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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

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater during December 2019-May 2020

Nyiragongo (DR Congo) Activity in the lava lake and small eruptive cone persists during December 2019-May 2020

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) Eruption and ash plumes begin on 11 January 2020 and continue through April 2020

Soputan (Indonesia) Minor ash emissions during 23 March and 2 April 2020

Heard (Australia) Eruptive activity including a lava flow during October 2019-April 2020

Kikai (Japan) Ash explosion on 29 April 2020

Fuego (Guatemala) Ongoing ash explosions, block avalanches, and intermittent lava flows

Ebeko (Russia) Frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall continue, December 2019-May 2020

Piton de la Fournaise (France) Fissure eruptions in February and April 2020 included lava fountains and flows

Sabancaya (Peru) Daily explosions with ash emissions, large SO2 flux, ongoing thermal anomalies, December 2019-May 2020

Sheveluch (Russia) Lava dome growth and thermal anomalies continue through April 2020, but few ash explosions



Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — June 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)


Intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater during December 2019-May 2020

Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira) is located in the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and consists of a lava lake that reappeared in the summit crater in mid-April 2018. Volcanism has been characterized by lava emissions, thermal anomalies, seismicity, and gas-and-steam emissions. This report summarizes activity during December 2019 through May 2020 using information from monthly reports by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data.

According to OVG, intermittent eruptive activity was detected in the lava lake of the central crater during December 2019 and January-April 2020, which also resulted in few seismic events. MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows thermal anomalies within the summit crater that varied in both frequency and power between August 2019 and mid-March 2020, but very few were recorded afterward through late May (figure 88). Thermal hotspots identified by MODVOLC from 15 December 2019 through March 2020 were mainly located in the active central crater, with only three hotspots just outside the SW crater rim (figure 89). Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery also showed activity within the summit crater during January-May 2020, but by mid-March the thermal anomaly had visibly decreased in power (figure 90).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 88. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Nyamuragira during 27 July through May 2020 shows variably strong, intermittent thermal anomalies with a variation in power and frequency from August 2019 to mid-March 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 89. Map showing the number of MODVOLC hotspot pixels at Nyamuragira from 1 December 2019 t0 31 May 2020. 37 pixels were registered within the summit crater while 3 were detected just outside the SW crater rim. Courtesy of HIGP-MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 90. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed ongoing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) at Nyamuragira from February into April 2020. The strength of the thermal anomaly in the summit crater decreased by late March 2020, but was still visible. 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: 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.


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Activity in the lava lake and small eruptive cone persists during December 2019-May 2020

Nyiragongo is located in the Virunga Volcanic Province (VVP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of the western branch of the East African Rift System and contains a 1.2 km-wide summit crater with a lava lake that has been active since at least 1971. Volcanism has been characterized by strong and frequent thermal anomalies, incandescence, gas-and-steam emissions, and seismicity. This report summarizes activity during December 2019 through May 2020 using information from monthly reports by the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) and satellite data.

In the December 2019 monthly report, OVG stated that the level of the lava lake had increased. This level of the lava lake was maintained for the duration of the reporting period, according to later OVG monthly reports. Seismicity increased starting in November 2019 and was detected in the NE part of the crater, but it decreased by mid-April 2020. SO2 emissions increased in January 2020 to roughly 7,000 tons/day but decreased again near the end of the month. OVG reported that SO2 emissions rose again in February to roughly 8,500 tons/day before declining to about 6,000 tons/day. Unlike in the previous report (BGVN 44:12), incandescence was visible during the day in the active lava lake and activity at the small eruptive cone within the 1.2-km-wide summit crater has since increased, consisting of incandescence and some lava fountaining (figure 72). A field survey was conducted on 3-4 March where an OVG team observed active lava fountains and ejecta that produced Pele’s hair from the small eruptive cone (figure 73). During this survey, OVG reported that the level of the lava lake had reached the second terrace, which was formed on 17 January 2002 and represents remnants of the lava lake at different eruption stages. There, the open surface lava lake was observed; gas-and-steam emissions accompanied both the active lava lake and the small eruptive cone (figures 72 and 73).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Webcam image of Nyiragongo in February 2020 showing an open lava lake surface and incandescence from the active crater cone within the 1.2 km-wide summit crater visible during the day, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of OVG (Rapport OVG February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Webcam image of Nyiragongo on 4 March 2020 showing an open lava lake surface and incandescence from the active crater cone within the 1.2 km-wide summit crater visible during the day, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions. Courtesy of OVG (Rapport OVG Mars 2020).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data continued to show frequent strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit crater through May 2020 (figure 74). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported multiple thermal hotspots almost daily within the summit crater between December 2019 and May 2020. These thermal signatures were also observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery within the summit crater (figure 75).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Thermal anomalies at Nyiragongo from 27 July through May 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were frequent and strong. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) showed ongoing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) in the summit crater at Nyiragongo during January through April 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Kavachi (Solomon Islands) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kavachi

Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Discolored water plumes seen using satellite imagery in 2018 and 2020

Kavachi is a submarine volcano located in the Solomon Islands south of Gatokae and Vangunu islands. Volcanism is frequently active, but rarely observed. The most recent eruptions took place during 2014, which consisted of an ash eruption, and during 2016, which included phreatomagmatic explosions (BGVN 42:03). This reporting period covers December 2016-April 2020 primarily using satellite data.

Activity at Kavachi is often only observed through satellite images, and frequently consists of discolored submarine plumes for which the cause is uncertain. On 1 January 2018 a slight yellow discoloration in the water is seen extending to the E from a specific point (figure 20). Similar faint plumes were observed on 16 January, 25 February, 2 March, 26 April, 6 May, and 25 June 2018. No similar water discoloration was noted during 2019, though clouds may have obscured views.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Satellite images from Sentinel-2 revealed intermittent faint water discoloration (yellow) at Kavachi during the first half of 2018, as seen here on 1 January (top left), 25 February (top right), 26 April (bottom left), and 25 June (bottom right). Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Activity resumed in 2020, showing more discolored water in satellite imagery. The first instance occurred on 16 March, where a distinct plume extended from a specific point to the SE. On 25 April a satellite image showed a larger discolored plume in the water that spread over about 30 km2, encompassing the area around Kavachi (figure 21). Another image on 30 April showed a thin ribbon of discolored water extending about 50 km W of the vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite images of a discolored plume (yellow) at Kavachi beginning on 16 March (top left) with a significant large plume on 25 April (right), which remained until 30 April (bottom left). Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Named for a sea-god of the Gatokae and Vangunu peoples, Kavachi is one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Vangunu Island about 30 km N of the site of subduction of the Indo-Australian plate beneath the Pacific plate. Sometimes referred to as Rejo te Kvachi ("Kavachi's Oven"), this shallow submarine basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has produced ephemeral islands up to 1 km long many times since its first recorded eruption during 1939. Residents of the nearby islands of Vanguna and Nggatokae (Gatokae) reported "fire on the water" prior to 1939, a possible reference to earlier eruptions. The roughly conical edifice rises from water depths of 1.1-1.2 km on the north and greater depths to the SE. Frequent shallow submarine and occasional subaerial eruptions produce phreatomagmatic explosions that eject steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. On a number of occasions lava flows were observed on the ephemeral islands.

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


Kuchinoerabujima (Japan) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kuchinoerabujima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption and ash plumes begin on 11 January 2020 and continue through April 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 most recent previous eruptive period took place during October 2018-February 2019 and primarily consisted of weak explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall. The current eruption began on 11 January 2020 after nearly a year of dominantly gas-and-steam emissions. Volcanism for this reporting period from March 2019 to April 2020 included explosions, ash plumes, SO2 emissions, and ashfall. 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). Activity has been limited to Kuchinoerabujima's Shindake Crater.

Volcanism at Kuchinoerabujima was relatively low during March through December 2019, according to JMA. During this time, SO2 emissions ranged from 100 to 1,000 tons/day. Gas-and-steam emissions were frequently observed throughout the entire reporting period, rising to a maximum height of 1.1 km above the crater on 13 December 2019. Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 showed gas-and-steam and occasional ash emissions rising from the Shindake crater throughout the reporting period (figure 7). Though JMA reported thermal anomalies occurring on 29 January and continuing through late April 2020, Sentinel-2 imagery shows the first thermal signature appearing on 26 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showed gas-and-steam and ash emissions rising from Kuchinoerabujima. Some ash deposits can be seen on 6 February 2020 (top right). A thermal anomaly appeared on 26 April 2020 (bottom right). Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

An eruption on 11 January 2020 at 1505 ejected material 300 m from the crater and produced ash plumes that rose 2 km above the crater rim, extending E, according to JMA. The eruption continued through 12 January until 0730. The resulting ash plumes rose 400 m above the crater, drifting SW while the SO2 emissions measured 1,300 tons/day. Ashfall was reported on Yakushima Island (15 km E). Minor eruptive activity was reported during 17-20 January which produced gray-white plumes that rose 300-500 m above the crater. On 23 January, seismicity increased, and an eruption produced an ash plume that rose 1.2 km altitude, according to a Tokyo VAAC report, resulting in ashfall 2 km NE of the crater. A small explosion was detected on 24 January, followed by an increase in the number of earthquakes during 25-26 January (65-71 earthquakes per day were registered). Another small eruptive event detected on 27 January at 0148 was accompanied by a volcanic tremor and a change in tilt data. During the month of January, some inflation was detected at the base on the volcano and a total of 347 earthquakes were recorded. The SO2 emissions ranged from 200-1,600 tons/day.

An eruption on 1 February 2020 produced an eruption column that rose less than 1 km altitude and extended SE and SW (figure 8), according to the Tokyo VAAC report. On 3 February, an eruption from the Shindake crater at 0521 produced an ash plume that rose 7 km above the crater and ejected material as far as 600 m away. As a result, a pyroclastic flow formed, traveling 900-1,500 m SW. The previous pyroclastic flow that was recorded occurred on 29 January 2019. Ashfall was confirmed in the N part of Yakushima Island with a large amount in Miyanoura (32 km ESE) and southern Tanegashima. The SO2 emissions measured 1,700 tons/day during this event.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Webcam images from the Honmura west surveillance camera of an ash plume rising from Kuchinoerabujima on 1 February 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Weekly bulletin report 509, February 2020).

Intermittent small eruptive events occurred during 5-9 February; field observations showed a large amount of ashfall on the SE flank which included lapilli that measured up to 2 cm in diameter. Additionally, thermal images showed 5-km-long pyroclastic flow deposits on the SW flank. An eruption on 9 February produced an ash plume that rose 1.2 km altitude, drifting SE. On 13 February a small eruption was detected in the Shindake crater at 1211, producing gray-white plumes that rose 300 m above the crater, drifting NE. Small eruptive events also occurred during 20-21 February, resulting in gas-and-steam emissions that rose 200 m above the crater. During the month of February, some horizontal extension was observed since January 2020 using GNSS data. The total number of earthquakes during this month drastically increased to 1225 compared to January. The SO2 emissions ranged from 300-1,700 tons/day.

By 2 March 2020, seismicity decreased, and activity declined. Gas-and-steam emissions continued infrequently for the duration of the reporting period. The SO2 emissions during March ranged from 700-2,100 tons/day, the latter of which occurred on 15 March. Seismicity increased again on 27 March. During 5-8 April 2020, small eruptive events were detected, generating ash plumes that rose 900 m above the crater (figure 9). The SO2 emissions on 6 April reached 3,200 tons/day, the maximum measurement for this reporting period. These small eruptive events continued from 13-20 and 23-25 April within the Shindake crater, producing gray-white plumes that rose 300-800 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Webcam images from the Honmura Nishi (top) and Honmura west (bottom) surveillance cameras of ash plumes rising from Kuchinoerabujima on 6 March and 5 April 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Weekly bulletin report 509, March and April 2020).

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. The youngest cone, centrally-located Shindake, formed after the NW side of Furudake was breached by an explosion. 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).


Soputan (Indonesia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Soputan

Indonesia

1.112°N, 124.737°E; summit elev. 1785 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Minor ash emissions during 23 March and 2 April 2020

Soputan is a stratovolcano located in the northern arm of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. Previous eruptive periods were characterized by ash explosions, lava flows, and Strombolian eruptions. The most recent eruption occurred during October-December 2018, which consisted mostly of ash plumes and some summit incandescence (BGVN 44:01). This report updates information for January 2019-April 2020 characterized by two ash plumes and gas-and-steam emissions. The primary source of information come from the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) and the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

Activity during January 2019-April 2020 was relatively low; three faint thermal anomalies were observed at the summit at Soputan in satellite imagery for a total of three days on 2 and 4 January, and 1 October 2019 (figure 17). The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) based on analysis of MODIS data detected 12 distal hotspots and six low-power hotspots within 5 km of the summit during August to early October 2019. A single distal thermal hotspot was detected in early March 2020. In March, activity primarily consisted of white to gray gas-and-steam plumes that rose 20-100 m above the crater, according to PVMBG. The Darwin VAAC issued a notice on 23 March 2020 that reported an ash plume rose to 4.3 km altitude; minor ash emissions had been visible in a webcam image the previous day (figure 18). A second notice was issued on 2 April, where an ash plume was observed rising 2.1 km altitude and drifting W.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery detected a total of three thermal hotspots (bright yellow-orange) at the summit of Soputan on 2 and 4 January and 1 October 2019. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Minor ash emissions were seen rising from Soputan on 22 March 2020. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia.

Geologic Background. The Soputan stratovolcano on the southern rim of the Quaternary Tondano caldera on the northern arm of Sulawesi Island is one of Sulawesi's most active volcanoes. The youthful, largely unvegetated volcano is located SW of Riendengan-Sempu, which some workers have included with Soputan and Manimporok (3.5 km ESE) as a volcanic complex. It was constructed at the southern end of a SSW-NNE trending line of vents. During historical time the locus of eruptions has included both the summit crater and Aeseput, a prominent NE-flank vent that formed in 1906 and was the source of intermittent major lava flows until 1924.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Heard (Australia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruptive activity including a lava flow during October 2019-April 2020

Heard Island is located on the Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean and contains Big Ben, a snow-covered stratovolcano with intermittent volcanism reported since 1910. Due to its remote location, visual observations are rare; therefore, thermal anomalies and hotspots detected by satellite-based instruments are the primary source of information. This report updates activity from October 2019 to April 2020.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed three prominent periods of strong thermal anomaly activity during this reporting period: late October 2019, December 2019, and the end of April 2020 (figure 41). These thermal anomalies were relatively strong and occurred within 5 km of the summit. Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported a total of six thermal hotspots during 28 October, 1 November 2019, and 26 April 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Thermal anomalies at Heard from 29 April 2019 through April 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power) were strong and frequent in late October, during December 2019, and at the end of April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Six thermal satellite images ranging from late October 2019 to late March showed evidence of active lava at the summit (figure 42). These images show hot material, possibly a lava flow, extending SW from the summit; a hotspot also remained at the summit. Cloud cover was pervasive during the majority of this reporting period, especially in April 2020, though gas-and-steam emissions were visible on 25 April through the clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Thermal satellite images of Heard Island’s Big Ben showing strong thermal signatures representing a lava flow in the SW direction from 28 October to 17 December 2019. These thermal anomalies are located NE from Mawson Peak. A faint thermal anomaly is also captured on 26 March 2020. Satellite images with atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, and 8A), 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).


Kikai (Japan) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash explosion on 29 April 2020

The Kikai caldera is located at the N end of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and has been recently characterized by intermittent ash emissions and limited ashfall in nearby communities. On Satsuma Iwo Jima island, the larger subaerial fragment of the Kikai caldera, there was a single explosion with gas-and-steam and ash emissions on 2 November 2019, accompanied by nighttime incandescence (BGVN 45:02). This report covers volcanism from January 2020 through April 2020 with a single-day eruption occurring on 29 April based on reports from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Since the last one-day eruption on 2 November 2019, volcanism at Kikai has been relatively low and primarily consisted of 107-170 earthquakes per month and intermittent white gas-and-steam emissions rising up to 1.3 km above the crater summit. Intermittent weak hotspots were observed at night in the summit in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery and webcams, according to JMA (figures 14 and 15).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Weak thermal hotspots (bright yellow-orange) were observed on 7 January (top) and 6 April 2020 (bottom) at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai). Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Incandescence at night on 10 January 2020 was observed at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) in the Iodake crater with the Iwanogami webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, January 2nd year of Reiwa [2020]).

Weak incandescence continued in April 2020. JMA reported SO2 measurements during April were 400-2000 tons/day. A brief eruption in the Iodake crater on 29 April 2020 at 0609 generated a gray-white ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater (figure 16). No ashfall or ejecta was observed after the eruption on 29 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. The Iwanogami webcam captured a brief gray-white ash and steam plume rising above the Iodake crater rim on Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 29 April 2020 at 0609 local time. The plume rose 1 km above the crater summit. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, April 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).


Fuego (Guatemala) — April 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing ash explosions, block avalanches, and intermittent lava flows

Fuego is a stratovolcano in Guatemala that has been erupting since 2002 with historical eruptions that date back to 1531. Volcanism is characterized by major ashfalls, pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and lahars. The previous report (BGVN 44:10) detailed activity that included multiple ash explosions, ash plumes, ashfall, active lava flows, and block avalanches. This report covers this continuing activity from October 2019 through March 2020 and consists of ash plumes, ashfall, incandescent ejecta, block avalanches, and lava flows. The primary source of information comes from the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Summary of activity October 2019-March 2020. Daily activity persisted throughout October 2019-March 2020 (table 20) with multiple ash explosions recorded every hour, ash plumes that rose to a maximum of 4.8 km altitude each month drifting in multiple directions, incandescent ejecta reaching a 500 m above the crater resulting in block avalanches traveling down multiple drainages, and ashfall affecting communities in multiple directions. The highest rate of explosions occurred on 7 November with up to 25 per hour. Dominantly white fumaroles occurred frequently throughout this reporting period, rising to a maximum altitude of 4.5 km and drifting in multiple directions. Intermittent lava flows that reached a maximum length of 1.2 km were observed each month in the Seca (Santa Teresa) and Ceniza drainages (figure 128), but rarely in the Trinidad drainage. Thermal activity increased slightly in frequency and strength in late October and remained relatively consistent through mid-March as seen in the MIROVA analysis of MODIS satellite data (figure 129).

Table 20. Activity summary by month for Fuego with information compiled from INSIVUMEH daily reports.

Month Ash plume heights (km) Ash plume distance (km) and direction Drainages affected by avalanche blocks Villages reporting ashfall
Oct 2019 4.3-4.8 km 10-25 km, W-SW-S-NW Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, El Jute, Honda, and Las Lajas Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, La Rochela, San Andrés Osuna, Sangre de Cristo, and San Pedro Yepocapa
Nov 2019 4.0-4.8 km 10-20 km, W-SW-S-NW Seca, Taniluyá, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, and Ceniza Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Porvenir, Sangre de Cristo, Finca Palo Verde, and San Pedro Yepocapa
Dec 2019 4.2-4.8 km 10-25 km, W-SW-S-SE-N-NE Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, and Las Lajas Morelia, Santa Sofía, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I and II, La Rochela, and San Andrés Osuna
Jan 2020 4.3-4.8 km 10-25 km, W-SW-S-N-NE-E Seca, Ceniza, Taniluyá, Trinidad, Honda, and Las Lajas Morelia, Santa Sofía, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I and II, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, Rodeo, La Rochela, Alotenango, El Zapote, Trinidad, La Reina, Ceilán
Feb 2020 4.3-4.8 km 8-25 km, W-SW-S-SE-E-NE-N-NW Seca, Ceniza, Taniluya, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, La Rochela, El Zapote, and San Andrés Osuna Panimache I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Rodeo, La Reina, Alotenango, Yucales, Siquinalá, Santa Lucia, El Porvenir, Finca Los Tarros, La Soledad, Buena Vista, La Cruz, Pajales, San Miguel Dueñas, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Escobar, San Pedro las Huertas, Antigua, La Rochela, and San Andrés Osuna
Mar 2020 4.3-4.8 km 10-23 km, W-SW-S-SE-N-NW Seca, Ceniza, Trinidad, Taniluyá, Las Lajas, Honda, La Rochela, El Zapote, San Andrés Osuna, Morelia, Panimache, and Santa Sofia San Andrés Osuna, La Rochela, El Rodeo, Chuchu, Panimache I and II, Santa Sofia, Morelia, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, Sangre de Cristo, La Cruz, San Pedro Yepocapa, La Conchita, La Soledad, Alotenango, Aldea la Cruz, Acatenango, Ceilan, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Trinidad, Seca, and Honda
Figure (see Caption) Figure 128. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Fuego between 21 November 2019 and 20 March 2020 showing lava flows (bright yellow-orange) traveling generally S and W from the crater summit. An ash plume can also be seen on 21 November 2019, accompanying the lava flow. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 129. Thermal activity at Fuego increased in frequency and strength (log radiative power) in late October 2019 and remained relatively consistent through February 2020. In early March, there is a small decrease in thermal power, followed by a short pulse of activity and another decline. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during October-December 2019. Activity in October 2019 consisted of 6-20 ash explosions per hour; ash plumes rose to 4.8 km altitude, drifting up to 25 km in multiple directions, resulting in ashfall in Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Finca Palo Verde, La Rochela and San Andrés Osuna. The Washington VAAC issued multiple aviation advisories for a total of nine days in October. Continuous white gas-and-steam plumes reached 4.1-4.4 km altitude drifting generally W. Weak SO2 emissions were infrequently observed in satellite imagery during October and January 2020 (figure 130) Incandescent ejecta was frequently observed rising 200-400 m above the summit, which generated block avalanches that traveled down the Seca (W), Taniluyá (SW), Ceniza (SSW), Trinidad (S), El Jute, Honda, and Las Lajas (SE) drainages. During 3-7 October lahars descended the Ceniza, El Mineral, and Seca drainages, carrying tree branches, tree trunks, and blocks 1-3 m in diameter. During 6-8 and 13 October, active lava flows traveled up to 200 m down the Seca drainage.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 130. Weak SO2 emissions were observed rising from Fuego using the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Top left: 17 October 2019. Top right: 17 November 2019. Bottom left: 20 January 2020. Bottom right: 22 January 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

During November 2019, the rate of explosions increased to 5-25 per hour, the latter of which occurred on 7 November. The explosions resulted in ash plumes that rose 4-4.8 km altitude, drifting 10-20 km in the W direction. Ashfall was observed in Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Porvenir, Sangre de Cristo, Finca Palo Verde, and San Pedro Yepocapa. Multiple Washington VAAC notices were issued for 11 days in November. Continuous white gas-and-steam plumes rose up to 4.5 km altitude drifting generally W. Incandescent ejecta rose 100-500 m above the crater, generating block avalanches in Seca, Taniluyá, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, and Ceniza drainages. Lava flows were observed for a majority of the month into early December measuring 100-900 m long in the Seca and Ceniza drainages.

The number of explosions in December 2019 decreased compared to November, recording 8-19 per hour with incandescent ejecta rising 100-400 m above the crater. The explosions generated block avalanches that traveled in the Seca, Taniluya, Ceniza, Trinidad, and Las Lajas drainages throughout the month. Ash plumes continued to rise above the summit crater to 4.8 km drifting up to 25 km in multiple directions. The Washington VAAC issued multiple daily notices almost daily in December. A continuous lava flow observed during 6-15, 21-22, 24, and 26 November through 9 December measured 100-800 m long in the Seca and Ceniza drainages.

Activity during January-March 2020. Incandescent Strombolian explosions continued daily during January 2020, ejecting material up to 100-500 m above the crater. Ash plumes continued to rise to a maximum altitude of 4.8 km, resulting in ashfall in all directions affecting Morelia, Santa Sofía, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Panimaché I and II, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, Rodeo, La Rochela, Alotenango, El Zapote, Trinidad, La Reina, and Ceilán. The Washington VAAC issued multiple notices for a total of 12 days during January. Block avalanches resulting from the Strombolian explosions traveled down the Seca, Ceniza, Taniluyá, Trinidad, Honda, and Las Lajas drainages. An active lava flow in the Ceniza drainage measured 150-600 m long during 6-10 January.

During February 2020, INSIVUMEH reported a range of 4-16 explosions per hour, accompanied by incandescent material that rose 100-500 m above the crater (figure 131). Block avalanches traveled in the Santa Teresa, Seca, Ceniza, Taniluya, Trinidad, Las Lajas, Honda, La Rochela, El Zapote, and San Andrés Osuna drainages. Ash emissions from the explosions continued to rise 4.8 km altitude, drifting in multiple directions as far as 25 km and resulting in ashfall in the communities of Panimache I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo, San Pedro Yepocapa, Rodeo, La Reina, Alotenango, Yucales, Siquinalá, Santa Lucia, El Porvenir, Finca Los Tarros, La Soledad, Buena Vista, La Cruz, Pajales, San Miguel Dueñas, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Escobar, San Pedro las Huertas, Antigua, La Rochela, and San Andrés Osuna. Washington VAAC notices were issued almost daily during the month. Lava flows were active in the Ceniza drainage during 13-20, 23-24, and 26-27 February measuring as long as 1.2 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 131. Incandescent ejecta rose several hundred meters above the crater of Fuego on 6 February 2020, resulting in block avalanches down multiple drainages. Courtesy of Crelosa.

Daily explosions and incandescent ejecta continued through March 2020, with 8-17 explosions per hour that rose up to 500 m above the crater. Block avalanches from the explosions were observed in the Seca, Ceniza, Trinidad, Taniluyá, Las Lajas, Honda, Santa Teresa, La Rochela, El Zapote, San Andrés Osuna, Morelia, Panimache, and Santa Sofia drainages. Accompanying ash plumes rose 4.8 km altitude, drifting in multiple directions mostly to the W as far as 23 km and resulting in ashfall in San Andrés Osuna, La Rochela, El Rodeo, Chuchu, Panimache I and II, Santa Sofia, Morelia, Finca Palo Verde, El Porvenir, Sangre de Cristo, La Cruz, San Pedro Yepocapa, La Conchita, La Soledad, Alotenango, Aldea la Cruz, Acatenango, Ceilan, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Las Lajas, Trinidad, Seca, and Honda. Multiple Washington VAAC notices were issued for a total of 15 days during March. Active lava flows were observed from 16-21 March in the Trinidad and Ceniza drainages measuring 400-1,200 m long and were accompanied by weak to moderate explosions. By 23 March, active lava flows were no longer observed.

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); 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/); 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); Crelosa, 3ra. avenida. 8-66, Zona 14. Colonia El Campo, Guatemala Ciudad de Guatemala (URL: http://crelosa.com/, post at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P4kWqxU2m0&feature=youtu.be).


Ebeko (Russia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ebeko

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent moderate explosions, ash plumes, and ashfall continue, December 2019-May 2020

The current moderate explosive eruption of Ebeko has been ongoing since October 2016, with frequent ash explosions that have reached altitudes of 1.3-6 km (BGVN 42:08, 43:03, 43:06, 43:12, 44:12). Ashfall is common in Severo-Kurilsk, a town of about 2,500 residents 7 km ESE, where the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) monitor the volcano. During the reporting period, December 2019-May 2020, the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).

During December 2019-May 2020, frequent explosions generated ash plumes that reached altitudes of 1.5-4.6 km (table 9); reports of ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk were common. Ash explosions in late April caused ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk during 25-30 April (figure 24), and the plume drifted 180 km SE on the 29th. There was also a higher level of activity during the second half of May (figure 25), when plumes drifted up to 80 km downwind.

Table 9. Summary of activity at Ebeko, December 2019-May 2020. S-K is Severo-Kurilsk (7 km ESE of the volcano). TA is thermal anomaly in satellite images. In the plume distance column, only plumes that drifted more than 10 km are indicated. Dates based on UTC times. Data courtesy of KVERT.

Date Plume Altitude (km) Plume Distance Plume Directions Other Observations
30 Nov-05 Dec 2019 3 -- NE, E Intermittent explosions.
06-13 Dec 2019 4 -- E Explosions all week. Ashfall in S-K on 10-12 Dec.
15-17 Dec 2019 3 -- E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 16-17 Dec.
22-24 Dec 2019 3 -- NE Explosions.
01-02 Jan 2020 3 30 km N N Explosions. TA over dome on 1 Jan.
03, 05, 09 Jan 2020 2.9 -- NE, SE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 8 Jan.
11, 13-14 Jan 2020 3 -- E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K.
19-20 Jan 2020 3 -- E Ashfall in S-K on 19 Jan.
24-31 Jan 2020 4 -- E Explosions.
01-07 Feb 2020 3 -- E, S Explosions all week.
12-13 Feb 2020 1.5 -- E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K.
18-19 Feb 2020 2.3 -- SE Explosions.
21, 25, 27 Feb 2020 2.9 -- S, SE, NE Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 22 Feb.
01-02, 05 Mar 2020 2 -- S, E Explosions.
08 Mar 2020 2.5 -- NE Explosions.
13, 17 Mar 2020 2.5 -- NE, SE Bursts of gas, steam, and small amount of ash.
24-25 Mar 2020 2.5 -- NE, W Explosions.
29 Mar-02 Apr 2020 2.2 -- NE, E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 1 Apr. TA on 30-31 Mar.
04-05, 09 Apr 2020 1.5 -- NE Explosions. TA on 5 Apr.
13 Apr 2020 2.5 -- SE Explosions.
18, 20 Apr 2020 -- -- -- TA on 18, 20 Apr.
24 Apr-01 May 2020 3.5 180 km SE on 29 Apr E, SE Explosions all week. Ashfall in S-K on 25-30 Apr.
01-08 May 2020 2.6 -- E Explosions all week. Ashfall in S-K on 3-5 May. TA on 3 May.
08-15 May 2020 4 -- E Explosions. Ashfall in S-K on 8-12 May. TA during 12-14 May.
14-15, 19-21 May 2020 3.6 80 km SW, S, SE during 14, 20-21 May -- Explosions. TA on same days.
22-29 May 2020 4.6 60 km SE E, SE Explosions all week. Ashfall in S-K on 22, 24 May.
29-31 May 2020 4.5 -- E, S Explosions. TA on 30 May.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Photo of ash explosion at Ebeko at 2110 UTC on 28 April 2020, as viewed from Severo-Kurilsk. Courtesy of KVERT (L. Kotenko).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Satellite image of Ebeko from Sentinel-2 on 27 May 2020, showing a plume drifting SE. Image using natural color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) 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/); Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS), 9 Piip Blvd., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683006, Russia (URL: http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/eng/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Piton de la Fournaise (France) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Piton de la Fournaise

France

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruptions in February and April 2020 included lava fountains and flows

Piton de la Fournaise is a massive basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean. Recent volcanism is characterized by multiple fissure eruptions, lava fountains, and lava flows (BGVN 44:11). The activity during this reporting period of November 2019-April 2020 is consistent with the previous eruption, including lava fountaining and lava flows. Information for this report comes from the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) and various satellite data.

Activity during November 2019-January 2020 was relatively low; no eruptive events were detected, according to OVPF. Edifice deformation resumed during the last week in December and continued through January. Seismicity significantly increased in early January, registering 258 shallow earthquakes from 1-16 January. During 17-31 January, the seismicity declined, averaging one earthquake per day.

Two eruptive events took place during February-April 2020. OVPF reported that the first occurred from 10 to 16 February on the E and SE flanks of the Dolomieu Crater. The second took place during 2-6 April. Both eruptive events began with a sharp increase in seismicity accompanied by edifice inflation, followed by a fissure eruption that resulted in lava fountains and lava flows (figure 193). MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed the two eruptive events occurring during February-April 2020 (figure 194). Similarly, the MODVOLC algorithm reported 72 thermal signatures proximal to the summit crater from 12 February to 6 April. Both of these eruptive events were accompanied by SO2 emissions that were detected by the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI instrument (figures 195 and 196).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 193. Location maps of the lava flows on the E flank at Piton de la Fournaise on 10-16 February 2020 (left) and 2-6 April 2020 (right) as derived from SAR satellite data. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP, OPGC, LMV (Monthly bulletins of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, February and April 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 194. Two significant eruptive events at Piton de la Fournaise took place during February-April 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 195. Images of the SO2 emissions during the February 2020 eruptive event at Piton de la Fournaise detected by the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite. Top left: 10 February 2020. Top right: 11 February 2020. Bottom left: 13 February 2020. Bottom right: 14 February 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 196. Images of the SO2 emissions during the April 2020 eruptive event at Piton de la Fournaise detected by the Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI satellite. Left: 4 April 2020. Middle: 5 April 2020. Right: 6 April 2020. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

On 10 February 2020 a seismic swarm was detected at 1027, followed by rapid deformation. At 1050, volcanic tremors were recorded, signaling the start of the eruption. Several fissures opened on the E flank of the Dolomieu Crater between the crater rim and at 2,000 m elevation, as observed by an overflight during 1300 and 1330. These fissures were at least 1 km long and produced lava fountains that rose up to 10 m high. Lava flows were also observed traveling E and S to 1,700 m elevation by 1315 (figures 197 and 198). The farthest flow traveled E to an elevation of 1,400 m. Satellite data from HOTVOLC platform (OPGC - University of Auvergne) was used to estimate the peak lava flow rate on 11 February at 10 m3/s. By 13 February only one lava flow that was traveling E below the Marco Crater remained active. OVPF also reported the formation of a cone, measuring 30 m tall, surrounded by three additional vents that produced lava fountains up to 15 m high. On 15 February the volcanic tremors began to decrease at 1400; by 16 February at 1412 the tremors stopped, indicating the end of the eruptive event.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 197. Photo of a lava flow and degassing at Piton de la Fournaise on 10 February 2020. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 198. Photos of the lava flows at Piton de la Fournaise taken during the February 2020 eruption by Richard Bouchet courtesy of AFP News Service.

Volcanism during the month of March 2020 consisted of low seismicity, including 21 shallow volcanic tremors and near the end of the month, edifice inflation was detected. A second eruptive event began on 2 April 2020, starting with an increase in seismicity during 0815-0851. Much of this seismicity was located on the SE part of the Dolomieu Crater. A fissure opened on the E flank, consistent with the fissures that were active during the February 2020 event. Seismicity continued to increase in intensity through 6 April located dominantly in the SE part of the Dolomieu Crater. An overflight on 5 April at 1030 showed lava fountains rising more than 50 m high accompanied by gas-and-steam plumes rising to 3-3.5 km altitude (figures 199 and 200). A lava flow advanced to an elevation of 360 m, roughly 2 km from the RN2 national road (figure 199). A significant amount of Pele’s hair and clusters of fine volcanic products were produced during the more intense phase of the eruption (5-6 April) and deposited at distances more than 10 km from the eruptive site (figure 201). It was also during this period that the SO2 emissions peaked (figure 196). The eruption stopped at 1330 after a sharp decrease in volcanic tremors.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 199. Photos of a lava flow (left) and lava fountains (right) at Piton de la Fournaise during the April 2020 eruption. Left: photo taken on 2 April 2020 at 1500. Right: photo taken on 5 April 2020 at 1030. Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, April 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 200. Photo of the lava fountains erupting from Piton de la Fournaise on 4 April 2020. Photo taken by Richard Bouchet courtesy of Geo Magazine via Jeannie Curtis.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 201. Photos of Pele’s hair deposited due to the April 2020 eruption at Piton de la Fournaise. Samples collected near the Gîte du volcan on 7 April 2020 (left) and a cluster of Pele’s hair found near the Foc-Foc car park on 9 April 2020 (right). Courtesy of OVPF-IPGP (Monthly bulletin of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, April 2020).

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); 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); GEO Magazine (AFP story at URL: https://www.geo.fr/environnement/la-reunion-fin-deruption-au-piton-de-la-fournaise-200397); AFP (URL: https://twitter.com/AFP/status/1227140765106622464, Twitter: @AFP, https://twitter.com/AFP); Jeannie Curtis (Twitter: @VolcanoJeannie, https://twitter.com/VolcanoJeannie).


Sabancaya (Peru) — June 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 with ash emissions, large SO2 flux, ongoing thermal anomalies, December 2019-May 2020

Although tephrochronology has dated activity at Sabancaya back several thousand years, renewed activity that began in 1986 was the first recorded in over 200 years. Intermittent activity since then has produced significant ashfall deposits, seismic unrest, and fumarolic emissions. A new period of explosive activity that began in November 2016 has been characterized by pulses of ash emissions with some plumes exceeding 10 km altitude, thermal anomalies, and significant SO2 plumes. Ash emissions and high levels of SO2 continued each week during December 2019-May 2020. The Observatorio Vulcanologico INGEMMET (OVI) reports weekly on numbers of daily explosions, ash plume heights and directions of drift, seismicity, and other activity. The Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) issued three or four daily reports of ongoing ash emissions at Sabancaya throughout the period.

The dome inside the summit crater continued to grow throughout this period, along with nearly constant ash, gas, and steam emissions; the average number of daily explosions ranged from 4 to 29. Ash and gas plume heights rose 1,800-3,800 m above the summit crater, and multiple communities around the volcano reported ashfall every month (table 6). Sulfur dioxide emissions were notably high and recorded daily with the TROPOMI satellite instrument (figure 75). Thermal activity declined during December 2019 from levels earlier in the year but remained steady and increased in both frequency and intensity during April and May 2020 (figure 76). Infrared satellite images indicated that the primary heat source throughout the period was from the dome inside the summit crater (figure 77).

Table 6. Persistent activity at Sabancaya during December 2019-May 2020 included multiple daily explosions with ash plumes that rose several kilometers above the summit and drifted in many directions; this resulted in ashfall in communities within 30 km of the volcano. Satellite instruments recorded SO2 emissions daily. Data courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET.

Month Avg. Daily Explosions by week Max plume Heights (m above crater) Plume drift (km) and direction Communities reporting ashfall Min Days with SO2 over 2 DU
Dec 2019 16, 13, 5, 5 2,600-3,800 20-30 NW Pinchollo, Madrigal, Lari, Maca, Achoma, Coporaque, Yanque, Chivay, Huambo, Cabanaconde 27
Jan 2020 10, 8, 11, 14, 4 1,800-3,400 30 km W, NW, SE, S Chivay, Yanque, Achoma 29
Feb 2020 8, 11, 20, 19 2,000-2,200 30 km SE, E, NE, W Huambo 29
Mar 2020 14, 22, 29, 18 2,000-3,000 30 km NE, W, NW, SW Madrigal, Lari, Pinchollo 30
Apr 2020 12, 12, 16, 13, 8 2,000-3,000 30 km SE, NW, E, S Pinchollo, Madrigal, Lari, Maca, Ichupampa, Yanque, Chivay, Coporaque, Achoma 27
May 2020 15, 14, 6, 16 1,800-2,400 30 km SW, SE, E, NE, W Chivay, Achoma, Maca, Lari, Madrigal, Pinchollo 27
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. Sulfur dioxide anomalies were captured daily from Sabancaya during December 2019-May 2020 by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite. Some of the largest SO2 plumes are shown here with dates listed in the information at the top of each image. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. Thermal activity at Sabancaya declined during December 2019 from levels earlier in the year but remained steady and increased slightly in frequency and intensity during April and May 2020, according to the MIROVA graph of Log Radiative Power from 23 June 2019 through May 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Sabancaya confirmed the frequent ash emissions and ongoing thermal activity from the dome inside the summit crater during December 2019-May 2020. Top row (left to right): On 6 December 2019 a large plume of steam and ash drifted N from the summit. On 16 December 2019 a thermal anomaly encircled the dome inside the summit caldera while gas and possible ash drifted NW. On 14 April 2020 a very similar pattern persisted inside the crater. Bottom row (left to right): On 19 April an ash plume was clearly visible above dense cloud cover. On 24 May the infrared glow around the dome remained strong; a diffuse plume drifted W. A large plume of ash and steam drifted SE from the summit on 29 May. Infrared images use Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a), other images use Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The average number of daily explosions during December 2019 decreased from a high of 16 the first week of the month to a low of five during the last week. Six pyroclastic flows occurred on 10 December (figure 78). Tremors were associated with gas-and-ash emissions for most of the month. Ashfall was reported in Pinchollo, Madrigal, Lari, Maca, Achoma, Coporaque, Yanque, and Chivay during the first week of the month, and in Huambo and Cabanaconde during the second week (figure 79). Inflation of the volcano was measured throughout the month. SO2 flux was measured by OVI as ranging from 2,500 to 4,300 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Multiple daily explosions at Sabancaya produced ash plumes that rose several kilometers above the summit. Left image is from 5 December and right image is from 11 December 2019. Note pyroclastic flows to the right of the crater on 11 December. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-49-2019/INGEMMET Semana del 2 al 8 de diciembre de 2019 and RSSAB-50-2019/INGEMMET Semana del 9 al 15 de diciembre de 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Communities to the N and W of Sabancaya recorded ashfall from the volcano the first week of December and also every month during December 2019-May 2020. The red zone is the area where access is prohibited (about a 12-km radius from the crater). Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-22-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 25 al 31 de mayo del 2020).

During January and February 2020 the number of daily explosions averaged 4-20. Ash plumes rose as high as 3.4 km above the summit (figure 80) and drifted up to 30 km in multiple directions. Ashfall was reported in Chivay, Yanque, and Achoma on 8 January, and in Huambo on 25 February. Sulfur dioxide flux ranged from a low of 1,200 t/d on 29 February to a high of 8,200 t/d on 28 January. Inflation of the edifice was measured during January; deformation changed to deflation in early February but then returned to inflation by the end of the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 80. Ash plumes rose from Sabancaya every day during January and February 2020. Left: 11 January. Right: 28 February. Courtesy of OVI (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-02-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 06 al 12 de enero del 2020 and RSSAB-09-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 24 de febrero al 01 de marzo del 2020).

Explosions continued during March and April 2020, averaging 8-29 per day. Explosions appeared to come from multiple vents on 11 March (figure 81). Ash plumes rose 3 km above the summit during the first week of March and again the first week of April; they were lower during the other weeks. Ashfall was reported in Madrigal, Lari, and Pinchollo on 27 March and 5 April. On 17 April ashfall was reported in Maca, Ichupampa, Yanque, Chivay, Coporaque, and Achoma. Sulfur dioxide flux ranged from 1,900 t/d on 5 March to 10,700 t/d on 30 March. Inflation at depth continued throughout March and April with 10 +/- 4 mm recorded between 21 and 26 April. Similar activity continued during May 2020; explosions averaged 6-16 per day (figure 82). Ashfall was reported on 6 May in Chivay, Achoma, Maca, Lari, Madrigal, and Pinchollo; heavy ashfall was reported in Achoma on 12 May. Additional ashfall was reported in Achoma, Maca, Madrigal, and Lari on 23 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 81. Explosions at Sabancaya on 11 March 2020 appeared to originate simultaneously from two different vents (left). The plume on 12 April was measured at about 2,500 m above the summit. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya, RSSAB-11-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 9 al 15 de marzo del 2020 and RSSAB-15-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 6 al 12 de abril del 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Explosions dense with ash continued during May 2020 at Sabancaya. On 11 and 29 May 2020 ash plumes rose from the summit and drifted as far as 30 km before dissipating. Courtesy of OVI-INGEMMET (Reporte Semanal de Monitorio de la Actividad de la Volcan Sabancaya , RSSAB-20-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 11 al 17 de mayo del 2020 and RSSAB-22-2020/INGEMMET Semana del 25 al 31 de mayo 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); 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); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Sheveluch (Russia) — May 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sheveluch

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava dome growth and thermal anomalies continue through April 2020, but few ash explosions

The eruption at Sheveluch has continued for more than 20 years, with strong explosions that have produced ash plumes, lava dome growth, hot avalanches, numerous thermal anomalies, and strong fumarolic activity (BGVN 44:05). During this time, there have been periods of greater or lesser activity. The most recent period of increased activity began in December 2018 and continued through October 2019 (BGVN 44:11). This report covers activity between November 2019 to April 2020, a period during which activity waned. The volcano is monitored by the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (KVERT) and Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

During the reporting period, KVERT noted that lava dome growth continued, accompanied by incandescence of the dome blocks and hot avalanches. Strong fumarolic activity was also present (figure 53). However, the overall eruption intensity waned. Ash plumes sometimes rose to 10 km altitude and drifted downwind over 600 km (table 14). The Aviation Color Code (ACC) remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale), except for 3 November when it was raised briefly to Red (the highest level).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Fumarolic activity of Sheveluch’s lava dome on 24 January 2020. Photo by Y. Demyanchuk; courtesy of KVERT.

Table 14. Explosions and ash plumes at Sheveluch during November 2019-April 2020. Dates and times are UTC, not local. Data courtesy of KVERT and the Tokyo VAAC.

Dates Plume Altitude (km) Drift Distance and Direction Remarks
01-08 Nov 2019 -- 640 km NW 3 November: ACC raised to Red from 0546-0718 UTC before returning to Orange.
08-15 Nov 2019 9-10 1,300 km ESE
17-27 Dec 2019 6.0-6.5 25 km E Explosions at about 23:50 UTC on 21 Dec.
20-27 Mar 2020 -- 45 km N 25 March: Gas-and-steam plume containing some ash.
03-10 Apr 2020 10 km 526 km SE 8 April: Strong explosion at 1910 UTC.
17-24 Apr 2020 -- 140 km NE Re-suspended ash plume.

KVERT reported thermal anomalies over the volcano every day, except for 25-26 January, when clouds obscured observations. During the reporting period, thermal anomalies, based on MODIS satellite instruments analyzed using the MODVOLC algorithm recorded hotspots on 10 days in November, 13 days in December, nine days in January, eight days in both February and March, and five days in April. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected numerous hotspots every month, almost all of which were of moderate radiative power (figure 54).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Thermal anomalies at Sheveluch continued at elevated levels during November 2019-April 2020, as seen on this MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph for July 2019-April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

High sulfur dioxide levels were occasionally recorded just above or in the close vicinity of Sheveluch by the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) aboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, but very little drift was observed.

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

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

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 17, Number 03 (March 1992)

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Aira (Japan)

Fewer explosions but stronger seismicity

Akutan (United States)

Small steam-and-ash emissions

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Lava flows continue to advance; Strombolian activity weakens

Etna (Italy)

Lava production continues from SE-flank vent; town threatened by lava flow

Galeras (Colombia)

Seismicity and SO2 release fluctuate; minor deformation

Hudson, Cerro (Chile)

Sulfur odors; increased river flow and turbidity; fine August 1991 ash remobilized

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Earthquakes in three epicentral zones; fumarolic activity

Kilauea (United States)

Continued lava production from East rift fissure vent

Kirishimayama (Japan)

Steam emission and weak seismicity

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Incandescent tephra ejection; new lava flow

Lascar (Chile)

New lava dome in central crater; fumarolic activity

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Continued production of small lava flows

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Vigorous Strombolian activity, strongest since 1987; small debris flows

Merapi (Indonesia)

Continued lava extrusion; small rockfalls and avalanche-generated pyroclastic flows

Negro, Cerro (Nicaragua)

Strong Strombolian eruption with heavy ashfall and 28,000 evacuated

Niijima (Japan)

Earthquake swarm but no surface changes evident

Pinatubo (Philippines)

Lahar triggers secondary explosion on NE flank

Poas (Costa Rica)

Small phreatic eruptions; acid rain and mist cause damage on flanks; continued seismicity

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Slight increase in seismicity

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

Small explosions and rumbling; earthquakes

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Small phreatic eruptions accompany rise in Crater Lake temperature

Spurr (United States)

Earthquake swarms but no indication of imminent eruption

Stromboli (Italy)

Less-frequent eruptive episodes

Turrialba (Costa Rica)

Continued low-frequency seismicity

Unzendake (Japan)

Lava extrusion persists; new dome follows increased seismicity; strong pyroclastic-flow activity

Vulcano (Italy)

Vigorous fumarolic activity

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand)

Continued vigorous explosive activity

Yellowstone (United States)

Strong new thermal activity



Aira (Japan) — March 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 stronger seismicity

Ten explosions were recorded . . . in March . . . . The month's highest ash cloud rose 1,900 m on 13 March. Seismicity was more vigorous than usual, with volcanic earthquake swarms recorded almost daily from 14 to 29 March, each lasting 4-5 hours.

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.


Akutan (United States) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Akutan

United States

54.134°N, 165.986°W; summit elev. 1303 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small steam-and-ash emissions

Small steam-and-ash emissions were observed periodically through mid-April, beginning at 1645 on 8 March, when a pilot flying near the volcano reported a small steam plume, possibly containing ash, that rose about 2 km above the summit. One hour later, only minor steaming was observed during a flight directly over the crater. A second flight at 1806 reported ash covering snow on the SW side of the crater. Minor steaming continued to be visible during flights at 1915 and 2006, rising to ~150 m. No activity was observed the following morning. Small steam and ash plumes, mostly <100 m high, were noted on 11-12 March.

Fishing vessels reported ashfall off Akutan Island on 22 March, following a pilot's report of a 4.3-km-high ash plume at 1637. No ashfall was reported 16 km NE, in Akutan village. A NOTAM was issued at 1224 on 24 March, prohibiting air traffic within 18 km of the volcano, up to 18 km altitude.

Activity was reported again on 7 April, when an Akutan village resident noted ash plumes rising 450-550 m above the volcano. Two days later, at 1000, a pilot reported an ash cloud at about 3-3.5 km altitude, drifting NW. A single lightning strike was recorded at the time of the eruption, by AVO's detection system.

Geologic Background. One of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian arc, Akutan contains 2-km-wide caldera with an active intracaldera cone. An older, largely buried caldera was formed during the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Two volcanic centers are located on the NW flank. Lava Peak is of Pleistocene age, and a cinder cone lower on the flank produced a lava flow in 1852 that extended the shoreline of the island and forms Lava Point. The 60-365 m deep younger caldera was formed during a major explosive eruption about 1600 years ago and contains at least three lakes. The currently active large cinder cone in the NE part of the caldera has been the source of frequent explosive eruptions with occasional lava effusion that blankets the caldera floor. A lava flow in 1978 traveled through a narrow breach in the north caldera rim almost to the coast. Fumaroles occur at the base of the caldera cinder cone, and hot springs are located NE of the caldera at the head of Hot Springs Bay valley and along the shores of Hot Springs Bay.

Information Contacts: AVO; FAA.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — March 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)


Lava flows continue to advance; Strombolian activity weakens

The two lava flows active in February continued to descend the W and WSW flanks in March (figures 45 and 46). The WSW-flank flow bifurcated, with one tongue advancing 50 m in early March to 730 m elevation, before stopping in mid-month. Near 1,100 m elevation, the W-flank flow also divided; one lobe advanced W down a valley, while the other diverged to the WSW, overflowing the September 1991-March 1992 flows (figure 46). The lava flow advanced an estimated 10-20 m daily on the upper slope, and 2-5 m daily on the gentler, lower slope. The most active, northern- and southern-most, lobes extended to 870 m and 830 m elevation, respectively, the first time in several years that lava had reached that elevation on the WSW flank.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Photograph of Arenal by G. Soto, showing its summit craters and active lava flows, 16 March 1992. Courtesy of ICE.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Map of late 1991-March 1992 lava flows at Arenal. Courtesy of ICE.

Strombolian activity continued at a significantly decreased rate and intensity, consisting primarily of sudden or rhythmic degassing events, with little or no pyroclastic ejection. In addition to intense fumarolic activity in Crater C (the active crater), intense steaming was observed between craters C and D (300 m E of Crater C).

Seismic activity was at moderate levels, with an average of 15 earthquakes recorded daily (at station FOR, 4 km E), and peaks on 4, 25, and 30 March. Increases in tremor were recorded on 11, 13, and 18 March.

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: G. Soto and R. Barquero, ICE; G. Alvarado, GEOMAR, Germany; M. Fernández, Univ de Costa Rica.


Etna (Italy) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava production continues from SE-flank vent; town threatened by lava flow

Most of the following is from R. Romano.

The fissure eruption ... was continuing in mid-April. Lava production from the main vent at 2,100 m altitude (in the W wall of the Valle del Bove) has remained almost constant, accompanied by degassing of varying intensity. By mid-April, 85 x 106 m3 of lava that had emerged at an average rate of 8 m3/s was estimated to cover an area of >7 km2.

From March through mid-April, lava from the main vent immediately entered a complex tube system, reappearing through ephemeral vents ~ 5 km downslope, below the Valle del Bove. The vents formed on the edge of the Salto della Giumenta, at the head of the Val Calanna a few kilometers from Zafferana Etnea, population ~ 7,000 (see figure 43). No ephemeral vents or lava overflows have been observed since the end of February in the wide lava field that had developed in the S part of the Valle del Bove.

On 14 March, lava reached the base of the barrier constructed in early January at the bottom of the Val Calanna. During the second half of March and the first few days of April, lava from the ephemeral vents gradually filled the area from the base of the Salto della Giumenta to the barrier. On 3 April, vents began to form within the Salto della Giumenta, feeding flows inside the Val Calanna. By the morning of 7 April, lava was only a few meters from the top of the barrier, with an active front along the barrier's entire length. That afternoon, lava flowed around the S side of the barrier and began to advance along the access road in the Val Calanna. The next afternoon, lava spilled over the central part of the barrier, and began to move down the gorge of the neighboring Portella Calanna valley. Lava advanced rapidly, aided by the steep slope, covering 1 km in 5 days. At least six earth barriers were built to contain the lava, but none were successful. By 14 April, lava was overflowing the last barrier, at ~ 780 m elevation, 1.5 km from the inhabited center of Zafferana Etnea and 7.5 km from the main vent.

Efforts were also made to slow or halt the advancing lava by disrupting the feeder tube system. Experiments with directed explosives, designed to blast holes in the lava field and encourage lava breakouts, began on 13 April in the upper Valle del Bove and Val Calanna. Lava destroyed two isolated houses above Zafferana on 14 April and covered nearby orchards, but the lobe threatening the town had virtually stopped by the next day and evacuation plans were postponed. New lava approached Zafferana over earlier flows in the succeeding days, and was again within a kilometer of the town by 20 April.

Degassing from the summit craters has gradually decreased following the collapse episode in Northeast Crater at the end of February (17:02). Additional Northeast Crater collapses 21-29 March triggered ash ejections accompanied by distinctive seismicity. Moderate gas emission from the summit vents observed by B. Behncke on 21 March was punctuated around 0900 by several low-energy ash emissions from Northeast Crater. At 1230 on 24 March, a dark-gray, convoluted ash plume rose to ~ 1 km above the summit within ~ 5 minutes, and also appeared to spread laterally at its base. The plume gradually dissipated during the following 30 minutes, depositing tephra to the E.

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: R. Romano, T. Caltabiano, and M. Porto, IIV; P. Carveni and M. Grasso, Univ di Catania; B. Behncke, GEOMAR, Kiel; Il Mattino, Napoli; AP; UPI; Reuters.


Galeras (Colombia) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity and SO2 release fluctuate; minor deformation

Seismic energy release and the number of long-period events fluctuated widely in March, similar to behavior in January-February. Tremor remained at low levels throughout the month. Eleven high-frequency earthquakes were recorded (M 1.2-2.2), centered primarily N and NE of the crater. Electronic tiltmeter measurements [at Crater Station] showed 21.8 µrad deflation in the N component, while measurements [at Peladitos Station] were essentially stable, with a slight tendency toward inflation (11 and 6 µrad for the two components). SO2 flux from the volcano was variable in March, ranging from 120 to ~2,500 t/d, but showed a general increase late in the month.

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

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


Cerro Hudson (Chile) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Cerro Hudson

Chile

45.9°S, 72.97°W; summit elev. 1905 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Sulfur odors; increased river flow and turbidity; fine August 1991 ash remobilized

Sulfurous odors were occasionally detected up to 90 km S and SE of the volcano, beginning 10 April and increasing to a peak at 1100 on 13 April. Residents of Murta (60 km SSE) and Puerto Tranquilo (80 km SSE) reported headaches and nausea at 1500. The Civil Aviation Administration confirmed the intense sulfur odor SE of the volcano, but direct observation of the summit on 13 April revealed no visible eruptive activity. At 1700 on 14 April, an abnormal increase in river flow volume and turbidity was reported from Puerto Ibáñez, 90 km SE. Geologists suggested that the observed phenomena were a result of increased thermal and fumarolic activity beneath the caldera glacier (10 km diameter), combined with the abnormally dry weather conditions.

In late March, aeolian re-suspension of ash from Hudson's August 1991 eruption continued in Argentinian Patagonia. The following is from a report by the Patagonian Volcanism Project.

At about 1030 on 30 March, the crew of flight TAN 404 (Malargue to Neuquen), noted a brown "dust veil" ~50 km S of Malargue, at ~ 6,000 m altitude. Finely dispersed, light-brown volcanic ash formed a well-defined layer ~100 m thick and 300 km wide that spanned the horizon. The layer was rather homogeneous and perfectly visible against the cloud-free blue sky, but once within it the layer was no longer evident. The pilot reported that the layer had not originated from nearby surface dust, but was the result of Hudson ash again being transported to high altitudes from Argentinian Patagonia following calm weather that had prevailed in late March.

The ash was not from a recent eruption, but was entirely due to reworking of volcanic ash in dry, windy Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. On 21 March, re-suspended ash was deposited in Comodoro Rivadavia, accompanying local precipitation and a drop in temperature. At that time, strong southerly winds in Southern Patagonia suspended the ash, which preferentially traveled N along Argentina's Atlantic coastline and the Andean foothills. Other atmospheric effects included lowering of the dust layer during cold morning conditions, followed by ascent during the day due to surface heating, and fiery-red to pink high-level clouds seen in Comodoro Rivadavia at dawn on 31 March.

Volcanic bombs from the Hudson area contain black streaks in highly vesicular lighter-colored pumice. However, microprobe data indicate that the clear and dark glasses have essentially identical high-K dacite compositions.

Geologic Background. The ice-filled, 10-km-wide caldera of the remote Cerro Hudson volcano was not recognized until its first 20th-century eruption in 1971. It is the southernmost volcano in the Chilean Andes related to subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the South American plate. The massive volcano covers an area of 300 km2. The compound caldera is drained through a breach on its NW rim, which has been the source of mudflows down the Río de Los Huemeles. Two cinder cones occur N of the volcano and others occupy the SW and SE flanks. This volcano has been the source of several major Holocene explosive eruptions. An eruption about 6700 years ago was one of the largest known in the southern Andes during the Holocene; another eruption about 3600 years ago also produced more than 10 km3 of tephra. An eruption in 1991 was Chile's second largest of the 20th century and formed a new 800-m-wide crater in the SW portion of the caldera.

Information Contacts: J. Naranjo, SERNAGEOMIN; P. Bitschene, A. Arizmendi, M. Fernández, N. Arias, and A. Nillni, Patagonian Volcanism Proyect, Argentina.


Irazu (Costa Rica) — March 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)


Earthquakes in three epicentral zones; fumarolic activity

Fumarolic activity continued in March. The crater lake's water level was several centimeters lower than in February, with an average temperature of 28°C and a pH of 3.7 on 2 April. The 141 earthquakes recorded in March (at station IRZ2, 5 km W of the crater), included M 2.0-2.5 events on 2, 15, and 21-22 March. The larger earthquakes were centered 6-7 km NW, 1.5 km SE, and 3 km NE of the crater, at 0-17 km depth. Low-frequency seismicity continued beneath the crater.

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, and V. Barboza, OVSICORI; G. Soto and R. Barquero, ICE; Guillermo Alvarado, GEOMAR, Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Germany; Mario Fernández, Sección de Sismología y Vulcanología, Escuela Centroamericana de Geología, Univ de Costa Rica.


Kilauea (United States) — March 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 vent

Episode 51 . . . began on the afternoon of 7 March, four days after an intrusion in the upper East rift marked the end of the previous episode. A new fissure vent developed on the W flank of Pu`u `O`o, directly upslope from the E-50 vent, and lava within Pu`u `O`o rose to within 55 m of the rim. Lava production apparently stopped at about 2100, but resumed by midnight. Fieldwork the next day revealed an active fissure 34 m long with a spatter rampart 6 m high. Lava ponded W of the vent, while channelized flows moved south and new lava briefly filled the E-50 aa channel.

Lava production stopped at least four times during the following weeks. Active periods that sometimes lasted little more than a day were separated by repose intervals of 16-67 hours. Summit tilt consistently showed slight inflation during repose periods. The E-51 vent built a small shield on the W flank of Pu`u `O`o. Most of the small braided lava streams that covered the shield were fed by a summit lava pond, on the uprift (W) side of the active fissure. Large flows advanced in all directions from the new vent, expanding the W and S margins of the E-50-51 lava field (figure 85). Some flows emerged from the vent without passing through the pond. These wrapped around the base of Pu`u `O`o. On 13 April, a large pahoehoe flow was moving south and was nearing a forested area.

The level of lava inside Pu`u `O`o fluctuated between 35 and 60 m below the spillway on the crater rim, sustaining frequent gas-piston events and vigorous spattering. The lava level apparently dropped during two of the repose periods, then rose with renewed activity at the E-51 vent. On 12 April, several lava overflows briefly covered the crater floor before lava again retreated deeper into the vent.

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) — March 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 and weak seismicity

Steam emission from Shinmoe-dake cone's summit crater . . . produced a continuous 100-200-m-high plume in March. Seismicity was at low levels, with a monthly total of 27 small earthquakes, similar to February . . . . Two weak tremor episodes were recorded on 6 and 17 March. Fine ash emissions . . . were not observed in March.

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) — March 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)


Incandescent tephra ejection; new lava flow

"Activity increased in March with Crater 3 becoming more active. Emissions from Crater 3 consisted of weak to moderate white-grey vapour and ash with occasional blue vapour. Weak to moderate explosion noises were frequently heard throughout the month. At night, weak to moderate red glow over the crater and occasional incandescent lava ejections were seen. A new lava flow on the cone's N flank began on 6 March and was still advancing at the end of the month. Emissions from Crater 2 consisted of low to moderate volumes of white-grey vapour and ash clouds. Thick black ash clouds were emitted towards the end of the month, resulting in ashfall on the SE side of the volcano. Rumbling and explosion noises associated with some of the emissions were heard throughout the month. Steady weak red crater glow was observed on clear nights, with incandescent lava ejections occurring on 21 and 22 March. Seismic activity was at a higher level than in January and February."

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

Information Contacts: I. Itikarai, P. de Saint-Ours, and C. McKee, RVO; ICAO.


Lascar (Chile) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Lascar

Chile

23.37°S, 67.73°W; summit elev. 5592 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New lava dome in central crater; fumarolic activity

Growth of a new dome and fumarolic activity were observed in the active central crater (800 m wide, 350 m deep) during 26 Feb-8 March observations. The new dome, at the base of the crater's S wall, had a fresh surface of black spines and an apparent diameter of <1/3 the size of the dome erupted in 1989 (~200 m). Estimation of its size and shape was difficult because of its position directly below the observation point. The dome was apparently in an early stage of extrusion, and local authorities were warned of the possibility of large explosions within the next few months, similar to those in September 1986 and February 1990.

Fumarolic activity and sulfur deposition occurred along ring fractures elsewhere in the crater, and a strong sulfur odor was noted on the volcano's N and S flanks. White steam emissions to 300-500 m above the rim were punctuated by sporadic vigorous pulses of alternating white and dark gray columns, which rose to 2,500 m. Gentle summer winds primarily carried the plumes SE, although plumes extending northward were commonly observed in the morning. Although activity was vigorous, the jet fumaroles seen in the crater during a previous dome-building episode in 1989 (14:11) were not evident in 1992. No night glow was observed nor was seismicity recorded during the February-March observation period. Although there is no current seismic monitoring in the area, visual observations continue from nearby villages.

Geologic Background. Láscar is the most active volcano of the northern Chilean Andes. The andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcano contains six overlapping summit craters. Prominent lava flows descend its NW flanks. An older, higher stratovolcano 5 km E, Volcán Aguas Calientes, displays a well-developed summit crater and a probable Holocene lava flow near its summit (de Silva and Francis, 1991). Láscar consists of two major edifices; activity began at the eastern volcano and then shifted to the western cone. The largest eruption took place about 26,500 years ago, and following the eruption of the Tumbres scoria flow about 9000 years ago, activity shifted back to the eastern edifice, where three overlapping craters were formed. Frequent small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the mid-19th century, along with periodic larger eruptions that produced ashfall hundreds of kilometers away. The largest historical eruption took place in 1993, producing pyroclastic flows to 8.5 km NW of the summit and ashfall in Buenos Aires.

Information Contacts: M. Gardeweg, SERNAGEOMIN, Santiago; S. Sparks and R. Thomas, Univ of Bristol; M. Murphy, Univ College, Dublin.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — March 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 production of small lava flows

Lava bubbled from a new vent (T20) [but see 17:6] in the center of the crater floor (figure 24) . . . on 12 March. A very recent lava flow (F33) extended from the new vent across the S depression, and was still cracking, suggesting that it had formed the previous day. The new vent was in roughly the same position as former vent T18 (observed in June-October 1991, but not in December 1991, perhaps after being covered by flow F32; 16:8 and 17:02), and may represent a renewal of activity from that vent. The largest of the remaining cones (T5/T9), estimated at 20 m high, had heat waves emanating from its vents. None of the other cones showed visible signs of activity

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Sketch map of the summit craters of Ol Doinyo Lengai, 12 March 1992. Prepared by M. Peterson, with modifications from C. Nyamweru. Sketch from an oblique airphoto taken 24 July 1992, looking N across Ol Doinyo Lengai's crater. Fresh lava is shown emerging from hornito T20. The former feature T11 is no longer visible. Courtesy of F. LeGuern.

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; M. Peterson, Arusha.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — March 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)


Vigorous Strombolian activity, strongest since 1987; small debris flows

"A build-up of activity at Southern Crater led to a series of brief phases of moderate-strong Strombolian activity starting on 23 March. Weak Strombolian eruptive activity started at Southern Crater on the evening of 29 February. Incandescent lava ejections were weak to moderate (up to 200 m above the crater), and intermittent (every few minutes or up to 6/minute) throughout the first 20 days of March. During the day, incandescence was not seen, but each burst produced a "puff" of brown ash-laden vapour that rose to between 500 and 1,000 m above the crater and produced fine ashfalls in coastal areas downwind. The ash consisted of ~45% black lithic material, 35% oxidized fragments, apparently from older rocks, and ~20% fresh-looking glass shards and crystals.

"The seismicity was at a moderate level, with 400-1,100 small, low-frequency events per day. Starting on 21 March, a definite build-up in seismicity (1,200-1,400 events/day of larger amplitude) was recorded in association with more forceful ash-laden ejections. Incandescent lava fragments rose to 500 m above the crater. The seismicity became sub-continuous in the afternoon of 23 March, moderately strong explosion sounds started to rattle the walls of Tabele Observatory . . . , and dark grey-brown ash clouds rose forcefully to 900-1,000 m above the crater. From 1615 to 2000 this crater produced sub-continuous emissions of incandescent scoriae to ~1,100 m above the crater rim, with flashing arcs a few seconds apart accompanying each explosion. Scoria avalanches descended into the upper SE and SW valleys, and ash and lapilli fell into coastal areas. The lapilli were as large as 3 cm in size and consisted of light, highly vesiculated, grey glassy pumices with ~5% crystals. The maximum thickness of the lapilli-ash deposit was ~0.5 cm. At the end of this eruptive phase, the seismicity dropped dramatically, but resumed six hours later when another similar phase of activity (of lesser intensity) started and continued for ~30 minutes.

"During the following week, a new pattern of activity was observed. Periods of sub-continuous Strombolian eruptions, with low frequency events in such close succession as to look like monochromatic tremor of fluctuating amplitude (lasting about an hour each) were separated by periods of irregular duration (0.5-22.75 hours) during which no emissions or night glow were seen over the crater and virtually no seismicity was recorded. Altogether there were 24 periods of sub-continuous Strombolian activity (counted from the periods of seismicity that characteristically accompanied them) between 23 and 30 March. Some of these active phases were followed by periods of intermittent, mild Strombolian activity lasting a few hours. After 30 March, the more usual pattern of regular Strombolian activity and seismicity (1,300-1,400 small events/day) resumed."

The crew of Qantas flight 59 reported a moderately dense black plume rising . . . to ~2.5 km altitude on 1 April at 1417. A NOTAM was issued several hours later. The observer at Manam reported sub-continuous ejection of thick gray-brown ash clouds to 400-500 m above the summit on 1 April, consistent with the aircraft report. Seismograms that day showed an even distribution of small volcanic earthquakes, not indicative of strong Strombolian activity.

"Aerial and ground inspections were conducted between 28 and 30 March. Southern Crater, which since at least 1975 has had an open funnel shape with a diameter of ~50 m, was bowl-shaped, clogged with agglutinated scoriae, and the active vent was only ~15 m wide and 8 m deep. There was no emission from the crater area between eruptions. The summit area was mantled with scoriae, but these deposits did not extend in any significant thickness lower than about the 1,000-m level, and no lava flows were produced. Only one small debris flow deposit was recognized in the SE valley; the flow descended a gully along its southern margin. Although the nose of the flow stopped at 950 m elev, a lighter hot cloud overriding it apparently continued to ~900 m elev, scorching vegetation. Other small debris flows may have contributed to the apron of pyroclastic debris on the upper part of the SE valley. A few small debris flows would have, similarly, cascaded down the steep rock face at the head of the SW valley and come to a stop in its amphitheatre, at ~900 m elev.

"Throughout March (and since April 1991), Main Crater was totally inactive, and its floor covered with debris eroded from the crater walls. Tilt recordings showed no significant change throughout the month, although 3 µrad of radial inflation were recorded at Tabele in the 3.5 months preceding the onset of the eruption. In late March, two short leveling lines (~500 m long) were laid out radially to the volcano on the lower E and NW flanks for further ground deformation monitoring in the upcoming months.

"The previous most significant activity from Manam occurred in June 1987. On 30 June, after a period of ~1.5 months of mild Strombolian activity, an intense Strombolian eruptive phase (of similar character to the latest activity) produced numerous scoria flows into the SE and SW valleys down to ~300 m elev. This phase also produced a short viscous basaltic lava flow, lapilli, and ashfalls that caused some damage to subsistence gardening areas near the coast (between 4 and 5 km radial distance from the crater). In comparison, the latest eruption was of lesser magnitude. It produced less than half the amount of material (<2-5 x 106 m3) and no significant damage to gardens or inhabited areas."

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

Information Contacts: I. Itikarai, P. de Saint-Ours, and C. McKee, RVO; ICAO.


Merapi (Indonesia) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued lava extrusion; small rockfalls and avalanche-generated pyroclastic flows

Glowing rockfalls continued from Merapi's 1992 dome. They were channeled into the headwaters of rivers on the NW (Senowo), W (Putih), and SW (Bebeng) flanks, extending 300-2,000 m from the dome. The number of rockfalls and multiphase earthquakes generally decreased after late February, although they still dominated seismic records (figure 5). Occasional avalanche-generated pyroclastic flows remained relatively small and traveled a maximum of 2,000 m downslope. The plume was low (to 550 m height), relatively thin, and white. The average SO2 flux measured by COSPEC (figure 6) was 324 t/d through mid-April, with individual measurements ranging from 32 to 419 t/d, the highest on 2 April. As of mid-April, Merapi remained at a Level-1 Alert (see 17:2 for details of the alert system), with summit climbs by the public prohibited.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Merapi's daily number of glowing rockfalls, multiphase earthquakes, and pyroclastic flow events, with amplitudes x durations of glowing rockfalls, January-April 1992. Courtesy of MVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Daily average SO2 flux measured by COSPEC at Merapi, December 1991-early April 1992. Courtesy of MVO.

[1988 and 1990-91 seismicity and deformation data were moved to follow 15:7]

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

Information Contacts: B. Voight, Pennsylvania State Univ.


Cerro Negro (Nicaragua) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Cerro Negro

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong Strombolian eruption with heavy ashfall and 28,000 evacuated

Violent Strombolian activity occurred at the volcano on 9-12 April, and resumed at lower intensity on 13-14 April. Heavy ashfall forced the evacuation of 28,000 people [but see BGVN 17:04] from nearby towns and from parts of León (18 km WSW; figure 3), the second-largest city in Nicaragua, between 10 and 12 April. No fatalities directly related to the eruption were reported, although there were two accidental deaths during the evacuation. The volcano was quiet as of 20 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Map showing locations of Cerro Negro and neighboring volcanoes, with nearby cities and towns affected by the eruption. Contour interval, 200 m. Based on sheet ND16-15 (Managua), U.S. Defense Mapping Agency series 1501, Joint Operations Graphic (Ground).

9-12 April 1992. No instrumental seismic data were available before the eruption, but 5 earthquakes were felt in villages within 5 km of the volcano at about 2300 on 9 April, signalling the onset of activity. The first explosion occurred at 2320, and was quickly followed by the eruption of incandescent material with the development of a large ash cloud. The initial eruption plume rose an estimated 4000 m above the cone, and contained material up to bomb-size.

The ash cloud was visible on weather-satellite images beginning at 0000 on 10 April, and by 0530, the cloud extended 300 km to the WSW (264° azimuth), with a maximum width of about 200 km, at an estimated initial altitude of 6 km. Both ground and satellite observations indicated that the eruption was vigorous and nearly continuous. The eruption column, clearly visible from Managua (60 km SE) much of the time, was estimated from the ground to be approximately 7 km high. Satellite images showed that the plume extended 400 km W on 11-12 April. Material ejected to about 7.5 km during more energetic pulses of the eruption was carried roughly 50 km NE by higher-altitude winds. SO2 plumes that are significantly below the tropopause (roughly 16 km at this latitude) are difficult to detect with NASA's Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer, and none were evident during the Cerro Negro eruption.

Ash began falling in León within 1 hour of the onset of activity, and formed deposits up to 4 cm thick by 1700 the next day. Very fine ashfall was reported as far away as the Pacific Coast (50 km W, in Corinto). Late on 10 April, the wind direction changed from WSW to W and ash accumulations were recognized in Telica (16 km W). That evening, 15 houses and several other structures, including a few large storage buildings, collapsed in León and surrounding areas. Collapses of numerous farm buildings, rural homes, and school buildings were reported over the next several days.

Ashfall continued W of the volcano, with accumulations of 2.5 cm of ash in Telica, 1.5 cm in Quezalguaque (20 km W), and 0.1 cm in Chinandega (50 km WNW) by 12 April. A change in wind direction to the SW during the night of 11 April caused the first ashfall S of León. That evening, incandescent material was observed consistently rising 300 m above the crater. Activity continued the following day, but was intermittent and less vigorous, finally ceasing at about 1800 on 12 April. During the 9-12 April activity, the crater diameter increased from approximately 100 m to 300-400 m.

13-14 April 1992. Only very light fumarolic activity was observed in the crater, and the volcano was otherwise quiet until explosions reportedly resumed around 2200-2300 on 13 April. An infrared satellite image at 2300 showed an already developed eruption cloud, which extended to about 350 km SSW by 0700 on 14 April. Remnants of the ash cloud produced by the more violent 9-12 April eruption were still evident 500 km W of the volcano on satellite images at 0800. Strombolian activity on 13-14 April ejected bombs to about 300 m height and produced a light ash cloud about 3.5 km high, but the interval between explosions (5 seconds early on 14 April), and their intensity, decreased throughout the day. The maximum recorded rate of ashfall in León, 2.4 gm/m2/minute, was measured at 1000. Although the plume appeared to be disconnected from the volcano on a satellite image at 1200, ground observations indicated that the eruption continued at lesser intensity until about 1730. Only light fumarolic activity was observed the following day.

Deposit thicknesses were 1 m, 1.2 km W; 15 cm, 13 km WSW; 5 cm, 20 km WSW; and 1 cm, 39 km WSW of the volcano. Rough calculations based on preliminary isopach mapping by INETER suggest a total erupted volume of approximately 0.03 km3 DRE.

Seismicity. Seismic stations were installed around the volcano on 10-11 April. During 10-12 April, low-frequency, low-amplitude seismic tremor was nearly continuous. Some B-type earthquakes were also recorded. The tremor rate declined on 12 April and tremor ceased on 13 April.

Several A-type events were recorded in the hours before the renewed eruption on 13 April. Tremor accompanied the eruption, and ceased at the end of explosive activity. Seismic data collected on 13-15 April (figure 4) show a very rapid rate of increase in seismic energy release immediately prior to the resumption of the eruption on the 13th, nearly steady-state energy release for the duration of the eruption, and a very rapid decrease to background levels following cessation of activity on the evening of the 14th. Geologists suggest that these data support the existence of a relatively open conduit that rapidly delivers magma from depth, and the current lack of any voluminous magma body close to the surface. On 17 April, 40 earthquakes were recorded near the volcano, a significant increase from seismicity on 15-16 April.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurements (RSAM) at Cerro Negro, 13-15 April 1992. Courtesy of C. Connor.

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

Information Contacts: Claudio Gutiérrez (Director); Helman Taleno L., Fabio Segura M., Martha Navarro C., Oscar Urbina L., and Wilfried Strauch, INETER, Aptdo. 2110, Managua, Nicaragua; Patricio Jerez, IRENA, Kilómetro 12, Carretera Norte, Managua, Nicaragua; C.B. Connor, FIU, Miami; J. Lynch, Thomas Baldwin, and Charles Kadin, SAB; S. Doiron, NASA GSFC; Deborah Jerez, 9808 Natick Rd., Burke, VA 22015 USA.


Niijima (Japan) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Niijima

Japan

34.397°N, 139.27°E; summit elev. 432 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquake swarm but no surface changes evident

A seismic swarm recorded between 0200 and 0400 on 19 March consisted of 10 earthquakes beneath and around the island (figure 3). Several of the events were felt by island residents, the largest, M 2.5, at 0349. No surface anomalies were observed.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Epicenter map of earthquakes near Nii-jima, 19 March 1992. Courtesy of JMA.

Geologic Background. The elongated island of Niijima, SSW of Oshima, is 11 km long and only 2.5 km wide. It is comprised of eight low rhyolitic lava domes that are clustered in two groups at the northern and southern ends of the island, separated by a low, flat isthmus. The flat-topped domes give the island the appearance of two large plateaus bounded by steep cliffs. The Mukaiyama complex at the southern end of the island and Achiyama lava dome at the northern end were formed during Niijima's only historical eruptions in the 9th century CE. Shikineyama and Zinaito domes form small islands immediately to the SW and west, respectively, during earlier stages of volcanism. Earthquake swarms occurred during the 20th century.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Pinatubo (Philippines) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Pinatubo

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lahar triggers secondary explosion on NE flank

On 4 April, rainfall triggered a lahar in a NE-flank drainage (Sacobia). The lahar disrupted a portion of the extensive June 1991 pyroclastic-flow deposits, producing a secondary explosion and reportedly a secondary pyroclastic flow. The press described an ash cloud that rose about 1,200 m, and darkened the Angeles area (25 km E of the summit). The lahar also destroyed two sabo dams that were being constructed to reduce future mudflow damage downslope, but no casualties or additional property damage were reported.

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; Reuters.


Poas (Costa Rica) — March 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)


Small phreatic eruptions; acid rain and mist cause damage on flanks; continued seismicity

Small phreatic explosions, observed in the crater lake in February, were concentrated in March at mud pots exposed by the continued decline in lake water level. Lake temperature measurements oscillated between 65 and 75°C. Gas emission continued, producing plumes that rose to >1 km and extended W and SW. Residents on the W and SW flanks reported that acid rain and mist affected vision, caused skin rashes, and damaged agricultural areas. On average, 237 earthquakes were recorded daily in March (at station POA2, 2.7 km SW of the crater), with a maximum of 398 on 4 March. A M 2.5 earthquake was recorded at 0652 on 3 March, centered 3.5 W of the crater at 7 km depth.

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, and V. Barboza, OVSICORI.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — March 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)


Slight increase in seismicity

"Seismic activity increased slightly in March. The month's total number of caldera earthquakes was 267 . . .. The maximum daily count was 72, recorded on 7 March. None of the events was large enough to be felt. The strongest earthquake for the month was a ML 2.7 event recorded on 12 March."

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: I. Itakarai, P. de Saint-Ours, and C. McKee, RVO; ICAO.


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — March 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)


Small explosions and rumbling; earthquakes

Rumbling and small explosions were reported on several occasions in March. Portable seismometers at Proyecto Geotérmico Miravalles (35 km SE of the active crater) recorded small earthquakes, possibly associated with explosions, on 13-16, 20, and 26 March. A maximum of five events was recorded, on 16 March.

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 that was 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 1916-m-high 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 3500 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: G. Soto and R. Barquero, ICE; Guillermo Alvarado, GEOMAR, Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Germany; Mario Fernández, Univ. de Costa Rica.


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — March 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)


Small phreatic eruptions accompany rise in Crater Lake temperature

Increased thermal activity began in early January, peaked around 23-26 February, and concluded about 8 March. Several minor phreatic eruptions were observed beginning on 8 February, including several since 11 February fieldwork. Steam clouds were observed over Crater Lake at 1500-1600 on 12 February by Dept of Conservation staff. On 18 February, airplane pilots (Darren Kirkland and Ross Bateup) reported a phreatic eruption generating a steam column and waves 0.6-0.9 m high at around 1100, and two large "bubbles" and a pulse of steam at 1822. During a visit on 20 February, Dr. Ockens (Univ of Sydney) heard an airplane engine-like noise, followed by steam emission from the lake and a sulfur odor. Kirkland observed an eruption that produced large waves at 1200 on 23 February, and after a week of relative quiet, reported the lake to be vigorously active at 1600-1800 on 6 March, producing dense steam clouds and large waves. Steam clouds were noted rising from the lake that day at about 1330, by Roger Smith (from near the lake shore) and Keith McKenzie (from a helicopter, at a distance). Smith also reported the appearance of sulfurous, yellow-green patches in the lake.

During fieldwork on 24 March, Crater Lake appeared pale gray, with upwelling (three or four cells) and yellow slicks over the N vent area. New snow was visible at the water's edge and there was no evidence of recent activity. The temperature data logger recorded a peak of 47°C on 23 and 26 February, then temperature fell, plateauing briefly at ~44°C on 2-8 March, and reaching 31.5°C (direct measurement) on 24 March (figure 12). Water analyses indicated no significant changes in Mg or Cl concentrations during the February-March activity.

EDM measurements showed moderate inflation associated with the February/March activity. Seismicity has remained at background levels since 11 February, with low-level volcanic tremor or small volcanic earthquakes recorded on most days. No signals related to reported activity were seen. Geologists noted that the February/March activity was similar to the minor events that occurred every 5-10 months between 1985 and January 1990.

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.


Spurr (United States) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Spurr

United States

61.299°N, 152.251°W; summit elev. 3374 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Earthquake swarms but no indication of imminent eruption

In January-February 1992, seismic activity was at the highest levels since the start of monitoring in 1980, although there is no indication that an eruption is imminent. This activity followed a significant increase in August 1991, when earthquakes began to occur beneath Crater Peak, a region that had been almost quiescent since monitoring began (figures 1 and 2). During January-July 1991, within a 10-km radius of the volcano, an average of 2 earthquakes (M>0) were recorded every 10 days. This average increased to 7 earthquakes/10 days in August-November 1991, and again to 20 earthquakes/10 days in December 1991-February 1992. Most of the earthquakes had magnitudes <1 and depths <5 km. Since November 1991, the majority of the earthquakes have been centered beneath the main summit and Crater Peak, with a zone of lesser activity 5 km N of the main summit.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Map of earthquake epicenters near Spurr, 1981-August 1991. Filled rectangles labeled with 3-letter codes mark nearby seismic stations. Printed by permission of the Scientist-in-Charge, Alaska Volcano Observatory.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Time vs. distance plot of hypocenters at Spurr, 1981-August 1991. Distance is measured by projecting events on a N-S line in figure 1. The number of seismic stations operating in the Spurr area is shown along the top. Hypocenters for the 1989 swarm could not be determined as only two stations were operating at the time. Printed by permission of the Scientist-in-Charge, Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Seismicity at Spurr has been characterized by large fluctuations in the number of events. Large earthquake swarms were recorded in early 1982 (>140 events recorded) and in early 1989 (not shown in figure 2), both centered 3 km N of the main summit. Normal seismicity has tended to concentrate beneath the main summit.

On 9 July 1953, a brief explosive eruption from Crater Peak produced a 21-km-high plume that dropped ash in Anchorage (120 km E). A mudflow blocked the Chakachatna River (S flank), forming a lake 8 km long.

Reference. Nye, C.J., and Turner, D.L., 1990, Petrology, geochemistry, and age of the Spurr Volcanic Complex, eastern Aleutian Arc: BV, v. 52, p. 205-226.

Geologic Background. The summit of Mount Spurr, the highest volcano of the Aleutian arc, is a large lava dome constructed at the center of a roughly 5-km-wide horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the south. The volcano lies 130 km W of Anchorage and NE of Chakachamna Lake. The caldera was formed by a late-Pleistocene or early Holocene debris avalanche and associated pyroclastic flows that destroyed an ancestral edifice. The debris avalanche traveled more than 25 km SE, and the resulting deposit contains blocks as large as 100 m in diameter. Several ice-carved post-caldera cones or lava domes lie in the center of the caldera. The youngest vent, Crater Peak, formed at the breached southern end of the caldera and has been the source of about 40 identified Holocene tephra layers. Eruptions from Crater Peak in 1953 and 1992 deposited ash on the city of Anchorage.

Information Contacts: AVO.


Stromboli (Italy) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Less-frequent eruptive episodes

Visitors ... in mid-March reported that activity was at a low level, with only a few eruptive episodes an hour. Despite frequent heavy rains, no dark, ash-laden phreatomagmatic eruption plumes were observed. When viewed from a ferryboat for about an hour during the morning of 18 March, the volcano erupted only once, shortly after 0730, otherwise emitting only a gas plume.

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

Information Contacts: B. Behncke, GEOMAR, Kiel.


Turrialba (Costa Rica) — March 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 low-frequency seismicity

Low-frequency seismicity continued at levels similar to February. An average of 1-2 events were recorded daily (at station VTU, 0.5 km E of the crater), with a maximum of four events on 6 March.

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, and V. Barboza, OVSICORI.


Unzendake (Japan) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Unzendake

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava extrusion persists; new dome follows increased seismicity; strong pyroclastic-flow activity

Lava extrusion . . . was continuing in mid-April 1992. Dome 5 . . . swelled by intrusion, pushing the N half of dome 4 eastward, while dome 6 (formed 3 December 1991) thickened by new surface flows (figure 41). The length of dome 6 did not increase significantly, and the complex "petal" surface structures remained close to the vent, now the highest point in the dome complex. Increased seismicity in early April preceded the extrusion of a new dome (7), which was growing rapidly at mid-month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sketch of the dome complex at Unzen, 12 April 1992. Individual domes are numbered. Courtesy of Setsuya Nakada.

Frequent partial collapse of the front and sides of dome 6, and rarely the E and NE side of dome 5, generated pyroclastic flows that descended SE (toward the Akamatsu River) and sometimes ESE (along the Mizunashi River). During March, 504 pyroclastic flows were seismically recorded, up from 344 in February. The SE slope of the Akamatsu Valley was almost filled by block-and-ash-flow deposits by early April. A large pyroclastic flow, generated by collapse of large blocks between domes 5 and 6 on 1 April, traveled 3 km down the Mizunashi River, reaching the evacuated town of Kita-Kamikoba (where 43 people were killed by the 3 June 1991 flows). The 1 April block-and-ash-flow deposit was thinner, and its ash-cloud surge deposit was thinner and distributed over a much smaller area than those from the 3 June 1991 flows. The 1 April pyroclastic flow was the largest since the 15 September 1991 flows, whose deposit surface and lava blocks continued to steam as of early April. Small pit craters (to 30 cm diameter) were visible on the surface of the September 1991 deposit.

Heavy rainfall triggered three large debris flows in March. The 1 March debris 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. At 1000 on 15 March, 30 mm/hour of rainfall triggered a debris flow of similar size and route. Both highways were crossed, and a 140-m section of the railway was buried by 0.3 m of mud, remaining closed until 14 April. A smaller debris flow occurred along the same route on the morning of 23 March, burying a 30-m section of Route 251. Roughly 7,600 people remained evacuated as of mid-April.

During March, 5,663 earthquakes were recorded on the dome complex, down slightly from 6423 in February. Seismicity declined through mid-March, increased to the highest level of the eruption, and then declined again at the end of the month. The number of earthquakes increased during the first few days of April, before declining once more on 6 April, as a new dome (7) began to emerge. The new dome had grown to 100 x 150 m by 12 April (figure 41).

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.


Vulcano (Italy) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Vulcano

Italy

38.404°N, 14.962°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Vigorous fumarolic activity

Vigorous fumarolic activity was continuing from the N rim of the historically active crater (Fossa Grande) and from thermal areas on the upper N flank during a visit on the afternoon of 18 March. Most of the fumaroles were concentrated along the N crater rim, inside the N part of the crater, and on the N flank of the wall of tephra built during Vulcano's last eruption, in 1888-90. The main fumarole field appears to have extended a short distance to the E along the N crater rim, where new vents had formed since Behncke's last visit in November 1990. A new linear zone of high-pressure gas emission has developed roughly parallel to the large fissure that formed after 1988 on the N crater wall. Fumarolic activity from scattered vents on the upper N flank seemed to have increased since November 1990, and a less-prominent thermal area on the outer SE flank included at least 7 weak fumarolic vents.

Intense hydrothermal alteration and erosional undercutting have occurred on the upper N flank, around the S rim of the 18th-century Forgia Vecchia craters. Extension cracks have appeared within a few meters of the steep N slope, and deep gullies extend toward the coastal town of Porto di Levante.

Geologic Background. The word volcano is derived from Vulcano stratovolcano in Italy's Aeolian Islands. Vulcano was constructed during six stages during the past 136,000 years. Two overlapping calderas, the 2.5-km-wide Caldera del Piano on the SE and the 4-km-wide Caldera della Fossa on the NW, were formed at about 100,000 and 24,000-15,000 years ago, respectively, and volcanism has migrated to the north over time. La Fossa cone, active throughout the Holocene and the location of most of the historical eruptions, occupies the 3-km-wide Caldera della Fossa at the NW end of the elongated 3 x 7 km island. The Vulcanello lava platform forms a low, roughly circular peninsula on the northern tip of Vulcano that was formed as an island beginning in 183 BCE and was connected to Vulcano in about 1550 CE. Vulcanello is capped by three pyroclastic cones and was active intermittently until the 16th century. The latest eruption from Vulcano consisted of explosive activity from the Fossa cone from 1898 to 1900.

Information Contacts: B. Behncke, GEOMAR, Kiel.


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — March 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)


Continued vigorous explosive activity

Explosive activity continued through early March from Wade and TV1 Craters.... Distinct emissions of gray and reddish ash were observed during regular visits to the island and from nearby fishing vessels. A larger event on 20 February produced a tall plume (estimates ranged up to 5,000 m) and ejected blocks and juvenile bombs. Numerous E-type seismic signals were recorded through mid-Mar.

Observations. On 3 February, R. Fleming (Waimana Helicopters) noted gray ash, not present during a 1 February visit, covering the W and SW walls of the main crater. Two eruption columns were reported the next day, the first at 0740 by R. Pollack (MV Pursuit), and a stronger one at 1318 by V. Froude (Dept of Conservation; MV Takapu). Froude observed another eruption column at 0737 on 5 February. TV1 Crater was the source of a light gray ash cloud, 50-100 m high, during an island visit at 1040-1730 on 7 February. Ash again emerged from TV1 during a 12 February visit. Light pink-brown ash emission began at about 1229, and increased slightly during the afternoon. The next day, Fleming reported the emission of red ash from TV1 (at 1530). Strong red ash emissions were reported at 1900-2000 by John Baker (MV Ma Cherie). Wade Crater, inactive earlier in the month, erupted light pink-red ash during a 17 February visit (1030-1546), while TV1 emitted only white steam.

The eruption on 20 February began abruptly at about 1004 without any visible precursors. The initial dark eruptive pulse rose rapidly from TV1 Crater, accompanied by an uprushing noise. Ballistics, white lithic blocks, and dark (not visibly incandescent) juvenile bombs, were ejected to 400-500 m height. Another 3-5 more-dilute, block-free pulses of activity occurred over the next 5 minutes, feeding a high convective plume that traveled SSE. By 1010, several observers along the Bay of Plenty coast had seen the eruption cloud, estimating heights of 1,600-5,000 m. R. Martin and M. Stringfellow (Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff) measured elevation angles of 4.8-5°, yielding column heights of 4,200-4,300 m. Fleming estimated that the initial eruptive pulse rose 1,700-1,800 m before expanding. By 1020, activity had decreased to an ash-free, very weakly convoluting, low eruptive plume. High levels of steam and gas emission continued for 1.5 hours after the explosion, before a dramatic decrease in mid-afternoon.

Voluminous light-brown ash emissions completely obscured the main crater during an afternoon visit on 27 February. On 1 March, thick dark ash emissions were reported by Pollack at 0847. Wade Crater erupted a cloud of pink/brown ash 500-700 m high while TV1 emitted white steam, during a visit at 1125-1515 on 3 March. Nearly continuous ashfall occurred E of the crater. Maximum particle sizes were ~1 mm. Occasional roaring and thumping noises were heard. Fumarole temperatures ranged to >300°C, and analyses of gas samples showed high gas/water ratios, with one sample yielding a strong magmatic signature. The floor of May 91 Crater was nearly flat, reaching 30-35 m below its SE rim. During a 5 March visit at 1020-1605, Wade emitted a weak ash-tinged plume and conspicuously blue fume, accompanied by loud, pulsating degassing noises. Dense ash-free steam from TV1 often obscured half of the 1978/90 Crater Complex. No ash was observed during a 10 March visit, although a steam plume rose to 300-400 m.

Seismicity. B-type seismicity increased from 5-6 events recorded daily 18-24 January to >15/day 1-5 February, while the daily number of recorded A-type earthquakes remained at 2-4. Medium-frequency volcanic tremor began on 6 February. B-type earthquakes declined sharply in number, and were absent from records on 12-17 February. Volcanic tremor amplitude increased after 11 February to a peak on 16 February, coinciding with an 11-hour period (15-16 February) when 4-6 microearthquakes were recorded per minute. Tremor, predominantly medium-frequency (4-7 Hz) with occasional lower frequency signals lasting 1-5 hours, declined to background levels by 21 February. The level of seismic activity remained similar (0-6 A-type and 0-5 B-type events daily) through 3 March, when a swarm of >40 B-type events was recorded.

E-type (eruption) events were recorded every several days during late January-early February [six from 30 January-4 February], were rare in mid-February [one on 14 February], then occurred almost daily from late February through mid-March [20 from 20 February-15 March, with seven on 29 February]. The event that accompanied the production of the large ash-laden column on 20 February was similar to, but larger than, the 17 January seismic event. Of the two predominant varieties of E-type signals during this period, the more common had a low-frequency onset followed by a high-frequency coda; the other was dominantly high-frequency and had a more impulsive onset.

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.


Yellowstone (United States) — March 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Yellowstone

United States

44.43°N, 110.67°W; summit elev. 2805 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strong new thermal activity

In 1985, a new superheated fumarole formed on the upper E margin of the Mushpots thermal area, which lies on the E side of the caldera associated with the youngest of Yellowstone's three cycles of voluminous rhyolitic volcanism, 0.6 million years ago. The presence of vegetation and the limited extent of bare thermal ground indicated that heat flow near the site of the new fumarole had been moderate to low for at least the previous 15 years. Interviews with park personnel strongly suggested that activity began about 3 July 1985. The steam cloud from the vent may have inspired a false report of smoke from the area, but the vent was not discovered until 5 October 1986, during fieldwork by C. Craig-Hunter and Roderick Hutchinson. At that time, the fumarole's transparent dry-steam jet was directed upslope N35°W at an approximate angle of 21°. A small, reddish-brown, iron-stained cone of hydrothermally altered sand-sized material had grown ~ 0.5 m above the uphill side of the rectangular 1.35 x 1.9-m vent, which dipped at an angle under the lower S rim. Just below the fumarole, on the floor of an old thermal zone, were numerous new or recently enlarged, small, steaming, thermal and mud pot vents, covering an area ~ 10 m in diameter. Sulfate and/or yellow elemental sulfur deposits covered most of the area and nearby slopes to the W, SW, and NW. A second area of new or rejuvenated thermal vents was also discovered in the drainage to the south.

Many trees had been killed in line with the fumarole's directed plume and around the margins of the old thermal zone. Mature trees as much as 87 cm in diameter were snapped off at ground level or uprooted, and tops were broken on other trees 40 m from the rim of the old thermal zone (54 m from the fumarole). A narrow zone of hydrothermally altered white chips of glacial till was found among the toppled trees up to 40 m from the thermal zone rim. These ejecta were 6 cm deep on the rim in 1986.

Geologists returned on 12 February 1987, after a nearby Univ of Utah seismograph . . . detected an isolated episode resembling volcanic tremor. The fumarole's temperature had increased (figure 1) and more elemental sulfur and iron sulfates had been deposited in the old thermal zone, but no other changes were evident. Since then, a biannual survey has been conducted in the area.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Temperatures measured at Mushpot Fumarole, Yellowstone National Park, 5 October 1986-28 March 1992. Courtesy of R. Hutchinson.

During fieldwork on 28 March 1992, a quiet cloud of wet, 93°C vapor filled the 1985 fumarole's vent. However, less than 30 m downslope (S), on the E margin of the old thermal zone's floor, the ground was shaking violently with the formation and growth of a new mud pot. Bursts of thick, viscous mud were typically doming to 2 m and occasionally to 5 m in diameter before exploding to 3-6 m height. Each explosion shook the ground in all directions. Branches of thermally killed trees shook 50 m away, the ground was visibly moving 8-10 m from the rim, and within 4 m of the rim was behaving like pudding, with violent shaking causing surface oscillations of 1-2 cm. During 90 minutes of observations, the surface area of the mud pot increased by ~ 50%, to an estimated 11 x 7 m. It had a depth of at least 2 m. The minimal amount of ejected mud surrounding the crater and the intense shaking suggested that development of the mud pot had begun within the last 24 hours.

Geologic Background. The Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field developed through three volcanic cycles spanning two million years that included some of the world's largest known eruptions. Eruption of the over 2450 km3 Huckleberry Ridge Tuff about 2.1 million years ago created the more than 75-km-long Island Park caldera. The second cycle concluded with the eruption of the Mesa Falls Tuff around 1.3 million years ago, forming the 16-km-wide Henrys Fork caldera at the western end of the first caldera. Activity subsequently shifted to the present Yellowstone Plateau and culminated 640,000 years ago with the eruption of the over 1000 km3 Lava Creek Tuff and the formation of the present 45 x 85 km caldera. Resurgent doming subsequently occurred at both the NE and SW sides of the caldera and voluminous (1000 km3) intracaldera rhyolitic lava flows were erupted between 150,000 and 70,000 years ago. No magmatic eruptions have occurred since the late Pleistocene, but large hydrothermal eruptions took place near Yellowstone Lake during the Holocene. Yellowstone is presently the site of one of the world's largest hydrothermal systems including Earth's largest concentration of geysers.

Information Contacts: Roderick A. Hutchinson, Yellowstone National Park.

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