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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

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

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

Recently Published Bulletin Reports

Sangay (Ecuador) Daily ash plumes and frequent pyroclastic flows produce ashfall and lahars, January-June 2020

Karangetang (Indonesia) Incandescent block avalanches through mid-January 2020; crater anomalies through May

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake level drops but remains active through May 2020; weak gas plumes

Shishaldin (United States) Intermittent thermal activity and a possible new cone at the summit crater during February-May 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence during April 2020

Taal (Philippines) Eruption on 12 January with explosions through 22 January; steam plumes continuing into March

Unnamed (Tonga) Additional details and pumice raft drift maps from the August 2019 submarine eruption

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Strombolian activity November 2019 through May 2020; lava flow down the SE flank in April

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



Sangay (Ecuador) — July 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Sangay

Ecuador

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Daily ash plumes and frequent pyroclastic flows produce ashfall and lahars, January-June 2020

Frequent activity at Ecuador's Sangay has included pyroclastic flows, lava flows, ash plumes, and lahars reported since 1628. Its remoteness on the east side of the Andean crest make ground observations difficult; remote cameras and satellites provide important information on activity. The current eruption began in March 2019 and continued through December 2019 with activity focused on the Cráter Central and the Ñuñurco (southeast) vent; they produced explosions with ash plumes, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows and block avalanches. In addition, volcanic debris was remobilized in the Volcan river causing significant damming downstream. This report covers ongoing similar activity from January through June 2020. Information is provided by Ecuador's Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), and a number of sources of remote data including the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), the Italian MIROVA Volcano HotSpot Detection System, and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. Visitors also provided excellent ground and drone-based images and information.

Throughout January-June 2020, multiple daily reports from the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) indicated ash plumes rising from the summit, generally 500-1,100 m. Each month one or more plumes rose over 2,000 m. The plumes usually drifted SW or W, and ashfall was reported in communities 25-90 km away several times during January-March and again in June. In addition to explosions with ash plumes, pyroclastic flows and incandescent blocks frequently descended a large, deep ravine on the SE flank. Ash from the pyroclastic flows rose a few hundred meters and drifted away from the volcano. Incandescence was visible on clear nights at the summit and in the ravine. The MIROVA log radiative power graph showed continued moderate and high levels of thermal energy throughout the period (figure 57). Sangay also had small but persistent daily SO2 signatures during January-June 2020 with larger pulses one or more days each month (figure 58). IG-EPN published data in June 2020 about the overall activity since May 2019, indicating increases throughout the period in seismic event frequency, SO2 emissions, ash plume frequency, and thermal energy (figure 59).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. This graph of log radiative power at Sangay for 18 Aug 2018 through June 2020 shows the moderate levels of thermal energy through the end of the previous eruption in late 2018 and the beginning of the current one in early 2019. Data is from Sentinel-2, courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Small but persistent daily SO2 signatures were typical of Sangay during January-June 2020. A few times each month the plume was the same or larger than the plume from Columbia’s Nevado del Ruiz, located over 800 km NE. Image dates are shown in the header over each image. Courtesy of NASA’s Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 59. A multi-parameter graph of activity at Sangay from May 2019 to 12 June 2020 showed increases in many types of activity. a) seismic activity (number of events per day) detected at the PUYO station (source: IG-EPN). b) SO2 emissions (tons per day) detected by the Sentinel-5P satellite sensor (TROPOMI: red squares; source: MOUNTS) and by the IG-EPN (DOAS: green bars). c) height of the ash plumes (meters above crater) detected by the GOES-16 satellite sensor (source: Washington VAAC). d) thermal emission power (megawatt) detected by the MODIS satellite sensor (source: MODVOLC) and estimate of the accumulated lava volume (million M3, thin lines represent the error range). Courtesy of IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2020 - N°3, “Actualización de la actividad eruptiva”, Quito, 12 de junio del 2020).

Activity during January-March 2020. IG-EPN and the Washington VAAC reported multiple daily ash emissions throughout January 2020. Gas and ash emissions generally rose 500-1,500 m above the summit, most often drifting W or SW. Ashfall was reported on 8 January in the communities of Sevilla (90 km SSW), Pumallacta and Achupallas (60 km SW) and Cebadas (35 km WNW). On 16 January ash fell in the Chimborazo province in the communities of Atillo, Ichobamba, and Palmira (45 km W). Ash on 28 January drifted NW, with minor ashfall reported in Púngala (25 km NW) and other nearby communities. The town of Alao (20 km NW) reported on 30 January that all of the vegetation in the region was covered with fine white ash; Cebadas and Palmira also noted minor ashfall (figure 60).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 60. Daily ash plumes and repeated ashfall were reported from Sangay during January 2020. Top left: 1 January 2020 (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-2, JUEVES, 2 ENERO 2020). Top right: 20 January 2020 (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-21, MARTES, 21 ENERO 2020). Bottom left: 26 January-1 February 2020 expedition (Martes, 18 Febrero 2020 12:21, EXPEDICIÓN AL VOLCÁN SANGAY). Bottom right: 30 January 2020, minor ashfall was reported in the Province of Chimborazo (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 006, JUEVES, 30 ENERO 2020). Courtesy of IG-EPN.

A major ravine on the SE flank has been the site of ongoing block avalanches and pyroclastic flows since the latest eruption began in March 2019. The pyroclastic flows down the ravine appeared incandescent at night; during the day they created ash clouds that drifted SW. Satellite imagery recorded incandescence and dense ash from pyroclastic flows in the ravine on 7 January (figure 61). They were also reported by IG on the 9th, 13th, 26th, and 28th. Incandescent blocks were reported in the ravine several times during the month. The webcam captured images on 31 January of large incandescent blocks descending the entire length of the ravine to the base of the mountain (figure 62). Large amounts of ash and debris were remobilized as lahars during heavy rains on the 25th and 28th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 61. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of Sangay from 7 January 2020 clearly showed a dense ash plume drifting W and ash and incandescent material from pyroclastic flows descending the SE-flank ravine. Left image uses natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering and right images uses atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 62. Pyroclastic flows at Sangay produced large trails of ash down the SE ravine many times during January 2020 that rose and drifted SW. Top left: 9 January (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-9, JUEVES, 9 ENERO 2020). Top right: 13 January (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-14, MARTES, 14 ENERO 2020). On clear nights, incandescent blocks of lava and pyroclastic flows were visible in the ravine. Bottom left: 16 January (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-17, VIERNES, 17 ENERO 2020). Bottom right: 31 January (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 007, VIERNES, 31 ENERO 2020). Courtesy of IG-EPN.

Observations by visitors to the volcano during 9-17 January 2020 included pyroclastic flows, ash emissions, and incandescent debris descending the SE flank ravine during the brief periods when skies were not completely overcast (figure 63 and 64). More often there was ash-filled rain and explosions heard as far as 16 km from the volcano, along with the sounds of lahars generated from the frequent rainfall mobilizing debris from the pyroclastic flows. The confluence of the Rio Upano and Rio Volcan is 23 km SE of the summit and debris from the lahars has created a natural dam on the Rio Upano that periodically backs up water and inundates the adjacent forest (figure 65). A different expedition to Sangay during 26 January-1 February 2020 by IG personnel to repair and maintain the remote monitoring station and collect samples was successful, after which the station was once again transmitting data to IG-EPN in Quito (figure 66).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. Hikers near Sangay during 9-17 January 2020 witnessed pyroclastic flows and incandescent explosions and debris descending the SE ravine. Left: The view from 40 km SE near Macas showed ash rising from pyroclastic flows in the SE ravine. Right: Even though the summit was shrouded with a cap cloud, incandescence from the summit crater and from pyroclastic flows on the SE flank were visible on clear nights. Courtesy of Arnold Binas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. The steep ravine on the SE flank of Sangay was hundreds of meters deep in January 2020 when these drone images were taken by members of a hiking trip during 9-17 January 2020 (left). Pyroclastic flows descended the ravine often (right), coating the sides of the ravine with fine, white ash and sending ash billowing up from the surface of the flow which resulted in ashfall in adjacent communities several times. Courtesy of Arnold Binas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. Debris from pyroclastic flows that descended the SE Ravine at Sangay was carried down the Volcan River (left) during frequent rains and caused repeated damming at the confluence with the Rio Upano (right), located 23 km SE of the summit. These images show the conditions along the riverbeds during 9-17 January 2020. Courtesy of Arnold Binas, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. An expedition by scientists from IG-EPN to one of the remote monitoring stations at Sangay during 26 January-1 February 2020 was successful in restoring communication to Quito. The remote location and constant volcanic activity makes access and maintenance a challenge. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Martes, 18 Febrero 2020 12:21, EXPEDICIÓN AL VOLCÁN SANGAY).

During February 2020, multiple daily VAAC reports of ash emissions continued (figure 67). Plumes generally rose 500-1,100 m above the summit and drifted W, although on 26 February emissions were reported to 1,770 m. Ashfall was reported in Macas (40 km SE) on 1 February, and in the communities of Pistishi (65 km SW), Chunchi (70 km SW), Pumallacta (60 k. SW), Alausí (60 km SW), Guamote (40 km WNW) and adjacent areas of the Chimborazo province on 5 February. The Ecuadorian Red Cross reported ash from Sangay in the provinces of Cañar and Azuay (60-100 km SW) on 25 February. Cebadas and Guamote reported moderate ashfall the following day. The communities of Cacha (50 km NW) and Punín (45 km NW) reported trace amounts of ashfall on 29 February. Incandescent blocks were seen on the SE flank multiples times throughout the month. A pyroclastic flow was recorded on the SE flank early on 6 February; additional pyroclastic flows were observed later that day on the SW flank. On 23 February a seismic station on the flank recorded a high-frequency signal typical of lahars.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. Steam and ash could be seen drifting SW from the summit of Sangay on 11 February 2020 even though the summit was hidden by a large cap cloud. Ash was also visible in the ravine on the SE flank. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, natural color (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering.

A significant ash emission on 1 March 2020 was reported about 2 km above the summit, drifting SW. Multiple ash emissions continued daily during the month, generally rising 570-1,170 m high. An emission on 12 March also rose 2 km above the summit. Trace ashfall was reported in Cebadas (35 km WNW) on 12 March. The community of Huamboya, located 40 km ENE of Sangay in the province of Morona-Santiago reported ashfall on 17 March. On 19 and 21 March ashfall was seen on the surface of cars in Macas to the SE. (figure 68). Ash was also reported on the 21st in de Santa María De Tunants (Sinaí) located E of Sangay. Ash fell again in Macas on 23 March and was also reported in General Proaño (40 km SE). The wind changed direction the next day and caused ashfall on 24 March to the SW in Cuenca and Azogues (100 km SW).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Ashfall from Sangay was reported on cars in Huamboya on 17 March 2020 (left) and in Macas on 19 March (right). Courtesy IG-EPN, (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 024, MARTES, 17 MARZO 2020 and #IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 025, JUEVES, 19 MARZO 2020).

Incandescence from the dome at the crater and on the SE flank was noted by IG on 3, 4, and 13 March. Remobilized ash from a pyroclastic flow was reported drifting SW on 13 March. The incandescent path of the flow was still visible that evening. Numerous lahars were recorded seismically during the month, including on days 5, 6, 8, 11, 15, 30 and 31. Images from the Rio Upano on 11 March confirmed an increase from the normal flow rate (figure 69) inferred to be from volcanic debris. Morona-Santiago province officials reported on 14 March that a new dam had formed at the confluence of the Upano and Volcano rivers that decreased the flow downstream; by 16 March it had given way and flow had returned to normal levels.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Images from the Rio Upano on 11 March 2020 (left) confirmed an increase from the normal flow rate related to lahars from Sangay descending the Rio Volcan. By 16 March (right), the flow rate had returned to normal, although the large blocks in the river were evidence of substantial activity in the past. Courtesy of IG (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 018, MIÉRCOLES, 11 MARZO 2020 and #IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 023, LUNES, 16 MARZO 2020).

Activity during April-June 2020. Lahar activity continued during April 2020; they were reported seven times on 2, 5, 7, 11, 12, 19, and 30 April. A significant reduction in the flow of the Upano River at the entrance bridge to the city of Macas was reported 9 April, likely due to a new dam on the river upstream from where the Volcan river joins it caused by lahars related to ash emissions and pyroclastic flows (figure 70). The flow rate returned to normal the following day. Ash emissions were reported most days of the month, commonly rising 500-1,100 m above the summit and drifting W. Incandescent blocks or flows were visible on the SE flank on 4, 10, 12, 15-16, and 20-23 April (figure 71).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. A significant reduction in the flow of the Upano River at the entrance bridge to the city of Macas was reported on 9 April 2020, likely due to a new dam upstream from lahars related to ash emissions and pyroclastic flows from Sangay. Courtesy of IG-EPN (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 032, JUEVES, 9 ABRIL 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Incandescent blocks rolled down the SE ravine at Sangay multiple times during April 2020, including on 4 April (left). Pyroclastic flows left two continuous incandescent trails in the ravine on 23 April (right). Courtesy of IG-EPN (INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-95, SÁBADO, 4 ABRIL 2020 and INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-114, JUEVES, 23 ABRIL 2020).

Activity during May 2020 included multiple daily ash emissions that drifted W and numerous lahars from plentiful rain carrying ash and debris downstream. Although there were only a few visible observations of ash plumes due to clouds, the Washington VAAC reported plumes visible in satellite imagery throughout the month. Plumes rose 570-1,170 m above the summit most days; the highest reported rose to 2,000 m above the summit on 14 May. Two lahars occurred in the early morning on 1 May and one the next day. A lahar signal lasted for three hours on 4 May. Two lahar signals were recorded on the 7th, and three on the 9th. Lahars were also recorded on 16-17, 20-22, 26-27, and 30 May. Incandescence on the SE flank was only noted three times, but it was cloudy nearly every day.

An increase in thermal and overall eruptive activity was reported during June 2020. On 1 and 2 June the webcam captured lava flows and remobilization of the deposits on the SE flank in the early morning and late at night. Incandescence was visible multiple days each week. Lahars were reported on 4 and 5 June. The frequent daily ash emissions during June generally rose to 570-1,200 m above the summit and drifted usually SW or W. The number of explosions and ash emissions increased during the evening of 7 June. IG interpreted the seismic signals from the explosions as an indication of the rise of a new pulse of magma (figure 72). The infrasound sensor log from 8 June also recorded longer duration tremor signals that were interpreted as resulting from the descent of pyroclastic flows in the SE ravine.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Seismic and infrasound signals indicated increased explosive and pyroclastic flow activity at Sangay on 7-8 June 2020. Left: SAGA station (seismic component) of 7 and 8 June. The signals correspond to explosions without VT or tremor signals, suggesting the rise of a new magma pulse. Right: SAGA station infrasound sensor log from 8 June. The sharp explosion signals are followed a few minutes later (examples highlighted in red) by emergent signals of longer duration, possibly associated with the descent of pyroclastic material in the SE flank ravine. Courtesy if IG-EPN (Informe Especial del Volcán Sangay - 2020 - N°3, “Actualización de la actividad eruptiva”, Quito, 12 de junio del 2020).

On the evening of 8 June ashfall was reported in the parish of Cebadas and in the Alausí Canton to the W and SW of Sangay. There were several reports of gas and ash emissions to 1,770 m above the summit the next morning on 9 June, followed by reports of ashfall in the provinces of Guayas, Santa Elena, Los Ríos, Morona Santiago, and Chimborazo. Ashfall continued in the afternoon and was reported in Alausí, Chunchi, Guamote, and Chillanes. That night, which was clear, the webcam captured images of pyroclastic flows down the SE-flank ravine; IG attributed the increase in activity to the collapse of one or more lava fronts. On the evening of 10 June additional ashfall was reported in the towns of Alausí, Chunchi, and Guamote (figure 73); satellite imagery indicated an ash plume drifting W and incandescence from pyroclastic flows in the SE-flank ravine the same day (figure 74).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. Ashfall from Sangay was reported in Alausí (top left), Chunchi (top right) and Guamote (bottom) on 10 June 2020. Courtesy of IG-EPN (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 049, MIÉRCOLES, 10 JUNIO 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Incandescent pyroclastic flows (left) and ash plumes that drifted W (right) were recorded on 10 June 2020 at Sangay in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Ashfall continued on 11 June and was reported in Guayaquil, Guamote, Chunchi, Riobamba, Guaranda, Chimbo, Echandía, and Chillanes. The highest ash plume of the report period rose to 2,800 m above the summit that day and drifted SW. That evening the SNGRE (Servicio Nacional de Gestion de Riesgos y Emergencias) reported ash fall in the Alausí canton. IG noted the increase in intensity of activity and reported that the ash plume of 11 June drifted more than 600 km W (figure 75). Ash emissions on 12 and 13 June drifted SW and NW and resulted in ashfall in the provinces of Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, and Bolívar. On 14 June, the accumulation of ash interfered with the transmission of information from the seismic station. Lahars were reported each day during 15-17 and 19-21 June. Trace amounts of ashfall were reported in Macas to the SE on 25 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. The ash plume at Sangay reported on 11 June 2020 rose 2.8 km above the summit and drifted W according to the Washington VAAC and IG (left). Explosions and high levels of incandescence on the SE flank were captured by the Don Bosco webcam (right). Courtesy of IG-EPN (#IGAlInstante Informativo VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 055, JUEVES, 11 JUNIO 2020 and INFORME DIARIO DEL ESTADO DEL VOLCÁN SANGAY No. 2020-164, VIERNES, 12 JUNIO 2020).

During an overflight of Sangay on 24 June IG personnel observed that activity was characterized by small explosions from the summit vent and pyroclastic flows down the SE-flank ravine. The explosions produced small gas plumes with a high ash content that did not rise more than 500 m above the summit and drifted W (figure 76). The pyroclastic flows were restricted to the ravine on the SE flank, although the ash from the flows rose rapidly and reached about 200 m above the surface of the ravine and also drifted W (figure 77).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. A dense ash plume rose 500 m from the summit of Sangay on 24 June 2020 and drifted W during an overflight by IG-EPN personnel. The aerial photograph is taken from the SE; snow-covered Chimborazo is visible behind and to the right of Sangay. Photo by M Almeida, courtesy of IG EPN (Jueves, 02 Julio 2020 10:29, INFORME DEL SOBREVUELO AL VOLCÁN SANGAY EL 24 DE JUNIO DE 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Pyroclastic flows descended the SE flank ravine at Sangay during an overflight by IG-EPN personnel on 24 June 2020. Ash from the pyroclastic flow rose 200 m and drifted W, and infrared imagery identified the thermal signature of the pyroclastic flow in the ravine. Photo by M Almeida, IR Image by S Vallejo, courtesy of IG EPN (Jueves, 25 Junio 2020 12:24, SOBREVUELO AL VOLCÁN SANGAY).

Infrared imagery taken during the overflight on 24 June identified three significant thermal anomalies in the large ravine on the SE flank (figure 78). Analysis by IG scientists suggested that the upper anomaly 1 (125°C) was associated with explosive activity that was observed during the flight. Anomaly 2 (147°C), a short distance below Anomaly 1, was possibly related to effusive activity of a small flow, and Anomaly 3 (165°C) near the base of the ravine that was associated with pyroclastic flow deposits. The extent of the changes at the summit of Sangay and along the SE flank since the beginning of the eruption that started in March 2019 were clearly visible when images from May 2019 were compared with images from the 24 June 2020 overflight (figure 79). The upper part of the ravine was nearly 400 m wide by the end of June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. A thermal image of the SE flank of Sangay taken on 24 June 2020 indicated three thermal anomalies. Anomaly 1 was associated with explosive activity, Anomaly 2 was associated with effusive activity, and Anomaly 3 was related to pyroclastic-flow deposits. Image prepared by S Vallejo Vargas, courtesy of IG EPN (Jueves, 02 Julio 2020 10:29, INFORME DEL SOBREVUELO AL VOLCÁN SANGAY EL 24 DE JUNIO DE 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Aerial and thermal photographs of the southern flank of the Sangay volcano on 17 May 2019 (left: visible image) and 24 June 2020 (middle: visible image, right: visible-thermal overlay) show the morphological changes on the SE flank, associated with the formation of a deep ravine and the modification of the summit. Photos and thermal image by M Almeida, courtesy of IG EPN (Jueves, 02 Julio 2020 10:29, INFORME DEL SOBREVUELO AL VOLCÁN SANGAY EL 24 DE JUNIO DE 2020).

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); 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); 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); Arnold Binas (URL: https://www.doroadventures.com).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Incandescent block avalanches through mid-January 2020; crater anomalies through May

The Karangetang andesitic-basaltic stratovolcano (also referred to as Api Siau) at the northern end of the island of Siau, north of Sulawesi, Indonesia, has had more than 50 observed eruptions since 1675. Frequent explosive activity is accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lahars, and lava-dome growth has created two active summit craters (Main to the S and Second Crater to the N). Rock avalanches, observed incandescence, and satellite thermal anomalies at the summit confirmed continuing volcanic activity since the latest eruption started in November 2018 (BGVN 44:05). This report covers activity from December 2019 through May 2020. Activity is monitored by Indonesia's Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM, or the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation), and ash plumes are monitored by the Darwin VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Center). Information is also available from MODIS thermal anomaly satellite data through both the University of Hawaii's MODVOLC system and the Italian MIROVA project.

Increased activity that included daily incandescent avalanche blocks traveling down the W and NW flanks lasted from mid-July 2019 (BGVN 44:12) through mid-January 2020 according to multiple sources. The MIROVA data showed increased number and intensity of thermal anomalies during this period, with a sharp drop during the second half of January (figure 40). The MODVOLC thermal alert data reported 29 alerts in December and ten alerts in January, ending on 14 January, with no further alerts through May 2020. During December and the first half of January incandescent blocks traveled 1,000-1,500 m down multiple drainages on the W and NW flanks (figure 41). After this, thermal anomalies were still present at the summit craters, but no additional activity down the flanks was identified in remote satellite data or direct daily observations from PVMBG.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. An episode of increased activity at Karangetang from mid-July 2019 through mid-January 2020 included incandescent avalanche blocks traveling down multiple flanks of the volcano. This was reflected in increased thermal activity seen during that interval in the MIROVA graph covering 5 June 2019 through May 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. An episode of increased activity at Karangetang from mid-July 2019 through mid-January 2020 included incandescent avalanche blocks traveling up to 1,500 m down drainages on the W and NW flanks of the volcano. Top left: large thermal anomalies trend NW from Main Crater on 5 December 2019; about 500 m N a thermal anomaly glows from Second Crater. Top center: on 15 December plumes of steam and gas drifted W and SW from both summit craters as seen in Natural Color rendering (bands 4,3,2). Top right: the same image as at top center with Atmospheric penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) shows hot zones extending WNW from Main Crater and a thermal anomaly at Second Crater. Bottom left: thermal activity seen on 14 January 2020 extended about 800 m WNW from Main Crater along with an anomaly at Second Crater and a hot spot about 1 km W. Bottom center: by 19 January the anomaly from Second Crater appeared slightly stronger than at Main Crater, and only small anomalies appeared on the NW flank. Bottom right: an image from 14 March shows only thermal anomalies at the two summit craters. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

A single VAAC report in early April noted a short-lived ash plume that drifted SW. Intermittent low-level activity continued through May 2020. Small SO2 plumes appeared in satellite data multiple times in December 2019 and January 2020; they decreased in size and frequency after that but were still intermittently recorded into May 2020 (figure 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Small plumes of sulfur dioxide were measured at Karangetang with the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite multiple times during December 2019 (top row). They were less frequent but still appeared during January-May 2020 (bottom row). Larger plumes were also detected from Dukono, located 300 km ESE at the N end of North Maluku. Courtesy of Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.

PVMBG reported in their daily summaries that steam plumes rose 50-150 m above the Main Crater and 25-50 m above Second Crater on most days in December. The incandescent avalanche activity that began in mid-July 2019 also continued throughout December 2019 and January 2020 (figure 43). Incandescent blocks from the Main Crater descended river drainages (Kali) on the W and NW flanks throughout December. They were reported nearly every day in the Nanitu, Sense, and Pangi drainages, traveling 1,000-1,500 m. Incandescence from both craters was visible 10-25 m above the crater rim most nights.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Incandescent block avalanches descended the NW flank of Karangetang as far as 1,500 m frequently during December 2019 and January 2020. Left image taken 13 December 2019, right image taken 6 January 2020 by PVMBG webcam. Courtesy of PVMBG, Oystein Anderson, and Bobyson Lamanepa.

A few blocks were noted traveling 800 m down Kali Beha Barat on 1 December. Incandescence above the Main crater reached 50-75 m during 4-6 December. During 4-7 December incandescent blocks appeared in Kali Sesepe, traveling 1,000-1,500 m down from the summit. They were also reported in Kali Batang and Beha Barat during 4-14 December, usually moving 800-1,000 m downslope. Between 5 and 14 December, gray and white plumes from Second Crater reached 300 m multiple times. During 12-15 December steam plumes rose 300-500 m above the Main crater. Activity decreased during 18-26 December but increased again during the last few days of the month. On 28 December, incandescent blocks were reported 1,500 m down Kali Pangi and Nanitu, and 1,750 m down Kali Sense.

Incandescent blocks were reported in Kali Sesepi during 4-6 January and in Kali Batang and Beha Barat during 4-8 and 12-15 January (figure 44); they often traveled 800-1,200 m downslope. Activity tapered off in those drainages and incandescent blocks were last reported in Kali Beha Barat on 15 January traveling 800 m from the summit. Incandescent blocks were also reported traveling usually 1,000-1,500 m down the Nanitu, Sense, and Pangi drainages during 4-19 January. Blocks continued to occasionally descend up to 1,000 m down Kali Nanitu through 24 January. Pulses of activity occurred at the summit of Second Crater a few times in January. Steam plumes rose 25-50 m during 8-9 January and again during 16-31 January, with plumes rising 300-400 m on 20, 29, and 31 January. Incandescence was noted 10-25 m above the summit of Second Crater during 27-30 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Incandescent material descends the Beha Barat, Sense, Nanitu, and Pangi drainages on the NW flank of Karangetang in early January 2020. Courtesy of Bobyson Lamanepa; posted on Twitter on 6 January 2020.

Activity diminished significantly after mid-January 2020. Steam plumes at the Main Crater rose 50-100 m on the few days where the summit was not obscured by fog during February. Faint incandescence occurred at the Main Crater on 7 February, and steam plumes rising 25-50 m from Second Crater that day were the only events reported there in February. During March, steam plumes persisted from the Main Crater, with heights of over 100 m during short periods from 8-16 March and 25-30 March. Weak incandescence was reported from the Main Crater only once, on 25 March. Very little activity occurred at Second Crater during March, with only steam plumes reported rising 25-300 m from the 22nd to the 28th (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Steam plumes at Karangetang rose over 100 m above both summit craters multiple times during March, including on 26 March 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and Oystein Anderson.

The Darwin VAAC reported a continuous ash emission on 4 April 2020 that rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted SW for a few hours before dissipating. Incandescence visible 25 m above both craters on 13 April was the only April activity reported by PVMBG other than steam plumes from the Main Crater that rose 50-500 m on most days. Steam plumes of 50-100 m were reported from Second Crater during 11-13 April. Activity remained sporadic throughout May 2020. Steam plumes from the Main Crater rose 50-300 m each day. Satellite imagery identified steam plumes and incandescence from both summit craters on 3 May (figure 46). Faint incandescence was observed at the Main Crater on 12 and 27 May. Steam plumes rose 25-50 m from Second Crater on a few days; a 200-m-high plume was reported on 27 May. Bluish emissions were observed on the S and SW flanks on 28 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Dense steam plumes and thermal anomalies were present at both summit craters of Karangetang on 3 May 2020. Sentinel 2 satellite image with Natural Color (bands 4, 3, 2) (left) and Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, 8a) (right); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); 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); 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/); 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/); Øystein Lund Andersen (Twitter: @OysteinLAnderse, https://twitter.com/OysteinLAnderse, URL: http://www.oysteinlundandersen.com); Bobyson Lamanepa, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, (URL: https://twitter.com/BobyLamanepa/status/1214165637028728832).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Masaya

Nicaragua

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava lake level drops but remains active through May 2020; weak gas plumes

Masaya, which is about 20 km NW of the Nicaragua’s capital of Managua, is one of the most active volcanoes in that country and has a caldera that contains a number of craters (BGVN 43:11). The Santiago crater is the one most currently active and it contains a small lava lake that emits weak gas plumes (figure 85). This report summarizes activity during February through May 2020 and is based on Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) monthly reports and satellite data. During the reporting period, the volcano was relatively calm, with only weak gas plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 85. Satellite images of Masaya from Sentinel-2 on 18 April 2020, showing and a small gas plume drifting SW (top, natural color bands 4, 3, 2) and the lava lake (bottom, false color bands 12, 11, 4). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

According to INETER, thermal images of the lava lake and temperature data in the fumaroles were taken using an Omega infrared gun and a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) SC620 thermal camera. The temperatures above the lava lake have decreased since November 2019, when the temperature was 287°C, dropping to 96°C when measured on 14 May 2020. INETER attributed this decrease to subsidence in the level of the lava lake by 5 m which obstructed part of the lake and concentrated the gas emissions in the weak plume. Convection continued in the lava lake, which in May had decreased to a diameter of 3 m. Many landslides had occurred in the E, NE, and S walls of the crater rim due to rock fracturing caused by the high heat and acidity of the emissions.

During the reporting period, the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system recorded numerous thermal anomalies from the lava lake based on MODIS data (figure 86). Infrared satellite images from Sentinel-2 regularly showed a strong signature from the lava lake through 18 May, after which the volcano was covered by clouds.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 86. Thermal anomalies at Masaya during February through May 2020. The larger anomalies with black lines are more distant and not related to the volcano. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Measurements of sulfur dioxide (SO2) made by INETER in the section of the Ticuantepe - La Concepción highway (just W of the volcano) with a mobile DOAS system varied between a low of just over 1,000 metric tons/day in mid-November 2019 to a high of almost 2,500 tons/day in late May. Temperatures of fumaroles in the Cerro El Comalito area, just ENE of Santiago crater, ranged from 58 to 76°C during February-May 2020, with most values in the 69-72°C range.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Shishaldin (United States) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Shishaldin

United States

54.756°N, 163.97°W; summit elev. 2857 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal activity and a possible new cone at the summit crater during February-May 2020

Shishaldin is located near the center of Unimak Island in Alaska, with the current eruption phase beginning in July 2019 and characterized by ash plumes, lava flows, lava fountaining, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. More recently, in late 2019 and into January 2020, activity consisted of multiple lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lahars, and ashfall events (BGVN 45:02). This report summarizes activity from February through May 2020, including gas-and-steam emissions, brief thermal activity in mid-March, and a possible new cone within the summit crater. The primary source of information comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reports and various satellite data.

Volcanism during February 2020 was relatively low, consisting of weakly to moderately elevated surface temperatures during 1-4 February and occasional small gas-and-steam plumes (figure 37). By 6 February both seismicity and surface temperatures had decreased. Seismicity and surface temperatures increased slightly again on 8 March and remained elevated through the rest of the reporting period. Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions were also visible from mid-March (figure 38) through May. Minor ash deposits visible on the upper SE flank may have been due to ash resuspension or a small collapse event at the summit, according to AVO.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Photo of a gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit crater at Shishaldin on 22 February 2020. Photo courtesy of Ben David Jacob via AVO.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. A Worldview-2 panchromatic satellite image on 11 March 2020 showing a gas-and-steam plume rising from the summit of Shishaldin and minor ash deposits on the SE flank (left). Aerial photo showing minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater on 11 March (right). Some erosion of the snow and ice on the upper flanks is a result of the lava flows from the activity in late 2019 and early 2020. Photo courtesy of Matt Loewen (left) and Ed Fischer (right) via AVO.

On 14 March, lava and a possible new cone were visible in the summit crater using satellite imagery, accompanied by small explosion signals. Strong thermal signatures due to the lava were also seen in Sentinel-2 satellite data and continued strongly through the month (figure 39). The lava reported by AVO in the summit crater was also reflected in satellite-based MODIS thermal anomalies recorded by the MIROVA system (figure 40). Seismic and infrasound data identified small explosions signals within the summit crater during 14-19 March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) show a bright hotspot (yellow-orange) at the summit crater of Shishaldin during mid-March 2020 that decreases in intensity by late March. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. MIROVA thermal data showing a brief increase in thermal anomalies during late March 2020 and on two days in late April between periods of little to no activity. Courtesy of MIROVA.

AVO released a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) stating that seismicity had decreased by 16 April and that satellite data no longer showed lava or additional changes in the crater since the start of April. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery continued to show a weak hotspot in the crater summit through May (figure 41), which was also detected by the MIROVA system on two days. A daily report on 6 May reported a visible ash deposit extending a short distance SE from the summit, which had likely been present since 29 April. AVO noted that the timing of the deposit corresponds to an increase in the summit crater diameter and depth, further supporting a possible small collapse. Small gas-and-steam emissions continued intermittently and were accompanied by weak tremors and occasional low-frequency earthquakes through May (figure 42). Minor amounts of sulfur dioxide were detected in the gas-and-steam emissions during 20 and 29 April, and 2, 16, and 28 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images (bands 12, 11, 8A) show occasional gas-and-steam emissions rising from Shishaldin on 26 February (top left) and 24 April 2020 (bottom left) and a weak hotspot (yellow-orange) persisting at the summit crater during April and early May 2020. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. A Worldview-1 panchromatic satellite image showing gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit of Shishaldin on 1 May 2020 (local time) (left). Aerial photo of the N flank of Shishaldin with minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit on 8 May (right). Photo courtesy of Matt Loewen (left) and Levi Musselwhite (right) via AVO.

Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The glacier-covered volcano is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes along an E-W line in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning "mountain which points the way when I am lost." A steam plume often rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, it is largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the W and NE sides at 1,500-1,800 m elevation. There are over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is blanketed by massive aa lava flows. Frequent explosive activity, primarily consisting of Strombolian ash eruptions from the small summit crater, but sometimes producing lava flows, has been recorded since the 18th century.

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


Krakatau (Indonesia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

6.102°S, 105.423°E; summit elev. 155 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and crater incandescence during April 2020

Krakatau, located in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands, experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE, forming a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. On 22 December 2018, a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high island of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) and generated a deadly tsunami (BGVN 44:03). The near-sea level crater lake inside the remnant of Anak Krakatau was the site of numerous small steam and tephra explosions. A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake (BGVN 45:02). Recently, volcanism has been characterized by occasional Strombolian explosions, dense ash plumes, and crater incandescence. This report covers activity from February through May 2020 using information provided by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, also known as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

Activity during February 2020 consisted of dominantly white gas-and-steam emissions rising 300 m above the crater, according to PVMBG. According to the Darwin VAAC, a ground observer reported an eruption on 7 and 8 February, but no volcanic ash was observed. During 10-11 February, a short-lived eruption was detected by seismograms which produced an ash plume up to 1 km above the crater drifting E. MAGMA Indonesia reported two eruptions on 18 March, both of which rose to 300 m above the crater. White gas-and-steam emissions were observed for the rest of the month and early April.

On 10 April PVMBG reported two eruptions, at 2158 and 2235, both of which produced dark ash plumes rising 2 km above the crater followed by Strombolian explosions ejecting incandescent material that landed on the crater floor (figures 108 and 109). The Darwin VAAC issued a notice at 0145 on 11 April reporting an ash plume to 14.3 km altitude drifting WNW, however this was noted with low confidence due to the possible mixing of clouds. During the same day, an intense thermal hotspot was detected in the HIMAWARI thermal satellite imagery and the NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide page showed a strong SO2 plume at 11.3 km altitude drifting W (figure 110). The CCTV Lava93 webcam showed new lava flows and lava fountaining from the 10-11 April eruptions. This activity was evident in the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) graph of MODIS thermal anomaly data (figure 111).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Webcam (Lava93) images of Krakatau on 10 April 2020 showing Strombolian explosions, strong incandescence, and ash plumes rising from the crater. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Webcam image of incandescent Strombolian explosions at Krakatau on 10 April 2020. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Strong sulfur dioxide emissions rising from Krakatau and drifting W were detected using the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel-5P satellite on 11 April 2020 (top row). Smaller volumes of SO2 were visible in Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI maps on 13 (bottom left) and 19 April (bottom right). Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Thermal activity at Anak Krakatau from 29 June-May 2020 shown on a MIROVA Log Radiative Power graph. The power and frequency of the thermal anomalies sharply increased in mid-April. After the larger eruptive event in mid-April the thermal anomalies declined slightly in strength but continued to be detected intermittently through May. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Strombolian activity rising up to 500 m continued into 12 April and was accompanied by SO2 emissions that rose 3 km altitude, drifting NW according to a VAAC notice. PVMBG reported an eruption on 13 April at 2054 that resulted in incandescence as high as 25 m above the crater. Volcanic ash, accompanied by white gas-and-steam emissions, continued intermittently through 18 April, many of which were observed by the CCTV webcam. After 18 April only gas-and-steam plumes were reported, rising up to 100 m above the crater; Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed faint thermal anomalies in the crater (figure 112). SO2 emissions continued intermittently throughout April, though at lower volumes and altitudes compared to the 11th. MODIS satellite data seen in MIROVA showed intermittent thermal anomalies through May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing the cool crater lake on 20 March (top left) followed by minor heating of the crater during April and May 2020. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The renowned volcano Krakatau (frequently misstated as Krakatoa) lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. Collapse of the ancestral Krakatau edifice, perhaps in 416 or 535 CE, formed a 7-km-wide caldera. Remnants of this ancestral volcano are preserved in Verlaten and Lang Islands; subsequently Rakata, Danan, and Perbuwatan volcanoes were formed, coalescing to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island. Caldera collapse during the catastrophic 1883 eruption destroyed Danan and Perbuwatan, and left only a remnant of Rakata. This eruption, the 2nd largest in Indonesia during historical time, caused more than 36,000 fatalities, most as a result of devastating tsunamis that swept the adjacent coastlines of Sumatra and Java. Pyroclastic surges traveled 40 km across the Sunda Strait and reached the Sumatra coast. After a quiescence of less than a half century, the post-collapse cone of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) was constructed within the 1883 caldera at a point between the former cones of Danan and Perbuwatan. Anak Krakatau has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927.

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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).


Taal (Philippines) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Taal

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Eruption on 12 January with explosions through 22 January; steam plumes continuing into March

Taal volcano is in a caldera system located in southern Luzon island and is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. It has produced around 35 recorded eruptions since 3,580 BCE, ranging from VEI 1 to 6, with the majority of eruptions being a VEI 2. The caldera contains a lake with an island that also contains a lake within the Main Crater (figure 12). Prior to 2020 the most recent eruption was in 1977, on the south flank near Mt. Tambaro. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Philippines reports that over 450,000 people live within 40 km of the caldera (figure 13). This report covers activity during January through February 2020 including the 12 to 22 January eruption, and is based on reports by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), satellite data, geophysical data, and media reports.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 12. Annotated satellite images showing the Taal caldera, Volcano Island in the caldera lake, and features on the island including Main Crater. Imagery courtesy of Planet Inc.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 13. Map showing population totals within 14 and 17 km of Volcano Island at Taal. Courtesy of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The hazard status at Taal was raised to Alert Level 1 (abnormal, on a scale of 0-5) on 28 March 2019. From that date through to 1 December there were 4,857 earthquakes registered, with some felt nearby. Inflation was detected during 21-29 November and an increase in CO2 emission within the Main Crater was observed. Seismicity increased beginning at 1100 on 12 January. At 1300 there were phreatic (steam) explosions from several points inside Main Crater and the Alert Level was raised to 2 (increasing unrest). Booming sounds were heard in Talisay, Batangas, at 1400; by 1402 the plume had reached 1 km above the crater, after which the Alert Level was raised to 3 (magmatic unrest).

Phreatic eruption on 12 January 2020. A seismic swarm began at 1100 on 12 January 2020 followed by a phreatic eruption at 1300. The initial activity consisted of steaming from at least five vents in Main Crater and phreatic explosions that generated 100-m-high plumes. PHIVOLCS raised the Alert Level to 2. The Earth Observatory of Singapore reported that the International Data Center (IDC) for the Comprehensive test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in Vienna noted initial infrasound detections at 1450 that day.

Booming sounds were heard at 1400 in Talisay, Batangas (4 km NNE from the Main Crater), and at 1404 volcanic tremor and earthquakes felt locally were accompanied by an eruption plume that rose 1 km; ash fell to the SSW. The Alert Level was raised to 3 and the evacuation of high-risk barangays was recommended. Activity again intensified around 1730, prompting PHIVOLCS to raise the Alert Level to 4 and recommend a total evacuation of the island and high-risk areas within a 14-km radius. The eruption plume of steam, gas, and tephra significantly intensified, rising to 10-15 km altitude and producing frequent lightning (figures 14 and 15). Wet ash fell as far away as Quezon City (75 km N). According to news articles schools and government offices were ordered to close and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (56 km N) in Manila suspended flights. About 6,000 people had been evacuated. Residents described heavy ashfall, low visibility, and fallen trees.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Lightning produced during the eruption of Taal during 1500 on 12 January to 0500 on 13 January 2020 local time (0700-2100 UTC on 12 January). Courtesy of Chris Vagasky, Vaisala.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 15. Lightning strokes produced during the first days of the Taal January 2020 eruption. Courtesy of Domcar C Lagto/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock via The Guardian.

In a statement issued at 0320 on 13 January, PHIVOLCS noted that ashfall had been reported across a broad area to the north in Tanauan (18 km NE), Batangas; Escala (11 km NW), Tagaytay; Sta. Rosa (32 km NNW), Laguna; Dasmariñas (32 km N), Bacoor (44 km N), and Silang (22 km N), Cavite; Malolos (93 km N), San Jose Del Monte (87 km N), and Meycauayan (80 km N), Bulacan; Antipolo (68 km NNE), Rizal; Muntinlupa (43 km N), Las Piñas (47 km N), Marikina (70 km NNE), Parañaque (51 km N), Pasig (62 km NNE), Quezon City, Mandaluyong (62 km N), San Juan (64 km N), Manila; Makati City (59 km N) and Taguig City (55 km N). Lapilli (2-64 mm in diameter) fell in Tanauan and Talisay; Tagaytay City (12 km N); Nuvali (25 km NNE) and Sta (figure 16). Rosa, Laguna. Felt earthquakes (Intensities II-V) continued to be recorded in local areas.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 16. Ashfall from the Taal January 2020 eruption in Lemery (top) and in the Batangas province (bottom). Photos posted on 13 January, courtesy of Ezra Acayan/Getty Images, Aaron Favila/AP, and Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images via The Guardian.

Magmatic eruption on 13 January 2020. A magmatic eruption began during 0249-0428 on 13 January, characterized by weak lava fountaining accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning. Activity briefly waned then resumed with sporadic weak fountaining and explosions that generated 2-km-high, dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes (figure 17). New lateral vents opened on the N flank, producing 500-m-tall lava fountains. Heavy ashfall impacted areas to the SW, including in Cuenca (15 km SSW), Lemery (16 km SW), Talisay, and Taal (15 km SSW), Batangas (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 17. Ash plumes seen from various points around Taal in the initial days of the January 2020 eruption, posted on 13 January. Courtesy of Eloisa Lopez/Reuters, Kester Ragaza/Pacific Press/Shutterstock, Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images, via The Guardian.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Map indicating areas impacted by ashfall from the 12 January eruption through to 0800 on the 13th. Small yellow circles (to the N) are ashfall report locations; blue circles (at the island and to the S) are heavy ashfall; large green circles are lapilli (particles measuring 2-64 mm in diameter). Modified from a map courtesy of Lauriane Chardot, Earth Observatory of Singapore; data taken from PHIVOLCS.

News articles noted that more than 300 domestic and 230 international flights were cancelled as the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport was closed during 12-13 January. Some roads from Talisay to Lemery and Agoncillo were impassible and electricity and water services were intermittent. Ashfall in several provinces caused power outages. Authorities continued to evacuate high-risk areas, and by 13 January more than 24,500 people had moved to 75 shelters out of a total number of 460,000 people within 14 km.

A PHIVOLCS report for 0800 on the 13th through 0800 on 14 January noted that lava fountaining had continued, with steam-rich ash plumes reaching around 2 km above the volcano and dispersing ash SE and W of Main Crater. Volcanic lighting continued at the base of the plumes. Fissures on the N flank produced 500-m-tall lava fountains. Heavy ashfall continued in the Lemery, Talisay, Taal, and Cuenca, Batangas Municipalities. By 1300 on the 13th lava fountaining generated 800-m-tall, dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes that drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions averaged 5,299 metric tons/day (t/d) on 13 January and dispersed NNE (figure 19).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Compilation of sulfur dioxide plumes from TROPOMI overlaid in Google Earth for 13 January from 0313-1641 UT. Courtesy of NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page and Google Earth.

Explosions and ash emission through 22 January 2020. At 0800 on 15 January PHIVOLCS stated that activity was generally weaker; dark gray, steam-laden ash plumes rose about 1 km and drifted SW. Satellite images showed that the Main Crater lake was gone and new craters had formed inside Main Crater and on the N side of Volcano Island.

PHIVOLCS reported that activity during 15-16 January was characterized by dark gray, steam-laden plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the vents in Main Crater and drifted S and SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 4,186 t/d on 15 January. Eruptive events at 0617 and 0621 on 16 January generated short-lived, dark gray ash plumes that rose 500 and 800 m, respectively, and drifted SW. Weak steam plumes rose 800 m and drifted SW during 1100-1700, and nine weak explosions were recorded by the seismic network.

Steady steam emissions were visible during 17-21 January. Infrequent weak explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km and drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions fluctuated and were as high as 4,353 t/d on 20 January and as low as 344 t/d on 21 January. PHIVOLCS reported that white steam-laden plumes rose as high as 800 m above main vent during 22-28 January and drifted SW and NE; ash emissions ceased around 0500 on 22 January. Remobilized ash drifted SW on 22 January due to strong low winds, affecting the towns of Lemery (16 km SW) and Agoncillo, and rose as high as 5.8 km altitude as reported by pilots. Sulfur dioxide emissions were low at 140 t/d.

Steam plumes through mid-April 2020. The Alert Level was lowered to 3 on 26 January and PHIVOLCS recommended no entry onto Volcano Island and Taal Lake, nor into towns on the western side of the island within a 7-km radius. PHIVOLCS reported that whitish steam plumes rose as high as 800 m during 29 January-4 February and drifted SW (figure 20). The observed steam plumes rose as high as 300 m during 5-11 February and drifted SW.

Sulfur dioxide emissions averaged around 250 t/d during 22-26 January; emissions were 87 t/d on 27 January and below detectable limits the next day. During 29 January-4 February sulfur dioxide emissions ranged to a high of 231 t/d (on 3 February). The following week sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 116 t/d (on 8 February).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Taal Volcano Island producing gas-and-steam plumes on 15-16 January 2020. Courtesy of James Reynolds, Earth Uncut.

On 14 February PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 2, noting a decline in the number of volcanic earthquakes, stabilizing ground deformation of the caldera and Volcano Island, and diffuse steam-and-gas emission that continued to rise no higher than 300 m above the main vent during the past three weeks. During 14-18 February sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 58 tonnes per day (on 16 February). Sulfur dioxide emissions were below detectable limits during 19-20 February. During 26 February-2 March steam plumes rose 50-300 m above the vent and drifted SW and NE. PHIVOLCS reported that during 4-10 March weak steam plumes rose 50-100 m and drifted SW and NE; moderate steam plumes rose 300-500 m and drifted SW during 8-9 March. During 11-17 March weak steam plumes again rose only 50-100 m and drifted SW and NE.

PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level to 1 on 19 March and recommended no entry onto Volcano Island, the area defined as the Permanent Danger Zone. During 8-9 April steam plumes rose 100-300 m and drifted SW. As of 1-2 May 2020 only weak steaming and fumarolic activity from fissure vents along the Daang Kastila trail was observed.

Evacuations. According to the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) there were a total of 53,832 people dispersed to 244 evacuation centers by 1800 on 15 January. By 21 January there were 148,987 people in 493 evacuation. The number of residents in evacuation centers dropped over the next week to 125,178 people in 497 locations on 28 January. However, many residents remained displaced as of 3 February, with DROMIC reporting 23,915 people in 152 evacuation centers, but an additional 224,188 people staying at other locations.

By 10 February there were 17,088 people in 110 evacuation centers, and an additional 211,729 staying at other locations. According to the DROMIC there were a total of 5,321 people in 21 evacuation centers, and an additional 195,987 people were staying at other locations as of 19 February.

The number of displaced residents continued to drop, and by 3 March there were 4,314 people in 12 evacuation centers, and an additional 132,931 people at other locations. As of 11 March there were still 4,131 people in 11 evacuation centers, but only 17,563 staying at other locations.

Deformation and ground cracks. New ground cracks were observed on 13 January in Sinisian (18 km SW), Mahabang Dahilig (14 km SW), Dayapan (15 km SW), Palanas (17 km SW), Sangalang (17 km SW), and Poblacion (19 km SW) Lemery; Pansipit (11 km SW), Agoncillo; Poblacion 1, Poblacion 2, Poblacion 3, Poblacion 5 (all around 17 km SW), Talisay, and Poblacion (11 km SW), San Nicolas (figure 21). A fissure opened across the road connecting Agoncillo to Laurel, Batangas. New ground cracking was reported the next day in Sambal Ibaba (17 km SW), and portions of the Pansipit River (SW) had dried up.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Video screenshots showing ground cracks that formed during the Taal unrest and captured on 15 and 16 January 2020. Courtesy of James Reynolds, Earth Uncut.

Dropping water levels of Taal Lake were first observed in some areas on 16 January but reported to be lake-wide the next day. The known ground cracks in the barangays of Lemery, Agoncillo, Talisay, and San Nicolas in Batangas Province widened a few centimeters by 17 January, and a new steaming fissure was identified on the N flank of the island.

GPS data had recorded a sudden widening of the caldera by ~1 m, uplift of the NW sector by ~20 cm, and subsidence of the SW part of Volcano Island by ~1 m just after the main eruption phase. The rate of deformation was smaller during 15-22 January, and generally corroborated by field observations; Taal Lake had receded about 30 cm by 25 January but about 2.5 m of the change (due to uplift) was observed around the SW portion of the lake, near the Pansipit River Valley where ground cracking had been reported.

Weak steaming (plumes 10-20 m high) from ground cracks was visible during 5-11 February along the Daang Kastila trail which connects the N part of Volcano Island to the N part of the main crater. PHIVOLCS reported that during 19-24 February steam plumes rose 50-100 m above the vent and drifted SW. Weak steaming (plumes up to 20 m high) from ground cracks was visible during 8-14 April along the Daang Kastila trail which connects the N part of Volcano Island to the N part of the main crater.

Seismicity. Between 1300 on 12 January and 0800 on 21 January the Philippine Seismic Network (PSN) had recorded a total of 718 volcanic earthquakes; 176 of those had magnitudes ranging from 1.2-4.1 and were felt with Intensities of I-V. During 20-21 January there were five volcanic earthquakes with magnitudes of 1.6-2.5; the Taal Volcano network (which can detect smaller events not detectable by the PSN) recorded 448 volcanic earthquakes, including 17 low-frequency events. PHIVOLCS stated that by 21 January hybrid earthquakes had ceased and both the number and magnitude of low-frequency events had diminished.

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

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) (URL: https://dromic.dswd.gov.ph/); United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Philippines (URL: https://www.unocha.org/philippines); James Reynolds, Earth Uncut TV (Twitter: @EarthUncutTV, URL: https://www.earthuncut.tv/, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TyphoonHunter); Chris Vagasky, Vaisala Inc., Louisville, Colorado, USA (URL: https://www.vaisala.com/en?type=1, Twitter: @COweatherman, URL: https://twitter.com/COweatherman); Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore (URL: https://www.earthobservatory.sg/); 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/); Relief Web, Flash Update No. 1 - Philippines: Taal Volcano eruption (As of 13 January 2020, 2 p.m. local time) (URL: https://reliefweb.int/report/philippines/flash-update-no-1-philippines-taal-volcano-eruption-13-january-2020-2-pm-local); Bloomberg, Philippines Braces for Hazardous Volcano Eruption (URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-12/philippines-raises-alert-level-in-taal-as-volcano-spews-ash); National Public Radio (NPR), Volcanic Eruption In Philippines Causes Thousands To Flee (URL: npr.org/2020/01/13/795815351/volcanic-eruption-in-philippines-causes-thousands-to-flee); Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/); Agence France-Presse (URL: http://www.afp.com/); Pacific Press (URL: http://www.pacificpress.com/); Shutterstock (URL: https://www.shutterstock.com/); Getty Images (URL: http://www.gettyimages.com/); Google Earth (URL: https://www.google.com/earth/).


Unnamed (Tonga) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Unnamed

Tonga

18.325°S, 174.365°W; summit elev. -40 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Additional details and pumice raft drift maps from the August 2019 submarine eruption

In the northern Tonga region, approximately 80 km NW of Vava’u, large areas of floating pumice, termed rafts, were observed starting as early as 7 August 2019. The area of these andesitic pumice rafts was initially 195 km2 with the layers measuring 15-30 cm thick and were produced 200 m below sea level (Jutzeler et al. 2020). The previous report (BGVN 44:11) described the morphology of the clasts and the rafts, and their general westward path from 9 August to 9 October 2019, with the first sighting occurring on 9 August NW of Vava’u in Tonga. This report updates details regarding the submarine pumice raft eruption in early August 2019 using new observations and data from Brandl et al. (2019) and Jutzeler et al. (2020).

The NoToVE-2004 (Northern Tonga Vents Expedition) research cruise on the RV Southern Surveyor (SS11/2004) from the Australian CSIRO Marine National Facility traveled to the northern Tonga Arc and discovered several submarine basalt-to-rhyolite volcanic centers (Arculus, 2004). One of these volcanic centers 50 km NW of Vava’u was the unnamed seamount (volcano number 243091) that had erupted in 2001 and again in 2019, unofficially designated “Volcano F” for reference purposes by Arculus (2004) and also used by Brandl et al. (2019). It is a volcanic complex that rises more than 1 km from the seafloor with a central 6 x 8.7 km caldera and a volcanic apron measuring over 50 km in diameter (figures 19 and 20). Arculus (2004) described some of the dredged material as “fresh, black, plagioclase-bearing lava with well-formed, glassy crusts up to 2cm thick” from cones by the eastern wall of the caldera; a number of apparent flows, lava or debris, were observed draping over the northern wall of the caldera.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Visualization of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano (marked “Volcano F”) using bathymetric data to show the site of the 6-8 August 2020 eruption and the rest of the cone complex. Courtesy of Philipp Brandl via GEOMAR.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Map of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano using satellite imagery, bathymetric data, with shading from the NW. The yellow circle indicates the location of the August 2019 activity. Young volcanic cones are marked “C” and those with pit craters at the top are marked with “P.” Courtesy of Brandl et al. (2019).

The International Seismological Centre (ISC) Preliminary Bulletin listed a particularly strong (5.7 Mw) earthquake at 2201 local time on 5 August, 15 km SSW of the volcano at a depth of 10 km (Brandl et al. 2019). This event was followed by six slightly lower magnitude earthquakes over the next two days.

Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed two concentric rings originating from a point source (18.307°S 174.395°W) on 6 August (figure 21), which could be interpreted as small weak submarine plumes or possibly a series of small volcanic cones, according to Brandl et al. (2019). The larger ring is about 1.2 km in diameter and the smaller one measures 250 m. By 8 August volcanic activity had decreased, but the pumice rafts that were produced remained visible through at least early October (BGVN 44:11). Brandl et al. (2019) states that, due to the lack of continued observed activity rising from this location, the eruption was likely a 2-day-long event during 6-8 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 21. Sentinel-2 satellite image of possible gas/vapor emissions (streaks) on 6 August 2019 drifting NW, which is the interpreted site for the unnamed Tongan seamount. The larger ring is about 1.2 km in diameter and the smaller one measures 250 m. Image using False Color (urban) rendering (bands 12, 11, 4); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

The pumice was first observed on 9 August occurred up to 56 km from the point of origin, according to Jutzeler et al. (2020). By calculating the velocity (14 km/day) of the raft using three satellites, Jutzeler et al. (2020) determined the pumice was erupted immediately after the satellite image of the submarine plumes on 6 August (UTC time). Minor activity at the vent may have continued on 8 and 11 August (UTC time) with pale blue-green water discoloration (figure 22) and a small (less than 1 km2) diffuse pumice raft 2-5 km from the vent.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 22. Sentinel-2 satellite image of the last visible activity occurring W of the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano on 8 August 2019, represented by slightly discolored blue-green water. Image using Natural Color rendering (bands 4, 3, 2) and enhanced with color correction; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Continuous observations using various satellite data and observations aboard the catamaran ROAM tracked the movement and extent of the pumice raft that was produced during the submarine eruption in early August (figure 23). The first visible pumice raft was observed on 8 August 2019, covering more than 136.7 km2 between the volcanic islands of Fonualei and Late and drifting W for 60 km until 9 August (Brandl et al. 2019; Jutzeler 2020). The next day, the raft increased to 167.2-195 km2 while drifting SW for 74 km until 14 August. Over the next three days (10-12 August) the size of the raft briefly decreased in size to less than 100 km2 before increasing again to 157.4 km2 on 14 August; at least nine individual rafts were mapped and identified on satellite imagery (Brandl et al. 2019). On 15 August sailing vessels observed a large pumice raft about 75 km W of Late Island (see details in BGVN 44:11), which was the same one as seen in satellite imagery on 8 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Map of the extent of discolored water and the pumice raft from the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano between 8 and 14 August 2019 using imagery from NASA’s MODIS, ESA’s Sentinel-2 satellite, and observations from aboard the catamaran ROAM (BGVN 44:11). Back-tracing the path of the pumice raft points to a source location at the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano. Courtesy of Brandl et al. (2019).

By 17 August high-resolution satellite images showed an area of large and small rafts measuring 222 km2 and were found within a field of smaller rafts for a total extent of 1,350 km2, which drifted 73 km NNW through 22 August before moving counterclockwise for three days (figure f; Jutzeler et al., 2020). Small pumice ribbons encountered the Oneata Lagoon on 30 August, the first island that the raft came into contact (Jutzeler et al. 2020). By 2 September, the main raft intersected with Lakeba Island (460 km from the source) (figure 24), breaking into smaller ribbons that started to drift W on 8 September. On 19 September the small rafts (less than 100 m x less than 2 km) entered the strait between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, the two main islands of Fiji, while most of the others were stranded 60 km W in the Yasawa Islands for more than two months (Jutzeler et al., 2020).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Time-series map of the raft dispersal from the unnamed submarine Tongan volcano using multiple satellite images. A) Map showing the first days of the raft dispersal starting on 7 August 2019 and drifting SW from the vent (marked with a red triangle). Precursory seismicity that began on 5 August is marked with a white star. By 15-17 August the raft was entrained in an ocean loop or eddy. The dashed lines represent the path of the sailing vessels. B) Map of the raft dispersal using high-resolution Sentinel-2 and -3 imagery. Two dispersal trails (red and blue dashed lines) show the daily dispersal of two parts of the raft that were separated on 17 August 2019. Courtesy of Jutzeler et al. (2020).

References: Arculus, R J, SS2004/11 shipboard scientists, 2004. SS11/2004 Voyage Summary: NoToVE-2004 (Northern Tonga Vents Expedition): submarine hydrothermal plume activity and petrology of the northern Tofua Arc, Tonga. https://www.cmar.csiro.au/data/reporting/get file.cfm?eovpub id=901.

Brandl P A, Schmid F, Augustin N, Grevemeyer I, Arculus R J, Devey C W, Petersen S, Stewart M , Kopp K, Hannington M D, 2019. The 6-8 Aug 2019 eruption of ‘Volcano F’ in the Tofua Arc, Tonga. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2019.106695

Jutzeler M, Marsh R, van Sebille E, Mittal T, Carey R, Fauria K, Manga M, McPhie J, 2020. Ongoing Dispersal of the 7 August 2019 Pumice Raft From the Tonga Arc in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean. AGU Geophysical Research Letters: https://doi.orh/10.1029/2019GL086768.

Geologic Background. A submarine volcano along the Tofua volcanic arc was first observed in September 2001. The newly discovered volcano lies NW of the island of Vava'u about 35 km S of Fonualei and 60 km NE of Late volcano. The site of the eruption is along a NNE-SSW-trending submarine plateau with an approximate bathymetric depth of 300 m. T-phase waves were recorded on 27-28 September 2001, and on the 27th local fishermen observed an ash-rich eruption column that rose above the sea surface. No eruptive activity was reported after the 28th, but water discoloration was documented during the following month. In early November rafts and strandings of dacitic pumice were reported along the coast of Kadavu and Viti Levu in the Fiji Islands. The depth of the summit of the submarine cone following the eruption determined to be 40 m during a 2007 survey; the crater of the 2001 eruption was breached to the E.

Information Contacts: Jan Steffen, Communication and Media, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany; Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — June 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

56.056°N, 160.642°E; summit elev. 4754 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Strombolian activity November 2019 through May 2020; lava flow down the SE flank in April

Klyuchevskoy is part of the Klyuchevskaya volcanic group in northern Kamchatka and is one of the most frequently active volcanoes of the region. Eruptions produce lava flows, ashfall, and lahars originating from summit and flank activity. This report summarizes activity during October 2019 through May 2020, and is based on reports by the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) and satellite data.

There were no activity reports from 1 to 22 October, but gas emissions were visible in satellite images. At 1020 on 24 October (2220 on 23 October UTC) KVERT noted that there was a small ash component in the ash plume from erosion of the conduit, with the plume reaching 130 km ENE. The Aviation Colour Code was raised from Green to Yellow, then to Orange the following day. An ash plume continued on the 25th to 5-7 km altitude and extending 15 km SE and 70 km SW and reached 30 km ESE on the 26th. Similar activity continued through to the end of the month.

Moderate gas emissions continued during 1-19 November, but the summit was obscured by clouds. Strong nighttime incandescence was visible at the crater during the 10-11 November and thermal anomalies were detected on 8 and 10-13 November. Explosions produced ash plumes up to 6 km altitude on the 20-21st and Strombolian activity was reported during 20-22 November. Degassing continued from 23 November through 12 December, and a thermal anomaly was visible on the days when the summit was not covered by clouds. An ash plume was reported moving to the NW on the 13th, and degassing with a thermal anomaly and intermittent Strombolian activity then resumed, continuing through to the end of December with an ash plume reported on the 30th.

Gas-and-steam plumes continued into January 2020 with incandescence noted when the summit was clear (figure 33). Strombolian activity was reported again starting on the 3rd. A weak ash plume produced on the 6th extended 55 km E, and on the 21st an ash plume reached 5-5.5 km altitude and extended 190 km NE (figure 34). Another ash plume the next day rose to the same altitude and extended 388 km NE. During 23-29 Strombolian activity continued, and Vulcanian activity produced ash plumes up to 5.5 altitude, extending to 282 km E on the 30th, and 145 km E on the 31st.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Incandescence and degassing were visible at Klyuchevskoy through January 2020, seen here on the 11th. Courtesy of KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. A low ash plume at Klyuchevskoy on 21 January 2020 extended 190 km NE. Courtesy of KVERT.

Strombolian activity continued throughout February with occasional explosions producing ash plumes up to 5.5 km altitude, as well as gas-and-steam plumes and a persistent thermal anomaly with incandescence visible at night. Starting in late February thermal anomalies were detected much more frequently, and with higher energy output compared to the previous year (figure 35). A lava fountain was reported on 1 March with the material falling back into the summit crater. Strombolian activity continued through early March. Lava fountaining was reported again on the 8th with ejecta landing in the crater and down the flanks (figure 36). A strong persistent gas-and-steam plume containing some ash continued along with Strombolian activity through 25 March (figure 37), with Vulcanian activity noted on the 20th and 25th. Strombolian and Vulcanian activity was reported through the end of March.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 35. This MIROVA thermal energy plot for Klyuchevskoy for the year ending 29 April 2020 (log radiative power) shows intermittent thermal anomalies leading up to more sustained energy detected from February through March, then steadily increasing energy through April 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Strombolian explosions at Klyuchevskoy eject incandescent ash and gas, and blocks and bombs onto the upper flanks on 8 and 10 March 2020. Courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 37. Weak ash emission from the Klyuchevskoy summit crater are dispersed by wind on 19 and 29 March 2020, with ash depositing on the flanks. Courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.

Activity was dominantly Strombolian during 1-5 April and included intermittent Vulcanian explosions from the 6th onwards, with ash plumes reaching 6 km altitude. On 18 April a lava flow began moving down the SE flank (figures 38). A report on the 26th reported explosions from lava-water interactions with avalanches from the active lava flow, which continued to move down the SE flank and into the Apakhonchich chute (figures 39 and 40). This continued throughout April and May with sustained Strombolian and intermittent Vulcanian activity at the summit (figures 41 and 42).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. Strombolian activity produced ash plumes and a lava flow down the SE flank of Klyuchevskoy on 18 April 2020. Courtesy of IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. A lava flow descends the SW flank of Klyuchevskoy and a gas plume is dispersed by winds on 21 April 2020. Courtesy of Yu. Demyanchuk, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images show the progression of the Klyuchevskoy lava flow from the summit crater down the SE flank from 19-29 April 2020. Associated gas plumes are dispersed in various directions. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy ejects incandescent ejecta, gas, and ash above the summit on 27 April 2020. Courtesy of D. Bud'kov, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Klyuchevskoy show the progression of the SE flank lava flow through May 2020, with associated gas plumes being dispersed in multiple directions. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka's highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank 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/); 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).


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. 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. 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).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 17, Number 05 (May 1992)

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Additional Reports (Unknown)

Fiji: Pumice rafts; source unknown

Aira (Japan)

Explosions and seismic swarms continue

Antuco (Chile)

Fumarolic activity in summit crater's small scoria cone

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Lava flows continue to advance; stronger and more frequent explosions

Asosan (Japan)

Mud/water ejections from heating crater lake; tremor episodes

Avachinsky (Russia)

Fumarolic activity around 1991 dome

Barren Island (India)

Continued gas emission from central crater and lava flow; animal and plant life recovering

Bezymianny (Russia)

Gas emission from center of dome

Etna (Italy)

Fissure eruption continues; lava diverted; lava field described

Fuego (Guatemala)

Seismicity and continued fumarolic activity

Galeras (Colombia)

Occasional explosions eject ash; strong fumarolic activity on 1991 dome; earthquakes and tremor decline

Heard (Australia)

Plumes and glow; volcano morphology and 1986-87 activity described; 1992 summit eruption

Ijen (Indonesia)

Infrared Space Shuttle photograph shows caldera and crater lake

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Fumarolic activity in and around crater lake; low-frequency seismicity

Kanlaon (Philippines)

Small ash emission

Kilauea (United States)

Lava production from episode-51 vent interrupted by brief pauses; lava lake in nearby crater

Klyuchevskoy (Russia)

Small explosions eject ash

Kozushima (Japan)

Continued seismic swarms

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Moderate explosive activity from 2 craters

Lascar (Chile)

New dome fills base of crater; occasional explosions

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Strong explosions from summit craters; lava flows; avalanches

Pacaya (Guatemala)

Numerous explosions; lava flows; temporary evacuations

Pinatubo (Philippines)

Rains on 1991 deposits produce destructive mudflows

Poas (Costa Rica)

Thermal activity in crater lake feeds 1-km plume; frequent earthquakes and occasional tremor

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Seismic swarm; uplift over broad area

Raung (Indonesia)

Infrared Space Shuttle photograph shows devegetated summit area

Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica)

Thermal activity from crater lake; occasional seismicity

Rinjani (Indonesia)

Infrared Space Shuttle photo of Lombok Island during May 1992

Ruapehu (New Zealand)

Thermal activity but no phreatic eruptions from Crater Lake

Saba (Netherlands)

Seismic swarm

Santa Maria (Guatemala)

Frequent explosions feed small ash columns; continued erosion threatens vent area

Spurr (United States)

Ash eruption follows increased seismicity and thermal activity

Stromboli (Italy)

Frequent explosions; increased seismicity

Suwanosejima (Japan)

Tephra clouds from frequent explosions

Tongariro (New Zealand)

Fumarole temperatures and gas chemistry unchanged from 1989; no significant deformation or seismicity

Unzendake (Japan)

Lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows

Villarrica (Chile)

Volcanic earthquakes and tremor

Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand)

Continued tephra ejection from three vents



Additional Reports (Unknown) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Additional Reports

Unknown

Unknown, Unknown; summit elev. m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fiji: Pumice rafts; source unknown

A Fiji Air passenger saw two narrow, elongate rafts of drifting pumice in the Kadavu passage ~30 km SE of Suva (figure 1) on 24 January. Fiji's Maritime Surveillance Centre issued a warning to mariners, published in newspapers on 27 January. Pumice was subsequently reported from ships roughly 50 km SW and 160 km NW of the initial observation.

see figure caption Figure 1. Map of Fiji, from Baleivanualala, 1992, showing locations of pumice rafts seen in early 1992.

A search of the Suva Harbour area on 27 January revealed pumice floating in the Suva Passage and stranded at the high-tide line around the Suva Peninsula. The pumice was gravel-sized, with the largest fragment ~4 cm across. The samples were weathered and some included living barnacles up to 9 mm long. After the 1984 Home Reef (Tonga) eruption, barnacles 1.5 cm long were found on pumice that was at most 25 weeks old, so a provisional maximum age of 15 weeks was assigned by Baleivanualala to the barnacles found in January 1992. Given an estimated drift rate of ~12 km/day (Rodda and Jones, 1990), the pumice might have traveled 1,300 km from the eruption site. No reports of eruptions in the Tonga-Kermadec region have been received.

References. Baleivanualala, V., 1992, Drift pumice in Kadavu Passage, January 1992: Fiji Mineral Resources Department Note BP57/1, 3 pp.

Rodda, P., and Jones, T.D., 1990, The 1990 reports of drift pumice in Fiji (Corrigendum): Fiji Mineral Resources Department Note BP1/91.

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

Information Contacts: V. Baleivanualala and P. Rodda, Mineral Resources Dept, Suva, Fiji.


Aira (Japan) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Explosions and seismic swarms continue

Eight explosions occurred . . . in May . . . . The month's highest ash plume rose 2,500 m on 22 May. Seismic swarms were recorded seven times in May, each lasting for ~5 hours, normal for the volcano.

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.


Antuco (Chile) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Antuco

Chile

37.406°S, 71.349°W; summit elev. 2979 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity in summit crater's small scoria cone

During a February overflight, fumarolic activity was visible in the small scoria cone nested within the main crater. Weak summit fumaroles had previously been observed during visits in 1969, 1982, and March 1984. Fumarolic activity has apparently been continuous, but of variable intensity, from the cone since the volcano's last eruption in 1869. Lava flows from Antuco dammed Laja Lake's outlet in 1853, causing the water level to rise around 20 m.

Geologic Background. Antuco volcano, constructed to the NE of the Pleistocene Sierra Velluda stratovolcano, rises dramatically above the SW shore of Laguna de la Laja. Antuco has a complicated history beginning with construction of the basaltic-to-andesitic Sierra Velluda and Cerro Condor stratovolcanoes of Pliocene-Pleistocene age. Construction of the Antuco I volcano was followed by edifice failure at the beginning of the Holocene that produced a large debris avalanche which traveled down the Río Laja to the west and left a large 5-km-wide horseshoe-shaped caldera breached to the west. The steep-sided modern basaltic-to-andesitic cone of has grown 1000 m since then; flank fissures and cones have also been active. Moderate explosive eruptions were recorded in the 18th and 19th centuries from both summit and flank vents, and historical lava flows have traveled into the Río Laja drainage.

Information Contacts: H. Moreno, SAVO, Temuco.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — May 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; stronger and more frequent explosions

Two lobes of the lava flow active since November continued to extend down the W flank in May, with an estimated total volume of 3 x 106 m3 of lava. The northernmost lobe divided into several fronts; the longest reached to ~800 m elevation, while the most active front became channeled in a valley at ~855 m elevation on 14 May. A lava temperature of 820°C was measured at the front using an infrared thermometer. The southern lobe continued to travel along a more gentle slope to ~700 m elevation, covering and burning roughly 100 m2 of forest and grasslands. Summit incandescence, visible at night, suggested to scientists that a lava lake was feeding the active lava flow. Small pyroclastic flows occurred sporadically. One observed at 0723 on 13 May flowed down the W flank to 1,200 m elevation.

Explosive activity increased in number and magnitude from preceding months, especially since 26 May, when new explosions produced ash columns >1 km high and bombs fell to 1,000 m elevation. Between 23 April and 12 May, 80 g/m2 ash had accumulated 1.8 km W of the crater (at 740 m elevation). Samples were composed of very fine ash (40%), and fine and medium-sized scoria fragments and plagioclase crystals (60%). Volcanic earthquakes averaged 10/day in May (compared to 6 and 15 daily in April and March, respectively), with maxima of 20-24 on 15, 23, and 28 May. The month's highest levels of tremor were recorded on 7, 12, 14, 17, and 22 May.

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, R. Barquero, and G. Alvarado, ICE; M. Fernández, Univ de Costa Rica; E. Fernández, J. Barquero, and V. Barboza, OVSICORI.


Asosan (Japan) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Mud/water ejections from heating crater lake; tremor episodes

Isolated volcanic tremor episodes began to increase in October 1991, reaching about 100 events/day by the end of May. The increase in seismic activity followed a period of quiet after the July 1989-December 1990 eruptive phase. Ejections of mud and water, the first since June 1991, were observed within the active crater lake . . . on 23 April. Similar ejections, to 5 m height, were observed on 27 April, 1 and 27 May, and 2 June. The lake's surface temperature has been increasing since March-May 1991 when it was 20-30°C, reaching ~70°C (measured by infrared thermometer) in May. Weak mud ejections have been common in the past, during the period between eruptive phases when the crater is normally occupied by a lake, but have not been observed during the lowest levels of activity.

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

Information Contacts: JMA.


Avachinsky (Russia) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Avachinsky

Russia

53.256°N, 158.836°E; summit elev. 2717 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity around 1991 dome

Fumarolic activity was occurring from numerous points around the margins of the January 1991 lava dome during a 13 May overflight. Numerous circumferential and radial fissures, previously observed in October 1991, covered the dome's surface, but the small lava flows that extended down the SSE and SW flanks were no longer visible.

Geologic Background. Avachinsky, one of Kamchatka's most active volcanoes, rises above Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka's largest city. It began to form during the middle or late Pleistocene, and is flanked to the SE by the parasitic volcano Kozelsky, which has a large crater breached to the NE. A large horseshoe-shaped caldera, breached to the SW, was created when a major debris avalanche about 30,000-40,000 years ago buried an area of about 500 km2 to the south underlying the city of Petropavlovsk. Reconstruction of the volcano took place in two stages, the first of which began about 18,000 years before present (BP), and the second 7000 years BP. Most eruptive products have been explosive, with pyroclastic flows and hot lahars being directed primarily to the SW by the breached caldera, although relatively short lava flows have been emitted. The frequent historical eruptions have been similar in style and magnitude to previous Holocene eruptions.

Information Contacts: H. Gaudru, SVE, Switzerland; G. de St. Cyr, T. de St. Cyr, and I. de St. Cyr, Lyon, France; T. Vaudelin, Genève, Switzerland.


Barren Island (India) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Barren Island

India

12.278°N, 93.858°E; summit elev. 354 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued gas emission from central crater and lava flow; animal and plant life recovering

A multidisciplinary team from the GSI, IMD, CARI, and the Wildlife Dept visited Barren Island on 21-22 May. Hot gas was emerging from the funnel-shaped [300-m-deep] crater, which had an estimated diameter of [400 m] at the rim. The 1991 lava flow that extended to the coast was covered with rain-compacted scoriae and ash, and had a smooth, flat surface like a paved road. The flow's surface temperature was 40°C, but at 1/3 m depth it exceeded the thermometer's 360°C limit. Gases were emitted from small holes in the flow. A portable seismograph recorded several mild seismic events.

Some burnt ficus trees on the NW coast were sprouting new shoots, but badly charred ones appeared dead. Crabs were plentiful, even on the lava flow, and 25 feral goats were counted in one hour in the surrounding hills. Many birds were visible, but rats were completely absent. The water around the island was clear and of normal temperature, and fish were observed.

Further References. Haldar, D., Laskar, T., Bandyapadhyay, P.C., Sarkar, N.K., and Biswas, J.K., 1992, Volcanic eruption of the Barren Island volcano, Andaman Sea: J. of the Geological Society of India, v. 39, no. 5, p. 411-419.

Haldar, D., Laskar, T., Bandyapadhyay, P.C., Sarkar, N.K., and Biswas, J.K., 1992, A note on the recent eruption of the Barren Island volcano: Indian Minerals, v. 46, no. 1, p. 77-88.

Geologic Background. Barren Island, a possession of India in the Andaman Sea about 135 km NE of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, is the only historically active volcano along the N-S volcanic arc extending between Sumatra and Burma (Myanmar). It is the emergent summit of a volcano that rises from a depth of about 2250 m. The small, uninhabited 3-km-wide island contains a roughly 2-km-wide caldera with walls 250-350 m high. The caldera, which is open to the sea on the west, was created during a major explosive eruption in the late Pleistocene that produced pyroclastic-flow and -surge deposits. Historical eruptions have changed the morphology of the pyroclastic cone in the center of the caldera, and lava flows that fill much of the caldera floor have reached the sea along the western coast.

Information Contacts: S. Acharya, SANE.


Bezymianny (Russia) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Bezymianny

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Gas emission from center of dome

Gas emission from the center of Novy Dome produced a white-and-brown plume that covered the dome complex, especially its NE side, during an 18 May visit. No evidence of recent collapse was visible.

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

Information Contacts: H. Gaudru, SVE, Switzerland; G. de St. Cyr, T. de St. Cyr, and I. de St. Cyr, A.V. Lyon, France; T. Vaudelin, Genève, Switzerland.


Etna (Italy) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption continues; lava diverted; lava field described

The following is from R. Romano. Lava production from the fissure ... was continuing without noticeable variation in mid-June. Gas emission, from four explosion vents between 2,335 and 2,215 m elevation, has diminished along the upper part of the fissure. The main lava channel has roofed over, but lava was visible through a skylight beginning at 2,205 m elevation, where the effusion rate was estimated at 6-8 m3/s and the flow velocity at ~ 1 m/s on 7 and 13 June. Three more skylights were open along the main channel to 2,020 m asl. An overflow occurred on 12 June from one of the skylights, at 2,075 m altitude, but lava advanced only a few meters before returning to the main channel. This overflow was still active the next day. Ephemeral vents from the main tube remained active through the end of May: in the Valle del Bove; below the Valle del Bove in Val Calanna; and near the distal end of the flow field, along a deep gully under Portella Calanna (figure 48). Lava flows emerged more or less continuously from the latter vents, but did not descend below 800 m altitude. The total volume of lava produced by the eruption is estimated at 150 x 106 m3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Status of activity within Etna's flow field on 18 May 1992, after 153 days of activity. Modified by Hughes and Bulmer from map by Romano in 17:4. Contour interval, 100 m.

Lava diversion. An earthen barrier built in a valley above the town of Zafferana Etnea in early January was breached by lava on 7 April. Lava overran a series of additional barriers the following week but stopped before reaching the town. Subsequent hazards efforts focused on reducing the lava supply to the end of the flow, by obstructing the main lava tube near the vent and disrupting lava production at ephemeral vents (17:3-4).

F. Barberi and L. Villari report successful lava diversion from the main tube, at a site 500 m downslope from the primary eruptive vent. In this area, at ~ 2,000 m elevation on the W wall of the Valle del Bove, lava was carried through a single tube locally broken by skylights. On 27 May, about 2/3 of the tube's lava was diverted into an artificially excavated channel by blasting through the 2-3-m-thick wall of the right levee. Two days later, bulldozers obstructed the natural channel by pushing large blocks of lava into it. By 1815 that day, all of the lava output (~30 m3/s) was flowing into the artificial channel. In effect, the diversion returned the active flow front to its position a few days after the onset of the eruption. Lava was moving downslope along the same path as the earlier main flow, but was > 6 km upslope from its previously most advanced front.

Flows generated by lava diversion efforts. R. Romano reports that as of 13 June, a vent remained active at the site of the first lava diversion. Although the vent has been shrinking, it continued to feed a flow that has advanced over lava from previous months, forming tubes and various ephemeral vents, many of which were near the S wall of the Valle del Bove. The ephemeral vents produced two lava flows, one near the S wall of the Valle del Bove at around 1,700 m elevation, the other in a more central position, at ~ 1,800 m asl on the main lava field. The lava flows that formed after the first diversion advanced more than a kilometer over the center of the lava field. Flows that followed the second diversion remained predominantly near the S wall of the Valle del Bove, passing and encircling a site at 1,575 m asl (Poggio Canfareddi), 2 km from their point of origin, on 3 June. This lava front stopped advancing on 5 June and several superposing lobes began to develop.

Seismicity and summit activity. Weak seismic activity began on 29 May, followed by an increase in volcanic tremor on 31 May that continued until the next day. Ash emissions, sometimes voluminous, occurred from the central craters at irregular intervals on 31 May and 1 June, first from the W vent (Bocca Nuova) then from the E vent (La Voragine). Only weak degassing preceded the ash ejection, but gas emission became more consistent beginning 2 June. COSPEC measurements yielded SO2 flux values of ~ 10,000 t/d. Flashes from the summit craters were observed during the evening of 7 June from the W flank. Fieldwork on 12 June revealed that Northeast Crater was obstructed, with only fumarolic activity along the walls.

EDM data. S. Saunders reports that four lines of an EDM network on the upper S flank were remeasured on 7 May, showing a 138-ppm contraction that was interpreted as deflation during the eruption. Between July and October 1991, total extensional strain along these lines was 88 ppm, indicating pre-eruption inflation. Strain along these lines has returned to near pre-eruption levels.

Landsat Thematic Mapper data. The following is from D. Rothery. "The 1991-92 sustained lava eruption of Etna provides an opportunity to study lava flow development by remote sensing. The first cloud-free Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) image of the eruption was recorded on 2 January at approximately 1000 (figure 49). Landsat repeats its coverage on a 16-day cycle; the next cloud-free acquisition was on 22 March and we are still awaiting receipt of those data. By manipulating radiance measurements in two wavebands, we hope to be able to constrain the surface temperature distribution of this flow along its length. The most noteworthy aspects of the 2 January data are: 1) There is a narrow 700-m length near the source that is radiant in TM band 4 (0.76-0.90 mm wavelength). As far as we know, this is the first time that thermal radiance in TM band 4 has been reported over a volcano. Field observations (A. Borgia) on 2 and 3 January show that this feature corresponds to a 10-15-m-wide open channel at the source of the flow. 2) The entire 6.5-km-long active flow is radiant in TM band 7 (2.08-2.35 mm wavelength). At least some of the areas that are also radiant in band 5 (1.55-1.75 mm) occur when the flow spills down a steep slope, breaking apart the raft of blocks and crust that otherwise blanket the underlying lava at near-magmatic temperatures."

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Extracts of Landsat TMr images of Etna, 2 January 1992, in band 4 (0.76-0.90 mm wavelength, left) and band 7 (2.08-2.35 mm wavelength, right) at pixel sizes of 30 x 30 m. In band 4, much of Etna is snow-covered (white), while the active lava flow is the darkest land feature because of its very low reflectance in this part of the spectrum (very-near infrared). Thermal radiance is confined to a narrow channel near the source and is not evident at this scale. In band 7, the active flow is radiant through most of its length. Bright lines are caused by sensor overload. Courtesy of D. Rothery.

Lava field characteristics. The following is an excerpt from a preliminary report by Wyn Hughes and Mark Bulmer, describing the eruption as of 18 May.

Lava leaving the eruptive vent advanced through a tube system that extended downslope to the foot of the western backwall of the Valle del Bove at 1,850 m asl. Several skylights were spaced at intervals along it. At the break in slope, numerous active ephemeral vents issued new lava-flow units onto the surface of the flow field (figure 48). These did not travel far from their source. Surface activity was otherwise absent within the Valle del Bove; lava was being efficiently transported through tubes toward the flow front. One tube system (with skylights and fume) could be traced through the center of the flow field in the Valle del Bove, toward Val Calanna. At the distal end of the Valle del Bove, several pressure ridges were visible, oriented perpendicular to the underlying ground slope.

Most of the surface activity was occurring in Val Calanna, where intense ephemeral vent activity was issuing new lava-flow units onto the flow-field surface. Lava was being supplied to this area through a series of tubes that descended from the Valle del Bove. Most of the activity in Val Calanna appeared to be supplied by a major tube system that could be traced (by skylights and fume) descending the backwall along its S margin (Salto della Giumenta). A smaller tube system probably supplied some ephemeral vents on the N margin of Val Calanna (S foot of Mte. Calanna).

In Val Calanna, effusive activity was mainly concentrated along the S margin of the flow field, where lava had ponded along the S wall of Val Calanna, and behind the man-made earthen barrier. From there, ephemeral vents in the crust fed numerous new lava-flow units, supplying three regions. Where lava moved directly NE, these were progressively widening the flow field at 1,050 m altitude. Flows that initially moved NE, but then changed to a more easterly direction, were supplying units that flowed around the N margin of the buried man-made barrier. Near the barrier, although active aa-textured flow fronts and channel-fed flow units could be traced on the surface of the flow field, most of the activity that contributed to its widening was supplied from tubes in the previous days' flow units. Ephemeral vents at 1,000 m elevation on the N margin of the buried man-made barrier supplied new flow units that were widening the field to the NE. However, these flow units were abutting the distal levee of the 1852-53 flow field, which was largely hindering the widening. On 18 May, some of these slow-moving tube-fed lavas managed to flow out of Val Calanna, and began the steep descent towards Zafferana. This activity was occurring on the NE side of the flow field. Three ephemeral vents had opened just below the S margin of the man-made barrier. A short distance downslope, flows from these vents combined to feed a front that advanced quite rapidly down the SW side of the flow field on the night of 17 May. By the next morning, and after destroying an abandoned dwelling during the night, the rate of advance had decreased, with the front at ~ 870 m asl. All of these active regions were being channel/tube-fed by lava from along the S wall of Val Calanna, which in turn was being supplied by tubes that descended from the Valle del Bove.

Flow-field morphology. Although the flow field was widening somewhat towards the NE end of Val Calanna, the activity was dominated by ephemeral vents extruding new flow units onto the surface of the original field. This was mainly occurring at ~ 1,800 and 1,050 m altitude, where the backwalls of the Valle del Bove and Val Calanna give way to their respective floors (figures 48 and 50). The surface activity was rapidly burying aa channel-fed flow units from early in the eruption. They could only be seen among the flows that had gone around the N margin of Mte. Calanna, and as isolated inliers on the floor of Val Calanna.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Profile of the pre-eruption terrain in the 1991-92 lava field at Etna. Sites of ephemeral vent activity and zones of lava tubes and channel-fed units are shown diagrammatically. Courtesy of J.W. Hughes and M. Bulmer.

New flow units from ephemeral vents generally emerged with pahoehoe surface textures, in contrast to the early activity whose products had entirely aa textures. The flow-field surface on the floor of Val Calanna, as already occurred in the Valle del Bove, was slowly becoming dominated by pahoehoe textures. Small-scale pahoehoe textures, similar to those described by Pinkerton and Sparks (1978) for the sub-terminal 1975 flow field, prevailed around the ephemeral vents in Val Calanna. However, among the more active vents, pahoehoe slab textures that characterized the near-vent surfaces of new channel-fed flow units progressively changed to aa with increasing distance from the vent area.

Comparison with historical flow fields on Etna. The current ephemeral vent activity within the 1991-92 flow field is consistent with the pattern of historical eruptions that lasted > 100 days (Hughes, 1992). By then, the early channel-fed aa activity that characterized the lengthening and widening phases in the flow field's growth had given way to a tumulus-building phase at the vent area — for example, 1865 (Fouque, 1865); or at a break in slope below the vent area — for example, 1950-51 (Cumin 1954) and 1983 (Frazzetta and Romano, 1984). Important in the emplacement of the 1983 flow field was the evolution of the main supply channel near the vent into a lava tube. By the eruption's 60th day, the tube formed a continuous link between the vent and the lava mound that had accumulated around the break in slope at 2,000 m altitude. The hydrostatic pressures generated within the lava tube were then sufficient to lift and fracture the roof of the lava mound, allowing the escape of lava through ephemeral vent activity. This sequence of events signified the early stages of tumulus development. The present activity occurring at 1,800 m altitude within the Valle del Bove is similar.

The second area of ephemeral vent activity away from the vent area and initial break in slope appears, however, to be unique to the 1991-92 flow field; a similar phenomenon has not been documented for Etna flow fields of the last 250 years. For most, the concave profile of the volcano's flanks (figure 51) meant that once the lava had descended from the steep upper slopes it only encountered progressively gentler gradients. However, the terrain over which the 1991-92 lavas have flowed is much more irregular, with a terraced appearance. The steep terrain around the vent in the upper Valle del Bove is duplicated downslope in the upper reaches of Val Calanna. The morphologic positions of the ephemeral vent activity within the Valle del Bove and Val Calanna are similar (figure 50); both occur at the foot of a steep slope down which lava is transported through tubes. It must be concluded that conditions favoring tumulus construction have also been duplicated within Val Calanna.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Profiles of the N, S, E, and W flanks of Etna. Courtesy of J. W. Hughes and M. Bulmer.

References. Cumin, G., 1954, L'eruzione laterale del Novembre 1950-Dicembre 1951: BV, v. 15, p. 3-70.

Fouque, F., 1865, Sur l'eruption de l'Etna du 1st Fevrier 1865: C. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris; v. 60, p. 1331-1334; and v. 61, p. 210-212.

Frazzetta, G., and Romano, R., 1984, The 1983 Etna eruption: event chronology and morphological evolution of the flows: BV, v. 47, p. 1079-1096.

Hughes, J.W., 1992, The Influence of volcanic systems on the morphological evolution of lava flow fields: Ph.D. dissertation, University of London, 255 p.

Pinkerton, H., and Sparks, R.S.J., 1976, The subterminal lavas, Mount Etna: a case history of the formation of a compound lava flow field: JVGR, v. 1, p. 167-182.

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

Information Contacts: F. Barberi, Univ di Pisa; L. Villari, IIV; R. Romano and T. Caltabiano, IIV; P. Carveni, M. Grasso, and C. Monaco, Univ di Catania; W. McGuire and A. Morrell, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education; S. Saunders, West London Institute; D. Rothery, A. Borgia, R. Carlton, and C. Oppenheimer, Open Univ; J. Wyn Hughes and M. Bulmer, Univ College London.


Fuego (Guatemala) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Fuego

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity and continued fumarolic activity

An apparent harmonic tremor episode was recorded in mid-April, prompting the placement of several additional portable seismometers on the volcano in early May. Since then, several tectonic earthquakes have been recorded, but no harmonic tremor. Fumarolic activity continued in the summit crater.

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: E. Sánchez, and Otoniel Matías, INSIVUMEH, Guatemala; Michael Conway, Michigan Technological Univ.


Galeras (Colombia) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional explosions eject ash; strong fumarolic activity on 1991 dome; earthquakes and tremor decline

Gas emission continued in May, occasionally accompanied by explosions that produced very fine ash, and noise from various points in the active crater. The observed explosions were associated with long-period earthquakes or variations in background tremor. SO2 flux was at low to moderate levels, ranging from ~250 to 650 t/d. Increased fumarole temperatures were measured on the SW (at Deformes fumarole) and W (at Besolima fissure) flanks of the cone, while strong fumarolic activity continued on the NW side of the 1991 dome.

Long-period seismicity and spasmodic tremor declined noticeably in May (figure 54). The few recorded high-frequency events were centered towards the W side of the crater, near the active cone, at <4.5 km depth, and M <2.0. A tremor episode that began on 31 May at 0451 was composed of two bands with durations of 33 and 18 minutes, separated by six tremor-free minutes. The tremor's dominant period was 0.5-1.0 seconds, and the released energy roughly 2.0 x 1011 ergs (reduced displacement of Rayleigh waves of 56 cm2 at the station 1.5 km from the crater). Another tremor episode, lasting 27 minutes with dominant periods of 0.2-0.4 seconds, was recorded in April. These tremor events were similar to those recorded in July-December 1991, associated with the formation and growth of the lava dome. A large long-period event recorded at 1920 on 6 June had a period of 1.5 seconds, and reduced displacements of 59 cm2 for Rayleigh waves, and 42 cm2 for body waves.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Daily reduced displacement of long-period seismicity (top) and spasmodic tremor episodes (bottom) at Galeras, May 1992. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Electronic tiltmeter measurements in May indicated deformation trends similar to April. The tiltmeter [at Crater Station] indicated continued deflation, while the tiltmeter [at Peladitos Station] suggested minor inflation (see figure 58).

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.


Heard (Australia) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Heard

Australia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Plumes and glow; volcano morphology and 1986-87 activity described; 1992 summit eruption

[The following from Graeme Wheller] includes observations of continued activity in late 1986 and early 1987, and a renewed eruption in 1992.

Volcano morphology. Heard Island consists of two volcanic cones, Big Ben and Mt. Dixon, joined by a narrow isthmus (figure 2). Both cones are young, but only Big Ben has been observed to erupt. Many young lavas, including two that are unvegetated, lie on the flanks of Mt. Dixon. The separation of the two volcanoes is evident from the contrasting petrographic, geochemical, and isotopic characteristics of their respective eruptives [(Barling and others, 1994)].

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2.Geologic sketch map of Heard Island (after Barling, 1990) showing the location of the lava flow observed by Rod Ledingham in mid-January 1993.

Big Ben is a large, glacier-covered, composite cone 20-25 km in diameter at sea-level, consisting mainly of basaltic lavas and lesser ash and scoria. Its summit region consists of a SW-facing semi-circular ridge 5-6 km in diameter, 2,200-2,400 m asl. The ridge appears to have formed from breaching of the SW flank of Big Ben, possibly by landsliding caused by seismicity or a laterally directed blast. The E, N, and W flanks of Big Ben have been deeply scoured by glacial erosion, forming high-standing radial ribs to 7-8 km long.

Eruptions have built a new regularly shaped cone, Mawson Peak, within the breached region of the summit. Mawson Peak is snow-and ice-covered on all sides, . . . and its SW flank slopes smoothly to the coast. All . . . historical volcanism has apparently originated at the summit of Mawson Peak.

Young volcanic deposits. Mt. Dixon, much smaller than Big Ben, appears to be the latest manifestation of volcanic activity that has created a peninsula 9 km long and up to 5 km wide extending from the NW side of Big Ben. Mt. Dixon, at the end of the peninsula, is a glacier-covered rounded cone 706 m tall. More than 20 separate relatively young basaltic lava flows have been identified on its flanks, including two that are largely vegetation-free and may have been erupted within the last few hundred years. These lavas have flowed from vents on the upper flanks of Mt. Dixon, except for one from a fissure marked by an elongate scoria ridge ~1 km long near the base of the S flank. A crater ~50 m in diameter occurs at the head of one W-flank flow ~1 km inland. Several small hornitos occur on the lava flow near this crater. One is still well-formed, ~2.5 m high and 3-4 m in diameter, but the others have largely collapsed. On the W and N flanks of Mt. Dixon, particularly near Red Island, trachytic lavas lie beneath the basalt lavas.

Eleven parasitic scoria cones and associated small basaltic lava flows occur around the coastline . . . . Some are at or near the edges of vertical sea cliffs, indicating that erosion by the sea may have obliterated other cones. The parasitic cones are typically ~100 m high and well-formed with deep central craters. Lava spatter usually occurs abundantly around the upper parts of the cones. Lavas produced from these vents are typically small-volume pahoehoe flows. From their morphology and relative lack of vegetation, the cones and their lavas may be only a few thousand years old. On Azorella Peninsula, the parasitic cone forms the W side of Corinth Head which, together with Rogers Head, appears to be a remnant of an older and much larger cone formed of thinly stratified leucocratic tuff. The basaltic flow erupted from the Corinth Head crater contains partly collapsed tumuli and lava tunnels.

A similarly youthful, trachytic, airfall (Plinian?) pumice deposit 1-1.5 m thick occurs at the E end of the island. The lower 0.5 m of the deposit is distinctly darker than the upper part, showing a sharp horizontal transition. The deposit is overlain by moraine but underlying material is not visible. Similar deposits are not known from any other parts of the island. Although it is primary deposit and must therefore have been produced by an eruption on Heard Island, the location of its originating vent is not known.

December 1986-January 1987 activity. A deep, well-formed crater at the top of Mawson Peak was discovered on helicopter overflights in December 1986 and January 1987, during the 1986/87 Heard Island ANARE. On 21 December, a brief landing was made on the summit beside the crater. The crater was cylindrical and, from visual estimates, ~40-50 m in diameter and 50-70 m deep, with vertical walls exposing dark horizontal ash layers thinly coated in yellow sulfur. The crater was floored by a black ropy lava surface in which small patches of red lava periodically appeared, indicating an active lava lake within the crater. Larger red patches, ~ 5-10 m across, appeared less frequently, accompanied by gentle emissions of a little blue smoke. Minor steam emission also occurred from around the crater rim and from a rocky area on the crater's E side. The crater appears to have been formed by the 1985/87 eruption because it was not seen by climbing parties that reached the summit of Mawson Peak in 1965 and 1983.

A new pahoehoe lava flow in a glacial valley on Mawson Peak's SW flank was also discovered during the 1986/87 ANARE. The flow extended ~8-9 km from the summit crater rim, where it exited through a deep V-shaped notch, to within 2-3 km of the coast (near Cape Arkona). Small amounts of steam emanated from parts of the flow, which probably formed in January 1985, as observed from the Marion Dufresne.

1992 summit activity. Satellite images and observations from the ANARE base revealed eruptive activity in 1992. Data from the NOAA 11 polar orbiter showed plumes extending 300 km NNE then E from the island on 17 January at about 1720, and 200 km NE the next day at 0300. Weather in the region is usually cloudy, and no other activity was evident . . . until a short-lived thermal anomaly was detected on 18 May at 2146. The ANARE team had not yet reached Heard Island on 17 January, but the summit area was visible for 20 days in March, 18 days in April, and 7 days in May (as of the 29th). Gas had been emerging from the summit during fieldwork in mid-1990, but no activity was evident in 1992 until 29 May, when an orange glow was first noticed above the mountain at 2130. The glow rapidly intensified and appeared to be pulsating, faded after about a minute, then reappeared a few minutes later. Three or four such cycles were observed, with glow intensity changing randomly. Glow faded for the last time at about 2200. Although some auroral activity occurred that night, none of the observers believed that it was the source of the glow. Activity was next reported on 8 June, when vapor began to emerge from the summit at about 1430, soon forming a plume to the SE. Mist soon obscured the activity. Traces of steam were also visible on 10 June.

Reference. Barling, J., 1990, Heard and McDonald Islands, in Le Masurier, W., and Thomson, J., eds., Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and southern Oceans: American Geophysical Union, Washington DC, p. 435-441.

Further References. Barling, J., Goldstein, S.L., and Nicholls, I.A., 1994, Geochemistry of Heard Island (southern Indian Ocean): characterisation of an enriched mantle component and implications for enrichment of sub-Indian Ocean mantle: Journal of Petrology, v. 35, p. 1017-1053.

Hilton, D.R., Barling, J., and Wheller, G.E., 1995, Effect of shallow-level contamination on the helium isotope systematics of ocean-island lavas: Nature, v. 373, p. 330-333.

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: G. Wheller, CSIRO Division of Exploration Geoscience, Australia; R. Varne, Univ of Tasmania; A. Vrana, K. Green, and T. Jacka, Australian Antarctic Division, Tasmania; W. Gould, NOAA/NESDIS.


Ijen (Indonesia) — May 1992

Ijen

Indonesia

8.058°S, 114.242°E; summit elev. 2769 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrared Space Shuttle photograph shows caldera and crater lake

An infrared Space Shuttle photograph (figure 1) taken in May 1992 showed clear views of both Raung and the Ijen volcanic complex. Neither volcano was erupting, but the caldera lake in Kawah Ijen and the devegetated caldera and summit region at Raung were obvious features. The Ijen Caldera was clearly defined, along with some post-caldera cones on its southern margin (Kawah Ijen and Gunung Merapi, Gunung Rante, and Gunung Pendil).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. This near-vertical color infrared photograph shows both Raung volcano and the Ijen volcanic complex on the E end of Java; the summit of Baluran, at the NE tip of the island, is hidden by clouds. Raung, the tall feature near the center of this photograph with a NE-flank vent (Gunung Suket), has a very wide caldera surrounded by a grayish rim. The difference in color of the rim and the flanks is caused by the rim's lack of vegetation compared with the healthy and extensive vegetation on the flanks. The large elongate Ijen Caldera NE of Raung has numerous cones on its margin, the most obvious being Kawah Ijen with its acidic crater lake. North is to the left; the tip of the island is pointing NE. NASA Photo ID: STS049-097-050, May 1992.

Geologic Background. The Ijen volcano complex at the eastern end of Java consists of a group of small stratovolcanoes constructed within the large 20-km-wide Ijen (Kendeng) caldera. The north caldera wall forms a prominent arcuate ridge, but elsewhere the caldera rim is buried by post-caldera volcanoes, including Gunung Merapi, which forms the high point of the complex. Immediately west of the Gunung Merapi stratovolcano is the historically active Kawah Ijen crater, which contains a nearly 1-km-wide, turquoise-colored, acid lake. Picturesque Kawah Ijen is the world's largest highly acidic lake and is the site of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation in which sulfur-laden baskets are hand-carried from the crater floor. Many other post-caldera cones and craters are located within the caldera or along its rim. The largest concentration of cones forms an E-W zone across the southern side of the caldera. Coffee plantations cover much of the caldera floor, and tourists are drawn to its waterfalls, hot springs, and volcanic scenery.

Information Contacts: NASA JSC Digital Image Collection (URL: http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/).


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

Irazu

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarolic activity in and around crater lake; low-frequency seismicity

During May, water in the crater lake returned to the level of the previous summer. Fumarolic emissions N of the lake decreased, while subaqueous fumaroles in the SE, E, and N parts of the lakes remained active. Small landslides occurred along the crater's E, N, and SW walls. A monthly total of 126 earthquakes was recorded (at station IRZ2, 5 km W of the crater), with a M 1.8 event centered 3.6 km SW of the crater, at 1 km depth, on 5 May. Low-frequency seismicity continued through May.

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.


Kanlaon (Philippines) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Kanlaon

Philippines

10.412°N, 123.132°E; summit elev. 2435 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash emission

Newspapers reported a 1-km-high ash emission and ashfall at flank towns on 10 June, coinciding with a minor earthquake. There were no reports of injuries.

Geologic Background. Kanlaon volcano (also spelled Canlaon), the most active of the central Philippines, forms the highest point on the island of Negros. The massive andesitic stratovolcano is dotted with fissure-controlled pyroclastic cones and craters, many of which are filled by lakes. The largest debris avalanche known in the Philippines traveled 33 km SW from Kanlaon. The summit contains a 2-km-wide, elongated northern caldera with a crater lake and a smaller, but higher, historically active vent, Lugud crater, to the south. Historical eruptions, recorded since 1866, have typically consisted of phreatic explosions of small-to-moderate size that produce minor ashfalls near the volcano.

Information Contacts: Reuters.


Kilauea (United States) — May 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)


Lava production from episode-51 vent interrupted by brief pauses; lava lake in nearby crater

Lava production at the E-51 vent halted on 28 April. Shallow long-period (LPC-A type, 3-5 Hz) microearthquake counts declined for a few days, then increased to > 200 events daily between the mornings of 1-3 May. During the interval of eruptive quiet, the small lava lake in Pu`u `O`o crater rose until it spilled onto the crater floor on 3 May.

The lava lake was still overflowing when activity resumed at the E-51 vent the next day. Channelized lava flows covered much of the S flank of the E-51 shield between 4 and 22 May, many forming tubes that extended to the shield's base. Flows emerged from the tubes under enough pressure to create dome fountains at their heads. Some ponding occurred at the base of the shield before flows advanced S and E. The perched lava pond on the E-51 shield fed large overflows as well as small aa flows on the shield's NW flank. The pond level fluctuated, dropping as much as 15 m below the rim when the eruption paused again on 22 May.

Shallow long-period (LPC-B type, 1-3 Hz) microearthquake rates were nearly 100/day 8-11 May, declined for a few days, then increased again 15-21 May, peaking on the 17th when 442 were detected. As these events declined, an increase in LPC-A types was noted. The amplitude of eruption tremor remained low, then abruptly dropped to near background on 22 May at about 1300.

The eruption resumed on 27 May, for the first time re-occupying tubes formed during the previous active period. Activity paused again on 29 May, resuming on 2 June, again using the same tubes on the S flank of the shield.

The lava lake in Pu`u `O`o remained active throughout May. Its level fluctuated between 35 and 70 m below the crater rim, periodically overflowing onto the crater floor. Collapses of the crater walls and floor left the lake with a smaller diameter, against the E crater wall.

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 and P. Okubo, HVO.


Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

56.056°N, 160.642°E; summit elev. 4754 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small explosions eject ash

During a 13 May visit, two explosions (at 1130 and 1428) ejected ash clouds to 1,000 m above the summit. A third explosion was noted at 0140 the next day, but no additional activity was observed during the 14-15 May journey from the volcano.

Geologic Background. Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka's highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank craters.

Information Contacts: H. Gaudru, SVE, Switzerland; G. de St. Cyr, T. de St. Cyr, and I. de St. Cyr, A.V. Lyon, France; T. Vaudelin, Genève, Switzerland.


Kozushima (Japan) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Kozushima

Japan

34.219°N, 139.153°E; summit elev. 572 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued seismic swarms

Abnormal seismicity continued around the volcano in May, when 2 earthquake swarms were recorded. On 8 May a swarm occurred 2-3 km E of the island, with M <3.9. The second, on 14-16 May, occurred 3-4 km NW, with the largest event (M 4.9) recorded at 0731 on 15 May. No surface anomalies were observed.

Geologic Background. A cluster of rhyolitic lava domes and associated pyroclastic deposits form the small 4 x 6 km island of Kozushima in the northern Izu Islands. Kozushima lies along the Zenisu Ridge, one of several en-echelon ridges oriented NE-SW, transverse to the trend of the northern Izu arc. The youngest and largest of the 18 lava domes, 574-m-high Tenjoyama, occupies the central portion of the island. Most of the older domes, some of which are Holocene in age, flank Tenjoyama to the north, although late-Pleistocene domes are also found at the southern end of the island. Only two possible historical eruptions, from the 9th century, are known. A lava flow may have reached the sea during an eruption in 832 CE. Tenjosan lava dome was formed during a major eruption in 838 CE that also produced pyroclastic flows and surges. Earthquake swarms took place during the 20th century.

Information Contacts: JMA.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — May 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)


Moderate explosive activity from 2 craters

"Moderate eruptive activity continued during May. Crater 3 was the most steadily active. Throughout the month it produced intermittent weak and loud explosions with forceful emission of grey ash columns rising to several hundred meters above the crater. No night glow was seen until 29 May. Activity at Crater 2 was moderately strong on 1 May, with forceful dark ash clouds rising several km above the crater. After the 1 May episode, activity was relatively mild. Other than moderate volumes of white and occasionally blue vapour emission, it only produced Vulcanian explosions on 11 and 18 May.

"Both craters were reactivated on the last few days of the month. Weak incandescent projections started at Crater 3 on the night of 29-30 May. On 30 May, low to loud explosions and whooshing noises accompanied bright Strombolian ejections to 700 m above the crater. Also on 30 May, a thick, dark ash column a few km high was emitted by Crater 2, with nighttime incandescent fragments rising 125 m above the crater. On 31 May, the activity was mainly from Crater 3, with ongoing high Strombolian projections, emission of a thick grey ash column several km high, and the production of a new, short lava flow down the NW flank of the cone. Unfortunately, failure of both seismic stations prevented recording of any related seismicity. The recurring activity from both craters continued into early June, producing much ashfall on the downwind coastal areas."

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

Information Contacts: P. de Saint-Ours and C. McKee, RVO.


Lascar (Chile) — May 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 dome fills base of crater; occasional explosions

On 4 March, a new lava dome was observed in the active crater . . . at the base of the S wall (17:3).

Following a request by local authorities (Intendencia and Oficina Regional de Emergencia, II Región), the Chilean Air Force overflew the volcano at 1245 on 20 March. The high-quality vertical photographs obtained of the summit area enabled an accurate estimation of the dome's size and volume. The dome appeared to fill the entire, nearly circular, base of the crater (180-190 m in diameter; figure 10), with a thickness of ~40 m, and an estimated volume of 1.1 x 106 m3. It had steep walls and was devoid of a talus apron. The blocky, rugged surface of the dome appeared to have formed as a smaller, black central elongated plug (85 x 115 m) intruded a dark-brownish older external rim. Strong fumarolic activity occurred along the NE edge of the dome, which strongly resembled the one observed in March and April 1989.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Sketch map of the summit area of Lascar, prepared from vertical airphotos taken during an overflight by the Chilean Air Force on 20 March, showing the new lava dome. Courtesy of M. Gardeweg.

Observations from Talabre indicated that fumarolic activity had remained vigorous since late March, with eruption columns often 2-3 times larger than normal. The plume was usually yellowish to gray instead of its typical white until May, when a continuous dense gray plume was observed. Ashfall was reported on 15 May at 1050, accompanied by a gray eruption column estimated to be 1,500-2,000 m high (about 6x normal). On 21 May at 1130, an abrupt increase in the plume to a few kilometers height was observed by residents of nearby villages, and by people to 145 km W. The volcano "roared" for 10 minutes according to a witness (Luciano Sozo of Talabre) near the volcano. A second large explosion was reported that day at 1322 by Talabre residents. Following reports of night glow on 21-23 May, activity apparently returned to normal, with small pale-gray to white plumes and an absence of night glow. Although the May explosions were not as large as those in September 1986 and February 1990, scientists suggested that they might correspond to explosive destruction of part of the summit dome. Onset of winter and the partial covering of the cone by snow prevented visits to the summit, prompting a recommendation to the local authorities for new overflights and airphotos to monitor the development of the dome.

Several earthquakes recorded by the regional seismic network corresponded to large earthquakes centered away from the volcano, and were recorded by seismometers to the W. However, at least 4 small earthquakes were recorded between 24 April and late May only in villages closer to Lascar. The absence of seismometers near the volcano has prevented detailed monitoring of its seismicity.

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.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — May 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)


Strong explosions from summit craters; lava flows; avalanches

"The eruption continued strongly in May with new paroxysmal phases of activity at Southern Crater on 10, 14, 16, 23, and 31 May. Main Crater was active 2-7 May, 14-16 May, and 26 May through the end of the month. New lava flows were emitted into the NE valley during these periods. Unlike former episodes of strong eruptive activity (i.e. 1974, 1984), the current episode involves both summit craters, in an intermittent pattern. Following a period of strong, lava-producing activity from Main Crater in April, Southern Crater was reactivated on 2 May. This crater had been blocked by sluggish lava and/or rubble from its last paroxysmal phase (11 April), and was re-opened after several loud explosions and ejection of dark, ash-laden columns with incandescent blocks up to 980 m high. On 3 May, and for a few days after, activity at Southern Crater consisted of intermittent explosions producing debris avalanches that were channelled into the upper SW valley. Main Crater became the center of activity again on 4 May. At approximately 1100, it started to produce a strong, sustained ash column that rose 1,000-3,000 m above the summit, deep roaring sounds, and an increase in the level of seismicity. At night, a bright glow and incandescent projections (to 125 m) were visible from Tabele Observatory . . . , but an aerial inspection on 5 May revealed that a new lava flow was being emitted from a fissure on the flank of the dark scoria cone now occupying Main Crater, at ~1,600 m elev. The lava flow overrode earlier flows emitted in April down to ~500 m elev, then followed a stream channel on the S side of the valley. Summit activity waned on 6 May and the flow stopped on 7 May, at ~60 m elevation, after advancing 4.5 km.

"On the following day (8 May), the level of activity increased in Southern Crater with Strombolian projections up to 300 m above the crater rim. At 1415 on 9 May, a second vent became active. Both vents then displayed sub-continuous Strombolian projections up to 100 m (N vent) and 500 m (Iabu vent), while the level of seismicity, which consisted of a succession of low-frequency events and microtremor, increased. This activity culminated in a paroxysmal phase on the night of 9-10 May. At 0040, a deep roaring sound was heard. This became louder and was followed by the outrush of incandescent lava fragments up to 1,000 m above the crater. During the following hours, the high output rate of lava spatter was maintained, accompanied by very loud explosion sounds that shook walls and windows at the Observatory . . . . Concurrently, lightning-and-thunder effects were occurring in the 3,000-m-high vapor-and-tephra cloud generated by the eruption and by the pyroclastic avalanches into both the SE and SW valleys. A lava flow poured out of Iabu vent, tumbled into the SW valley, and progressed down to 600 m elev during the following day.

"Seismicity and eruptive activity were low for the three following days but another paroxysmal phase of activity occurred in the early morning of 14 May. From 0200, weak roaring and explosion sounds were heard and Strombolian projections (50-125 m above the crater rim) resumed from the N vent of Southern Crater, while seismicity steadily built. Between 0430 and 0700, continuous incandescent projections were reaching heights of 500 m (Iabu vent) to 1,100 m (N vent), with spatter falling back as far as the foot of the terminal cone. A lava flow from Iabu vent tumbled into the SW valley. Even after the Strombolian activity stopped at the summit, the lava flow continued throughout the day and the following night, progressing down the valley to 200 m elev, a total length of 3.8 km. After 0700 on 14 May, emissions from Southern Crater had changed to produce a silent ash column that died out at about 0900. In the afternoon, explosions related to deep Strombolian activity in Main Crater were observed at ~10/minute, and at night the incandescent projections were seen rising to 400 m above the crater rim. By the morning of 15 May, Main Crater was emitting a silent, thick, billowy column of grey ash that lasted until 16 May. In the afternoon of 16 May, Southern Crater entered yet another paroxysmal phase, similar to the one on 14 May. This time only Iabu vent was active, displaying a glowing ribbon of new lava flowing into the SW valley, to an estimated 400 m elev. Strombolian activity died out around 2030 on 16 May, as did the lava flow the next afternoon.

"After a few uneventful days with only white and blue vapours released from multiple cracks around the craters, the eruption resumed from Southern Crater on 20 May. This time a new vent on the W side of the crater was active. Until 23 May, it produced weak, intermittent, ash-laden explosions, with nighttime incandescent projections up to 180-250 m above the crater. The seismicity built up from 0300 on 23 May. By 1130, after a marked increase in activity over 30 minutes, Southern Crater entered yet another phase of intense Strombolian eruption that lasted until 1430. This was followed by discontinuous Strombolian eruptions until late afternoon. A new lava flow from Iabu vent progressed into the SW valley to an estimated 600 m elevation. There was weak fluctuating activity in Southern Crater for another week, during which Main Crater was reactivated, producing weak to strong Strombolian eruptions with variable amounts of ash. Another paroxysmal phase of activity occurred at Southern Crater on 31 May, between 1330 and 1700. It produced a thick, dark-grey cloud and was accompanied by continuous roaring sounds and another lava flow into the SW valley.

"Water-tube tilt measurements at Tabele Observatory first showed a 2 µrad radial deflation, then a steady recovery throughout the month. Other dry tilt and levelling lines around the island were checked repeatedly but showed no significant change.

"The intermittent, recurring activity in the two craters has the effect of markedly modifying their configuration between each aerial reconnaissance. Following the ash eruption in mid-May, the scoria and spatter cone that initially occupied Main Crater was changed into a somma-type feature, with a 50-m-wide vertical crater in the center. Likewise, repeated emissions of lava flows into the SW and NE valleys are significantly modifying their topography; the volumes of erupted material are being calculated. Each eruptive phase also produced a few mm to cm of ash and lapilli falls onto coastal areas on the NW and SE sides of the island. These deposits are not yet significant enough to dangerously affect villages and subsistence gardens."

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

Information Contacts: P. de Saint-Ours and C. McKee, RVO.


Pacaya (Guatemala) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Numerous explosions; lava flows; temporary evacuations

Activity was unusually high through May, with several thousand explosions recorded seismically every day (figure 10). Powerful pyroclastic episodes in early May temporarily forced the evacuations of villages near the W base of the volcano. During the first week of May, two lava flows were extruded from vents near the NW and S summit of MacKenney cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. Daily number of explosions recorded seismically at Pacaya, January-March 1992. Stars mark the strongest eruptive episodes. Prepared by INSIVUMEH.

Pacaya has erupted almost continuously since January-February 1990, when Strombolian activity was observed producing a new cone. Strong Strombolian activity destroyed the new cone and lava emission began in July 1990. Since then, lava emission has continued, and periodic increases in explosive activity have resulted in crop damage and the evacuation of up to 1,500 people.

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

Information Contacts: E. Sanchez and Otoniel Matías, INSIVUMEH, Guatemala City; Michael Conway, Michigan Technological Univ, USA; Rodolfo Morales, INSIVUMEH, Guatemala City.


Pinatubo (Philippines) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Pinatubo

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Rains on 1991 deposits produce destructive mudflows

Increased steam emission from Pinatubo's summit caldera was periodically observed in 1992, often accompanied by low-frequency harmonic tremors believed to be associated with sudden release of pressurized gas and steam from shallow depth. However, seismicity at the volcano continued to decline. Felt shocks with intensities of I-V (Rossi-Forel scale) were reported until mid-May.

Numerous mudflows descended the volcano's flanks, as heavy local rainfall mobilized large quantities of unconsolidated material deposited during the June 1991 eruption (16:5-6). The more significant events occurred on 18-19 February, 5 April, 10 and 31 May, and 1 and 4 June, affecting low-lying areas NE, SE, and SW of the volcano. Dams along the Pasig-Potrero and Sacobia rivers (SE and E flank, respectively) were destroyed during these relatively minor mudflow events and residents of Angeles (25 km E) reported slight to moderate ashfall from secondary explosions in pyroclastic-flow deposits within the Sacobia Pyroclastic Fan (SPF). Civil authorities have attempted to limit damage from the mudflows in the three provinces surrounding the volcano (Tarlac, Pampanga, and Zambales) by constructing Sabo dams and catchment basins, and by dredging channels, at a cost of more than $300,000,000. More than 250 school buildings were prepared as evacuation centers and the government advised people living near river banks to move to safer ground.

On 4 April, a major secondary explosion occurred at the toe of the SPF (drained by the Sacobia-Bamban and Abacan rivers), producing a 1.2-km-high ash plume. The explosion triggered a landslide that developed into a secondary pyroclastic flow, travelling 3 km down the Sacobia River and 2 km down the Abacan River. Numerous explosions followed, minutes apart. The secondary flow deposit, 14 m thick 3 km from the explosion site, buried three Sabo dams along the Abacan and two along the Sacobia River. A moderate amount of ashfall (~4 mm) was reported by residents at Clark Air Base/Pinatubo Volcano Observatory and Angeles. The flow left a deep escarpment, cutting the Abacan River off from the SPF, its source of mudflow material. The upper reaches of the river have been captured, and now flow down to the Sacobia-Bamban River, with only a muddy trickle expected to reach the Abacan.

With the advent of the rainy season (June-November), larger mudflows, with accompanying flooding and siltation, were expected in low-lying areas along the major river channels draining the volcano. As of early June, about 70,000 of the roughly 250,000 people displaced during the 1991 eruption and subsequent mudflows remained in evacuation centers and resettlement areas.

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, Perla J. Delos Reyes, Renatu U. Solidum, and Ronnie C. Torres, PHIVOLCS; Reuters; UPI.


Poas (Costa Rica) — May 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)


Thermal activity in crater lake feeds 1-km plume; frequent earthquakes and occasional tremor

Fumarolic activity continued in the crater lake in May, producing a continuous 1-km-high plume. Residents of the S and SW flanks reported sulfur odors. A total of 7,085 low-frequency earthquakes was recorded in May (at station POA2, 2.7 km SW), with a daily average of 229, compared to 250/day in April. Medium-frequency tremor was recorded sporadically. Twelve volcano-tectonic earthquakes were recorded in May, with a M 2.5 event centered 7 km ESE of the crater, at 7.5 km depth, on 18 May.

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) — May 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)


Seismic swarm; uplift over broad area

"Slow magmatic inflation continued in May, although an unusual swarm of seismic activity took place at the beginning of the month. Seismic activity in the usual annular seismic zone remained at a low level throughout May, with a total of 125 events. Starting on 2 May, however, an unusual swarm of earthquakes occurred 4.5-5 km under the N (older and inactive) rim of the caldera, slightly E of Rabaul township. Approximately 300 such events were recorded 2-19 May, with ~140 occurring on 3 May. A dozen were felt by residents. Five events were of ML >=3.0, the largest ML 4.2. Levelling measurements on 4 June indicated that uplift had occurred over a broad area of the caldera since the previous measurements on 11 May. This suggests a deeper source than usual. The biggest changes (20 mm) were recorded at the S end of Matupit Island."

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

Information Contacts: P. de Saint-Ours and C. McKee, RVO.


Raung (Indonesia) — May 1992

Raung

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrared Space Shuttle photograph shows devegetated summit area

An infrared Space Shuttle photograph (figure 1) taken in May 1992 showed clear views of both Raung and the Ijen volcanic complex. Neither volcano was erupting, but the caldera lake in Kawah Ijen and the devegetated caldera and summit region at Raung were obvious features. The Ijen Caldera was clearly defined, along with some post-caldera cones on its southern margin (Kawah Ijen and Gunung Merapi, Gunung Rante, and Gunung Pendil).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. This near-vertical color infrared photograph shows both Raung volcano and the Ijen volcanic complex on the E end of Java; the summit of Baluran, at the NE tip of the island, is hidden by clouds. Raung, the tall feature near the center of this photograph with a NE-flank vent (Gunung Suket), has a very wide caldera surrounded by a grayish rim. The difference in color of the rim and the flanks is caused by the rim's lack of vegetation compared with the healthy and extensive vegetation on the flanks. The large elongate Ijen Caldera NE of Raung has numerous cones on its margin, the most obvious being Kawah Ijen with its acidic crater lake. North is to the left; the tip of the island is pointing NE. NASA Photo ID: STS049-097-050, May 1992.

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

Information Contacts: NASA JSC Digital Image Collection (URL: http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/).


Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — May 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)


Thermal activity from crater lake; occasional seismicity

The active crater lake (150-200 m diameter) was gray to dirty white during May fieldwork, with weak, intermittent bubbling. Fumarolic activity in the E part of the crater, where water was slightly greenish, was stronger than during February fieldwork. The activity, audible at the crater rim, produced a plume that rose more than 100 m (the height of the crater wall), and was visible several kilometers N. Crater-lake level had dropped about 30 cm since February, while the temperature remained at 37°C and the pH at 1.6. Small mats of sulfur were visible on the lake surface. Weak vapor emission began at several points along a fissure (first observed in February) near the SE and SW rim, with temperatures of 55°C and 60°C, respectively.

Six microearthquakes were recorded in May (at OVSICORI station RIN3, 5 km S). A 16-minute tremor episode (1-2.5 Hz) was recorded on 22 May.

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

Information Contacts: G. Soto, R. Barquero, and Guillermo E. Alvardo, ICE; Mario Fernández, Univ. de Costa Rica; E. Fernández, J. Barquero, and V. Barboza, OVSICORI.


Rinjani (Indonesia) — May 1992

Rinjani

Indonesia

8.42°S, 116.47°E; summit elev. 3726 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Infrared Space Shuttle photo of Lombok Island during May 1992

Rinjani volcano on the island of Lombok (figure 1) is second in height among Indonesian volcanoes only to Sumatra's Kerinci volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Black-and-white reproduction of a Space Shuttle infrared photograph of Lombok Island and Rinjani sometime during 7-16 May 1992. The elevation-controlled shading is thought to reflect vegetation zones. NASA photograph number STS-49-97-051.

Geologic Background. Rinjani volcano on the island of Lombok rises to 3726 m, second in height among Indonesian volcanoes only to Sumatra's Kerinci volcano. Rinjani has a steep-sided conical profile when viewed from the east, but the west side of the compound volcano is truncated by the 6 x 8.5 km, oval-shaped Segara Anak (Samalas) caldera. The caldera formed during one of the largest Holocene eruptions globally in 1257 CE, which truncated Samalas stratovolcano. The western half of the caldera contains a 230-m-deep lake whose crescentic form results from growth of the post-caldera cone Barujari at the east end of the caldera. Historical eruptions dating back to 1847 have been restricted to Barujari cone and consist of moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows that have entered Segara Anak lake.

Information Contacts:


Ruapehu (New Zealand) — May 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)


Thermal activity but no phreatic eruptions from Crater Lake

The lake's temperature, measured during fieldwork on 6 May, had risen slightly to 34.5°C, but there was no evidence of further phreatic activity. Moderate upwelling over the N vents produced yellow slicks in the moderately steaming, battleship-gray lake. No upwelling from the central vent was visible. EDM data showed continued minor inflation across the lake.

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.


Saba (Netherlands) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Saba

Netherlands

17.63°N, 63.23°W; summit elev. 887 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismic swarm

A high-frequency seismic swarm began at the volcano on 4 June, peaking on 10-11 June, and centered along a roughly NE-SW zone 20 km long (figure 1). Of the numerous earthquakes recorded by the regional seismic network (most stations are E or S of the island), 12 were locatable. These events were concentrated at ~8 km depth (1-65 km depth range) and had magnitudes between 2.9 and 4.4 (the largest, at 27 km depth, was recorded at 0148 on 11 June). Several earthquakes were felt by island residents, but there were no reports of damage or injuries. On 13 June, a portable 3-component seismograph was installed on the island, previously uninstrumented, to supplement the regional seismic network, but activity declined, and only two additional events had been located as of 16 June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Epicenter map of 12 earthquakes near Saba, 4-16 June 1992. Courtesy of the Seismic Research Unit, UWI.

Geologic Background. Saba, the northernmost active volcano of the West Indies, is a small 5-km-diameter island forming the upper half of a large stratovolcano that rises 1500 m above the sea floor. Its eruptive history is characterized by the emplacement of lava domes and associated pyroclastic flows. The summit of the volcano, known as Mount Scenery (or The Mountain), is a Holocene lava dome that overtops a major collapse scarp that formed about 100,000 years ago. Flank domes were constructed on the SW, SE, east, and NE sides of the island near the coast. A large andesitic lava flow entered the sea on the NE flank, forming the Flat Point Peninsula, the only site level enough on which to locate the island's airport. The village of The Bottom overlies pyroclastic-surge deposits that contain European pottery fragments and were radiocarbon dated at 280 +/- 80 years before present. The village was settled in 1640 on grassy meadows on the volcano's flanks reflecting initial vegetation recovery following destruction of tropical rainforests by pyroclastic flows and surges. Lava dome growth may also have occurred during this SW-flank eruption.

Information Contacts: L. Lynch, UWI; A. Smith, Univ of Puerto Rico.


Santa Maria (Guatemala) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Santa Maria

Guatemala

14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions feed small ash columns; continued erosion threatens vent area

The dome was observed from the old "Hotel Magermann" site and the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory (NW of and 7 km S of the dome, respectively) during 21-24 May fieldwork by Michigan Technological Univ and INSIVUMEH scientists. Between 50 and 100 explosions occurred daily at Caliente vent (figure 24), typically producing relatively weak vertical columns to 500-2,000 m height. The plume was white to light gray, with a small convecting section (100-300 m high) at the base. Fine ash observed several kilometers from the vent consisted of dense, pulverized dacite and fragments of plagioclase; the eruptions were probably phreatic. Between explosions, passive gas emissions rose several hundred meters.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Daily number of explosions recorded seismically at Santiaguito, March-April 1992. The arrow marks an unusually strong eruptive event and pyroclastic flow. Prepared by INSIVUMEH.

Several small, gray, vertical plumes were observed rising from near the SE base of Caliente, probably resulting from collapse at the front of a block lava flow. Although inclement weather prevented closer observation, plume locations suggested that the block lava flow had not progressed far since observations in late November 1991.

An extensive network of gullies, first observed on the N slope of Santiaguito in January 1990, has extended E to include Caliente vent. Rapid mass wasting, which began on the central dome (El Monje), resulted in numerous gullies that coalesced, greatly changing the appearance of the N flank. Scientists noted that continued erosion could severely undercut the large spines on Caliente's upper N flank, possibly causing their collapse and a subsequent rapid depressurization of the shallow magma system beneath Caliente. They warned that sudden depressurization could produce an extremely powerful pyroclastic eruption at the dome. One of INSIVUMEH's goals during its "Decade Volcano" program at Santiaguito is to monitor erosion processes and quantify mass-wasting rates at the dome.

The onset of the rainy season has annually caused an increased number of lahars in drainages S of the volcano. On 20 May, a lahar swept 12 km down the Río Nimá II. Fresh lahar deposits (about 1 m thick) found on terraces above the river's central channel indicated that the lahar was at least 2-3 m thick and 15-30 m wide.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is part of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rise above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The sharp-topped, conical profile is cut on the SW flank by a 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit to the lower flank, and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned Plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four vents, with activity progressing W towards the most recent, Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Information Contacts: Michael Conway, Michigan Technological Univ; Otoniel Matías, INSIVUMEH.


Spurr (United States) — May 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)


Ash eruption follows increased seismicity and thermal activity

Seismicity continued at abnormally high levels through early June. Much of the elevated seismicity since August 1991 has been concentrated beneath the main summit, and more recently beneath Crater Peak, 3 km S. The events occurred at 0-5 km depth. Most had magnitudes <1.0; maximum magnitude was 1.7. No long-period events have been recorded.

A localized increase in seismicity was recorded at about 0700 on 6 June, centered immediately beneath Crater Peak. The seismicity, different from previously recorded events, was characterized by bursts of 1-5-minute duration. These bursts of tremor-like activity were small, comparable to events that are often associated with hydrothermal activity at other volcanoes. Similar seismicity continued beneath Crater Peak in the succeeding weeks.

Geologists overflew Crater Peak on 8 June. Its small turquoise-colored crater lake (previously measured at 55°C), appeared darker than before and thermal upwelling was visible at the E end of the lake. Only a trace of SO2 was measured in the plume, similar to October 1991. During a visit on 11 June, the crater lake was dark gray, with a temperature of 50°C and a pH of 2.5. The large upwelling was still visible, as were a dozen smaller features, mostly near the E side of the lake. An increase in fumarolic activity was noted in the crater. One prominent fumarole in the talus cone N of the lake was gushing water, and periodically produced several 1-m-high geysers.

On 27 June, a series of explosive pulses produced a substantial ash plume. The eruption was preceded by increased seismicity, including a pair of tremor bursts lasting 2 1/2 hours each on 24 and 25 June, twice as long as any other episodes since they were first recorded on 6 June. An overflight on 26 June at about 1100 showed that the level of Crater Peak's lake had dropped, perhaps indicating increased heating. Continuous tremor began at 1204, and a swarm of volcano-tectonic earthquakes started at 0300 the next morning.

A moderate explosive eruption that began at 0704 on 27 June sent ash to about 8 km altitude. Additional seismic signals that may have indicated eruptive pulses were received at 0814 and 0904. Weather clouds obscured the volcano, limiting direct ground-based or satellite observations of the eruption, but the plume could be tracked as it spread N, away from populated areas. About 0.3 cm of sand-sized ash fell at Finger Lake, roughly 100 km N of the volcano. By late morning, satellite images showed that the plume extended 335 km at an azimuth of 005°, and had a maximum width of 75 km, about 200 km from the volcano. Pilot reports indicated that the top of the cloud was at about 9 km altitude. By midafternoon, the plume, heading 010°, was 670 km long and reached 200 km width 450 km from Spurr. Its base was reported at about 1500 m altitude from an aircraft roughly 400 km NNE of Spurr. After initially moving N, the plume turned toward the S and E, and had spread over western and central Canada by 29 June, when its narrow leading edge was over southern Lake Winnipeg, roughly 3500 km SE of the volcano. No new eruptions had been reported at press time, but a pilot saw a white cloud rising vertically from the volcano to 6-7.5 km altitude on 28 June at 0340. During an overflight early 29 June, the volcano was steaming, and debris and some incandescent material were present in and around the crater, but no major morphologic changes were evident. Mudflows and flooding associated with the eruption were apparently relatively minor.

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; SAB, NOAA/NESDIS; AP.


Stromboli (Italy) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Stromboli

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Frequent explosions; increased seismicity

Seismic activity remained at a low level (around 100 explosions/day) from the beginning of 1992 through 8 April, when the seismic station was shut down for maintenance and conversion to a 3-component system. When operations resumed on 17 May, seismicity was unusually high, and the number of recorded events on 19 May was the largest since the station was installed in October 1989 (figure 25). Tremor amplitude briefly remained at November 1991 levels, but decreased rapidly beginning 20 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Seismicity recorded at Stromboli, January-May 1992. Open bars show the total number of seismic events/day, while solid bars tally those with ground velocities exceeding 100 mm/s. The line represents tremor energy computed using 60-second samples taken every hour, then averaged daily. Courtesy of M. Riuscetti.

Daily summit observations 10-19 May revealed that activity was concentrated in craters C1 (vent 1) and C3 (vent 4) with glowing tephra ejected to 100-150 m height. Noisy vapor emissions lasting 15-20 seconds, accompanied by modest spatter ejection, occurred from a fissure in C2, on the W rim. Very modest activity continued from the small spatter cone in C3.

During the night of 16-17 May, Beat Gasser saw activity from several vents. Loud explosions occurred ~4 times an hour from C1, ejecting lava to as much as 300 m height for 5-10 seconds. Several explosions typically occurred at intervals of 5-10 minutes, followed by ~30 minutes of repose. Between explosions, a steady red glow and lava spattering were visible inside the crater, with spatter seldom reaching the crater's outer walls. Spattering declined before explosions. Crater C2 produced noisy 10-15-second gas emissions about once an hour. Ejections of a few red tephra fragments from C2 were seen during the night. East of C2, a steady red glow was visible at night within a small vent that was the source of pulsing gas emissions at 3-second intervals. Eruptions occurred about twice an hour from C3, but like those from C1 were not evenly spaced. Two eruptions typically occurred roughly 10 minutes apart, followed by nearly an hour of quiet. The three active craters never erupted simultaneously, and their eruptions were separated by intervals of at least 5 minutes.

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

Information Contacts: M. Riuscetti, Univ di Udine; B. Gasser, Kloten, Switzerland.


Suwanosejima (Japan) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tephra clouds from frequent explosions

Island residents reported frequent explosions, ashfalls, and rumbling in early and mid-May. Ash plumes were observed rising to 1.5-2.0 km elevation by Japanese airline pilots on 1-3 May, and a plume was visible on a NOAA weather satellite image at 1538 on 1 May.

Recently, the volcano had been active several times a year, with frequent explosions producing ash clouds and detectable ashfall. During peaks in activity, ash clouds rose to 2-3 km height and tens of small explosions occurred per minute. Eruptive episodes typically lasted for a few days to a month. Explosions had been reported earlier in 1992 on 1-4, 10, and 25-31 January, 4-14 and 21-28 February, 2-4 and 11-12 March, and 15-16 April.

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

Information Contacts: JMA; W. Gould, NOAA.


Tongariro (New Zealand) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Tongariro

New Zealand

39.157°S, 175.632°E; summit elev. 1978 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumarole temperatures and gas chemistry unchanged from 1989; no significant deformation or seismicity

Fumarole temperatures (93.9 & 94.3°C) and preliminary gas chromatograph data collected on 7 April were unchanged since the previous fieldwork in March 1989. No significant deformation was evident. Seismicity has remained relatively low.

Geologic Background. Tongariro is a large volcanic massif, located immediately NE of Ruapehu volcano, that is composed of more than a dozen composite cones constructed over a period of 275,000 years. Vents along a NE-trending zone extending from Saddle Cone (below Ruapehu) to Te Maari crater (including vents at the present-day location of Ngauruhoe) were active during several hundred years around 10,000 years ago, producing the largest known eruptions at the Tongariro complex during the Holocene. North Crater stratovolcano is truncated by a broad, shallow crater filled by a solidified lava lake that is cut on the NW side by a small explosion crater. The youngest cone, Ngauruhoe, is also the highest peak.

Information Contacts: P. Otway, DSIR Geology & Geophysics, Wairakei.


Unzendake (Japan) — May 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-dome growth and pyroclastic flows

Lava-dome growth continued through mid-June, and pyroclastic flows were frequently generated by partial collapse of the dome complex. The new dome (7) which first appeared on 24 March (correction to 17:3-4), continued to grow, reaching 150 m length by the end of May. Lava extrusion formed "banana peel" and sometimes "petal" structures (petal with two lobes). Swelling of the cryptodome raised its summit to 1,390 m elevation, 30 m higher than the pre-eruption summit. Lava blocks on the surface of the cryptodome were reddish in color and small (< 10 m across, commonly a few m across), suggesting to geologists that they had broken into pieces during intrusion. Earthquakes, probably occurring within the dome complex, frequently triggered collapse of the cryptodome, causing it to develop a conical shape with a relatively smooth surface.

Collapses occurred at both sides of the growing lobes on dome 7, as well as at the dome front. One rockfall, measured by the GSJ with a theodolite, was estimated to have a volume of 1.2 x 105 m3. Pyroclastic flows generated from rockfalls traveled primarily down the dome complex's SE flank towards Mt. Iwatoko and into the Akamatsu valley, extensively burying its gentle slope (figure 42). Ash clouds accompanying the flows rose to about 1,000 m, with a maximum height of 1,400 m on 19 May. The pyroclastic-flow-deposit distribution was little changed from previous months. During mid-May to mid-June, 2-3 flows extended > 2 km/day, a flow 2.5 km long occurred every two days, and no flows reached > 3 km from the dome complex. Longer flows had a tendency to erode the steeper, upstream area, then deposit in the middle and downstream areas. The eroded upstream channels were subsequently filled by less-energetic flows. The longer flows tended to follow topographic lows quite closely, and as the saddle in the Akamatsu Valley was filled (~ 2.2 km SE from the front of dome 7), the height of the S cliff decreased from 30 to 10 m by early June. A deposition rate of ~ 35 cm/day was calculated for the mid-May to mid-June period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Map showing distribution of 1991-92 pyroclastic flow deposits at Unzen, mid-June 1992. 1991 pyroclastic surge deposits are not shown. Courtesy of Setsuya Nakada.

The magma-supply rate, based on mapping by the Geographical Survey Institute, was estimated to be roughly 2 x 105 m3/day for late February-late April, the lowest value since June 1991 (prior reported rates ranged from 2.5 to 3.5 x 105 m3/day). The low magma-supply rate reflects the low level of activity in April, when the lava domes grew very little, large pyroclastic flows were rare, and seismicity was at low levels. Estimates of magma supply in May-early June suggest that the rate had returned to ~ 3 x 105 m3/day. Geologists believe that the supply rate has probably fluctuated considerably since February. The volume of the dome complex was estimated to be 44 x 106 m3 on 25 April (similar to that of late February); combined pyroclastic flow and avalanche deposits, 50 x 106 m3 (dense rock equivalent); indicating a total erupted volume of ~ 94 x 106 m3.

Continued geomagnetic measurements by Kyoto Univ scientists show that the degree of demagnetization around the dome complex had decreased from mid-March. Demagnetization was strongest when lava first appeared in May 1991, and continued steadily until February 1992. Electronic distance measurements collected by the GSJ also showed the strongest shortening (between the summit and a point ~ 1.5 km away) in May 1991, and steady shortening through recent months, implying continuous swelling of the summit region.

Small earthquakes continued to occur beneath and within the dome complex, with 50-150/day in May-early June. A total of 3,235 earthquakes was recorded in May, similar to April. The daily number of seismically detected pyroclastic flows ranged from 5 to 17, with a total of 337 events, similar to previous months.

The evacuated area E of the volcano, in Shimabara and Fukae town, was reduced somewhat in June, decreasing the number of evacuees from 7,600 in May [to] about 6,750 by 11 June.

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.


Villarrica (Chile) — May 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Volcanic earthquakes and tremor

Seismicity was recorded at the volcano during March-May by a telemetered seismic station (VNV) 4.5 km from the summit, at 1,400 m elev. The average tremor frequency decreased slightly from 1.9 Hz (in March-April) to 1.8 Hz (in May). Tremor frequency also decreased with distance from the summit. Average frequencies of 1.9, 0.8, and 0.6 Hz were recorded 4.5 km (station VNV), 18.7 km (station PP) and 21 km (station PL) from the volcano, respectively, in April. Since 28 May, activity has increased, and both tremor and volcanic earthquakes have been recorded.

Geologic Background. Glacier-clad Villarrica, one of Chile's most active volcanoes, rises above the lake and town of the same name. It is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. A 6-km-wide caldera formed during the late Pleistocene. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesitic cone at the NW margin of the Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents dot the flanks. Plinian eruptions and pyroclastic flows that have extended up to 20 km from the volcano were produced during the Holocene. Lava flows up to 18 km long have issued from summit and flank vents. Historical eruptions, documented since 1558, have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. Glaciers cover 40 km2 of the volcano, and lahars have damaged towns on its flanks.

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


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — May 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 tephra ejection from three vents

Voluminous emission of lithic-dominated fine ash continued into May from three vents in the 1978/92 Crater complex. No obvious changes have occurred to crater morphology since the formation of a new collapse crater (Princess) in mid-April.

No ash was being emitted during 5 May fieldwork. Most of the gas emission occurred from a crater (Wade) that had ... enlarged considerably since February 1992. It occupied much of the floor of the 1978/92 Crater complex, with only narrow divides separating it from neighboring craters TV1... and May 91. A few ash-free ballistic blocks, apparently erupted from Princess Crater since heavy rain two days earlier, had fallen within ~50 m of the 1978/92 crater rim.

When geologists returned on 12 May, voluminous clouds of steam and light-gray ash were emerging from Princess, Wade, and TV1 Craters. The Wade/Princess and TV1/Princess pairs were sometimes simultaneously active. Ash from Princess Crater collected at 1125 was in accretionary flakes 1-3 mm across, composed of silt- to sand-sized pulverized andesite, along with much hydrothermal opal-C, anhydrite, natroalunite, and pyrite. Additional blocks, probably from TV1 Crater, had been deposited in an arc extending 50-100 m E of the 1978/92 complex rim. Fine gray ash coated the blocks, about half of which were weakly vesicular to scoriaceous andesite with xenoliths of thermally altered lithic material. Fractures on the N side of the subsided area, which developed next to Princess Crater in mid-April, suddenly began emitting steam along a zone 20-30 m long at about 1100; Princess Crater was active at the time, but neighboring TV1 was not. Fresh-looking, tephra-free surfaces suggested that movement was continuing along new fractures at the S wall of Main Crater. A trench dug at the rim of the 1978/92 Crater complex revealed 1.5 m of tephra accumulation since April 1991.

Seismicity showed little change since late April. A-type events were recorded 1-11 times a day, while B-types were less than 6/day. Variable-frequency volcanic tremor continued until about 27 April in 2-18-hour episodes. No additional tremor was evident until 13 May, when medium-frequency, low-amplitude signals followed an E-type eruption signature at 0843 (see below). The occurrence of tremor continued to correlate well with observed ash emission. E-type eruption signatures were detected 21 April at 1758; 26 April at 0804, 1425, and 2008; 27 April at 0116; 2 May at 2157 and 2208; 8 May at 0816; 9 May at 0724; 10 May at 0905; 11 May at 0040; 13 May at 0843 and 0855; 14 May at 0452 and 0629; and 17 May at 0119 and 1135. The last event was associated with an ash eruption seen during a COSPEC survey, which yielded an average SO2 emission rate of 350 t/d; see table 9 for a comparison with previous COSPEC data. The eruption, observed at 1139, fed a billowing cloud that rose 2,000 m. SO2 in the leading edge of the cloud corresponded to an emission rate of 950 t/d.

Table 9. SO2 emission measured by COSPEC at White Island, December 1983-May 1992. Courtesy of P. Kyle and W. Giggenbach.

Date SO2 Emissions (t/d)
23 Dec 1983 1200 ± 300
21 Nov 1984 320 ± 120
07 Jan 1985 350 ± 150
07 Feb 1986 570 ± 100
12 Jan 1987 830 ± 200
04 Nov 1987 900 ± 100
14 Dec 1990 362 ± 80
17 May 1992 350 ± 50

Deformation data showed continued subsidence E of the 1978/92 Crater rim (in the Donald Mound area) at rates that were apparently only slightly lower than in 1991. No acceleration in deformation had been detected over the April 1992 subsidence area in the 16 months preceding December 1991. Magnetic and gravity changes were small. Fumarole temperatures measured by an IR pyrometer have declined since March. The maximum value in mid-May was 211°C, probably depressed by heavy rains the preceding week.

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, DSIR Geology & Geophysics, Rotorua.

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports