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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

Sangay (Ecuador) Ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars during July-December 2020; larger explosions in September

Ebeko (Russia) Continued explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall; June-November 2020

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) Intermittent thermal anomalies and small eruptions in May and August 2020

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Numerous thermal anomalies and gas emissions from the lava lake through November 2020

Raung (Indonesia) Explosions with ash plumes and a thermal anomaly at the summit crater, July-October 2020

Sinabung (Indonesia) Explosions begin again on 8 August 2020; dome growth confirmed in late September

Heard (Australia) Persistent thermal anomalies in the summit crater from June through October 2020

Sabancaya (Peru) Daily explosions produced ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies during June-September 2020

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) Frequent small phreatic explosions with intermittent ash plumes during April-September 2020

Fuego (Guatemala) Daily explosions, ash emissions, and block avalanches during August-November 2020

Kikai (Japan) Explosion on 6 October 2020 and thermal anomalies in the crater

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Intermittent ash plumes, thermal anomalies, and SO2 emissions in April-September 2020



Sangay (Ecuador) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars during July-December 2020; larger explosions in September

Sangay is one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador with the current eruptive period continuing since 26 March 2019. Activity at the summit crater has been frequent since August 1934, with short quiet periods between events. Recent activity has included frequent ash plumes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. This report summarizes activity during July through December 2020, based on reports by Ecuador's Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), ash advisories issued by the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), webcam images taken by Servicio Integrado de Seguridad ECU911, and various satellite data.

Overall activity remained elevated during the report period. Recorded explosions were variable during July through December, ranging from no explosions to 294 reported on 4 December (figure 80), and dispersing mostly to the W and SW. SO2 was frequently detected using satellite data (figure 81) and was reported several times to be emitting between about 770 and 2,850 tons/day. Elevated temperatures at the crater and down the SE flank were frequently observed in satellite data (figure 82), and less frequently by visual observation of incandescence. Seismic monitoring detected lahars associated with rainfall events remobilizing deposits emplaced on the flanks throughout this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. A graph showing the daily number of explosions at Sangay recorded during July through December 2020. Several dates had no recorded explosions due to lack of seismic data. Data courtesy of IG-EPN (daily reports).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Examples of stronger SO2 plumes from Sangay detected by the Sentinel 5P/TROPOMI instrument, with plumes from Nevado del Ruiz detected to the north. The image dates from left to right are 31 August 2020, 17 September 2020, 1 October 2020 (top row), 22 November 2020, 3 December 2020, 14 December 2020 (bottom row). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. This log radiative power MIROVA plot shows thermal output at Sangay during February through December 2020. Activity was relatively constant with increases and decreases in both energy output and the frequency of thermal anomalies detected. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during July-August 2020. During July activity continued with frequent ash and gas emission recorded through observations when clouds weren’t obstructing the view of the summit, and Washington VAAC alerts. There were between one and five VAAC alerts issued most days, with ash plumes reaching 570 to 1,770 m above the crater and dispersing mostly W and SE, and NW on two days (figure 83). Lahar seismic signals were recorded on the 1st, 7th, three on the 13th, and one on the 19th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Gas and ash plumes at Sangay during July 2020, at 0717 on the 17th, at 1754 on the 18th, and at 0612 on the 25th. Bottom picture taken from the Macas ECU 911 webcam. All images courtesy of IG-EPN daily reports.

During August there were between one and five VAAC alerts issued most days, with ash plumes reaching 600 to 2,070 m above the crater and predominantly dispersing W, SW, and occasionally to the NE, S, and SE (figure 84). There were reports of ashfall in the Alausí sector on the 24th. Using seismic data analysis, lahar signals were identified after rainfall on 1, 7, 11-14, and 21 August. A lava flow was seen moving down the eastern flank on the night of the 15th, resulting in a high number of thermal alerts. A pyroclastic flow was reported descending the SE flank at 0631 on the 27th (figure 85).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. This 25 August 2020 PlanetScope satellite image of Sangay in Ecuador shows an example of a weak gas and ash plume dispersing to the SW. Courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. A pyroclastic flow descends the Sangay SE flank at 0631 on 27 August 2020. Webcam by ECU911, courtesy of courtesy of IG-EPN (27 August 2020 report).

Activity during September-October 2020. Elevated activity continued through September with two significant increases on the 20th and 22nd (more information on these events below). Other than these two events, VAAC reports of ash plumes varied between 1 and 5 issued most days, with plume heights reaching between 600 and 1,500 m above the crater. Dominant ash dispersal directions were W, with some plumes traveling SE, S, SE, NE, and NW. Lahar seismic signals were recorded after rainfall on 1, 2, 5, 8-10, 21, 24, 25, 27, and 30 September. Pyroclastic flows were reported on the 19th (figure 86), and incandescent material was seen descending the SE ravine on the 29th. There was a significant increase in thermal alerts reported throughout the month compared to the July-August period, and Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed a lava flow down the SE flank (figure 87).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Pyroclastic flows descended the flank of Sangay on 19 (top) and 20 (bottom) September 2020. Webcam images by ECU911 from the city of Macas, courtesy of IG-EPN (14 August 2018 report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. The thermal signature of a lava flow is seen on SW flank of Sangay in this 8 September 2020 Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image, indicated by the white arrow. False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Starting at 0420 on the morning of 20 September there was an increase in explosions and emissions recorded through seismicity, much more energetic than the activity of previous months. At 0440 satellite images show an ash plume with an estimated height of around 7 km above the crater. The top part of the plume dispersed to the E and the rest of the plume went W. Pyroclastic flows were observed descending the SE flank around 1822 (figure 88). Ash from remobilization of deposits was reported on the 21st in the Bolívar, Chimborazo, Los Ríos, Guayas and Santa Elena provinces. Ash and gas emission continued, with plumes reaching up to 1 km above the crater. There were seven VAAC reports as well as thermal alerts issued during the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. An eruption of Sangay on 22 September 2020 produced a pyroclastic flow down the SE flank and an ash plume that dispersed to the SW. PlanetScope satellite image courtesy of Planet Labs.

Ash plumes observed on 22 September reached around 1 km above the crater and dispersed W to NW. Pyroclastic flows were seen descending the SE flank (figure 89) also producing an ash plume. A BBC article reported the government saying 800 km2 of farmland had experienced ashfall, with Chimborazo and Bolívar being the worst affected areas (figure 90). Locals described the sky going dark, and the Guayaquil was temporarily closed. Ash plume heights during the 20-22 were the highest for the year so far (figure 91). Ash emission continued throughout the rest of the month with another increase in explosions on the 27th, producing observed ash plume heights reaching 1.5 km above the crater. Ashfall was reported in San Nicolas in the Chimborazo Province in the afternoon of the 30th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. A pyroclastic flow descending the flank of Sangay on 22 September 2020. Webcam image by ECU911 from the city of Macas, courtesy of IG-EPN (Sangay Volcano Special Report - 2020 - No 5, 22 September 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Ashfall from an eruption at Sangay on 22 September 2020 affected 800 km2 of farmland and nearby communities. Images courtesy of EPA and the Police of Ecuador via Reuters (top-right), all via the BBC.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. Ash plume heights (left graph) at Sangay from January through to late September, with the larger ash plumes during 20-22 September indicated by the red arrow. The dominant ash dispersal direction is to the W (right plot) and the average speed is 10 m/s. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Sangay Volcano Special Report - 2020 - No 5, 22 September 2020).

Thermal alerts increased again through October, with a lava flow and/or incandescent material descending the SE flank sighted throughout the month (figure 92). Pyroclastic flows were seen traveling down the SE flank during an observation flight on the 6th (figure 93). Seismicity indicative of lahars was reported on 1, 12, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, and 28 October associated with rainfall remobilizing deposits. The Washington VAAC released one to five ash advisories most days, noting plume heights of 570-3,000 m above the crater; prevailing winds dispersed most plumes to the W, with some plumes drifting NW, N, E to SE, and SW. Ashfall was reported in Alausí (Chimborazo Province) on the 1st and in Chunchi canton on the 10th. SO2 was recorded towards the end of the month using satellite data, varying between about 770 and 2,850 tons on the 24th, 27th, and 29th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. A lava flow descends the SE flank of Sangay on 2 October 2020. Webcam images courtesy of ECU 911.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 93. A pyroclastic flow descends the Sangay SE flank was seen during an IG-EPN overflight on 6 October 2020. Photo courtesy of S. Vallejo, IG-EPN.

Activity during November-December 2020. Frequent ash emission continued through November with between one and five Washington VAAC advisories issued most days (figure 94). Reported ash and gas plume heights varied between 570 and 2,700 m above the crater, with winds dispersing plumes in all directions. Thermal anomalies were detected most days, and incandescent material from explosions was seen on the 26th. Seismicity indicating lahars was registered on nine days between 15 and 30 November, associated with rainfall events.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 94. Examples of gas and ash plumes at Sangay during November 2020. Webcam images were published in IG-EPN daily activity reports.

Lahar signals associated with rain events continued to be detected on ten out of the first 18 days of November. Ash emissions continued through December with one to five VAAC alerts issued most days. Ash plume heights varied from 600 to 1,400 m above the crater, with the prevailing wind direction dispersing most plumes W and SW (figure 95). Thermal anomalies were frequently detected and incandescent material was observed down the SE flank on the 3rd, 14th, and 30th, interpreted as a lava flow and hot material rolling down the flank. A webcam image showed a pyroclastic flow traveling down the SE flank on the 2nd (figure 96). Ashfall was reported on the 10th in Capzol, Palmira, and Cebadas parishes, and in the Chunchi and Guamote cantons.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 95. Examples of ash plumes at Sangay during ongoing persistent activity on 9, 10, and 23 December 2020. Webcam images courtesy of ECU 911.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. A nighttime webcam image shows a pyroclastic flow descending the SE flank of Sangay at 2308 on 2 December 2020. Image courtesy of ECU 911.

Geologic Background. The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec); ECU911, Servicio Integrado de Seguridad ECU911, Calle Julio Endara s / n. Itchimbía Park Sector Quito – Ecuador. (URL: https://www.ecu911.gob.ec/; Twitter URL: https://twitter.com/Ecu911Macas/); 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/); 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/); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); BBC News “In pictures: Ash covers Ecuador farming land” Published 22 September 2020 (URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-54247797).


Ebeko (Russia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

50.686°N, 156.014°E; summit elev. 1103 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall; June-November 2020

Volcanism at Ebeko, located on the N end of the Paramushir Island in the Kuril Islands, has been ongoing since October 2016, characterized by frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE) (BGVN 45:05). Similar activity during this reporting period of June through November 2020 continues, consisting of frequent explosions, dense ash plumes, and occasional ashfall. Information for this report primarily comes from the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) and satellite data.

Activity during June was characterized by frequent, almost daily explosions and ash plumes that rose to 1.6-4.6 km altitude and drifted in various directions, according to KVERT reports and information from the Tokyo VAAC advisories using HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery and KBGS (Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service) seismic data. Satellite imagery showed persistent thermal anomalies over the summit crater. On 1 June explosions generated an ash plume up to 4.5 km altitude drifting E and S, in addition to several smaller ash plumes that rose to 2.3-3 km altitude drifting E, NW, and NE, according to KVERT VONA notices. Explosions on 11 June generated an ash plume that rose 2.6 km altitude and drifted as far as 85 km N and NW. Explosions continued during 21-30 June, producing ash plumes that rose 2-4 km altitude, drifting up to 5 km in different directions (figure 26); many of these eruptive events were accompanied by thermal anomalies that were observed in satellite imagery.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 26. Photo of a dense gray ash plume rising from Ebeko on 22 June 2020. Photo by L. Kotenko (color corrected), courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Explosions continued in July, producing ash plumes rising 2-5.2 km altitude and drifting for 3-30 km in different directions. On 3, 6, 15 July explosions generated an ash plume that rose 3-4 km altitude that drifted N, NE, and SE, resulting in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. According to a Tokyo VAAC advisory, an eruption on 4 July produced an ash plume that rose up to 5.2 km altitude drifting S. On 22 July explosions produced an ash cloud measuring 11 x 13 km in size and that rose to 3 km altitude drifting 30 km SE. Frequent thermal anomalies were identified in satellite imagery accompanying these explosions.

In August, explosions persisted with ash plumes rising 1.7-4 km altitude drifting for 3-10 km in multiple directions. Intermittent thermal anomalies were detected in satellite imagery, according to KVERT. On 9 and 22 August explosions sent ash up to 2.5-3 km altitude drifting W, S, E, and SE, resulting in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. Moderate gas-and-steam activity was reported occasionally during the month.

Almost daily explosions in September generated dense ash plumes that rose 1.5-4.3 km altitude and drifted 3-5 km in different directions. Moderate gas-and-steam emissions were often accompanied by thermal anomalies visible in satellite imagery. During 14-15 September explosions sent ash plumes up to 2.5-3 km altitude drifting SE and NE, resulting in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. On 22 September a dense gray ash plume rose to 3 km altitude and drifted S. The ash plume on 26 September was at 3.5 km altitude and drifted SE (figure 27).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Photos of dense ash plumes rising from Ebeko on 22 (left) and 26 (right) September 2020. Photos by S. Lakomov (color corrected), IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

During October, near-daily ash explosions continued, rising 1.7-4 km altitude drifting in many directions. Intermittent thermal anomalies were identified in satellite imagery. During 7-8, 9-10, and 20-22 October ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk.

Explosions in November produced dense gray ash plumes that rose to 1.5-5.2 km altitude and drifted as far as 5-10 km, mainly NE, SE, E, SW, and ENE. According to KVERT, thermal anomalies were visible in satellite imagery throughout the month. On clear weather days on 8 and 11 November Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed ashfall deposits SE of the summit crater from recent activity (figure 28). During 15-17 November explosions sent ash up to 3.5 km altitude drifting NE, E, and SE which resulted in ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk on 17 November. Similar ashfall was observed on 22-24 and 28 November due to ash rising to 1.8-3 km altitude (figure 29). Explosions on 29 November sent an ash plume up to 4.5 km altitude drifting E (figure 29). A Tokyo VAAC advisory reported that an ash plume drifting SSE on 30 November reached an altitude of 3-5.2 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of a gray-white gas-and-ash plume at Ebeko on 8 (left) and 11 (right) November 2020, resulting in ashfall (dark gray) to the SE of the volcano. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2), courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Photos of continued ash explosions from Ebeko on 28 October (left) and 29 November (right) 2020. Photos by S. Lakomov (left) and L. Kotenko (right), courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows a pulse in low-power thermal activity beginning in early June through early August (figure 30). On clear weather days, the thermal anomalies in the summit crater are observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, accompanied by occasional white-gray ash plumes (figure 31). Additionally, the MODVOLC algorithm detected a single thermal anomaly on 26 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. A small pulse in thermal activity at Ebeko began in early June and continued through early August 2020, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). The detected thermal anomalies were of relatively low power but were persistent during this period. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed gray ash plumes rising from Ebeko on 11 June (top left) and 16 July (bottom left) 2020, accompanied by occasional thermal anomalies (yellow-orange) within the summit crater, as shown on 24 June (top right) and 25 August (bottom right). The ash plume on 11 June drifted N from the summit. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) on 11 June (top left) and 16 July (bottom left) and the rest have “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. Blocky lava flows extend west from Ebeko and SE from the neighboring Nezametnyi cone. The eastern part of the southern crater contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion craters.

Information Contacts: Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT), Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/); Kamchatka Branch of the Geophysical Service, Russian Academy of Sciences (KB GS RAS) (URL: http://www.emsd.ru/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

30.443°N, 130.217°E; summit elev. 657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies and small eruptions in May and August 2020

Kuchinoerabujima encompasses a group of young stratovolcanoes located in the northern Ryukyu Islands. All historical eruptions have originated from the Shindake cone, with the exception of a lava flow that originated from the S flank of the Furudake cone. The current eruptive period began in January 2020 and has been characterized by small explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, a pyroclastic flow, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report covers activity from May to October 2020, which includes small explosions, ash plumes, crater incandescence, and gas-and-steam emissions. The primary source of information for this report comes from monthly and annual reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and advisories from the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Volcanism at Kuchinoerabujima remained relatively low during May through October 2020, according to JMA. During this time, SO2 emissions ranged from 40 to 3,400 tons/day; occasional gas-and-steam emissions were reported, rising to a maximum of 900 m above the crater. Sentinel-2 satellite images showed a particularly strong thermal anomaly in the Shindake crater on 1 May (figure 10). The thermal anomaly decreased in power after 1 May and was only visible on clear weather days, which included 19 August and 3 and 13 October. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) observations identified continued slight inflation at the base of the volcano during the entire reporting period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed a strong thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) in the Shindake crater at Kuchinoerabujima on 1 May 2020 (top left). Weaker thermal anomalies were also seen in the Shindake crater during 19 August (top right) and 3 (bottom left) and 13 (bottom right) October 2020. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Three small eruptions were detected by JMA on 5, 6, and 13 May, which produced an ash plume rising 500 m above the crater on each day, resulting in ashfall on the downwind flanks. Incandescence was observed at night using a high-sensitivity surveillance camera (figure 11). On 5 and 13 May the Tokyo VAAC released a notice that reported ash plumes rising 0.9-1.2 km altitude, drifting NE and S, respectively. On 20 May weak fumaroles were observed on the W side of the Shindake crater. The SO2 emissions ranged from 700-3,400 tons/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Webcam images of an eruption at Kuchinoerabujima on 6 May 2020 (top), producing a gray ash plume that rose 500 m above the crater. Crater incandescence was observed from the summit crater at night on 25 May 2020 (bottom). Courtesy of JMA (Monthly bulletin report 509, May 2020).

Activity during June and July decreased compared to May, with gas-and-steam emissions occurring more prominently. On 22 June weak incandescence was observed, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions rising 700 m above the crater. Weak crater incandescence was also seen on 25 June. The SO2 emissions measured 400-1,400 tons/day. White gas-and-steam emissions were again observed on 31 July rising to 800 m above the crater. The SO2 emissions had decreased during this time to 300-700 tons/day.

According to JMA, the most recent eruptive event occurred on 29 August at 1746, which ejected bombs and was accompanied by some crater incandescence, though the eruptive column was not visible due to the cloud cover. However, white gas-and-steam emissions could be seen rising 1.3 km above the Shindake crater drifting SW. The SO2 emissions measured 200-500 tons/day. During August, the number of volcanic earthquakes increased significantly to 1,032, compared to the number in July (36).

The monthly bulletin for September reported white gas-and-steam emissions rising 900 m above the crater on 9 September and on 11 October the gas-and-steam emissions rose 600 m above the crater. Seismicity decreased between September and October from 1,920 to 866. The SO2 emissions continued to decrease compared to previous months, totaling 80-400 tons/day in September and 40-300 tons/day in October.

Geologic Background. A group of young stratovolcanoes forms the eastern end of the irregularly shaped island of Kuchinoerabujima in the northern Ryukyu Islands, 15 km W of Yakushima. The Furudake, Shindake, and Noikeyama cones were erupted from south to north, respectively, forming a composite cone with multiple craters. All historical eruptions have occurred from Shindake, although a lava flow from the S flank of Furudake that reached the coast has a very fresh morphology. Frequent explosive eruptions have taken place from Shindake since 1840; the largest of these was in December 1933. Several villages on the 4 x 12 km island are located within a few kilometers of the active crater and have suffered damage from eruptions.

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); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


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

Nyamuragira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous thermal anomalies and gas emissions from the lava lake through November 2020

Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira) is a shield volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a 2 x 2.3 km caldera at the summit. A summit crater lies in the NE part of the caldera. In the recent past, the volcano has been characterized by intra-caldera lava flows, lava emissions from its lava lake, thermal anomalies, gas-and-steam emissions, and moderate seismicity (BGVN 44:12, 45:06). This report reviews activity during June-November 2020, based on satellite data.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed numerous thermal anomalies associated with the volcano during June-November 2020, although some decrease was noted during the last half of August and between mid-October to mid-November (figure 91). Between six and seven thermal hotspots per month were identified by MODVOLC during June-November 2020, with as many as 4 pixels on 11 August. In the MODVOLC system, two main hotspot groupings are visible, the largest being at the summit crater, on the E side of the caldera.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 91. MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira during March 2020-January 2021. During June-November 2020, most were in the low to moderate range, with a decrease in power during November. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Sentinel-2 satellite images showed several hotspots in the summit crater throughout the reporting period (figure 92). By 26 July and thereafter, hotspots were also visible in the SW portion of the caldera, and perhaps just outside the SW caldera rim. Gas-and-steam emissions from the lava lake were also visible throughout the period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 92. Sentinel-2 satellite images of Nyamuragira on 26 July (left) and 28 November (right) 2020. Thermal activity is present at several locations within the summit crater (upper right of each image) and in the SW part of the caldera (lower left). SWIR rendering (bands 12, 8A, 4). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Raung (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Raung

Indonesia

8.119°S, 114.056°E; summit elev. 3260 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions with ash plumes and a thermal anomaly at the summit crater, July-October 2020

A massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java, Raung has over sixty recorded eruptions dating back to the late 16th Century. Explosions with ash plumes, Strombolian activity, and lava flows from a cinder cone within the 2-km-wide summit crater have been the most common activity. Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM) has installed webcams to monitor activity in recent years. An eruption from late 2014 through August 2015 produced a large volume of lava within the summit crater and formed a new pyroclastic cone in the same location as the previous one. The eruption that began in July 2020 is covered in this report with information provided by PVMBG, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and several sources of satellite data.

The 2015 eruption was the largest in several decades; Strombolian activity was reported for many months and fresh lava flows covered the crater floor (BGVN 45:09). Raung was quiet after the eruption ended in August of that year until July of 2020 when seismicity increased on 13 July and brown emissions were first reported on 16 July. Tens of explosions with ash emissions were reported daily during the remainder of July 2020. Explosive activity decreased during August, but thermal activity didn’t decrease until mid-September. The last ash emissions were reported on 3 October and the last thermal anomaly in satellite data was recorded on 7 October 2020.

Eruption during July-October 2020. No further reports of activity were issued after August 2015 until July 2020. Clear Google Earth imagery from October 2017 and April 2018 indicated the extent of the lava from the 2015 eruption, but no sign of further activity (figure 31). By August 2019, many features from the 2015 eruption were still clearly visible from the crater rim (figure 32).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Little change can be seen at the summit of Raung in Google Earth images dated 19 October 2017 (left) and 28 April 2018 (right). The summit crater was full of black lava flows from the 2015 eruption. Courtesy of Google Earth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. A Malaysian hiker celebrated his climbing to the summit of Raung on 30 August 2019. Weak fumarolic activity was visible from the base of the breached crater of the cone near the center of the summit crater, and many features of the lava flow that filled the crater in 2015 were still well preserved. Courtesy of MJ.

PVMBG reported that the number and type of seismic events around the summit of Raung increased beginning on 13 July 2020, and on 16 July the height of the emissions from the crater rose to 100 m and the emission color changed from white to brown. About three hours later the emissions changed to gray and white. The webcams captured emissions rising 50-200 m above the summit that included 60 explosions of gray and reddish ash plumes (figure 33). The Raung Volcano Observatory released a VONA reporting an explosion with an ash plume that drifted N at 1353 local time (0653 UTC). The best estimate of the ash cloud height was 3,432 m based on ground observation. They raised the Aviation Color Code from unassigned to Orange. About 90 minutes later they reported a second seismic event and ash cloud that rose to 3,532 m, again based on ground observation. The Darwin VAAC reported that neither ash plume was visible in satellite imagery. The following day, on 17 July, PVMBG reported 26 explosions between midnight and 0600 that produced brown ash plumes which rose 200 m above the crater. Based on these events, PVMBG raised the Alert Level of Raung from I (Normal) to II (Alert) on a I-II-III-IV scale. By the following day they reported 95 explosive seismic events had occurred. They continued to observe gray ash plumes rising 100-200 m above the summit on clear days and 10-30 daily explosive seismic events through the end of July; plume heights dropped to 50-100 m and the number of explosive events dropped below ten per day during the last few days of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. An ash plume rose from the summit of Raung on 16 July 2020 at the beginning of a new eruption. The last previous eruption was in 2015. Courtesy of Volcano Discovery and PVMBG.

After a long period of no activity, MIROVA data showed an abrupt return to thermal activity on 16 July 2020; a strong pulse of heat lasted into early August before diminishing (figure 34). MODVOLC thermal alert data recorded two alerts each on 18 and 20 July, and one each on 21 and 30 July. Satellite images showed no evidence of thermal activity inside the summit crater from September 2015 through early July 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery first indicated a strong thermal anomaly inside the pyroclastic cone within the crater on 19 July 2020; it remained on 24 and 29 July (figure 35). A small SO2 signature was measured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 25 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. MIROVA thermal anomaly data indicated renewed activity on 16 July 2020 at Raung as seen in this graph of activity from 13 October 2019 through September 2020. Satellite images indicated that the dark lines at the beginning of the graph are from a large area of fires that burned on the flank of Raung in October 2019. Heat flow remained high through July and began to diminish in mid-August 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. Thermal anomalies were distinct inside the crater of the pyroclastic cone within the summit crater of Raung on 19, 24, and 29 July 2020. Data is from the Sentinel-2 satellite shown with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

After an explosion on 1 August 2020 emissions from the crater were not observed again until steam plumes were seen rising 100 m on 7 August. They were reported rising 100-200 m above the summit intermittently until a dense gray ash plume was reported by PVMBG on 11 August rising 200 m. After that, diffuse steam plumes no more than 100 m high were reported for the rest of the month except for white to brown emissions to 100 m on 21 August. Thermal anomalies of a similar brightness to July from the same point within the summit crater were recorded in satellite imagery on 3, 8, 13, 18, and 23 August. Single MODVOLC thermal alerts were reported on 1, 8, 12, and 19 August.

In early September dense steam plumes rose 200 m above the crater a few times but were mostly 50 m high or less. White and gray emissions rose 50-300 m above the summit on 15, 20, 27, and 30 September. Thermal anomalies were still present in the same spot in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 2, 7, 12, 17, and 27 September, although the signal was weaker than during July and August (figure 36). PVMBG reported gray emissions rising 100-300 m above the summit on 1 October 2020 and two seismic explosion events. Gray emissions rose 50-200 m the next day and nine explosions were recorded. On 3 October, emissions were still gray but only rose 50 m above the crater and no explosions were reported. No emissions were observed from the summit crater for the remainder of the month. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed a hot spot within the summit crater on 2 and 7 October, but clear views of the crater on 12, 17, and 22 October showed no heat source within the crater (figure 37).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. The thermal anomaly at Raung recorded in Sentinel-2 satellite data decreased in intensity between August and October 2020. It was relatively strong on 13 August (left) but had decreased significantly by 12 September (middle) and remained at a lower level into early October (right). Data shown with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. A small but distinct thermal anomaly was still present within the pyroclastic cone inside the summit crater of Raung on 7 October 2020 (left) but was gone by 12 October (middle) and did not reappear in subsequent clear views of the crater through the end of October. Satellite imagery of 7 and 12 October processed with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A). Natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) from 17 October (right) shows no clear physical changes to the summit crater during the latest eruption. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Raung, one of Java's most active volcanoes, is a massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java that was constructed SW of the rim of Ijen caldera. The unvegetated summit is truncated by a dramatic steep-walled, 2-km-wide caldera that has been the site of frequent historical eruptions. A prehistoric collapse of Gunung Gadung on the W flank produced a large debris avalanche that traveled 79 km, reaching nearly to the Indian Ocean. Raung contains several centers constructed along a NE-SW line, with Gunung Suket and Gunung Gadung stratovolcanoes being located to the NE and W, respectively.

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/); 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/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); MJ (URL: https://twitter.com/MieJamaludin/status/1167613617191043072).


Sinabung (Indonesia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sinabung

Indonesia

3.17°N, 98.392°E; summit elev. 2460 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions begin again on 8 August 2020; dome growth confirmed in late September

Indonesia’s Sinabung volcano in north Sumatra has been highly active since its first confirmed Holocene eruption during August and September 2010. It remained quiet after the initial eruption until September 2013, when a new eruptive phase began that continued through June 2018. A summit dome emerged in late 2013 and produced a large lava “tongue” during 2014. Multiple explosions produced ash plumes, block avalanches, and deadly pyroclastic flows during the eruptive period. A major explosion in February 2018 destroyed most of the summit dome. After a pause in eruptive activity from September 2018 through April 2019, explosions resumed during May and June 2019. The volcano was quiet again until an explosion on 8 August 2020 began another eruption that included a new dome. This report covers activity from July 2019 through October 2020 with information provided by Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), referred to by some agencies as CVGHM or the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), and the Badan Nacional Penanggulangan Bencana (National Disaster Management Authority, BNPB). Additional information comes from satellite instruments and local news reports.

Only steam plumes and infrequent lahars were reported at Sinabung during July 2019-July 2020. A new eruption began on 8 August 2020 with a phreatic explosion and dense ash plumes. Repeated explosions were reported throughout August; ashfall was reported in many nearby communities several times. Explosions decreased significantly during September, but SO2 emissions persisted. Block avalanches from a new growing dome were first reported in early October; pyroclastic flows accompanied repeated ash emissions during the last week of the month. Thermal data suggested that the summit dome continued growing slowly during October.

Activity during July 2019-October 2020. After a large explosion on 9 June 2019, activity declined significantly, and no further emissions or incandescence was reported after 25 June (BGVN 44:08). For the remainder of 2019 steam plumes rose 50-400 m above the summit on most days, occasionally rising to 500-700 m above the crater. Lahars were recorded by seismic instruments in July, August, September, and December. During January-July 2020 steam plumes were reported usually 50-300 m above the summit, sometimes rising to 500 m. On 21 March 2020 steam plumes rose to 700 m, and a lahar was recorded by seismic instruments. Lahars were reported on 26 and 28 April, 3 and 5 June, and 11 July.

A swarm of deep volcanic earthquakes was reported by PVMBG on 7 August 2020. This was followed by a phreatic explosion with a dense gray to black ash plume on 8 August that rose 2,000 m above the summit and drifted E; a second explosion that day produced a plume that rose 1,000 m above the summit. According to the Jakarta Post, ash reached the community of Berastagi (15 km E) along with the districts of Naman Teran (5-10 km NE), Merdeka (15 km NE), and Dolat Rayat (20 km E). Continuous tremor events were first recorded on 8 August and continued daily until 26 August. Two explosions were recorded on 10 August; the largest produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 5,000 m above the summit and drifted NE and SE (figure 77). The Darwin VAAC reported the eruption clearly visible in satellite imagery at 9.7 km altitude and drifting W. Later they reported a second plume drifting ESE at 4.3 km altitude. After this large explosion the local National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) reported significant ashfall in three districts: Naman Teran, Berastagi and Merdeka. Emissions on 11 and 12 August were white and gray and rose 100-200 m. Multiple explosions on 13 August produced white and gray ash plumes that rose 1,000-2,000 m above the summit. Explosions on 14 August produced gray and brown ash plumes that rose 1,000-4,200 m above the summit and drifted S and SW (figure 77). The Darwin VAAC reported that the ash plume was partly visible in satellite imagery at 7.6 km altitude moving W; additional plumes were moving SE at 3.7 km altitude and NE at 5.5 km altitude.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Numerous explosions were recorded at Sinabung during August 2020. An ash plume rose to 5,000 m above the summit on 10 August (left) and drifted both NE and SE. On 14 August gray and brown ash plumes rose 1,000-4,200 m above the summit and drifted S, SW, SE and NE (right) while ashfall covered crops SE of the volcano. Courtesy of PVMBG (Sinabung Eruption Notices, 10 and 14 August 2020).

White, gray, and brown emissions rose 800-1,000 m above the summit on 15 and 17 August. The next day white and gray emissions rose 2,000 m above the summit. The Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume visible at 5.2 km altitude drifting SW. A large explosion on 19 August produced a dense gray ash plume that rose 4,000 above the summit and drifted S and SW. Gray and white emissions rose 500 m on 20 August. Two explosions were recorded seismically on 21 August, but rainy and cloudy weather prevented observations. White steam plumes rose 300 m on 22 August, and a lahar was recorded seismically. On 23 August, an explosion produced a gray ash plume that rose 1,500 m above the summit and pyroclastic flows that traveled 1,000 m down the E and SE flanks (figure 78). Continuous tremors were accompanied by ash emissions. White, gray, and brown emissions rose 600 m on 24 August. An explosion on 25 August produced an ash plume that rose 800 m above the peak and drifted W and NW (figure 79). During 26-30 August steam emissions rose 100-400 m above the summit and no explosions were recorded. Dense gray ash emissions rose 1,000 m and drifted E and NE after an explosion on 31 August. Significant SO2 emissions were associated with many of the explosions during August (figure 80).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. On 23 August 2020 an explosion at Sinabung produced a gray ash plume that rose 1,500 m above the summit and produced pyroclastic flows that traveled 1,000 m down the E and SE flanks. Courtesy of PVMBG (Sinabung Eruption Notice, 23 August 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. An explosion on 25 August 2020 at Sinabung produced an ash plume that rose 800 m above the peak and drifted W and NW. Courtesy of PVMBG (Sinabung Eruption Notice, 25 August 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Significant sulfur dioxide emissions were measured at Sinabung during August 2020 when near-daily explosions produced abundant ash emissions. A small plume was also recorded from Kerinci on 19 August 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Explosive activity decreased substantially during September 2020. A single explosion reported on 5 September produced a white and brown ash plume that rose 800 m above the summit and drifted NNE. During the rest of the month steam emissions rose 50-500 m above the summit before dissipating. Two lahars were reported on 7 September, and one each on 11 and 30 September. Although only a single explosion was reported, anomalous SO2 emissions were present in satellite data on several days.

The character of the activity changed during October 2020. Steam plumes rising 50-300 m above the summit were reported during the first week and a lahar was recorded by seismometers on 4 October. The first block avalanches from a new dome growing at the summit were reported on 8 October with material traveling 300 m ESE from the summit (figure 81). During 11-13 October block avalanches traveled 300-700 m E and SE from the summit. They traveled 100-150 m on 14 October. Steam plumes rising 50-500 m above the summit were reported during 15-22 October with two lahars recorded on 21 October. White and gray emissions rose 50-1,000 m on 23 October. The first of a series of pyroclastic flows was reported on 25 October; they were reported daily through the end of the month when the weather permitted, traveling 1,000-2,500 m from the summit (figure 82). In addition, block avalanches from the growing dome were observed moving down the E and SE flanks 500-1,500 m on 25 October and 200-1,000 m each day during 28-31 October (figure 83). Sentinel-2 satellite data indicated a very weak thermal anomaly at the summit in late September; it was slightly larger in late October, corroborating with images of the slow-growing dome (figure 84).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. A new lava dome appeared at the summit of Sinabung in late September 2020. Block avalanches from the dome were first reported on 8 October. Satellite imagery indicating a thermal anomaly at the summit was very faint at the end of September and slightly stronger by the end of October. The dome grew slowly between 30 September (top) and 22 October 2020 (bottom). Photos taken by Firdaus Surbakti, courtesy of Rizal.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Pyroclastic flows at Sinabung were accompanied ash emissions multiple times during the last week of October, including the event seen here on 27 October 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and CultureVolcan.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Block avalanches from the growing summit dome at Sinabung descended the SE flank on 28 October 2020. The dome is visible at the summit. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. A very faint thermal anomaly appeared at the summit of Sinabung in Sentinel 2 satellite imagery on 28 September 2020 (left). One month later on 28 October the anomaly was bigger, corroborating photographic evidence of the growing dome. Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8A) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Gunung Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano with many lava flows on its flanks. The migration of summit vents along a N-S line gives the summit crater complex an elongated form. The youngest crater of this conical andesitic-to-dacitic edifice is at the southern end of the four overlapping summit craters. The youngest deposit is a SE-flank pyroclastic flow 14C dated by Hendrasto et al. (2012) at 740-880 CE. An unconfirmed eruption was noted in 1881, and solfataric activity was seen at the summit and upper flanks in 1912. No confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to explosive eruptions during August-September 2010 that produced ash plumes to 5 km above the summit.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), National Disaster Management Agency, Graha BNPB - Jl. Scout Kav.38, East Jakarta 13120, Indonesia (URL: http://www.bnpb.go.id/); 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); 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/); The Jakarta Post, 3rd Floor, Gedung, Jl. Palmerah Barat 142-143 Jakarta 10270 (URL: https://www.thejakartapost.com/amp/news/2020/08/08/mount-sinabung-erupts-again-after-year-of-inactivity.html);Rizal (URL: https://twitter.com/Rizal06691023/status/1319452375887740930); CultureVolcan (URL: https://twitter.com/CultureVolcan/status/1321156861173923840).


Heard (Australia) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Persistent thermal anomalies in the summit crater from June through October 2020

The remote Heard Island is located in the southern Indian Ocean and contains the Big Ben stratovolcano, which has had intermittent activity since 1910. The island’s activity, characterized by thermal anomalies and occasional lava flows (BGVN 45:05), is primarily monitored by satellite instruments. This report updates activity from May through October 2020 using information from satellite-based instruments.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed frequent thermal activity in early June that continued through July (figure 43). Intermittent, slightly higher-power thermal anomalies were detected in late August through mid-October, the strongest of which occurred in October. Two of these anomalies were also detected in the MODVOLC algorithm on 12 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A small pulse in thermal activity at Heard was detected in early June and continued through July 2020, according to the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Thermal anomalies appeared again starting in late August and continued intermittently through mid-October 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed a single thermal anomaly on 3 May. In comparison to the MIROVA graph, satellite imagery showed a small pulse of strong thermal activity at the summit of Big Ben in June (figure 44). Some of these thermal anomalies were accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions. Persistent strong thermal activity continued through July. Starting on 2 July through at least 17 July two hotspots were visible in satellite imagery: one in the summit crater and one slightly to the NW of the summit (figure 45). Some gas-and-steam emissions were seen rising from the S hotspot in the summit crater. In August the thermal anomalies had decreased in strength and frequency but persisted at the summit through October (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Thermal satellite images of Heard Island’s Big Ben volcano showed strong thermal signatures (bright yellow-orange) sometimes accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions drifting SE (top left) and NE (bottom right) during June 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Thermal satellite images of Heard Island’s Big Ben volcano showed persistent thermal anomalies (bright yellow-orange) near the summit during July through October 2020. During 14 (top left) and 17 (top right) July a second hotspot was visible NW of the summit. By 22 October (bottom right) the thermal anomaly had significantly decreased in strength in comparison to previous months. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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).


Sabancaya (Peru) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sabancaya

Peru

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions produced ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and thermal anomalies during June-September 2020

Sabancaya, located in Peru, is a stratovolcano that has been very active since 1986. The current eruptive period began in November 2016 and has recently been characterized by lava dome growth, daily explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, SO2 plumes, and ongoing thermal anomalies (BGVN 45:06). Similar activity continues into this reporting period of June through September 2020 using information from weekly reports from the Observatorio Vulcanologico INGEMMET (OVI), the Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), and various satellite data. The Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issued a total of 520 reports of ongoing ash emissions during this time.

Volcanism during this reporting period consisted of daily explosions, nearly constant gas-and-ash plumes, SO2 plumes, and persistent thermal anomalies in the summit crater. Gas-and-ash plumes rose to 1.5-4 km above the summit crater, drifting up to 35 km from the crater in multiple directions; several communities reported ashfall every month except for August (table 7). Sulfur dioxide emissions were notably high and recorded almost daily with the TROPOMI satellite instrument (figure 83). The satellite measurements of the SO2 emissions exceeded 2 DU (Dobson Units) at least 20 days each month of the reporting period. These SO2 plumes sometimes persisted over multiple days and ranged between 1,900-10,700 tons/day. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent thermal activity through September within 5 km of the summit crater, though the power varied; by late August, the thermal anomalies were stronger compared to the previous months (figure 84). This increase in power is also reflected by the MODVOLC algorithm that detected 11 thermal anomalies over the days of 31 August and 4, 6, 13, 17, 18, 20, and 22 September 2020. Many of these thermal hotspots were visible in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash plumes (figure 85).

Table 7. Persistent activity at Sabancaya during June through September included multiple daily explosions that produced ash plumes rising several kilometers above the summit and drifting in multiple directions; this resulted in ashfall in communities within 35 km of the volcano. Satellite instruments recorded daily SO2 emissions. Data courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET, IGP, and the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

Month Avg. daily explosions by week Max plume heights (km above the crater) Plume drift (km) and direction Communities reporting ashfall Minimum days with SO2 over 2 DU SO2 emissions per day (tons) by week
Jun 2020 20, 10, 9, 13 1.5-4 30 km, SE, S, SW, NE, W, E Chivay, Achoma, Ichupampa, Yanque, and Coporaque, Sallali, Madrigal, Lari, and Ichupampa 28 8,400, 2,200, 3,100, 7,600
Jul 2020 20, 15, 11, 12, 19 2-2.6 15-30 km E, NE, NW, SE, SW, S, W Achoma and Chivay 23 4,400, 6,000, 1,900, 2,100, 5,900
Aug 2020 18, 12, 9, 29 1.7-3.6 20-30 km W, SW, SE, S, E, NW - 20 2,300, 3,800, 5,300, 10,700
Sep 2020 39, 35, 33, 38, 40 1.8-3.5 25-35 km SE, S, SW, W, E, NE, N, NW, W Lari, Achoma, Maca, Chivay, Taya, Huambo, Huanca, and Lluta 28 9,700, 2,600, 8,800, 7,800, 4,100
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Sulfur dioxide plumes were captured almost daily from Sabancaya during June through September 2020 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Some of the largest SO2 plumes occurred on 19 June (top left), 5 July (top right), 30 August (bottom left), and 10 September (bottom right) 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Thermal activity at Sabancaya varied in power from 13 October 2019 through September 2020, but was consistent in frequency, according to the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). A pulse in thermal activity is shown in late August 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed frequent gas-and-steam and ash plumes rising from Sabancaya, accompanied by ongoing thermal activity from the summit crater during June through September 2020. On 23 June (top left) a dense gray-white ash plume was visible drifting E from the summit. On 3 July (top right) and 27 August (bottom left) a strong thermal hotspot (bright yellow-orange) was accompanied by some degassing. On 1 September (bottom right) the thermal anomaly persisted with a dense gray-white ash plume drifting SE from the summit. Images using “Natural Color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) on 23 June 2020 (top left) and the rest have “Atmospheric penetration” rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

OVI detected slight inflation on the N part of the volcano, which continued to be observed throughout the reporting period. Persistent thermal anomalies caused by the summit crater lava dome were observed in satellite data. The average number of daily explosions during June ranged from 18 during 1-7 June to 9 during 15-21 June, which generated gas-and-ash plumes that rose 1.5-4 km above the crater and drifted 30 km SE, S, SW, NE, W, and E (figure 86). The strongest sulfur dioxide emissions were recorded during 1-7 June measuring 8,400 tons/day. On 20 June drone video showed that the lava dome had been destroyed, leaving blocks on the crater floor, though the crater remained hot, as seen in thermal satellite imagery (figure 85). During 22-28 June there were an average of 13 daily explosions, which produced ash plumes rising to a maximum height of 4 km, drifting NE, E, and SE. As a result, ashfall was reported in the districts of Chivay, Achoma, Ichupampa, Yanque, and Coporaque, and in the area of Sallali. Then, on 27 June ashfall was reported in several areas NE of the volcano, which included the districts of Madrigal, Lari, Achoma, Ichupampa, Yanque, Chivay, and Coporaque.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 1.5-4 km above the crater during June 2020. Images are showing 8 (left) and 27 (right) June 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-24-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 08 al 14 de junio del 2020 and RSSAB-26-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 22 al 28 de junio del 2020).

Slight inflation continued to be monitored in July, occurring about 4-6 km N of the crater, as well as on the SE flank. Daily explosions continued, producing gas-and-ash plumes that rose 2-2.6 km above the crater and drifting 15-30 km E, NE, NW, SE, SW, S, and W (figure 87). The number of daily explosions increased slightly compared to the previous month, ranging from 20 during 1-5 July to 11 during 13-19 July. SO2 emissions that were measured each week ranged from 1,900 to 6,000 tons/day, the latter of which occurred during 6-12 July. Thermal anomalies continued to be observed in thermal satellite data over the summit crater throughout the month. During 6-12 July gas-and-ash plumes rose 2.3-2.5 km above the crater, drifting 30 km SE, E, and NE, resulting in ashfall in Achoma and Chivay.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 87. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 2-3.5 km above the crater during July 2020. Images are showing 7 (left) and 26 (right) July 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-28-2020/INGEMMET Semanal: del 06 al 12 de julio del 2020 and RSSAB-30-2020/INGEMMET Semanal: del 20 al 26 de julio del 2020).

OVI reported continued slight inflation on the N and SE flanks during August. Daily explosive activity had slightly declined in the first part of the month, ranging from 18 during the 3-9 August to 9 during 17-23 August. Dense gray gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.7-3.6 km above the crater, drifting 20-30 km in various directions (figure 88), though no ashfall was reported. Thermal anomalies were observed using satellite data throughout the month. During 24-30 August a pulse in activity increased the daily average of explosions to 29, as well as the amount of SO2 emissions (10,700 tons/day); nighttime incandescence accompanied this activity. During 28-29 August higher levels of seismicity and inflation were reported compared to the previous weeks. The daily average of explosions increased again during 31 August-6 September to 39; nighttime incandescence remained.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 1.7-3.6 km above the crater during August 2020. Images are showing 1 (left) and 29 (right) August 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-31-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 27 de julio al 02 de agosto del 2020 and RSSAB-35-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 24 al 30 de agosto del 2020).

Increased volcanism was reported during September with the daily average of explosions ranging from 33 during 14-20 September to 40 during 28 September-4 October. The resulting gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.8-3.5 km above the crater drifting 25-35 km in various directions (figure 89). SO2 flux was measured by OVI ranging from 2,600 to 9,700 tons/day, the latter of which was recorded during 31 August to 6 September. During 7-13 September an average of 35 explosions were reported, accompanied by gas-and-ash plumes that rose 2.6-3.5 km above the crater and drifting 30 km SE, SW, W, E, and S. These events resulted in ashfall in Lari, Achoma, and Maca. The following week (14-20 September) ashfall was reported in Achoma and Chivay. During 21-27 September the daily average of explosions was 38, producing ash plumes that resulted in ashfall in Taya, Huambo, Huanca, and Lluta. Slight inflation on the N and SE flanks continued to be monitored by OVI. Strong activity, including SO2 emissions and thermal anomalies over the summit crater persisted into at least early October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose 1.8-2.6 km above the crater during September 2020. Images are showing 4 (left) and 27 (right) September 2020. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-36-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 31 de agosto al 06 de septiembre del 2020 and RSSAB-39-2020/INGEMMET Semanal del 21 al 27 de septiembre del 2020).

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

Information Contacts: Observatorio Volcanologico del INGEMMET (Instituto Geológical Minero y Metalúrgico), Barrio Magisterial Nro. 2 B-16 Umacollo - Yanahuara Arequipa, Peru (URL: http://ovi.ingemmet.gob.pe); Instituto Geofisico del Peru (IGP), Calle Badajoz N° 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Perú (URL: https://www.gob.pe/igp); Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Meteorológico Nacional-Fuerza Aérea Argentina, 25 de mayo 658, Buenos Aires, Argentina (URL: http://www.smn.gov.ar/vaac/buenosaires/inicio.php); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — October 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent small phreatic explosions with intermittent ash plumes during April-September 2020

Rincón de la Vieja is a remote volcanic complex in Costa Rica that contains an acid lake. Frequent weak phreatic explosions have occurred since 2011 (BGVN 44:08). The most recent eruption period began in January 2020, which consisted of small phreatic explosions, gas-and-steam plumes, pyroclastic flows, and lahars (BGVN 45:04). This reporting period covers April through September 2020, with activity characterized by continued small phreatic explosions, three lahars, frequent gas-and-steam plumes, and ash plumes. The primary source of information for this report is the Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA) using weekly bulletins and the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Small, frequent, phreatic explosions were common at Rincón de la Vieja during this reporting period. One to several eruptions were reported on at least 16 days in April, 15 days in May, 8 days in June, 10 days in July, 18 days in August, and 13 days in September (table 5). Intermittent ash plumes accompanied these eruptions, rising 100-3,000 m above the crater and drifting W, NW, and SW during May and N during June. Occasional gas-and-steam plumes were also observed rising 50-2,000 m above the crater rim.

Table 5. Monthly summary of activity at Rincón de la Vieja during April through September 2020. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Month Minimum total days of eruptions Ash plume height (m above the crater) Notable plume drift Gas-and-steam plume height (m above the crater)
Apr 2020 16 200-1,000 - 50-1,500
May 2020 15 200-3,000 W, NW, SW 200-2,000
Jun 2020 8 100-2,000 N -
Jul 2020 10 1,000 - -
Aug 2020 18 500-1,000 - 500
Sep 2020 13 700 - 50

During April small explosions were detected almost daily, some of which generated ash plumes that rose 200-1,000 m above the crater and gas-and-steam emissions that rose 50-1,500 m above the crater. On 4 April an eruption at 0824 produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim. A small hydrothermal explosion at 0033 on 11 April, recorded by the webcam in Sensoria (4 km N), ejected water and sediment onto the upper flanks. On 15 April a phreatic eruption at 0306 resulted in lahars in the Pénjamo, Azufrada, and Azul rivers, according to local residents. Several small explosions were detected during the morning of 19 April; the largest phreatic eruption ejected water and sediment 300 m above the crater rim and onto the flanks at 1014, generated a lahar, and sent a gas-and-steam plume 1.5 km above the crater (figure 30). On 24 April five events were recorded by the seismic network during the morning, most of which produced gas-and-steam plumes that rose 300-500 m above the crater. The largest event on this day occurred at 1020, ejecting water and solid material 300 m above the crater accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume rising up to 1 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. Webcam image of small hydrothermal eruptions at Rincón de la Vieja on 19 April 2020. Image taken by the webcam in Dos Ríos de Upala; courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Similar frequent phreatic activity continued in May, with ash plumes rising 200-1,500 m above the crater, drifting W, NW, and SW, and gas-and-steam plumes rising up to 2 km. On 5 May an eruption at 1317 produced a gas-and-steam plume 200 m above the crater and a Washington VAAC advisory reported that an ash plume rose to 2.1 km altitude, drifting W. An event at 1925 on 9 May generated a gas-and-steam plume that rose almost 2 km. An explosion at 1128 on 15 May resulted in a gas-and-steam plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim, accompanied by a gray, sediment-laden plume that rose 400 m. On 21 May a small ash eruption at 0537 sent a plume 1 km above the crater (figure 31). According to a Washington VAAC advisory, an ash plume rose 3 km altitude, drifting NW on 22 May. During the early evening on 25 May an hour-long sequence of more than 70 eruptions and emissions, according to OVSICORI-UNA, produced low gas-and-steam plumes and tephra; at 1738, some ejecta was observed above the crater rim. The next day, on 26 May, up to 52 eruptive events were observed. An eruption at 2005 was not visible due to weather conditions; however, it resulted in a minor amount of ashfall up to 17 km W and NW, which included Los Angeles of Quebrada Grande and Liberia. A phreatic explosion at 1521 produced a gray plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater (figure 31). An eruption at 1524 on 28 May sent an ash plume 3 km above the crater that drifted W, followed by at least three smaller eruptions at 1823, 1841, and 1843. OVSICORI-UNA reported that volcanism began to decrease in frequency on 28-29 May. Sulfur dioxide emissions ranged between 100 and 400 tons per day during 28 May to 15 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Webcam images of gray gas-and-steam and ash emissions at Rincón de la Vieja on 21 (left), and 27 (right) May 2020. Both images taken by the webcam in Dos Ríos de Upala and Sensoria; courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

There were eight days with eruptions in June, though some days had multiple small events; phreatic eruptions reported on 1-2, 13, 16-17, 19-20, and 23 June generated plumes 1-2 km above the crater (figure 32). During 2-8 June SO2 emissions were 150-350 tons per day; more than 120 eruptions were recorded during the preceding weekend. Ashfall was observed N of the crater on 4 June. During 9-15 June the SO2 emissions increased slightly to 100-400 tons per day. During 16-17 June several small eruptive events were detected, the largest of which occurred at 1635 on 17 June, producing an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Webcam images of gray gas-and-steam and ash plumes rising from Rincón de la Vieja on 1 (top left), 2 (top right), 7 (bottom left), and 13 (bottom right) June 2020. The ash plume on 1 June rose between 1.5 and 2 km above the crater. The ash plume on 13 June rose 1 km above the crater. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Explosive hydrothermal activity was lower in June-September compared to January-May 2020, according to OVSICORI-UNA. Sporadic small phreatic explosions and earthquakes were registered during 22-25 and 29 July-3 August, though no lahars were reported. On 25 July an eruptive event at 0153 produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater. Similar activity continued into August. On 5 and 6 August phreatic explosions were recorded at 0546 and 0035, respectively, the latter of which generated a plume that rose 500 m above the crater. These events continued to occur on 10, 16, 19-20, 22-25, 27-28, and 30-31 August, generating plumes that rose 500 m to 1 km above the crater.

On 3 September geologists observed that the acid lake in the main crater had a low water level and exhibited strong gas emissions; vigorous fumaroles were observed on the inner W wall of the crater, measuring 120°C. Gas-and-steam emissions continued to be detected during September, occasionally accompanied by phreatic eruptions. On 7 September an eruption at 0750 produced an ash plume that rose 50 m above the crater while the accompanying gas-and-steam plume rose 500 m. Several low-energy phreatic explosions occurred during 8-17, 20, and 22-28 September, characterized primarily by gas-and-steam emissions. An eruption on 16 September ejected material from the crater and generated a small lahar. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 100 tons per day during 16-21 September. On 17 September an eruption at 0632 produced an ash plume that rose 700 m above the crater (figure 33). A relatively large eruptive event at 1053 on 22 September ejected material out of the crater and into N-flank drainages.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Webcam image of an eruption plume rising above Rincón de la Vieja on 17 September 2020. Courtesy of OVSICORI-UNA.

Geologic Background. Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A Plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3,500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanologico Sismologica de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica (URL: http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/, https://www.facebook.com/OVSICORI/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html).


Fuego (Guatemala) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily explosions, ash emissions, and block avalanches during August-November 2020

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

Summary of activity during August-November 2020. Eruptive activity continued at Fuego during August-November 2020, very similar to that during the first part of the year (table 22). Ash emissions were reported daily by INSIVUMEH with explosions often in the 6-12 per hour range. Most of the ash plumes rose to 4.5-4.7 km altitude and generally drifted SW, W, or NW, although rarely the wind direction changed and sent ash to the S and SE. Multiple daily advisories were issued throughout the period by the Washington VAAC warning aviators about ash plumes, which were often visible on the observatory webcam (figure 136). Some of the communities located SW of the volcano received ashfall virtually every day during the period. Block avalanches descended the major drainages daily as well. Sounds were heard and vibrations felt from the explosions most days, usually 7-12 km away. The stronger explosions could be felt and heard 20 km or more from the volcano. During late August and early September a lava flow was active on the SW flank, reaching 700 m in length during the second week of September.

Table 22. Eruptive activity was consistently high at Fuego throughout August – November 2020 with multiple explosions every hour, ash plumes, block avalanches, and near-daily ashfall in the communities in certain directions within 10-20 km of the volcano. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH daily reports.

Month Explosions per hour Ash Plume Heights (km) Ash plume distance (km) and direction Drainages affected by block avalanches Communities reporting ashfall
Aug 2020 2-15 4.3-4.8 SW, W, NW, S, N, 8-20 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Rochela, Finca Palo Verde, Yepocapa, Santa Sofia, El Porvenir, Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa
Sep 2020 3-16 4.3-4.9 W, SW, NW, N, S, 8-20 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, Porvenir, Yucales, Ojo de Agua, Finca La Conchita
Oct 2020 3-19 4.1-4.8 SW, W, S, SE, N, E, 10-20 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa Panimache I and II, Morelia, Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, La Rochela, El Porvenir, Ceilán, Santa Sofía, Yucales, Finca Palo Verde
Nov 2020 4-14 4.0-4.8 S, SW, SE, W, NW, 10-35 km Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa El Jute Panimaché I and II, Sangre de Cristo, Morelia, Ceilan, La Rochela, El Zapote, Santa Sofía, Yucales, San Juan Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas y Antigua Guatemala, Palo Verde, El Porvenir, San Pedro Yepocapa, Quisaché, Santa Emilia
Figure (see Caption) Figure 136. Consistent daily ash emissions produced similar looking ash plumes at Fuego during August-November 2020. Plumes usually rose to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted SW. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

The frequent explosions, block avalanches, and lava flows produced a strong thermal signal throughout the period that was recorded in both the MIROVA project Log Radiative Power graph (figure 137) and in numerous Sentinel-2 satellite images (figure 138). MODVOLC data produced thermal alerts 4-6 days each month. At least one lahar was recorded each month; they were most frequent in September and October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 137. The MIROVA graph of activity at Fuego for the period from 15 January through November 2020 suggested persistent moderate to high-level heat flow for much of the time. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 138. Atmospheric penetration rendering of Sentinel-2 satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) of Fuego during August-November 2020 showed continued thermal activity from block avalanches, explosions, and lava flows at the summit and down several different ravines. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during August-November 2020. The number of explosions per hour at Fuego during August 2020 was most often 7-10, with a few days that were higher at 10-15. The ash plumes usually rose to 4.5-4.8 km altitude and drifted SW or W up to 15 km. Incandescence was visible 100-300 m above the summit crater on most nights. All of the major drainages including the Seca, Santa Teresa, Ceniza, Trinidad, Taniluyá, Las Lajas, and Honda were affected by block avalanches virtually every day. In addition, the communities of Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, San Pedro Yepocapa, and Sangre de Cristo reported ashfall almost every day. Sounds and vibrations were reported multiple days every week, often up to 12 km from the volcano, but occasionally as far as 20 km away. Lahars carrying blocks of rocks and debris 1-2 m in diameter descended the SE flank in the Las Lajas and Honda ravines on 6 August. On 27 August a lava flow 150 m long appeared in the Ceniza ravine. It increased in length over the subsequent few days, reaching 550 m long on 30 August, with frequent block avalanches falling off the front of the flow.

The lava flow in the Ceniza ravine was reported at 100 m long on 5 September. It grew to 200 m on 7 September and reached 700 m long on 12 September. It remained 200-350 m long through 19 September, although instruments monitored by INSIVUMEH indicated that effusive activity was decreasing after 16 September (figure 139). A second flow was 200 m long in the Seca ravine on 19 September. By 22 September, active flows were no longer observed. The explosion rate varied from a low of 3-5 on 1 September to a high of 12-16 on 4, 13, 18, and 22-23 September. Ash plumes rose to 4.5-4.9 km altitude nearly every day and drifted W, NW, and SW occasionally as far as 20 km before dissipating. In addition to the active flow in the Ceniza ravine, block avalanches persisted in the other ravines throughout the month. Ashfall continued in the same communities as in August, but was also reported in Yucales on 4 September along with Ojo de Agua and Finca La Conchita on 17 September. The Las Lajas, Honda, and El Jute ravines were the sites of lahars carrying blocks up to 1.5 m in diameter on 8 and 18 September. On 19 and 24 September lahars again descended Las Lajas and El Jute ravines; the Ceniza ravine had a lahar on 19 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 139. Avalanche blocks descended the Ceniza ravine (left) and the Las Lajas ravine (right) at Fuego on 17 September 2020. The webcam that captured this image is located at Finca La Reunión on the SE flank. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BOLETÍN VULCANOLÓGICO ESPECIAL BEVFGO # 76-2020, 18 de septiembre de 2020, 14:30 horas).

The same activity continued during October 2020 with regard to explosion rates, plume altitudes, distances, and directions of drift. All of the major ravines were affected by block avalanches and the same communities located W and SW of the summit reported ashfall. In addition, ashfall was reported in La Rochela on 2, 3, 7-9 and 30 October, in Ceilán on 3 and 7-9 October, and in Yucales on 5, 14, 18 and 19 October. Multiple strong explosions with abundant ash were reported in a special bulletin on 14 October; high levels of explosive activity were recorded during 16-23 October. Vibrations and sounds were often felt up to 15 km away and heard as far as 25 km from the volcano during that period. Particularly strong block avalanches were present in the Seca and Ceniza ravines on 20, 25, and 30 October. Abundant rain on 9 October resulted in lahars descending all of the major ravines. The lahar in the Las Lajas ravine overflowed and forced the closure of route RN-14 road affecting the community of San Miguel on the SE flank (figure 140). Heavy rains on 15 October produced lahars in the Ceniza, Las Lajas, and Hondas ravines with blocks up to 2 m in diameter. Multiple lahars on 27 October affected Las Lajas, El Jute, and Honda ravines.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 140. Heavy rains on 9 October 2020 at Fuego caused lahars in all the major ravines. Debris from Las Lajas ravine overflowed highway RN-14 near the community of San Miguel on the SE flank, the area devastated by the pyroclastic flow of June 2018. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (BEFGO #96 VOLCAN DE FUEGO- ZONA CERO RN-14, SAN MIGUEL LOS LOTES y BARRANCA LAS LAJAS, 09 de octubre de 2020).

On 8 November 2020 a lahar descended the Seca ravine, carrying rocks and debris up to 1 meter in diameter. During the second week of November 2020, the wind direction changed towards the SE and E and brought ashfall to San Juan Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas, and Antigua Guatemala on 8 November. Especially strong block avalanches were noted in the Seca and Ceniza ravines on 14, 19, 24, and 29 November. During a period of stronger activity in the fourth week of November, vibrations were felt and explosions heard more than 20 km away on 22 November and more than 25 km away on 27 November. In addition to the other communities affected by ashfall during August-November, Quisaché and Santa Emilia reported ashfall on 30 November.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/ ); 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);Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html).


Kikai (Japan) — November 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

30.793°N, 130.305°E; summit elev. 704 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosion on 6 October 2020 and thermal anomalies in the crater

Kikai is a mostly submarine caldera, 19-km-wide, just S of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. At the NW rim of the caldera lies the island of Satsuma Iwo Jima (also known as Satsuma-Iojima and Tokara Iojima), and the island’s highest peak, Iodake, a steep stratovolcano. Recent weak ash explosions at Iodake occurred on 2 November 2019 and 29 April 2020 (BGVN 45:02, 45:05). The volcano is monitored by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and satellite sensors. This report covers the period May-October 2020. During this time, the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Activity at Kikai has been relatively low since the previous eruption on 29 April 2020. During May through October occasional white gas-and-steam emissions rose 0.8-1.3 km above the Iodake crater, the latter of which was recorded in September. Emissions were intermittently accompanied by weak nighttime incandescence, according to JMA (figure 17).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. White gas-and-steam emissions rose 1 km above the crater at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 25 May (top) 2020. At night, occasional incandescence could be seen in the Iodake crater, as seen on 29 May (bottom) 2020. Both images taken by the Iwanoue webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, May 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).

A small eruption at 0757 on 6 October occurred in the NW part of the Iodake crater, which produced a grayish white plume rising 200 m above the crater (figure 18). Faint thermal anomalies were detected in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery in the days just before this eruption (28 September and 3 October) and then after (13 and 23 October), accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions (figures 19 and 20). Nighttime crater incandescence continued to be observed. JMA reported that sulfur dioxide emissions measured 700 tons per day during October, compared to the previous eruption (400-2,000 tons per day in April 2020).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Webcam images of the eruption at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 6 October 2020 that produced an ash plume rising 200 m above the crater (top). Nighttime summit crater incandescence was also observed (bottom). Images were taken by the Iwanoue webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Weak thermal hotspots (bright yellow-orange) were observed at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) during late September through October 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Webcam image of a white gas-and-steam plume rising 1.1 km above the crater at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 27 October 2020. Image was taken by the Iwanoue webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).

Geologic Background. Kikai is a mostly submerged, 19-km-wide caldera near the northern end of the Ryukyu Islands south of Kyushu. It was the source of one of the world's largest Holocene eruptions about 6,300 years ago when rhyolitic pyroclastic flows traveled across the sea for a total distance of 100 km to southern Kyushu, and ashfall reached the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The eruption devastated southern and central Kyushu, which remained uninhabited for several centuries. Post-caldera eruptions formed Iodake lava dome and Inamuradake scoria cone, as well as submarine lava domes. Historical eruptions have occurred at or near Satsuma-Iojima (also known as Tokara-Iojima), a small 3 x 6 km island forming part of the NW caldera rim. Showa-Iojima lava dome (also known as Iojima-Shinto), a small island 2 km E of Tokara-Iojima, was formed during submarine eruptions in 1934 and 1935. Mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred during the past few decades from Iodake, a rhyolitic lava dome at the eastern end of Tokara-Iojima.

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — October 2020 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)


Intermittent ash plumes, thermal anomalies, and SO2 emissions in April-September 2020

Manam, located 13 km off the N coast of Papua New Guinea, is a basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano with historical eruptions dating back 400 years. Volcanism has been characterized by low-level ash plumes, occasional Strombolian activity, lava flows, pyroclastic avalanches, and large ash plumes from Main and South, the two active summit craters. The current eruption period has been ongoing since 2014, typically with minor explosive activity, thermal activity, and SO2 emissions (BGVN 45:05). This reporting period updates information from April through September 2020, consisting of intermittent ash plumes from late July to mid-September, persistent thermal anomalies, and SO2 emissions. Information comes from Papua New Guinea's Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), part of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Explosive activity was relatively low during April through late July; SO2 emissions and low power, but persistent, thermal anomalies were detected by satellite instruments each month. The TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite recorded SO2 emissions, many of which exceeded two Dobson Units, that drifted generally W (figure 76). Distinct SO2 emissions were detected for 10 days in April, 4 days in May, 10 days in June, 4 days in July, 11 days in August, and 8 days in September.

Thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system were sparse from early January through June 2020, totaling 11 low-power anomalies within 5 km of the summit (figure 77). From late July through September a pulse in thermal activity produced slightly stronger and more frequent anomalies. Some of this activity could be observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (figure 78). Occasionally, these thermal anomalies were accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions or ash plumes, as shown on 28 July. On 17 August a particularly strong hotspot was detected in the S summit crater. According to the MODVOLC thermal alert data, a total of 10 thermal alerts were detected in the summit crater over four days: 29 July (5), 16 August (1), and 3 (1) and 8 (3) September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Distinct sulfur dioxide plumes rising from Manam and drifting generally W were detected using data from the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 28 April (top left), 24 May (top right), 16 July (bottom left), and 12 September (bottom right) 2020. Courtesy of the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Intermittent thermal activity at Manam increased in power and frequency beginning around late July and continuing through September 2020, as shown on the MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing a persistent thermal anomaly (yellow-orange) at Manam’s summit craters (Main and South) each month during April through August; sometimes they were seen in both summit craters, as shown on 8 June (top right), 28 July (bottom left), and 17 August (bottom right). A particularly strong anomaly was visible on 17 August (bottom right). Occasional gas-and-steam emissions accompanied the thermal activity. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity during mid-July slightly increased compared to the previous months. On 16 July seismicity increased, fluctuating between low and moderate RSAM values through the rest of the month. In Sentinel-2 satellite imagery a gray ash plume was visible rising from the S summit crater on 28 July (figure 78). RSAM values gradually increased from a low average of 200 to an average of 1200 on 30 July, accompanied by thermal hotspots around the summit crater; a ground observer reported incandescent material was ejected from the summit. On 31 July into 1 August ash plumes rose to 4.3 km altitude, accompanied by an incandescent lava flow visible at the summit, according to a Darwin VAAC advisory.

Intermittent ash plumes continued to be reported by the Darwin VAAC on 1, 6-7, 16, 20, and 31 August. They rose from 2.1 to 4.6 km altitude, the latter of which occurred on 31 August and drifted W. Typically, these ash plumes extended SW, W, NW, and WSW. On 11 September another ash plume was observed rising 2.4 km altitude and drifting W.

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: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Geohazards Management Division, Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), PO Box 3386, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 17, Number 02 (February 1992)

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Aira (Japan)

Fewer explosions, but tephra cracks car windshields; seismicity remains high

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Strombolian explosions and extrusion of block lava flows

Awu (Indonesia)

Lake pH drops; vapor plume

Colima (Mexico)

Earthquake swarm and landslides, but fumarole temperatures remain steady

Coso Volcanic Field (United States)

Tectonic earthquake swarm

Etna (Italy)

Continued flank lava production

Galeras (Colombia)

Occasional ash emissions

Gamalama (Indonesia)

Increased seismicity

Iliboleng (Indonesia)

Small ash eruptions

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Fumarolic activity in and around crater lake; continued seismicity; deflation

Kilauea (United States)

Continued lava production from East rift fissure vents; magma intrusion into upper East rift

Kirishimayama (Japan)

Steam emission; fine ashfall near vents; tremor ends

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Ash ejection and glow; increased seismicity

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Continued carbonatite lava production

Llaima (Chile)

Microearthquakes and tremor

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Ash emission; seismicity remains low

Merapi (Indonesia)

Lava dome growth and pyroclastic flows

Minami-Hiyoshi (Japan)

Discolored water

Pinatubo (Philippines)

Vapor emission and low-level seismicity; small lahars

Poas (Costa Rica)

Continued gas emission and small phreatic eruptions from crater lake

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Brief earthquake swarm

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

Gas emission and sporadic phreatic eruptions

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Crater lake temperature increases, then small explosions through lake; strong seismicity

Siple (Antarctica)

No evidence of activity

Taal (Philippines)

Crater lake temperature and seismicity decline

Turrialba (Costa Rica)

Continued fumarolic activity

Unzendake (Japan)

Continued dome growth; occasional pyroclastic flows; large debris flow nearly reaches coast

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand)

Vigorous explosions; vent conduit collapse



Aira (Japan) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fewer explosions, but tephra cracks car windshields; seismicity remains high

The monthly number of recorded explosions declined from a 6-year high of 60 in January, to 16 in February. Seven car wind shields were cracked by lapilli from an explosion at 1009 on 1 February, and two more were cracked at 0630 on 2 February, when the month's highest plume rose 3.5 km. Seismicity was higher than normal, with swarms of volcanic earthquakes recorded on 4, 7-15, 17-19, and 23-29 February.

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.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — February 1992 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 explosions and extrusion of block lava flows

Two blocky lava flows continued to extend down the WSW and W flanks in February (figure 44). The WSW-flank flow, which began in mid-to late November, followed the well-defined levees of the September flow. By the end of February, the active flow had surpassed the older flow's front, advancing several meters daily, burning grass, and reaching 1.8 km length (750 m elevation). The 200-m-wide W-flank lava flow extended ~700 m, to 1,200 m elevation, by the end of February. Gravitational collapse of the W-flank's lava flow front on 24 February produced block-and-ash flows that traveled down valleys to 780 m elevation. Geologists believed that an apparent new amphitheater on the WSW side of crater C had caused lava flows to travel preferentially in that direction during recent months.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Map of late 1991-February 1992 lava flows and the 24 February block-and-ash flow at Arenal. Courtesy of ICE.

Strombolian explosions were low in number and magnitude in February, with 173 recorded during the first 18 days. Many ash emissions, to 1 km height, were observed without obvious explosions. Size analysis of one tephra sample collected on 26 February showed that 85% was coarse-ash and <15% was very coarse ash to fine lapilli. The sample was composed primarily of vesiculated rock fragments, aphanitic and porphyritic in character, and plagioclase crystals.

An average of 10 volcanic earthquakes (a range of 2-24) was recorded daily (at ICE station "Fortuna" 4 km E of the crater) in February. Large increases in tremor period and energy were measured on 6, 7, and 21-25 February, coinciding with increased lava output and strong gas emission. Tremor was recorded up to 24 hours/day.

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: E. Fernández, J. Barquero, V. Barboza, and R. Van der Laat, OVSCIORI; G. Soto and R. Barquero, ICE.


Awu (Indonesia) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Awu

Indonesia

3.689°N, 125.447°E; summit elev. 1318 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lake pH drops; vapor plume

During 4 March fieldwork, a thin white vapor plume continued to emerge from the crater. The volume of the crater lake seemed unchanged from the previous month at about 600,000 m3, but its pH had dropped to 3, from 5 in February. Lake-water temperature ranged from 31 to 36°C. Solfataras N of the crater had temperatures of 78-101°C, while those S of the crater were at 55-100°C. Deep volcanic earthquakes occurred at a rate of ~1/week.

Geologic Background. The massive Gunung Awu stratovolcano occupies the northern end of Great Sangihe Island, the largest of the Sangihe arc. Deep valleys that form passageways for lahars dissect the flanks of the volcano, which was constructed within a 4.5-km-wide caldera. Powerful explosive eruptions in 1711, 1812, 1856, 1892, and 1966 produced devastating pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused more than 8000 cumulative fatalities. Awu contained a summit crater lake that was 1 km wide and 172 m deep in 1922, but was largely ejected during the 1966 eruption.

Information Contacts: W. Modjo and W. Tjetjep, VSI.


Colima (Mexico) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Colima

Mexico

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquake swarm and landslides, but fumarole temperatures remain steady

Colima remained quiet from November through January. In mid-January, the top of the cone was snow-covered. The snow later melted and some small landslides were observed.

A team from FIU and Earthwatch visited the summit dome on 28 January. No changes were evident since their previous visit in September 1991. Degassing remained widespread on the dome but was distinctly less vigorous than during active lava extrusion in May. Snow was as much as 2 m deep in some places near the summit, but was absent in fumarolic areas. Four small rockslides occurred on the N flank of the dome during three days of observations, a much lower rate than in May but similar to that of September. Temperatures at four fumaroles were continuously recorded between 1 November and 28 January. Mean temperatures remained between 475 and 535°C. Temperatures were quite steady (except for diurnal variations) and were not affected by unseasonably heavy January precipitation.

Geologists with the CICT reported that six low-magnitude seismic events were recorded during the last three days of February, some only by the Soma station 700 m NW of the cone. No earthquakes were detected 1-3 March, but on 4 March, the Soma station recorded 42 shocks, 17 of which were also recorded by the Yerbabuena station, 7.5 km SW of the summit. No seismicity was evident at more distant stations. Some landslide events were detected at the Soma station, suggesting that they occurred on the NW flank. Seismic activity increased during the first 12 hours of 5 March, when the Soma station registered 39 earthquakes, of higher amplitude than the day before; 24 events were detected at the Yerbabuena station during the same 12-hour period. Geologists observed few morphological changes on the cone's N and NE flanks, although there was some evidence of landslides, probably caused by heavy rain and snow in January. From the W side of the cone, 12 landslides were noted on 5 March between 1145 and 1508; five lasted 3-4 minutes. A gorge near the summit had been recently eroded by the landslides. Although the seismicity and landslides were similar to the activity that preceded the dome extrusion beginning in March 1991, activity had declined to near background by 10 March.

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

Information Contacts: Ignacio Galindo, Centro Internacional de Ciencias de la Tierra (with participation of CICT and RESCO staff), Universidad de Colima; S. de la Cruz-Reyna, UNAM; C. Connor and J. West-Thomas, FIU, Miami.


Coso Volcanic Field (United States) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Coso Volcanic Field

United States

36.03°N, 117.82°W; summit elev. 2400 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tectonic earthquake swarm

A seismic swarm started on 17 February, with activity peaking by 20 February, and still declining as of 26 February (figure 1). More than 300 small high-frequency earthquakes (eight with M > 3.0) were recorded, the largest (M 4.0) at 0319 on 19 February. Hypocenters show a 3-km-long pattern elongated to the NNW, at 3-5 km depths (figure 2). The focal mechanism for the largest event showed mainly strike-slip motion (right-lateral on a N-S plane, or left-lateral on an E-W plane), with a small normal component. There were no reports of injuries or damages.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Hourly number of earthquakes in the Coso Mountains, 17-26 February 1992. Courtesy of the USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Epicenter map (top) and E-W cross-section showing focal depths (bottom) of >300 high-frequency earthquakes recorded in the Coso Mountains, 17-26 February 1992. Courtesy of the USGS.

The Coso region is an active geothermal area that has had seismic swarms in the past, as in 1982 when thousands of events were recorded, the largest M 4.9. The Volcano Peak cinder cone and lava flow, apparently the youngest features in the Coso Mountains, are believed to have been erupted 0.039 ± 0.033 mybp. (K/Ar age).

Geologic Background. The Coso volcanic field, located east of the Sierra Nevada Range at the western edge of the Basin and Range province consists of Pliocene to Quaternary rhyolitic lava domes and basaltic cinder cones covering a 400 km2 area. Much of the field lies within the China Lake Naval Weapons Center. Active fumaroles and thermal springs are present in an area that is a producing geothermal field. The youngest eruptions were chemically bimodal, forming basaltic lava flows along with 38 rhyolitic lava flows and domes, most with youthful, constructional forms. The latest dated eruption formed the Volcano Peak basaltic cinder cone and lava flow and was Potassium-Argon dated at 39,000 +/- 33,000 years ago. Although most activity ended during the late Pleistocene, the youngest lava dome may be of Holocene age based on geomorphological evidence (Monastero 1998, pers. comm.).

Information Contacts: J. Mori and W. Duffield, USGS.


Etna (Italy) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued flank lava production

The following is from a report by the Gruppo Nazionale per la Vulcanologia (GNV) summarizing Etna's 1991-92 eruption.

1. Introduction and Civil Protection problems. After 23 months of quiet, and heralded by ground deformation and a short seismic swarm, effusive activity resumed at Etna early 14 December. The eruptive vent opened at 2,200 m elevation on the W wall of the Valle del Bove, along a SE-flank fracture that formed during the 1989 eruption.

Since the eruption's onset, the GNV, in cooperation with Civil Protection authorities, has reinforced the scientific monitoring of Etna. Attention was focused on both the advance of the lava flow and on the possibility of downslope migration of the eruptive vent along the 1989 fracture system. The progress of the lava flow has been carefully followed by daily field inspections and helicopter overflights.

Because of its slow rate of advance, the lava did not threaten lives, but had the potential for severe property destruction. The water supply system for Zafferana (in Val Calanna; figure 43) was destroyed in the first two weeks of the eruption ($2.5 million damage). On 1 January, when the lava front was only 2 km from Zafferana, the Minister for Civil Protection, at the suggestion of the volcanologists, ordered the building of an earthen barrier to protect the village. The barrier was erected at the E end of Val Calanna, where the valley narrows into a deeply eroded canyon. The barrier was conceived to prevent or delay the flow's advance, not to divert it, by creating a morphological obstacle that would favor flow overlapping and lateral expansion of the lava in the large Val Calanna basin.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Topographic sketch map showing Etna's 1989 and 1990 lava flows, with preliminary locations of the 1991-92 lava, eruptive fissures, and the barrier constructed in Val Calanna. The area covered by lava since 14 January is shown in a separate pattern. The GNV report, received near press time, included a map that differed somewhat in detail from this map, which was prepared by R. Romano, T. Caltabiano, P. Carveni, M.F. Grasso, and C. Monaco. See pg.4 of Barberi et al., 1990 for a map of the 1989 lava flows, fissures, and monitoring network.

The barrier, erected by specialized Army and Fire Brigade personnel in 10 days of non-stop work, is ~ 250 m long and ~ 20 m higher than the adjacent Val Calanna floor. It was built by diking the valley bottom in front of the advancing lava and accumulating loose material (earth, scoria, and lava fragments) on a small natural scarp. On 7 January, the lava front approached to a few tens of meters from the barrier, then stopped because of a sudden drop in feeding caused by a huge lava overflow from the main channel several kilometers upslope.

A decrease in the effusion rate has been observed since mid-January. There is therefore little chance of further advance of the front, as the flow seems to have reached its natural maximum length. The eruptive fracture is being carefully monitored (seismicity, ground deformation, geoelectrics, gravimetry, and gas geochemistry) to detect early symptoms of a possible dangerous downslope migration of the vent along the 1989 fracture, which continues along the present fracture's SE trend. Preparedness plans were implemented in case of lava emission from the fracture's lower end.

Many scientists and technicians, the majority of whom are from IIV and the Istituto per la Geochimica dei Fluidi, Palermo (IGF) and are coordinated by GNV, are collecting information on the geological, petrological, geochemical, and geophysical aspects of the eruption.

2. Eruption chronology. On 14 December at about 0200, a seismic swarm (see Seismicity section below) indicated the opening of two radial fractures trending NE and SSE from Southeast Crater. Very soon, ash and bombs formed small scoria ramparts along the NE fracture, where brief activity was confined to the base of Southeast Crater. Meanwhile, a SSE-trending fracture extended ~ 1.3 km from the base of the crater (at ~3,000 m asl) to 2,700 m altitude.

Lava fountaining up to 300 m high from the uppermost section of the SSE fracture continued until about 0600, producing scoria ramparts 10 m high. Two thin (~ 1 m thick) lava flows from the fracture moved E. The N flow, from the highest part of the fracture, stopped at 2,750 m altitude, while the other, starting at 2,850 m elevation, reached the rim of the Valle del Bove (in the Belvedere area), pouring downvalley to ~ 2,500 m asl. At noon, the lava flows stopped, while the W vent of the central crater (Bocca Nuova) was the source of intense Strombolian activity.

The SSE fracture system continued to propagate downslope, crossing the rim of the Valle del Bove in the late evening. During the night of 14-15 December, lava emerged from the lowest segment of the fracture cutting the W flank of the Valle del Bove, reaching 2,400 m altitude (E of Cisternazza). Degassing and Strombolian activity built small scoria cones. Two lava flows advanced downslope from the base of the lower scoria cone at an estimated initial velocity of 15 m/s, which dramatically decreased when they reached the floor of the Valle del Bove.

The SSE fractures formed a system 3 km long and 350-500 m wide that has not propagated since 15 December. Between Southeast Crater and Cisternazza, the fracture field includes the 1989 fractures, which were reactivated with 30-50-cm offsets. The most evident offsets were down to the E, with right-lateral extensional movements. Numerous pit craters, <1 m in diameter, formed along the fractures.

Lava flows have been spreading down the Valle del Bove into the Piano del Trifoglietto, advancing a few hundred meters/day since 15 December. The high initial outflow rates peaked during the last week of 1991 and the first few days of 1992, and decreased after the second week in January. Strombolian activity at the vent in the upper part of the fracture has gradually diminished.

Lava flows were confined to the Valle del Bove until 24 December, when the most advanced front extended beyond the steep slope of the Salto della Giumenta (1,300-1,400 m altitude), accumulating on the floor of Val Calanna. Since then, many ephemeral vents and lava tubes have formed in the area N of Monte Zoccolaro, probably because of variations in the eruption rate. These widened the lava field in the area, and decreased feeding for flows moving into Val Calanna. However, by the end of December, lava flows expanded further in Val Calanna, moving E and threatening the village of Zafferana Etnea, ~2 km E of the most advanced flow front. This front stopped on 3 January, on the same day that a flow from the Valle del Bove moved N of Monte Calanna, later turning back southward and rejoining lava that had already stopped in Val Calanna. Since 9 January, lava flows in Val Calanna have not extended farther downslope, but have piled up a thick sequence of lobes.

Lava outflow from the vent continued at a more or less constant rate, producing a lava field in the Valle del Bove that consisted of a complex network of tubes and braiding, superposing flows, with a continuously changing system of overflows and ephemeral vents.

3. Lava flow measurements. An estimate of lava channel dimensions, flow velocity, and related rheological parameters was carried out where the flow enters the Valle del Bove. Flow velocities ranging from 0.4-1 m/s were observed 3-7 January in a single flow channel (10 m wide, ~ 2.5 m deep) at 1,800 m altitude, ~ 600 m from the vent. From these values, a flow rate of 8-25 m3/s and viscosities ranging from 70-180 Pas were calculated. Direct temperature measurements at several points on the flow surface with an Al/Ni thermocouple and a 2-color pyrometer (HOTSHOT) yielded values of 850-1,080°C.

4. Petrography and chemistry. Systematic lava sampling was carried out at the flow fronts and near the vents. All of the samples were porphyritic (P.I.»25-35%) and of hawaiitic composition, differing from the 1989 lavas, which fall within the alkali basalt field. Paragenesis is typical of Etna's lavas, with phenocrysts (maximum dimension, 3 mm) of plagioclase, clinopyroxene, and olivine, with Ti-magnitite microphenocrysts. The interstitial to hyalopitic groundmass showed microlites of the same minerals.

5. Seismicity. On 14 December at 0245, a seismic swarm occurred in the summit area (figure 44), related to the opening of upper SE-flank eruptive fractures. About 270 earthquakes were recorded, with a maximum local magnitude of 3. A drastic reduction in the seismic rate was observed from 0046 on 15 December, with only four events recorded until the main shock (Md 3.6) of a new sequence occurred at 2100. The seismic rate remained quite high until 0029 on 17 December, declining gradually thereafter.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Daily number of recorded earthquakes and cumulative strain release (top), with amplitude (middle) and dominant frequency peaks of volcanic tremor (bottom) at Etna, 1 December 1991-mid-January 1992. Arrows mark the eruption's onset. Courtesy of the Gruppo Nazionale per la Vulcanologia.

At least three different focal zones were recognized. On 14 December, one was located NE of the summit and a second in the Valle del Bove. The third, SW of the summit, was active on 15 December. All three focal zones were confined to <3 km depth. Three waveform types were recognized, ranging from low-to-high frequency.

As the seismic swarm began on 14 December, volcanic tremor amplitude increased sharply. Maximum amplitude was reached on 21 December, followed by a gradually decreasing trend. As the tremor amplitude increased, the frequency pattern of its dominant spectral peaks changed, increasing within a less-consistent frequency trend. Seismicity rapidly declined and remained at low levels despite the ongoing eruption.

6. Ground deformation. EDM measurements and continuously recording shallow-borehole tiltmeters have been used for several years to monitor ground deformation at Etna. The tilt network has recently grown to 9 flank stations. A new tilt station (CDV) established on the NE side of the fracture in early 1990 showed a steady radial-component increase in early March 1991 after a sharp deformation event at the end of 1990 (figure 45), suggesting that pressure was building into the main central conduit. Maximum inflation was reached by October 1991, followed by a partial decrease in radial tilt, tentatively related to magma intrusion into the already opened S branch of the 1989 fracture system, perhaps releasing pressure in the central conduit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Radial and tangential components measured by the CDV borehole tilt station on the NE side of Etna's 1989 fracture, 1 July—mid-January 1992. The signal has been filtered for daily and seasonal thermoelastic noise. Arrows mark the eruption's onset. Courtesy of the Gruppo Nazionale per la Vulcanologia.

The eruption's onset was clearly detected by all flank tilt stations, despite their distance from the eruption site. The signals clearly record deformation events closely associated in time with seismic swarms on the W flank (before the eruption began) and on the summit and SW sector (after eruption onset). The second swarm heralded the opening of the most active vent on the W wall of the Valle del Bove.

S-flank EDM measurements detected only minor deformation, in the zone affected by the 1989 fracture. Lines crossing the fracture trend showed brief extensions in January 1992.

The levelling route established in 1989 across the SE fracture was reoccupied 18-19 December 1991. A minor general decline had occurred since the previous survey (October 1990), with a maximum (-10 mm) at a benchmark near the fracture.

7. Gravity changes. Microgravity measurements have been carried out on Etna since 1986, using a network covering a wide area between 1,000 and 1,900 m asl. A reference station is located ~ 20 km NE of the central crater. Five new surveys were made across the 1989 fissure zone during the eruption (15 & 18 December 1991, and 9, 13, and 18 January 1992). Between 21 November and 15 December, the minimum value of gravity variations was about -20 mGal, E of the fracture zone. On 9 January, the gravity variations inverted to a maximum of about +15 mGal. Amplitude increased and anomaly extension was reduced on 13 January, and on 18 January gravity variations were similar to those 9 days earlier. Assuming that height changes were negligible, a change in mass of ~2 x 106 tons (~2 x 107 m3 volume), for a density contrast of 0.1 g/cm3 was postulated. However, if gravity changes were attributed to magma movement, a density contrast of 0.6 g/cm3 between magma and country rock could be assumed and magma displacement would be ~ 3 x 106 m3.

8. Magnetic observations. A 447-point magnetic surveillance array was spaced at 5-m intervals near the fracture that cut route SP92 in 1989. Measurements of total magnetic field intensity (B) have been carried out at least every 3 months since October 1989. Significant long-term magnetic variations were not observed between February 1991 and January 1992, although the amplitude of variations seems to have increased since the beginning of the eruption.

9. Self-potential. A program of self-potential measurements along an 1.32-km E-W profile crossing the SE fracture system (along route SP92 at ~ 1,600 m altitude) began on 25 October 1989. Two large positive anomalies were consistently present during measurements on 5 and 17 January, and 9, 18, and 19 February 1992. The strongest was centered above the fracture system, the second was displaced to the W. Only the 5 January profile hints at the presence of a third positive anomaly, on its extreme E end. The persistent post-1989 SP anomalies could be related to a magmatic intrusion, causing electrical charge polarizations inside the overlying water-saturated rocks. A recent additional intrusion was very likely to have caused the large increase in amplitude and width of the SP anomaly centered above the fracture system, detected on the E side of the profile on 5 January 1992.

10. COSPEC measurements of SO2 flux. The SO2 flux from Etna during the eruption has been characterized by fairly high values, averaging ~ 10,000 t/d, ~ 3 times the mean pre-eruptive rate. Individual measurements varied between ~6,000 and 15,000 t/d.

11. Soil gases. Lines perpendicular to the 1989 fracture, at ~ 1,600 m altitude, have been monitored for CO2 flux. A sharp increase in CO2 output was recorded in September 1991, about 3 months before the eruption began (figure 46). Measurements have been more frequent since 17 December, but no significant variation in CO2 emission has been observed. Samples of soil gases collected at 50 cm depth showed a general decrease in He and CO2 contents since the beginning of January. Soil degassing at two anomalous exhalation areas, on the lower SW and E flanks at ~ 600 m altitude, dropped just before (SW flank—Paternò) and immediately after (E flank—Zafferana) the beginning of the eruption, and remained at low levels. A significant radon anomaly was recorded 26-28 January along the 1989 fracture, but CO2 and radon monitoring have been hampered by snow.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. CO2 concentrations measured along Etna's 1989 fracture, late 1990-early 1992, showing a strong increase about 3 months before the December 1991 eruption. Courtesy of the Gruppo Nazionale per la Vulcanologia.

The following, from R. Romano, describes activity in February and early March.

The SE-flank fissure eruption was continuing in early March, but was less vigorous than in previous months. An area of ~ 7 km2 has been covered by around 60 x 106 m3 of lava, with an average effusion rate of 8 m3/s. The size of the lava field (figure 43) has not increased since it reached a maximum width of 1.7 km in mid-February.

Lava from fissure vents at ~ 2,100 m asl flowed in an open channel to 1,850 m altitude, then advanced through tubes. Flowing lava was visible in the upper few kilometers of the tubes through numerous skylights. Lava emerged from the tube system through as many as seven ephemeral vents on the edge of the Salto della Giumenta (at the head of the Val Calanna, ~ 4.5 km from the eruptive fissure). These fed a complex network of flows in the Salto della Giumenta that were generally short and not very vigorous. None extended beyond the eruption's longest flow, which had reached 6.5 km from the eruptive fissure (1,000 m asl) before stopping in early January. Ephemeral vent activity upslope (within the Valle del Bove) ceased by the end of February. Lava production from fissure vents at 2,150 m altitude has gradually declined and explosive activity has stopped. Degassing along the section of the fissure between 2,300 and 2,200 m altitude was also gradually decreasing.

Small vents were active at the bottom of both central craters. Activity at the west crater (Bocca Nuova) was generally limited to gas emission, but significant ash expulsions were observed during the first few days in March. High-temperature gases emerged from the E crater (La Voragine). Collapse within Northeast Crater, probably between 26 and 27 February, was associated with coarse ashfalls on the upper NE flank (at Piano Provenzana and Piano Pernicana). After the collapse, a new pit crater ~ 50 m in diameter occupied the site of Northeast Crater's former vent. Activity from Southeast Crater was limited to gas emission from a modest-sized vent.

Seismic activity was characterized by low-intensity swarms. A few shocks were felt in mid-February ~ 12 km SE of the summit (in the Zafferana area).

Reference. Barberi, F., Bertagnini, F., and Landi, P., eds., 1990, Mt. Etna: the 1989 eruption: CNR-Gruppo Nazionale per la Vulcanologia: Giardini, Pisa, 75 p. (11 papers).

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: GNV report:F. Barberi, Univ di Pisa; L. Villari, IIV. February-early March activity:R. Romano and T. Caltabiano, IIV; P. Carveni, M. Grasso, and C. Monaco, Univ di Catania.
The following people provided information for the GNV report. Institutional affiliations (abbreviated, in parentheses) and their report sections [numbered, in brackets] follow names.
F. Barberi (UPI) [1, 2], A. Armantia (IIV) [2], P. Armienti (UPI) [2, 4], R. Azzaro (IIV) [2], B. Badalamenti (IGF) [11], S. Bonaccorso (IIV) [6], N. Bruno (IIV) [10], G. Budetta (IIV) [7, 8], A. Buemi (IIV) [4], T. Caltabiano (IIV) [8, 10], S. Calvari (IIV) [2, 3], O. Campisi (IIV) [6], M. Carà (IIV) [10], M. Carapezza (IGF, UPA) [11], C. Cardaci (IIV) [5], O. Cocina (UGG) [5], D. Condarelli (IIV) [5], O. Consoli (IIV) [6], W. D'Alessandro (IGF) [11], M. D'Orazio (UPI) [2, 4], C. Del Negro (IIV) [7, 8], F. DiGangi (IGF) [11], I. Diliberto (IGF) [11], R. Di Maio (DGV) [9], S. DiPrima (IIV) [5], S. Falsaperla (IIV) [5], G. Falzone (IIV) [6], A. Ferro (IIV) [5], F. Ferruci (GNV) [5], G. Frazzetta (UPI) [2], H. Gaonac'h (UMO) [2, 3], S. Giammanco (IGF) [11], M. Grasso (IIV) [10], M. Grimaldi (DGV) [7], S. Gurrieri (IGF) [11], F. Innocenti (UPI) [4], G. Lanzafame (IIV) [2], G. Laudani (IIV) [6], G. Luongo (OV) [6], A. Montalto (IIV, UPI) [5], M. Neri (IIV) [2], P. Nuccio (IGF, UPA) [11], F. Obrizzo (OV) [6], F. Parello (IGF, UPA) [11], D. Patanè (IIV) [5], D. Patella (DGV) [9], A. Pellegrino (IIV) [5], M. Pompilio (IIV) [2, 3, 4], M. Porto (IIV) [10], E. Privitera (IIV) [5], G. Puglisi (IIV) [2, 6], R. Romano (IIV) [10], A. Rosselli (GNV) [5], V. Scribano (UCT) [2], S. Spampinato (IIV) [5], C. Tranne (IIV) [2], A. Tremacere (DGV) [9], M. Valenza (IGF, UPA) [11], R. Velardita (IIV) [6], L. Villari (IIV) [1, 2, 6].
Institutions: DGV: Dipto di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Univ di Napoli; GNV: Gruppo Nazionale per la Vulcanologia, CNR, Roma; IGF: Istituto per la Geochimica dei Fluidi, CNR, Palermo; IIV: Istituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia, CNR, Catania; OV: Osservatorio Vesuviano, Napoli; UCT: Istituto di Scienze della Terra, Univ di Catania; UGG: Istituto di Geologia e Geofisica, Univ di Catania; UMO: Dept de Géologie, Univ de Montréal; UPA: Istituto di Mineralogia, Petrologia, e Geochimica, Univ di Palermo; UPI: Dipto di Scienze della Terra, Univ di Pisa.


Galeras (Colombia) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional ash emissions

Occasional emissions of fine ash, sometimes associated with long-period earthquakes or variations in tremor, punctuated the continuous emission of gas and vapor in February. Although seismicity oscillated in February, it has remained stable since the increased activity associated with dome growth in October-November. On 11 February, a M 3.1 earthquake occurred roughly 2 km W of the crater, and was felt 9 km away (in Pasto and Consacá). Electronic tiltmeter measurements [at the Crater and Peladitos stations] were essentially stable, with the latter showing a slight tendency toward inflation.

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: J. Romero, INGEOMINAS-Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur.


Gamalama (Indonesia) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Gamalama

Indonesia

0.8°N, 127.33°E; summit elev. 1715 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Increased seismicity

A thin white vapor plume rose 50-100 m above the crater rim in early March, accompanied by an average of 26 volcanic earthquakes/day. Deep volcanic earthquakes increased from 91 during the first week in March to 159 the following week, as the weekly number of shallow volcanic earthquakes grew from 18 to 26.

Geologic Background. Gamalama is a near-conical stratovolcano that comprises the entire island of Ternate off the western coast of Halmahera, and is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. The island was a major regional center in the Portuguese and Dutch spice trade for several centuries, which contributed to the thorough documentation of Gamalama's historical activity. Three cones, progressively younger to the north, form the summit. Several maars and vents define a rift zone, parallel to the Halmahera island arc, that cuts the volcano. Eruptions, recorded frequently since the 16th century, typically originated from the summit craters, although flank eruptions have occurred in 1763, 1770, 1775, and 1962-63.

Information Contacts: W. Modjo and W. Tjetjep, VSI.


Iliboleng (Indonesia) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Iliboleng

Indonesia

8.342°S, 123.258°E; summit elev. 1659 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash eruptions

Ash eruptions occurred on 3 and 15 November 1991, ejecting columns to a maximum of ~150 m above the crater rim. Since then, an average of 47 shallow earthquakes have been recorded monthly, and a white vapor column continued to rise to ~ 50 m above the crater.

Geologic Background. Iliboleng stratovolcano was constructed at the SE end of Adonara Island across a narrow strait from Lomblen Island. The volcano is capped by multiple, partially overlapping summit craters. Lava flows modify its profile, and a cone low on the SE flank, Balile, has also produced lava flows. Historical eruptions, first recorded in 1885, have consisted of moderate explosive activity, with lava flows accompanying only the 1888 eruption.

Information Contacts: W. Modjo and W. Tjetjep, VSI.


Irazu (Costa Rica) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Irazu

Costa Rica

9.979°N, 83.852°W; summit elev. 3432 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity in and around crater lake; continued seismicity; deflation

Fumarolic activity continued in February. Although the water level continued to drop, the crater lake remained larger than it had been in November (figure 5 and table 3). Water temperatures (measured by UNA) on the N side of the lake near the most active subaqueous fumaroles ranged from 37°C to 73°C; bubbling springs near the edge of the lake were

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Oblique view of the crater lake at Irazú, 25 February 1992. Courtesy of ICE.

Table 3. Crater lake characteristics at Irazú, November 1991 and February 1992. Courtesy of ICE.

Date Diameter Max. Depth Est. Volume Avg. Temp. Min. pH
19 Nov 1991 195 m 14.35 m 280,000 m3 26.7°C 2.85
12 Feb 1992 202 m 15.25 m 330,000 m3 28.3°C 3.23

A monthly total of 234 earthquakes was recorded in February (at UNA station IRZ2, 5 km WSW of the crater), with a maximum of 37 on 21 February. Nine high-frequency earthquakes were recorded in February. Measurements of two geodetic lines across the summit on 13 February indicated contractions of 6.4 ppm in an E-W direction and 15.8 ppm in a N-S direction, since 10 October 1991 (UNA).

Geologic Background. Irazú, one of Costa Rica's most active volcanoes, rises immediately E of the capital city of San José. The massive volcano covers an area of 500 km2 and is vegetated to within a few hundred meters of its broad flat-topped summit crater complex. At least 10 satellitic cones are located on its S flank. No lava flows have been identified since the eruption of the massive Cervantes lava flows from S-flank vents about 14,000 years ago, and all known Holocene eruptions have been explosive. The focus of eruptions at the summit crater complex has migrated to the W towards the historically active crater, which contains a small lake of variable size and color. Although eruptions may have occurred around the time of the Spanish conquest, the first well-documented historical eruption occurred in 1723, and frequent explosive eruptions have occurred since. Ashfall from the last major eruption during 1963-65 caused significant disruption to San José and surrounding areas.

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


Kilauea (United States) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Kilauea

United States

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued lava production from East rift fissure vents; magma intrusion into upper East rift

Lava production from a fissure that extended ~150 m uprift from the lower W flank of Pu`u `O`o began during the evening of 17 February (E-50; 17:1). The small lava lake in Pu`u `O`o crater dropped ~40 m as E-50 began, and the lava surface remained ~80 m below the rim until 19 February, when it rose ~15 m. Lava from the E-50 fissure flowed N and S from the axis of the East rift zone (figure 85). By 19 February, only ~30 m of the fissure was active. The next day, the S flow had stagnated, and all of the lava from the fissure was moving N, where it formed a large ponded area fed by a channel 10 m wide. Overflows from the ponded lava built levees that were 7 m high by 21 February. Lava broke out of the N side of the ponded area on 21 and 22 February, as the eruption rate declined and lava in the channel dropped to a few meters below the levees. The channel had narrowed to ~3.5 m by 23 February. A large flow began to advance southward on 25 February. It stagnated within a few days, but new flows continued to move S atop previous lava.

When observed on 28 February, a thick crust had formed over the lava in Pu`u `O`o crater, although occasional spattering was noted on its margins. Gas-piston activity resumed at the beginning of March, and two separate vents were visible when the lava level was low.

An earthquake swarm in the summit area and upper East rift zone began on 3 March at about 0000. An hour later, the summit began to deflate at a rate of ~0.5 µrad/hour as an intrusion . . . roughly 4-6 km from the caldera rim (between Devil's Throat and Pauahi Crater). Small cracks developed in Chain of Craters Road, but no eruption occurred in the area. By 0930, summit tilt had leveled off. Seismic activity declined through the day, although > 3,000 events were recorded by 5 March at 0800. Activity at the E-50 vent had stopped by 0130, and later observations revealed that the level of lava in Pu`u `O`o crater had dropped to > 100 m below the rim. The large northern aa flow continued to advance sluggishly for much of the day, but stagnated by 1600, and the episode-50 eruption site remained quiet until 7 March.

Episode 51 (E-51). Eruption tremor remained near background levels in the middle East rift zone until shortly before noon on 7 March, when a 1-hour burst of increased activity was noted on the seismic station nearest Pu`u `O`o. At 1340, a helicopter pilot saw lava pouring from a new fissure near the E-50 vents, while the level of lava in Pu`u `O`o crater had risen to ~55 m below the rim. Lava production from the E-51 fissure was intermittent through the evening, but was continuous by 9 March, at rates that appeared slightly less than during E-50 and substantially below those of episode 49. The E-51 fissure appeared to overlap the E edge of the E-50 fissure and extended ~30 m to its E, on the steep W flank of Pu`u `O`o. By 9 March, a spatter cone 6 m high had formed, and lava was ponding on the W side of the fissure. Some flows moved N from the ponded area, but most of the lava fed channelized aa and slabby pahoehoe flows that moved S. Intermittent lava production from the E-51 vent continued through mid-March.

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. Mattox, HVO.


Kirishimayama (Japan) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Kirishimayama

Japan

31.934°N, 130.862°E; summit elev. 1700 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Steam emission; fine ashfall near vents; tremor ends

Steam emission . . . continued steadily in February, reaching 200-300 m height. The ground around the fumaroles was covered by a fine dusting of ash during air reconnaissance on 5, 12, and 18 February. Seismicity was low, with continuous volcanic tremor ceasing on 2 February, and a monthly total of 25 recorded earthquakes . . . .

Geologic Background. Kirishimayama is a large group of more than 20 Quaternary volcanoes located north of Kagoshima Bay. The late-Pleistocene to Holocene dominantly andesitic group consists of stratovolcanoes, pyroclastic cones, maars, and underlying shield volcanoes located over an area of 20 x 30 km. The larger stratovolcanoes are scattered throughout the field, with the centrally located Karakunidake being the highest. Onamiike and Miike, the two largest maars, are located SW of Karakunidake and at its far eastern end, respectively. Holocene eruptions have been concentrated along an E-W line of vents from Miike to Ohachi, and at Shinmoedake to the NE. Frequent small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 8th century.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Langila

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash ejection and glow; increased seismicity

"During February the activity continued to be focused at Crater 2, at an intensity similar to that observed in January. However, seismicity increased in the second half of February. Emissions at Crater 2 consisted of pale-grey vapour and ash clouds in low-moderate volumes. Occasionally there were ashfalls on the lower flanks of the volcano. Explosions and rumbling sounds associated with the emissions were heard throughout the month. When the summit was free of cloud at night, a steady weak glow was seen above the crater. Activity at Crater 3 was mostly confined to weak emissions of white and blue vapours. However, there was a large explosion on 11 February that produced an emission cloud ~1 km high. Seismicity was steady at a low level in the first half of the month but then began to increase. By the end of the month seismicity had reached the level recorded in January (up to 17 low-frequency earthquakes per day)."

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, RVO.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — February 1992 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 carbonatite lava production

Although no lava emission was observed during crater visits, the presence of new lava flows indicated continued activity through December. Photographs taken on 9 October by members of the St. Lawrence Univ Kenya Semester Program, guided by D., M., and T. Peterson, showed no significant changes from 13 August. The crater floor was pale brown and light gray, with no sign of fresh dark lava during the visit. Dark stains were visible on the upper part of cone T5/T9, suggestive of recent spatter, and a considerable amount of young lava (pale gray and pale brown) was apparent around the base of cone T8. A large flow (mid-gray, but with large white areas), possibly from a low dome W of the cones (T18), covered much of the W part of the crater floor, reaching the W wall.

On 7 December, John Gardner reported a large "black jagged" lava flow (F32) extending N-S across the crater floor. The lava was still warm to the touch, with steam being emitted from cracks in its surface, suggesting that the flow had formed within a few hours of Gardner's visit. Steam was reportedly emitted from the estimated 15-m-high cone T5/T9, from cracks in the lava on the crater floor, and from the E rim and E crater wall. Gardner also reported a cone . . . that might be a new feature.

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, St. Lawrence Univ; D. Peterson, M. Peterson, and T. Peterson, Arusha; J. Gardner, Nairobi, Kenya.


Llaima (Chile) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Llaima

Chile

38.692°S, 71.729°W; summit elev. 3125 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Microearthquakes and tremor

Seismicity was recorded during fieldwork on 13-16 January, using a MEQ-800 portable seismograph, at 1,600 m elev. . . . During the observations, the daily number of microearthquakes decreased from 700 on 13 January, and averaged 418 (figure 2). Tremor frequency oscillated between 1 and 1.6 Hz, with a maximum episode-duration of 70 seconds and a maximum daily total of 11.5 hours (13 January). Seismicity was record<->ed at the same site on 25-30 January 1991, when 650 microearthquakes were recorded, with a daily average of 120 events and a maximum of 140 events (27 January). Tremor frequency oscillated between 1 and 1.8 Hz, with a maximum duration of 55 seconds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Daily hours of tremor (top) and number of earthquakes (bottom) at Llaima, 13-16 January 1992. Courtesy of Gustavo Fuentealba.

Geologic Background. Llaima, one of Chile's largest and most active volcanoes, contains two main historically active craters, one at the summit and the other, Pichillaima, to the SE. The massive, dominantly basaltic-to-andesitic, stratovolcano has a volume of 400 km3. A Holocene edifice built primarily of accumulated lava flows was constructed over an 8-km-wide caldera that formed about 13,200 years ago, following the eruption of the 24 km3 Curacautín Ignimbrite. More than 40 scoria cones dot the volcano's flanks. Following the end of an explosive stage about 7200 years ago, construction of the present edifice began, characterized by Strombolian, Hawaiian, and infrequent subplinian eruptions. Frequent moderate explosive eruptions with occasional lava flows have been recorded since the 17th century.

Information Contacts: G. Fuentealba and M. Murillo, Univ de La Frontera; J. Cayupi and M. Petit-Breuilh, Fundación Andes, Temuco.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — February 1992 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)


Ash emission; seismicity remains low

"Activity at Manam's Southern Crater was at a low-moderate level during February with a slight increase at the end of the month. Southern Crater emissions consisted of weak pale-grey or pale-brown vapour and ash clouds. On a few days the ash content of the emissions was markedly higher, leading to ashfalls in coastal areas (4-5 km from the summit). In general, the emissions occurred without significant sound effects, although rumbling was heard on 29 February in association with thick, dark ash clouds, night glow, and incandescent lava ejections. No activity was observed from Main Crater. Seismicity fluctuated a little but remained at a low level with daily counts of low-frequency events ranging from 100 to 350."

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, RVO.


Merapi (Indonesia) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome growth and pyroclastic flows

The following supersedes [16:12 and 17:1].

Increased seismicity preceded the start of summit-area lava extrusion that was first observed on 20 January. Deep (A type, 3.1-3.7 km depth) and shallow (B type,

Glowing rockfalls were first seen on 20 January between 1800 and 2000, emerging from a narrow opening between the NW crater rim (formed by the 1957 lava dome) and the 1984 dome. The rockfalls initially traveled an estimated 125 m from the summit, but they extended farther with time, to ~1,500 m on 31 January (figures 3 and 4). A new lava dome was covering the NW part of the 1984 dome when geologists from the MVO climbed the volcano on 31 January. The 1992 lava was ~50 m higher than the 1984 dome.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Sketch map of Merapi's 1992 lava dome, and the distribution of avalanche-generated, pyroclastic-flow deposits as of 18 February. Courtesy of MVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. View of Merapi at 0630 on 3 March 1992, drawn by Sadjiman from Jurangjero, ~ 8 km WSW of the summit. Courtesy of MVO.

The first avalanche-generated pyroclastic flow occurred on 31 January at 1535, and three more were detected the next day (table 5).

Table 5. Number of avalanche-generated pyroclastic flows at Merapi, 31 January-2 March 1992. Courtesy of MVO.

Date Pyroclastic Flows Distance from summit (m)
31 Jan 1992 1 800
01 Feb 1992 3 850-900
02 Feb 1992 3 up to 4000
04 Feb 1992 9 800-1500
05 Feb 1992 7 up to 1500
06 Feb 1992 2 up to 2000
07 Feb 1992 6 up to 3500
10 Feb 1992 3 1000-1750
12 Feb 1992 1 800
17 Feb 1992 20 1500-2500
18 Feb 1992 3 1500-2000
20 Feb 1992 5 600-1000
21 Feb 1992 1 1750
25 Feb 1992 1 800
29 Feb 1992 1 2000
01 Mar 1992 1 2000

The most vigorous pyroclastic-flow activity was on 2 February, when 33 were observed between 1220 and 2221, extending a maximum of 4 km from the summit. These were accompanied by small explosions that were heard 4 km NW of the summit (at Babadan Observatory). Ash rose to 2,600 m above the summit. Sulfur odors were also noted. Volcanic earthquakes were very rare during the eruption.

Pyroclastic-flow intensity then decreased; none have occurred since 2 March, but the lava dome continued to grow as of mid-March. Glowing rockfalls were nearly continuous (>1,000/day since 2 March), but relatively small, extending

Four alert levels have been established by VSI at Merapi: 1) Notifies residents of increased activity and the need for awareness and caution: 2) More serious precursors require increased awareness; local authorities are requested to prepare for hazard prevention and evacuation: 3) All persons living in the danger zone must pack valuables and items that would supply basic needs during an evacuation: 4) Evacuation required because of explosive eruption and the approach of pyroclastic flows toward inhabited areas.

During the 1992 eruption, Alert Level 1 was announced on 24 January, increasing to Level 2 on 1 February at 2215, and to Level 3 the next day at 1430. As the eruption intensity decreased, the alert level was lowered to 2 on 12 February and to 1 on 2 March.

Geologic Background. Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2,000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequent growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities.

Information Contacts: S. Bronto, MVO.


Minami-Hiyoshi (Japan) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Minami-Hiyoshi

Japan

23.5°N, 141.935°E; summit elev. -107 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water

An area of green discolored water, 3-5 km long, was observed over the volcano during an overflight on 12 February. Subsequent overflights revealed additional water discolorations on 28 February, and 2, 3, and 4 March, although no discoloration was seen on 21 February. The 4 March discoloration appeared to have a source area 100 m across. Overflights have been conducted almost every month in the Izu and Volcano Islands by the JMSA. This was the first observed incidence of water discoloration since the mid-to-late 1970's, when bubbling, spouting, and discolored water were occasionally sighted.

Geologic Background. Periodic water discoloration and water-spouting have been reported over this submarine volcano since 1975, when detonations and an explosion were also reported. It lies near the SE end of a coalescing chain of youthful seamounts, and is the only historically active vent. The reported depth of the summit of the trachyandesitic volcano has varied between 274 and 30 m. The morphologically youthful seamounts Kita-Hiyoshi and Naka-Hiyoshi lie to the NW, and Ko-Hiyoshi to the SE.

Information Contacts: JMSA.


Pinatubo (Philippines) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Pinatubo

Philippines

15.13°N, 120.35°E; summit elev. 1486 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Vapor emission and low-level seismicity; small lahars

Two small lahars took place as a result of light rain showers in the Sacobia River drainage in late February, and steam emission continued through early March from a linear trend of fumaroles along the S edge of the 1991 caldera floor. Discrete larger emission episodes were occasionally observed, but there have been no confirmed ash emissions. Weak seismicity has continued at the volcano, including low-amplitude, low-frequency events, at least one of which corresponded with an observed steam emission.

Geologic Background. Prior to 1991 Pinatubo volcano was a relatively unknown, heavily forested lava dome complex located 100 km NW of Manila with no records of historical eruptions. The 1991 eruption, one of the world's largest of the 20th century, ejected massive amounts of tephra and produced voluminous pyroclastic flows, forming a small, 2.5-km-wide summit caldera whose floor is now covered by a lake. Caldera formation lowered the height of the summit by more than 300 m. Although the eruption caused hundreds of fatalities and major damage with severe social and economic impact, successful monitoring efforts greatly reduced the number of fatalities. Widespread lahars that redistributed products of the 1991 eruption have continued to cause severe disruption. Previous major eruptive periods, interrupted by lengthy quiescent periods, have produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that were even more extensive than in 1991.

Information Contacts: R. Punongbayan, PHIVOLCS.


Poas (Costa Rica) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued gas emission and small phreatic eruptions from crater lake

Gas emission continued in February and occasional small phreatic eruptions were observed. The level of the crater lake decreased for the second consecutive month, and water temperature was 67°C, similar to January. A total of 5,027 low-frequency earthquakes was recorded in February (at station POA3, 2.5 km SW of the crater), with a daily average of 219. No tremor or high-frequency earthquakes were recorded. Long-base dry-tilt measurements 1 km S of the crater on 26 February showed changes of <5 µrad, similar to measurements in 1991.

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: E. Fernández, J. Barquero, V. Barboza, and R. Van der Laat, OVSICORI.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — February 1992 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)


Brief earthquake swarm

"There was a slight increase in seismicity in February. The total number of caldera earthquakes was 212 . . . with daily totals ranging from 0 to 35. The highest daily earthquake totals were due to a swarm on 22 February and a series of small discrete events on 29 February. The swarm included several events that were felt in Rabaul, the largest [ML 3.2]. Earthquakes of this swarm were located in the W part of the caldera seismic zone at a depth of ~3 km. All of the other caldera earthquakes recorded in February were of small magnitude (ML <0.5). Levelling measurements carried out on 12 February indicated slight subsidence (8 mm) at the S part of Matupit Island since January's measurements. No significant tilt changes were recorded."

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, RVO.


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas emission and sporadic phreatic eruptions

Gas emission has continued over the last several months, punctuated by sporadic phreatic eruptions. Fumarolic activity was concentrated on the active crater's E wall, producing a plume that occasionally reached 500 m height, smelling of sulfur, and irritating eyes and skin. The crater lake was gray, with yellow areas over bubbling points. Concentric and radial fissures, to 1 m wide and to >4 m deep, were found on the upper E, N, and NW flanks. The fissures were probably formed by partial collapse of the crater walls, especially on the E and NW flanks. Seven low-frequency earthquakes were recorded during February, down from a peak of 30 recorded 8 May 1991, associated with a large phreatic eruption. Abnormal seismicity was reported for several months after 8 May.

Geologic Background. Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A Plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3,500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, J. Barquero, V. Barboza, and R. Van der Laat, OVSICORI.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — February 1992 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 temperature increases, then small explosions through lake; strong seismicity

Low activity and low water temperatures (14-17°C) persisted at Crater Lake through October-December, and seismicity was at background levels. There was no apparent eruptive activity during this time, although moderately strong upwelling continued over the lake's N vents, producing a yellow slick on 11 October. Upwelling was also occasionally observed above the lake's central vents.

A sharp increase in Crater Lake water temperature began in early January. Temperatures paused at ~20°C from 7 to 21 January, then rose at an even higher rate (1.1°/day), reaching 36°C by 8 February (figure 12). Strong sulfur odors were noted at the lake on 3 January, and 9 km N (in Whakapapa Village) during still air and clear weather on 5 February.

During a midday 8 February overflight, January Clayton-Green (Dept of Conservation) reported a gray slick surrounded by blue-green water in the center of Crater Lake, but no anomalous upwelling. Later that day (1500-1600), shortly after the start of a sequence of 30-40 volcanic earthquakes (at 1458; figure 13), Rob McCallum (DOC) observed upwelling 45-60 cm high that produced a surge over the lake's outlet. Agitation of the water was reported as "lasting some time." The next day, McCallum noted that the lake was entirely gray (at 0900), and that a strong sulfur odor was present. Bruce Williams (a Mt. Cook Airlines pilot), reported that Crater Lake, viewed from the air, was a typical blue-green on 8-9 February, but became more active on 10 February, and further increased in activity on 11 February.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Daily number of volcanic (top) and tectonic (bottom) earthquakes at Ruapehu, December 91-9 February 92. Courtesy of DSIR.

Vigorous seismicity continued on 9 February, although earthquake magnitudes dropped from just above M 2 on 8 February (maximum M 2.3), to just below M 2. One episode of low-amplitude, 1-Hz tremor was recorded at 0800-0930 on 9 February. Higher frequency (2 Hz) tremor remained at background levels during this part of February.

A team of scientists from DSIR and DOC visited the crater on 11 February from 1000 to 1450. Four small eruptions were observed (at 1023, 1133, 1257, and 1410), each consisting of a sudden updoming of dark gray water over the central vent, possibly rising several meters and affecting an area 10-20 m across, but rapidly obscured by steam. There was little sound except for a "whooshing" from the agitated water. Small waves (<20 cm high at the shoreline) radiated out from the center, and steam rose approximately 100 m before dissipating.

Water temperature reached 39°C, and outflow was 120 l/s on 11 February (compared to <10 l/s on 17 October and 20 November, and 70 l/s on 3 January). Mg/Cl ratios remained stable, ranging from 0.046 to 0.048 since 3 May 1991, although there did appear to be a slight dilution (from 312 to 295 ppm magnesium, and from 6,526 to 6,245 ppm chloride).

Deformation measurements on 11 February indicated a reversal from apparent deflation to inflation. Fieldwork on 17 October and 3 January had indicated slow deflation since 29 August. Similar deformation reversals were recorded during the 8 other discrete heating episodes since 1985.

A small phreatic eruption was observed on 18 February at about 1100, by airplane pilot Darren Kirkland. The event produced a column of steam, and generated waves estimated at 60-90 cm height. Geologists considered the January-February activity to be typical of the volcano's post-1985 periods of minor phreatic activity. . . .

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: P. Otway, DSIR Wairakei.


Siple (Antarctica) — February 1992

Siple

Antarctica

73.43°S, 126.67°W; summit elev. 3110 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


No evidence of activity

[A 25 February 1992 overflight during clear weather by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter revealed no evidence of activity at Mt. Siple. No ash was visible on the surface, and no active fumaroles or fumarolic ice towers could be seen.]

Geologic Background. Mount Siple is a youthful-looking shield volcano that forms an island along the Pacific Ocean coast of Antarctica's Marie Byrd Land. The massive 1,800 km3 volcano is truncated by a 4-5 km summit caldera and is ringed by tuff cones at sea level. Its lack of dissection in a coastal area more susceptible to erosion than inland volcanoes, and the existence of a satellite cone too young to date by the Potassium-Argon method, suggest a possible Holocene age (LeMasurier and Thomson 1990). Its location on published maps is 26 km NE of the actual location. A possible eruption cloud observed on satellite images on 18 September and 4 October 1988 was considered to result from atmospheric effects, after low-level aerial observations revealed no evidence of recent eruptions.

Information Contacts: P. Kyle, New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology.


Taal (Philippines) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Taal

Philippines

14.002°N, 120.993°E; summit elev. 311 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Crater lake temperature and seismicity decline

After a brief episode of increased seismicity, deformation, and increased crater lake temperatures on 14-15 February, activity returned to more normal levels. Fieldwork by Univ of Savoie personnel indicated that temperatures of the main crater lake were gradually declining, and that seismicity was near background levels. All measurable deformation seemed to have occurred on 14 February. The Alert Level 3 status, announced on 15 February, was lowered to Level 2, and then to Level 1 in early March. Most residents of Taal island have returned home.

Geologic Background. Taal is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and has produced some of its most powerful historical eruptions. Though not topographically prominent, its prehistorical eruptions have greatly changed the landscape of SW Luzon. The 15 x 20 km Talisay (Taal) caldera is largely filled by Lake Taal, whose 267 km2 surface lies only 3 m above sea level. The maximum depth of the lake is 160 m, and several eruptive centers lie submerged beneath the lake. The 5-km-wide Volcano Island in north-central Lake Taal is the location of all historical eruptions. The island is composed of coalescing small stratovolcanoes, tuff rings, and scoria cones that have grown about 25% in area during historical time. Powerful pyroclastic flows and surges from historical eruptions have caused many fatalities.

Information Contacts: C. Newhall, USGS.


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Turrialba

Costa Rica

10.025°N, 83.767°W; summit elev. 3340 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued fumarolic activity

Fumarolic activity continued in February, with temperatures of 90°C. Similar temperatures have been measured since 1982. A monthly total of 37 low-frequency earthquakes, a maximum of 4/day (4 February), was recorded (at station VTU, 0.7 km from the crater).

Geologic Background. Turrialba, the easternmost of Costa Rica's Holocene volcanoes, is a large vegetated basaltic-to-dacitic stratovolcano located across a broad saddle NE of Irazú volcano overlooking the city of Cartago. The massive edifice covers an area of 500 km2. Three well-defined craters occur at the upper SW end of a broad 800 x 2200 m summit depression that is breached to the NE. Most activity originated from the summit vent complex, but two pyroclastic cones are located on the SW flank. Five major explosive eruptions have occurred during the past 3500 years. A series of explosive eruptions during the 19th century were sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows. Fumarolic activity continues at the central and SW summit craters.

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, J. Barquero, V. Barboza, and R. Van der Laat, OVSICORI.


Unzendake (Japan) — February 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Unzendake

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued dome growth; occasional pyroclastic flows; large debris flow nearly reaches coast

Summit lava dome growth continued through early March, with frequent pyroclastic flows generated by partial dome collapse. Geologists estimated that by late January, the volume of the dome complex was 40 x 106 m3, and that ~ 75 x 106 m3 of lava had been extruded since 20 May 1991. The rate of extrusion was around 3 x 105 m3/day during December-January, a rate that has remained nearly constant since June 1991.

Most of the growth of dome 6 . . . had been endogenous in mid-February through early March, then became dominantly exogenous. The area around the dome swelled upwards, and complicated "petal" structures formed on its surface. Continued thickening of dome 6 forced dome 5 . . . to the NE. The surface of dome 5 was very reddish, implying that it was composed of older, oxidized lavas, and was dominantly a cryptodome. Rockfalls from the E and N faces of dome 5 produced reddish block-and-ash flow deposits and left behind numerous small cliffs (figure 39). Dome 5 in turn pushed dome 4 (split into N and S parts), especially its N part, which moved more than 50 m to the E during mid-February-early March. Much of dome 4 was eroded or buried by material from other domes, bringing the talus slope flush with its top. Incandescence and strong gas emissions were observed along cracks and pit craters in and near dome 3. Emission of ash-laden plumes became continuous from Jigoku-ato Crater in early March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sketch of the lava dome complex at Unzen, 27 February 1992. Courtesy of S. Nakada.

Lava blocks frequently fell from near the head and front of dome 6, generating pyroclastic flows to the SE and occasionally to the E and NE (figure 40). Clouds of elutriated ash descending to the S sometimes reached the N cliff of Mt. Iwatoko, but the accompanying block-and-ash flows stopped about 300 m short of this point. Thus, trees on the N slope of the cliff were covered by the elutriated ash clouds, but they were neither bent over nor burned. Larger pyroclastic flows occurred on 2 and 12 February. Flows at 2020 and 2028 on 12 February had durations of 290 and 300 seconds, respectively, the longest since 15 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Map showing distribution of 1991-92 pyroclastic-flow deposits at Unzen, February 1992. The 1991 pyroclastic-surge deposits are not shown. Courtesy of S. Nakada.

Heavy rainfall triggered a large debris flow at 0130 on 1 March, along the E flank's Mizunashi River, following the route of the previous large debris flow on 30 June 1991. The flow reached a point 100 m from the coast, 8 km E of the summit, crossing Routes 57 and 251, and burying a 200-m section of the Shimabara Railway. No damage occurred in previously untouched areas, and rail service was resumed within 6 days. As of early March, roughly 7,600 people remained evacuated.

February's 6,434 recorded earthquakes represent the largest monthly total since the eruption began, but seismicity started to decline on 4 March. Seismicity has been at very high levels since October.

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: S. Nakada, Kyushu Univ; JMA.


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — February 1992 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)


Vigorous explosions; vent conduit collapse

Explosive activity continued through January. A large ash emission event on 17 January deposited ash 50 km S, and was associated with a large high-frequency seismic episode. The 17 January event marked a change from Strombolian ejections of scoriaceous bombs and juvenile ash, to emissions of ash-sized tephra dominated by lithics and altered glass.

Tephra ejection, December to mid-January. R. Fleming (Waimana Helicopters pilot) reported that Wade crater (formed in mid-October 1991) remained very active in late December and early January, emitting scoriae and bombs (to 30 m height) that were scattered over most of the W end of the main crater floor. The largest bombs were ejected after heavy rainfall at the beginning of January, but volcano noise (booming at 1-2-second intervals) heard during earlier visits had diminished after the rainfall. TV1 Crater (formed in October 1990) occasionally emitted ash, but no emissions were observed from May 91 vent.

B.J. Hogg and P. Horn reported observing an eruption from a boat 8 km E of the island shortly after 2000 on 16 January, coinciding with a recorded E-type earthquake. The initial gray-brown plume, ~150-180 m high, was followed by a separate brown ash column that rose ~900-1,500 m. Ashfall quickly obscured the W and S portions of the island. Roughly 15 minutes into the eruption, ash was observed cascading down the outer margins of the eruption column. Vigorous ash emission continued for at least an hour.

Strong explosion, 17 January. At 0932 on 17 January, seismometers registered the largest discrete seismic event ever recorded at the volcano (figure 16). Boats contacted at 1000-1015 reported limited visibility due to deteriorating weather, but that a "change to heavy ashfall had occurred within the last half hour." The New Zealand Herald reported that a yacht sailing close to the S coast of White Island at about 1100 had its sails coated with mud, and was later dismasted. Ashfall was reported 50 km S (in the Whakatane area) between 1115 and 1130. Geologists suggested that the 17 January explosion was probably caused by subterranean collapse of Wade Crater's conduit wall onto the top of the magma column at considerable depth. This resulted in a change from "open-vent" Strombolian eruptions of scoriaceous bombs, to "closed vent" phreatomagmatic eruptions of altered, lithic-dominated, mostly ash-sized ejecta.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Seismogram showing a large high-frequency event at White Island, 0932 on 17 January 1992. Ticks are at 1-minute intervals. Courtesy of DSIR.

Post-17 January fieldwork. Only a thin layer of light gray ash covered the island during fieldwork on 22 January, suggesting that most of the ash erupted on 17 January had been carried offshore by strong winds. About 32 cm of tephra had been deposited on the 1978/90 Crater rim (S of TV1) since 5 December, of which 11 cm were believed to be associated with 17-22 January activity. No surge deposits were recognized. The largest of the ash-covered blocks and bombs (up to 1.3 m long), found ~200 m E of Wade Crater, had been deposited before 17 January.

No significant changes had occurred to visible parts of the three recently active vents since fieldwork on 5 and 6 December. Wade Crater emitted a vigorously convoluting column of very fine dark gray-brown ash and white gas. White blocks (perhaps baked lithic material) were occasionally ejected. Most of the ash fell back into the vent. Noise from the crater was subdued, in comparison with 5 December, and the dull "booms" had no obvious correlation with emissions. TV1 Crater quietly emitted a small continuous plume of light gray ash that fell to ~100 m ENE, onto an area covered by a layer of recent ash and blocks.

During fieldwork on 23 January, Wade Crater erupted fine red ash, which became more predominant through the day. A distinctive gray-white ash deposit was apparent around the NE margin of 1978/90 Crater Complex, above TV1 Crater. Deposits of fine yellow-green ash, not apparent in photos taken on 22 January, mantled the ground elsewhere on Main Crater floor and on the outer SW slopes. Ash emissions from Wade Crater were stronger on 24 January and conspicuously redder. When geologists left the area at 1635, ash was falling at sea, downwind of the island.

On 31 January, a steam column with small quantities of pink ash from Wade Crater and a light gray column from TV1 combined to form a weakly convoluting pink-brown plume 400 m high. Solar panels 600 m SE of Wade had accumulated ~20 mm of ash since 22 January.

Seismicity. Before 9 December, episodic medium-frequency volcanic tremor accompanied open-vent Strombolian activity at variable, but low amplitude. Tremor declined after 12 December, and was replaced by more discrete, medium-frequency (C-type) events (~200/day) that lasted until 22 December. Relatively brief E-type (eruption) events were recorded on 11, 13, 16, and 17 December (at 1802, 1003, 1921, and 0723, respectively), and rare B-type events were recorded after 16 December. No signal was received 23-27 December.

B-type shocks and microearthquakes dominated the seismic records by 1 January, with 5-10/minute occurring in bursts lasting 3.5-8 hours. Microearthquake activity declined about 6 January, while the number of B-type earthquakes increased, peaking at >20/day on 11 January. A-type earthquakes remained constant, around 3-4/day. E-type sequences reappeared on 7 January, and occurred daily until 17 January, as B-type earthquakes decreased in number. A distinctly different, high-frequency, long-duration event (figure 16) occurred at 0932 on 17 January, shortly before reports of heavy ashfall. A sequence of 18 A-type earthquakes followed in the next 10 hours, and medium- to low-frequency volcanic tremor of variable but increasing amplitude commenced. After 18 January, 5-6 B-type and fewer A-type earthquakes were recorded daily. E-type events were recorded on 21 and 25 January (at 0312 and 1438, respectively), the latter accompanying a voluminous ash eruption. Increasing ash emission interrupted the seismic telemetry link on 26 January.

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: I. Nairn and B. Scott, DSIR Rotorua.

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