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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

Nishinoshima (Japan) Eruption ends in late August 2020; lengthy cooling from extensive lava flows and large crater

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Strong thermal anomalies and gas emission from lava lake through November 2020

Kerinci (Indonesia) Intermittent ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions during June-November 2020

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) Gas-and-steam emissions with some re-suspended ash in November 2020

Suwanosejima (Japan) Explosion rate increases during July-December 2020, bomb ejected 1.3 km from crater on 28 December

Karangetang (Indonesia) Hot material on the NW flank in November 2020; intermittent crater thermal anomalies

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Dome growth and ash emissions continue during July-December 2020

Ibu (Indonesia) Persistent daily ash emissions and thermal anomalies, July-December 2020

Etna (Italy) Strombolian explosions and ash plumes persist from multiple craters during August-November 2020

Copahue (Chile-Argentina) New eruption in June-October 2020 with crater incandescence, ash plumes, and local ashfall

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake continues accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions during June-November 2020

Nevados de Chillan (Chile) Frequent explosions, a lava flow on the N flank, and lava dome growth during July-October 2020



Nishinoshima (Japan) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

27.247°N, 140.874°E; summit elev. 25 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption ends in late August 2020; lengthy cooling from extensive lava flows and large crater

Japan’s Nishinoshima volcano, located about 1,000 km S of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Arc, erupted above sea level in November 2013 after 40 years of dormancy. Activity lasted for two years followed by two brief eruptions in 2017 and 2018. The next eruption, from early December 2019 through August 2020, included ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows; it produced a large pyroclastic cone with a wide summit crater and extensive lava flows that significantly enlarged the island. This report covers the end of the eruption and cooling during September 2020-January 2021. Information is provided primarily from Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monthly reports and the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), which makes regular observation overflights.

Ash emissions were last reported on 27 August 2020. The very high levels of thermal energy from numerous lava flows, ash, and incandescent tephra that peaked during early July decreased significantly during August and September. Continued cooling of the fresh lava and the summit crater lasted into early January 2021 (figure 107). Monthly overflights and observations by scientists confirmed areas of steam emissions at the summit and on the flanks and discolored water around the island, but no eruptive activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. High levels of thermal activity at Nishinoshima during June and July 2020 resulted from extensive lava flows and explosions of incandescent tephra. Although the last ash emission was reported on 27 August 2020, cooling of new material lasted into early January 2021. The MIROVA log radiative power graph of thermal activity covers the year ending on 3 February 2021. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Thermal activity declined significantly at Nishinoshima during August 2020 (BGVN 45:09). Only two days had two MODVOLC alerts (11 and 30), and four other days (18, 20, 21, 29) had single alerts. During JCG overflights on 19 and 23 August there were no ash emissions or lava flows observed, although steam plumes rose over 2 km above the summit crater during both visits. The last ash emission was reported by the Tokyo VAAC on 27 August 2020. No eruptive activity was observed by JMA during an overflight on 5 September, but steam plumes were rising from the summit crater (figure 108). No significant changes were observed in the shape of the pyroclastic cone or the coastline. Yellowish brown discolored water appeared around the western half of the island, and high temperature was still measured on the inner wall of the crater. Faint traces of SO2 plumes were present in satellite images in early September; the last plume identified was on 18 September. Six days with single MODVOLC alerts were recorded during 3-19 September, and the final thermal alert appeared on 1 October 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. No eruptive activity was observed during a JMA overflight of Nishinoshima on 5 September 2020, but steam rose from numerous places within the enlarged summit crater (inset). Courtesy of JMA and JCG (Monthly report of activity at Nishinoshima, September 2020).

Steam plumes and high temperatures were noted at the summit crater on 28 October, and brown discolored water was present around the S coast of the island (figure 109), but there were no other signs of volcanic activity. Observations from the sea conducted on 2 November 2020 by researchers aboard the Maritime Meteorological Observatory marine weather observation ship "Ryofu Maru" confirmed there was no ongoing eruptive activity. In addition to steam plumes at the summit, they also noted steam rising from multiple cracks on the cooling surface of the lava flow area on the N side of the pyroclastic cone (figure 110). Only steam plumes from inside the summit crater were observed during an overflight on 24 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. On a JCG overflight above Nishinoshima on 28 October 2020 there were no signs of eruptive activity; steam plumes were present in the summit crater and brown discolored water was visible around the S coast of the island. Courtesy of JMA and JCG (Monthly report of activity at Nishinoshima, October 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Observations of Nishinoshima by staff aboard the Maritime Meteorological Observatory ship "Ryofu Maru" on 2 November 2020 showed a steam plume rising from the lava flow area on the N side of the pyroclastic cone (arrow) and minor steam above the cone. Courtesy of JMA (Monthly report of activity at Nishinoshima, November 2020).

JMA reduced the warning area around the crater on 18 December 2020 from 2.5 to 1.5 km due to decreased activity. On 7 December a steam plume rose from the inner wall of the summit crater and thermal imaging indicated the area was still hot. Brown discolored water was observed on the SE and SW coasts. Researchers aboard a ship from the Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo and the Marine Research and Development Organization reported continued steam plumes in the summit crater, around the lava flows on the N flank, and along the S coast during 15-29 December (figure 111). Steam plumes and elevated temperatures were still measured inside the summit crater during an overflight by the Japan Coast Guard on 25 January 2021, and discolored water persisted on the SE and SW coasts; there was no evidence of eruptive activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Observations of Nishinoshima from the sea by researchers from the Earthquake Research Institute (University of Tokyo) and the Marine Research and Development Organization, which took place from 15-29 December 2020, showed fumarolic acitivity not only inside the summit crater, but also in the lava flow area on the N side of the pyroclastic cone (left, 20 December) and in places along the southern coast (right, 23 December). (Monthly report of activity at Nishinoshima, December 2020).

Geologic Background. The small island of Nishinoshima was enlarged when several new islands coalesced during an eruption in 1973-74. Another eruption that began offshore in 2013 completely covered the previous exposed surface and enlarged the island again. Water discoloration has been observed on several occasions since. The island is the summit of a massive submarine volcano that has prominent satellitic peaks to the S, W, and NE. The summit of the southern cone rises to within 214 m of the sea surface 9 km SSE.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Volcano Database, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/info/kouhou/h29/index.html); Volcano Research Center (VRC-ERI), Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/topics/ASAMA2004/index-e.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/).


Nyiragongo (DR Congo) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong thermal anomalies and gas emission from lava lake through November 2020

Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano in the DR Congo with a deep summit crater containing a lava lake and a small active cone. During June 2018-May 2020, the volcano exhibited strong thermal signals primarily due to the lava lake, along with incandescence, seismicity, and gas-and-steam plumes (BGVN 44:05, 44:12, 45:06). The volcano is monitored by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG). This report summarizes activity during June-November 2020, based on satellite data.

Infrared MODIS satellite data showed almost daily strong thermal activity during June-November 2020 from MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), consistent with a large lava lake. Numerous hotspots were also identified every month by MODVOLC. Although clouds frequently obscured the view from space, a clear Sentinel-2 image in early June showed a gas-and-steam plume as well as a strong thermal anomaly (figure 76).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Nyiragongo on 1 June 2020. A gas-and-steam is visible in the natural color image (bands 4, 3, 2) rising from a pit in the center of the crater (left), while the false color image (bands 12, 11, 4) reveals a strong thermal signal from a lava lake (right). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During the first half of June 2020, OVG reported that SO2 levels had decreased compared to levels in May (7,000 tons/day); during the second half of June the SO2 flux began to increase again. High levels of sulfur dioxide were recorded almost every day in the region above or near the volcano by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) aboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite (figure 77). According to OVG, SO2 flux ranged from 819-5,819 tons/day during June. The number of days with a high SO2 flux decreased somewhat in July and August, with high levels recorded during about half of the days. The volume of SO2 emissions slightly increased in early July, based on data from the DOAS station in Rusayo, measuring 6,787 tons/day on 8 July (the highest value reported during this reporting period), and then declined to 509 tons/day by 20 July. The SO2 flux continued to gradually decline, with high values of 5,153 tons/day in August and 4,468 tons/day in September. The number of days with high SO2 decreased further in September and October but returned to about half of the days in November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. TROPOMI image of SO2 plume on 27 June 2020 in the Nyiragongo-Nyamulagira area. The plume drifted SSE. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

During 12-13 July a multidisciplinary team of OVG scientists visited the volcano to take measurements of the crater using a TCRM1102 Plus2 laser. They noted that the crater had expanded by 47.3 mm in the SW area, due to the rise in the lava lake level since early 2020. The OVG team took photos of the small cone in the lava lake that has been active since 2014, recently characterized by white gas-and-steam emissions (figure 78). OVG noted that the active lava lake had subsided roughly 20 m (figure78).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Photos (color corrected) of the crater at Nyiragongo showing the small active cone generating gas-and-steam emissions (left) and the active lava lake also characterized by white gas-and-steam emissions on 12 July 2020 (right). Courtesy of OVG (Rapport OVG Juillet 2020).

Geologic Background. One of Africa's most notable volcanoes, Nyiragongo contained a lava lake in its deep summit crater that was active for half a century before draining catastrophically through its outer flanks in 1977. The steep slopes of a stratovolcano contrast to the low profile of its neighboring shield volcano, Nyamuragira. Benches in the steep-walled, 1.2-km-wide summit crater mark levels of former lava lakes, which have been observed since the late-19th century. Two older stratovolcanoes, Baruta and Shaheru, are partially overlapped by Nyiragongo on the north and south. About 100 parasitic cones are located primarily along radial fissures south of Shaheru, east of the summit, and along a NE-SW zone extending as far as Lake Kivu. Many cones are buried by voluminous lava flows that extend long distances down the flanks, which is characterized by the eruption of foiditic rocks. The extremely fluid 1977 lava flows caused many fatalities, as did lava flows that inundated portions of the major city of Goma in January 2002.

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; 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); 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/).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions during June-November 2020

Kerinci, located in Sumatra, Indonesia, has had numerous explosive eruptions since 1838, with more recent activity characterized by gas-and-steam and ash plumes. The current eruptive episode began in April 2018 and has recently consisted of intermittent brown ash emissions and white gas-and-steam emissions (BGVN 45:07); similar activity continued from June through November 2020. Information primarily comes from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), MAGMA Indonesia, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity has been characterized by dominantly white and brown gas-and-steam emissions and occasional ash plumes, according to PVMBG. Near daily gas-and-steam emissions were observed rising 50-6,400 m above the crater throughout the reporting period: beginning in late July and continuing intermittently though November. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed frequent brown emissions rising above the summit crater at varying intensities and drifting in different directions from July to November (figure 21).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of brown emissions at Kerinci from July through November 2020 drifting in multiple directions. On 27 July (top left) the brown emissions drifted SW. On 31 August (top right) the brown emissions drifted W. On 2 September (bottom left) slightly weaker brown emissions drifting W. On 4 November (bottom right) weak brown emissions mostly remained within the crater, some of which drifted E. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During June through July the only activity reported by PVMBG consisted of white gas-and-steam emissions and brown emissions. On 4 June white gas-and-steam emissions rose to a maximum height of 6.4 km above the crater. White-and-brown emissions rose to a maximum height of 700 m above the crater on 2 June and 28 July.

Continuous white-and-brown gas-and-steam emissions were reported in August that rose 50-1,000 m above the crater. The number of ash plumes reported during this month increased compared to the previous months. In a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) issued on 7 August at 1024, PVMBG reported an ash plume that rose 600 m above the crater and drifted E, SE, and NE. In addition, the Darwin VAAC released two notices that described continuous minor ash emissions rising to 4.3 km altitude and drifting E and NE. On 9 August an ash plume rose 600 m above the crater and drifted ENE at 1140. An ash plume was observed rising to a maximum of 1 km above the crater, drifting E, SE, and NE on 12 August at 1602, according to a PVMBG VONA and Darwin VAAC advisory. The following day, brown emissions rose to a maximum of 1 km above the crater and were accompanied by a 600-m-high ash plume that drifted ENE at 1225. Ground observers on 15 August reported an eruption column that rose to 4.6 km altitude; PVMBG described brown ash emissions up to 800 m above the crater drifting NW at 0731 (figure 22). During 20-21 August pilots reported an ash plume rising 150-770 m above the crater drifting NE and SW, respectively.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Webcam image of an ash plume rising above Kerinci on 15 August 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Activity in September had decreased slightly compared to the previous month, characterized by only white-and-brown gas-and-steam emissions that rose 50-300 m above the crater; solely brown emissions were observed on 30 September and rose 50-100 m above the crater. This low level of activity persisted into October, with white gas-and-steam emissions to 50-200 m above the crater and brown emissions rising 50-300 m above the crater. On 16 October PVMBG released a VONA at 0340 that reported an ash plume rising 687 m above the crater and drifting NE. On 17 October white, brown, and black ash plumes that rose 100-800 m above the crater drifted NE according to both PVMBG and a Darwin VAAC advisory (figure 23). During 18-19 October white, brown, and black ash emissions rose up to 400 m above the crater and drifted NE and E.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Webcam image of a brown ash emission from Kerinci on 17 October 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

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

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


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — December 2020 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)


Gas-and-steam emissions with some re-suspended ash in November 2020

Whakaari/White Island, located in the Bay of Plenty 50 km offshore of North Island, has been New Zealand’s most active volcano since 1976. Activity has been previously characterized by phreatic activity, explosions, and ash emissions (BGVN 42:05). The most recent eruption occurred on 9 December 2019, which consisted of an explosion that generated an ash plume and pyroclastic surge that affected the entire crater area, resulting in 21 fatalities and many injuries (BGVN 45:02). This report updates information from February through November 2020, which includes dominantly gas-and-steam emissions along with elevated surface temperatures, using reports from the New Zealand GeoNet Project, the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity at Whakaari/White Island has declined and has been dominated by white gas-and-steam emissions during the reporting period; no explosive eruptive activity has been detected since 9 December 2019. During February through 22 June, the Volcanic Activity Level (VAL) remained at a 2 (moderate to heightened volcanic unrest) and the Aviation Color Code was Yellow. GeoNet reported that satellite data showed some subsidence along the W wall of the Main Crater and near the 1914 landslide scarp, though the rate had reduced compared to previous months. Thermal infrared data indicated that the fumarolic gases and five lobes of lava that were first observed in early January 2020 in the Main Crater were 550-570°C on 4 February and 660°C on 19 February. A small pond of water had begun to form in the vent area and exhibited small-scale gas-and-steam-driven water jetting, similar to the activity during September-December 2019. Gas data showed a steady decline in SO2 and CO2 levels, though overall they were still slightly elevated.

Similar activity was reported in March and April; the temperatures of the fumaroles and lava in the Main Crater were 746°C on 10 March, the highest recorded temperature to date. SO2 and CO2 gas emissions remained elevated, though had overall decreased since December 2019. Small-scale water jetting continued to be observed in the vent area. During April, public reports mentioned heightened gas-and-steam activity, but no eruptions were detected. A GeoNet report issued on 16 April stated that high temperatures were apparent in the vent area at night.

Whakaari remained at an elevated state of unrest during May, consisting of dominantly gas-and-steam emissions. Monitoring flights noted that SO2 and CO2 emissions had increased briefly during 20-27 May. On 20 May, the lava lobes remained hot, with temperatures around 500°C; a nighttime glow from the gas emissions surrounding the lava was visible in webcam images. Tremor levels remained low with occasional slightly elevated episodes, which included some shallow-source volcanic earthquakes. Satellite-based measurements recorded several centimeters of subsidence in the ground around the active vent area since December 2019. During a gas observation flight on 28 May there was a short-lived gas pulse, accompanied by an increase in SO2 and CO2 emissions, and minor inflation in the vent area (figure 96).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Photo of a strong gas-and-steam plume rising above Whakaari/White Island on 28 May 2020. Courtesy of GeoNet.

An observation flight made on 3 June reported a decline in gas flux compared to the measurements made on 28 May. Thermal infrared images taken during the flight showed that the lava lobes were still hot, at 450°C, and continued to generate incandescence that was visible at night in webcams. On 16 June the VAL was lowered to 1 (minor volcanic unrest) and on 22 June the Aviation Color Code had decreased to Green.

Minor volcanic unrest continued in July; the level of volcanic tremors has remained generally low, with the exception of two short bursts of moderate volcanic tremors in at the beginning of the month. Temperatures in the active vents remained high (540°C) and volcanic gases persisted at moderate rate, similar to those measured since May, according to an observation flight made during the week of 30 July. Subsidence continued to be observed in the active vent area, as well as along the main crater wall, S and W of the active vents. Recent rainfall has created small ponds of water on the crater floor, though they did not infiltrate the vent areas.

Gas-and-steam emissions persisted during August through October at relatively high rates (figures 97 and 98). A short episode of moderate volcanic tremor was detected in early August, but otherwise seismicity remained low. Updated temperatures of the active vent area were 440°C on 15 September, which had decreased 100°C since July. Rain continued to collect at the crater floor, forming a small lake; minor areas of gas-and-steam emissions can be seen in this lake. Ongoing subsidence was observed on the Main Crater wall and S and W of the 2019 active vents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Photo of an observation flight over Whakaari/White Island on 8 September 2020 showing white gas-and-steam emissions from the vent area. Photo courtesy of Brad Scott, GeoNet.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Image of Whakaari/White Island from Whakatane in the North Island of New Zealand showing a white gas-and-steam plume on 26 October 2020. Courtesy of GeoNet.

Activity during November was primarily characterized by persistent, moderate-to-large gas-and-steam plumes that drifted downwind for several kilometers but did not reach the mainland. The SO2 flux was 618 tons/day and the CO2 flux was 2,390 tons/day. New observations on 11 November noted some occasional ash deposits on the webcams in conjunction with mainland reports of a darker than usual plume (figure 99). Satellite images provided by MetService, courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency, confirmed the ash emission, but later images showed little to no apparent ash; GNS confirmed that no eruptive activity had occurred. Initial analyses indicated that the ash originated from loose material around the vent was being entrained into the gas-and-steam plumes. Observations from an overflight on 12 November showed that there was no substantial change in the location and size of the active vents; rainfall continued to collect on the floor of the 1978/90 Crater, reforming the shallow lake. A small sequence of earthquakes was detected close to the volcano with several episodes of slightly increased volcanic tremors.

During 12-14 November the Wellington VAAC issued multiple advisories noting gas, steam, and ash plumes that rose to 1.5-1.8 km altitude and drifted E and SE, based on satellite data, reports from pilots, and reports from GeoNet. As a result, the VAL was increased to 2 and the Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow. Scientists on another observation flight on 16 November reported that small amounts of ash continued to be present in gas-and-steam emissions, though laboratory analyses showed that this ash was resuspended material and not from new eruptive or magmatic activity. The SO2 and CO2 flux remained above background levels but were slightly lower than the previous week’s measurements: 710 tons/day and 1,937 tons/day. Seismicity was similar to the previous week, characterized by a sequence of small earthquakes, a larger than normal volcanic earthquake located near the volcano, and ongoing low-level volcanic tremors. During 16-17 November plumes with resuspended ash were observed rising to 460 m altitude, drifting E and NE, according to a VAAC advisory (figure 99). During 20-24 November gas-and-steam emissions that contained a minor amount of resuspended ash rose to 1.2 km altitude and drifted in multiple directions, based on webcam and satellite images and information from GeoNet.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. Left: Photo of a gas observation flight over Whakaari/White Island on 11 November 2020 showing some dark particles in the gas-and-steam plumes, which were deposited on some webcams. Photo has been color corrected and straightened. Courtesy of GeoNet. Right: Photo showing gas, steam, and ash emissions rising above the 2019 Main Crater area on 16 November 2020. Courtesy of GNS Science (17 November 2020 report).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows a total of eleven low-power thermal anomalies during January to late March 2020; a single weak thermal anomaly was detected in early July (figure 100). The elevated surface temperatures during February-May 2020 were detected in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images in the Main Crater area, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions (figure 101). Persistent white gas-and-steam emissions rising above the Main Crater area were observed in satellite imagery on clear weather days and drifting in multiple directions (figure 102). The small lake that had formed due to rainfall was also visible to the E of the active vents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. Low-power, infrequent thermal activity at Whakaari/White Island was detected during January through late March 2020, as reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). A single thermal anomaly was shown in early July. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images in the Main Crater area of Whakaari/White Island show residual elevated temperatures from the December 2019 eruption, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions and drifting in different directions during February-May 2020. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102. Sentinel-2 images showing persistent white gas-and-steam plumes rising from Main Crater area of Whakaari/White Island during March-November 2020 and drifting in multiple directions. A small pond of water (light blue-green) is visible in the vent area to the E of the plumes. On 11 November (bottom right), the color of the plume is gray and contains a small amount of ash. Images using “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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 GeoNet Project, a collaboration between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.geonet.org.nz/); GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/NZ/messages.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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Brad Scott, GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: https://twitter.com/Eruptn).


Suwanosejima (Japan) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

29.638°N, 129.714°E; summit elev. 796 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion rate increases during July-December 2020, bomb ejected 1.3 km from crater on 28 December

Suwanosejima, an andesitic stratovolcano in Japan's northern Ryukyu Islands, was intermittently active for much of the 20th century, producing ash plumes, Strombolian explosions, and ashfall. Continuous activity since October 2004 has included intermittent explosions which generate ash plumes that rise hundreds of meters above the summit to altitudes between 1 and 3 km. Incandescence is often observed at night and ejecta periodically reaches over a kilometer from the summit. Ashfall is usually noted several times each month in the nearby community on the SW flank of the island. Ongoing activity for the second half of 2020, which includes significantly increased activity in December, is covered in this report with information provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and several sources of satellite data.

A steady increase in activity was reported during July-December 2020. The number of explosions recorded increased each month from only six during July to 460 during December. The energy of the explosions increased as well; ejecta was reported 600 m from the crater during August, but a large bomb reached 1.3 km from the crater at the end of December. After an increased period of explosions late in December, JMA raised the Alert Level from 2 to 3 on a 5-level scale. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity indicated intermittent anomalies from July through December 2020, with a pulse of activity in the second half of December (figure 48).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. MIROVA thermal activity for Suwanosejima for the period from 3 February through December 2020 shows pulses of activity in February and April, with intermittent anomalies until another period of frequent stronger activity in December. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Six explosions were recorded during July 2020, compared with only one during June. According to JMA, the tallest plume rose 2,000 m above the crater rim. Incandescent ejecta was occasionally observed at night. The Tokyo VAAC reported a number of ash plumes that rose to 1.2-2.7 km altitude and drifted NW and W during the second half of the month (figure 49). Activity increased during August 2020 when thirteen explosions were reported. The Tokyo VAAC reported a few ash plumes during 1-6 August that rose to 1.8-2.4 km altitude and drifted NW; a larger pulse of activity during 18-22 August produced plumes that rose to altitudes ranging from 1.8 to over 2.7 km. Ashfall was reported on 19 and 20 August in the village located 4 km SSW of the crater; incandescence was visible at the summit and ash plumes drifted SW in satellite imagery on 19 August (figure 50). A MODVOLC thermal alert was issued on 19 August. On 21 August a large bomb was ejected 600 m from the Otake crater in an explosion early in the day; later that afternoon, an ash plume rose to more than 2,000 m above the crater rim. During 19-22 August, SO2 emissions were recorded each day by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. An ash emission at Suwanosejima rose to 2.7 km altitude and drifted NW on 27 July 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, July 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Ash drifted SW from the summit crater of Suwanosejima on 19 August 2020 and a bright thermal anomaly was present at the summit. Residents of the village 4 km SW reported ashfall that day and the next. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. A period of increased activity at Suwanosejima during 19-22 August 2020 produced SO2 emissions that were measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Nishinoshima, was also producing significant SO2 at the same time. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Thirteen explosions were recorded during September 2020, with the highest ash plumes reaching 2,000 m above the crater rim, and bombs falling 400 m from the crater. Ashfall was recorded on 20 September in the community located 4 km SSW. The Tokyo VAAC reported intermittent ash plumes during the month that rose to 1.2-2.1 km altitude and drifted in several directions. Incandescence was frequently observed at night (figure 52). Explosive activity increased during October with 22 explosions recorded. Ash plumes rose over 2,000 m above the crater rim, and bombs reached 700 m from the crater. Steam plumes rose 2,300 m above the crater rim. Ashfall and loud noises were confirmed several times between 2 and 14 October in the nearby village. A MODVOLC thermal alert was issued on 6 October. The Tokyo VAAC reported multiple ash plumes throughout the month; they usually rose to 1.5-2.1 km altitude and drifted in many directions. The plume on 28 October rose to over 2.7 km altitude and was stationary.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Incandescence at night and ash emissions were observed multiple times at Suwanosejima during September and October 2020 including on 21 and 26 September (top) and 29 October 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, September and October 2020).

Frequent explosions occurred during November 2020, with a sharp increase in the number of explosions to 105 events compared with October. Ash plumes rose to 1,800 m above the crater rim and bombs were ejected 700 m. Occasional ashfall and loud noises were reported from the nearby community throughout the month. Scientists measured no specific changes to the surface temperature around the volcano during an overflight early on 5 November compared with the previous year. At 0818 on 5 November a small ash explosion at the summit crater was photographed by the crew during an observation flight (figure 53). On 12 and 13 November, incandescent ejecta fell 600 m from the crater and ash emissions rose 1,500 m above the crater rim (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. A minor explosion produced a small ash plume at Suwanosejima during an overflight by JMA on the morning of 5 November 2020. The thermal activity was concentrated at the base of the explosion (inset). Image taken from off the E coast. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, November 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. On 12 and 13 November 2020 incandescent ejecta from Suwanosejima reached 600 m from the crater (top) and ash emissions rose 1,500 m above the crater rim (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, November 2020).

During December 2020 there were 460 explosions reported, a significant increase from the previous months. Ash plumes reached 1,800 m above the summit. Three MODVOLC thermal alerts were issued on 25 December and two were issued the next day. The number of explosions increased substantially at the Otake crater between 21 and 29 December, and early on 28 December a large bomb was ejected to 1.3 km SE of the crater (figure 55). A second explosion a few hours later ejected another bomb 1.1 km SE. An overflight later that day confirmed the explosion, and ash emissions were still visible (figure 56), although cloudy weather prevented views of the crater. Ashfall was noted and loud sounds heard in the nearby village. A summary graph of observations throughout 2020 indicated that activity was high from January through May, quieter during June, and then increased again from July through the end of the year (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Early on 28 December 2020 a large explosion at Suwanosejima sent a volcanic bomb 1.3 km SE from the summit (bright spot on left flank in large photo). Thermal imaging taken the same day showed the heat at the eruption site and multiple fragments of warm ejecta scattered around the crater area (inset). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, December 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Ash emissions were still visible midday on 28 December 2020 at Suwanosejima during a helicopter overflight by the 10th Regional Coast Guard. Image taken from the SW flank of the volcano. Two large explosions earlier in the day had sent ejecta more than a kilometer from the crater. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity commentary material on Suwanosejima, December 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Activity summary for Suwanosejima for January-December 2020 when 764 explosions were recorded. Black bars represent the height of steam, gas, or ash plumes in meters above the crater rim, gray volcano icons represent explosions, usually accompanied by an ash plume, red icons represent large explosions with ash plumes, orange diamonds indicate incandescence observed in webcams. Courtesy of JMA (Suwanosejima volcanic activity annual report, 2020).

Geologic Background. The 8-km-long, spindle-shaped island of Suwanosejima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. The summit is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse. Suwanosejima, one of Japan's most frequently active volcanoes, was in a state of intermittent strombolian activity from Otake, the NE summit crater, that began in 1949 and lasted until 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened. The largest historical eruption took place in 1813-14, when thick scoria deposits blanketed residential areas, and the SW crater produced two lava flows that reached the western coast. At the end of the eruption the summit of Otake collapsed forming a large debris avalanche and creating the horseshoe-shaped Sakuchi caldera, which extends to the eastern coast. The island remained uninhabited for about 70 years after the 1813-1814 eruption. Lava flows reached the eastern coast of the island in 1884. Only about 50 people live on the island.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.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); 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/).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Hot material on the NW flank in November 2020; intermittent crater thermal anomalies

Karangetang (also known as Api Siau) is located on the island of Siau in the Sitaro Regency, North Sulawesi, Indonesia and consists of two active summit craters: a N crater (Kawah Dua) and a S crater (Kawah Utama, also referred to as the “Main Crater”). More than 50 eruptions have been observed since 1675. The current eruption began in November 2018 and has recently been characterized by frequent incandescent block avalanches, thermal anomalies in the crater, and gas-and-steam plumes (BGVN 45:06). This report covers activity from June through November 2020, which includes dominantly crater anomalies, few ash plumes, and gas-and-steam emissions. Information primarily comes from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), MAGMA Indonesia, and various satellite data.

Activity decreased significantly after mid-January 2020 and has been characterized by dominantly gas-and-steam emissions and occasional ash plumes, according to PVMBG. Daily gas-and-steam emissions were observed rising 25-600 m above the Main Crater (S crater) during the reporting period and intermittent emissions rising 25-300 m above Kawah Dua (N crater).

The only activity reported by PVMBG in June, August, and October was daily gas-and-steam emissions above the Main Crater and Kawah Dua (figure 47). MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent low-power thermal anomalies during June through late July, which includes a slight increase in power during late July (figure 48). During 14-15 July strong rumbling from Kawah Dua was accompanied by white-gray emissions that rose 150-200 m above the crater. Crater incandescence was observed up to 10 m above the crater. According to webcam imagery from MAGMA Indonesia, intermittent incandescence was observed at night from both craters through 25 July. In a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) issued on 5 September, PVMBG reported an ash plume that rose 800 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. Webcam image of gas-and-steam plumes rising above the two summit craters at Karangetang on 16 June 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Intermittent low-power thermal anomalies at Karangetang were reported during June through July 2020 with a slight increase in power in late July, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). No thermal activity was detected during August to late October; in mid-November a short episode of increased activity occurred. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Thermal activity increased briefly during mid-November when hot material was reported extending 500-1,000 m NW of the Main Crater, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions rising 200 m above the crater. Corresponding detection of MODIS thermal anomalies was seen in MIROVA graphs (see figure 48), and the MODVOLC system showed alerts on 13 and 15 November. On 16 November blue emissions were observed above the Main Crater drifting W. Sentinel-2 thermal images showed elevated temperatures in both summit craters throughout the reporting period, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions and movement of hot material on the NW flank on 19 November (figure 49). White gas-and-steam emissions rose to a maximum height of 300 m above Kawah Dua on 22 November and 600 m above the Main Crater on 28 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Persistent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) at Karangetang were detected in both summit craters using Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery during June through November 2020. Gas-and-steam emissions were also occasionally detected in both craters as seen on 17 June (top left) and 20 September (bottom left) 2020. On 19 November (bottom right) the Main Crater (S) showed a hot thermal signature extending NW. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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).


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — January 2021 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)


Dome growth and ash emissions continue during July-December 2020

Colombia’s broad, glacier-capped Nevado del Ruiz has an eruption history documented back 8,600 years, including documented observations since 1570. Ruiz remained quiet for 20 years after the deadly September 1985-July 1991 eruption until a period of explosive activity from February 2012 into 2013. Renewed activity beginning in November 2014 included ash and gas-and-steam plumes, ashfall, and the appearance of a slowly growing lava dome inside the Arenas crater in August 2015. Additional information has caused a revision to earlier reporting that eruptive activity ended in May 2017 and began again that December (BGVN 44:12); activity appears to have continued throughout 2017 with intermittent ash emissions and thermal evidence of dome growth. Periods of increased thermal activity alternated with periods of increased explosive activity during 2018-2019 and into 2020; SO2 emissions persisted at significant levels. The lava dome has continued to grow through 2020. This report covers ongoing activity from July-December 2020 using information from reports by the Servicio Geologico Colombiano (SGC) and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales, the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) notices, and various sources of satellite data.

Gas and ash emissions continued throughout July-December 2020; they generally rose to 5.8-6.1 km altitude with the highest reported plume at 6.7 km altitude on 7 December. SGC interpreted repeated episodes of “drumbeat seismicity” as an indication of continued dome growth throughout the period. Satellite thermal anomalies also suggested that dome growth continued. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity suggests that the dome was quiet in July and early August, but small pulses of thermal energy were recorded every few weeks for the remainder of 2020 (figure 115). Plots of the cumulative number and magnitude of seismic events at Nevado del Ruiz between January 2010 and November 2020 show a stable trend with periodic sharp increases in activity or magnitude throughout that time. SGC has adjusted the warning levels over time according to changes in the slope of the curves (figure 116).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. Thermal energy shown in the MIROVA graph of log radiative power at Nevado del Ruiz from 3 February 2020 through the end of the year indicates that higher levels of thermal energy lasted through April 2020; a quieter period from late May-early August was followed by low-level persistent anomalies through the end of the year. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. Changes in seismic frequency and energy at Nevado del Ruiz have been monitored by SGC for many years. Left: the cumulative number of daily VT, LP-VLP, TR, and HB seismic events, recorded between 1 January 2010 and 30 November 2020. The arrows highlight the days with the highest number of seismic events; the number and type of event is shown under the date. Right: The cumulative VT and HB seismic energy recorded between 1 January 2010 and 30 November 2020. The arrows highlight the days with the highest energy; the local magnitude of the event is shown below the date. SGC has adjusted the warning levels over time (bar across the bottom of each graph) according to changes in the slope of the curves. Courtesy of SGC (INFORME TÉCNICO – OPERATIVO DE LA ACTIVIDAD VOLCÁNICA, SEGMENTO VOLCÁNICO NORTE DE COLOMBIA – NOVIEMBRE DE 2020).

Activity during July-December 2020. Seismic energy increased during July compared to June 2020 with events localized around the Arenas crater. The depth of the seismicity varied from 0.3-7.8 km. Some of these signals were associated with small emissions of gas and ash, which were confirmed through webcams and by reports from officials of the Los Nevados National Natural Park (NNNP). The Washington VAAC reported a possible ash emission on 8 July that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NW. On 21 July a webcam image showed an ash emission that rose to the same altitude and drifted W; it was seen in satellite imagery possibly extending 35 km from the summit but was difficult to confirm due to weather clouds. Short- to moderate-duration (less than 40 minutes) episodes of drumbeat seismicity were recorded on 5, 13, 17, and 21 July. SCG interprets this type of seismic activity as related to the growth of the Arenas crater lava dome. Primarily WNW drifting plumes of steam and SO2 were observed in the webcams daily. The gas was occasionally incandescent at night. The tallest plume of gas and ash reached 1,000 m above the crater rim on 30 July and was associated with a low-energy tremor pulse; it produced ashfall in parts of Manizales and nearby communities (figure 117).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Images captured by a traditional camera (top) and a thermal camera (bottom) at Nevado del Ruiz showed a small ash emission in the early morning of 30 July 2020. Ashfall was reported in Manizales. The cameras are located 3.7 km W of the Arenas crater. Courtesy of SGC (Emisión de ceniza Volcan Nevado del Ruiz Julio 30 de 2020).

Seismicity increased in August 2020 with respect to July. Some of the LP and TR (tremor) seismicity was associated with small emissions of gas and ash, confirmed by web cameras, park personnel, and the Washington VAAC. The Washington VAAC received a report from the Bogota MWO of an ash emission on 1 August that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NW; it was not visible in satellite imagery. Various episodes of short duration drumbeat seismicity were recorded during the month. The tallest steam and gas plume reached 1,800 m above the rim on 31 August. Despite the fact that in August the meteorological conditions made it difficult to monitor the surface activity of the volcano, three ash emissions were confirmed by SGC.

Seismicity decreased during September 2020 with respect to August. Some of the LP and TR (tremor) seismicity was associated with small emissions of gas and ash, confirmed by web cameras, park personnel and the Washington VAAC. The Washington VAAC reported an ash emission on 16 September that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NW. A minor ash emission on 20 September drifted W from the summit at 5.8 km altitude. A possible emission on 23 September drifted NW at 6.1 km altitude for a brief period before dissipating. Two emissions were reported drifting WNW of the summit on 26 September at 5.8 and 5.5 km altitude. Continuous volcanic tremors were registered throughout September, with the higher energy activity during the second half of the month. One episode of drumbeat seismicity on 15 September lasted for 38 minutes and consisted of 25 very low energy earthquakes. Steam and gas plumes reached 1,800 m above the crater rim during 17-28 September (figure 118). Five emissions of ash were confirmed by the webcams and park officials during the month, in spite of difficult meteorological conditions; three of them occurred between 15 and 20 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. A dense plume of steam rose from Nevado del Ruiz in the morning of 17 September 2020. Courtesy of Gonzalo.

Seismicity increased during October with respect to September. A few of the LP and tremor seismic events were associated with small emissions of gas and ash, confirmed by web cameras, park personnel, and the Washington VAAC. The Washington VAAC issued advisories of possible ash emissions on 2, 6, 9, 11, 15, 17, 18, and 21 October. The plumes rose to 5.6-6.4 km altitude and drifted primarily W and NW. Steam plumes were visible most days of the month (figure 119). Only a few were visible in satellite data, but most were visible in the webcams. Several episodes of drumbeat seismicity were recorded on 13, 22-25, and 27 October, which were characterized by being of short duration and consisting of very low energy earthquakes. The tallest plume during the month rose about 2 km above the crater rim on 18 October. Ash emissions were recorded eight times during the month by SGC.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. A steam plume mixed with possible ash drifted SE from Nevado del Ruiz on 7 October 2020. Courtesy of vlucho666.

During November 2020, the number of seismic events decreased relative to October, but the amount of energy released increased. Some of the seismicity was associated with small emissions of gas and ash, confirmed by webcams around the volcano. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 22 and 30 November; the 22 November event was faintly visible in satellite images and was also associated with an LP seismic event. They rose to 5.8-6.1 km altitude and drifted W. Various episodes of drumbeat seismicity registered during November were short- to moderate-duration, very low energy, and consisted of seismicity associated with rock fracturing (VT). Multiple steam plumes were visible from communities tens of kilometers away (figure 120).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Multiple dense steam plumes were photographed from communities around Nevado del Ruiz during November 2020, including on 18 (top) and 20 (bottom) November. Top image courtesy of Jose Fdo Cuartas, bottom image courtesy of Efigas Oficial.

Seismic activity increased in December 2020 relative to November. It was characterized by continuous volcanic tremor, tremor pulses, long-period (LP) and very long-period (VLP) earthquakes. Some of these signals were associated with gas and ash emissions, one confirmed through the webcams. The Washington VAAC reported ash emissions on 5 and 7 December. The first rose to 5.8 km altitude and drifted NW. The second rose to 6.7 km altitude and drifted W. A single discrete cloud was observed 35 km W of the summit; it dissipated within six hours. Drumbeat seismic activity increased as well in December; the episode on 3 December was the most significant. Steam and gas emissions continued throughout the month; a plume of gas and ash reached 1,700 m above the summit on 20 December, and drifted NW.

Sentinel-2 satellite data showed at least one thermal anomaly inside the Arenas crater each month during August-December 2020, corroborating the seismic evidence that the dome continued to grow throughout the period (figure 121). Sulfur dioxide emissions were persistent, with many days every month recording DU values greater than two with the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite (figure 122).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. Thermal anomalies at Nevado del Ruiz were recorded at least once each month during August-December 2020 suggesting continued growth of the dome within the Arenas crater at the summit. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. Sulfur dioxide emissions were persistent at Nevado del Ruiz during August-December 2020, with many days every month recording DU values greater than two with the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5-P satellite. Ecuador’s Sangay had even larger SO2 emissions throughout the period. Dates are at the top of each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Additional reports of activity during 2017. Activity appears to have continued during June-December 2017. Ash emissions were reported by the Bogota Meteorological Weather Office (MWO) on 13 May, and by SGC on 28 May. During June, some of the recorded seismic events were associated with minor emissions of ash; these were confirmed by webcams and by field reports from both the staff of SGC and the Los Nevados National Natural Park (PNNN). Ash emissions were confirmed in webcams by park officials on 3, 16, and 17 June. Gas emissions from the Arenas crater during July 2017 averaged 426 m above the crater rim, generally lower than during June. The emissions were mostly steam with small amounts of SO2. Emissions were similar during August, with most steam and gas plumes drifting NW. No ash emissions were reported during July or August.

SGC reported steam and gas plumes during September that rose as high as 1,650 m above the crater rim and drifted NW. On 21 September the Washington VAAC received a report of an ash plume that rose to 6.4 km altitude and drifted NNW, although it was not visible in satellite imagery. Another ash emission rising to 6.7 km altitude was reported on 7 October; weather clouds prevented satellite observation. An episode of drumbeat seismicity was recorded on 9 October, the first since April 2017. While SGC did not explicitly mention ash emissions during October, several of the webcam images included in their report show plumes described as containing ash and gas (figure 123).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Plumes of steam, gas, and ash rose from Arenas crater at Nevado del Ruiz most days during October 2017. Photographs were captured by the webcams installed in the Azufrado Canyon and Cerro Gualí areas. Courtesy of SGC (INFORME DE ACTIVIDAD VOLCANICA SEGMENTO NORTE DE COLOMBIA, OCTUBRE DE 2017).

The Washington VAAC received a report from the Bogota MWO of an ash emission that rose to 6.1 km altitude and drifted NE on 8 November 2017. A faint plume was visible in satellite imagery extending 15 km NE from the summit. SGC reported that plumes rose as high as 2,150 m above the rim of Arenas crater during November. The plumes were mostly steam, with minor amounts of SO2. A diffuse plume of ash was photographed in a webcam on 24 November. SGC did not report any ash emissions during December 2017, but the Washington VAAC reported “a thin veil of volcanic ash and gases” visible in satellite imagery and webcams on 18 December that dissipated within a few hours. In addition to the multiple reports of ash emissions between May and December 2017, Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery recorded at least one image each month during June-December showing a thermal anomaly at the summit consistent with the slowly growing dome first reported in August 2015 (figure 124).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Thermal anomalies from the growing dome inside Arenas crater at the summit of Nevado del Ruiz appeared at least once each month from June-December 2017. A strong anomaly was slightly obscured by clouds on 3 June (top left). On 2 August, a steam plume obscured most of the crater, but a small thermal anomaly is visible in its SE quadrant (top right). Strong anomalies on 30 November and 20 December (bottom) have a ring-like form suggestive of a growing dome. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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: 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); 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/); Gonzalo (URL: https://twitter.com/chaloc22/status/1306581929651843076); Jose Fdo Cuartas (URL: https://twitter.com/JoseFCuartas/status/1329212975434096640); Vlucho666 (URL: https://twitter.com/vlucho666/status/1313791959954268161); Efigas Oficial (URL: https://twitter.com/efigas_oficial/status/1329780287920873472).


Ibu (Indonesia) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Ibu

Indonesia

1.488°N, 127.63°E; summit elev. 1325 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent daily ash emissions and thermal anomalies, July-December 2020

Mount Ibu is an active stratovolcano located along the NW coast of Halmahera Island in Indonesia. After a two-day eruption in 1911, Ibu was quiet until 1998-1999 when explosions produced ash emissions, a lava flow and dome growth began inside the summit crater. Although possible dome growth occurred in 2001 and 2004, little activity was reported until ash emissions began in April 2008. These were followed by thermal anomalies beginning the next month; ash emissions and dome growth have continued for 12 years and the dome now fills the summit crater (BGVN 45:07). Activity continued throughout 2020, consisting of frequent white-and-gray emissions, ash explosions, ash plumes, and small lava flows. This report updates activity through December 2020, using data from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and various satellite instruments.

Activity throughout July-December 2020 was very consistent and similar to activity reported earlier in the year. Tens of daily explosions produced white and gray ash emissions that rose 200-800 m above the summit (figure 25). Occasional larger explosions were reported in VONAs and VAAC notices. The MIROVA graph of log radiative power for the period shows consistent thermal anomalies the entire time (figure 26). Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 identified thermal anomalies inside the summit crater every month, usually a larger central one and a smaller one to the NW, suggesting continued dome growth and lava flow activity (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Between 60 and 90 explosions occurred most days at Ibu during 1 July-31 December 2020. White and gray plumes rose 200-800 m above the summit crater every day. Data courtesy of PVMBG daily reports.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. The MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power at Ibu from 3 February through December 2020 indicated a constant ongoing heat source from the summit of the crater. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Thermal anomalies persisted at the summit of Ibu throughout July-December 2020. One central anomaly was usual accompanied by a smaller one slightly NW of the central spot. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11a, and 8), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The Darwin VAAC observed multiple minor ash emissions in satellite imagery drifting W on 6 July 2020 at 1.8 km altitude. A series of discrete puffs of ash were observed on 15 July also at 1.8 km altitude drifting W. Ongoing minor emissions were discernible on visible and RGB imagery at 2.1 km altitude drifting W on 20 July. On 30 July ash plumes rose to 1.8 km altitude drifted NW and a hotspot was present at the summit. A single MODVOLC alert was issued on 8 July. Single MODVOLC alerts were also issued on 11, 18, and 27 August 2020. PVMBG issued a VONA on 5 August, reporting an ash cloud that rose to 1.8 km altitude and drifted N (figure 28). The Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission later that day that rose to 4.3 km altitude and drifted NW for several hours before dissipating. Multiple discrete emissions were identified in satellite imagery drifting N at 2.1 km altitude on 11 August; they dissipated quickly. During 22-25 August intermittent ash emissions rose to 1.5-1.8 km altitude and drifted NW and W. Minor continuous emissions were again reported on 28 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Ash plumes rose from the summit of Ibu many days during July and August 2020, including on 8 July (top) and 5 August (bottom). Courtesy of PVMBG.

Many ash emissions during September and October 2020 were not accompanied by VONAs or VAAC advisories (figure 29). PVMBG issued a VONA on 20 September for an ash emission that rose to 1.5 km altitude and drifted N. Continuous discrete ash emissions over several days drifted SW to NW during 25-29 September at 1.8-2.1 km altitude, as reported in multiple VONAs and VAAC advisories. Single MODVOLC alerts were issued on 26 and 30 September. The Darwin VAAC issued an ash advisory on 8 October for intermittent ash emissions rising to 2.1 km altitude and drifting NW. A single MODVOLC alert was issued the next day. On 20 October ash emissions again rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted NE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Ash emissions at Ibu were photographed in webcams on 6 September (left) and 12 October (right) 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG.

The Darwin VAAC reported intermittent ash emissions to 1.8 km altitude during 3-5, 12-13, 18-19, and 22 November 2020 that drifted SSW for several hours before dissipating. PVMBG also issued a VONA for an ash cloud on 27 November that rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted W. They reported faint rumbling at the PGA Ibu station on 10 November and loud rumbling on 16 and 18 November. During December, minor ash emissions rose to 1.8-2.1 km altitude and drifted E on 4 and 6 December, SW on 11 December, and SE on 12-13 December. PVMBG issued a VONA on 19 December for a white to gray ash cloud drifting N at 1.7 km altitude. Single MODVOLC alerts were issued on 10, 13, and 22 December. Numerous ash emissions were captured by the webcams (figure 30).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Ash emissions at Ibu were recorded in webcams on 17 November (top) and 5 December (bottom) 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG.

Geologic Background. The truncated summit of Gunung Ibu stratovolcano along the NW coast of Halmahera Island has large nested summit craters. The inner crater, 1 km wide and 400 m deep, contained several small crater lakes through much of historical time. The outer crater, 1.2 km wide, is breached on the north side, creating a steep-walled valley. A large parasitic cone is located ENE of the summit. A smaller one to the WSW has fed a lava flow down the W flank. A group of maars is located below the N and W flanks. Only a few eruptions have been recorded in historical time, the first a small explosive eruption from the summit crater in 1911. An eruption producing a lava dome that eventually covered much of the floor of the inner summit crater began in December 1998.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Etna (Italy) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions and ash plumes persist from multiple craters during August-November 2020

Etna, on the island of Sicily, Italy, and has had documented eruptions dating back 3,500 years. Its most recent eruptive period began in September 2013 and has continued through November 2020, characterized by frequent Strombolian explosions, effusive activity, and ash plumes. 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). The newest crater, referred to as the "cono della sella" (saddle cone), emerged during early 2017 in the area between SEC and NSEC. This report from August through November 2020 updates activity consisting of frequent Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, summit crater incandescence, degassing, and some ashfall based on information primarily from weekly 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 August-November 2020. Intra-crater Strombolian explosions that varied in frequency and intensity throughout the reporting period, and the accompanying ash emissions that rose to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km, primarily originated from the Northeast Crater (NEC), the New Southeast Crater (NSEC), and intermittently from the Voragine Crater (VOR). Degassing of variable intensity typically occurred at the VOR and the Bocca Nuova (BN) Crater. At night, occasional summit crater incandescence was visible in webcam images, accompanied by explosions and gas-and-ash emissions. On 14 August strong Strombolian explosions produced an ash plume that rose to 4.5 km altitude and drifted SE, resulting in ashfall between Pedara, Trecastagni, and Viagrande. INGV reported that the central pit crater at the bottom of BN continued to widen, and on 9 September scientists observed that a new pit crater had formed NW of the central depression and was widening due to crater wall collapses. During late October to 1 November, INGV reported that small lava flows originated from scoria cones in the NEC and were visible from the edge of the crater but did not spill over.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent thermal activity of varying strength throughout the reporting period (figure 308). In late October, the frequency of the thermal anomalies increased, and continued through November. According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of 31 alerts were detected in the summit craters during August through November; thermal anomalies were reported for five days in August, four days in September, four days in October, and eight days in November. Frequent Strombolian activity contributed to distinct SO2 plumes that drifted in multiple directions (figure 309).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 308. Strong and frequent thermal activity at Etna was detected during August through November 2020, as reflected in the MIROVA data (Log Radiative Power). Beginning in late October, the frequency of the thermal anomalies increased compared to the previous months. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 309. Distinct SO2 plumes from Etna were detected on multiple days during August to November 2020 due to frequent Strombolian explosions, including 29 August (top left), 8 September (top right), 1 October (bottom left), and 11 November (bottom right) 2020. SO2 plumes were observed drifting in multiple directions. Captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite, courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Activity during August-September 2020. During August, INGV reported intra-crater Strombolian explosions in the NEC, VOR, and NSEC (including the cono della sella) craters, which produced discontinuous ash emissions rising above each crater (figure 310). Gas-and-steam emissions were the dominant activity in the BN crater. INGV noted that the central pit crater on the floor of BN had been gradually widening since April. On 2 August a slight increase in explosivity resulted in minor ashfall in Trecastagni and Acicastello. Explosive activity occasionally ejected material above the crater rim up to several tens of meters. On the morning of 7 August incandescent Strombolian activity was visible in the NSEC (figure 311). During the evening of 10-11 August surveillance cameras showed the explosions ejecting incandescent material on the surrounding flanks. On 14 August intense Strombolian activity in the saddle cone of the NSEC produced an ash plume that rose to 4-4.5 km altitude and drifted SE, resulting in ashfall between Pedara, Trecastagni, and Viagrande. By the evening activity had sharply declined, according to a VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) report, though sporadic ash emissions continued. A new series of ash emissions associated with explosions of varying intensity began on 15 August in the NSEC. A resulting ash plume rose to 4-4.5 km altitude and drifted ESE. On 17 August gas-and-steam emissions were seen rising above the VOR crater, accompanied by persistent Strombolian explosions. Between the afternoon and early morning of 20-21 August surveillance cameras showed an increased intensity and frequency of ash emissions above the NSEC and NEC that rose to 4-4.5 km altitude and drifted SSE. INGV-OE scientists reported minor ashfall in Trecastagni, Viagrande, and Catania. During 24-30 August ground observers reported that the intra-crater explosions in the NEC originated from two explosive vents; the BN crater exhibited gas-and-steam emissions from the central pit crater, which continued to widen. During 25-26 August explosive activity increased at the NSEC with ash emissions rising to 4.5 km and drifting SSE, which resulted in modest ashfall in Catania, Viagrande, and Trecastagni; by morning, the volume of ash emissions had decreased, though explosions persisted. During 28-29 August discontinuous and modest ash emissions originating from the NSEC rose 4.5 km altitude drifting E and ENE but did not result in ashfall. Emissions had stopped by 1747 on 29 August, though intense gas-and-steam emissions continued, occasionally accompanied by mild explosive activity (figure 312).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 310. An ash plume accompanied Strombolian explosions at Etna on 3 August (top left) and 4 August (top right) and as seen from the Montagnola (EMOV) thermal camera in the NSEC. Continuous Strombolian activity and summit crater incandescence was observed on 7 August (bottom left); an ash plume was visible in the Monte Cagliato surveillance camera during the day on 9 August (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 33/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 03/08/2020 – 09/08/2020, data emissione 11/08/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 311. Strombolian explosions and summit crater incandescence was observed at Etna’s New Southeast Crater (NSEC “cono della sella”) during the early morning of 7 August 2020 seen from Tremestieri Etneo. Photo by Boris Behncke, INGV.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 312. Photo of the S edge of the Bocca Nuova Crater at Etna on 29 August 2020 showing degassing in the pit crater. The main scoria cone within the Voragine Crater is visible in the background. Courtesy of INGV (Report 36/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 24/08/2020 – 30/08/2020, data emissione 01/09/2020).

Strombolian activity of varying intensity continued in the NSEC and NEC during September, producing sporadic ash emissions (figure 313). The BN and VOR craters were characterized by gas-and-steam emissions. Explosions in the NSEC ejected coarse pyroclastic material above the crater rim several tens of meters, some of which were deposited on the S flank, and accompanied by sporadic ash emissions; these explosions continued to widen the depression in the saddle cone of the NSEC. Intermittent nighttime crater incandescence was observed in the NSEC. Sporadic and weak ash emissions were observed in the VOR. On 9 September INGV scientists reported intense degassing from the center pit crater in the BN. To the NW of this center depression, a new pit crater had formed and began to widen due to the collapse of the crater walls (figure 314). On 26 September explosions in the NSEC produced an ash plume that rose to 4 km altitude and drifted E, though no ashfall was reported.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 313. Webcam image showing explosions in the New Southeast Crater and resulting ash emissions on 1 September 2020. Courtesy of INGV (Report 37/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 31/08/2020 – 06/09/2020, data emissione 08/09/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 314. Photos of the bottom of the W edge of the Bocca Nuova Crater at Etna on 9 September 2020. Gas-and-steam emissions are visible rising above the pit crater in the background. In the foreground a new pit crater had formed to the NW of the central pit crater (yellow dotted line). Photo was taken from the S edge of the BN crater. Courtesy of INGV (Report 38/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 07/09/2020 – 13/09/2020, data emissione 15/09/2020).

Activity during October-November 2020. Similar variable Strombolian activity continued into October in the NSEC (cono della sella) and NEC; isolated and weak ash emissions were visible in the VOR crater and gas-and-steam emissions continued in both the VOR and BN craters. On 1 October an increase in explosive activity in the NSEC occurred around 0800, which produced an ash plume rising to 4.5 km altitude, drifting E. Ash emissions on 3 October were mostly confined to the summit crater, but some drifted toward the Valle del Bove. On 7 October Strombolian explosions in the NSEC generated an ash plume that rose to 4.5 km altitude drifting E and ESE. INGV personnel reported ashfall as a result in the Citelli Refuge. On 9 October drone observations showed at least three active scoria cones on the floor of the NEC with diameters of 30-40 m and heights of 10 m; a fourth vent was later reported in November (figure 315). INGV reported that activity characterized by Strombolian explosions and spatter was fed by these vents, accompanied by intense intra-crater fumarolic activity.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 315. Map of the summit craters of Etna showing the active vents and the area of cooled lava flows (light green) updated on 9 October 2020. 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; NSEC = New South East Crater. Red circles indicate areas with ash emissions and/or Strombolian activity, yellow circles indicate steam and/or gas emissions only. Courtesy of INGV (Report 44/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 19/10/2020 – 25/10/2020, data emissione 27/10/2020).

During 12-18 October surveillance cameras captured incandescence in the NEC and pyroclastic material seen during more intense explosions. During the week of 19-25 October several thermal anomalies were detected on the NEC and BN crater floor. Particularly at night, thermal and surveillance cameras observed incandescent ejecta rising above the NSEC (figure 316). On 23 October a helicopter overflight along the W side of Etna showed continued explosions at the NSEC, which produced both ash emissions and incandescent shreds of lava. An associated ash plume rose to 4.5 km altitude and drifted SSE. Sporadic ash emissions were also observed in the BN crater (figure 316). During 26 October to 1 November occasional Strombolian activity resumed in the VOR which ejected material over the crater rim. The BN crater activity was characterized by small intra-crater collapses and consequent ash emissions. In the NEC, similar explosive activity persisted with the addition of small lava flows from the scoria cones, which were visible from the crater edge, though activity remained confined to the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 316. Photos showing Strombolian activity at the New Southeast Crater at Etna on 25 October 2020 (top left); ash emissions were observed during 22 October 2020 (top right). Ash emissions rose above the Bocca Nuova Crater on 22 October (bottom left) and weak ash emissions were seen above the Voragine Crater on 22 October (bottom right). Courtesy of INGV (Report 44/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 19/10/2020 – 25/10/2020, data emissione 27/10/2020).

Activity in November continued with variable Strombolian explosions accompanied by discontinuous ash emissions from the NSEC, NEC, and BN. During more intense explosions, ejecta reached several tens of meters above the crater, sometimes falling just outside the crater rim. Intensive degassing in the BN crater revealed occasional reddish ash in the new W pit crater that formed in September. The central pit crater was primarily characterized by intense gas-and-steam emissions and intra-crater wall collapses. Four vents were observed on the bottom of the NEC during 2-8 November, though only three of them produced Strombolian explosions, the fourth was quiet. On 5 November Strombolian explosions in BN originated from the W pit crater; coarser material was ejected above the pit crater rim. By 12 November Strombolian activity had decreased, explosions in the BN had deposited material on the S flank. Out of the three active NEC scoria cones, only one was continuously exploding, the second had discontinuous explosions, and the third was primarily emitting gas-and-steam. On 15 November faint ash emissions from the E side of the NSEC were observed (figure 317). On 20 November sporadic explosive activity continued from the NSEC and BN, the former of which occasionally ejected material above the crater rim (figure 318).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 317. Webcam images of the New Southeast Crater at Etna on 14 (left) and 15 (right) November 2020 showing Strombolian activity in the cono della sella (left) and the E vent shown by the black arrow (right). Images were taken by the Montagnola webcam. Courtesy of INGV (Report 47/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 09/11/2020 – 15/11/2020, data emissione 17/11/2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 318. Drone image of the New Southeast Crater at Etna on 21 November 2020 showing an ash plume rising above the inner crater rim (black line). Fallout is visible within the crater rim (small red circles). Courtesy of INGV (Report 48/2020, ETNA, Bollettino Settimanale, 16/11/2020 – 21/11/2020, data emissione 24/11/2020).

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/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Boris Behncke, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Sezione di Catania, Piazza Roma 2, 95123 Catania, Italy (URL: https://twitter.com/etnaboris).


Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

37.856°S, 71.183°W; summit elev. 2953 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New eruption in June-October 2020 with crater incandescence, ash plumes, and local ashfall

Copahue is an elongated composite cone located along the Chile-Argentina border. The E summit crater consists of an acidic 300-m-wide crater lake which is characterized by intense fumarolic activity. Previous activity consisted of continuous gas-and-ash emissions during early November 2019, accompanied by nighttime incandescence, minor SO2 plumes, and the reappearance of the lake in the El Agrio crater during early December 2019 (BGVN 45:03). This report, covering March-November 2020, describes an eruption with gas-and-ash plumes from mid-June through late October, accompanied by thermal anomalies visible in satellite imagery and small SO2 plumes. Primary information for this report comes from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Activity during March-May 2020 was relatively low and consisted primarily of seismicity, sulfur dioxide emissions, and occasional white gas-and-steam emissions rising 300-900 m above the El Agrio crater. On 20 March a series of volcano-tectonic seismic events were detected SSW of the volcano; satellite images showed a decrease in the size of the crater lake. SO2 emissions had daily averages of 487-636 tons, with the highest value reaching 1,884 tons/day on 16 May. During April slight subsidence was reported in the crater, occurring at a maximum rate of 0.3 cm/month.

Activity during most of June and July consisted of occasional white gas-and-steam emissions rising 350-500 m above the El Agrio crater and SO2 emissions averaging 592-1,950 tons/day; a high value of 1,897 tons/day was reported on 13 June. However, on 16 June a period of increased seismicity was accompanied by crater incandescence and gas emissions containing some ash. SO2 plumes increased slightly in July with values of 2,100 and 1,713 tons/day on 2 and 4 July, respectively. Another ash plume was observed by local residents on 16 July, accompanied by elevated seismicity and SO2 emissions of 4,684 tons/day. On 20 July residents of La Araucanía described an odor that indicated hydrogen sulfide gas emissions. A photo on 23 July showed an ash plume rising above the crater (figure 55).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Photo of a gas-and-ash plume rising from Copahue on 23 July 2020. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.

Beginning in early August, and continuing through September 2020, the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity graph provided by the MIROVA system identified a small cluster of thermal anomalies in the summit area (figure 56). Thermal anomalies during this time were also captured in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, showing a persistent hotspot of varying strength in the summit crater (figure 57). This thermal activity was accompanied by small sulfur dioxide plumes identified by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite, which exceeded two Dobson Units (DU). Distinct SO2 emissions greater than two DUs were detected on 6, 11, 21, 22, and 29 August, 1 and 6 September, and 4 and 15 October (figure 58).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. A small cluster of thermal anomalies were detected in the summit area of Copahue (red dots) during early August through September 2020 as recorded by the Sentinel-2 MODIS Thermal Volcanic Activity data (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed a thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) at Copahue during August-October 2020. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Small SO2 plumes were recorded at Copahue during August-October 2020. Top row: 11 August and 1 September 2020. Bottom row: 6 September and 15 October 2020. Courtesy of the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

During August, approximately 133 explosive events were detected, in addition to the gas-and-steam and SO2 emissions (figure 59). On 3 August pulses of ash emissions were reported by SERNAGEOMIN, which resulted in a 2.2-km-long tephra deposit estimated to have a volume of 1 km3. Gray gas-and-ash emissions were observed on 6 August, followed by a thermal anomaly detected in satellite imagery beginning on 8 August. Sulfur dioxide emissions were elevated compared to previous months, measuring an average of 2,641 tons/day with high values of 4,498 tons/day on 12 August that increased to 4,627 tons/day by 27 August. During 16-31 August webcams recorded gas-and-ash plumes rising as high as 1.7 km altitude and were sometimes accompanied by nighttime crater incandescence. Plumes drifted in multiple directions as far as 4.3 km N, 9 km NE, 8 km E, 4 km SE, 4 km SW, 9 km W, and 4.4 km NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. Photo of a white gas-and-steam plume rising from Copahue on 12 August 2020. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.

Elevated activity continued into September with 2-10 explosive events detected during the month; during 1-15 September webcams recorded gas-and-ash plumes rising to 1.1 km altitude, drifting 6-15 km SW and SE, which were sometimes accompanied by nighttime crater incandescence (figure 60). On 7 September a Buenos Aires VAAC advisory reported an ash plume rising to 3.7 km altitude drifting SE. On 11 September a webcam showed a weak gas emission, possibly containing some ash. Three episodes of gas-and-steam plumes were reported, rising 100-1,040 m above the crater, sometimes accompanied by incandescence. SO2 emissions were in the 1,499-1,714 tons/day range, with a high value of 4,522 tons/day on 28 September. SERNAGEOMIN reported repetitive explosions in the acid lake area alongside fumarolic activity, ejecting some material 1.7 km N, 1.2 km SE, and 4 km E of the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Photos of gas-and-steam plumes rising from Copahue on 6 September (top) and 28 September (bottom) 2020. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.

Persistent activity in October consisted of gas-and-steam plumes, ash emissions, and SO2 emissions. The gas-and-steam plumes rose 1.4 km above the crater, occasionally accompanied by nighttime incandescence. On 5 October the SO2 emissions were at a high value of 3,824 tons/day. During 12-15 October ash emissions resulted in a wide distribution of ashfall that reached 6.8 km NE, 7 km SE, and 6.7 km SW (figure 61). A pilot reported an ash plume rose to 3.7 km altitude drifting SE, according to a VAAC advisory, though the plume was not visible in satellite data. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery recorded strong gas-and-ash plumes during August-October, drifting generally S and E, which resulted in ash deposits on the nearby flanks (figure 62). Continued emissions had covered all of the flanks with ash by late October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Photos of a gas-and-ash plume rising from Copahue on 13 October (top) and 15 October (bottom) 2020. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Sentinel-2 images showing ash gas-and-ash plumes rising from Copahue during August-October 2020, resulting in some ashfall in the nearby areas. The ash plume on 31 August (top left) is drifting S with ashfall observed on the N and S flanks. The ash plume on 7 September (top right) is drifting SE with ashfall on the E and S flanks. The ash plume on 27 September (bottom left) is drifting E and N with ashfall on the NE flanks. The ash plume on 20 October (bottom right) is drifting S with ashfall on all the flanks due to continued activity. Images using “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Similar activity during November decreased, primarily characterized by gas-and-steam plumes and SO2 emissions. White gas-and-steam emissions, possibly with some ash content, were observed with a webcam on 9 and 12 November, accompanied by low but continuous seismicity. During 11-12 November SO2 emissions were at a high value of 904 tons/day. A white gas-and-steam plume was observed on 15 November rising 760 m above the crater; typical degassing rose 200-300 m above the crater, according to SERNAGEOMIN. The daily average of SO2 emissions ranged 366-582 tons.

Geologic Background. Volcán Copahue is an elongated composite cone constructed along the Chile-Argentina border within the 6.5 x 8.5 km wide Trapa-Trapa caldera that formed between 0.6 and 0.4 million years ago near the NW margin of the 20 x 15 km Pliocene Caviahue (Del Agrio) caldera. The eastern summit crater, part of a 2-km-long, ENE-WSW line of nine craters, contains a briny, acidic 300-m-wide crater lake (also referred to as El Agrio or Del Agrio) and displays intense fumarolic activity. Acidic hot springs occur below the eastern outlet of the crater lake, contributing to the acidity of the Río Agrio, and another geothermal zone is located within Caviahue caldera about 7 km NE of the summit. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions from the crater lake have ejected pyroclastic rocks and chilled liquid sulfur fragments.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue, Caviahue, Argentina (URL: https://twitter.com/valecaviahue, Twitter: @valecaviahue).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

11.985°N, 86.165°W; summit elev. 594 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake continues accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions during June-November 2020

Masaya, located in Nicaragua, includes the Nindirí, San Pedro, and San Juan craters, as well as the currently active Santiago crater. The Santiago crater has contained an active lava lake since December 2015 (BGVN 41:08), and often produces gas-and-steam emissions. Similar activity is described in this report which updates information from June through November 2020 using reports from the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and various satellite data.

Volcanism at Masaya has been relatively quiet and primarily characterized by an active lava lake and gas-and-steam emissions. From January to November 2020 there were 8,551 seismic events recorded. A majority of these events were described as low-frequency earthquakes, though a few were classified as volcano-tectonic. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed few low-power thermal anomalies during June through November (figure 87). A small cluster of low-power thermal activity was detected in July and consisted of seven thermal anomalies out of a total of thirteen thermal anomalies recorded during the reporting period. Thermal activity was also observed in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery, which showed a constant thermal anomaly in the Santiago crater at the lava lake during July through October, occasionally accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume (figure 88). Small and intermittent sulfur dioxide emissions appeared in satellite data during each month of the reporting period, excluding July, some of which exceeded two Dobson Units (DU) (figure 89). On 6 July, 11 and 13 August, 7 September, during October, and 9 and 13 November, INETER scientists took SO2 measurements by making several transects using a mobile DOAS spectrometer that sampled for gases downwind of the volcano. Average values during these months were 1,202 tons/day (t/d), 1,383 t/d, 2,089 t/d, 950 t/d, and 819 t/d, respectively, with the highest average reported in September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Few thermal anomalies were detected at Masaya between June and November 2020 with a small cluster of thermal activity in July. A total of thirteen low-power thermal anomalies were shown on the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power) during the reporting period. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed the active lava lake at the summit crater of Masaya during July through October 2020, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions, as seen on 27 July (top left) and 30 September (bottom left). Images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Intermittent sulfur dioxide emissions were captured from Masaya during June through November 2020 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. These images show SO2 emissions reaching up to 2 Dobson Units (DU). Top left: 9 June 2020. Top right: 23 August 2020. Bottom left: 7 September 2020. Bottom right: 15 November 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

During June and July persistent gas-and-steam emissions were reported rising above the open lava lake in the Santiago crater (figure 90). On 20 June INETER scientists measured the gases on the S side, inside the Nindirí crater (SW side), and La Cruz (NW side). A perceptible gas-and-steam plume was noted rising above the Nindirí crater and drifting W. Crater wall collapses were observed on the E wall of the Santiago crater; the lava lake remained, but the level of the lake had decreased compared to previous months. During July, thermal measurements were taken of the fumaroles and near the lava lake using a FLIR SC620 thermal camera. INETER reported that the temperature measured 576°C, which had significantly increased from 163°C noted in the previous month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Images of the lava lake at Masaya during June 2020, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions (left) and a gas-and-steam plume rising above the Santiago crater (right). Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismológico, Vulcanológico y Geológico Junio, 2020).

Small crater wall collapses were detected on the NW and E wall of the Santiago crater, accompanied by abundant gas-and-steam emissions during August (figure 91). On 7 August thermal measurements were taken of the fumaroles and near the lava lake, which showed another temperature increase to 771°C. Continuous collapse of the crater walls began to excavate depressions in the crater floor and along the walls. Similar activity was observed in September with abundant gas-and-steam emissions in the Santiago crater, as well as collapses of the E wall (figure 91). Temperature measurements taken during this month had decreased slightly compared to August, to 688°C.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Photos of the Santiago crater at Masaya during August (left) and September (right) 2020 showing a) an internal collapse on the N wall of the crater floor; b) an internal collapse on the S wall of the crater floor, forming a depression; c) newly excavated crater floor due to wall collapses; and d) an internal collapse on the S wall. In September a significant amount of gas-and-steam emissions originating from the N side of the crater were observed compared to the previous months. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismológico, Vulcanológico y Geológico Agosto and Septiembre, 2020).

Activity in October and November remained consistent with continued wall collapses in the Santiago crater, particularly on the S and E wall, due to fractures in the rocks and erosion, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. INETER reported that the level of the lava lake had decreased due to continuous internal wall collapses, which had caused some obstruction in the lava lake and allowed for material to accumulate within the crater. On 9 October thermal measurements were taken of the fumaroles and near the lava lake using a FLIR SC620 thermal camera (figure 92). The temperature had increased again compared to September, to 823°C. By 26 November, the temperature had decreased slightly to 800°C, though activity remained similar.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Thermal measurements of the active lava lake and fumaroles taken in the Santiago crater at Masaya on 1 October 2020 with a FLIR SC620 thermal camera. Temperatures reached up to 823°C. Courtesy of INETER (Boletín Sismológico, Vulcanológico y Geológico Octubre, 2020).

Geologic Background. Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. It lies within the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras caldera and is itself a broad, 6 x 11 km basaltic caldera with steep-sided walls up to 300 m high. The caldera is filled on its NW end by more than a dozen vents that erupted along a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. The Nindirí and Masaya cones, the source of historical eruptions, were constructed at the southern end of the fracture system and contain multiple summit craters, including the currently active Santiago crater. A major basaltic Plinian tephra erupted from Masaya about 6,500 years ago. Historical lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and there is a lake at the far eastern end. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption overtopped the north caldera rim. Masaya has been frequently active since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold." Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals have caused health hazards and crop damage.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); 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).


Nevados de Chillan (Chile) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevados de Chillan

Chile

36.868°S, 71.378°W; summit elev. 3180 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions, a lava flow on the N flank, and lava dome growth during July-October 2020

Nevados de Chillán, located in the Chilean Central Andes, is a volcanic complex composed of late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes. On 8 January 2016 an explosion created the Nicanor Crater on the NW flank of Volcán Viejo. Recent activity consists of explosions, ash plumes, pyroclastic flows, and a new lava dome in the Nicanor Crater (BGVN 45:07). This report covers July through October 2020; activity is characterized by frequent explosions, ash plumes, a lava flow on the N flank, and continued lava dome growth. The primary source of information comes from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)-Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), the Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and satellite data.

Since 27 June webcams have showed an active lava flow that originated from the Nicanor Crater and descended the N flank. Activity during July consisted of 210-473 volcano-tectonic seismic events and 565-614 explosive events. Ash plumes rising 1.1-1.2 km above the crater and were accompanied by day and nighttime incandescence on the E edge of the Nicanor Crater. Due to these explosions, SERNAGEOMIN reported that tephra and other pyroclastic deposits were deposited within 400 m to the E of the crater. On 1 July a Buenos Aires VAAC advisory reported that a webcam showed ash emissions rising to 4.3 km altitude. Continuous explosions the next day produced ash plumes that rose 500 m above the crater. During 1-2 July the active lava flow had reached 40 m long and descended at a rate of 0.2 m3 per second. On 6 July an explosion at 0837 generated a gas-and-ash plume that rose 1.2 km above the crater and drifted SE; sporadic ash emissions were also observed on 7 July, according to a VAAC advisory. SERNAGEOMIN webcams showed that the lava flow that began on 27 June continued down the N flank, while a new lobe 55-194 m long moved toward the NE flank of Nicanor Crater. Gas plumes were also observed rising above the active crater, as noted on 20 July (figure 63). On 29 July weak ash emissions rose 3.9 km altitude and drifted SE, according to a VAAC report. During that day, the volume of the lava dome measured 400,000 m3 and grew at a rate of 0.1 m3 per second. Throughout the month, the lava flow continued to descend the N flank of the Nicanor Crater, reaching 520 m at a rate of 0.7-0.6 m per hour. Some unconsolidated blocks up to a meter in size detached from the front of the flow and moved up to 240 m. Sulfur dioxide emissions during the month averaged 823 tons/day with a high value of 1,815 tons/day reported on 29 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. A white gas-and-steam plume was observed at Nevados de Chillán on 20 July 2020. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN webcam, posted by Volcanology Chile.

During August SERNAGEOMIN reported 68-75 volcano-tectonic seismic events and 497-578 explosive events, the latter of which ejected material as far as 300 m E and NE from Nicanor Crater. Associated ash plumes rose 800-980 m above the crater and were accompanied by day and nighttime crater incandescence. The lava dome continued to grow during the month, reaching a thickness of 41 m, according to SERNAGEOMIN. SO2 emissions were an average value of 134-205 tons/day with a high value of 245 tons/day reported on 3 August. On 15 August a VAAC advisory reported weak and sporadic gas-and-ash emissions at the summit; on 20 August a hotspot was detected in satellite imagery, though an ash plume was not observed. The active lava flow on the N flank extended 490-495 m and moved at a rate of 0.07-0.06 m per hour. On 31 August a webcam showed an ash plume rising above the volcano, accompanied by the advancing lava flow on the N flank (figure 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. An explosion at Nevados de Chillán produced an ash plume on 31 August 2020. A lava flow accompanies the ash plume on the N flank. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

Similar activity continued into September, with 45-48 volcano-tectonic and 591-621 explosive events. Ash plumes rose to 1.5 km above the crater and were accompanied by day and nighttime incandescence on the E edge of Nicanor Crater. During 1-15 September explosions at the lava dome produced ash plumes that rose to less than 1.5 km altitude, resulting in ashfall within 300 m E and NE of the crater; ejecta from larger explosions was also observed to the ESE. Satellite images showed partial destruction of the lava dome as well as loss of some material due to successive explosions at the beginning of the month. Overall, the dome continued to increase in size, reaching a volume of 180,000 m3 and a thickness of 45 m since August (41 m). The lava dome measured 93 m NW-SE and 104 m SW-NE. By 15 September the 500-m-long lava flow had descended the NNE flank and continued to advance at a rate of 1.7 m per hour. The W levee of the flow channel had ruptured, which caused the toe of the lava flow to thicken. On 20 September ash emissions rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted NE and ENE, according to a VAAC advisory. On 22 September gas emissions, weak and sporadic ash emissions, and occasional explosions accompanied the lava flow. Through the remainder of the month, the lava flow persisted, measuring 615 m, and advancing at a rate of 0.4 m per hour; its volume was 487,000 m3 (figure 65). SO2 emissions were an average value of 111-358 tons/day with a high value of 503 tons/day reported on 22 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Photo (color corrected) of the incandescent lava flow at night descending the NNE flank of Nevados de Chillán on 21 September 2020. Photo by Jose Fauna, courtesy of Volcanology Chile.

During October there were 34-61 volcano-tectonic seismic events reported, as well as 607-644 explosive events, seven of which generated ash plumes that rose 1-1.5 km above the crater. Day and nighttime incandescence in the E edge of Nicanor Crater remained. Ash deposits associated with the explosive activity were distributed to the E and NE as far as 300 m from the crater; denser pyroclastic deposits from stronger explosions were located to the N and NE. The lava flow on the N slope persisted, extending 614-683 m from the crater rim at a rate of 0.1-0.82 m per hour with a width of 80.2 m near the crater rim and up to 112.8 m near the toe. The lava dome also continued to grow since it was last measured in September; it was 115 m wide at the base by 107 m high. SO2 emissions were an average value of 167-355 tons/day with a high value of 588 tons/day reported on 26 October. On 29 October an ash plume was detected in satellite imagery and rose to 3.7 km altitude and drifted W, according to a VAAC advisory (figure 66). SERNAGEOMIN reported that a 25-m-diameter subcrater had formed on the E inner edge of Nicanor Crater at the top of the lava dome. On 30 October, intermittent gas-and-ash emissions were visible at the summit in satellite imagery, rising to 3.9 km altitude and drifting SE.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Webcam image of an explosion at Nevados de Chillán on 29 October 2020 that produced an ash plume that rose 360 m above the crater and drifted SW. Courtesy of SERNAGEOMIN.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent low-power thermal activity beginning in early June and continuing through October 2020 due to frequent explosions, the continued lava dome growth in Nicanor Crater, and the lava flow that descended the N flank (figure 67). On clear weather days, two thermal anomalies in the summit craters are observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery; one represents the growing lava dome and the other is the lava flow on the N flank (figure 68). On 25 September an ash plume was observed drifting S.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Frequent low-power thermal activity at Nevados de Chillán continued during July through October 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed a persistent thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) in the summit crater of Nevados de Chillán during July through October 2020. On 29 July (top left), a third faint thermal anomaly was detected on the N flank, indicating a lava flow. On 25 September (bottom left) an ash plume was visible drifting S. Images using “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The compound volcano of Nevados de Chillán is one of the most active of the Central Andes. Three late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes were constructed along a NNW-SSE line within three nested Pleistocene calderas, which produced ignimbrite sheets extending more than 100 km into the Central Depression of Chile. The largest stratovolcano, dominantly andesitic, Cerro Blanco (Volcán Nevado), is located at the NW end of the group. Volcán Viejo (Volcán Chillán), which was the main active vent during the 17th-19th centuries, occupies the SE end. The new Volcán Nuevo lava-dome complex formed between 1906 and 1945 between the two volcanoes and grew to exceed Volcán Viejo in elevation. The Volcán Arrau dome complex was constructed SE of Volcán Nuevo between 1973 and 1986 and eventually exceeded its height.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); 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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Volcanology Chile (URL: https://twitter.com/volcanologiachl); Jose Fauna, Caracol sector, San Fabián de Alicom, Chile (URL: https://twitter.com/josefauna).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 15, Number 10 (October 1990)

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Additional Reports (Unknown)

Fiji: 30-km zone of pumice from unknown source

Agrigan (United States)

Strong thermal activity but no unusual seismicity

Aira (Japan)

Explosions decline, but non-explosive ash emission continues

Akan (Japan)

Earthquakes increase but steam emission unchanged

Anatahan (United States)

Crater lake refills; little deformation or seismicity

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Strombolian activity; lava flows; small nuées ardentes

Asamayama (Japan)

Seismicity declines slightly

Asosan (Japan)

Weak ash emission and glow; increased tremor

Eldey (Iceland)

Strong seismicity; turbid water and hydrothermal area but no new lava detected

Etna (Italy)

Strombolian activity and lava fountaining from central craters; earthquakes and tremor; deformation

Farallon de Pajaros (United States)

Vigorous fuming

Galeras (Colombia)

Ash emitted; seismicity declines slightly

Hargy (Papua New Guinea)

Weak fumarolic emissions

Izu-Oshima (Japan)

Seismicity and steam emission decline

Kilauea (United States)

Lava continues to flow into sea; more homes destroyed

Kusatsu-Shiranesan (Japan)

Continued high seismicity but no surface changes

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Occasional ash emission; explosion sounds; glow

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Continued summit lava production from several vents

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Weak vapor emission; earthquakes decline

Mikura Seamount (Japan)

Three bursts of seismicity near Mikura Seamount

Pagan (United States)

Strong SO2-rich plume but no significant deformation or earthquake activity

Poas (Costa Rica)

Fumarolic activity and seismicity continue; minor inflation

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Seismicity remains low; no significant deformation

Redoubt (United States)

Minor gas/ash emissions and tremor

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Crater Lake temperatures rise then fall; seismicity remains low; deflation

Ruiz, Nevado del (Colombia)

Small ash emissions and seismicity

St. Helens (United States)

Explosion from N side of lava dome; ash plume and small mudflow

Stromboli (Italy)

Strong tephra ejection; increased seismicity

Ulawun (Papua New Guinea)

Vapor emission; weak seismicity

Unzendake (Japan)

Small gas/ash eruption follows several months of increased seismicity

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand)

Strong thermal activity but no new eruptions

Witori (Papua New Guinea)

Mild summit and flank fumarolic activity



Additional Reports (Unknown) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Additional Reports

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fiji: 30-km zone of pumice from unknown source

An "underwater explosion" and "pumice swirl" ~30 km wide were reported at 19.10°S, 175.41°E (200 km SW of Nadi, Fiji) on 16 October at 1058 from Air Pacific flight 914 (Nadi to Sydney, Australia). At 1450, the crew of a second Air Pacific flight (enroute from Auckland, New Zealand) noted pumice visible in the sea 130 km from Nadi (on the W coast of Fiji's largest island, Viti Levu) [see also 15:11-12].

Although no historical volcanism has been reported near the observation site, the area is near a spreading center described by Gill and Whelan (1989). Another possible source of the pumice is Monowai Seamount (25.92°S, 177.15°W), 1,100 km to the ESE, where submarine activity was observed from the HMNZS Tui on 13 August. On 30 May-18 June and 5-7 September, the Polynesian Seismic Net recorded T-phase activity, centered in the Monowai area, that had characteristics typical of shallow submarine eruptions.

Reference. Gill, J., and Whelan, P., 1989, Early rifting of an oceanic island arc (Fiji) Produced shoshonitic to tholeiitic basalts: JGR, v. 94, no. B4, p. 4561-4578.

Geologic Background. Reports of floating pumice from an unknown source, hydroacoustic signals, or possible eruption plumes seen in satellite imagery.

Information Contacts: J. Latter, DSIR Geophysics, Wellington.


Agrigan (United States) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Agrigan

United States

18.77°N, 145.67°E; summit elev. 965 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong thermal activity but no unusual seismicity

A seven-member team of USGS volcanologists visited the CNMI 24 September-6 October at the request of the Office of Civil Defense. The following is from a report by Richard Moore.

"On Agrigan, the team established a new EDM network within the summit caldera, and hope to remeasure it in 1991. At that time, geologic investigations terminated by tropical storm Hattie on 2 October 1990 would be continued.

"A revolving drum seismograph operated continuously 28 September-1 October at a village near the coast, and a portable seismograph operated intermittently 28-29 September at several sites on the caldera floor, recorded no sustained microearthquake activity or volcanic tremor on Agrigan.

"The team discovered a boiling hot spring, associated terrace deposits, and solfataras at the 1917 eruption vent (Agrigan's most recent) on the floor of the 1.5-km-diameter caldera. Steam was being emitted from several areas at the base of the caldera wall. Temperatures of the boiling hot spring and 25 solfataras measured by thermocouple were all 98°C. Water from the hot spring had a pH of 2.0. Chemical analysis of the water is in progress. Several measurements (using Kitagawa and Draeger tubes) of the abundances of various gases emitted by the solfataras are summarized in table 1.

Table 1. Range in compositions of gas samples collected at Agrigan, September-October 1990. Courtesy of Richard Moore.

Gas Abundance
HCl 200 - 320 ppm
CO 0 - 3 ppm
CO2 >3%
H2S 1900 - >2000 ppm
SO2 >400 ppm

"The team found no evidence of new fuming on Agrigan (suggested by reports in August and cause of the island's evacuation; 15:7). Hot spring terraces composed of siliceous sinter covered an area of ~20 x 7 m2 below the boiling hot spring. The terraces are now mostly dry, with current deposition of silica limited to a few square meters adjacent to the hot spring, suggesting that activity was more vigorous sometime in the past. However, fluctuations in the volume of flow from the spring may occur as a result of seasonal variations in rainfall."

Geologic Background. The highest of the Marianas arc volcanoes, Agrigan contains a 500-m-deep, flat-floored caldera. The elliptical island is 8 km long; its summit is the top of a massive 4000-m-high submarine volcano. Deep radial valleys dissect the flanks of the thickly vegetated stratovolcano. The elongated caldera is 1 x 2 km wide and is breached to the NW, from where a prominent lava flow extends to the coast and forms a lava delta. The caldera floor is surfaced by fresh-looking lava flows and also contains two cones that may have formed during the only historical eruption in 1917. This eruption deposited large blocks and 3 m of ash and lapilli on a village on the SE coast, prompting its evacuation.

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi and M. Sako, HVO.


Aira (Japan) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions decline, but non-explosive ash emission continues

Minami-dake cone exploded once in October, on the 4th, following 37 days of quiescence. No additional explosions had occurred as of 14 November. The October explosion was the 113th of 1990 and caused no damage. The maximum ash plume height, 3,500 m above the crater, occurred during a quiet emission on the 2nd. A monthly total of 130 g/m2 of ash was deposited 10 km W of the crater . . . .

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

Information Contacts: JMA.


Akan (Japan) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Akan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquakes increase but steam emission unchanged

The October total of recorded earthquakes was 202, an increase from 144 in September. Steam emission remained unchanged, reaching 600 m height during October. Seismicity has been at high levels for the last 3 years, since the eruption of January-February 1988.

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

Information Contacts: JMA.


Anatahan (United States) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Anatahan

United States

16.35°N, 145.67°E; summit elev. 790 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Crater lake refills; little deformation or seismicity

A seven-member team of USGS volcanologists visited the CNMI 24 September-6 October at the request of the Office of Civil Defense. The team installed [a seismic station] on Anatahan . . .; data are telemetered to Saipan and recorded at Civil Defense headquarters. Quoted material below is from a report by Richard Moore.

"No significant earthquakes have occurred on Anatahan since installation of the seismic and telemetry system on 29 September. Reoccupation of the EDM network established in April showed small changes in line lengths, in accord with the lack of local seismicity. The lake in the eastern crater . . . was full again on 1 October 1990. The water was discolored, but not boiling."

Felt seismicity 30 March-1 April and turbulence in the crater lake of Anatahan prompted the evacuation of Anatahan Island. The island has remained uninhabited since 4 April.

Geologic Background. The elongate, 9-km-long island of Anatahan in the central Mariana Islands consists of a large stratovolcano with a 2.3 x 5 km compound summit caldera. The larger western portion of the caldera is 2.3 x 3 km wide, and its western rim forms the island's high point. Ponded lava flows overlain by pyroclastic deposits fill the floor of the western caldera, whose SW side is cut by a fresh-looking smaller crater. The 2-km-wide eastern portion of the caldera contained a steep-walled inner crater whose floor prior to the 2003 eruption was only 68 m above sea level. A submarine cone, named NE Anatahan, rises to within 460 m of the sea surface on the NE flank, and numerous other submarine vents are found on the NE-to-SE flanks. Sparseness of vegetation on the most recent lava flows had indicated that they were of Holocene age, but the first historical eruption did not occur until May 2003, when a large explosive eruption took place forming a new crater inside the eastern caldera.

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi and M. Sako, HVO.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Arenal

Costa Rica

10.463°N, 84.703°W; summit elev. 1670 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity; lava flows; small nuées ardentes

Strombolian activity and lava production continued, and occasional small nuées ardentes were observed during October. An average of 18 explosions (with three or four strong events) were recorded daily (figure 31) . . . . Explosions ejected blocks and bombs that were deposited to ~1 km from the crater, and produced ash columns 1 km high. White and occasionally bluish gas plumes were carried NW, W, and SW; acid rain continued to cause damage. At the end of October, two blocky lava flows were observed extending down the NW and SW flanks.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Number of explosions/day (top) and hours/day of tremor (bottom) recorded at Arenal by the Univ Nacional, October 1990.

Tremor was nearly continuous, averaging 23 hours/day (figure 31), and increased in intensity towards the end of the month as the number of explosions decreased. Deformation measurements indicated continued deflation of the volcano since 1986, with occasional pulses of inflation during explosive stages (figure 32). The area around the active summit crater (C) continued to grow by accumulation of pyroclastic materials. The rate of this accumulation, which totaled 9 m from early 1987 through May 1988, has decreased (figure 33).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Electronic tilt measurements at Arenal, January-October 1990. Courtesy of the Univ Nacional.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Growth of the active crater at Arenal, April 1987-August 1990. Courtesy of the Univ Nacional.

Geologic Background. Conical Volcán Arenal is the youngest stratovolcano in Costa Rica and one of its most active. The 1670-m-high andesitic volcano towers above the eastern shores of Lake Arenal, which has been enlarged by a hydroelectric project. Arenal lies along a volcanic chain that has migrated to the NW from the late-Pleistocene Los Perdidos lava domes through the Pleistocene-to-Holocene Chato volcano, which contains a 500-m-wide, lake-filled summit crater. The earliest known eruptions of Arenal took place about 7000 years ago, and it was active concurrently with Cerro Chato until the activity of Chato ended about 3500 years ago. Growth of Arenal has been characterized by periodic major explosive eruptions at several-hundred-year intervals and periods of lava effusion that armor the cone. An eruptive period that began with a major explosive eruption in 1968 ended in December 2010; continuous explosive activity accompanied by slow lava effusion and the occasional emission of pyroclastic flows characterized the eruption from vents at the summit and on the upper western flank.

Information Contacts: J. Barquero, V. Barboza, E. Fernández, and R. van der Laat, OVSICORI; G. Soto and R. Barquero, ICE.


Asamayama (Japan) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Asamayama

Japan

36.406°N, 138.523°E; summit elev. 2568 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity declines slightly

High seismicity . . . continued through October, but declined slightly from previous months. A monthly total of 105 earthquakes and 19 tremor episodes were recorded, declining from 206 and 24 respectively in September. Seismicity was continuing to decline as of 14 November.

Geologic Background. Asamayama, Honshu's most active volcano, overlooks the resort town of Karuizawa, 140 km NW of Tokyo. The volcano is located at the junction of the Izu-Marianas and NE Japan volcanic arcs. The modern Maekake cone forms the summit and is situated east of the horseshoe-shaped remnant of an older andesitic volcano, Kurofuyama, which was destroyed by a late-Pleistocene landslide about 20,000 years before present (BP). Growth of a dacitic shield volcano was accompanied by pumiceous pyroclastic flows, the largest of which occurred about 14,000-11,000 BP, and by growth of the Ko-Asama-yama lava dome on the east flank. Maekake, capped by the Kamayama pyroclastic cone that forms the present summit, is probably only a few thousand years old and has an historical record dating back at least to the 11th century CE. Maekake has had several major plinian eruptions, the last two of which occurred in 1108 (Asamayama's largest Holocene eruption) and 1783 CE.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Asosan (Japan) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

32.884°N, 131.104°E; summit elev. 1592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak ash emission and glow; increased tremor

No ash was erupted during October . . . . Crater 1 . . . continued to emit white steam that rose to 900 m above the crater. Weak ash emission was observed on 13 November, and glow from vents on the crater bottom was seen during fieldwork that night. The amplitude and number of volcanic tremor episodes increased in late October, reaching levels similar to September's and continuing at those levels through early November.

Geologic Background. The 24-km-wide Asosan caldera was formed during four major explosive eruptions from 300,000 to 90,000 years ago. These produced voluminous pyroclastic flows that covered much of Kyushu. The last of these, the Aso-4 eruption, produced more than 600 km3 of airfall tephra and pyroclastic-flow deposits. A group of 17 central cones was constructed in the middle of the caldera, one of which, Nakadake, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It was the location of Japan's first documented historical eruption in 553 CE. The Nakadake complex has remained active throughout the Holocene. Several other cones have been active during the Holocene, including the Kometsuka scoria cone as recently as about 210 CE. Historical eruptions have largely consisted of basaltic to basaltic-andesite ash emission with periodic strombolian and phreatomagmatic activity. The summit crater of Nakadake is accessible by toll road and cable car, and is one of Kyushu's most popular tourist destinations.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Eldey (Iceland) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Eldey

Iceland

63.733°N, 23°W; summit elev. 70 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong seismicity; turbid water and hydrothermal area but no new lava detected

The following is a report from Páll Einarsson. "An intense earthquake swarm started on the N part of the Reykjanes Ridge on 30 October (figure 3). The first event recorded by seismographs in Iceland occurred at 1021 and had a magnitude of 3.5. Smaller events occurred at 1052 and 1152. The epicenters cannot be located accurately, but appear to be near 63°N, or ~180 km SW of Reykjavík. At 1229, activity in this area increased dramatically, and for the next 19 hours hundreds of earthquakes were recorded. The largest events approached M 5 and at least 14 were of M 4 or larger. For large parts of this time, the seismographs showed continuous motion due to the dense sequence of small and large earthquakes. However, motion resembling volcanic tremor could not be identified.

see figure caption Figure 3. Sketch map showing the approximate location of the earthquake swarms near 63°N and 63.7°N on the Reykjanes Ridge. After Perry and others (1980).

"The intense activity came to a rather abrupt halt at about 0800 on 31 October, but activity at a lower level continued, gradually diminishing. A temporary increase occurred 5-6 November (figure 4).

see figure caption Figure 4. Number of earthquakes from the Reykjanes Ridge swarm area recorded daily at the Háhryggur seismic station in SW Iceland. Detection threshold of the station for this area is near magnitude 2.5. Courtesy of P. Einarsson.

"A second swarm started 3 November closer to Iceland, near 63.7°N. It began at 1426 with an event of M 3.8. Thirty events were recorded in the area that day, and five events the following day. This swarm was small and short-lived, and probably unrelated to the first one.

"The question of whether or not the swarm at 63°N is related to intrusive or extrusive activity at the sea floor cannot be answered from the available seismic data. Earthquake swarms are common on the Reykjanes Ridge and its landward continuation on the Reykjanes Peninsula. None of the recent swarms on the peninsula have been accompanied by eruptive activity, and they do not resemble the seismic swarms that accompany magmatic intrusions in the Krafla area along the rift zone in NE Iceland. Intrusion tremor, commonly observed at Krafla, has not been recorded during the swarms on the Reykjanes Peninsula despite a relatively dense seismograph network there.

"The current swarm at 63°N is unusual in both intensity and duration. The large distance to the nearest seismograph (roughly 150 km) means that intrusion and extrusion tremor could have occurred without being observed. Some characteristics of the swarm - for example the slow beginning, the high density of events at its culmination, and the abrupt end - in some respects resemble those of some of the Krafla eruptive events. If an analogy is drawn, one could speculate that the intense part of the swarm accompanied an intrusion of magma and that a dyke propagated for 19 hours. If an eruption occurred, it most likely began at about 0800 on 31 October when the seismic activity suddenly dropped to a lower level. Eruptive activity may have ended on 5 November, when there was a temporary increase in earthquakes."

A U.S. Navy P3 aircraft overflew the swarm area on 2 November between 1000 and 1400. Five sonobuoys were deployed; the central sonobuoy (at 63°15'40"N, 24°11'52") detected 50 Hz noise at 97 dB; sound intensity at four others (~ 9 km N, S, E, and W) was about 85 dB.

The following is from Jón Olafsson. "In response to the earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes Ridge, an international team assembled in Reykjavík on 2 November, sailing at midnight on the RV Bjarni Saemundsson of Iceland's Marine Research Institute.

"Investigations were concentrated on the area of the ridge crest between 62.9°N and 63.3°N, where the water depth ranged from 100 to 500 m. The ship is equipped with echosounders, sonar, and a CTD (Conductivity-Temperature-Depth) + light transmissometer with a rosette for water column sampling. On board were sonobuoys (provided by the U.S. Navy), equipment for analysis of dissolved silica, and a bottom dredge. Signs of possible eruptive activity were sought by deployment of sonobuoys, and water sampling on sections along and to the sides of the ridge crest. No signs could be detected of explosive activity of the type that created Surtsey in 1963, which would have given rise to extensive silica anomalies. However, the water above a segment of the ridge centered at 63.1°N showed some anomalous properties, particularly decreased light transmissivity and water column stability. A hydrothermal region was discovered near the summit of a seamount in this region, but has most likely been there beforehand, judging from previous information from fishermen. On the afternoon of 5 November, two nearby earthquake shocks were felt on the ship. Reports of earthquakes also came from deep-sea trawlers in this region, confirming that the research effort was in the region of seismic activity. Twelve dredge hauls brought up some fresh basalts but none were newly erupted.

"The ship returned to Reykjavík on 6 November with water samples for analysis of helium isotopes, manganese, methane, and hydrogen. Processing of these samples and the instrument records will be conducted in the UK, Iceland, and USA."

Locations of four of the largest earthquakes in the swarm were determined at the U.S. National Earthquake Information Center on 4 November (table 2). Arrival time values were obtained from the NEIC database, and from two seismic stations in Iceland (~150 and 250 km from the epicentral area), reported by Páll Einarsson. The following is from Eric Bergman.

Table 2. Relocations of four large earthquakes from the Reykjanes Ridge swarm, 30-31 October 1990. Courtesy of Eric Bergman.

Date Time Latitude Longitude Magnitude (mb)
30 Oct 1990 1307 62.95 ± 0.08°N 24.60 ± 0.07°W 4.7
30 Oct 1990 1403 63.06 ± 0.06°N 24.64 ± 0.07°W 5.0
30 Oct 1990 1915 63.11 ± 0.08°N 24.75 ± 0.10°W 4.7
31 Oct 1990 0658 63.17 ± 0.06°N 24.64 ± 0.07°W 4.6

"The swarm events were relocated as part of a multiple-event relocation analysis for earthquakes on the Reykjanes Ridge between 62.5°N and 63.5°N. In all, 30 well-recorded earthquakes were relocated, using the hypocentroidal decomposition technique. Locations were estimated using the 1968 Herrin tables for P-wave travel times, except for the two Icelandic stations. Because the Herrin tables assume a thick continental crust, the theoretical travel times are longer than the true travel times for these phases, which propagate predominantly as refracted waves along the oceanic Moho with a velocity of around 8 km/s. Theoretical travel times for the two Icelandic stations were calculated by dividing the epicentral distance by 8.0 km/s. This admittedly crude estimate is a substantial improvement over the standard tables and is in good agreement with other data. No station corrections were used in the relocation. All focal depths were fixed at 10 km, consistent with many studies of the depth distribution of mid-ocean ridge seismicity. Further work is needed to refine this type of analysis, and it should be recognized that the locations reported here are to some extent biased by these assumptions. The results of the analysis will also change as more arrival data accumulate."

Reference. Perry, R.K., Fleming, H.S., Cherkis, N.Z., Feden, R.H., and Vogt, P.R., 1980, Bathymetry of the Norwegian-Greenland and western Barents Seas: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory-Acoustics Division, map and chart series MC-21

Geologic Background. The Eldey volcanic system is located on the northernmost part of the Reykjanes Ridge and is submarine with the exception of Eldey Island and the skerries (small rocky islands) Eldeyjardrangur, Geirfugladrangur, and Geirfuglasker. Maximum water depth within the system is about 250 m. Eldey has been moderately active in Holocene time. Characteristic activity consists of explosive submarine basaltic eruptions. Six small eruptions have been located within this system during the last 1,100 years, the last occurring in 1926 CE.

Information Contacts: P. Einarsson, Univ of Iceland; J. Olafsson, Marine Research Institute; E. Bergman, NEIC; P. Vogt, Naval Research Laboratory; T. Stroh, Univ of Washington. Scientific team on the RV Bjarni Saemundsson: Jón Olafsson, Icelandic Marine Research Institute (leader); Johnson R. Cann, Univ of Leeds (deputy leader); Kjartan Thors, S. Kristmansson, and Jón Benjaminsson, Icelandic Marine Research Institute; David Francis, Univ of Leeds; Cherry Walker, Univ of Durham; and Marie de Angelis, State Univ of New York, Stony Brook. Sponsoring Institutions: Icelandic Marine Research Institute; Natural Environmental Research Council, UK; and RIDGE Office, National Science Foundation, USA.


Etna (Italy) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity and lava fountaining from central craters; earthquakes and tremor; deformation

The following, from IIV, covers April-September 1990.

Summit crater activity. Eruptive activity was at Bocca Nuova and La Voragine, while only degassing was observed at the SE and NE subterminal craters. At the beginning of July, the mild degassing that had characterized the central vents during previous months evolved to Strombolian activity, sporadically ejecting juvenile products that reached the rim of Bocca Nuova. An intense eruptive episode began at Bocca Nuova on 7 August at about 1130, lasting for ~ 40 minutes. Strong Strombolian activity alternated with lava fountaining, producing a thick deposit (~10 cm maximum) of vesiculated scoria and Pele's Hair that accumulated on the N and NW sides of the crater rim. Wind carried lighter tephra 10 km NE, where it reached the villages of Vena and Presa (figure 38). Weak Strombolian activity followed, stopping early the next day. During the same period, La Voragine was limited to moderate Strombolian activity that stopped on 8 August. Increased tremor amplitude was recorded during the night of 7-8 August (see below), then tremor declined to low levels.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Sketch map of Etna, showing tephra dispersal during the 7 August Strombolian activity and lava fountaining.

Collapse of part of the wall between Bocca Nuova and La Voragine 9-10 August produced a landslide deposit that covered pre-existing vents on Bocca Nuova's floor. This deposit was soon penetrated by explosive activity, which formed two new vents characterized by weak Strombolian activity.

Throughout this period, activity at the SE subterminal crater remained limited to degassing. However, a considerable enlargement of the vent was observed in June, accompanied by strong incandescence of the inner walls. The temperature of the fumarolic gas, measured 8 August, reached 615°C. By the end of August, a larger degassing vent (~ 10 m across) had formed on the crater floor where fumarolic activity had previously been most intense. This vent produced only strong gas emission, without explosive episodes. Activity at the summit craters was limited to degassing of variable intensity in September.

Fault seismicity. Seismicity alternated between phases of relative quiet (April-June, September) and moderate to intense activity (July-August).

Moderate activity April-June was broken by four seismic sequences that occurred 25 April, 17-18 May, and 1-2 and 30 June (figure 39b). Seismic energy release (figure 39a) was also moderate (maximum M 3.0 on 17 May) and a total of 101 shocks of M >= 1 were recorded. The April-May seismicity mainly affected the W sector of the volcano, with seismic activity moving to the E (Valle del Bove) and NE flanks in June (figure 40). Average focal depths were ~15 km, except for the 1 June sequence, which had a focal zone at a depth of <=10 km (figure 41).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Top a): cumulative seismic energy release at Etna's S flank ESP station (figure 38) in the square-root of ergs (solid line) and radial component of ground tilt at nearby borehole station SPC (dashed line with squares). Bottom b): number of earthquakes (M³1) recorded at ESP station; April-September 1990.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Epicenters of earthquakes (M >= 2.5) at Etna, April-September 1990.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Foci of earthquakes shown in figure 40, projected onto a N-S cross-section passing through Etna's summit.

During the next two months, the most significant seismic episodes took place on 3 and 8 July, and 27 August. These sequences plus a general increase in background activity caused a significant change in the slope of the cumulative strain release curve. Energy associated with single events remained moderate, never exceeding M 3.1. The total of 148 events recorded in July decreased to 97 in August. The upper NE flank (10-25 km depth) and the Valle del Bove (6-12 km depth) were the areas most affected.

Another seismic sequence (78 events of M >= 1) occurred on the NW flank on 3 September; the average calculated focal depth was about 24 ± 4 km. Seismic activity then returned to moderate levels for the rest of the month.

Volcanic tremor. During April, May, and the first part of June, volcanic tremor amplitude recorded at a reference station (ESP) on the S flank fluctuated from low to moderate values (7-20 mV/_Hz). Beginning in the second half of June, an amplitude increase was observed (20-30 mV/_Hz) that lasted until 7 August. During the night of 7-8 August, a sudden further increase in tremor amplitude coincided with the violent Strombolian activity from Bocca Nuova (see above). After this episode, tremor amplitude returned to low levels (5-8 mV/_Hz), remaining at similar values until the end of September.

Ground deformation. EDM measurements were performed on two geodimeter networks, on the S and SW flanks. The southern network was measured in June, about a year after the last measurement in May 1989. The area covered by the network includes part of the main fracture system that affected the SE flank during the September-October 1989 eruption (14:8-10). Comparisons between May 1989 and June 1990 data showed significant distance variations, mostly for lines in the higher altitude sector of the network. The resulting deformation pattern was characterized by a significant areal contraction. The deformation ellipse was strongly polarized with the minimum extension axis (contraction) trending approximately N29°E. The southwestern EDM network was reoccupied in July, showing only minor slope distance variations from the previous measurements in June 1989. A weak areal contraction was observed. The calculated deformation ellipse had a minimum extension axis (contraction) striking approximately N7°E.

Tilt data were collected at a biaxial borehole station (SPC) on the S flank, close to the ESP seismic station. Recording was interrupted early April-early June by vandalism. The radial component indicated continuous inflation of the volcanic edifice from the beginning of July until early September, closely paralleling the seismic strain release (figure 39a). During the same period, the tangential component remained nearly flat, showing fluctuations within the confidence limit of about ± 2 µrads.

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: IIV.


Farallon de Pajaros (United States) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Farallon de Pajaros

United States

20.546°N, 144.893°E; summit elev. 337 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Vigorous fuming

"Photographs taken by Civil Defense personnel in early August 1990 from a fixed-wing airplane showed vigorous fuming."

Geologic Background. The small 2-km-wide island of Farallon de Pajaros (also known as Uracas) is the northernmost and most active volcano of the Mariana Islands. Its relatively frequent historical eruptions dating back to the mid-19th century have caused the andesitic volcano to be referred to as the "Lighthouse of the western Pacific." The symmetrical, sparsely vegetated summit is the central cone within a small caldera cutting an older edifice, remnants of which are seen on the SE and southern sides near the coast. Flank fissures have fed lava flows during historical time that form platforms along the coast. Both summit and flank vents have been active during historical time. Eruptions have also been observed from nearby submarine vents, and Makhahnas seamount, which rises to within 640 m of the sea surface, lies about 10 km to the SW.

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi and M. Sako, HVO.


Galeras (Colombia) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emitted; seismicity declines slightly

Seismicity decreased slightly during October. One high-frequency earthquake (M 2.8) was felt in Pasto (10 km E) on 5 October. Earthquakes were centered in distinct zones: under, NE, and E of the crater. Low-frequency earthquakes remained at low levels of occurrence and energy. Spasmodic tremor was variable, and was associated with ash emissions on 17 and 18 October.

Deformation measurements showed little change, although dry tiltmeters continued to show low levels of deformation with an inflationary trend. Electronic tilt 2 km E of the crater (Peladitos station) showed changes of 1-8 Nrad.

The SO2 flux, measured by COSPEC, decreased slightly from 2,378 t/d on 1 October, to 1,994 t/d at the end of the month.

Geologic Background. Galeras, a stratovolcano with a large breached caldera located immediately west of the city of Pasto, is one of Colombia's most frequently active volcanoes. The dominantly andesitic complex has been active for more than 1 million years, and two major caldera collapse eruptions took place during the late Pleistocene. Long-term extensive hydrothermal alteration has contributed to large-scale edifice collapse on at least three occasions, producing debris avalanches that swept to the west and left a large horseshoe-shaped caldera inside which the modern cone has been constructed. Major explosive eruptions since the mid-Holocene have produced widespread tephra deposits and pyroclastic flows that swept all but the southern flanks. A central cone slightly lower than the caldera rim has been the site of numerous small-to-moderate historical eruptions since the time of the Spanish conquistadors.

Information Contacts: INGEOMINAS-OVP.


Hargy (Papua New Guinea) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Hargy

Papua New Guinea

5.33°S, 151.1°E; summit elev. 1148 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak fumarolic emissions

"Weak fumarolic emissions were noted from the SE side of the W summit crater during an overflight in early September. No unusual activity was observed."

Geologic Background. This little-known volcano is one of several major calderas on the island of New Britain. The 10 x 12 km Hargy caldera, whose floor is 150 m above sea level, contains an inner caldera with a steep west-facing wall. A caldera lake on the SE side drains through a narrow gap in the northern caldera wall. The latest caldera-forming eruption of Hargy volcano took place about 11,000 years ago. The dacitic Galloseulo lava cone rises above and partially overtops the western rim of the caldera. A double crater occupies a larger 700-m-wide crater. Numerous small eruptions have taken place at Galloseulo over the past 7000 years, the last occurring about 1000 years ago.

Information Contacts: C. McKee and I. Itikarai, RVO.


Izu-Oshima (Japan) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Izu-Oshima

Japan

34.724°N, 139.394°E; summit elev. 758 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity and steam emission decline

Activity decreased, following ash emissions on 4 October . . . . Seismicity and steam emission declined rapidly following the 4 October activity, and no subsequent ash emissions had occurred as of 14 November. No tremor episodes were recorded during October.

Geologic Background. Izu-Oshima volcano in Sagami Bay, east of the Izu Peninsula, is the northernmost of the Izu Islands. The broad, low stratovolcano forms an 11 x 13 km island and was constructed over the remnants of three dissected stratovolcanoes. It is capped by a 4-km-wide caldera with a central cone, Miharayama, that has been the site of numerous historical eruptions. More than 40 cones are located within the caldera and along two parallel rift zones trending NNW-SSE. Although it is a dominantly basaltic volcano, strong explosive activity has occurred at intervals of 100-150 years throughout the past few thousand years. Historical activity dates back to the 7th century CE. A major eruption in 1986 produced spectacular lava fountains up to 1600 m height and a 16-km-high eruption column; more than 12,000 people were evacuated from the island.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Kilauea (United States) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava continues to flow into sea; more homes destroyed

Lava . . . moved down the S flank and continued to enter the ocean during October (figure 73). At the beginning of the month, lava from a persistent tube system along the E side of the flow field formed a coastal front 750 m wide (in the Kaimu area; figure 72). The E margin of the flow advanced along the coast in front of the Kalapana Shores subdivision, which had been evacuated by the beginning of October. Lava breakouts destroyed two homes in the subdivision on 7 October. By mid-October, lava had nearly reached the W edge of the 1750 flow, > 500 m E of the former Kaimu Bay, and ocean entries were active along a front 1 km wide. A lava breakout from the flow's main ("Woodchip") tube at ~40 m elevation destroyed a home in the upper Kalapana Gardens subdivision on 15 October. A low to moderate number of intermediate-depth long-period earthquakes were evident from the beginning of the month. These peaked 6-7 October when almost 100 were counted, then subsided about 10 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Lava produced by Kilauea's East rift zone eruption, 1983-90. Arrows indicate paths of recent flows, with the "Woodchip" flow on the E side of the lava field, the "Royal Gardens" flow on the W side. Crosses at the coast mark new lava entries into the sea in the Wahaula area.

Flows that emerged from the inflated area at the base of Kupaianaha's shield in early October moved down the W side of the flow field, the most active as channelized aa that reached relatively level terrain near the coast on 12 October. By the 15th, the distal end of the flow was pahoehoe and had advanced to below 30 m elevation. Less-active lobes of the same flow were observed upslope in Royal Gardens subdivision, but did not destroy any of the subdivision's remaining homes. Lava reached the ocean on 20 October along the W side of the flow field (near Kupapau Point) and was moving through newly formed tubes by the 22nd. A large lava breakout on the E side of the flow field destroyed another home in Kalapana Gardens on 19 October, while activity declined at the coast to only two small entries.

On 22 October a flurry of long-period events occurred between 0500 and 0800, averaging ~30/hour. Long-period seismicity increased again at about 2100, accompanied by summit tremor. The number of intermediate-depth long-period earthquakes, which had resumed in mid-October, peaked at about 380 on the 23rd. That day, lava movement viewed through a skylight at ~350 m elevation was slower than it had been in the past several weeks, and a decline in activity at all coastal entries was evident by 24 October. However, a new lobe from the E side of the flow field reached the ocean on the 24th (at Hakuma Point), an entry that remained intermittently active through early November, and lava that had moved through Royal Gardens in mid-October entered the sea 29 October on the W side of the flow field (just E of Wahaula). By 31 October, lava was flowing into the ocean at several points in the Wahaula area along a front 700 m wide, and the flow feeding this entry was moving through tubes upslope. . . . Intermediate-depth long-period seismicity declined from its peak on 23 October to a few tens of events/day at the end of the month, and dropped further in early November.

A lava pond was seen on 31 October in the base of Pu`u `O`o Crater, where a pair of lava ponds had been active in August and September. Lava at Kupaianaha remained deep in the vent and covered by a frozen crust.

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: T. Moulds and P. Okubo, HVO.


Kusatsu-Shiranesan (Japan) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Kusatsu-Shiranesan

Japan

36.618°N, 138.528°E; summit elev. 2165 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued high seismicity but no surface changes

Seismicity has remained at high levels... (figure 4). During October, 213 earthquakes (up from 184 in September) and 29 tremor episodes... were recorded. Tremor amplitudes were similar to previous months. Earthquakes were centered 1 km E of... Yugama Crater. Seismicity remained similar as of 14 November. No changes in surface activity were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Monthly number of earthquakes at Kusatsu-Shirane, January 1978-October 1990. Arrows at top of figure mark eruptions. Courtesy of JMA.

Geologic Background. The Kusatsu-Shiranesan complex, located immediately north of Asama volcano, consists of a series of overlapping pyroclastic cones and three crater lakes. The andesitic-to-dacitic volcano was formed in three eruptive stages beginning in the early to mid-Pleistocene. The Pleistocene Oshi pyroclastic flow produced extensive welded tuffs and non-welded pumice that covers much of the E, S, and SW flanks. The latest eruptive stage began about 14,000 years ago. Historical eruptions have consisted of phreatic explosions from the acidic crater lakes or their margins. Fumaroles and hot springs that dot the flanks have strongly acidified many rivers draining from the volcano. The crater was the site of active sulfur mining for many years during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — October 1990 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)


Occasional ash emission; explosion sounds; glow

"Activity returned to a low level in October . . . . Emissions from Crater 3 consisted mainly of occasional weak to moderate, white and grey, ash and vapour clouds. Deep, low, explosion and rumbling noises were heard on 6 and 7 October, respectively. Weak steady glow was observed on the 6th and the 9th. Activity at Crater 3 was somewhat subdued during the last week of October. Crater 2 released weak and occasionally moderate white and at times blue vapour throughout the month. Deep weak rumbling noises were heard between 16 and 28 October and steady weak glow was seen throughout the month."

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: C. McKee and I. Itikarai, RVO.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

2.764°S, 35.914°E; summit elev. 2962 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued summit lava production from several vents

A group of scientists visited . . . 7-8 August, and were the first to reach the crater floor since June-July 1988.

"Considerable activity in the N crater was observed between March and August, concentrated around the centers T5/T9 and at the E end of the T4/T7 ridge (figure 18). No vent opened S of the saddle between the two craters (M1M2), but lava continued to flow S and the area of lava occupying the floor of the S depression increased slightly. Emission of steam and sulfur fumes continued, particularly N and E of the crater walls and E rim. No eruption of lava on the crater walls or rim had occurred since the formation of features C1, D, and the cluster of cones at A3/A5 (all pre-1988; 13:01). However, the top of T5/T9... reached the level of the E crater rim.

"At 0830 on 7 August, when the party... reached the E crater rim, shimmering heat was observed rising from the top of T5/T9, and there was noise like ocean surf from a small vent on the E end of T4/T7. There was an occasional spatter of fine fragments as lava splashed out of the top of T14.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Active crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai, 7 August 1990, looking NE (top) and SE (bottom). The stippled area represents fresh lava. Tracings of photos courtesy of C. Nyamweru.

"Two large cones, T14 and T14A, are located on the E edge of ridge T4/T7. On the N slope of T14A, younger, dark gray material was visible overlying the heavily weathered brown material that formed the surface of the ridge in May. When first seen at about 0830, T14 was pale gray to white, with a few small vertical cracks on its upper slopes. During the morning, the noise of moving lava continued, with some episodes of silence. By 1200, parts of the cone's top cracked and bulged when lava bubbles burst within it. Between 1240 and 1307, part of the upper slope of the cone collapsed and there was a relatively violent eruption from a SW-facing vent near the top of the cone. Liquid lava was ejected to 10 m above the top of the cone, and also spilled over the edge of the vent, 10 m above the surrounding crater floor.

"Vigorous activity continued for much of the afternoon; occasionally there were 7-10 bursts (sprays) of lava in a 20-second period. At times the lava was thrown up from the vent, and at others it surged over the edge. Periodically, three separate tongues of lava were visible, following each other down the slope of the cone. The flows did not extend any distance away from the base of the cone, and the volumes of lava erupted were very small. After about 1500, the rate of activity gradually slowed, but it continued until at least 1900, when several large clots of lava were thrown as much as 40 m W of T14 (onto the slopes of T14A). Observation ceased at about 2000 and resumed at 0730 on 8 August. Little overnight change was apparent. On the morning of the 8th, moving lava was audible deep below T14, shimmering heat rose from the open vent of T14A, and steam came from the W end of T4/T7 (the oldest part of this feature).

"The tallest cone, T5/T9, extended up 30 m to a single peak, without a large open vent. It had not changed since the 9 July overflight. The slopes were mostly pale grey to white, with slight darkening by fumes at the very top, from which shimmering heat was rising. An open vent over 2 m across (H6) was still visible on the N slope of T5/T9, but there was no sign of activity.

"A low dome or 'blister,' T15, was located a few meters from H6 and... was the source of shimmering heat and noise of moving lava. A flow (F18), that had escaped N and W from this vent had reached the W wall of the crater (probably within 1 or 2 days of the 7 August visit). This flow was smooth, mostly dark brown, and still slightly warm on the 7th; cracking sounds could still be heard from below its surface.

"Cone T10 was almost entirely covered by lava from T5/T9;

"No sign of new effusion was visible at cones T8 or T11. The upper slopes of T8 were stained by considerable amounts of sulfur, and partial collapse of a small section of its lower W slope had occurred. Steam and sulfur fumes were being emitted from T11. In the center of the cone, a hole 2 m across (base not visible) contained bright yellow-orange stalactites, some >50 cm long. The overhanging N slope of the cone had not changed much since late 1988.

"Strong fumaroles were found on the W wall (around D and A5), on the N wall (near C1), and on the E wall, where extensive sulfur staining was present. Small steam sources were also found on the walls of the S depression. In general, emission of steam was very strong . . . .

"The saddle between the two craters, M1/M2, had possibly widened with increased flow of lava from N to S. No vents have opened in the S depression. Patches of burned vegetation have resulted on the S slopes, probably set afire by the heat from lava when it flowed against the surrounding slope, as observed in November 1988."

Geologic Background. The symmetrical Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only volcano known to have erupted carbonatite tephras and lavas in historical time. The prominent stratovolcano, known to the Maasai as "The Mountain of God," rises abruptly above the broad plain south of Lake Natron in the Gregory Rift Valley. The cone-building stage ended about 15,000 years ago and was followed by periodic ejection of natrocarbonatitic and nephelinite tephra during the Holocene. Historical eruptions have consisted of smaller tephra ejections and emission of numerous natrocarbonatitic lava flows on the floor of the summit crater and occasionally down the upper flanks. The depth and morphology of the northern crater have changed dramatically during the course of historical eruptions, ranging from steep crater walls about 200 m deep in the mid-20th century to shallow platforms mostly filling the crater. Long-term lava effusion in the summit crater beginning in 1983 had by the turn of the century mostly filled the northern crater; by late 1998 lava had begun overflowing the crater rim.

Information Contacts: C. Nyamweru, Kenyatta Univ.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Manam

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Weak vapor emission; earthquakes decline

"Activity declined further in October. Both craters intermittently released very weak emissions of thin white vapour. No noises or glow were observed from either crater. The decline in daily earthquake totals . . . continued in October and by the end of the month averaged only ~150 (compared to ~1,200 during former inter-eruptive periods). The amplitude of these events also decreased to a very low level. No significant changes were observed in tilt measurements."

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

Information Contacts: C. McKee and I. Itikarai, RVO.


Mikura Seamount (Japan) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Mikura Seamount

Japan

33.725°N, 139.408°E; summit elev. -321 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Three bursts of seismicity near Mikura Seamount

A swarm of earthquakes began at 0624 on 5 October 1990, in the sea ~20 km SW of Mikura-jima Island (figure 3). A second burst occurred 13 October, following a gradual decline from the 5th, and a third burst occurred on 21 October (figure 4). A total of about 30 shocks were felt by residents on Mikura-jima and nine were felt on Miyake-jima Island (at Miyake-jima Weather Station), ~40 km NNE of the epicentral area. The largest event was M 4.3 and occurred on 27 October. Depths of most of the located events ranged from 20 to 30 km, although depth control was poor.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Epicentral distribution of earthquakes (M >= 3.0) off Mikura-jima, October 1990. Courtesy of JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Daily number of located earthquakes off Mikura-jima, October 1990. Courtesy of JMA.

The swarm occurred in the vicinity of Mikura Seamount, a cone-shaped feature with a summit ~300 m below sea level and 1,400 m above the surrounding sea floor. No surface phenomena were reported in the area in October, nor have any been reported in historical time. The last swarm near this site took place in December 1982, and was more vigorous, including one M 6.4 event.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Pagan (United States) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Pagan

United States

18.13°N, 145.8°E; summit elev. 570 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong SO2-rich plume but no significant deformation or earthquake activity

A seven-member team of USGS volcanologists visited the CNMI 24 September-6 October at the request of the Office of Civil Defense. The team installed [a seismic station on] Pagan; data are telemetered to Saipan and recorded at Civil Defense headquarters. Quoted material below is from a report by Richard Moore.

"Remeasurements of the distances between two permanent glass reflectors installed in 1983 on the SW flank showed no significant changes in line lengths since 1984. Seismic data telemetered to Saipan showed no significant earthquake activity on Pagan after installation of the station in early October. Most of the abandoned village has been destroyed by alluvial debris derived from 1981 and younger rocks. Eruptions less vigorous than that of 15 May 1981 occurred intermittently from late May 1981 until October 1988. The USGS team observed a prominent SO2-bearing plume emitted from Pagan 28 September-3 October."

Geologic Background. Pagan Island, the largest and one of the most active of the Mariana Islands volcanoes, consists of two stratovolcanoes connected by a narrow isthmus. Both North and South Pagan stratovolcanoes were constructed within calderas, 7 and 4 km in diameter, respectively. North Pagan at the NE end of the island rises above the flat floor of the northern caldera, which may have formed less than 1,000 years ago. South Pagan is a stratovolcano with an elongated summit containing four distinct craters. Almost all of the recorded eruptions, which date back to the 17th century, have originated from North Pagan. The largest eruption during historical time took place in 1981 and prompted the evacuation of the sparsely populated island.

Information Contacts: R. Moore, USGS; R. Koyanagi and M. Sako, HVO.


Poas (Costa Rica) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity and seismicity continue; minor inflation

Vigorous fumarolic activity continued during October. The crater lake level, which had been dropping during August and September, rose 2 m due to heavy rainfall, but began to fall again at the end of the month. Fumarolic activity within the lake remained similar to previous months; in the SE part of the lake, a small pool of sulfur remained visible. Temperatures of up to 80°C were recorded in the crater lake, 17°C in the peripheral cold water springs, and 91°C from the 1953-55 dome fumaroles. On 13 September, rain water had a pH of 2.7 at the dome and 3.2 at the crater rim.

Daily averages of 250 low-frequency earthquakes (<2.5 Hz) were recorded, similar to levels in May. A maximum of 373 events was recorded 28 October (figure 34). High-frequency earthquakes were rare. Only three were locatable (M 2.2-2.6), the largest felt by local residents. Short tremor episodes (<6 hour durations), less frequent than in August and September, were also occasionally recorded.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. Number of earthquakes/day recorded at Poás by the Univ Nacional, October 1990.

Periodic S radial inflation was measured in 1990 through early November (figure 35); the general trend was one of minor inflation relative to the 1989 baseline. Inflation in April-May coincided with eruptions of sediment from the bottom of the lake. Deformation measurements by EDM (1 km S of the crater) registered several different inflationary peaks that geologists believed were influenced by local disturbances such as subsoil water or changes in temperature.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Dry tilt (top) and electronic tilt (bottom) measurements at Poás, January-October 1990. Courtesy of the Univ Nacional.

Geologic Background. The broad, well-vegetated edifice of Poás, one of the most active volcanoes of Costa Rica, contains three craters along a N-S line. The frequently visited multi-hued summit crater lakes of the basaltic-to-dacitic volcano, which is one of Costa Rica's most prominent natural landmarks, are easily accessible by vehicle from the nearby capital city of San José. A N-S-trending fissure cutting the 2708-m-high complex stratovolcano extends to the lower northern flank, where it has produced the Congo stratovolcano and several lake-filled maars. The southernmost of the two summit crater lakes, Botos, is cold and clear and last erupted about 7500 years ago. The more prominent geothermally heated northern lake, Laguna Caliente, is one of the world's most acidic natural lakes, with a pH of near zero. It has been the site of frequent phreatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions since the first historical eruption was reported in 1828. Eruptions often include geyser-like ejections of crater-lake water.

Information Contacts: J. Barquero, V. Barboza, E. Fernández, and R. van der Laat, OVSICORI; G. Soto and R. Barquero, ICE.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — October 1990 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 remains low; no significant deformation

"Seismicity remained at a low level in October. The total number of events recorded was 101 . . . . All events were of ML <=1. Only two were locatable, on the N and W sides of the caldera seismic zone. No significant changes were observed from levelling, EDM, tilt, tide gauge, and gravity measurements."

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: C. McKee and I. Itikarai, RVO.


Redoubt (United States) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Redoubt

United States

60.485°N, 152.742°W; summit elev. 3108 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor gas/ash emissions and tremor

The following report covers the period 1 August-12 November. "The last explosive event at Redoubt, on 21 April, generated an ash plume to 7.5-9 km and a small N flank pyroclastic flow. A portion of the existing lava dome was destroyed during this event. Dome growth continued until approximately mid-June, punctuated only by occasional small rockfalls off the dome's N face. The estimated volume of the current lava dome is 10-15 x 106 m3. Field crews have observed consistent fumarolic activity from the dome's S side, summit, and E and W margins. An early September search for high-temperature fumaroles on the dome's accessible N face was unsuccessful. COSPEC measurements documented a steady decline in SO2 emission from an average of 1,000-2,400 t/d in early August to 160-590 t/d in October and early November.

"Seismicity beneath Redoubt diminished over the summer and into the fall, but remained elevated relative to pre-eruption levels. In early November, low-level tremor was observed for the first time since April, associated with increased steaming on the lava dome and occasional minor steam and ash emissions.

October steam and ash emissions. "Beginning in late August, AVO seismologists noted intermittent bursts of seismicity containing multiple phases and extended codas on flank stations. These bursts occurred at rates of one to several/day, but no relationship between them and eruptive activity was established until 29 October, when AVO received a pilot report of ash on the snow-covered flanks of Redoubt. The ash deposit was thin (< 0.5 mm) and did not extend beyond the base of the volcano (a lateral distance of about 5 km). The deposit must have been emplaced since 27 October, the date of last overflight prior to the pilot report. On 30 October at 1637, a small seismic event lasting 7-8 minutes was recorded on flank stations. Within 30 minutes, personnel at the Drift River oil terminal and an AVO crew in a helicopter reported a small, diffuse ash cloud drifting E of the summit. The cumulative tephra deposit from the late October events is very fine-grained, consisting primarily of plagioclase and a minor amount of altered and unaltered mafic crystals.

"The steam and ash emissions have thus far produced plumes that rise at most 300-600 m above the summit, and only minor amounts of ash have been deposited outside the summit crater. They are reminiscent of the 'gas and ash emissions' documented at Mt. St. Helens between 1981 and 1986, and are interpreted to reflect increasing access of meltwater to hot interior dome rocks. Their onset in late summer approximately coincided with the beginning of snowfall high on the volcano and may reflect some seasonal control related to the increasing availability of snowmelt. Alternatively, the quiescent dome may have cooled and fractured sufficiently to allow ingress of greater amounts of water to its hot interior.

Early November seismo-phreatic crisis. "On 5 November, AVO seismologists noted low-amplitude tremor on flank stations. During the next week, tremor fluctuated in intensity several times. More intense periods appeared to follow the 'emissions' described above. No concurrent change was observed in the occurrence of long-period events or volcano-tectonic earthquakes.

"Observations of the dome from fixed wing aircraft 6-8 November revealed no sign of avalanching or large-scale changes in dome morphology. Fumarolic activity appeared heightened compared to the previous week and new steaming was observed on the dome's N flank.

"An 8 November COSPEC flight measured SO2 emission of 580 t/d, consistent with results of the past few weeks. Continuing phreatic activity, in the form of steam emissions that occasionally contain ash, is expected."

Further Reference. Brantley, S., ed., 1990, The eruption of Redoubt volcano, Alaska, December 14, 1989-August 31, 1990: USGS Circular 1061, 33 p.

Geologic Background. Redoubt is a glacier-covered stratovolcano with a breached summit crater in Lake Clark National Park about 170 km SW of Anchorage. Next to Mount Spurr, Redoubt has been the most active Holocene volcano in the upper Cook Inlet. The volcano was constructed beginning about 890,000 years ago over Mesozoic granitic rocks of the Alaska-Aleutian Range batholith. Collapse of the summit 13,000-10,500 years ago produced a major debris avalanche that reached Cook Inlet. Holocene activity has included the emplacement of a large debris avalanche and clay-rich lahars that dammed Lake Crescent on the south side and reached Cook Inlet about 3,500 years ago. Eruptions during the past few centuries have affected only the Drift River drainage on the north. Historical eruptions have originated from a vent at the north end of the 1.8-km-wide breached summit crater. The 1989-90 eruption had severe economic impact on the Cook Inlet region and affected air traffic far beyond the volcano.

Information Contacts: AVO Staff.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Ruapehu

New Zealand

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Crater Lake temperatures rise then fall; seismicity remains low; deflation

Fieldwork on 11 and 26 September, and 9 October, monitored changes in deformation and in Crater Lake. The lake appeared gray, with upwelling occurring over the N vents during all three visits, over the central vents on 11 September (when visibility was poor), and on rare occasions on 9 October. Yellow slicks were observed over the central vents on 26 September and 9 October. Undercutting of snow along the shore of the lake (around 1 m above lake level) and the wide channel cut through snow at the outlet, suggested that a surge (potentially related to minor phreatic activity) had occurred sometime before new snow (which may have fallen on 8 September) re-covered part of the exposed area.

Water temperatures increased to a maximum of 35°C by the end of September ... then decreased to 31°C by 9 October (figure 9). Lake Mg/Cl ratios were 0.052 on 26 September and 0.053 on 9 October, slightly higher than 22 August (0.051).

Seismicity has remained at very low levels since late August. A few small earthquakes (M <= 2.5) were recorded (instrument failure prevented monitoring 28 September-3 October). Tremor amplitude was low, except on 14-15 September when moderate amplitudes were recorded (figure 10).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Qualitative ampliude of tremor at Ruapehu, July-October 1990.

Deformation measurements showed that the decrease in crater width that began in early September continued through early October, although distances had not yet returned to pre-inflation, early July values (figures 9 and 11).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Apparent deformation (in millimeters) at Ruapehu, 22 August-9 October (left) and 20 July-9 October 1990 (right).

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: B. Scott and I. Nairn, DSIR Rotorua; P. Otway and S. Sherburn, DSIR Wairakei; J. Allen and R. O'Brien, Dept of Conservation, Whakapapa.


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — October 1990 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)


Small ash emissions and seismicity

Many small ash emissions occurred during October, although seismicity remained at low levels. Two small swarms of high-frequency earthquakes were recorded on 14 and 22 October. Tremor episodes (2 cm2 maximum reduced displacement) were prominent and were occasionally associated with small ash emissions. Although EDM measurements showed important changes, dry-tilt did not show ground deformation. Similarly, EDM indicated 6.6 µrad of deformation at one station during September, while dry-tilt did not show any significant changes. The average SO2 flux for the month, measured by COSPEC, was 1,630 t/d, compared to 2,448 t/d in September.

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: C. Carvajal, INGEOMINAS, Manizales.


St. Helens (United States) — October 1990 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)


Explosion from N side of lava dome; ash plume and small mudflow

At 0207 on 5 November, the start of a brief explosive episode and ash emission was signalled by 2 minutes of low-amplitude seismicity, followed by an increase to high-amplitude seismicity and the failure of several sensors on the summit dome. Pilots reported the plume at altitudes of ~7.5-9 km traveling SE at 90-110 km/hr; ash was reported as far as Fossil, Oregon (~200 km SE). Strong seismicity lasted for 6 minutes, then decreased to normal levels over the following 2-3 hours.

Geologists visiting the crater that day found that the explosive activity took place at a vent on the N side of the lava dome. Two seismic stations and a steel tower were destroyed, but others continued to function. Hot dome blocks and finer-grained material blanketed the snow on the crater floor, NW and N of the dome; blocks up to 2 m in diameter were scattered on the lower part of the W crater wall (NW of the dome). Rock avalanches and hot debris from the explosions moved down the N side of the dome and across the crater floor, abrading and melting snow and ice. The resultant small debris flow traveled out of the crater into the North Fork of the Toutle River, where it formed a small mudflow that extended 16-19 km.

Fine tephra was collected from the extreme limit of deposition, but had not yet been analyzed at press time. Small quantities of fresh-appearing glass had been found in tephra emitted on 6 January (SEAN 14:12).

No precursory events to the 5 November activity have been identified, although two distinctive "cigar-shaped" events (closely spaced, small, shallow earthquakes with concurrent tremor) lasting several hours were recorded 25 and 26 October. Similar signals were associated with the 6 January ash emission, and were recorded 24 September, when no ash was emitted. These signals have been identified at Old Faithful Geyser (Yellowstone Caldera, USA), and Ruiz (Colombia), where they are thought to represent hydrothermal venting or near-surface movement of fluids.

The 5 November ash emission was very similar to the previous explosive events on [6] December and 6 January (SEAN 14:11 and 14:12). An event on 25 April produced similar explosion-type seismic signals, but bad weather prevented observations and no ash or eruption plume was reported (BGVN 15:04). Each of the events was short-lived (up to 18 hours) and produced little ash. Although the January episode also caused rock and snow avalanches, the November activity was the first to produce a mudflow in the last two years.

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: W. Scott and S. Brantley, CVO; SAB.


Stromboli (Italy) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

38.789°N, 15.213°E; summit elev. 924 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong tephra ejection; increased seismicity

At the end of August, explosive activity in Crater 1 became nearly continuous and tremor amplitude increased. The monthly average tremor amplitude was twice as high in September as in August. The daily number of events that saturated seismometers oscillated around a mean of 30 until 20 September before rapidly decreasing (figure 9). Saturating events and tremor amplitude reached a minimum during the first week in October, then remained at levels similar to those preceding the strong activity in the second half of July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Number of seismometer-saturating events/day (solid line); and average tremor amplitude (dashed line) at Stromboli, mid-June to November 1990. Courtesy of M. Riuscetti.

Volcano guides reported the following activity. 1-6 September: Ejection of hot lapilli was continuous from vents 1 and 2 in crater C1 (figure 10). Violent explosions with ash emission (150-200 m high) occurred from C3. 7-12 September: Activity was similar from C1 and C3. Block ejection and gas emission took place from C2. 13-20 September: Ejection of hot lapilli and noisy gas emission occurred from C1, while continuous minor explosions ejected small blocks from C2. Tephra was filling C3, where 4 new vents were forming on 15 September. 21 September-4 October: Most activity was concentrated in C1 and C3, with frequent explosions ejecting hot lapilli to as high as 200 m.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Sketch from "Pizzo sopra la Fossa" looking NW at the summit of Stromboli, October 1990. Courtesy of M. Riuscetti.

Geologists visited the summit area 4-10 October. The activity was more vigorous than had been seen during 25 years of study at Stromboli. Strong explosions at 15-20-minute intervals fed powerful brown ash emissions that reached about 300 m height (from vent 4 of C3). Nearly continuous bomb ejection from vent 1 of C1 was evident at night and gases were red. Stronger explosions were synchronous from many of the vents in the 3 craters. Lava spilled out every few tenths of a second from one small cone (1) in C3. One vent (3) in C1 ejected gas nearly every second. Fumarolic activity was very intense, especially from the W rim of C3. At least 3 new vents had formed (3 in C1 and 2 & 3 in C3) with continuous whistling and rare explosions.

11-16 October: Activity continued, but with an apparent slight decline. 17-28 October: Observations from the summit area were not available, but seismicity and reports from a village at the foot of the volcano suggested decreasing activity.

Geologic Background. Spectacular incandescent nighttime explosions at this volcano have long attracted visitors to the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean." Stromboli, the NE-most of the Aeolian Islands, has lent its name to the frequent mild explosive activity that has characterized its eruptions throughout much of historical time. The small island is the emergent summit of a volcano that grew in two main eruptive cycles, the last of which formed the western portion of the island. The Neostromboli eruptive period took place between about 13,000 and 5,000 years ago. The active summit vents are located at the head of the Sciara del Fuoco, a prominent horseshoe-shaped scarp formed about 5,000 years ago due to a series of slope failures that extend to below sea level. The modern volcano has been constructed within this scarp, which funnels pyroclastic ejecta and lava flows to the NW. Essentially continuous mild Strombolian explosions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded for more than a millennium.

Information Contacts: M. Riuscetti, Univ di Udine.


Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — October 1990 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)


Vapor emission; weak seismicity

"Activity remained at a low level in October. Emissions from the summit crater consisted mainly of white vapour released at moderate rates. Seismic activity remained at a very low level."

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: C. McKee and I. Itikarai, RVO.


Unzendake (Japan) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Unzendake

Japan

32.761°N, 130.299°E; summit elev. 1483 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small gas/ash eruption follows several months of increased seismicity

Seismicity increased during October, with a monthly total of 549 recorded events (up from 251 in September); 15 shocks were felt 3.9 km SW of the volcano (at UWS). Earthquake swarms occurred on the 17th, 23rd, and 31st, and during the night of 13-14 November, when four shocks were felt at the weather station. Epicenters were located roughly in two groups, one in the central part of the Shimabara peninsula, the other in the sea about 15 km W of the summit (figure 6). The seismicity in the central part of the peninsula was the first there since July. Previous swarms were generally centered at sea.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Epicentral distribution of earthquakes around Unzen, October 1990. Courtesy of JMA.

Tremor resumed on 10 October after 20 days of absence, and as many as 10 episodes/day were recorded through the end of the month. The monthly total of 81 tremor episodes was an increase from 42 in September. Tremor amplitudes were similar to previous months.

Weak, continuous tremor started on seismographs near the volcano at 0322 on 17 November. By dawn (around 0600), an eruption had already begun and residents saw a white plume rising from the volcano; the exact start time of the eruption was unknown. An air and ground survey by JMA and Kyushu Univ revealed that two steam plumes were being continuously erupted from new E flank vents; one was [650] m E of the summit (Fugen-dake), the other about 100 m S of the first vent. The steam plumes were about 300 m high and occasionally contained ash. Weak ashfall was noted downwind. No explosion sounds were heard, and no clear shocks were recorded by seismographs. The amplitude of continuous tremor gradually declined during the day, fading away at around 1900. Steam was still being erupted from one of the vents the next day, and was continuing, but declining, through 19 November. Seismicity was unchanged after the eruption. No damage was reported.

Geologic Background. The massive Unzendake volcanic complex comprises much of the Shimabara Peninsula east of the city of Nagasaki. An E-W graben, 30-40 km long, extends across the peninsula. Three large stratovolcanoes with complex structures, Kinugasa on the north, Fugen-dake at the east-center, and Kusenbu on the south, form topographic highs on the broad peninsula. Fugendake and Mayuyama volcanoes in the east-central portion of the andesitic-to-dacitic volcanic complex have been active during the Holocene. The Mayuyama lava dome complex, located along the eastern coast west of Shimabara City, formed about 4000 years ago and was the source of a devastating 1792 CE debris avalanche and tsunami. Historical eruptive activity has been restricted to the summit and flanks of Fugendake. The latest activity during 1990-95 formed a lava dome at the summit, accompanied by pyroclastic flows that caused fatalities and damaged populated areas near Shimabara City.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — October 1990 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)


Strong thermal activity but no new eruptions

During a brief 17 October visit to the rim of 1978/90 Crater complex, white steam emissions were relatively voluminous. A lake had been re-established in the SE portion (R.F. Crater). The vent observed 3 October under the SW wall was apparently still present, although viewing conditions were poor. The margins of TV1 Crater appeared unchanged, and it was emitting white steam at low pressure. Strong, audible fumaroles were present in the area NW of the 20-m-high non-extrusive rock spine (first seen on 30 August and located 15 m W of TV1 Crater), where transparent vapors emerged from the crater floor, condensing to white steam above. East of 1978/90 Crater, Donald Duck vent was emitting wispy white vapor and its floor and vent area were clearly visible.

There was no evidence for further eruptive activity since 3 October from within 1978/90 Crater, TV1 Crater, or Donald Duck Crater.

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: B. Scott, DSIR, Rotorua; S. Sherburn, DSIR, Wairakei.


Witori (Papua New Guinea) — October 1990 Citation iconCite this Report

Witori

Papua New Guinea

5.576°S, 150.516°E; summit elev. 724 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mild summit and flank fumarolic activity

"Emissions from the summit crater were very weak during an overflight in early September. Mild fumarolic emissions were noted from the NW flank of Pago."

Geologic Background. The 5.5 x 7.5 km Witori caldera on the northern coast of central New Britain contains the young historically active cone of Pago. The Buru caldera cuts the SW flank of Witori volcano. The gently sloping outer flanks of Witori volcano consist primarily of dacitic pyroclastic-flow and airfall deposits produced during a series of five major explosive eruptions from about 5600 to 1200 years ago, many of which may have been associated with caldera formation. The post-caldera Pago cone may have formed less than 350 years ago. Pago has grown to a height above that of the Witori caldera rim, and a series of ten dacitic lava flows from it covers much of the caldera floor. The youngest of these was erupted during 2002-2003 from vents extending from the summit nearly to the NW caldera wall.

Information Contacts: C. McKee and I. Itikarai, RVO.

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