthweek, a diary of the planet (week ending 12 September): syndicated newspaper column (URL: http://www.earthweek.com/).

Manila Bulletin, 4 Sept. 1997, Dante's Peak (URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/).

Simkin, T., and Siebert, L., 1994, Volcanoes of the world, 2nd edition: Geoscience Press in association with the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, Tucson AZ, 368 p.

Information Contacts: Emmanuel G. Ramos, Deputy Director, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Department of Science and Technology, PHIVOLCS Building, C. P. Garcia Ave., University of the Philippines, Diliman campus, Quezon City, Philippines.


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Press reports of Somalia's first historical eruption were likely in error

Xinhua News Agency filed a news report on 27 February under the headline "Volcano erupts in Somalia" but the veracity of the story now appears doubtful. The report disclosed the volcano's location as on the W side of the Gedo region, an area along the Ethiopian border just NE of Kenya. The report had relied on the commissioner of the town of Bohol Garas (a settlement described as 40 km NE of the main Al-Itihad headquarters of Luq town) and some or all of the information was relayed by journalists through VHF radio. The report claimed the disaster "wounded six herdsmen" and "claimed the lives of 290 goats grazing near the mountain when the incident took place." Further descriptions included such statements as "the volcano which erupted two days ago [25 February] has melted down the rocks and sand and spread . . . ."

Giday WoldeGabriel returned from three weeks of geological fieldwork in SW Ethiopia, near the Kenyan border, on 25 August. During his time there he inquired of many people, including geologists, if they had heard of a Somalian eruption in the Gedo area; no one had heard of the event. WoldeGabriel stated that he felt the news report could have described an old mine or bomb exploding. Heavy fighting took place in the Gedo region during the Ethio-Somalian war of 1977. Somalia lacks an embassy in Washington DC; when asked during late August, Ayalaw Yiman, an Ethiopian embassy staff member in Washington DC also lacked any knowledge of a Somalian eruption.

A Somalian eruption would be significant since the closest known Holocene volcanoes occur in the central Ethiopian segment of the East African rift system S of Addis Ababa, ~500 km NW of the Gedo area. These Ethiopian rift volcanoes include volcanic fields, shield volcanoes, cinder cones, and stratovolcanoes.

Information Contacts: Xinhua News Agency, 5 Sharp Street West, Wanchai, Hong Kong; Giday WoldeGabriel, EES-1/MS D462, Geology-Geochemistry Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545; Ayalaw Yiman, Ethiopian Embassy, 2134 Kalorama Rd. NW, Washington DC 20008.


False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption (Turkey) — November 1999

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

Following the Ms 7.8 earthquake in Turkey on 17 August (BGVN 24:08) an Email message originating in Turkey was circulated, claiming that volcanic activity was observed coincident with the earthquake and suggesting a new (magmatic) volcano in the Sea of Marmara. For reasons outlined below, and in the absence of further evidence, editors of the Bulletin consider this a false report.

The report stated that fishermen near the village of Cinarcik, at the E end of the Sea of Marmara "saw the sea turned red with fireballs" shortly after the onset of the earthquake. They later found dead fish that appeared "fried." Their nets were "burned" while under water and contained samples of rocks alleged to look "magmatic."

No samples of the fish were preserved. A tectonic scientist in Istanbul speculated that hot water released by the earthquake from the many hot springs along the coast in that area may have killed some fish (although they would be boiled rather than fried).

The phenomenon called earthquake lights could explain the "fireballs" reportedly seen by the fishermen. Such effects have been reasonably established associated with large earthquakes, although their origin remains poorly understood. In addition to deformation-triggered piezoelectric effects, earthquake lights have sometimes been explained as due to the release of methane gas in areas of mass wasting (even under water). Omlin and others (1999), for example, found gas hydrate and methane releases associated with mud volcanoes in coastal submarine environments.

The astronomer and author Thomas Gold (Gold, 1998) has a website (Gold, 2000) where he presents a series of alleged quotes from witnesses of earthquakes. We include three such quotes here (along with Gold's dates, attributions, and other comments):

(A) Lima, 30 March 1828. "Water in the bay 'hissed as if hot iron was immersed in it,' bubbles and dead fish rose to the surface, and the anchor chain of HMS Volage was partially fused while lying in the mud on the bottom." (Attributed to Bagnold, 1829; the anchor chain is reported to be on display in the London Navy Museum.)

(B) Romania, 10 November 1940. ". . . a thick layer like a translucid gas above the surface of the soil . . . irregular gas fires . . . flames in rhythm with the movements of the soil . . . flashes like lightning from the floor to the summit of Mt Tampa . . . flames issuing from rocks, which crumbled, with flashes also issuing from non-wooded mountainsides." (Phrases used in eyewitness accounts collected by Demetrescu and Petrescu, 1941).

(C) Sungpan-Pingwu (China), 16, 22, and 23 August 1976. "From March of 1976, various large anomalies were observed over a broad region. . . . At the Wanchia commune of Chungching County, outbursts of natural gas from rock fissures ignited and were difficult to extinguish even by dumping dirt over the fissures. . . . Chu Chieh Cho, of the Provincial Seismological Bureau, related personally seeing a fireball 75 km from the epicenter on the night of 21 July while in the company of three professional seismologists."

Yalciner and others (1999) made a study of coastal areas along the Sea of Marmara after the Izmet earthquake. They found evidence for one or more tsunamis with maximum runups of 2.0-2.5 m. Preliminary modeling of the earthquake's response failed to reproduce the observed runups; the areas of maximum runup instead appeared to correspond most closely with several local mass-failure events. This observation together with the magnitude of the earthquake, and bottom soundings from marine geophysical teams, suggested mass wasting may have been fairly common on the floor of the Sea of Marmara.

Despite a wide range of poorly understood, dramatic processes associated with earthquakes (Izmet 1999 apparently included), there remains little evidence for volcanism around the time of the earthquake. The nearest Holocene volcano lies ~200 km SW of the report location. Neither Turkish geologists nor scientists from other countries in Turkey to study the 17 August earthquake reported any volcanism. The report said the fisherman found "magmatic" rocks; it is unlikely they would be familiar with this term.

The motivation and credibility of the report's originator, Erol Erkmen, are unknown. Certainly, the difficulty in translating from Turkish to English may have caused some problems in understanding. Erkmen is associated with a website devoted to reporting UFO activity in Turkey. Photographs of a "magmatic rock" sample were sent to the Bulletin, but they only showed dark rocks photographed devoid of a scale on a featureless background. The rocks shown did not appear to be vesicular or glassy. What was most significant to Bulletin editors was the report author's progressive reluctance to provide samples or encourage follow-up investigation with local scientists. Without the collaboration of trained scientists on the scene this report cannot be validated.

References. Omlin, A, Damm, E., Mienert, J., and Lukas, D., 1999, In-situ detection of methane releases adjacent to gas hydrate fields on the Norwegian margin: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Yalciner, A.C., Borrero, J., Kukano, U., Watts, P., Synolakis, C. E., and Imamura, F., 1999, Field survey of 1999 Izmit tsunami and modeling effort of new tsunami generation mechanism: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Gold, T., 1998, The deep hot biosphere: Springer Verlag, 256 p., ISBN: 0387985468.

Gold, T., 2000, Eye-witness accounts of several major earthquakes (URL: http://www.people.cornell.edu/ pages/tg21/eyewit.html).

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

48.831°N, 101.626°E; summit elev. 1675 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

In December 2002 information appeared in Mongolian and Russian newspapers and on national TV that a volcano in Central Mongolia, the Har-Togoo volcano, was producing white vapors and constant acoustic noise. Because of the potential hazard posed to two nearby settlements, mainly with regard to potential blocking of rivers, the Director of the Research Center of Astronomy and Geophysics of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Bekhtur, organized a scientific expedition to the volcano on 19-20 March 2003. The scientific team also included M. Ulziibat, seismologist from the same Research Center, M. Ganzorig, the Director of the Institute of Informatics, and A. Ivanov from the Institute of the Earth's Crust, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Geological setting. The Miocene Har-Togoo shield volcano is situated on top of a vast volcanic plateau (figure 1). The 5,000-year-old Khorog (Horog) cone in the Taryatu-Chulutu volcanic field is located 135 km SW and the Quaternary Urun-Dush cone in the Khanuy Gol (Hanuy Gol) volcanic field is 95 km ENE. Pliocene and Quaternary volcanic rocks are also abundant in the vicinity of the Holocene volcanoes (Devyatkin and Smelov, 1979; Logatchev and others, 1982). Analysis of seismic activity recorded by a network of seismic stations across Mongolia shows that earthquakes of magnitude 2-3.5 are scattered around the Har-Togoo volcano at a distance of 10-15 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Photograph of the Har-Togoo volcano viewed from west, March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

Observations during March 2003. The name of the volcano in the Mongolian language means "black-pot" and through questioning of the local inhabitants, it was learned that there is a local myth that a dragon lived in the volcano. The local inhabitants also mentioned that marmots, previously abundant in the area, began to migrate westwards five years ago; they are now practically absent from the area.

Acoustic noise and venting of colorless warm gas from a small hole near the summit were noticed in October 2002 by local residents. In December 2002, while snow lay on the ground, the hole was clearly visible to local visitors, and a second hole could be seen a few meters away; it is unclear whether or not white vapors were noticed on this occasion. During the inspection in March 2003 a third hole was seen. The second hole is located within a 3 x 3 m outcrop of cinder and pumice (figure 2) whereas the first and the third holes are located within massive basalts. When close to the holes, constant noise resembled a rapid river heard from afar. The second hole was covered with plastic sheeting fixed at the margins, but the plastic was blown off within 2-3 seconds. Gas from the second hole was sampled in a mechanically pumped glass sampler. Analysis by gas chromatography, performed a week later at the Institute of the Earth's Crust, showed that nitrogen and atmospheric air were the major constituents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Photograph of the second hole sampled at Har-Togoo, with hammer for scale, March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

The temperature of the gas at the first, second, and third holes was +1.1, +1.4, and +2.7°C, respectively, while air temperature was -4.6 to -4.7°C (measured on 19 March 2003). Repeated measurements of the temperatures on the next day gave values of +1.1, +0.8, and -6.0°C at the first, second, and third holes, respectively. Air temperature was -9.4°C. To avoid bias due to direct heating from sunlight the measurements were performed under shadow. All measurements were done with Chechtemp2 digital thermometer with precision of ± 0.1°C and accuracy ± 0.3°C.

Inside the mouth of the first hole was 4-10-cm-thick ice with suspended gas bubbles (figure 5). The ice and snow were sampled in plastic bottles, melted, and tested for pH and Eh with digital meters. The pH-meter was calibrated by Horiba Ltd (Kyoto, Japan) standard solutions 4 and 7. Water from melted ice appeared to be slightly acidic (pH 6.52) in comparison to water of melted snow (pH 7.04). Both pH values were within neutral solution values. No prominent difference in Eh (108 and 117 for ice and snow, respectively) was revealed.

Two digital short-period three-component stations were installed on top of Har-Togoo, one 50 m from the degassing holes and one in a remote area on basement rocks, for monitoring during 19-20 March 2003. Every hour 1-3 microseismic events with magnitude <2 were recorded. All seismic events were virtually identical and resembled A-type volcano-tectonic earthquakes (figure 6). Arrival difference between S and P waves were around 0.06-0.3 seconds for the Har-Togoo station and 0.1-1.5 seconds for the remote station. Assuming that the Har-Togoo station was located in the epicentral zone, the events were located at ~1-3 km depth. Seismic episodes similar to volcanic tremors were also recorded (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Examples of an A-type volcano-tectonic earthquake and volcanic tremor episodes recorded at the Har-Togoo station on 19 March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

Conclusions. The abnormal thermal and seismic activities could be the result of either hydrothermal or volcanic processes. This activity could have started in the fall of 2002 when they were directly observed for the first time, or possibly up to five years earlier when marmots started migrating from the area. Further studies are planned to investigate the cause of the fumarolic and seismic activities.

At the end of a second visit in early July, gas venting had stopped, but seismicity was continuing. In August there will be a workshop on Russian-Mongolian cooperation between Institutions of the Russian and Mongolian Academies of Sciences (held in Ulan-Bator, Mongolia), where the work being done on this volcano will be presented.

References. Devyatkin, E.V. and Smelov, S.B., 1979, Position of basalts in sequence of Cenozoic sediments of Mongolia: Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences, geological series, no. 1, p. 16-29. (In Russian).

Logatchev, N.A., Devyatkin, E.V., Malaeva, E.M., and others, 1982, Cenozoic deposits of Taryat basin and Chulutu river valley (Central Hangai): Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences, geological series, no. 8, p. 76-86. (In Russian).

Geologic Background. The Miocene Har-Togoo shield volcano, also known as Togoo Tologoy, is situated on top of a vast volcanic plateau. The 5,000-year-old Khorog (Horog) cone in the Taryatu-Chulutu volcanic field is located 135 km SW and the Quaternary Urun-Dush cone in the Khanuy Gol (Hanuy Gol) volcanic field is 95 km ENE. Analysis of seismic activity recorded by a network of seismic stations across Mongolia shows that earthquakes of magnitude 2-3.5 are scattered around the Har-Togoo volcano at a distance of 10-15 km.

Information Contacts: Alexei V. Ivanov, Institute of the Earth Crust SB, Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk, Russia; Bekhtur andM. Ulziibat, Research Center of Astronomy and Geophysics, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia; M. Ganzorig, Institute of Informatics MAS, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia.


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

1.136°N, 34.559°E; summit elev. 3885 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


False report of activity; confusion caused by burning dung in a lava tube

An eruption at Mount Elgon was mistakenly inferred when fumes escaped from this otherwise quiet volcano. The fumes were eventually traced to dung burning in a lava-tube cave. The cave is home to, or visited by, wildlife ranging from bats to elephants. Mt. Elgon (Ol Doinyo Ilgoon) is a stratovolcano on the SW margin of a 13 x 16 km caldera that straddles the Uganda-Kenya border 140 km NE of the N shore of Lake Victoria. No eruptions are known in the historical record or in the Holocene.

On 7 September 2004 the web site of the Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation reported that villagers sighted and smelled noxious fumes from a cave on the flank of Mt. Elgon during August 2005. The villagers' concerns were taken quite seriously by both nations, to the extent that evacuation of nearby villages was considered.

The Daily Nation article added that shortly after the villagers' reports, Moses Masibo, Kenya's Western Province geology officer visited the cave, confirmed the villagers observations, and added that the temperature in the cave was 170°C. He recommended that nearby villagers move to safer locations. Masibo and Silas Simiyu of KenGens geothermal department collected ashes from the cave for testing.

Gerald Ernst reported on 19 September 2004 that he spoke with two local geologists involved with the Elgon crisis from the Geology Department of the University of Nairobi (Jiromo campus): Professor Nyambok and Zacharia Kuria (the former is a senior scientist who was unable to go in the field; the latter is a junior scientist who visited the site). According to Ernst their interpretation is that somebody set fire to bat guano in one of the caves. The fire was intense and probably explains the vigorous fuming, high temperatures, and suffocated animals. The event was also accompanied by emissions of gases with an ammonia odor. Ernst noted that this was not surprising considering the high nitrogen content of guano—ammonia is highly toxic and can also explain the animal deaths. The intense fumes initially caused substantial panic in the area.

It was Ernst's understanding that the authorities ordered evacuations while awaiting a report from local scientists, but that people returned before the report reached the authorities. The fire presumably prompted the response of local authorities who then urged the University geologists to analyze the situation. By the time geologists arrived, the fuming had ceased, or nearly so. The residue left by the fire and other observations led them to conclude that nothing remotely related to a volcanic eruption had occurred.

However, the incident emphasized the problem due to lack of a seismic station to monitor tectonic activity related to a local triple junction associated with the rift valley or volcanic seismicity. In response, one seismic station was moved from S Kenya to the area of Mt. Elgon so that local seismicity can be monitored in the future.

Information Contacts: Gerald Ernst, Univ. of Ghent, Krijgslaan 281/S8, B-9000, Belgium; Chris Newhall, USGS, Univ. of Washington, Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences, Box 351310, Seattle, WA 98195-1310, USA; The Daily Nation (URL: http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/); Uganda Tourist Board (URL: http://www.visituganda.com/).