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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

Karymsky (Russia) Explosions during November 2020-January 2021; new eruptive episode in April 2021

Langila (Papua New Guinea) Ash plumes, SO2 emissions, and thermal anomalies during November 2020-April 2021

Dieng Volcanic Complex (Indonesia) Phreatic explosion on 29 April 2021

Pacaya (Guatemala) Ash emissions during March 2021 close airport; lava flows travel over 3 km, burning crops and blocking roads

Etna (Italy) Frequent explosions, ash plumes, fountaining, and lava flows during December 2020-March 2021

Fuego (Guatemala) Ash plumes, ashfall, and incandescent block avalanches through March 2021; lava flows and a pyroclastic flow in mid-February

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during October 2020-April 2021

Semisopochnoi (United States) Ash emissions in June 2020 and during February-May 2021

Piton de la Fournaise (France) New eruption with lava fountains and flows on 7-8 December 2020

Heard (Australia) Thermal anomalies during November 2020 and January 2021

Sabancaya (Peru) Daily ash explosions, large SO2 flux, and thermal anomalies from multiple domes, October 2020-March 2021

Telica (Nicaragua) Numerous explosions and ash plumes during late November-early December 2020



Karymsky (Russia) — May 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Karymsky

Russia

54.049°N, 159.443°E; summit elev. 1513 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions during November 2020-January 2021; new eruptive episode in April 2021

Karymsky, part of Kamchatka’s eastern volcanic zone, has had frequent eruptions since 1996 that have included ash explosions, ash plumes, gas-and-steam emissions, and thermal anomalies. Its most recent eruption began in April 2020 and has been characterized by ash explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, gas-and-steam emissions, and thermal anomalies (BGVN 45:10). This report covers activity from November 2020 through April 2021 and describes the end of the previous eruption in February 2021 and the start of a new eruption in April. Information comes from daily, weekly, and special reports from the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

During the first half of November 2020 activity consisted of intermittent explosions accompanied by thermal anomalies. During 1-2 November an explosion sent ash plume to 6.5 km altitude that extended as far as 60 km ENE and 30 km SW. An ash explosion on 8 November generated an ash plume that rose to 8 km altitude and drifted 230 km NE. According to the Tokyo VAAC ash plumes were observed on 9 and 11 November that rose to 6 and 7 km, respectively. Intermittent thermal anomalies were observed in satellite data throughout the month.

Moderate gas-and-steam emissions were observed intermittently during December, sometimes accompanied by thermal anomalies. On 10 December, at 0845 local time, explosions generated ash plumes that rose to 6-7 km altitude and drifted NW. Ash explosions continued throughout the day, drifting as far as 220 km NW, W, and SW. Subsequent ash plumes were reported on 13 and 18 December that rose to 3.9 km altitude and drifted N, and 2.7 km altitude that drifted SW, respectively. Explosions on 26 and 30 December produced ash plumes that rose to 4-5 km altitude and drifted as far as 70 km NW. The Tokyo VAAC reported ash plumes to 5.2 km altitude that drifted NW and N on 27 December, to 3 km altitude that drifted SE on 29 December, and to 4.6 km altitude that drifted W on 31 December.

Similar ash explosions accompanied by thermal anomalies were reported during early January 2021. On 1 January the Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume that rose up to 5.2 km altitude and drifted S, followed the next day by explosions that sent plumes to 5.5 km altitude and drifted 130 km SE. Some of the resulting ash deposits on the snow-covered flanks were observed in Sentinel-2 natural color satellite imagery (figure 55). KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over a lava dome was visible in satellite images during 14-15, 20-24, and 27 January. Explosivity significantly decreased in February and activity was primarily characterized by moderate gas-and-steam emissions and a thermal anomaly that was last detected on 5 February, marking the end of the current eruption period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Sentinel-2 natural color satellite images showing fresh ash deposits (dark gray) on the snowy flanks at Karymsky, occasionally accompanied by white gas-and-steam plumes, as seen on 3 (top left) and 28 (top right) December 2020 and 2 January (bottom left) 2020. Satellite images with “Natural Color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During 2-6 April a thermal anomaly was detected in satellite data, according to KVERT. Explosions on 4 April at 1130 local time resulted in ash plumes that rose to 8.5 km altitude, which then drifted NE for 255 km during the day, marking the beginning of a new eruptive episode. On 11 April at 1745 ash explosions rose to 4 km altitude and drifted 67-115 km SE, according to a VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation). KVERT continued to report weak thermal anomalies that were visible in satellite images during 9-12, 16-17, 22-23, and 29 April.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows three small clusters of low-to-moderate strength thermal anomalies during early November, early December 2020, and early January 2021 (figure 56), which each coincided with explosion events reported by KVERT. No thermal activity was detected after late January through April, according to the MIROVA graph, though KVERT noted thermal anomalies during early February and again in early April. A total of two thermal hotspots were detected by the MODVOLC thermal algorithm on 10 December, which was also visible in an infrared satellite image. Sentinel-2 infrared satellite images captured white gas-and-steam plumes rising from the summit during 10 November and 10 December; on 10 December the explosive events were accompanied by a strong thermal anomaly that was visible through the clouds (figure 57). Weaker thermal anomalies were observed in the summit crater on clear weather days on 25 December and 14 January 2021, which were also reported by KVERT (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Small clusters of low-to-moderate strength thermal anomalies at Karymsky were detected during early November, early December 2020, and early January 2021 as seen in the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Sentinel-2 infrared satellite images show strong degassing plumes from the summit crater of Karymsky on 10 November (top left) and 10 December (top right) 2020 both drifting W. On 10 December a strong thermal anomaly was visible at the summit but was mostly obscured by clouds. On 25 December (bottom left) 2020 and 14 January (bottom right) 2021 faint thermal anomalies were still visible in the crater, accompanied by some ash deposits (black color). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, located immediately south. The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the stratovolcano began about 2000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit 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/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — May 2021 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)


Ash plumes, SO2 emissions, and thermal anomalies during November 2020-April 2021

Langila, located at the western tip of Papua New Guinea’s New Britain Island, consists of a group of four small overlapping cones. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions with ash emissions have been recorded since the 19th century from three active summit craters. The current eruption period began in October 2015 and has recently been characterized by low-level thermal activity and ash plumes (BGVN 45:11). Similar activity continued during this reporting period of November 2020 through April 2021 using information primarily from the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) and satellite images.

The NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide page, using data from the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, showed a few weak sulfur dioxide plumes during early December 2020 and late March 2021 that drifted in different directions (figure 22). The Darwin VAAC issued notices of ash plumes on 9 January 2021 to 4.9 km altitude that drifted W, on 13 January to 3 km that drifted WSW, and on 5 April to 1.5 km that drifted SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Small sulfur dioxide plumes were visible above Langila based on data from the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Faint plumes drifted W on 8 December (top left) 2020, N on 10 December (top right), SE on 18 March (bottom left) 2021, and NW on 20 March (bottom right). Small plumes were also present on most of those days originating from Manam (to the W) and Bagana (to the E) volcanoes. Courtesy of the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

MIROVA recorded a single low-power thermal anomaly was detected during early November, followed by four more during early December (figure 23). A low-power cluster of thermal anomalies resumed in mid-March that continued through the month. Three more anomalies were recorded in late April. The latter part of this thermal activity was also detected in Sentinel-2 infrared satellite imagery. A single thermal anomaly was visible at the summit crater beginning in February 2021, and in March a second thermal anomaly appeared that continued to be observed through April (figure 24).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Few low-power thermal anomalies at Langila were detected during early November (1) and early-to-mid-December (4) 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). A cluster of low-power thermal anomalies were detected in mid-March 2021 that continued through the month, followed by three anomalies in late April. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Weak thermal anomalies were visible at the summit of Langila in infrared satellite imagery during February through April 2021. Though clouds obscured most of the view on 12 February (top left), a single faint thermal anomaly was observed. On 9 March (top right) two thermal anomalies were observed at the summit, which were also visible on 6 (bottom left) and 18 (bottom right) April. On 18 April, the western thermal anomaly seemed to have decreased in strength slightly. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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 E flank of the extinct Talawe volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the N 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. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

Information Contacts: 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/); NASA 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).


Dieng Volcanic Complex (Indonesia) — May 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Dieng Volcanic Complex

Indonesia

7.2°S, 109.879°E; summit elev. 2565 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic explosion on 29 April 2021

Infrequent phreatic explosions have occurred at the Sileri Crater Lake in the Dieng Volcanic Complex, with three explosions between 30 April and 2 July 2017, and one on 1 April 2018 (BGVN 42:10, 43:05). None were reported in 2019 and 2020. The volcano is monitored by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation or CVGHM).

PVMBG reported that a phreatic explosion at the Sileri Crater Lake occurred at 1825 on 29 April 2021, ejecting rocks 200 m S and E and mud 400 m S and 300 m E. According to a news article, a local road was temporarily closed because rocks (about 10 cm in diameter) from the explosion were scattered along the road and the mud made conditions slippery. The closest residents are 1 km away. The Alert Level remained at 1 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay 500 m away from the crater rim.

Geologic Background. The Dieng plateau in the highlands of central Java is renowned both for the variety of its volcanic scenery and as a sacred area housing Java's oldest Hindu temples, dating back to the 9th century CE. The Dieng volcanic complex consists of two or more stratovolcanoes and more than 20 small craters and cones of Pleistocene-to-Holocene age over a 6 x 14 km area. Prahu stratovolcano was truncated by a large Pleistocene caldera, which was subsequently filled by a series of dissected to youthful cones, lava domes, and craters, many containing lakes. Lava flows cover much of the plateau, but have not occurred in historical time, when activity has been restricted to minor phreatic eruptions. Toxic gas emissions are a hazard at several craters and have caused fatalities. The abundant thermal features and high heat flow make Dieng a major geothermal prospect.

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/); Detik News (URL: https://news.detik.com/).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — June 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions during March 2021 close airport; lava flows travel over 3 km, burning crops and blocking roads

Extensive lava flows, bomb-laden Strombolian explosions, and ash plumes from Mackenney crater have characterized the persistent activity at Pacaya since 1961. The latest eruptive period began with intermittent ash plumes and incandescence in June 2015; the growth of a new pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater was confirmed later that year and has continued, producing frequent loud Strombolian explosions rising above the crater rim and ongoing ash emissions. In addition, flank fissures have been the source of lava flows during 2019-2021. A significant increase in both effusive and explosive activity that began in February 2021 continued through mid-May. Activity during March-May 2021 is covered in this report with information provided by Guatemala's Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), multiple sources of satellite data, and photographs from observers on the ground.

Summary of activity during March-May 2021. Incandescent explosions, ash emissions, and subsequent ashfall increased substantially at the beginning of March 2021 from the already increased levels during February. Explosions sent ejecta hundreds of meters high and hundreds of meters from the summit; ash plumes drifted tens to hundreds of kilometers and ashfall occurred almost daily in communities within tens of kilometers of Mackenney crater. The most extensive ash emissions forced closure of the International Airport in Guatemala City on 22 March. Ash emissions decreased during April and were intermittent into the first half of May, after which they tapered off.

Effusive activity also increased significantly during March 2021; by early in the month as many as three lava flows with multiple branches, all about 1 km long, were simultaneously active on multiple flanks. A new fast-moving flow appeared on the SW flank during the second half of March and rapidly reached 1.5 km in length, flowing NW then SW, ultimately extending over 3 km. It had multiple branches that caused vegetation fires, destroyed significant cropland, and crossed roads before stopping in mid-April. A new flow emerged along a similar path at the end of April and grew to over 2 km long in early May before activity at its source fissure ended on 17 May. High temperatures remained at many flow areas around the volcano for the rest of the month.

The high levels of activity are reflected in the MIROVA radiative power data for the period which show the increase in intensity to very high levels through mid-April, followed by a pulse in late April and early May that corresponds to explosions and lava flows. Thermal activity decreased significantly by the third week of May (figure 160). The MODVOLC thermal alert data shows a similar pattern with multiple alerts issued most days in March and for the first half of April, and another pulse of activity from 27 April-13 May. Significant sulfur dioxide emissions were recorded in satellite data several times in March and April and corresponded to periods of increased explosive and effusive activity (figure 161).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 160. The ongoing eruption at Pacaya increased significantly in intensity in December 2020 and continued to increase through March 2021 as seen in this MIROVA log radiative power graph. Abundant ash emissions and extensive lava flows emerged from numerous fissures until activity decreased substantially in mid-May 2021. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 161. Pulses of increased sulfur dioxide emissions at Pacaya were measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite multiple times during March and April 2021, including (top row, left to right) on 5, 10, and 21 March, and (bottom row) 6, 8, and 16 April. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during March 2021. A notable increase in seismicity early on 1 March 2021 coincided with increased Strombolian activity. Observatorio Volcán de Pacaya geologists observed explosions sending ejecta 500 m above the rim of Mackenney crater accompanied by plumes of ash and gas that reached 3.5 km altitude and drifted W and SW. For most of March high levels of Strombolian activity sent ejecta 200-400 m high each day, sometimes higher, reaching 800 m on 3 March, 800-1,000 m on 5 March, and 700 m on 10 March (figure 162). Sounds as loud as a train locomotive or plane engine from the explosions were frequently reported, and ejecta was sometimes scattered 500-600 m from the cone. Explosive activity with ejecta and ash emissions were also reported from the fissure feeding the lava flow on the S flank 300 m below Mackenney crater. On 14 March, ejecta from the fissure sent block avalanches 1,300 m down the S flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 162. Strombolian activity at Pacaya sent ejecta hundreds of meters above the summit and down the flanks on 4 March 2021 while effusion continued on the SW flank, also producing an intense glow. Image by Reuters photographer Josue Decavele taken from Los Rios. Courtesy of Reuters Pictures.

The increase in explosive activity also included an increase in dense ash emissions and resulting ashfall during March 2021. Ash plume heights ranged from 3 to 5.5 km altitude, and often drifted W, NW, or SW. The Washington VAAC reported an ash plume centered about 75 km WSW of the summit on 1 March. On 3 March a dense ash emission was drifting W from the summit at 3.7 km altitude. The next day ash was detected almost 100 km SW just off the Mexican Pacific coast before dissipating. The altitude of the ash emissions increased to 4.9 km on 5 March; puffs drifting W were visible in satellite images extending over 250 km from the summit the next day. Pulses of activity lasted between 15 minutes and 13 hours, and produced tephra fallout around the volcano, dense ash plumes that drifted 3-5 km, and finer ash plumes that drifted more than 60 km.

Explosions on 7 March caused lava fountains 100-500 m above the crater. The following day ash plumes were drifting 45 km SW at 3 km altitude. On 9 March ash plumes fanned out from the NW to the SW about 30 km from the summit before dissipating. From 11 March onward multiple daily discrete ash emissions extended at least 30-50 km WNW and SW from the summit at altitudes of 3.7-4.3 km altitude, and much farther on some days. The plumes reached 90 km WSW on 12 March, and 140 km W on 14 March. The next day, ash emissions extended over 100 km WSW, with remnants visible in satellite images almost 185 km away by the end of the day. On 16 March they drifted 170 km WNW at 4.3 km altitude and on 18 March the ash emissions were observed drifting SW at 3.4 km altitude extending 185 km from the summit. Dense gray-black emissions were accompanied by white steam emissions on 21 March (figure 163).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 163. Dense dark gray ash emissions rose from the summit of Pacaya on 21 March 2021 causing significant ashfall around the region. In addition, white steam plumes surrounded the summit. Courtesy of CONRED.

Dense ash clouds seen on 22 March 2021 were drifting rapidly SSE at 4.9 km altitude as far as 75 km, SE at 6.1 km altitude, and visible in satellite imagery moving E at 7.6 km altitude up to 25 km from the volcano. The next day they were drifting NE at 3 km altitude up to 90 km away, and SW at 4.6 km altitude. A narrow ash plume was detected in visible satellite imagery on 28 March drifting about 80 km NW of the summit before dissipating. Over the next two days a plume was detected moving SW at 3 km altitude about 130-150 km from the summit. In addition, another plume was drifting NW at 4.3 km altitude on 31 March causing dense ash to cover the summit of Fuego that was visible on webcams. The lower plume was visible over 300 km SW of Pacaya before it dissipated (figure 164).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 164. Haze from ash emissions at Pacaya extends for tens of kilometers across the region in multiple directions after many days of emissions, while a fresh ash plume rises above the volcano in the left foreground on 31 March 2021. Ash drifted NW up to 50 km and was reported in Sacatepéquez and Chimaltenango. In the middle right to the NW is the large Agua volcano, and behind it to the right are Fuego and Acatenango. Ash from Pacaya was visible in Fuego webcams that day. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Communities all around Pacaya were affected by ashfall many times throughout March 2021 (figure 165, table 7). Most of the communities were within 10 km of the summit, but ashfall reached more than 20 km away multiple times. During the bigger ashfall events, blocks more than 6 cm in diameter fell on the flanks of the volcano, while lapilli (2 mm to 6 cm) fell up to 5 km away, and fine ash was observed up to 30 km away (figure 166). The most significant ashfall events occurred during 22-23 March when ash drifted tens of kilometers in multiple directions and caused the closure of La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City (figure 167).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 165. Communities all around Pacaya were affected by ashfall throughout March 2021. The red oval was the area where INSIVUMEH cautioned residents to be prepared for ashfall and lapilli after explosions on 3 March. All of the communities shown by yellow stars were affected by ashfall at some point during March. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Boletin Volcanologico especial BEPAC-41-2021, Eruption, Volcan Pacaya, 3 de marzo 2021, 11:55 horas).

Table 7. Communities reporting ashfall from Pacaya during March 2021. Information courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Date Direction Tephra Description Community
01 Mar 2021 SW Ash El Patrocinio and others in that direction.
03 Mar 2021 SW Ash El Patrocinio and El Rodeo, SW flank.
05 Mar 2021 SW Ash, lapilli (2 mm to 6 cm) and blocks greater than 6 cm San Francisco de Sales, Cerro Chino, El Cedro, El Patrocinio and El Rodeo, ash in Los Rios and Los Jazmines communities, and in the municipalities of Palín (10 km WNW) and Escuintla (20 km SW).
06 Mar 2021 W, S Ash El Patrocinio and El Rodeo, SW flank.
08 Mar 2021 SW, S, SE Ash Pacaya village, El Chupadero farm, La Laguna farm and others in this area.
10 Mar 2021 W, SW Coarse ash and lapilli El Patrocinio, El Caracol.
11 Mar 2021 W, SW Ash El Patrocinio and San José El Rodeo in the municipality of San Vicente Pacaya.
14 Mar 2021 W, SW, NW Ash San José el Bejucal, San Antonio el Pepinal, San Francisco de Sales, Concepción el Cedro, San José Calderas, fine ash in the municipalities of Amatitlán (10 km N), Villa Nueva (15 km N), Mixco (30 km NNE) and the Capital city (25 km NNE).
15 Mar 2021 W, NW Ash Communities on the NW, W, SW flanks.
16 Mar 2021 NW, W Ash, Lapilli Fine ash to 2 cm long lapilli in El Patrocinio, San José El Rodeo and Concepción El Cedro, in the municipality of San Vicente Pacaya. Fine ash in the urban area of Amatitlán.
17 Mar 2021 SW, W, NW, N Ash El Rodeo, El Patrocinio, El Cedro, San Francisco de Sales, Amatitlán, Villa Nueva.
18 Mar 2021 S, SW Ash El Rodeo, El Patrocinio, Los Pocitos and others in these directions.
22 Mar 2021 E, SE, S, SW Ash El Rodeo, El Patrocinio, Los Pocitos, Los Dolores, Los Llanos, Santa Elena Barillas, Mesías Alta and Mesías Baja.
23 Mar 2021 S, NE Lapilli, ash Lapilli in San Francisco de Sales and San José Calderas. Ash reported in El Cedro, San Francisco de Sales, Mesías Bajas, Mesías Altas, Los Pocitos, Los Dolores, Santa Elena Barillas, and also Villa Nueva and the Capital Guatemala City. La Aurora International Airport (25 km NNE) closed.
24 Mar 2021 NE Ash Mesillas Altas and Mesillas Bajas.
25 Mar 2021 W, NW, NE, N Ash San Francisco de Sales, San Vicente Pacaya, Pepinal, El Cedro, Calderas, Mesías Alta, and Messías Baja.
26 Mar 2021 SW Ash El Rodeo and El Patrocinio.
27 Mar 2021 S Ash El Rodeo, El Patrocinio, Cedro, San Vicente Pacaya, and others in that area.
28 Mar 2021 S, SW Ash El Patrocinio.
30 Mar 2021 S Ash Communities on S flank including Finca El Chupadero and Los Pocitos.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 166. Lapilli-size tephra (2 mm to 6 cm) from Pacaya was reported several times during March 2021 in communities as far as 5 km away, including this example on 16 March 2021 from Concepcion El Cedro (4 km NNW). Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BOLETIN VULCANOLOGICO ESPECIAL BEPAC-56-2021, ACTUALIZACION DE ACTIVIDAD Y CAIDA DE TEFRA, 16 de marzo 2021, 09:05 horas).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 167. A plane at the La Aurora international airport in Guatemala City was dusted with ash from Pacaya on 23 March 2021, forcing closure of the airport for much of the day. Photo by Moises Castillo/AP, courtesy of CNN.

Lava flow activity also increased significantly during March 2021. At the end of February, an active flow on the S flank remained about 1 km long, shedding incandescent blocks hundreds of meters from its advancing front. By 3 March, three flows with multiple branches were active on the SSW flank; they were 800-1,000 m long (figure 168). On 5 and 6 March two flows with many branches extended 300-500 m down the S flank (figure 169). Flows were active on the SW, S, and SE flanks on 7 March. The S-flank-flow with two branches reached 1 km long by 8 March and had incandescent blocks constantly falling of the leading edge. It increased steadily in length, reaching 1.8 km by 16 March (figure 170).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 168. Three flows were active on the S and SW flanks of Pacaya on 3 March 2021, seen here with an infrared camera. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 169. On 5 March 2021 two main flows with multiple branches extended 300-500 m down the S flank of Pacaya causing very bright thermal signatures in satellite imagery. Sentinel-2 image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11 and 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 170. Two branches of the S-flank lava flow at Pacaya were each about 1.4 km long on 12 March 2021. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (FOTOGRAFÍAS RECIENTES DE VOLCANES).

Two new flows emerged from the S and SE flanks on the morning of 18 March (figure 171). The S-flank flow grew to 500 m and part of it overflowed outside the plateau. The SE-flank flow was 400 m long in front of the village of Los Llanos, causing fires in the vegetation which continued for several days (figure 172). On 20 March the SE flank flow caused a strong thermal signature in satellite imagery with incandescent blocks falling downslope far beyond the front (figure 173). During the night of 20-21 March, a new flow appeared on the SW flank and grew to 500 m long; the flow on the SE flank reached 850 m. The following day the rapidly growing SW-flank-flow reached 1,500 m long, causing vegetation fires on ranches in Las Granadillas.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 171. Two new flows emerged from the flanks of Pacaya on 18 March 2021 as seen in this FLIR thermal webcam image. The S-flank flow (center) grew to 500 m with two active branches. The SE flank flow (right) descended 400 m near the village of Los Llanos and burned vegetation. A third fissure higher on the SW flank (upper left) also had a short active flow. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (Boletin Vulcanologico Especial BEPAC 58-2021, 18 March 2021).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 172. Burning vegetation from a lava flow on Pacaya’s SE flank was controlled by CONRED workers on 20 March 2021. It was burning at the Los Llanos farmhouse, Finca el Muñeco, Villa Canales. Photo by Sergio Girón, courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 173. On 20 March 2021, a flow on the SE flank of Pacaya was about 400 m long with incandescent blocks falling several hundred meters downslope to the SE and causing fires in the vegetation. A strong thermal signature was also present from explosive activity inside Mackenney crater (top). Sentinel-2 image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11 and 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Three flows were active on 22 March 2021, with existing flows on the SW (1,500 m) and SE flanks (300 m), and a new flow on the E (500 m) flank. By 25 March activity was focused on the SW-flank flow which had reached 2.5 km in length (figure 174). It was about 400 m wide and 2.5 m high, burning vegetation as it advanced, and causing damage on coffee and avocado plantations. By 31 March the flow exceeded 3 km in length with multiple active fronts. One of the flow fronts near the community of La Breña was still advancing, but the one at the Campo Alegre farm had stopped moving. The flow continued to cause fires, destroy crops and buildings, and block roads (figure 175).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 174. A large flow on Pacaya’s SW flank had reached 2.5 km long by 25 March 2021 (left) and over 3 km long 5 days later on 30 March (right). It flowed W from a fissure on the W flank, then NW around a higher area before continuing SSW. The flow caused fires, destroyed crops and buildings, and blocked roads. Sentinel-2 images use Atmospheric rendering (bands 12, 11 and 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 175. The large lava flow on Pacaya’s SW flank had traveled over 2.5 km by 27 March 2021 when this wide-angle drone image was taken. One of the fronts of the flow was near the community of La Breña and the other was near the Campo Alegre farm. Courtesy of CONRED.

Activity during April 2021. On 1 April 2021 remnant plumes from earlier ash emissions were moving SW over the Pacific about 400 km from the summit at 4.3 km altitude, while newer emissions were drifting S at 3.4 km altitude towards the coast. Continuous ash emissions were reported by the Washington VAAC through April 4 (figure 176) drifting tens of kilometers mostly SW at 3.5-4.5 km altitude. Ash drifted up to 20 km S and SW during the first week and caused frequent ashfall in communities on the SE, S, and SW flanks, with the most affected being Los Pocitos, El Rodeo, and El Patrocinio. A few moderate to strong explosions sent ejecta 100-500 m above the Mackenney crater. By 9 April ash emissions were more sporadic and tended to drift only 5-10 km SW, W, and NW, and no ashfall was reported. The VAAC reported occasional emissions observed in the webcam on 8 and 14 April. An ash plume was detected on 16 April moving NNW at 3.4 km altitude. Strombolian activity diminished and activity changed to primarily steam and gas plumes rising 200 m above the crater after this. A short episode of sporadic explosions during 24-29 April sent ejecta to 250 m above the crater, generated loud noises, and produced ash emissions that rose a few hundred meters and drifted several kilometers.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 176. Daily explosions at Pacaya produced dense ash emissions rising to 3.5-4.5 km altitude during the first part of April, including on 2 April 2021 when the ash drifted S and SE. Multiple branches of the lava flow on the SW flank were also burning vegetation near Las Granadillas and Buena Vista (smoke plumes in the foreground). Courtesy of CONRED.

The SW-flank flow that began during 20-21 March remained active into early April and was 2.8-3 km long during the first week. It continued to advance during the second week and reached 3.7 km long with multiple active branches that were burning vegetation (figure 177). During 7-11 April it was advancing W and N in the area of La Breña and W and S in the area of El Patrocinio and El Rodeo on the Campo Alegre farm (figure 178). By 10 April this flow was 400 m from El Patrocinio and 250 m from San José El Rodeo. By 13 April it was burning avocado and coffee plantations 370 m from houses in El Patrocinio (figure 179). Another active front to the south was 250 m E of El Rodeo and had blocked the road between El Rodeo, El Caracol, and Los Pocitos. The seismic activity associated with the lava effusion decreased significantly beginning on 16 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 177. Lava from Pacaya’s SW-flank flow was 300 m wide and extended more than 3 km by 7 April 2021; it was burning vegetation in its path as it advanced at about 5 meters per hour. Courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 178. The SW-flank flow at Pacaya continued to advance during the first half of April 2021 as seen here on 4 (left) and 9 (right) April. The communities of La Breña, El Patrocinio, and El Rodeo were the most affected. Sentinel-2 images use Atmospheric rendering (bands 12, 11 and 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 179. By 14 April 2021 the SW-flank flow at Pacaya was 3.7 km long and several hundred meters wide. It had multiple active branches that came within a few hundred meters of the communities of El Patrocinio and San José El Rodeo and had burned significant acreage on coffee and avocado plantations. It also blocked the road between El Rodeo, El Caracol, and Los Pocitos. Courtesy of CONRED.

During 18-20 April 2021 the branch near La Breña stopped advancing, and by 21 April the branch near El Patrocinio had stopped (figure 180), although temperatures remained high and gas emissions from vents along the flow continued in many places through the end of April. A lava flow appeared on the SE flank on 27 April, following a few days of renewed explosive activity, and grew to 175 m by 29 April. INSIVUMEH reported another new flow on the N flank on 29 April (figure 181); it advanced rapidly to the NW around Cerro Chino, and then turned towards the SW, reaching 1.6 km long by later in the day when the leading edge was located about 100 m from La Breña with several active flow fronts.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 180. The lava flow on the SW flank of Pacaya stopped advancing a few hundred meters before reaching El Patrocinio in San Vicente Pacaya, home to about 350 people, on 21 April 2021. Photo by Moises Castillo/Associated Press, courtesy of KTLA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 181. A lava flow emerged on the N flank of Pacaya on 29 April 2021 and advanced rapidly NW around Cerro Chino and then SW towards La Breña, reaching 1.6 km long by the end of the day. Courtesy of Colred Los Llanos.

Activity during May 2021. Sporadic emissions of steam and gas with occasional ash were typical from Mackenney crater at the beginning of May 2021. Possible ash emissions were seen in satellite data on 1 May drifting W at 3.4 km altitude. Dense plumes, some with abundant ash, were reported on 8 May drifting W and S. Strombolian activity on 10 May from the NW-flank fissure was feeding the flow which began on 29 April; it sent ejecta 50-150 m high, and loud noises were heard. The Washington VAAC reported minor amounts of ash observed in satellite images moving SW from the summit during 10-13 May, when intermittent pulses of dense ash were reported drifting W and SW from the crater. Intermittent ash emissions rose to 3.7 km altitude on 14 May and were observed about 100 km SW before dissipating. Ash plumes drifted up to 5 km W on 15 and 16 May, causing ashfall during 16 and 17 May in El Patrocinio and El Rodeo (figure 182). During 18-21 May constant steam and gas, and periodic ash, emissions drifted 5-10 km NW and W at about 3 km altitude with ashfall reported in communities such as San Francisco de Sales, Concepción El Cedro, Aldea El Patrocinio, and San Miguel Petapa. For the remainder of May, small quantities of ash accompanied dense steam and gas emissions that rose 200-700 m above the summit and drifted W, SW, and S up to 5 km. El Patrocinio, El Rodeo, and other fincas in that area within 10 km reported ashfall on 26 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 182. Pulses of dense ash emissions from the summit of Pacaya were noted on 16 May 2021 by a team of volcanologists from Boise State and Michigan Tech Universities. Steam and gas from still-hot lava flows rose from the flanks. Courtesy of Geo_Sci_Jerry.

The N-flank flow that began on 29 April 2021 continued to advance into early May. It had originally flowed NW, then curved around Cerro Chino and headed W. It was 2 km long and advancing in the vicinity of La Breña on 3 May. On 5 May incandescent ejecta was observed at the fissure feeding the flow, which had advanced to the S of La Breña where incandescent blocks continued to fall off the front of the advancing flow. On 6 May the flow reached 2.3 km in length on the W flank, with only one of the fronts continuing to advance slowly. Small explosions were reported at the fissure. The lava flow continued to advance laterally in places as incandescent material spilled over the edges. Explosions from the fissure on 9 May threw material 15 m away as the flow continued moving slowly W (figure 183). By 11 May the flow was no longer advancing at its front but was still expanding due to overflows along its edges. Explosions from the fissure on 14 May launched ejecta 40 m (figure 184), and the flow front again moved slowly westward; by then it was about 2.3 km long (figure 185). Activity at the fissure ceased by 17 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 183. Strombolian explosions at the fissure feeding the W-flank lava flow at Pacaya were visible on the night of 8 May 2021. Although the lava flowed rapidly, it didn’t advance significantly after the first week of May; instead the lava flowed laterally and spread out over the flanks in several places until activity at the fissure ceased on 17 May. Copyrighted photo by David Rojas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 184. The fissure on the NW flank of Pacaya was still active on 14 May 2021. Explosions produced ash and ejecta that rose 40 m above the fissure. Courtesy of CONRED.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 185. The flow on the NW flank of Pacaya was also still active on 14 May 2021. It was over 2 km long and still actively flowing but no longer advancing. Sentinel-2 image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Av. Hincapié 21-72, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://conred.gob.gt/www/index.php, https://twitter.com/ConredGuatemala/status/1393207685756203011); Colred Los Llanos, Coordinadora local para la reduccion de desastres, Los Llanos, Villa Canales (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Colred-Los-Llanos-102105058094847); 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/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA 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/); Reuters Pictures (URL: https://twitter.com/reuterspictures/status/1367472450418704387); CNN (URL: https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/23/americas/guatemala-airport-volcano-closure-latam-intl/index.html); KTLA, (URL: https://ktla.com/news/nationworld/lava-from-guatemalas-pacaya-volcano-threatens-small-communities-that-live-nearby/); David Rojas, (URL: https://twitter.com/DavidRojasGt/status/1391592159221063680); Geo_Sci_Jerry (URL: https://twitter.com/SciJerry/status/1394083192773222406).


Etna (Italy) — April 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3320 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions, ash plumes, fountaining, and lava flows during December 2020-March 2021

Etna is located on the island of Sicily, Italy, and has had eruptions that date back 3,500 years. Its most recent eruptive period began in September 2013 and more recently has been characterized by frequent Strombolian explosions, effusive activity, and ash emissions. Activity has commonly originated from the summit areas, including the Northeast Crater (NEC), the Voragine-Bocca Nuova (or Central) complex (VOR-BN), the Southeast Crater (SEC, formed in 1978), and the New Southeast Crater (NSEC, formed in 2011). Another crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), developed during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. This report covers activity from December 2020 through March 2021, consisting of frequent Strombolian explosions of variable intensity, effusive activity, ash emissions, and ashfall. Information for this report comes from weekly and special reports by the Osservatorio Etneo (OE), part of the Catania Branch of Italy's Istituo Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologica (INGV).

Summary of activity during December 2020-March 2021. Intra-crater Strombolian explosions that varied in frequency and intensity throughout the reporting period, and the accompanying ash plumes that rose to a maximum altitude of 11 km, primarily originated from the Southeast Crater (SEC), Voragine Crater (VOR), and occasionally the Northeast Crater (NEC) and Bocca Nuova Crater (BN). Beginning in mid-February a series of short lava fountaining events occurred in the SEC that continued through March. These episodes were also characterized by accompanying ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows strong and frequent thermal anomalies throughout the reporting period (figure 319). Some of these anomalies were markedly high in mid-December, mid-January, and mid-March. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of 190 alerts were detected in the summit craters during December through March; thermal anomalies were reported for nine days in December, eleven days in January, fifteen days in February, and sixteen days in March. Frequent Strombolian activity contributed to distinct SO2 plumes that drifted in multiple directions (figure 320).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 319. Strong and frequent thermal anomalies at Etna were detected during December 2020 through March 2021, as reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). Some thermal anomalies were significantly high in mid-December, mid-January, and mid-March. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 320. Distinct SO2 plumes from Etna were detected by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on multiple days during December 2020 to March 2021 due to frequent Strombolian explosions, including 22 December (top left) 2020, 20 January (top right), 21 February (bottom left), and 7 March (bottom right) 2021. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during December 2020. During December, INGV reported intra-crater Strombolian explosions in the SEC, NEC, and BN. During the more intense SEC explosions material was ejected onto the flanks. Gas-and-steam emissions were reported in the VOR. A field survey on 13-14 December showed that the SEC was an irregular ellipse 150 x 230 m open to the SW. On 13 December Strombolian activity intensified at 2020 and around 2300 evolved to lava fountains which lasted through 2350, though explosions continued. Collapses of the SW part of the SEC at 2315 resulted in pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 2 km, covering the Monte Frumento Supino cone (SSW flank). Around that time two fissures opened on the SW flank of the SEC and produced lava flows until about 2350 (figure 321). A third minor pyroclastic flow went down the SSW flank at 2330. Two lava fountains were seen during 0050-0110 on 14 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 321. Photos of Strombolian activity at the Southeast Crater at Etna on the evening of 14 December 2020 (left) seen from Tremestieri Etneo (20 km S) and a thermal image showing the Bocca Nuova, Voragine, and three active vents in the SEC seen from the Montagnola (EMOV) thermal camera at 0949 (UTC) on 15 December (right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 52/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 14/12/2020 – 20/12/2020, data emissione 22/12/2020).

During a field inspection on 14 December scientists noted that the two lava flows on the S and SW flanks were cooling; the S flow had widened near the base of the SEC and formed four main lobes, one of which had stopped just NW of the cones that formed in 2002-2003 (figure 322). The SW flow traveled SSW, branched, curved around the W part of Monte Frumento Supino, and then stopped. An explosion in the easternmost SEC vent generated an ash plume at 1352 that rose to 4 km altitude and drifted S. Additionally, on 14 December sporadic ash explosions resumed in the VOR; incandescent ejecta was visible at night. On 15 December a new lava flow formed on the SW flank of the SEC at 0924 that advanced a few hundred meters. Eruptive activity briefly stopped in the E vent of the SEC during the afternoon of the 15th and during 16-18 December exhibited strong degassing and nighttime incandescence.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 322. Map of the Southeastern Crater (SEC) at Etna showing active lava flows and the cono della sella (red dot). The light green hatch mark represents the location of the eruptive fissure that opened on the SEC flank. The lava flow extended about 2 km SW, and by 14 December had formed four main lobes. The black arrow represents the direction of the pyroclastic flow after the collapse of the SW portion of the SEC cone. This map uses ground observations and thermal image analysis on a PlanetScope satellite image. Courtesy of INGV (Report 51/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 07/12/2020 – 13/12/2020, data emissione 15/12/2020).

Seismic tremor amplitude gradually increased on 20 December, though weather conditions prevented observations. On 21 December at 1008 Strombolian activity increased in the SEC from the central and easternmost vents. Activity evolved to lava fountaining that lasted an hour, as well as an ash plume that rose to 10 km altitude and drifted NE. An active lava flow was still visible on the SW part of the cone which had collapsed on 13 December. A second flow was observed at 1521 on the S slope of the SEC that descended toward the Valle del Bove. Activity continued through the night (figure 323), and on 22 December at 0350 Strombolian activity increased in the central and easternmost vents; around 0415 a lava flow from the SW flank traveled W, overlapping cooling lava from 21 December. Lava fountaining began again at 0519 and fed three lava flows: one from the S flank traveled SW for 2.8 km and was 600 m wide, branching off to the W and E of Monte Frumento Supino, a second that traveled 2.8 km E toward the Valle del Bove, and a third that originated at the E vent of the SEC that traveled 1.3 km ENE toward the Valle del Leone (figure 324). At 0520 a few small phreatic explosions in the Valle del Bove were due to the lava flow interacting with snow. By 0600 the lava fountains gradually subsided and stopped, though Strombolian explosions persisted at varying intensities. On 24 December at 0830 explosive activity in the E vent of the SEC gradually increased, ejecting material above the crater rim and emitting ash that drifted E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 323. Photo of Etna’s Southeast Crater showing a new episode of lava fountaining during the early morning on 22 December 2020 viewed from Tremestieri Etneo, south of the volcano. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 324. Thermal webcam images showing (top left) Strombolian explosions and (top right) lava fountaining in the Southeast Crater seen from the Nicolosi (ENT) and Montagnola (EMOT) cameras on 22 December 2020. Lava flows were visible traveling toward the Valle del Bove and Valle del Leone seen from the Monte Cagliato (EMCT) (bottom left) and Schiena della’asino (ESR) (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 53/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 21/12/2020 – 27/12/2020, data emissione 29/12/2020).

On 29 December at 0750 there was a gradual increase in explosive activity in the E vent of the SEC, producing ash emissions that drifted ENE. Around 0900 Strombolian activity further intensified, ejecting coarse material onto the E flank of SEC (figure 325), but by 1000 the explosions had decreased. Intra-crater Strombolian activity in the NEC, VOR, and BN continued with sporadic ash emissions through the rest of the month; explosions in the VOR intensified, ejecting material above the crater rim.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 325. Photos of the Strombolian activity at the Voragine (left background) and Southeast Crater (right foreground) at Etna on the evening of 28 December (left) and ash emissions rising from the SEC on the morning of 29 December (right) 2020. Photos by Boris Behncke, INGV.

Activity during January 2021. Activity in January continued with intra-crater Strombolian explosions of variable intensity in the SEC, NEC, VOR, and BN with sporadic ash emissions. On 4 and 6 January at least two episodes of intense Strombolian explosions produced continuous ash plumes that drifted E and ejected coarse pyroclastic material. A lava flow on 17 January breached the SEC at 0740 and traveled to the base of the cone toward the Valle del Bove (figure 326); the lava effusion rate increased at 0819, and the flow reached an elevation of 3 km by 1000. Volcanic tremor amplitude and Strombolian activity intensified at 2000 on 18 January, evolving into lava fountains through 2130. A lava flow emerged in the E vent of the SEC at 2015 and moved 2 km ESE toward the Valle del Bove. Lava fountaining produced a plume that drifted SE, resulting in ashfall in Fleri and Acicastello (figure 327). During 2130-2147 a second lava flow on the N side of the SEC reached a length of 1.3 km. By 19 January the explosions decreased in intensity and the lava flows had begun to cool. On 20 January a new lava flow on the N side of the SEC traveled ENE at 0140, overlapping the previous flow on the 18th; by 1830 it was no longer active. The VOR was characterized by almost continuous Strombolian explosions that ejected material above the crater rim. Satellite imagery from 27 January showed that a small lava flow from a vent in the N section of the VOR was pouring into the BN. The BN also produced Strombolian explosions that often ejected material above the crater rim. At night, summit crater incandescence was observed in the NEC.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 326. Map of the summit craters of Etna showing the active vents and lava flow field on 18 January 2021. The base is modified from a 2014 DEM created by Laboratorio di Aerogeofisica-Sezione Roma 2. The hatch marks indicate the crater rims: BN = Bocca Nuova; VOR = Voragine; NEC = North East Crater; SEC = South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity. Yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. The red shape highlights the active lava flow on 18 January and the yellow and orange shape highlights the cooling lava flow from 17 January. Courtesy of INGV (Report 04/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 18/01/2021 – 26/01/2021, data emissione 26/01/2021).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 327. Photos of lava fountains and an ash plume in the SEC at Etna that resulted in ashfall on the SE flank (top) as well as in Fleri (bottom left) and Acicastello (bottom right). Photo a was taken from Tremestieri on the S side of the volcano. Courtesy of INGV (Report 04/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 18/01/2021 – 26/01/2021, data emissione 26/01/2021).

Activity during February 2021. Variable Strombolian activity continued into February at all four summit craters; the last time this occurred was during 1998-1999. The most intense, almost continuous, Strombolian explosions at the SEC originated from two vents in the eastern top of the cone; less intense activity occurred at the S vent. Intra-crater Strombolian activity at the NEC sometimes produced nighttime incandescence. Explosions at the BN sometimes ejected coarse material above the crater rim. A field inspection on 5 February showed that three scoria cones had been built around vents at the bottom of the crater. Another nearby cone occasionally produced dense emissions. Intra-crater lava flows continued to spill into the BN from the VOR, overlapping those formed in late January. On 6 February around 0530 Strombolian activity intensified in the E vent of the SEC and produced an ash plume that drifted E.

During the morning of 15 February explosive activity at the SEC intensified, with activity continuing at the E vents. Sporadic and sometimes violent explosions were also observed at the saddle cone; intra-crater explosive activity continued in the BN, VOR, and NEC. On 16 February at 1700 lava began advancing down the E flank of the SEC for a few kilometers. A partial cone collapse at 1705 produced a pyroclastic flow that traveled 1.5 km along the W wall of the Valle del Bove. The activity changed to lava fountains around 1710, rising 500-600 m high and generating an ash plume that rose to 6-10 km altitude and drifted S (figure 328). Centimeter-sized lapilli and ash was observed in Nicolosi (16 km S), Mascalucia (19 km S), and as far as Catania (29 km SSE) while fine ashfall was reported in Syracuse (60-80 km SSE). Lava flows continued to advance into the Valle del Bove, reaching an elevation of 2 km by 1759. Another lava flow from the SEC traveled N toward the Valle del Leone; smaller lava flows traveled N and S, reaching 2.9 km elevation. Explosive activity decreased and lava fountaining stopped between 1800 and 1838, though ashfall continued; by 2025 the lava flows had stopped. Strombolian activity persisted at the SEC overnight during 16-17 February and stopped by 0715 on 17 February, though sporadic explosions were reported in the VOR at 0420, 0435, 0444.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 328. Photos during 15-16 February of Strombolian activity at the summit craters at Etna on 15 February 2021 (top left); a pyroclastic flow that occurred at the beginning of the eruptive event on 16 February at 1805 (top right); an eruption plume that was a result from the eruptive event on 16 February, seen from the S (bottom left); map of the lava flows on 16 February showing the active vents (red dots), degassing vents (yellow dots), summit craters (black hatch marks), and direction of the lava flows (light green and dark green), as well as the maximum length (4 km) and volume (2.6 million cubic meters) (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 08/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/02/2021 – 21/02/2021, data emissione 23/02/2021).

An eruptive event began at 2330 on 17 February, about 30 hours after the previous one, with a lava flow from the E vents in the SEC, followed by lava fountaining at 0100 on the 18th that rose 600-700 m (figure 329). The lava flow advanced toward the Valle del Bove, the NE, SE, and SW through the saddle vent (“bocca della sella”), covering an area of about 1 km. A second flow on the N flank of the SEC moving toward the Valle del Leone was about 1 km long. Another flow was reported on the S side of the SEC. The resulting ash plume drifted SE, causing ashfall in Zafferana, Etna, and Acireale. The lava fountains ended between 0140-0155 on 18 February, though the lava flows continued to advance.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 329. Activity at Etna during 17-18 February 2021 included lava flows and fountaining. The initial lava flow is seen in a thermal camera image just before midnight from Monte Cagliato on the E side of the volcano (top left). Lava fountains that rose 600-700 m high and lava flows are seen from Milos shortly after midnight (top right). An eruption plume seen from Milos at 0020 on 18 February was accompanied by nighttime incandescence, lava fountains, and lava flows (bottom left). A map of the lava flows on 17-18 February shows the active vents (red dots), degassing vents (yellow dots), summit craters (black hatch marks), and direction of the lava flows (yellow and green), as well as the maximum length (4.1 km) and volume (4 million cubic meters) of the flows (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 08/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/02/2021 – 21/02/2021, data emissione 23/02/2021).

During the morning of 19 February a lava flow effused from the E vents in the SEC at 0855, followed by a rapid increase in explosions and renewed lava fountaining (figure 330). A line of 4-5 vents produced “fan-shaped” lava fountains at 0953. An ash plume rose to 10 km altitude and drifted SE, causing ashfall in some towns. The lava flow that descended toward the Valle del Bove interacted with snow, causing strong explosions, and were accompanied by rockfalls on the flanks of the SEC. By 1110 the explosive activity had stopped.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 330. Thermal images of the lava flow at Etna around 0900 (local) on 19 February 2021 taken with the thermal camera in Monte Cagliato (top left). Later lava fountains reached 600-700 m high, based on the thermal image from Monte Cagliato (top right). A strong ash plume was observed from Pisano (SE) (bottom left). A map of the lava flows on 19 February showing the active vents (red dots), degassing vents (yellow dots), summit craters (black hatch marks), and direction of the lava flows (orange and green), as well as the maximum length (3.8 km) and volume (4 million cubic meters) (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 08/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/02/2021 – 21/02/2021, data emissione 23/02/2021).

Weak Strombolian activity was visible in the late afternoon of 20 February (figure 331). At 2230 a small lava flow from the E vent in the SEC descended 150-200 m into the Valle del Bove. By 2300 the activity had changed to pulsating lava fountains. Beginning at 0100 on 21 February more western vents became active and the E vents ejected lava 600-800 m high. At 0128 lava fountains were ejecting lava up to 1 km high and were sustained for about 10 minutes (figure 331). At the same time, a lava flow from the saddle vent moved a few hundred meters SW. An ash plume rose to 10 km altitude, resulting in ashfall on the SW flank. At 0200 the lava fountains decreased in intensity and by 0220 explosive activity stopped. Periodic ash emissions rose from both the S and E vents later in the evening. A lava flow in the SEC advanced 1 km toward the Valle del Bove. Lava fountains and Strombolian explosions continued at multiple vents. Activity intensified again during 0218-0220 on the 22nd, with lava fountains over 1 km high sending incandescent material onto the flanks. Lava flows in the Valle del Bove reached 3.5-4 km from the crater. During 0430-0515 about 20 strong explosions from SEC vents ejected incandescent bombs that landed at the base of the cone. The NEC was characterized by strong degassing and crater incandescence, often accompanied by Strombolian activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 331. Images of weak Strombolian activity in the eastern vents of the SEC at Etna at sunset on 20 February 2021 (top left). Thermal image from the Bronte thermal camera showing strong Strombolian activity at 0131 (local) on 21 February (top right). A strong ash plume at 0205 on 21 February was observed from Tremestieri Etneo (bottom left). A map of the lava flows during 20-21 February showing the active vents (red dots), degassing vents (yellow dots), summit craters (black hatch marks), and direction of the lava flows (red and green), as well as the maximum length (3.2 km) and volume (2.9 million cubic meters) (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 08/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/02/2021 – 21/02/2021, data emissione 23/02/2021).

During the evening on 22 February weak Strombolian explosions were visible in the SEC. The frequency and intensity of the explosions increased and by 2210 material was ejected onto the flanks. Jets of lava were ejected 300 m high at 2305, and by 2327 lava fountains were reported from a second SEC vent. Lava overflowed the crater at 2328 toward the Valle del Bove. Within the first hour of 23 February lava fountains rose more than 1.5 km and an ash plume reached 10 km altitude, causing ashfall to the NW. Lava overflowed the S vent and descended SW. At 0115 the lava fountains decreased. Strombolian activity intensified again at 0450, accompanied by ash emissions. Two lava flows traveled SW and SE, the latter of which reached 1.7-1.8 km elevation. By 1000 the lava flows were no longer active; the flow on the SW flank had traveled a few hundred meters, overlapping the previous flows.

The lava fountaining episodes continued; Strombolian activity at the two vents in the SEC increased during the late afternoon on 24 February that evolved into lava fountains reaching 400 m above the crater. Ash emissions also persisted in the SEC. Lava overflows from the crater headed ESE toward the Valle del Bove as far as 2-4 km and in the S area of the SEC. During 1900-2122 the lava fountains reached 500 m high and a resulting ash plume rose as high as 11 km altitude. A second lava flow traveled SW and at 2100 a pyroclastic flow descended 1 km into the Valle del Bove. The lava fountains in the SEC stopped by 2335, though the lava flow remained active in the SW and E sections.

Weak Strombolian activity on 28 February was visible at 0810 that evolved to lava fountains at 0839, feeding lava flows that traveled E toward the Valle del Bove. The fountains abruptly intensified at 0902 with jets of lava rising 700 m above the crater rim. An ash plume rose as high as 11 km altitude and drifted ESE, resulting in ashfall to the E (figure 332). A small lava flow at the S part of the SEC began at 0909, followed by a pyroclastic flow at 0920. The lava fountains ended abruptly at 0933, though the lava descending E remained active. By 1526 the lava flow in the Valle del Bove was no longer active.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 332. Photo of a strong ash plume rising above Etna’s Southeast Crater on the morning of 28 February 2021 that drifted ESE, with ashfall visible. Taken from Tremestieri Etneo. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

Activity during March 2021. Weak Strombolian activity resumed on 2 March at 1145 in the SEC, which increased in intensity at 1234 with ash emissions. From 1324 to 1550 lava fountains generated an ash plume 9 km above the crater, depositing ash and lapilli in Nicolosi, Aci San Antonio (18 km SE), Pedara (15 km SSE), and Catania (29 km SSE). On 4 March Strombolian explosions increased at 0200 and produced ash emissions that dispersed NE (figure 333). At the same time, Strombolian activity from VOR ejected material above the crater. Degassing persisted in the NEC. Around 0320 the Strombolian explosions in the SEC evolved to lava fountains and at 0515 a lava flow from the E section of the base of the cone was traveling toward the Valle del Bove. Strombolian activity in VOR changed to lava fountains at 0859 that were 300 m high. An ash plume rose 11 km above the crater, depositing ash and lapilli in Fiumefreddo (19 km ENE), Linguaglossa (17 km ESE), and the area of Reggio Calabria. Lava fountains continued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 333. Photos of the beginning an eruptive episode characterized by an early lava flow originating from Etna’s Southeast Crater (right foreground) and an explosion at the Voragine Crater (left background) on 4 March 2021 (left). Dense gray ash plumes and white degassing plumes were visible from several summit vents on 4 March (right). Taken from Tremestieri Etneo. Photos by Boris Behncke, INGV.

Another eruptive episode on 7 March starting between 0100 and 0200 included Strombolian explosions and minor lava effusions at the E base of the SEC that descended into the Valle del Bove. At 0430 an increase in Strombolian activity generated an ash plume that rose to 5 km altitude and drifted E. The lava reached an elevation of 2.8 km altitude by 0450. Strombolian activity intensified again at 0520 and the lava flow advanced to 2.7 km elevation. Lava fountains at 0720 generated another ash plume that rose to 10 km altitude and drifted E. INGV-OE personnel reported ash and lapilli deposits in Milo (11 km ESE), Fornazzo (10 km ESE), Trepunti (17 km ESE), Giarre (17 km ESE), Macchia di Giarre (16 km ESE), Mascali (18 km E), Riposto (19 km ESE), and Torre Archirafi (20 km ESE). Strombolian activity resumed at 1050 and was over by 1500.

Similar Strombolian activity in the SEC on 10 March changed to lava fountaining and a large eruption plume that rose to at least 9 km altitude and drifted ENE (figure 334). Ash and lapilli were reported in Mascali, Giarre, and Fiumefreddo. A lava flow from the S vent reached an elevation of 1.8 km. By 0430 on 10 March the lava fountaining had stopped, though sporadic ash emissions continued until 0700. On 12 March Strombolian activity in the SEC and accompanying ash emissions began again. As the activity intensified, lava overflowed the E part of the SEC, descending toward the Valle del Bove. Lava fountaining was observed up to 500 m and generating an ash plume that rose to 6 km altitude and drifted E. Within an hour, lava had advanced from an elevation of 2.8 km to 2 km. By 0939 the ash plume had risen to 9-10 km altitude and resulted in ashfall in Fleri, Milo, Fornazzo , Giarre, Santa Venerina (15 km SE), and Torre Archirafi (20 km ESE) (figure 335). Lava fountaining had stopped at 1050, though weak Strombolian activity and ash emissions persisted until 1115. The lava flow advanced as far as 1.7 km elevation while a second lava flow expanded on the W slope of the Valle del Bove for an average length of 3 km and a volume of roughly 1 million cubic meters. Strombolian activity continued in the NEC, BN, and VOR, producing minor ash emissions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 334. Photo of the nighttime lava fountaining activity at Etna during 9-10 March 2021. Courtesy of INGV Youtube channel.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 335. Photo of an ash plume rising above Etna’s Southeast Crater on the morning of 12 March 2021. Taken from Tremestieri Etneo. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

On 14 March Strombolian activity began at 2110 that evolved into lava fountaining at 0048 on the 15th (figure 336). Lava traveled toward the Valle del Bove as an ash plume drifted E (figure 337). By 0343 lava fountaining had stopped, though weak Strombolian activity and lava flows continued. On 17 March at 0155 weak Strombolian activity was observed, changing into lava fountaining at 0319. An ash plume drifted SE and a lava flow was moving toward the Valle del Bove, the latter of which overlapped the one from 15 March. Due to cloud cover, observations were limited and discontinuous. Fountaining activity stopped at 0717 and was followed by explosive activity. Weather conditions cleared the summit on 18 March at 2142, showing explosions in the SEC and a lava flow in the Valle del Bove. On 19 March at 0734 explosive activity was visible in the SEC, which intensified at 0915, accompanied by ash emissions. Lava fountaining started at 0935 with an accompanying ash plume that drifted ENE. By 1136 lava fountaining had stopped and changed to Strombolian activity, which gradually decreased. Only sporadic explosions were visible with minor ash emissions by 1350; lava flows along the Valle del Bove were reported in the late morning.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 336. Photo of a lava fountain episode at Etna’s Southeast Crater during the night of 14-15 March 2021. Taken from Tremestieri Etneo. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 337. A map of the lava flows on 15 March 2021 showing the active vents (red dots), degassing vents (yellow dots), summit craters (black hatch marks), and direction of the lava flows (blue), as well as the maximum length (2.7 km) and volume (1.1 million cubic meters) (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 12/2021, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 15/03/2021 – 21/03/2021, data emissione 23/03/2021).

Though weather conditions often prevented a clear view of the summit, weak Strombolian activity was reported in the SEC at 2005 on 23 March, which had evolved into lava fountaining at 0330 on 24 March (figure 338). At 0335 a lava flow from the SEC was seen branching toward the Valle del Bove and the SE. A pyroclastic flow followed the lava at 0336, descending into the Valle del Bove. The lava fountains generated an ash plume that rose to 6-7 km altitude and drifted SSE, resulting in ashfall on the S slope and in Catania. Lava fountaining gradually decreased at 0700 and by 0945, it had stopped; the lava flows continued to advance. Intra-crater Strombolian activity continued in the NEC, BN, and VOR, accompanied by sporadic weak ash emissions. After the fountains stopped, another ash plume was seen rising to 4.5 km altitude and drifting SE. At night, ashfall was reported in Milia and Trecastagni (16 km SE). The explosions had stopped by 1347. By 25 March the two active lava flows had stopped.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 338. Photos of the lava fountain episode and incandescent Strombolian activity at Etna’s Southeast Crater during 23 (left) and 24 (right) March 2021. Taken from Tremestieri Etneo. Photos by Boris Behncke, INGV.

On 30 March weak Strombolian activity in the SEC resumed around 0607 with a single ash explosion that quickly dispersed near the summit (figure 339). Over the course of the day activity at the SEC gradually changed from degassing to continuous weak Strombolian activity at about 1830 from at least two active vents. This activity increased during the night, throwing lava above the crater rim accompanied by sporadic ash emissions. Several lava flows effused from the S base vent. The main part of the flow traveled toward the Valle del Bove with other smaller flows descending to the S and SW. Two other vents at the S base had opened by the evening, one of which ejected spatter a few tens of meters high. Throughout the night, periods of lava fountaining were detected while the main lava flow descended the W wall of the Valle del Bove. Strombolian activity intensified at 1850 and produced an ash plume that rose to 4 km altitude and drifted SSW. At 0000 there was a gradual transition from Strombolian activity to lava fountaining.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 339. Photo of an ash plume rising from Etna’s Southeast Crater on the morning of 30 March 2021. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.

Geologic Background. Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

Information Contacts: Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: http://www.ct.ingv.it/it/ ); Boris Behncke, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy; 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/); NASA 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/).


Fuego (Guatemala) — April 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, ashfall, and incandescent block avalanches through March 2021; lava flows and a pyroclastic flow in mid-February

Guatemala's Volcán de Fuego has been erupting vigorously since 2002; reported eruptions date back to 1531. These eruptions have resulted in major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and damaging lahars, including a series of explosions and pyroclastic flows in early June 2018 that caused several hundred fatalities. Activity consisting of explosions with ash emissions, block avalanches, and lava flows has continued since 2018; activity during December 2020-March 2021 is covered in this report. Daily reports are provided by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH); aviation alerts of ash plumes are issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC). Satellite data provide valuable information about thermal anomalies and ash emissions.

The many hourly explosions at Fuego throughout December 2020-March 2021 produced vibrations that rattled roofs and windows in the communities around the volcano every day, sometimes heard and felt as far as 20 km away. The explosions produced incandescent block avalanches that descended the flank ravines (barrancas), with a few of the blocks traveling as far as the vegetation near the bottom. The Seca, Ceniza, and Taniluya ravines were most often affected, but blocks were also reported many times in the Trinidad, Santa Teresa, El Jute, Las Lajas, and Honda ravines. Incandescent ejecta could be seen rising 100-300 m above the summit on most nights. Ash plumes rose to 4.4-4.8 km altitude every day and usually drifted W and SW; the Washington VAAC issued 2-5 ash advisories daily. Ashfall was a near-daily occurrence throughout the period. Effusive activity from 13-15 February produced two lava flows; a series of pyroclastic flows on 14 February affected the Ceniza canyon. For several days after the effusive activity, strong explosions caused ashfall in communities up to 50 km away. The MIROVA graph of thermal anomalies showed persistent high heat levels throughout the period with a brief spike to higher levels during mid-February when the lava flows were active (figure 141). MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on multiple days each month including eight days in December 2020, 11 days in January 2021, 12 days in February, and seven days in March. Sentinel-2 satellite data showed thermal anomalies inside the summit crater five or six times each month, in all available non-cloudy images.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 141. Consistently high levels of thermal anomalies continued at Fuego during July 2020-March 2021. A brief spike in mid-February 2021 corresponded to two lava flows and a pyroclastic flow. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Explosive activity continued at Fuego during December 2020. Seven to eleven explosions per hour were typical; a few days had 10-15 explosions per hour. Gas and ash emissions rose to 4.4-4.8 km every day with ash plumes drifting usually W and SW 10-15 km, occasionally to 20-25 km (figure 142). Plumes drifted over 10 km N and NE on 6 December, 20-25 km S and SW on 13 and 14 December, and 30 km E, SE, and N during 28-31 December. Vibrations were heard and felt up to 15 km away on the W and SW flanks on 7 December. Ashfall was reported almost daily in multiple communities including Panimache I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Los Yucales, Sangre de Cristo, Finca Palo Verde, and San Pedro Yepocapa. In addition, ashfall was reported on 10 December in Ojo de Agua and Santa Isabel, on 14 Dec in Ojo de Agua and Santa Emilia, in Santa Emilia on 20 and 21 December, and in Chimaltenango to the N on 31 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 142. An ash plume rose from the summit of Fuego early on 9 December 2020 while blocks descended multiple ravines and resuspended ash on the flanks. Photo by Fredy Arnoldo Esquit Chiquitá, 07:56 am hora local, courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

The ash plume drift direction continued to be N and NW on 1 and 2 January 2021 resulting in ashfall reported in San Pedro Yepocapa, La Soledad, and San Miguel Duenas. According to INSIVUMEH, plumes drifted 20-25 km those days. In addition to ashfall in Panimache I, Morelia, Santa Sofia, and Yucales most days of the month, ashfall was reported in La Rochela on 3 and 6 January and Ceilan on 6 January. Ashfall was reported to the N in Acatenango on 10 January after activity increased; rumbling was heard 20 km away. Explosions produced ejecta which rose 300 m and sent incandescent blocks around the crater rim and onto the upper flanks. High levels of activity continued the next day and produced ashfall in San Pedro Yepocapa, Santa Sophia, Morelia, Panimache II, El Porvenir Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, and at finca Palo Verde. Pulses of incandescent ejecta rising 100-300 m were common during the second half of January and ashfall continued on many days in the same communities to the W and SW. Remobilized ash triggered by incandescent blocks descending the ravines was reported in the last week of January. The number of explosions per hour was 6-12 on many days and they produced noises as loud as a train engine that lasted for several minutes at a time.

Explosive activity during February 2021 remained the same as previous months, with 7-15 explosions per hour, train engine noises that lasted for 3-10 minutes, and gas and ash plumes that rose usually to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted W, SW, and S. Rumblings that rattled windows and roofs were heard 15-20 km away on 5 and 10 February; incandescent blocks descended the ravines for hundreds of meters (figure 143). Near-daily reports of ashfall in communities to the W, SW, and S continued; most affected were Panimache I, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Porvenir, Finca Asuncion, Rochela, Santa Sofia, Yucales, Sangre de Cristo, Palo Verde and Yepocapa. In addition Ceilan, El Zapote, and El Rodeo reported ashfall on 5 February when winds carried ash to S and SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 143. Incandescent block avalanches could be seen descending a ravine on the NW flank of Fuego in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 3 February 2021. A diffuse ash plume drifts S from the summit. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

In a special report issued on 13 February INSIVUMEH noted that the seismic station had registered a change in the eruptive pattern on 12 February. During the night a lava flow emerged from the summit and traveled 1,000 m down the Ceniza ravine on the SW flank (figure 144). It produced incandescent blocks at the leading edge that fell farther, reaching the vegetation. Loud noises similar to a train engine were audible 8 km from the volcano. At 2100 on 13 February a second flow began in the Seca ravine that grew to 500 m long. Incandescent ejecta rose 200 m above the crater and constant loud noises were reported. By this time the Ceniza flow had reached 1,500 m. The following morning both flows remained active; the barranca Ceniza flow was 1,300 m long and the barranca Seca flow was 500 m long. Persistent explosions of ejecta to 200 m above the crater continued along with loud noises. The incandescent blocks spalling off the front of the flows remobilized ash that drifted S, SE, and SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 144. Two lava flows were active on the flanks of Fuego on 13 February 2021. A flow in the Ceniza ravine on the SW flank grew to 1,500 m long, while a 500-m-long flow descended the Seca ravine on the NW flank. Sentinel-2 image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Beginning at 1020 on 14 February 2021 a series of pyroclastic flows were observed in the Ceniza ravine. They lasted for three minutes and traveled several hundred meters. Ashfall was reported in Alotenango, El Porvenir, and Finca La Reunion. By the end of the day the Ceniza lava flow was active for 800 m and the Seca flow reached 200 m. Seismic energy decreased noticeably the next day along with a decrease in the flow rate and thermal energy. Explosions continued with ash plumes drifting E, NE, and N up to 50 km resulting in ashfall in Porvenir and Alotenango. INSIVUMEH considered the effusive eruption over by the evening of 15 February, and noted a decrease in the rate of explosions to 12-14 per hour (figure 145).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 145. Although explosions at Fuego on 15 February 2021 had decreased in frequency, they still produced ash plumes and blocks rolling down the ravines that caused plumes of resuspended ash. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BOLETIN VULCANOLOGICO ESPECIAL BEFGO 023-2021, Guatemala, 15 de febrero de 2021, 15:30 horas).

Loud explosions continued 16 February and produced abundant ash that drifted E, NE, and N. The Washington VAAC reported intermittent ash emissions seen in satellite images moving ESE at 4.9 km altitude extending around 110 km from the summit before dissipating. Ashfall was reported in Celian, San Andres Ozuna, Rochela, Zapote, and El Rodeo. On 17 February ash plumes rose to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted N, NE, and E as far as 50 km and caused ashfall in many communities, including as far away as Guatemala City. The wind changed to the E and SE later in the day, and plumes drifted 30-40 km over the departments of Sacatepequez, Escuintla, and Guatemala. Ash plumes from Pacaya were also affecting the same areas that day. The following day ash plumes were drifting 40 km SW. For the remainder of February ashfall affected the same communities to the SW and W as earlier in the month. The incandescent ejecta that rose 350 m above the summit on 28 February produced a strong thermal anomaly in satellite data that also showed incandescent blocks descending all the ravines around the summit (figure 146).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 146. Incandescent ejecta was observed 350 m above the summit of Fuego on 28 February 2021 and produced a strong thermal anomaly shown in this Sentinel-2 satellite image. Also visible is incandescent ejecta around all the ravines near the summit and a small ash plume drifting WNW. Image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Explosive activity continued throughout March 2021, producing ash plumes that rose to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted mostly W and SW (figure 147). This resulted in ashfall most days in the same communities as before that were located 10-20 km away. The loud rumblings continued daily, lasting for 2-5 minutes at a time and rattling windows and roofs all around the volcano. Incandescent ejecta rose 100-300 m and the blocks traveled down all of the ravines, sometimes reaching the vegetation.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 147. Numerous ash emissions at Fuego during March 2021 were captured in Sentinel-2 satellite images along with the frequent thermal anomalies. Ash plumes drifted W on 5 and 20 March (top row) and NW on 25 and 30 March 2021 (bottom row). Images for 5 and 25 March use Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Images for 20 and 30 March show Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is also one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between Fuego and Acatenango to the north. Construction of Meseta dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km onto the Pacific coastal plain. Growth of the modern Fuego volcano followed, continuing the southward migration of volcanism that began at the mostly andesitic Acatenango. Eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); 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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Kavachi (Solomon Islands) — June 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

8.991°S, 157.979°E; summit elev. -20 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during October 2020-April 2021

Kavachi is an active submarine volcano in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Gatokae and Vangunu islands. Volcanism has been characterized by phreatomagmatic explosions that ejected steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. The previous report described discolored plumes extending from a single point during early September 2020 (BGVN 45:10); similar activity was recorded for this reporting period covering October 2020 through April 2021 using satellite data.

Activity at Kavachi is most frequently observed through Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and has recently been characterized by discolored submarine plumes. On 2 October 2020 a slight yellow-green discoloration in the water was observed extending NE from a specific point (figure 23). Similar faint discolored plumes were intermittently recorded on 27 October, 1 November 2020, and 25 January 2021, which each extended NE, SW, and SW, respectively, from a point source above the summit where previous activity has occurred. Intermittent discolored plumes were also visible during March 2021 (figure 24). The plume discoloration on 1 March extended S from the origin point. On 11 March, the discoloration remained near the origin point. A narrow plume extended several kilometers W on 26 March, followed by a short plume seen towards the NW on 31 March. The only plume seen in April was a broad diffuse area of discoloration extending S on the 10th (figure 24). No discoloration near the volcano was observed in May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Sentinel-2 satellite images of a discolored plume (light yellow-green) at Kavachi beginning on 2 October 2020 (top left) that extended NE. Additional plumes were visible during clear weather on 27 October (top right) that extended NE, on 1 November (bottom left) 2020 that extended SW, and strongly on 25 January 2021 (bottom right) that extended SW. Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of discolored plumes (light yellow-green) at Kavachi during March-April 2021. On 1 March (top left) the plume was observed extending S with a strongly discolored origin point. On 11 March (top right) the plume remained close to the origin point and did not seem to extend outward. On 26 March (bottom left) the plume was narrow and strongly extended W for several kilometers. On 10 April (bottom right) the plume extended S. Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Named for a sea-god of the Gatokae and Vangunu peoples, Kavachi is one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Vangunu Island. Sometimes referred to as Rejo te Kvachi ("Kavachi's Oven"), this shallow submarine basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has produced ephemeral islands up to 1 km long many times since its first recorded eruption during 1939. Residents of the nearby islands of Vanguna and Nggatokae (Gatokae) reported "fire on the water" prior to 1939, a possible reference to earlier eruptions. The roughly conical edifice rises from water depths of 1.1-1.2 km on the north and greater depths to the SE. Frequent shallow submarine and occasional subaerial eruptions produce phreatomagmatic explosions that eject steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. On a number of occasions lava flows were observed on the ephemeral islands.

Information Contacts: Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Semisopochnoi (United States) — June 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Semisopochnoi

United States

51.93°N, 179.58°E; summit elev. 1221 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions in June 2020 and during February-May 2021

The volcanic Semisopochnoi Island in the western Aleutian Islands contains a group of cones within a caldera complex (figure 5). The active Cerberus center has three summit craters, with the current activity originating from North Cerberus. Since September 2018, typical activity has produced minor ash deposits within the vicinity. This bulletin summarizes activity that occurred from April 2020 through May 2021 based on information given by the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), supplemented by satellite data.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. This satellite image of Semisopochnoi Island, Alaska, shows the major surface features with an 8-km-wide caldera in the center. As of 2021, Mount Cerberus is the most active of three cones within the caldera complex. The North, East, and South Cerberus craters are indicated, with a faint gas plume dispersing NE from the active North crater on 22 August 2020. Base satellite image from Sentinel-2 using Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Intermittent small explosions occurred at Semisopochnoi during early 2020. An AVO Volcano Activity Notice for Aviation (VONA) issued on 1 April reported no indication of activity over the previous two weeks and seismicity at background levels. Satellite data show detectable sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission and visible steam plumes. Low-level unrest continued into early June with occasional small earthquakes, including a few small low-frequency events and episodic tremor, occasional steam plumes, and detectable SO2 emissions. An increase in tremor was detected around 12-13 June, and infrasound and seismicity indicated rapid degassing events on 17 and 19 June, with activity declining again by the 20th. AVO noted that clear satellite images acquired on the 21st showed minor ash deposits near the crater, likely from the elevated activity during the previous week, and vigorous gas and steam emission (figure 6). Steam and gas emission continued through to the end of the month then intermittently through July. A 200-km-long SO2 plume was detected on 15 July and low-level unrest continued.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Minor ash deposits are visible on the Semisopochnoi North Cerberus Crater and a steam plume is shown dispersing ESE on 21 June 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite image with Natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A gas plume was reported on 7 August and seismicity was above background to the 9th, after that seismicity was at very low levels with no more significant events detected. Infrequent small earthquakes were detected through September and minor steam emissions on the 22nd. Seismicity remained low throughout October. No eruptive activity had detected since mid-June and seismicity had declined to very low levels prior to seismic data transmission failing on 11 November. Due to the lack of data, on 20 November the Aviation Color Code and Alert Level were reduced to Unassigned.

There were no reports of activity during December 2020 or January 2021. A satellite image acquired on 7 February showed several small ash deposits extending at least 3 km from the North Cerberus Crater, likely produced by a small explosion the previous week (figure 7). Steam emission prevented views into the crater and clouds obscured the volcano over the following week.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. This Landsat 8 image acquired on 7 February 2021 at Semisopochnoi shows several linear ash deposits from the North Cerberus Crater. This reflects low-level explosive activity. Landsat 9 true Color – pansharpened scene. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

On 10 March a satellite image revealed a recently emplaced ash deposit that extended 1.5 km from the crater, with a steam plume being blown to the E (figure 8). Several similar small ash deposits had been noted by AVO in the previous weeks. No activity was observed or detected through 18 March, other than a possible gas plume that day. At 0350 on the 19th a small explosion was detected by infrasound monitoring. Another small explosion was detected at 0230 on the 21st, followed by a series of smaller explosions. During 22-23 March three explosions were detected. Cloud cover prevented visual observation of these events, but possible SO2 plumes were detected and a confirmed plume on the 23rd indicated further unrest. A probable ash deposit and plume were imaged on the 24th (figure 9). Activity continued with intermittent explosions and SO2 plumes detected through the 27th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. This 10 March 2021 WorldView-3 satellite image shows ash deposits from low-level explosive activity at the Cerberus North Crater at Semisopochnoi. The ash extends to 1.5 km from the vent and has been partly remobilized by wind. A plume emanating from the crater is being blown to the E. Figure by Hannah Dietterich, courtesy of AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. An ash deposit is present between the dashed lines, deposited on snow (red) in this Planet Labs near-IR false color satellite image acquired on 24 March 2021. The deposit extends over 8 km ESE across Semisopochnoi from the North Cerberus Crater and a plume is also visible in the same area. Image courtesy of AVO.

Several small low-altitude ash and gas plumes were detected in satellite images on 30 March and 1 April. Cloud cover prevented satellite views until 12 April, when new ash deposits and low-level ash emissions were observed extending at least to the coastline, accompanied by weak infrasound signals. Low-level activity was also detected the following day. Sustained ash emission that began on the morning of the 15th (figure 10) produced a plume extending more than 350 km E to altitudes of 6 km; activity continued through the next day with a change in direction to the N at around 3 km altitude. Ash emission continued over the following days with a VONA released on the 22nd reporting an ash plume reaching 3 km and extending about 75 km S (figure 11). Through to the end of April ash and SO2 plumes were either observed or noted as probably occurring under cloudy conditions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. This Sentinel-3 satellite scene acquired on 15 April 2021 shows plumes from Semisopochnoi dispersed over 330 km from the vent. The insert shows a zoomed-in view of the island and the proximal ash plume. Original image by Hannah Dietterich, AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. This Planet Labs satellite image acquired on 22 April 2021 shows an ash plume produced by the North Cerberus Crater and dispersing S. Ash deposits are visible on the flanks of the cone. Figure by Hannah Dietterich, AVO.

The volcano was often obscured during the first week of May, with activity possibly continuing at a low level without detection. A gas plume was detected on the 11th, and an ash plume is visible in satellite images acquired on the 17th (figure 12). Small explosions and SO2 emissions were detected through 21 May. An ash emission reaching 3 km altitude that was seen by an AVO field crew on 29 May was also observed in satellite data moving SW. Elevated temperatures were detected in the North Cerberus Crater. Ash emissions were produced again on the 30th and observed by an AVO field crew (figure 13). Seismic data transmission was restored on 26 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Satellite images of Semisopochnoi acquired on 17 and 29 May (top), and a photograph taken on 29 May 2021 (bottom) show weak activity at the North Cerberus Crater, including ash emission, gas emission, and elevated temperature on the crater floor. Sentinel-2 color infrared (vegetation, bands 8, 3, 4) scene at the top left and the false color (urban, bands 12, 11, 4) scene at the top right courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground. Photo courtesy of Hannah Dietterich, AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Minor ash emissions produced on 30 May 2021 at Semisopochnoi’s North Cerberus Crater around 1320 local time, taken from a helicopter during field work. Both top and bottom-left photos are taken from the SE. Photos courtesy of Hannah Dietterich, AVO.

Geologic Background. Semisopochnoi, the largest subaerial volcano of the western Aleutians, is 20 km wide at sea level and contains an 8-km-wide caldera. It formed as a result of collapse of a low-angle, dominantly basaltic volcano following the eruption of a large volume of dacitic pumice. The high point of the island is Anvil Peak, a double-peaked late-Pleistocene cone that forms much of the island's northern part. The three-peaked Mount Cerberus was constructed within the caldera during the Holocene. Each of the peaks contains a summit crater; lava flows on the N flank of Cerberus appear younger than those on the south side. Other post-caldera volcanoes include the symmetrical Sugarloaf Peak SSE of the caldera and Lakeshore Cone, a small cinder cone at the edge of Fenner Lake in the NE part of the caldera. Most documented eruptions have originated from Cerberus, although Coats (1950) considered that both Sugarloaf and Lakeshore Cone could have been recently active.

Information Contacts: Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), a cooperative program of a) U.S. Geological Survey, 4200 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508-4667 USA (URL: https://avo.alaska.edu/), b) Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, PO Box 757320, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA, and c) Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, 794 University Ave., Suite 200, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA (URL: http://dggs.alaska.gov/); 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); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/).


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — April 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

21.244°S, 55.708°E; summit elev. 2632 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption with lava fountains and flows on 7-8 December 2020

Piton de la Fournaise is located on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean. Its previous most recent eruption occurred during February into April 2020, characterized by fissure eruptions, fountaining, and significant lava flows (BGVN 45:05). This report covers May through December 2020, describing the new eruption in early December that was characterized by lava fountains and flows, using information from the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) and various satellite data.

Slight deformation was recorded after the end of the April eruption, but overall activity during May-November 2020 was low, with no eruptive events, according to OVPF. Starting around 16 June seismicity resumed, which included 77 shallow volcano-tectonic earthquakes during the month and occasional rockfall events in the Dolomieu Crater. This increase in seismicity was accompanied by inflation at the base and summit of the volcano. Shallow volcano-tectonic earthquakes continued to be reported under the Dolomieu Crater during July-November accompanied by rockfall events. In late September the number of shallow volcano-tectonic earthquakes increased markedly to 1,648, but then decreased to 129 in October and only four in November.

OVPF reported that during 0510-0554 on 4 December a seismic swarm of about 101 volcano-tectonic earthquakes was accompanied by minor, but rapid, inflation just below the center and N rim of the Dolomieu Crater. Seismicity decreased after 0600, but inflation continued through 6 December. A second seismic crisis began at 0228 on 7 December, accompanied by rapid inflation. Fissures opened on the WSW flank of the Dolomieu Crater at 0440 at elevations ranging from 2.2-2.3 km and spanning a 700-m-long area; lava began to erupt from these fissures during 0455-0500 (figure 202). Scientists on an overflight at 0700-0730 observed lava fountains rising 15 m high from the three active fissures and short lava flows (figure 203). By 1700 the fissure at an elevation of 2.3 km was the most active, with five small vents, while the other two were showing less intense activity. Satellite data via the HOTVOLC platform showed a lava flow rate of 5 and 30 m3/s during 7 December. The eruption period ended at 0715 on 8 December, following a gradual decrease in tremor and a three-hour phase of seismic signals that indicated degassing. Twenty-one volcano-tectonic earthquakes were recorded during that day under the W rim of the Dolomieu Crater. Another six earthquakes were reported during the morning of 9 December through 0900. Surficial activity was no longer visible.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 202. Photo of the active fissure vents on the WSW flank of the Dolomieu Crater and the lava fountains accompanied by degassing at Piton de la Fournaise at 0730 on 7 December 2020. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Bulletin d'activité du lundi 7 décembre 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 203. Photo of the lava fountains up to 15 m high at Piton de la Fournaise during 7-8 December 2020. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed brief, but significant, thermal activity during early December, reflecting the new eruption. This thermal activity was also visible in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery on 7 December 2020, showing lava flows and possibly lava fountains from the fissures on the SW and W flanks (figure 204). Accompanying this activity were SO2 emissions that were detected by the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI instrument (figure 205).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 204. Sentinel-2 infrared satellite image of the thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) on the S and SW flanks of Piton de la Fournaise on 7 December 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 205. Image of the SO2 emissions that occurred during the eruption at Piton de la Fournaise on 7 December 2020 detected by the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Geologic Background. The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Much of its more than 530,000-year history overlapped with eruptions of the deeply dissected Piton des Neiges shield volcano to the NW. Three calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern side. More than 150 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); NASA 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/); 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).


Heard (Australia) — May 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

53.106°S, 73.513°E; summit elev. 2745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Thermal anomalies during November 2020 and January 2021

Heard is a remote island located in the southern Indian Ocean that contains the Big Ben stratovolcano, which has had intermittent activity since 1910. More recent activity since 2012 through October 2020 has been characterized by thermal anomalies in the summit crater and lava flows, primarily identified based on information from satellite data (BGVN 45:11). This report covers similar activity that continued during November 2020 and January 2021.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows a total of three thermal anomalies of varying power during November 2020 (figure 46). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery shows a single thermal anomaly on 9 November 2020 and later, on 11 November two strong thermal anomalies, possibly two lava flows, were observed descending the S and SW flanks (figure 47). These thermal anomalies were also detected by the MIROVA system. Weaker thermal anomalies were observed on 18 and 20 January 2021 in the summit crater. No new thermal activity was detected after November through April 2021 by the MIROVA system.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Only three thermal anomalies at Heard were detected during November 2020, according to the MIROVA system, shown in this Log Radiative Power graph. The strongest thermal anomaly represents the two possible lava flows that were observed in Sentinel-2 infrared satellite data. No thermal anomalies were observed during December through April 2021. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Sentinel-2 infrared satellite imagery of Heard Island’s Big Ben volcano showed a thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) on clear weather days on 9 (top left) and 11 (top right) November 2020, along with 18 (bottom left) and 20 (bottom right) January 2021. On 11 November two strong thermal anomalies, possibly representing different lava flows, were observed descending to the S and SW flanks, though much of the activity was covered by clouds. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Heard Island on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean consists primarily of the emergent portion of two volcanic structures. The large glacier-covered composite basaltic-to-trachytic cone of Big Ben comprises most of the island, and the smaller Mt. Dixon lies at the NW tip of the island across a narrow isthmus. Little is known about the structure of Big Ben because of its extensive ice cover. The historically active Mawson Peak forms the island's high point and lies within a 5-6 km wide caldera breached to the SW side of Big Ben. Small satellitic scoria cones are mostly located on the northern coast. Several subglacial eruptions have been reported at this isolated volcano, but observations are infrequent and additional activity may have occurred.

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).


Sabancaya (Peru) — April 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily ash explosions, large SO2 flux, and thermal anomalies from multiple domes, October 2020-March 2021

Although tephrochronology has dated activity at Sabancaya back several thousand years, renewed activity that began in 1986 was the first recorded in over 200 years. A new period of explosive activity that began in November 2016 has been characterized by pulses of ash emissions with some plumes exceeding 10 km altitude, frequent thermal anomalies, and significant SO2 plumes. Daily ash emissions and high levels of SO2 continued during October 2020-March 2021, the period covered in this report. The Observatorio Vulcanologico INGEMMET (OVI) reported daily on numbers of explosions, ash plume heights and directions of drift, seismicity, ashfall, and other activity; IGP (Instituto Geophysico del Peru) issued weekly reports of activity.

Activity at Sabancaya during October 2020-March 2021 consisted of multiple daily explosions with dense gas-and-ash plumes, SO2 emissions, and persistent thermal anomalies from the summit crater. OVI and INGEMMET confirmed the presence of a second dome inside the summit crater in mid-November. Ash plumes rose 1-2 km above the summit on most days; higher plumes occasionally reached 2.5-3.0 km above the summit. Ash most commonly drifted W and SW, but there were significant periods where the wind sent ash N and NE. Ashfall was reported in communities around the volcano on 3-8 days each month. The Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issued three or four daily reports of ongoing ash emissions throughout the period. The plumes generally rose to 7.3-8.2 km altitude and drifted in various directions, often visible in satellite imagery.

Moderate levels of thermal energy were reported by the MIROVA project during July 2020-March 2021. Power values were generally consistent, with a small increase in November and a brief drop from late December through January 2021 (figure 90). The MODVOLC system reported nine thermal alerts in October, 12 in November, one in December, none in January, and four each both February and March. Moderate to strong SO2 emissions were recorded virtually every day during the period by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite (figure 91).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Thermal anomalies at Sabancaya from July 2020-March 2021 persisted at low to moderate power levels through the period. A small increase in frequency occurred during November 2020 and a decrease in thermal activity was apparent from late December through January 2021. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. High levels of SO2 emissions from Sabancaya were recorded by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite during October 2020-March 2021. Examples of the larger plumes each month are shown here; the date is along the top of each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

The Buenos Aires VAAC reported intermittent pulses of ash moving SE from the summit at 7.6 km altitude on 1 October 2020 (figure 92). Continuous ash emissions were reported at 7.3-7.9 km altitude throughout the month, resulting in several reports of ashfall. Ash was reported in Lluta on 5-6 October, in Taya on 6 October, in Huanca on 10 and 15 October, in Maca and Lari on 18, 27, and 28 October, in Madrigal on 18 and 27-29 October, and in Chivay on 27 and 29 October. Ash was also visible in satellite imagery on 16 and 26 October. Thermal anomalies were present in satellite images on 1, 6, 11, 16, and 26 October (figure 93).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. A dense plume of ash rose to 7.6 km altitude and drifted SE from the summit of Sabancaya on 1 October 2020. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (REPORTE DIARIO DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCAN Sabancaya, RDSAB-250-2020 / DGAR-INGEMMET Diario: 01 de octubre del 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. Thermal anomalies and ash emissions appeared in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery at Sabancaya multiple times during October 2020. On 11 October a strong thermal anomaly was present along with a dense steam plume drifting W (left). On 26 October both an ash plume and a thermal anomaly were present (right). Images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Strong thermal anomalies appeared in satellite images on 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 November 2020. Two distinct ash plumes rose from the summit crater on 5 November, and thermal anomalies were also present in multiple areas of the crater in satellite images that day (figure 94). OVI reported the existence of a second dome in the summit crater the next day. In a report issued on 17 November INGEMMET named the second dome “Iskay” and identified it in the NE part of the crater using satellite images; it was about 12,000 m2 in size (figure 95). On 25 November thermal signals from both domes were visible in satellite imagery along with an ash plume drifting W that rose to 2,900 m above the summit (figure 96). Ashfall was reported in both Madrigal and Lari on 14 and 16 November, in Lluta on 25 November, and in Huambo on 25-28 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Thermal and ash activity at Sabancaya on 5 November 2020 both suggested the presence of a second dome inside the summit crater. Two ash plumes rose from the summit (left) and a strong thermal anomaly appeared in the NE quadrant of the crater (right). Left image is from INGEMMET webcam. Right image is Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) of Sentinel-2 satellite image. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (REPORTE DIARIO DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCAN, RDSAB-285 2020 / DGAR INGEMMET Diario: 05 de noviembre del 2020) and Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. OVI-INGEMMET used webcams and satellite imagery to identify a new dome inside the summit crater of Sabancaya in November 2020. (A) Incandescence over the crater taken by a surveillance camera ~25 km NE on 9 November. (B) Incandescent ejecta rises from two locations within the summit crater taken by a surveillance camera ~4.7 km N on 9 November. (C) Sentinel-2 near-infrared satellite image from 15 November showing hotspots inside the crater; source: MOUNTS. (D) Planet Labs satellite image taken on 16 November showing the location of the growing dome; source: PlanetLabs Inc. Figure prepared by C. Laverde (SGC). Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (OVI / 17 noviembre, 2020 / Comentarios desactivados en INGEMMET RATIFICA LA PRESENCIA DEL SEGUNDO DOMO DE LAVA EN EL CRÁTER DEL VOLCÁN SABANCAYA DURANTE SU ACTUAL PROCESO ERUPTIVO / Noticias, Novedades).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. The dense ash plume that rose 2.9 km above the summit of Sabancaya on 25 November 2020 (left) could be seen drifting W in satellite imagery that day (right). It rose from the new dome in the NE quadrant of the crater, which appeared as a strong thermal anomaly in the Sentinel-2 satellite image using Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (REPORTE DIARIO DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCAN Sabancaya, RDSAB-305 2020 / DGAR INGEMMET Diario: 25 de noviembre del 2020) and Sentinel Hub Playground.

Ash emissions continued from both areas of the summit during December 2020 (figure 97); a thermal anomaly was recorded in a satellite image on 15 December. Ashfall was reported in Cabanaconde on 1, 8, and 10 December and was also reported in Pinchollo and Madrigal on 10 December. Two dense ash plumes on 5 January 2021 confirmed that both summit domes were still active (figure 98). Ash emissions appeared in satellite images on 4, 9, and 29 January 2021, along with a thermal anomaly on 29 January (figure 99). Ashfall was reported in Huanca on 15 January, Huambo on 18 January, Madrigal and Pinchollo on 27 January, and in Chivay on 29 January. A lahar descended the Pinchollo ravine near Huayraray around 1610 on 20 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Ash emissions continued from two areas within the summit crater of Sabancaya during December 2020. On 9 December the taller plume rose to 2,400 m above the summit (left). On 16 December two dense ash plumes were captured by one of the webcams (right). Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (REPORTE DIARIO DE LA ACTIVIDAD DEL VOLCAN Sabancaya, RDSAB –319-2020/ DGAR –INGEMMET Diario: 09 de diciembre del 2020 and RDSAB –324-2020/ DGAR –INGEMMET Diario: 16 de diciembre del 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Two dense ash plumes rising from the summit of Sabancaya on 5 January 2021 confirmed that both domes were still active. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (VOLCAN SABANCAYA Reporte de monitoreo volcanico, 05 enero del 2021, RMVSAB, 002 2021 / DGAR INGEMMET).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. Ash emissions from Sabancaya appeared in Sentinel-2 satellite images on 4, 9, and 29 January 2021. The plume on 9 January (left) was visible in the Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and the plume on 29 January (right) partially obscured a thermal anomaly at the summit in an Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) image. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Daily ash emissions continued during February 2021 with plumes that rose as high as 3 km above the summit (figure 100). Ash plumes were visible in satellite images on 13 and 18 February (figure 101). Ashfall was reported in Huanca on 5 February, Pinchollo on 11 February, and in Madrigal on 11, 15, and 16 February. Two small to moderate lahars were reported in the area of Sallalli on 4 February. Ashfall was also reported in Huambo on 8, 9, and 17 March, Cabanaconde on 9 March, and in Huanca on 15 and 25 March. Satellite images indicated ash emissions on 10 March and thermal anomalies on 10 and 25 March (figure 102).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Daily ash emissions rose from Sabancaya during February 2021. On 4 February the plume rose to 2.6 km above the summit and drifted S and SE. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (VOLCAN SABANCAYA, Region Arequipa, Reporte de monitoreo volcanico, RMVSAB-024 2021 / DGAR INGEMMET 04 febrero del 2021).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. Ash plumes were a daily occurrence at Sabancaya during February 2021. A large plume covered the volcanic edifice and nearby area on 13 February (left). A smaller plume on 18 February was concentrated over the summit (right). Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) of Sentinel-2 images. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Ash emissions and thermal activity continued at Sabancaya during March 2021. On 4 March ash emissions rose to 1.8 km above the summit and drifted W and SW (left). On 10 March ash emissions rose to 900 m and drifted W and NW while a strong thermal anomaly was evident inside the summit crater (right). Sentinel-2 satellite image uses Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground. Left image courtesy of INGEMMET (VOLCAN SABANCAYA, Region Arequipa, Reporte de monitoreo volcanico, RMVSAB-044 2021/ DGAR INGEMMET 04 marzo del 2021).

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: 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); Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URLhttps://www.igp.gob.pe/servicios/centro-vulcanologico-nacional/inicio); 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); 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/); NASA 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).


Telica (Nicaragua) — March 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Telica

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous explosions and ash plumes during late November-early December 2020

During January-October 2020, activity at Telica consisted of frequent seismicity, fumarolic emissions, and beginning in July, explosions that generated gas-and-ash plumes (BGVN 45:11). The following report describes activity between November 2020 and February 2021 using monthly and special bulletins published by the Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and satellite images.

Following some small ash explosions in late October, activity decreased in November 2020. INETER scientists visiting the volcano on 24 November observed small pulses of gas and ash originating from the SW walls and flanks, and heard jet sounds inside the crater. The team also noted abundant gas emissions on the N and NW walls and subsidence inside the crater.

A new series of ash explosions began at 0538 on 30 November (figure 52). Similar activity later that morning ejected incandescent ballistics and generated a small gas-and-ash plume (figure 53). Almost continuous explosions for more than three days produced gas-and-ash plumes that rose 50-400 m above the crater rim, depositing most of the ash on the SW slope. The explosive activity on 2 December was visible in satellite imagery (figure 54), and ash plumes the next day reached the ocean (figure 55). After more than three days of almost continuous explosions, explosions became sporadic until 1450 on 8 December. A total of 1,315 small explosions were recorded between 30 November and 8 December. Ashfall during this period was reported in communities to the SW, including Zarandaj (6 km WSW), Cristo Rey (6 km W), Las Colinas (7 km WSW), Garrobo Empinado (8 km SSW), El Panal (9 km SSW), Canta Rana (10 km SW), Ceibo Chachagua (10 km SW), Las Mercedes (10 km SW), Punta Arena (10 km SW), La Virgen (12 km WSW), Filiberto Morales (15 km WSW), Los Cocos (9 km SSW), Verónica Lacayo (10 km SW), and Nuevo Belén.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Webcam photo of an explosion at Telica at 0538 on 30 November 2020. This event was the first in a series of explosions that continued until 8 December. Courtesy of INETER.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Webcam photo of an explosion at Telica at 0921 on 30 November 2020 that generated a dense brown ash plume. Courtesy of INETER.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Sentinel-2 images of Telica on 2 December 2020 in natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) showing a brown gas-and-ash plume streaming SW. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Landsat 8 false-color image (bands B4, B7, B1) of a gas plume (light blue) from Telica extending SW over the Pacific Ocean on 3 December 2020. Courtesy of INETER.

Thermal anomalies seen in Sentinel-2 satellite images were identified again starting on 14 December 2020, for the first time since 10 September. The hotspot in the eastern part of the crater was detected intermittently through 22 February 2021.

SO2 emissions measured by the Mobile-DOAS technique using 5-7 transects, averaged 99 metric tons/day for November and 821 metric tons/day for December. These values were outside the normal range and represented among the lowest and highest averages, respectively, since at least 2009. SO2 emissions averaged 129 metric tons/day during January. Small landslides were heard in February, and weak degassing was evident.

According to INETER, about 907,863 seismic events were recorded during 2020, of which 51,275 were long-period (LP) earthquakes; the source of which was 6-10 km deep. In December alone, seismicity was dominated by volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes, of which 262,549 were counted. Tremor remained between 20-50 RSAM units. Seismicity continued in early 2021, though INETER did not report any explosive activity. In January 2021 about 140,000 seismic events occurred, of which 24,652 were LP earthquakes. In February about 86,243 seismic events occurred, of which 1,725 were LP earthquakes, 431 were VT earthquakes, and 15,093 were hybrid earthquakes. During both months, tremor remained between 20-50 RSAM units.

During a field visit on 19 January 2021, INETER observed that the crater had increased in diameter to 20 m and in depth to 5 m. The main crater displayed weak gas emissions. During the visit, temperatures of the four fumaroles on the eastern rim were 55-57°C, somewhat lower than the previous three months and significantly lower than during February-July 2020. Temperatures during a visit on 11 February were even lower.

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: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).

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Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin - Volume 11, Number 02 (February 1986)

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Aira (Japan)

Plumes detected on NOAA satellite images

Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989) (Unknown)

Stratospheric aerosols persist

Augustine (United States)

Increased seismicity; minor ash emission

Bagana (Papua New Guinea)

New extrusive phase

Etna (Italy)

Ash and bombs from Northeast Crater

Fournaise, Piton de la (France)

Eruptive episode ends

Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba (Japan)

New island erodes; floating pumice

Kavachi (Solomon Islands)

Continuing submarine activity

Kilauea (United States)

42nd episode of East Rift Zone eruption

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Explosions and seismicity

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Seismicity increases

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Small hydrothermal eruption from Crater Lake

Ruiz, Nevado del (Colombia)

Strong SO2 emission; seismicity declines slightly

St. Helens (United States)

Longest period of repose continues

Tacana (Mexico-Guatemala)

Local seismicity continues

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Low-level seismicity

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand)

New active vent produces tephra



Aira (Japan) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Plumes detected on NOAA satellite images

Plumes . . . were recorded on images from the NOAA 9 polar orbiting weather satellite in January (table 8). Most plumes extended SE of the volcano.

Table 8. Lengths of plumes from Sakura-jima detected on NOAA 9 weather satellite images, January 1986.

Date Time Plume Length
11 Jan 1986 1416 150-160 km
12 Jan 1986 1409 40-50 km
20 Jan 1986 1424 25-30 km
22 Jan 1986 1401 160 km
27 Jan 1986 1446 180 km
28 Jan 1986 1446 180 km

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: Will Gould, NOAA/NESDIS/SDSD.


Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989) (Unknown) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Atmospheric Effects (1980-1989)

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Stratospheric aerosols persist

Lidar data from Mauna Loa, Hawaii on 5 February showed continued development of the aerosol layer centered at about 20 km (figure 22). The entire profile was depressed on the 12th, but a week later the 20 km layer had strengthened and backscattering was slightly enhanced above 25 km. By 28 February, the higher layer had become prominent, the first significant enhancements detected at that altitude over Mauna Loa since 26-27 November (probably from Ruiz). From Hampton, VA (37.1°N, 76.3°W), lidar data on 14 February showed a layer centered around 20 km that was at a similar altitude but weaker than layers observed in Japan in January. Lidar profiles from the segments of the NASA airborne mission W of Thule, Greenland (about 77.5°N, 69.5°W) were similar to profiles from Tsukuba, Japan, 9-10 January.

Figure with caption Figure 22. Lidar profiles from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, 5-28 February 1986. The dotted line superimposed on each profile represents the average data 5-22 November, before the arrival of new aerosols over Hawaii. Courtesy of Thomas DeFoor.

Balloon flights over Laramie, WY on 3 and 22 February detected no layers of optically active areosols (radius > 0.15 µm) or condensation nuclei (CN, radius > 0.01 µm) that could be associated with recent volcanic activity. An increase in CN at 25 km on 3 February was attributed to evaporation and recondensation of older aerosols, rather than a new volcanic event.

From Millville, New Jersey (39.4°N, 74.9°W), Fred Schaaf observed an unusual sunrise on 11 January. Glow reached 15° altitude at 0702 and visible NE-SW horizontal striations seemed to be at higher altitudes than normal weather clouds. The intensity of the effects were similar to those observed after the 1980 St. Helens eruption, but much weaker than those that followed the eruption of El Chichón in 1982.

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: Thomas DeFoor, Mauna Loa Observatory, P.O. Box 275, Hilo, HI 96720 USA; William Fuller, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23665 USA; J.M. Rosen and D.J. Hofmann, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071 USA; Fred Schaaf, R. D. 2, Box 248, Millville, New Jersey 08332 USA.


Augustine (United States) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Augustine

United States

59.363°N, 153.43°W; summit elev. 1252 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased seismicity; minor ash emission

Juergen Kienle reports that seismicity at Augustine began to increase last summer for the first time since 1976, when the volcano last erupted. Between 12 July and 7 August, approximately 300 shallow microearthquakes were recorded each day on Augustine's network of four seismic stations. From then until late February, recorded earthquakes averaged 12/day, with occasional short bursts of seismicity. A small swarm took place during September with 100 events/day over a 2-3-day period. An intense peak occurred on 22 February between 0700 and 0800, when 70 microearthquakes were recorded on the seismometer less than 1 km from the dome, 2 hours before USGS scientists flew over the volcano and reported active degassing (see below). Since the end of February, seismicity has intensified, with concentrated swarms (3-4 events/hour lasting 1-2 hours) occurring approximately twice a day. These microearthquakes were all shallow and indicate fracturing and degassing of the dome.

The following is a report from M.E. Yount. "On 17 February, James Riehle saw what he believed to be an explosion plume over Augustine Volcano, while on Wolverine Peak more than 300 km from Augustine. The plume rose to an estimated altitude of more than 3 km. It was dispersed by winds within ~0.5 hour, with the lower portion of the plume drifting W or NW and the upper portion drifting E or SE. Seismic recorders at the USGS office in Anchorage, which monitor some of the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute seismometers, had shown an increase in small events near Augustine, beginning 13 February. On 20 and 21 February, the USGS began receiving reports from observers in Homer (110 km NE of Augustine) and from pilots flying near the volcano that it was vigorously steaming.

"On 22 February, USGS personnel flew over the volcano and confirmed that it was actively degassing from the moat around the summit dome. The main fumarolic vent was in the moat E of the dome. During the observations (between 1000 and 1018), fumarolic activity was continuous and steady. The plume was whitish, with a few grayish wisps. The SE and W sectors of the snow-covered cone were lightly dusted with ash, believed to be comminuted portions of the 1976 dome. No sign of avalanches or falling blocks from the dome were observed. During a 28 February overflight, USGS personnel noted an increase in the amount and area of fumarolic activity compared to 22 February. Augustine may be following its traditional pattern of slowly forcing the summit dome up followed by dome destruction and pyroclastic flow activity."

On 14 March, images from the NOAA-9 polar orbiting satellite showed a plume extending ~50 km S from Augustine at 1413 and 1555. No plume had been visible on 13 March, and clouds obscured the area 15-17 March. USGS scientists also flew over the volcano on 14 March, noting that the plume rose ~1,000 m above the summit and looked similar to the plume seen during their overflight on 28 February.

Geologic Background. Augustine volcano, rising above Kamishak Bay in the southern Cook Inlet about 290 km SW of Anchorage, is the most active volcano of the eastern Aleutian arc. It consists of a complex of overlapping summit lava domes surrounded by an apron of volcaniclastic debris that descends to the sea on all sides. Few lava flows are exposed; the flanks consist mainly of debris-avalanche and pyroclastic-flow deposits formed by repeated collapse and regrowth of the summit. The latest episode of edifice collapse occurred during Augustine's largest historical eruption in 1883; subsequent dome growth has restored the volcano to a height comparable to that prior to 1883. The oldest dated volcanic rocks on Augustine are more than 40,000 years old. At least 11 large debris avalanches have reached the sea during the past 1,800-2,000 years, and five major pumiceous tephras have been erupted during this interval. Historical eruptions have typically consisted of explosive activity with emplacement of pumiceous pyroclastic-flow deposits followed by lava dome extrusion with associated block-and-ash flows.

Information Contacts: Juergen Kienle, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks; M.E. Yount, T. Miller, and James Riehle, USGS Anchorage; M. Matson, NOAA/NESDIS.


Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — February 1986 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)


New extrusive phase

"A new extrusive phase from Bagana's summit crater commenced on 16 February. The extrusion was preceded by several days' increase in seismicity, including three periods of 'tremor,' 30 minutes long (on the 5th and 6th) and an increase in the number of B-type events after the 10th. An increase in the amount of vapour released from the crater was also noted from the 7th onward.

"On the 16th, the vapour cloud became thick and coloured, while the seismicity rose suddenly to 140-175 events/day. From that night until the 21st, weak night glow from the crater was observed and extrusions of lava resulted in numerous incandescent avalanches of boulders on the NW, N, and NE flanks of the cone.

"At the end of the month, seismicity was still at a high level (>100 events/day), with periods of 'tremor' (on the 20th, 26th, and 28th), although visible activity had declined.

"Similar phases of extrusive activity occurred in November 1985 and January 1986 and resulted in increased movement of the long-established blocky lava flow down the N flank of the volcano."

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: P. Lowenstein, RVO.


Etna (Italy) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3320 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash and bombs from Northeast Crater

While spending the night of 5 March at the foot of Northeast Crater, geologists observed ash emission every 5-15 minutes with ejection of glowing red bombs 6-7 times/hour. Bombs reached the base of the crater. Significant degassing occurred from both of the central craters (The Chasm and Bocca Nuova). However, there were no explosions, nor was glow visible at night.

Geologic Background. Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

Information Contacts: F. LeGuern, CNRS; Compagnie Republicaine de Securité de Briancan.


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

21.244°S, 55.708°E; summit elev. 2632 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptive episode ends

The eruptive episode . . . ended on 7 February. Aphyric basalt lavas covered 95% of the floor of Dolomieu Crater. The volume of lava emitted is estimated to be 7 x 106 m3. Deflation was observed on the summit levelling stations in mid-February. A short seismic crisis occurred on 11-12 February; events were located E of the summit at 3 km depth. Since then seismic activity has returned to a very low level. Volcanic activity in 1985 is summarized in table 3. The total amount of lava emitted [in 1985] is estimated to be 33 x 106 m3.

Table 3. Summary of 1985 eruptive episodes at Piton de la Fournaise.

Start Date Duration Lava volume (106 m3)
14 Jun 24 hours 1
05 Aug 4 weeks 7
06 Sep 6 weeks 17
02 Dec 28 hours <=1
29 Dec 6 weeks 7

Geologic Background. The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Much of its more than 530,000-year history overlapped with eruptions of the deeply dissected Piton des Neiges shield volcano to the NW. Three calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern side. More than 150 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.

Information Contacts: H. DeLorme and J-F. DeLarue, OVPDLF; P. Bachelery, Univ de la Réunion.


Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba (Japan) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba

Japan

24.285°N, 141.481°E; summit elev. -29 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New island erodes; floating pumice

The island formed 20 January . . . has been eroded away by wave action since volcanic activity ceased. The island's disappearance was reported by the JMSDF after an hour-long helicopter flight that began 8 March at 0745. The surface of the new edifice was seen under white water, and there was no sign of a volcanic plume.

On 28 January, airplane pilots observed light brown floating pumice within a roughly rectangular NW-SE-trending zone ~200 km long by 50 km wide, extending from ~100 to 300 km SE of the volcano. The pumice was in subparallel teardrop-shaped rafts roughly 4 km wide and 10 km long, elongate perpendicular to the apparent direction of drift.

Rocks collected from Fukutoku-Okanoba after previous eruptions in 1904, 1914, and 1982 were trachyandesites with high alkali contents.

Geologic Background. Fukutoku-Oka-no-ba is a submarine volcano located 5 km NE of the pyramidal island of Minami-Ioto. Water discoloration is frequently observed from the volcano, and several ephemeral islands have formed in the 20th century. The first of these formed Shin-Ioto ("New Sulfur Island") in 1904, and the most recent island was formed in 1986. The volcano is part of an elongated edifice with two major topographic highs trending NNW-SSE, and is a trachyandesitic volcano geochemically similar to Ioto.

Information Contacts: M. Matson, NOAA/NESDIS; Kyodo Radio, Tokyo; UPI.


Kavachi (Solomon Islands) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

8.991°S, 157.979°E; summit elev. -20 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuing submarine activity

The submarine eruption . . . described in 10:12 had been observed by residents of a nearby island in early December and was continuing in late February, but had ended by 3 March.

From Saira village, roughly 25 km from Kavachi on Vangunu Island, Oliver Jino reported that the eruption sequence began on 9 December. After the previously reported observations from aircraft and ships 30 December-7 January, the next sighting was on 20 January, when Dr. G. Baines noted three ejections of water and steam, 1.5-2 minutes apart, from a Solair plane flying >45 km from the volcano. An area that looked like a coral reef but was probably volcanic debris extended downcurrent from the vent. On 24 January, Mr. B. Papukera, another Solair passenger, observed a single similar ejection. No activity was evident from a Solair plane on 5 February. On 25 February, Solair Captain Don Lemon observed renewed activity ejecting water and steam to 100 m or more asl. Two days later, Lemon again flew near the volcano, observing gas bubbles over the vent and muddy-looking water drifting away from it, but no explosions. On 3 March, personnel in a powered dinghy from the RV Thomas Washington searched the area but found no sign of activity.

Geologic Background. Named for a sea-god of the Gatokae and Vangunu peoples, Kavachi is one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Vangunu Island. Sometimes referred to as Rejo te Kvachi ("Kavachi's Oven"), this shallow submarine basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has produced ephemeral islands up to 1 km long many times since its first recorded eruption during 1939. Residents of the nearby islands of Vanguna and Nggatokae (Gatokae) reported "fire on the water" prior to 1939, a possible reference to earlier eruptions. The roughly conical edifice rises from water depths of 1.1-1.2 km on the north and greater depths to the SE. Frequent shallow submarine and occasional subaerial eruptions produce phreatomagmatic explosions that eject steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. On a number of occasions lava flows were observed on the ephemeral islands.

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


Kilauea (United States) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


42nd episode of East Rift Zone eruption

EPISODE 42

Eruptive activity . . . resumed in February . . . . After 25 days of repose, the summit began to deflate on 22 February at 1000 and 10 minutes later lava fountaining began at the Pu`u `O`o vent. Low-level fountaining and pahoehoe spillovers occurred intermittently until 1515 when continuous lava production began. High-amplitude harmonic tremor started 25 minutes later.

Fountain heights increased steadily over the next 7 hours until they reached ~300 m above the vent at 2230 and were sustained at that level for several hours. Four pulses of fountain jetting 360-450 m high, each lasting several minutes, occurred between 0233 and 0416 on the 23rd. After the fourth pulse at 0416, fountaining declined quickly and lava production stopped at 0420. Strong harmonic tremor ended at 0419, but was followed by moderate-amplitude, pulsating tremor for a day. Summit deflation, totalling 14.8 µrad, ended at 0700 on the 23rd; by the end of February, the summit had reinflated by 4.3 µrad (figure 43). Episode 42 lava flows extended ~3.5 km SE from Pu`u `O`o on a broad front. A small flow advanced ~1 km to the N.

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: C. Heliker, G. Ulrich, R. Koyanagi, and R. Hanatani, HVO; E. Nielsen, SI.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — February 1986 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)


Explosions and seismicity

"A moderate level of activity continued in February. Crater 2 occasionally released white to greyish vapour. A number of explosion shocks (0-10 daily) were recorded, some of which were heard at the Cape Gloucester observation post . . . . Two periods of high background seismicity, consisting of sub-continuous, high-frequency 'tremor,' occurred 6-11 and 21-25 February, possibly related to periods of high rainfall. Weak, fluctuating glow was observed on the night of the 20th."

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 E flank of the extinct Talawe volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the N 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. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

Information Contacts: P. Lowenstein, RVO.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity increases

"Seismicity . . . increased further in February, with 317 recorded events. Ground deformation measurements, however, showed only minor uplift (up to 4 mm), with slight inflationary tilt and EDM changes in the Greet Harbour area."

Geologic Background. The low-lying Rabaul caldera on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain forms a broad sheltered harbor utilized by what was the island's largest city prior to a major eruption in 1994. The outer flanks of the 688-m-high asymmetrical pyroclastic shield volcano are formed by thick pyroclastic-flow deposits. The 8 x 14 km caldera is widely breached on the east, where its floor is flooded by Blanche Bay and was formed about 1400 years ago. An earlier caldera-forming eruption about 7100 years ago is now considered to have originated from Tavui caldera, offshore to the north. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the northern and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and western caldera walls. Several of these, including Vulcan cone, which was formed during a large eruption in 1878, have produced major explosive activity during historical time. A powerful explosive eruption in 1994 occurred simultaneously from Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes and forced the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.

Information Contacts: P. Lowenstein, RVO.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruapehu

New Zealand

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small hydrothermal eruption from Crater Lake

Hydrothermal eruptions, apparently accompanied by felt earthquakes, were observed 8 and 9 February. On 8 February at 1202, ranger Lisle Irwin saw a vigorous steam column rise > 150 m above Crater Lake and heard loud roaring from his vantage point 2 km to the NE. Inside Dome Shelter, ~350 m NNW of the lake, Rob McCallum felt what he described as a slight earthquake during the eruption. Irwin noted no fresh ejecta deposits around the lake after the eruption. At 1517, he observed a second apparently smaller eruption that produced a steam column and audible water surges over the lake's outlet channel. While flying over the crater the next day at 0719, ranger Paul Dale saw a small column of muddy water rising to ~5 m before it was obscured by steam. Between 1300 and 1330, two climbers saw a "high bubbling circle in the middle of the lake and at the same time felt the ground shake."

When geologists visited the crater 11 February, lake temperature had risen to 46°C (from 29°C on 14 January) and there was evidence of surging of 1 vertical meter or more within the previous 12-24 hours. Strands of sulfur were floating on the lake and there was a strong odor of SO2. Activity was similar on 14 February, and there appeared to have been additional but somewhat weaker surging in the preceding 24 hours. Deformation surveys 11 and 14 February suggested minor deflation since a small inflation peak was measured in mid-January. The lake temperature had dropped to 34°C by 26 February and there was no evidence of further eruptions.

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 dominantly andesitic 110 km3 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 (Te Wai a-moe), 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 3,000 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: NZGS, Rotorua.


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

4.892°N, 75.324°W; summit elev. 5279 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong SO2 emission; seismicity declines slightly

Colombian geologists reported that microseismic activity diminished between mid-February and mid-March, with an average of 5 high-frequency and 12-15 low-frequency events daily. Seismic events of mixed frequency also diminished, to 1/day. Activity on 28 February was abnormally low, with only one low-frequency event. Epicenters were within 3-4 km of the crater, and focal depths were at 1-3 km below a datum at 4.7 km above sea level . . . .

The vapor column reached heights of 100-800 m, without significant ash emission. Rates of SO2 emission measured by COSPEC in early March were generally of the order of 500 t/d; during the afternoon of 4 March, values of ~1,000 t/d were recorded, about the same as a month earlier. Fissures in pyroclastic material on glaciers on the NE part of the volcano showed displacements of 20-30 mm/day. Electronic tilt instruments recorded ~0.1 µrad of inflation/day on the W flank. No significant changes were detected on the E flank.

Additional seismic information comes from Jim Zollweg. "After the 13 November eruption, a 6-station telemetry network was installed around the volcano. All stations use vertical 1-Hz seismometers and radio-telemeter to the Comité de Estudios Vulcanológicos headquarters in Manizales. Sites were chosen 4-10 km from Arenas, Ruiz's active crater. The first station was operating on 17 November, four stations were functioning by 28 November, and all six by 2 December, although some locations were changed later. Recording is analog using pen-and-ink or smoked paper.

"Seismic activity was moderate in November and December, consisting chiefly of high-frequency earthquakes with magnitudes to 3.5. There were about half as many low-frequency as high-frequency earthquakes during those months. About 1,300 earthquakes were counted in December (countable events had coda lengths of at least 5 seconds on the Olleta telemetry station). In January, activity was considerably lower because of a major decrease in the rate of occurrence of high-frequency events. Only a few surface-type events (gas emission signals or avalanches) were recorded by telemetry stations in any month. Instances of harmonic tremor sustained for more than a minute were also uncommon, particularly in December. The most important tremor recorded since the stations were installed occurred 3-5 January, preceding and during a minor eruption 4-5 January. This tremor was unusual because of its wide range of frequency content; frequencies of 7 Hz or more were recorded within a few hours of its onset, and frequencies as low as 0.7 Hz occurred later in the episode.

"Very few low-frequency earthquakes have been locatable, and those with epicenters that could be computed usually occurred near Arenas Crater (within the limits of accuracy of the solutions). More than 150 high-frequency earthquakes have been located, and 81 of the better solutions are plotted in figure 6. Events were located using the program HYPOINVERSE, and an ad-hoc crustal model based on geological considerations. Events plotted within the network have epicentral 95% confidence limits of 1 km or less. Those plotted outside the network may have epicentral 95% confidence limits as poor as 3 km, depending on distance from the network. Focal depths of the high-frequency events are usually between 2 and 5 km (beneath a datum at 4.7 km asl), but depend on the crustal model used. The probable error range makes it difficult to say whether there are significant depth differences between events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Earthquake epicenters at Ruiz, 28 November 1985-21 January 1986. The 5,000-m contour is outlined. Filled triangles are telemetered stations; others are shown by open triangles. Not all were operating simultaneously; PIRT and ARBO are no longer operating. Courtesy of Jim Zollweg.

"Most of the high-frequency earthquakes occurred in one of two linear zones that intersect under the center of Ruiz. The E-W-striking zone is ~6 km long and was responsible for most of the seismicity. There is an interesting temporal pattern to the epicenters. Locations between 28 November and 5 December mainly fell in the central and eastern parts of the E-W zone, whereas vigorous swarms 6-13 December were mainly confined to the W half of the zone. There was a pronounced hiatus in high-frequency activity 14-21 December, followed by a swarm of events 22-25 December along the second zone, striking NW-SE. Between 26 December and 3 January, earthquakes reverted to a small area near the intersection of the two zones. High-frequency activity was comparatively low in the weeks following the 4-5 January eruption. First motions have been mostly compressions for nearly all events under Ruiz, suggesting a normal faulting environment. The data for the high-frequency sequences suggest the intrusion of dike-like bodies of magma along pre-existing fault zones."

Deformation monitoring has been summarized by Barry Voight. "Preliminary data from EDM reflector stations suggest that much of the observed summit surface deformation is due to ice movement decoupled from underlying bedrock. The data place constraints on the volume of rock susceptible to massive gravitational failure. EDM reflector stations (Martica and Finger) were installed at ~5,100 m elevation near the center of the Río Azufrado headwall. They were first measured on 14 February. Preliminary data from repeated distance measurements to 7 March suggest that the motions of glacier ice and underlying bedrock are decoupled. The fracture pattern observed on the surface of the summit plateau E of Arenas Crater dominantly reflects the propagation of crevasse patterns through the veneer of surficial deposits. The steady outward motion of the summit area as deduced from observation of surficial fracturing and EDM monitoring mainly reflects movements in glacier ice rather than motion of underlying bedrock. At other locations, some cracks give the appearance of possibly extending into bedrock, for example at the septum separating the crater from the headwall of the Río Azufrado. Although my current impression is that all of the headwall is probably stable with respect to deep-seated rock failure, the potential for mass movement involving a portion of the crater remains to be thoroughly evaluated."

Fabian Hoyos P. reported that isotopic analyses of several hot springs and the crater fumarole were sampled on 8 July 1985 in cooperation with the Central Hidroeléctrica de Caldas (CHEC). Isotopic compositions of 8 July 1985 hot spring samples were similar to those reported in 1968 and 1980 to CHEC. Water vapor collected the same day from the summit crater fumarole had an isotopic composition corresponding to that of meteoric water precipitated at ~2,800 m asl (table 2). Other samples collected until just before the 13 November eruption are being analyzed.

Table 2. Isotope analyses by Sara Kealy, Arizona State Univ, of samples collected from fumaroles at Ruiz, 8 July 1985. Data courtesy of Fabian Hoyos P. and Sara Kealy.

Source delta 18O delta D
Aguas Blancas Hot Spring -102.1 -14.4
Termales Ruiz Hot Spring -104.8 -13.6
Crater fumarole -89.0 -12.9

Geologic Background. Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers more than 200 km2. Three major edifices, composed of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastics, have been constructed since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The modern cone consists of a broad cluster of lava domes built within the caldera of an older edifice. The 1-km-wide, 240-m-deep Arenas crater occupies the summit. The prominent La Olleta pyroclastic cone located on the SW flank may also have been active in historical time. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut the flanks. Melting of its summit icecap during historical eruptions, which date back to the 16th century, has resulted in devastating lahars, including one in 1985 that was South America's deadliest eruption.

Information Contacts: I. Mejía and E. Parra, Comité de Estudios Vulcanológicos, Manizales; A. Londoño, L. Rodriguez, and N. Rojas, Univ Nacional, Manizales; N. García, Industria Licorera de Caldas, Manizales; F. Hoyos, Univ Nacional, Medellín, Colombia; J. Zollweg, USGS, Univ of Washington; B. Voight, Penn State Univ; S. Williams, Louisiana State Univ.


St. Helens (United States) — February 1986 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)


Longest period of repose continues

Activity remained at background levels for the 8th consecutive month, the longest repose period since activity began in 1980. February's single successful SO2 flight (on the 10th) measured 45 plus or minus 10 t/d. Maximum deformation rates were ~1 mm/day. Seismicity also remained low, with no evidence of energetic gas emission.

Geologic Background. Prior to 1980, Mount St. Helens formed a conical, youthful volcano sometimes known as the Fujisan 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 2,200 years ago, tephra, lava domes, and pyroclastic flows were erupted, forming the older edifice, but few lava flows extended beyond the base of the volcano. The modern edifice consists of 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: D. Swanson, E. Endo, and S. Brantley, CVO; C. Jonientz-Trisler, University of Washington.


Tacana (Mexico-Guatemala) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Tacana

Mexico-Guatemala

15.132°N, 92.109°W; summit elev. 4064 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Local seismicity continues

The series of shallow earthquakes near Tacaná was continuing in early March. Many of the shocks were felt near the volcano. There were no apparent changes to fumaroles on and around the volcano. To supplement permanent seismometers 30 km SW and 80 km N of the volcano (near Tapachula and Comitán), Mexican geophysicists installed portable instruments about 27 km NW of the volcano (at Motozintla), W of the volcano (at El Aguila) and about 6 km S of the summit (at Unión Juárez).

The majority of felt events were subduction zone earthquakes centered under the coast of northernmost Guatemala. Other events originated in a fault system NE of the volcano, in Guatemala. A third type consisted of events under the volcano, characterized by sharp P arrivals and very long S-wave trains, that were strong enough to be felt and heard within 10 km of the volcano. Apparent volcanic tremor episodes with amplitudes just above noise levels were recorded 2-3 times a day. The rate of seismic energy release increased substantially 18-25 February, declined significantly after 25 February, then started to increase again on 3 March. On 3 March between 0400 and 1200, a bubble tiltmeter 6 km S of the summit (at 1,800 m elevation) indicated a sharp deformation event corresponding to about 100 microradians of deflation on an azimuth of 073°. However, relevelling of a line extending 1 km N and 4 km S of the tiltmeter (including one station only a few tens of meters away) revealed no changes. On 10 March about 0200, seismic instruments detected several events that looked like explosion shocks, followed by about 2 minutes of very minor tremor. The events were felt and heard by many residents of towns around the volcano, but no eruption occurred. The government of the state of Chiapas, México has prepared a contingency plan to respond to several levels of volcanic risk, including evacuation of people within 15 km of the volcano if necessary.

Geologic Background. Tacaná is a 4064-m-high composite stratovolcano that straddles the México/Guatemala border at the NW end of the Central American volcanic belt. The volcano rises 1800 m above deeply dissected plutonic and metamorphic terrain. Three large calderas breached to the south, and the elongated summit region is dominated by a series of lava domes intruded along a NE-SW trend. Volcanism has migrated to the SW, and a small adventive lava dome is located in the crater of the youngest volcano, San Antonio, on the upper SW flank. Viscous lava flow complexes are found on the north and south flanks, and lobate lahar deposits fill many valleys. Radial drainages on the Guatemalan side are deflected by surrounding mountains into the Pacific coastal plain on the SW side of the volcano. Historical activity has been restricted to mild phreatic eruptions, but more powerful explosive activity, including the production of pyroclastic flows, has occurred as recently as about 1950 years ago.

Information Contacts: S. de la Cruz-Reyna, UNAM, México D.F.


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — February 1986 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)


Low-level seismicity

"Activity . . . remained at a low, non-eruptive level throughout February. No significant visible or audible activity was reported, and the seismicity remained [at about] 100 events/day."

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: P. Lowenstein, RVO.


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — February 1986 Citation iconCite this Report

Whakaari/White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New active vent produces tephra

Minor magmatic eruptive activity resumed ... about 1 February from a new vent within the 1978 Crater complex. On 3 February helicopter pilot Ian Johnson observed a new active vent and associated tephra fall.

About 15 low-frequency B-type earthquakes/day occurred from December into February with unusually large (50 mm p-p) amplitudes, although a gradual decline in amplitudes was apparent. Significant periods of volcanic tremor were recorded in January (11, 19, 20-21, 25-29) and February (1-5) but no vent-forming episode could be clearly recognized.

When geologists visited the volcano 10 February, there was a new vent ~ 25 m in diameter near the base of the E crater wall, farther E than any vent of the 1976-82 eruption sequence. The vent emitted vapor at a moderate rate and a small amount of very fine ash was occasionally present in the gas plume.

A fresh layer of ash, 10-15 mm thick, was on the main crater floor to 150-200 m E of the new vent and a small ejecta apron extended 30-50 m W of the vent. Small scoria bombs were sparsely scattered on the surface within 50 m of the new vent. Bombs were rarely larger than 100 mm in diameter. One had clearly flattened on impact, indicating it was still soft when it fell. The scoria is fresh, dark brown, vesiculated glassy andesite with phenocrysts of plagioclase and pyroxene. Recently deposited tephra comprise reworked crater-fill detritus, some fresh crystals, and brown glass.

Fumarole temperatures of 350-360°C were measured on 10 February, 25° cooler than on 13 November (10:11) and 15-25° cooler than on 7 February. COSPEC measurements on 7 February showed an SO2 emission rate of 570 t/d, a substantial increase over the 320 t/d detected on 21 November 1984 and 350 t/d recorded on 7 January 1985.

Geologic Background. The uninhabited Whakaari/White Island is the 2 x 2.4 km emergent summit of a 16 x 18 km submarine volcano in the Bay of Plenty about 50 km offshore of North Island. The island consists of two overlapping andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcanoes. The SE side of the crater is open at sea level, with the recent activity centered about 1 km from the shore close to the rear crater wall. Volckner Rocks, sea stacks that are remnants of a lava dome, lie 5 km NW. Descriptions of volcanism since 1826 have included intermittent moderate phreatic, phreatomagmatic, and Strombolian eruptions; activity there also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. The formation of many new vents during the 19th and 20th centuries caused rapid changes in crater floor topography. Collapse of the crater wall in 1914 produced a debris avalanche that buried buildings and workers at a sulfur-mining project. Explosive activity in December 2019 took place while tourists were present, resulting in many fatalities. The official government name Whakaari/White Island is a combination of the full Maori name of Te Puia o Whakaari ("The Dramatic Volcano") and White Island (referencing the constant steam plume) given by Captain James Cook in 1769.

Information Contacts: New Zealand Geological Survey (NZGS); P. Kyle, New Mexico Inst of Mining & Technology.

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  Obituaries

Misc 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 subject.

Additional Reports  False Reports