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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

San Miguel (El Salvador) Small ash emissions during 22 February 2020

Cleveland (United States) Intermittent thermal anomalies and lava dome subsidence, February 2019-January 2020

Ambrym (Vanuatu) Fissure eruption in December 2018 produces an offshore pumice eruption after lava lakes drain

Copahue (Chile-Argentina) Ash emissions end on 12 November; lake returns to El Agrio Crater in December 2019

Nishinoshima (Japan) Ongoing activity enlarges island with lava flows, ash plumes, and incandescent ejecta, December 2019-February 2020

Krakatau (Indonesia) Tephra and steam explosions in the crater lake; explosions in December 2019 build a tephra cone

Mayotte (France) Seismicity and deformation, with submarine E-flank volcanism starting in July 2018

Fernandina (Ecuador) Fissure eruption produced lava flows during 12-13 January 2020

Masaya (Nicaragua) Lava lake persists with lower temperatures during August 2019-January 2020

Reventador (Ecuador) Nearly daily ash emissions and frequent incandescent block avalanches August 2019-January 2020

Pacaya (Guatemala) Continuous explosions, small cone, and lava flows during August 2019-January 2020

Kikai (Japan) Single explosion with steam and minor ash, 2 November 2019



San Miguel (El Salvador) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

San Miguel

El Salvador

13.434°N, 88.269°W; summit elev. 2130 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small ash emissions during 22 February 2020

San Miguel, locally known as Chaparrastique, is a stratovolcano located in El Salvador. Recent activity has consisted of occasional small ash explosions and ash emissions. Infrequent gas-and-steam and ash emissions were observed during this reporting period of June 2018-March 2020. The primary source of information for this report comes from El Salvador's Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET) and special reports from the Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN) in addition to various satellite data.

Based on Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and analyses of infrared MODIS data, volcanism at San Miguel from June 2018 to mid-February was relatively low, consisting of occasional gas-and-steam emissions. During 2019, a weak thermal anomaly in the summit crater was registered in thermal satellite imagery (figure 27). This thermal anomaly persisted during a majority of the year but was not visible after September 2019; faint gas-and-steam emissions could sometimes be seen rising from the summit crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 27. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of a faint but consistent thermal anomaly at San Miguel during 2019. Images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Volcanism was prominent beginning on 13-20 February 2020 when SO2 emissions exceeded 620 tons/day (typical low SO2 values are less than 400 tons/day). During 20-21 February the amplitude of microearthquakes increased and minor emissions of gas-and-steam and SO2 were visible within the crater (figure 28). According to SNET and special reports from MARN, on 22 February at 1055 an ash cloud was visible rising 400 m above the crater rim (figure 29), resulting in minor ashfall in Piedra Azul (5 km SW). That same day RSAM values peaked at 550 units as recorded by the VSM station on the upper N flank, which is above normal values of about 150. Seismicity increased the day after the eruptive activity. Minor gas-and-steam emissions continued to rise 400 m above the crater rim during 23-24 February; the RSAM values fell to 33-97 units. Activity in March was relatively low; some seismicity, including small magnitude earthquakes, occurred during the month in addition to SO2 emissions ranging from 517 to 808 tons/day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 28. Minor gas-and-steam emissions rising from the crater at San Miguel on 21 February 2020. Courtesy of Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Gas-and-steam and ash emissions rising from the crater at San Miguel on 22 February 2020. Courtesy of Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN).

Geologic Background. The symmetrical cone of San Miguel volcano, one of the most active in El Salvador, rises from near sea level to form one of the country's most prominent landmarks. The unvegetated summit rises above slopes draped with coffee plantations. A broad, deep crater complex that has been frequently modified by historical eruptions (recorded since the early 16th century) caps the truncated summit, also known locally as Chaparrastique. Radial fissures on the flanks of the basaltic-andesitic volcano have fed a series of historical lava flows, including several erupted during the 17th-19th centuries that reached beyond the base of the volcano on the N, NE, and SE sides. The SE-flank flows are the largest and form broad, sparsely vegetated lava fields crossed by highways and a railroad skirting the base of the volcano. The location of flank vents has migrated higher on the edifice during historical time, and the most recent activity has consisted of minor ash eruptions from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET), Ministero de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN), Km. 5½ Carretera a Nueva San Salvador, Avenida las Mercedes, San Salvador, El Salvador (URL: http://www.snet.gob.sv/ver/vulcanologia); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Cleveland (United States) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Cleveland

United States

52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent thermal anomalies and lava dome subsidence, February 2019-January 2020

Cleveland is a stratovolcano located in the western portion of Chuginadak Island, a remote island part of the east central Aleutians. Common volcanism has included small lava flows, explosions, and ash clouds. Intermittent lava dome growth, small ash explosions, and thermal anomalies have characterized more recent activity (BGVN 44:02). For this reporting period during February 2019-January 2020, activity largely consisted of gas-and-steam emissions and intermittent thermal anomalies within the summit crater. The primary source of information comes from the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) and various satellite data.

Low levels of unrest occurred intermittently throughout this reporting period with gas-and-steam emissions and thermal anomalies as the dominant type of activity (figures 30 and 31). An explosion on 9 January 2019 was followed by lava dome growth observed during 12-16 January. Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data showed two hotspots on 8 and 14 February 2019, though there was no evidence of lava within the summit crater at that time. According to satellite imagery from AVO, the lava dome was slowly subsiding during February into early March. Elevated surface temperatures were detected on 17 and 24 March in conjunction with degassing; another gas-and-steam plume was observed rising from the summit on 30 March. Thermal anomalies were again seen on 15 and 28 April using Suomi NPP/VIIRS sensor data. Intermittent gas-and-steam emissions continued as the number of detected thermal anomalies slightly increased during the next month, occurring on 1, 7, 15, 18, and 23 May. A gas-and-steam plume was observed on 9 May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 30. The MIROVA graph of thermal activity (log radiative power) at Cleveland during 4 February 2019 through January 2020 shows increased thermal anomalies between mid-April to late November 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 31. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (bands 12, 11, 8A) confirmed intermittent thermal signatures occurring in the summit crater during March 2019 through October 2019. Some gas-and-steam plumes were observed accompanying the thermal anomaly, as seen on 17 March 2019 and 8 May 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

There were 10 thermal anomalies observed in June, and 11 each in July and August. Typical mild degassing was visible when photographed on 9 August (figure 32). On 14 August, seismicity increased, which included a swarm of a dozen local earthquakes. The lava dome emplaced in January was clearly visible in satellite imagery (figure 33). The number of thermal anomalies decreased the next month, occurring on 10, 21, and 25 September. During this month, a gas-and-steam plume was observed in a webcam image on 6, 8, 20, and 25 September. On 3-6, 10, and 21 October elevated surface temperatures were recorded as well as small gas-and-steam plumes on 4, 7, 13, and 20-25 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 32. Photograph of Cleveland showing mild degassing from the summit vent taken on 9 August 2019. Photo by Max Kaufman; courtesy of AVO/USGS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 33. Satellite image of Cleveland showing faint gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit crater. High-resolution image taken on 17 August 2019 showing the lava dome from January 2019 inside the crater (dark ring). Image created by Hannah Dietterich; courtesy of AVO/USGS and DigitalGlobe.

Four thermal anomalies were detected on 3, 6, and 8-9 November. According to a VONA report from AVO on 8 November, satellite data suggested possible slow lava effusion in the summit crater; however, by the 15th no evidence of eruptive activity had been seen in any data sources. Another thermal anomaly was observed on 14 January 2020. Gas-and-steam emissions observed in webcam images continued intermittently.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent weak thermal anomalies within 5 km of the crater summit during mid-April through November 2019 with a larger cluster of activity in early June, late July and early October (figure 30). Thermal satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 also detected weak thermal anomalies within the summit crater throughout the reporting period, occasionally accompanied by gas-and-steam plumes (figure 31).

Geologic Background. The beautifully symmetrical Mount Cleveland stratovolcano is situated at the western end of the uninhabited Chuginadak Island. It lies SE across Carlisle Pass strait from Carlisle volcano and NE across Chuginadak Pass strait from Herbert volcano. Joined to the rest of Chuginadak Island by a low isthmus, Cleveland is the highest of the Islands of the Four Mountains group and is one of the most active of the Aleutian Islands. The native name, Chuginadak, refers to the Aleut goddess of fire, who was thought to reside on the volcano. Numerous large lava flows descend the steep-sided flanks. It is possible that some 18th-to-19th century eruptions attributed to Carlisle should be ascribed to Cleveland (Miller et al., 1998). In 1944 Cleveland produced the only known fatality from an Aleutian eruption. Recent eruptions have been characterized by short-lived explosive ash emissions, at times accompanied by lava fountaining and lava flows down the flanks.

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); NASA Worldview (URL: https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/).


Ambrym (Vanuatu) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Ambrym

Vanuatu

16.25°S, 168.12°E; summit elev. 1334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption in December 2018 produces an offshore pumice eruption after lava lakes drain

Ambrym is an active volcanic island in the Vanuatu archipelago consisting of a 12 km-wide summit caldera. Benbow and Marum are two currently active craters within the caldera that have produced lava lakes, explosions, lava flows, ash, and gas emissions, in addition to fissure eruptions. More recently, a submarine fissure eruption in December 2018 produced lava fountains and lava flows, which resulted in the drainage of the active lava lakes in both the Benbow and Marum craters (BGVN 44:01). This report updates information from January 2019 through March 2020, including the submarine pumice eruption during December 2018 using information from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) and research by Shreve et al. (2019).

Activity on 14 December 2018 consisted of thermal anomalies located in the lava lake that disappeared over a 12-hour time period; a helicopter flight on 16 December confirmed the drainage of the summit lava lakes as well as a partial collapse of the Benbow and Marum craters (figure 49). During 14-15 December, a lava flow (figure 49), accompanied by lava fountaining, was observed originating from the SE flank of Marum, producing SO2 and ash emissions. A Mw 5.6 earthquake on 15 December at 2021 marked the beginning of a dike intrusion into the SE rift zone as well as a sharp increase in seismicity (Shreve et al., 2019). This intrusion extended more than 30 km from within the caldera to beyond the east coast, with a total volume of 419-532 x 106 m3 of magma. More than 2 m of coastal uplift was observed along the SE coast due to the asymmetry of the dike from December, resulting in onshore fractures.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Ambrym before the December 2018 eruption (left), and during the eruption (right). Before the eruption, the thermal signatures within both summit craters were strong and after the eruption, the thermal signatures were no longer detected. A lava flow was observed during the eruption on 15 December. Sentinel-2 atmospheric penetration (bands 12, 11, 8A) images courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Shreve et al. (2019) state that although the dike almost reached the surface, magma did not erupt from the onshore fractures; only minor gas emissions were detected until 17 December. An abrupt decrease in the seismic moment release on 17 December at 1600 marked the end of the dike propagation (figure 50). InSAR-derived models suggested an offshore eruption (Shreve et al., 2019). This was confirmed on 18-19 December when basaltic pumice, indicating a subaqueous eruption, was collected on the beach near Pamal and Ulei. Though the depth and exact location of the fissure has not been mapped, the nature of the basaltic pumice would suggest it was a relatively shallow offshore eruption, according to Shreve et al. (2019).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Geographical timeline summary of the December 2018 eruptive events at Ambrym. The lava lake level began to drop on 14 December, with fissure-fed lava flows during 14-15 December. After an earthquake on 15 December, a dike was detected, causing coastal uplift as it moved E. As the dike continued to propagate upwards, faulting was observed, though magma did not breach the surface. Eventually a submarine fissure eruption was confirmed offshore on 18-19 December. Image modified from Shreve et al. (2019).

In the weeks following the dike emplacement, there was more than 2 m of subsidence measured at both summit craters identified using ALOS-2 and Sentinel-1 InSAR data. After 22 December, no additional large-scale deformation was observed, though a localized discontinuity (less than 12 cm) measured across the fractures along the SE coast in addition to seismicity suggested a continuation of the distal submarine eruption into late 2019. Additional pumice was observed on 3 February 2019 near Pamal village, suggesting possible ongoing activity. These surveys also noted that no gas-and-steam emissions, lava flows, or volcanic gases were emitted from the recently active cracks and faults on the SE cost of Ambrym.

During February-October 2019, onshore activity at Ambrym declined to low levels of unrest, according to VMGD. The only activity within the summit caldera consisted of gas-and-steam emissions, with no evidence of the previous lava lakes (figure 51). Intermittent seismicity and gas-and-steam emissions continued to be observed at Ambrym and offshore of the SE coast. Mével et al. (2019) installed three Trillium Compact 120s posthole seismometers in the S and E part of Ambrym from 25 May to 5 June 2019. They found that there were multiple seismic events, including a Deep-Long Period event and mixed up/down first motions at two stations near the tip of the dike intrusion and offshore of Pamal at depths of 15-20 km below sea level. Based on a preliminary analysis of these data, Mével et al. (2019) interpreted the observations as indicative of ongoing volcanic seismicity in the region of the offshore dike intrusion and eruption.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Aerial photograph of Ambrym on 12 August 2019 showing gas-and-steam emissions rising from the summit caldera. Courtesy of VMGD.

Seismicity was no longer reported from 10 October 2019 through March 2020. Thermal anomalies were not detected in satellite data except for one in late April and one in early September 2019, according to MODIS thermal infrared data analyzed by the MIROVA system. The most recent report from VMGD was issued on 27 March 2020, which noted low-level unrest consisting of dominantly gas-and-steam emissions.

References:

Shreve T, Grandin R, Boichu M, Garaebiti E, Moussallam Y, Ballu V, Delgado F, Leclerc F, Vallée M, Henriot N, Cevuard S, Tari D, Lebellegard P, Pelletier B, 2019. From prodigious volcanic degassing to caldera subsidence and quiescence at Ambrym (Vanuatu): the influence of regional tectonics. Sci. Rep. 9, 18868. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-55141-7.

Mével H, Roman D, Brothelande E, Shimizu K, William R, Cevuard S, Garaebiti E, 2019. The CAVA (Carnegie Ambrym Volcano Analysis) Project - a Multidisciplinary Characterization of the Structure and Dynamics of Ambrym Volcano, Vanuatu. American Geophysical Union, Fall 2019 Meeting, Abstract and Poster V43C-0201.

Geologic Background. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides Arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major Plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1,900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.

Information Contacts: Geo-Hazards Division, Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, Private Mail Bag 9054, Lini Highway, Port Vila, Vanuatu (URL: http://www.vmgd.gov.vu/, https://www.facebook.com/VanuatuGeohazardsObservatory/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


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

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ash emissions end on 12 November; lake returns to El Agrio Crater in December 2019

Most of the large edifice of Copahue lies high in the central Chilean Andes, but the active El Agrio crater lies on the Argentinian side of the border at the W edge of the Pliocene Caviahue caldera. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. The most recent eruptive episode began with phreatic explosions and ash emissions on 2 August 2019 that continued until mid-November 2019. This report summarizes activity from November 2019 through February 2020 and is based on reports issued by Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), satellite data, and photographs from nearby residents.

MIROVA data indicated a few weak thermal anomalies during mid-October to mid-November 2019. Multiple continuous ash emissions were reported daily until mid-November when activity declined significantly. By mid-December the lake inside El Agrio crater had reappeared and occasional steam plumes were the only reported surface activity at Copahue through February 2020.

The Buenos Aires VAAC and SERNAGEOMIN both reported continuous ash emissions during 1-9 November 2019 that were visible in the webcam. Satellite imagery recorded the plumes drifting generally E or NE at 3.0-4.3 km altitude (figure 49). Most of the emissions on 10 November were steam (figure 50). The last pulse of ash emissions occurred on 12 November with an ash plume visible moving SE at 3 km altitude in satellite imagery and a strong thermal anomaly (figure 51). The following day emissions were primarily steam and gas. SERNAGEOMIN noted the ash emissions rising around 800 m above El Agrio crater and also reported incandescence visible during most nights through mid-November. During the second half of November the constant degassing was primarily water vapor with occasional nighttime incandescence. Steam plumes rose 450 m above the crater on 27 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Continuous ash emissions at Copahue during 1-9 November 2019 were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 2 and 7 November 2019 drifting NE. Natural color rendering uses bands 4,3, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Most of the emissions from Copahue on 10 November 2019 were steam. Left image courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina. Right image courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, natural color rendering using bands 4, 3, and 2.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. A strong thermal anomaly and an ash plume at Copahue were visible in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on 12 November 2019. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground, Atmospheric penetration rendering bands 12, 11, and 8A.

Nighttime incandescence was last observed in the SERNAGEOMIN webcam on 1 December; SERNAGEOMIN lowered the alert level from Yellow to Green on 15 December 2019. Throughout December degassing consisted mainly of minor steam plumes (figure 52), the highest plume rose to 300 m above the crater on 18 December, and minor SO2 plumes persisted through the 21st (figure 53),. By mid-December the El Agrio crater lake was returning and satellite images clearly showed the increase in size of the lake through February (figure 54). The only surface activity reported during January and February 2020 was occasional white steam plumes rising near El Agrio crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Small wisps of steam were the only emissions from Copahue on 3 December 2019. Courtesy of Valentina Sepulveda, taken from Caviahue, Argentina.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Small plumes of SO2 were recorded at Copahue during November and December 2019. Top row: 7, 9, and 30 November. Bottom row: 1, 20, and 21 December. Courtesy of Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, NASA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. The lake within El Agrio crater reappeared between 5 and 12 December 2019 and continued to grow in size through the end of January 2020. Top row (left to right): There was no lake inside the crater on 5 December 2019, only a small steam plume rising from the vent. The first water was visible on 12 December and was slightly larger a few days later on 17 December. Bottom row (left to right): the lake was significantly larger on 4 January 2020 filling an embayment close to the steam vent. Fingers of water filled in areas of the crater as the water level rose on 24 and 29 January. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

Information Contacts: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), Avda Sta María No. 0104, Santiago, Chile (URL: http://www.sernageomin.cl/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); 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/); Valentina Sepulveda, Hotel Caviahue, Caviahue, Argentina (URL: https://twitter.com/valecaviahue, Twitter:@valecaviahue).


Nishinoshima (Japan) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Ongoing activity enlarges island with lava flows, ash plumes, and incandescent ejecta, December 2019-February 2020

After 40 years of dormancy, Japan’s Nishinoshima volcano, located about 1,000 km S of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Arc, erupted above sea level in November 2013. Lava flows were active through November 2015, emerging from a central pyroclastic cone. A new eruption in mid-2017 continued the growth of the island with ash plumes, ejecta, and lava flows. A short eruptive event in July 2018 produced a new lava flow and vent on the side of the pyroclastic cone. The next eruption of ash plumes, incandescent ejecta, and lava flows, covered in this report, began in early December 2019 and was ongoing through February 2020. Information is provided primarily from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) monthly reports.

Nishinoshima remained quiet after a short eruptive event in July 2018 until MODVOLC thermal alerts appeared on 5 December 2019. Multiple near-daily alerts continued through February 2020. The intermittent low-level thermal anomalies seen in the MIROVA data beginning in May and June 2019 may reflect areas with increased temperatures and fumarolic activity reported by the Japan Coast Guard during overflights in June and July. The significant increase in thermal anomalies in the MIROVA data on 5 December correlates with the beginning of extrusive and explosive activity (figure 63). Eruptive activity included ash emissions, incandescent ejecta, and numerous lava flows from multiple vents that flowed into the sea down several flanks, significantly enlarging the island.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 63. The MIROVA graph of thermal energy from Nishinoshima from 13 April 2019 through February 2020 shows low-level thermal activity beginning in mid-2019; there were reports of increased temperatures and fumarolic activity during that time. Eruptive activity including ash emissions, incandescent ejecta, and numerous lava flows began on 5 December 2019 and was ongoing through February 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

A brief period of activity during 12-21 July 2018 produced explosive activity with blocks and bombs ejected 500 m from a new vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone, and a 700-m-long lava flow that stopped about 100 m before reaching the ocean (BGVN 43:09). No further activity was reported during 2018. During overflights on 29 and 31 January, and 7 February 2019, white steam plumes drifted from the E crater margin and inner wall of the pyroclastic cone and discolored waters were present around the island, but no other signs of activity were reported. A survey carried out by the Japan Coast Guard during 7-8 June 2019 reported minor fumarolic activity from the summit crater, and high-temperature areas were noted on the hillsides, measured by infrared thermal imaging equipment. Sulfur dioxide emissions were below the detection limit. In an overflight on 12 July 2019, Coast Guard personnel noted a small white plume rising from the E edge of the summit crater of the pyroclastic cone (figure 64).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 64. The Japan Coast Guard noted a small white plume at the summit of Nishinoshima during an overflight on 12 July 2019, but no other signs of activity. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, July 2019).

The white plume was still present during an overflight on 14 August 2019. Greenish yellow areas of water about 500 m wide were distributed around the island, and a plume of green water extended 1.8 km from the NW coast. Similar conditions were observed on 15 October 2019; pale yellow-green discolored water was about 100 m wide and concentrated on the N shore of Nishinoshima. No steam plume from the summit was present during a visit on 19 November 2019, but yellow-white discolored water on the N shore was about 100 m wide and 700 m long. Along the NE and SE coasts, yellow-white water was 100-200 m wide and about 1,000 m long.

A MODVOLC thermal alert appeared at Nishinoshima on 5 December 2019. An eruption was observed by the Japan Coast Guard the following day. A pulsating light gray ash plume rose from the summit crater accompanied by tephra ejected 200 m above the crater rim every few minutes (figure 65). In addition, ash and tephra rose intermittently from a crater on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone, from which lava also flowed down towards the E coast (figure 66). By 1300 on 7 December the lava was flowing into the sea (figure 67).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 65. The eruption observed at Nishinoshima on 6 December 2019 included ash and tephra emissions from the summit vent, and ash, tephra, and a lava flow from the vent on the E flank of the pyroclastic cone. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 66. Thermal infrared imagery revealed incandescent ejecta from the summit crater and lava flowing from the E flank vent at Nishinoshima on 6 December 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 67. By 1300 on 7 December 2019 lava from the E-flank vent at Nishinoshima was flowing into the sea. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, November 2019).

Observations by the Japan Coast Guard on 15 December 2019 confirmed that vigorous eruptive activity was ongoing; incandescent ejecta and ash plumes rose 300 m above the summit crater rim (figure 68). A new vent had opened on the N flank of the cone from which lava flowed NW to the sea (figure 69). The lava flow from the E-flank crater also remained active and continued flowing into the sea. The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash emission on 24 December that rose to 1,000 m altitude and drifted S. On 31 December, explosions at the summit continued every few seconds with ash and ejecta rising 300 m high. In addition, lava from the NE flank of the pyroclastic cone flowed NE to the sea (figure 70).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 68. Incandescent ejecta and ash rose 300 m above the summit crater rim at Nishinoshima on 15 December 2019. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 69. Lava from a new vent on the NW flank of Nishinoshima was entering the sea on 15 December 2019, producing vigorous steam plumes. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 70. At Nishinoshima on 31 December 2019 lava flowed down the NE flank of the pyroclastic cone into the sea, and incandescent ejecta rose 300 m above summit. Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).

Satellite data from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) made it possible for JMA to produce maps showing the rapid changes in topography at Nishinoshima resulting from the new lava flows. The new E-flank lava flow was readily seen when comparing imagery from 22 November with 6 December 2019 (figure 71a). An image from 6 December compared with 20 December 2019 shows the flow on the E flank splitting and entering the sea at two locations (figure 71b), the flow on the NW flank traveling briefly N before turning W and forming a large fan into the ocean on the W flank, and a new flow heading NE from the summit area of the pyroclastic cone.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 71. Satellite data from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) made it possible to produce maps showing the changes in topography at Nishinoshima resulting from the new lava flows (shown in blue). In comparing 22 November with 6 December 2019 (A, left), the new lava flow on the E flank was visible. A new image from 20 December compared with 6 December (B, right) showed the flow on the E flank splitting and entering the sea at two locations, the NW-flank flow building a large fan into the ocean on the W flank, and a new flow heading NE from the summit area of the pyroclastic cone. Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, December 2019).

The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery on 15 January 2020 that rose to 1.8 km altitude and drifted SE. The Japan Coast Guard conducted an overflight on 17 January that confirmed the continued eruptions of ash, incandescent ejecta, and lava. Dark gray ash plumes were observed at 1.8 km altitude, with ashfall and tephra concentrated around the pyroclastic cone (figure 72). Plumes of steam were visible where the NE lava flow entered the ocean; the E and NW lava entry areas did not appear active but were still hot. Satellite data from ALOS-2 prepared by JAXA confirmed ongoing activity around the summit vent and on the NE flank, while activity on the W flank had ceased (figure 73). An ash plume was reported by the Tokyo VAAC on 25 January; it rose to 1.5 km altitude and drifted SW for most of the day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 72. Dense, dark gray ash plumes rose from the summit of Nishinoshima on 17 January 2020. Small plumes of steam from lava-seawater interactions were visible on the NE shore of the island as well (far right). Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, January 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 73. JAXA satellite data from 3 January 2020 (left) showed the growth of a new lava delta on the NE flank of Nishinoshima and minor activity occuring on the W flank compared with the previous image from 20 December 2019. By 17 January 2020 (right), the lava flow activity was concentrated on the NE flank with multiple deltas extending out into the sea. The ‘low correlation areas’ shown in blue represent changes in topography caused by new material from lava flows and ejecta added between the dates shown above the images. Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, January 2020).

On 3 Feburary 2020 the Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume visible in satellite imagery that rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted E. The following day the Japan Coast Guard observed eruptions from the summit crater at five minute intervals that produced grayish white plumes. The plumes rose to 2.7 km altitude (figure 74). Large bombs were scattered around the pyroclastic cone, and the summit crater appeared filled with lava except for the active vent. The lava deltas on the NE flank were only active at the tips of the flows producing a few steam jets where lava entered the sea. The active flows were on the SE flank, and a new 200-m-long lava flow was flowing down the N flank of the pyroclastic cone (figure 75). The lava flowing from the E flank of the pyroclastic cone to the SE into the sea, produced larger jets of steam (figure 76). Yellow-brown discolored water appeared around the island in several places.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 74. Ash emissions at Nishinoshima rose to 2.7 km altitude on 4 February 2020; steam jets from lava entering the ocean were active on the SE flank (far side of the island, right). Courtesy of JMA (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 75. The lava deltas on the NE flank of Nishinoshima (bottom center) were much less active on 4 February 2020 than the lava flow and growing delta on the SE flank (left). The newest flow headed N from the summit and was 200 m long (right of center). Courtesy of JMA and the Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 76. The most active lava flows at Nishinoshima on 4 February 2020 were on the E flank; significant steam plumes rose in multiple locations along the coast where they entered the sea. Intermittent ash plumes also rose from the summit crater. Courtesy of JMA and Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).

JAXA satellite data confirmed that the flow activity was concentrated on the NE flank and shore during the second half of January 2020, but also recorded the new flow down the SE flank that was observed by the Coast Guard in early February. By mid-February the satellite topographic data indicated the decrease in activity in the NE flank flows, the increased activity on the SE and E flank, and the extension of the flow moving due N to the coast (figure 77). Observations on 17 February 2020 by the Japan Coast Guard revealed eruptions from the summit crater every few seconds, and steam-and-ash plumes rising about 600 m. Vigorous white emissions rose from fractures near the top of the W flank of the pyroclastic cone, but thermal data indicated the area was no hotter than the surrounding area (figure 78). The lava flow on the SE coast still had steam emissions rising from the ocean entry point, but activity was weaker than on 4 February. The newest flow moving due N from the summit produced steam emissions where the flow front entered the ocean.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 77. Constantly changing lava flows at Nishinoshima reshaped the island during late January and February 2020. During the second half of January, flows were active on the NE flank, creating deltas into the sea off the NE coast and also on the SE flank into the sea at the SE coast (left). The ‘low correlation areas’ shown in blue represent changes in topography caused by new material from lava flows and ejecta added between the dates shown above the images. By 14 February (right) activity had slowed on the NE flank and expanded on the SE flank and N flank. Data is from the Land Observing Satellite-2 "Daichi-2" (ALOS-2). Courtesy of JMA and JAXA (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 78. Vigorous white emissions rose from fractures near the top of the W flank of the pyroclastic cone at Nishinoshima on 17 February 2020, but thermal data indicated the area was no hotter than the surrounding area. Courtesy of JMA and Japan Coast Guard (Volcanic activity monthly report, February 2020).

Sulfur dioxide plumes from Nishinoshima have been small and infrequent in recent years, but the renewed and increased eruptive activity beginning in December 2019 produced several small SO2 plumes that were recorded in daily satellite data (figure 79).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 79. Small sulfur dioxide plumes from Nishinoshima were captured by the TROPOMI instrument on the Sentinel 5P satellite a few times during December 2019-February 2020 as the eruptive activity increased. The large red streak in the 3 February 2020 image is SO2 from an eruption of Kuchinoerabujima volcano (Ryukyu Islands) on the same day. Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Simon Carn.

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Otemachi, 1-3-4, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-Earth Observation Research Center (JAXA-EORC), 7-44-1 Jindaiji Higashi-machi, Chofu-shi, Tokyo 182-8522, Japan (URL: http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/); Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Volcano Database, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/info/kouhou/h29/index.html); 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/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); 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/); Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, USA (URL: http://www.volcarno.com/, Twitter: @simoncarn).


Krakatau (Indonesia) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Krakatau

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Tephra and steam explosions in the crater lake; explosions in December 2019 build a tephra cone

Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia’s Java and Sumatra Islands experienced a major caldera collapse around 535 CE; it formed a 7-km-wide caldera ringed by three islands. Remnants of this volcano joined to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island which collapsed during the major 1883 eruption. Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau), constructed beginning in late 1927 within the 1883 caldera (BGVN 44:03, figure 56), was the site of over 40 eruptive episodes until 22 December 2018 when a large explosion and flank collapse destroyed most of the 338-m-high edifice 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 from February (BGVN 44:08) through November 2019. A larger explosion in December 2019 produced the beginnings of a new cone above the surface of crater lake. Activity from August 2019 through January 2020 is covered in this report with information provided by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, referred to as Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG). Aviation reports are provided by the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and photographs are from the PVMBG webcam and visitors to the island.

Explosions were reported on more than ten days each month from August to October 2019. They were recorded based on seismicity, but webcam images also showed black tephra and steam being ejected from the crater lake to heights up to 450 m. Activity decreased significantly after the middle of November, although smaller explosions were witnessed by visitors to the island. After a period of relative quiet, a larger series of explosions at the end of December produced ash plumes that rose up to 3 km above the crater; the crater lake was largely filled with tephra after these explosions. Thermal activity persisted throughout the period of August 2019-January 2020. The wattage of Radiative Power increased from August through mid-October, and then decreased through January 2020 (figure 96).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 96. Thermal activity persisted at Anak Krakatau from 20 March 2019-January 2020. The wattage of Radiative Power increased from August through mid-October, and then decreased through January 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

Activity during August-November 2019. The new profile of Anak Krakatau rose to about 155 m elevation as of August 2019, almost 100 m less than prior to the December 2018 explosions and flank collapse (figure 97). Smaller explosions continued during August 2019 and were reported by PVMBG in 12 different VONAs (Volcano Observatory Notice to Aviation) on days 1, 3, 6, 17, 19, 22, 23, 25, and 28. Most of the explosions lasted for less than two minutes, according to the seismic data. PVMBG reported steam plumes of 25-50 m height above the sea-level crater on 20 and 21 August. They reported a visible ash cloud on 22 August; it rose to an altitude of 457 m and drifted NNE according to the VONA. In their daily update, they noted that the eruption plume of 250-400 m on 22 August was white, gray, and black. The Darwin VAAC reported that the ash plume was discernable on HIMAWARI-8 satellite imagery for a short period of time. PVMBG noted ten eruptions on 24 August with white, gray, and black ejecta rising 100-300 m. A webcam installed at month’s end provided evidence of diffuse steam plumes rising 25-150 m above the crater during 28-31 August.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 97. Only one tree survived on the once tree-covered spit off the NE end of Sertung Island after the December 2018 tsunami from Anak Krakatau covered it with ash and debris. The elevation of Anak Krakatau (center) was about 155 m on 8 August 2019, almost 100 m less than before the explosions and flank collapse. Panjang Island is on the left, and 746-m-high Rakata, the remnant of the 1883 volcanic island, is behind Anak Krakatau on the right. Courtesy of Amber Madden-Nadeau.

VONAs were issued for explosions on 1-3, 11, 13, 17, 18, 21, 24-27 and 29 September 2019. The explosion on 2 September produced a steam plume that rose 350 m, and dense black ash and ejecta which rose 200 m from the crater and drifted N. Gray and white tephra and steam rose 450 m on 13 and 17 September; ejecta was black and gray and rose 200 m on 21 September (figure 98). During 24-27 and 29 September tephra rose at least 200 m each day; some days it was mostly white with gray, other days it was primarily gray and black. All of the ejecta plumes drifted N. On days without explosions, the webcam recorded steam plumes rising 50-150 m above the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 98. Explosions of steam and dark ejecta were captured by the webcam on Anak Krakatau on 21 (left) and 26 (right) September 2019. Courtesy of MAGMA Indonesia and PVMBG.

Explosions were reported daily during 12-14, 16-20, 25-27, and 29 October (figure 99). PVMBG reported eight explosions on 19 October and seven explosions the next day. Most explosions produced gray and black tephra that rose 200 m from the crater and drifted N. On many of the days an ash plume also rose 350 m from the crater and drifted N. The seismic events that accompanied the explosions varied in duration from 45 to 1,232 seconds (about 20 minutes). The Darwin VAAC reported the 12 October eruption as visible briefly in satellite imagery before dissipating near the volcano. The first of four explosions on 26 October also appeared in visible satellite imagery moving NNW for a short time. The webcam recorded diffuse steam plumes rising 25-150 m above the crater on most days during the month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 99. A number of explosions at Anak Krakatau were captured by the webcam and visitors near the island during October 2019, shown here on the 12th, 14th, 17th, and 29th. Black and gray ejecta and steam plumes jetted several hundred meters high from the crater lake during the explosions. Webcam images courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia, with 12 October 2019 (top left) via VolcanoYT. Bottom left photo on 17 October courtesy of Christoph Sator.

Five VONAs were issued for explosions during 5-7 November, and one on 13 November 2019. The three explosions on 5 November produced 200-m-high plumes of steam and gray and black ejecta and ash plumes that rose 200, 450, and 550 m respectively; they all drifted N (figure 100). The Darwin VAAC reported ash drifting N in visible imagery for a brief period also. A 350-m-high ash plume accompanied 200-m-high ejecta on 6 November. Tephra rose 150-300 m from the crater during a 43 second explosion on 7 November. The explosion reported by PVMBG on 13 November produced black tephra and white steam 200 m high that drifted N. For the remainder of the month, when not obscured by fog, steam plumes rose daily 25-150 m from the crater.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 100. PVMBG’s KAWAH webcam captured an explosion with steam and dark ejecta from the crater lake at Anak Krakatau on 5 November 2019. Courtesy of PVMBG and MAGMA Indonesia.

A joint expedition with PVMBG and the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) installed geophysical equipment on Anak Krakatau and Rakata during 12 and 13 November 2019 (figure 101). Visitors to the island during 19-23 and 22-24 November recorded the short-lived landscape and continuing small explosions of steam and black tephra from the crater lake (figures 102 and 103).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 101. A joint expedition to Anak Krakatau with PVMBG and the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) installed geophysical equipment on Anak Krakatau and Rakata (background, left) during 12 and 13 November 2019. Images of the crater lake from the same spot (left) in December and January show the changes at the island (figure 108). Monitoring equipment installed near the shore sits over the many layers of ash and tephra that make up the island (right). Courtesy of Anna Perttu.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 102.The crater lake at Anak Krakatau during a 19-23 November 2019 visit was the site of continued explosions with jets of steam and tephra that rose as high as 30 m. Courtesy of Andrey Nikiforov and Volcano Discovery, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 103. The landscape of Anak Krakatau recorded the rapidly evolving sequence of volcanic events during November 2019. Fresh ash covered recent lava near the shoreline on 22 November 2019 (top left). Large blocks of gray tephra (composed of other tephra fragments) were surrounded by reddish brown smaller fragments in the area between the crater and the ocean on 23 November 2019 (top right). Explosions of steam and black tephra rose tens of meters from the crater lake on 23 November 2019 (bottom). Courtesy of and copyright by Pascal Blondé.

Activity during December 2019-January 2020. Very little activity was recorded for most of December 2019. The webcam captured daily images of diffuse steam plumes rising 25-50 m above the crater which occasionally rose to 150 m. A new explosion on 28 December produced black and gray ejecta 200 m high that drifted N; the explosion was similar to those reported during August-November. A new series of explosions from 30 December 2019 to 1 January 2020 produced ash plumes which rose significantly higher than the previous explosions, reaching 2.4-3.0 km altitude and drifting S, E, and SE according to PVMBG (figure 104). They were initially visible in satellite imagery and reported drifting SW by the Darwin VAAC. By 31 December meteorological clouds prevented observation of the ash plume but a hotspot remained visible for part of that day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 104.The KAWAH webcam at Anak Krakatau captured this image of incandescent ejecta exploding from the crater lake on 30 December 2019 near the start of a new sequence of large explosions. Courtesy of PVMBG and Alex Bogár.

The explosions on 30 and 31 December 2019 were captured in satellite imagery (figure 105) and appeared to indicate that the crater lake was largely destroyed and filled with tephra from a new growing cone, according to Simon Carn. This was confirmed in both satellite imagery and ground-based photography in early January (figures 106 and 107).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Satellite imagery of the explosions at Anak Krakatau on 30 and 31 December 2019 showed dense steam rising from the crater (left) and a thermal anomaly visible through moderate cloud cover (right). Left image courtesy of Simon Carn, and copyright by Planet Labs, Inc. Right image uses Atmospheric Penetration rendering (bands 12, 11, and 8a) to show the thermal anomaly at the base of the steam plume, courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. Sentinel-2 images of Anak Krakatau before (left, 21 December 2019) and after (right, 13 January 2020) explosions on 30 and 31 December 2019 show the filling in of the crater lake with new volcanic material. Natural color rendering based on bands 4,3, and 2. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. The crater lake at Anak Krakatau changed significantly between the first week of December 2019 (left) and 8 January 2020 (right) after explosions on 30 and 31 December 2019. Compare with figure 101, taken from the same location in mid-November 2019. Left image courtesy of Piotr Smieszek. Right image courtesy of Peter Rendezvous.

Steam plumes rose 50-200 m above the crater during the first week of January 2020. An explosion on 7 January produced dense gray ash that rose 200 m from the crater and drifted E. Steam plume heights varied during the second week, with some plumes reaching 300 m above the crater. Multiple explosions on 15 January produced dense, gray and black ejecta that rose 150 m. Fog obscured the crater for most of the second half of the month; for a brief period, diffuse steam plumes were observed 25-1,000 m above the crater.

General Reference: Perttu A, Caudron C, Assink J D, Metz D, Tailpied D, Perttu B, Hibert C, Nurfiani D, Pilger C, Muzli M, Fee D, Andersen O L, Taisne B, 2020, Reconstruction of the 2018 tsunamigenic flank collapse and eruptive activity at Anak Krakatau based on eyewitness reports, seismo-acoustic and satellite observations, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 541:116268. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116268.

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.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/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Amber Madden-Nadeau, Oxford University (URL: https://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/people/amber-madden-nadeau/, https://twitter.com/AMaddenNadeau/status/1159458288406151169); Anna Perttu, Earth Observatory of Singapore (URL: https://earthobservatory.sg/people/anna-perttu); Simon Carn, Michigan Tech University (URL: https://www.mtu.edu/geo/department/faculty/carn/; https://twitter.com/simoncarn/status/1211793124089044994); VolcanoYT, Indonesia (URL: https://volcanoyt.com/, https://twitter.com/VolcanoYTz/status/1182882409445904386/photo/1; Christoph Sator (URL: https://twitter.com/ChristophSator/status/1184713192670281728/photo/1); Tom Pfeiffer, Volcano Discovery (URL: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/); Pascal Blondé, France (URL: https://pascal-blonde.info/portefolio-krakatau/, https://twitter.com/rajo_ameh/status/1199219837265960960); Alex Bogár, Budapest (URL: https://twitter.com/AlexEtna/status/1211396913699991557); Piotr (Piter) Smieszek, Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia (URL: http://www.lombok.pl/, https://twitter.com/piotr_smieszek/status/1204545970962231296); Peter Rendezvous (URL: https://www.facebook.com/peter.rendezvous ); Wulkany swiata, Poland (URL: http://wulkanyswiata.blogspot.com/, https://twitter.com/Wulkany1/status/1214841708862693376).


Mayotte (France) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Mayotte

France

12.83°S, 45.17°E; summit elev. 660 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Seismicity and deformation, with submarine E-flank volcanism starting in July 2018

Mayotte is a volcanic island in the Comoros archipelago between the eastern coast of Africa and the northern tip of Madagascar. A chain of basaltic volcanism began 10-20 million years ago and migrating W, making up four principal volcanic islands, according to the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) and Cesca et al. (2020). Before May 2010, only two seismic events had been felt by the nearby community within recent decades. New activity since May 2018 consists of dominantly seismic events and lava effusion. The primary source of information for this report through February 2020 comes from semi-monthly reports from the Réseau de Surveillance Volcanologique et Sismologique de Mayotte (REVOSIMA), a cooperative program between the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), and the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF-IPGP); Lemoine et al. (2019), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER).

Seismicity was the dominant type of activity recorded in association with a new submarine eruption. On 10 May 2018, the first seismic event occurred at 0814, detected by the YTMZ accelerometer from the French RAP Network, according to BRGM and Lemoine et al. (2019). Seismicity continued to increase during 13-15 May 2018, with the strongest recorded event for the Comoros area occurring on 15 May at 1848 and two more events on 20-21 May (figure 1). At the time, no surface effusion were directly observed; however, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) instruments were deployed to monitor any ground motion (Lemoine et al. 2019).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. A graph showing the number of daily seismic events greater than M 3.5 occurring offshore of Mayotte from 10 May 2018 through 15 February 2020. Seismicity significantly decreased in July 2018, but continued intermittently through February 2020, with relatively higher seismicity recorded in late August and mid-September 2018. Courtesy of IPGP and REVOSIMA.

Seismicity decreased dramatically after June 2018, with two spikes in August and September (see figure 1). Much of this seismicity occurred offshore 50 km E of Mayotte Island (figure 2). The École Normale Supérieure, the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF-IPGP), and the REVOSIMA August 2019 bulletin reported that measurements from the GNSS stations and Teria GPS network data indicated eastward surface deformation and subsidence beginning in July 2018. Based on this ground deformation data Lemoine et al. (2019) determined that the eruptive phase began fifty days after the initial seismic events occurred, on 3 July 2018.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Maps of seismic activity offshore near Mayotte during May 2019. Seismic swarms occurred E of Mayotte Island (top) and continued in multiple phases through October 2019. New lava effusions were observed 50 km E of Petite Terre (bottom). Bottom image has been modified with annotations; courtesy of IPGP, BRGM, IFREMER, CNRS, and University of Paris.

Between 2 and 18 May 2019, an oceanographic campaign (MAYOBS 1) discovered a new submarine eruption site 50 km E from the island of Mayotte (figure 2). The director of IPGP, Marc Chaussidon, stated in an interview with Science Magazine that multibeam sonar waves were used to determine the elevation (800 m) and diameter (5 km) of the new submarine cone (figure 3). In addition, this multibeam sonar image showed fluid plumes within the water column rising from the center and flanks of the structure. According to REVOSIMA, these plumes rose to 1 km above the summit of the cone but did not breach the ocean surface. The seafloor image (figure 3) also indicated that as much as 5 km3 of magma erupted onto the seafloor from this new edifice during May 2019, according to Science Magazine.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Seafloor image of the submarine vent offshore of Mayotte created with multibeam sonar from 2 to 18 May 2019. The red line is the outline of the volcanic cone located at approximately 3.5 km depth. The blue-green color rising from the peak of the red outline represents fluid plumes within the water column. Courtesy of IPGP.

On 17 May 2019, a second oceanographic campaign (MAYOBS 2) discovered new lava flows located 5 km S of the new eruptive site. BRGM reported that in June a new lava flow had been identified on the W flank of the cone measuring 150 m thick with an estimated volume of 0.3 km3 (figure 4). According to REVOSIMA, the presence of multiple new lava flows would suggest multiple effusion points. Over a period of 11 months (July 2018-June 2019) the rate of lava effusion was at least 150-200 m3/s; between 18 May to 17 June 2019, 0.2 km3 of lava was produced, and from 17 June to 30 July 2019, 0.3 km3 of lava was produced. The MAYOBS 4 (19 July 2019-4 August 2019) and SHOM (20-21 August 2019) missions revealed a new lava flow formed between 31 July and 20 August to the NW of the eruptive site with a volume of 0.08 km3 and covering 3.25 km2.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 4. Bathymetric map showing the location of the new lava flow on the W flank of the submarine cone offshore to the E of Mayotte Island. The MAYOBS 2 campaign was launched in June 2019 (left) and MAYOBS 4 was launched in late July 2019 (right). Courtesy of BRGM.

During the MAYOBS 4 campaign in late July 2019, scientists dredged the NE flank of the cone for samples and took photographs of the newly erupted lava (figure 5). Two dives found the presence of pillow lavas. When samples were brought up to the surface, they exploded due to the large amount of gas and rapid decompression.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 5. Photographs taken using the submersible interactive camera system (SCAMPI) of newly formed pillow lavas (top) and a vesicular sample (bottom) dredged near the new submarine eruptive site at Mayotte in late July 2019. Courtesy of BRGM.

During April-May 2019 the rate of ground deformation slowed. Deflation was also observed up to 90 km E of Mayotte in late October 2019 and consistently between August 2019 and February 2020. Seismicity continued intermittently through February 2020 offshore E of Mayotte Island, though the number of detected events started to decrease in July 2018 (see figure 1). Though seismicity and deformation continued, the most recent observation of new lava flows occurred during the MAYOBS 4 and SHOM campaigns on 20 August 2019, as reported in REVOSIMA bulletins.

References: Cesca S, Heimann S, Letort J, Razafindrakoto H N T, Dahm T, Cotton F, 2020. Seismic catalogues of the 2018-2019 volcano-seismic crisis offshore Mayotte, Comoro Islands. Nat. Geosci. 13, 87-93. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-019-0505-5.

Lemoine A, Bertil D, Roulle A, Briole P, 2019. The volcano-tectonic crisis of 2018 east of Mayotte, Comoros islands. Preprint submitted to EarthArXiv, 28 February 2019. https://doi.org/10.31223/osf.io/d46xj.

Geologic Background. Mayotte, located in the Mozambique Channel between the northern tip of Madagascar and the eastern coast of Africa, consists two main volcanic islands, Grande Terre and Petite Terre, and roughly twenty islets within a barrier-reef lagoon complex (Zinke et al., 2005; Pelleter et al., 2014). Volcanism began roughly 15-10 million years ago (Pelleter et al., 2014; Nougier et al., 1986), and has included basaltic lava flows, nephelinite, tephrite, phonolitic domes, and pyroclastic deposits (Nehlig et al., 2013). Lavas on the NE were active from about 4.7 to 1.4 million years and on the south from about 7.7 to 2.7 million years. Mafic activity resumed on the north from about 2.9 to 1.2 million years and on the south from about 2 to 1.5 million years. Several pumice layers found in cores on the barrier reef-lagoon complex indicate that volcanism likely occurred less than 7,000 years ago (Zinke et al., 2003). More recent activity that began in May 2018 consisted of seismicity and ground deformation occurring offshore E of Mayotte Island (Lemoine et al., 2019). One year later, in May 2019, a new subaqueous edifice and associated lava flows were observed 50 km E of Petite Terre during an oceanographic campaign.

Information Contacts: Réseau de Surveillance Volcanologique et Sismologique de Mayotte (REVOSIMA), a cooperative program of a) Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), b) Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), c) Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF-IPGP); (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr/reseau-de-surveillance-volcanologique-sismologique-de-mayotte); Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 14 route nationale 3, 27 ème km, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, La Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr); Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), 3 avenue Claude-Guillemin, BP 36009, 45060 Orléans Cedex 2, France (URL: https://www.brgm.fr/); Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), 1625 route de Sainte-Anne, CS 10070, 29280 Plouzané, France (URL: https://wwz.ifremer.fr/); Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), 3 rue Michel-Ange, 75016 Paris, France (URL: http://www.cnrs.fr/); École Normale Supérieure, 45 rue d'Ulm, F-75230 Paris Cedex 05, France (URL: https://www.ens.psl.eu/); Université de Paris, 85 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France (URL: https://u-paris.fr/en/498-2/); Roland Pease, Science Magazine (URL: https://science.sciencemag.org/, article at https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/05/ship-spies-largest-underwater-eruption-ever) published 21 May 2019.


Fernandina (Ecuador) — March 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Fernandina

Ecuador

0.37°S, 91.55°W; summit elev. 1476 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fissure eruption produced lava flows during 12-13 January 2020

Fernandina is a volcanic island in the Galapagos islands, around 1,000 km W from the coast of mainland Ecuador. It has produced nearly 30 recorded eruptions since 1800, with the most recent events having occurred along radial or circumferential fissures around the summit crater. The most recent previous eruption, starting on 16 June 2018, lasted two days and produced lava flows from a radial fissure on the northern flank. Monitoring and scientific reports come from the Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN).

A report from IG-EPN on 12 January 2020 stated that there had been an increase in seismicity and deformation occurring during the previous weeks. On the day of the report, 11 seismic events had occurred, with the largest magnitude of 4.7 at a depth of 5 km. Shortly before 1810 that day a circumferential fissure formed below the eastern rim of the La Cumbre crater, at about 1.3-1.4 km elevation, and produced lava flows down the flank (figure 39). A rapid-onset seismic swarm reached maximum intensity at 1650 on 12 January (figure 40); a second increase in seismicity indicating the start of the eruption began around 70 minutes later (1800). A hotspot was observed in NOAA / CIMSS data between 1800 and 1810, and a gas plume rising up to 2 km above the fissure dispersed W to NW. The eruption lasted 9 hours, until about 0300 on 13 January.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. Lava flows erupting from a circumferential fissure on the eastern flank of Fernandina on 12 January 2020. Photos courtesy of Parque Nacional Galápagos.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. Graph showing the Root-Mean-Square (RMS) amplitude of the seismic signals from the FER-1 station at Fernandina on 12-13 January 2020. The graph shows the increase in seismicity leading to the eruption on the 12th (left star), a decrease in the seismicity, and then another increase during the event (right star). Courtesy of S. Hernandez, IG-EPN (Report on 13 January 2020).

A report issued at 1159 local time on 13 January 2020 described a rapid decrease in seismicity, gas emissions, and thermal anomalies, indicating a rapid decline in eruptive activity similar to previous events in 2017 and 2018. An overflight that day confirmed that the eruption had ended, after lava flows had extended around 500 m from the crater and covered an area of 3.8 km2 (figures 41 and 42). Seismicity continued on the 14th, with small volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes occurring less than 500 m below the surface. Periodic seismicity was recorded through 13-15 January, though there was an increase in seismicity during 17-22 January with deformation also detected (figure 43). No volcanic activity followed, and no additional gas or thermal anomalies were detected.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. The lava flow extents at Fernandina of the previous two eruptions (4-7 September 2017 and 16-21 June 2018) and the 12-13 January 2020 eruption as detected by FIRMS thermal anomalies. Thermal data courtesy of NASA; figure prepared by F. Vásconez, IG-EPN (Report on 13 January 2020).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. This fissure vent that formed on the E flank of Fernandina on 12 January 2020 produced several lava flows. A weak gas plume was still rising when this photo was taken the next day, but the eruption had ceased. Courtesy of Parque Nacional Galápagos.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. Soil displacement map for Fernandina during 10 and 16 January 2020, with the deformation generated by the 12 January eruption shown. Courtesy of IG-EPN (Report on 23 January 2020).

Geologic Background. Fernandina, the most active of Galápagos volcanoes and the one closest to the Galápagos mantle plume, is a basaltic shield volcano with a deep 5 x 6.5 km summit caldera. The volcano displays the classic "overturned soup bowl" profile of Galápagos shield volcanoes. Its caldera is elongated in a NW-SE direction and formed during several episodes of collapse. Circumferential fissures surround the caldera and were instrumental in growth of the volcano. Reporting has been poor in this uninhabited western end of the archipelago, and even a 1981 eruption was not witnessed at the time. In 1968 the caldera floor dropped 350 m following a major explosive eruption. Subsequent eruptions, mostly from vents located on or near the caldera boundary faults, have produced lava flows inside the caldera as well as those in 1995 that reached the coast from a SW-flank vent. Collapse of a nearly 1 km3 section of the east caldera wall during an eruption in 1988 produced a debris-avalanche deposit that covered much of the caldera floor and absorbed the caldera lake.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos (DPNG), Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos, Ecuador (URL: http://www.galapagos.gob.ec/).


Masaya (Nicaragua) — February 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 persists with lower temperatures during August 2019-January 2020

Masaya is a basaltic caldera located in Nicaragua and contains the Nindirí, San Pedro, San Juan, and Santiago craters. The currently active Santiago crater hosts a lava lake, which has remained active since December 2015 (BGVN 41:08). The primary source of information for this August 2019-January 2020 report comes from the Instituto Nicareguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) and satellite -based imagery and thermal data.

On 16 August, 13 September, and 11 November 2019, INETER took SO2 measurements by making a transect using a mobile DOAS spectrometer that sampled for gases downwind of the volcano. Average values during these months were 2,095 tons/day, 1,416 tons/day, and 1,037 tons/day, respectively. August had the highest SO2 measurements while those during September and November were more typical values.

Satellite imagery showed a constant thermal anomaly in the Santiago crater at the lava lake during August 2019 through January 2020 (figure 82). According to a news report, ash was expelled from Masaya on 15 October 2019, resulting in minor ashfall in Colonia 4 de Mayo (6 km NW). On 21 November thermal measurements were taken at the fumaroles and near the lava lake using a FLIR SC620 thermal camera (figure 83). The temperature measured 287°C, which was 53° cooler than the last time thermal temperatures were taken in May 2019.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 82. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery showed the consistent presence of an active lava lake within the Santiago crater at Masaya during August 2019 through January 2020. Images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 83. Thermal measurements taken at Masaya on 21 November 2019 with a FLIR SC620 thermal camera that recorded a temperature of 287°C. Courtesy of INETER (Boletin Sismos y Volcanes de Nicaragua, Noviembre, 2019).

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed intermittent low-power thermal anomalies compared to the higher-power ones before May 2019 (figure 84). The thermal anomalies were detected during August 2019 through January 2020 after a brief hiatus from early may to mid-June.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 84. Thermal anomalies occurred intermittently at Masaya during 21 February 2019 through January 2020. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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); La Jornada (URL: https://www.lajornadanet.com/, article at https://www.lajornadanet.com/index.php/2019/10/16/volcan-masaya-expulsa-cenizas/#.Xl6f8ahKjct).


Reventador (Ecuador) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Reventador

Ecuador

0.077°S, 77.656°W; summit elev. 3562 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Nearly daily ash emissions and frequent incandescent block avalanches August 2019-January 2020

Reventador is an andesitic stratovolcano located in the Cordillera Real, Ecuador. Historical eruptions date back to the 16th century, consisting of lava flows and explosive events. The current eruptive activity has been ongoing since 2008 with previous activity including daily explosions with ash emissions, and incandescent block avalanches (BGVN 44:08). This report covers volcanism from August 2019 through January 2020 using information primarily from the Instituto Geofísico (IG-EPN), the Washington Volcano Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various infrared satellite data.

During August 2019 to January 2020, IG-EPN reported almost daily explosive eruptions and ash plumes. September had the highest average of explosive eruptions while January 2020 had the lowest (table 11). Ash plumes rose between a maximum of 1.2 to 2.5 km above the crater during this reporting period with the highest plume height recorded in December. The largest amount of SO2 gases produced was during the month of October with 502 tons/day. Frequently at night during this reporting period, crater incandescence was observed and was occasionally accompanied by incandescent block avalanches traveling as far as 900 m downslope from the summit of the volcano.

Table 11. Monthly summary of eruptive events recorded at Reventador from August 2019 through January 2020. Data courtesy of IG-EPN (August to January 2020 daily reports).

Month Average Number of Explosions Max plume height above the crater Max SO2
Aug 2019 26 1.6 km --
Sep 2019 32 1.7 km 428 tons/day
Oct 2019 29 1.3 km 502 tons/day
Nov 2019 25 1.2 km 432 tons/day
Dec 2019 25 2.5 km 331 tons/day
Jan 2020 12 1.7 km --

During the month of August 2019, between 11 and 45 explosions were recorded every day, frequently accompanied by gas-and-steam and ash emissions (figure 119); plumes rose more than 1 km above the crater on nine days. On 20 August the ash plume rose to a maximum 1.6 km above the crater. Summit incandescence was seen at night beginning on 10 August, continuing frequently throughout the rest of the reporting period. Incandescent block avalanches were reported intermittently beginning that same night through 26 January 2020, ejecting material between 300 to 900 m below the summit and moving on all sides of the volcano.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. An ash plume rising from the summit of Reventador on 1 August 2019. Courtesy of Radio La Voz del Santuario.

Throughout most of September 2019 gas-and-steam and ash emissions were observed almost daily, with plumes rising more than 1 km above the crater on 15 days, according to IG-EPN. On 30 September, the ash plume rose to a high of 1.7 km above the crater. Each day, between 18 and 72 explosions were reported, with the latter occurring on 19 September. At night, crater incandescence was commonly observed, sometimes accompanied by incandescent material rolling down every flank.

Elevated seismicity was reported during 8-15 October 2019 and almost daily gas-and-steam and ash emissions were present, ranging up to 1.3 km above the summit. Every day during this month, between 13 and 54 explosions were documented and crater incandescence was commonly observed at night. During November 2019, gas-and-steam and ash emissions rose greater than 1 km above the crater except for 10 days; no emissions were reported on 29 November. Daily explosions ranged up to 42, occasionally accompanied by crater incandescence and incandescent ejecta.

Washington VAAC notices were issued almost daily during December 2019, reporting ash plumes between 4.6 and 6 km altitude throughout the month and drifting in multiple directions. Each day produced 5-52 explosions, many of which were accompanied by incandescent blocks rolling down all sides of the volcano up to 900 m below the summit. IG-EPN reported on 11 December that a gas-and-steam and ash emission column rose to a maximum height of 2.5 km above the crater, drifting SW as was observed by satellite images and reported by the Washington VAAC.

Volcanism in January 2020 was relatively low compared to the other months of this reporting period. Explosions continued on a nearly daily basis early in the month, ranging from 20 to 51. During 5-7 January incandescent material ejected from the summit vent moved as block avalanches downslope and multiple gas-and-steam and ash plumes were produced (figures 120, 121, and 122). After 9 January the number of explosions decreased to 0-16 per day. Ash plumes rose between 4.6 and 5.8 km altitude, according to the Washington VAAC.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Night footage of activity on 5 (top) and 6 (bottom) January 2020 at the summit of Reventador, producing a dense, dark gray ash plume and ejecting incandescent material down multiple sides of the volcano. This activity is not uncommon during this reporting period. Courtesy of Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. An explosion at Reventador on 7 January 2020, which produced a dense gray ash plume. Courtesy of Martin Rietze, used with permission.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 122. Night footage of the evolution of an eruption on 7 January 2020 at the summit of Reventador, which produced an ash plume and ejected incandescent material down multiple sides of the volcano. Courtesy of Martin Rietze, used with permission.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data showed frequent and strong thermal anomalies within 5 km of the summit during 21 February 2019 through January 2020 (figure 123). In comparison, the MODVOLC algorithm reported 24 thermal alerts between August 2019 and January 2020 near the summit. Some thermal anomalies can be seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery throughout this reporting period, even with the presence of meteorological clouds (figure 124). These thermal anomalies were accompanied by persistent gas-and-steam and ash plumes.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 123. Thermal anomalies at Reventador persisted during 21 February 2019 through January 2020 as recorded by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 124. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Reventador from August 2019 to January 2020 showing a thermal hotspot in the central summit crater summit. In the image on 7 January 2020, the thermal anomaly is accompanied by an ash plume. Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.

Information Contacts: Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG-EPN), Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador (URL: http://www.igepn.edu.ec/); Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS OSPO, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac, archive at: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/archive.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Radio La Voz del Santuario (URL: https://www.facebook.com/Radio-La-Voz-del-Santuario-126394484061111/, posted at: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2630739100293291&id=126394484061111); Martin Rietze, Taubenstr. 1, D-82223 Eichenau, Germany (URL: https://mrietze.com/, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5LzAA_nyNWEUfpcUFOCpJw/videos).


Pacaya (Guatemala) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Pacaya

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continuous explosions, small cone, and lava flows during August 2019-January 2020

Pacaya is a highly active basaltic volcano located in Guatemala with volcanism consisting of frequent lava flows and Strombolian explosions originating in the Mackenney crater. The previous report summarizes volcanism that included multiple lava flows, Strombolian activity, avalanches, and gas-and-steam emissions (BGVN 44:08), all of which continue through this reporting period of August 2019 to January 2020. The primary source of information comes from reports by the Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH) in Guatemala and various satellite data.

Strombolian explosions occurred consistently throughout this reporting period. During the month of August 2019, explosions ejected material up to 30 m above the Mackenney crater. These explosions deposited material that contributed to the formation of a small cone on the NW flank of the Mackenney crater. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes rose up to 600 m above the crater drifting S and W. Multiple incandescent lava flows were observed traveling down the N and NW flanks, measuring up to 400 m long. Small to moderate avalanches were generated at the front of the lava flows, including incandescent blocks that measured up to 1 m in diameter. Occasionally incandescence was observed at night from the Mackenney crater.

In September 2019 seismicity was elevated compared to the previous month, registering a maximum of 8,000 RSAM (Realtime Seismic Amplitude Measurement) units. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes that rose up to 1 km above the crater drifted generally S as far as 3 km from the crater. Strombolian explosions continued, ejecting material up to 100 m above the crater rim. At night and during the early morning, crater incandescence was observed. Incandescent lava flows traveled as much as 600 m down the N and NW flanks toward the Cerro Chino crater (figure 116). On 21 September two lava flows descended the SW flank. Constant avalanches with incandescent blocks measuring 1 m in diameter occurred from the front of many of these lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. Webcam image of Pacaya on 25 September 2019 showing thermal signatures and the point of emission on the NNW flank at night using Landsat 8 (Nocturnal) imagery (left) and a daytime image showing the location of these lava effusions (right) along with gas-and-steam emissions from the active crater. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH.

Weak explosions continued through October 2019, ejecting material up to 75 m above the crater and building a small cone within the crater. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes rose 400-800 m above the crater, drifting W and NW and extending up to 4 km from the crater during the week of 26 October-1 November. Lava flows measuring up to 250 m long, originating from the Mackenney crater were descending the N and NW flanks (figure 117). Avalanches carrying large blocks 1 m in diameter commonly occurred at the front of these lava flows.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Photo of lava flows traveling down the flanks of Pacaya taken between 28 September 2019 and 4 October. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (28 September 2019 to 4 October Weekly Report).

Continuing Strombolian explosions in November 2019 ejected material 15-75 m above the crater, which then contributed to the formation of the new cone. White and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes rose 100-600 m above the crater drifting in different directions and extending up to 2 km. Multiple lava flows from the Mackenney crater moving down all sides of the volcano continued, measuring 50-700 m long. Avalanches were generated at the front of the lava flows, often moving blocks as large as 1 m in diameter. The number of lava flows decreased during 2-8 November and the following week of 9-15 November no lava flows were observed, according to INSIVUMEH. During the week of 16-22 November, a small collapse occurred in the Mackenney crater and explosive activity increased during 16, 18, and 20 November, reaching RSAM units of 4,500. At night and early morning in late November crater incandescence was visible. On 24 November two lava flows descended the NW flank toward the Cerro Chino crater, measuring 100 m long.

During December 2019, much of the activity remained the same, with Strombolian explosions originating from two emission points in the Mackenney crater ejecting material 75-100 m above the crater; white and occasionally blue gas-and-steam plumes to 100-300 m above the crater drifted up to 1.5 km downwind to the S and SW. Lava flows descended the S and SW flanks reaching 250-600 m long (figure 118). On 29 December seismicity increased, reaching 5,000 RSAM units.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 118. Lava flows moving to the S and SW at Pacaya on 31 December 2019. Courtesy of INSIVUMEH (28 December 2019 to 3 January 2020 Weekly Report).

Consistent Strombolian activity continued into January 2020 ejecting material 25-100 m above the crater. These explosions deposited material inside the Mackenney crater, contributing to the formation of a small cone. White and occasionally blue fumaroles consisting of mostly water vapor were observed drifting in different directions. At night, summit incandescence and lava flows were visible descending the N, NW, and S flanks with the flow on the NW flank traveling toward the Cerro Chino crater.

During August 2019 through January 2020, multiple lava flows and bright thermal anomalies (yellow-orange) within the crater were seen in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery (figures 119 and 120). In addition, constant strong thermal anomalies were detected by the MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) system during 21 February 2019 through January 2020 within 5 km of the summit (figure 121). A slight decrease in energy was seen from May to June and August to September. Energy increased again between November and December. According to the MODVOLC algorithm, 37 thermal alerts were recorded during August 2019 through January 2020.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 119. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya showing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) during August 2019 to November. All images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 120. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images of Pacaya showing thermal activity (bright yellow-orange) during December 2019 through January 2020. All images with "Atmospheric penetration" (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 121. The MIROVA thermal activity graph (log radiative power) at Pacaya during 21 February 2019 to January 2020 shows strong, frequent thermal anomalies through January with a slight decrease in energy between May 2019 to June 2019 and August 2019 to September 2019. Courtesy of MIROVA.

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

Information Contacts: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia (INSIVUMEH), Unit of Volcanology, Geologic Department of Investigation and Services, 7a Av. 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala (URL: http://www.insivumeh.gob.gt/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Kikai (Japan) — February 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kikai

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Single explosion with steam and minor ash, 2 November 2019

The 19-km-wide submerged Kikai caldera at the N end of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands was the source of one of the world's largest Holocene eruptions about 6,300 years ago, producing large pyroclastic flows and abundant ashfall. During the last century, however, only intermittent minor ash emissions have characterized activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima island, the larger subaerial fragment of the Kikai caldera; several events have included limited ashfall in communities on nearby islands. The most recent event was a single day of explosions on 4 June 2013 that produced ash plumes and minor ashfall on the flank. A minor episode of increased seismicity and fumarolic activity was reported in late March 2018, but no ash emissions were reported. A new single-day event on 2 November 2019 is described here with information provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

JMA reduced the Alert Level to 1 on 27 April 2018 after a brief increase in seismicity during March 2018 (BGVN 45:05); no significant changes in volcanic activity were observed for the rest of the year. Steam plumes rose from the summit crater to heights around 1,000 m; the highest plume rose 1,800 m. Occasional nighttime incandescence was recorded by high-sensitivity surveillance cameras. SO2 measurements made during site visits in March, April, and May indicated amounts ranging from 300-1,500 tons per day, similar to values from 2017 (400-1,000 tons per day). Infrared imaging devices indicated thermal anomalies from fumarolic activity persisted on the N and W flanks during the three site visits. A field survey of the SW flank on 25 May 2018 confirmed that the crater edge had dropped several meters into the crater since a similar survey in April 2007. Scientists on a 19 December 2018 overflight had observed fumarolic activity.

There were no changes in activity through October 2019. Weak incandescence at night continued to be periodically recorded with the surveillance cameras (figure 9). A brief eruption on 2 November 2019 at 1735 local time produced a gray-white plume that rose slightly over 1,000 m above the Iodake crater rim (figure 10). As a result, JMA raised the Alert Level from 1 to 2. During an overflight the following day, a steam plume rose a few hundred meters above the summit, but no further activity was observed. No clear traces of volcanic ash or other ejecta were found around the summit (figure 11). Infrared imaging also showed no particular changes from previous measurements. Discolored seawater continued to be observed around the base of the island in several locations.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 9. Incandescence at night on 25 October 2019 was observed at Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) with the Iwanogami webcam. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 1st year of Reiwa [2019]).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. The Iwanogami webcam captured a brief gray-white ash and steam emission rising above the Iodake crater rim on Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 2 November 2019 at 1738 local time. The plume rose slightly over 1,000 m before dissipating. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 1st year of Reiwa [2019]).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. During an overflight of Satsuma Iwo Jima (Kikai) on 3 November 2019 no traces of ash were seen from the previous day’s explosion; only steam plumes rose a few hundred meters above the summit, and discolored water was present in a few places around the shoreline. Courtesy of JMA (An explanation of volcanic activity at Satsuma Iwo Jima, October 1st year of Reiwa [2019]).

For the remainder of November 2019, steam plumes rose up to 1,300 m above the summit, and nighttime incandescence was occasionally observed in the webcam. Seismic activity remained low and there were no additional changes noted through January 2020.

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

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

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

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

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



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. 3295 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 eastern flank of the extinct Talawe volcano. Talawe is the highest volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila volcano was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the north and NE sides of Langila. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded since the 19th century from three active craters at the summit of Langila. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

Information Contacts: 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 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys" channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five small satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern, and western sides. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.

Information Contacts: 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 that was constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of 1916-m-high Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

Information Contacts: G. Soto, 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 110 km3 dominantly andesitic 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, 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 3000 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 of the volcano 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

Additional 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 subregion and subject.

Kermadec Islands


Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion


Tonga Islands


Floating Pumice (Tonga)


Fiji Islands


Floating Pumice (Fiji)


Andaman Islands


False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions


Sangihe Islands


1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake


Southeast Asia


Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong


Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu


Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)


Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands


Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source


Kuril Islands


Possible 1988 Eruption Plume


Aleutian Islands


Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


Mexico


False Report of New Volcano


Nicaragua


Apoyo


Colombia


La Lorenza Mud Volcano


Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)


False Report of Submarine Volcanism


West Indies


Mid-Cayman Spreading Center


Atlantic Ocean (northern)


Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone


Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands


Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge


Additional Reports (database)

08/1997 (BGVN 22:08) False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

False report of volcanism intended to exclude would-be gold miners

12/1997 (BGVN 22:12) False Report of Somalia Eruption

Press reports of Somalia's first historical eruption were likely in error

11/1999 (BGVN 24:11) False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

05/2003 (BGVN 28:05) Har-Togoo

Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

12/2005 (BGVN 30:12) Elgon

False report of activity; confusion caused by burning dung in a lava tube



False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption (Philippines) — August 1997

False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Philippines

7.975°N, 123.23°E; summit elev. 1510 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


False report of volcanism intended to exclude would-be gold miners

In discussing the week ending on 12 September, "Earthweek" (Newman, 1997) incorrectly claimed that a volcano named "Mount Pinukis" had erupted. Widely read in the US, the dramatic Earthweek report described terrified farmers and a black mushroom cloud that resembled a nuclear explosion. The mountain's location was given as "200 km E of Zamboanga City," a spot well into the sea. The purported eruption had received mention in a Manila Bulletin newspaper report nine days earlier, on 4 September. Their comparatively understated report said that a local police director had disclosed that residents had seen a dormant volcano showing signs of activity.

In response to these news reports Emmanuel Ramos of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) sent a reply on 17 September. PHIVOLCS staff had initially heard that there were some 12 alleged families who fled the mountain and sought shelter in the lowlands. A PHIVOLCS investigation team later found that the reported "families" were actually individuals seeking respite from some politically motivated harassment. The story seems to have stemmed from a local gold rush and an influential politician who wanted to use volcanism as a ploy to exclude residents. PHIVOLCS concluded that no volcanic activity had occurred. They also added that this finding disappointed local politicians but was much welcomed by the residents.

PHIVOLCS spelled the mountain's name as "Pinokis" and from their report it seems that it might be an inactive volcano. There is no known Holocene volcano with a similar name (Simkin and Siebert, 1994). No similar names (Pinokis, Pinukis, Pinakis, etc.) were found listed in the National Imagery and Mapping Agency GEOnet Names Server (http://geonames.nga.mil/gns/html/index.html), a searchable database of 3.3 million non-US geographic-feature names.

The Manila Bulletin report suggested that Pinokis resides on the Zamboanga Peninsula. The Peninsula lies on Mindanao Island's extreme W side where it bounds the Moro Gulf, an arm of the Celebes Sea. The mountainous Peninsula trends NNE-SSW and contains peaks with summit elevations near 1,300 m. Zamboanga City sits at the extreme end of the Peninsula and operates both a major seaport and an international airport.

[Later investigation found that Mt. Pinokis is located in the Lison Valley on the Zamboanga Peninsula, about 170 km NE of Zamboanga City and 30 km NW of Pagadian City. It is adjacent to the two peaks of the Susong Dalaga (Maiden's Breast) and near Mt. Sugarloaf.]

References. Newman, S., 1997, Earthweek, a diary of the planet (week ending 12 September): syndicated newspaper column (URL: http://www.earthweek.com/).

Manila Bulletin, 4 Sept. 1997, Dante's Peak (URL: http://www.mb.com.ph/).

Simkin, T., and Siebert, L., 1994, Volcanoes of the world, 2nd edition: Geoscience Press in association with the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, Tucson AZ, 368 p.

Information Contacts: Emmanuel G. Ramos, Deputy Director, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Department of Science and Technology, PHIVOLCS Building, C. P. Garcia Ave., University of the Philippines, Diliman campus, Quezon City, Philippines.


False Report of Somalia Eruption (Somalia) — December 1997

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Somalia

3.25°N, 41.667°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Press reports of Somalia's first historical eruption were likely in error

Xinhua News Agency filed a news report on 27 February under the headline "Volcano erupts in Somalia" but the veracity of the story now appears doubtful. The report disclosed the volcano's location as on the W side of the Gedo region, an area along the Ethiopian border just NE of Kenya. The report had relied on the commissioner of the town of Bohol Garas (a settlement described as 40 km NE of the main Al-Itihad headquarters of Luq town) and some or all of the information was relayed by journalists through VHF radio. The report claimed the disaster "wounded six herdsmen" and "claimed the lives of 290 goats grazing near the mountain when the incident took place." Further descriptions included such statements as "the volcano which erupted two days ago [25 February] has melted down the rocks and sand and spread . . . ."

Giday WoldeGabriel returned from three weeks of geological fieldwork in SW Ethiopia, near the Kenyan border, on 25 August. During his time there he inquired of many people, including geologists, if they had heard of a Somalian eruption in the Gedo area; no one had heard of the event. WoldeGabriel stated that he felt the news report could have described an old mine or bomb exploding. Heavy fighting took place in the Gedo region during the Ethio-Somalian war of 1977. Somalia lacks an embassy in Washington DC; when asked during late August, Ayalaw Yiman, an Ethiopian embassy staff member in Washington DC also lacked any knowledge of a Somalian eruption.

A Somalian eruption would be significant since the closest known Holocene volcanoes occur in the central Ethiopian segment of the East African rift system S of Addis Ababa, ~500 km NW of the Gedo area. These Ethiopian rift volcanoes include volcanic fields, shield volcanoes, cinder cones, and stratovolcanoes.

Information Contacts: Xinhua News Agency, 5 Sharp Street West, Wanchai, Hong Kong; Giday WoldeGabriel, EES-1/MS D462, Geology-Geochemistry Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545; Ayalaw Yiman, Ethiopian Embassy, 2134 Kalorama Rd. NW, Washington DC 20008.


False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption (Turkey) — November 1999

False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Turkey

40.683°N, 29.1°E; summit elev. 0 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


UFO adherent claims new volcano in Sea of Marmara

Following the Ms 7.8 earthquake in Turkey on 17 August (BGVN 24:08) an Email message originating in Turkey was circulated, claiming that volcanic activity was observed coincident with the earthquake and suggesting a new (magmatic) volcano in the Sea of Marmara. For reasons outlined below, and in the absence of further evidence, editors of the Bulletin consider this a false report.

The report stated that fishermen near the village of Cinarcik, at the E end of the Sea of Marmara "saw the sea turned red with fireballs" shortly after the onset of the earthquake. They later found dead fish that appeared "fried." Their nets were "burned" while under water and contained samples of rocks alleged to look "magmatic."

No samples of the fish were preserved. A tectonic scientist in Istanbul speculated that hot water released by the earthquake from the many hot springs along the coast in that area may have killed some fish (although they would be boiled rather than fried).

The phenomenon called earthquake lights could explain the "fireballs" reportedly seen by the fishermen. Such effects have been reasonably established associated with large earthquakes, although their origin remains poorly understood. In addition to deformation-triggered piezoelectric effects, earthquake lights have sometimes been explained as due to the release of methane gas in areas of mass wasting (even under water). Omlin and others (1999), for example, found gas hydrate and methane releases associated with mud volcanoes in coastal submarine environments.

The astronomer and author Thomas Gold (Gold, 1998) has a website (Gold, 2000) where he presents a series of alleged quotes from witnesses of earthquakes. We include three such quotes here (along with Gold's dates, attributions, and other comments):

(A) Lima, 30 March 1828. "Water in the bay 'hissed as if hot iron was immersed in it,' bubbles and dead fish rose to the surface, and the anchor chain of HMS Volage was partially fused while lying in the mud on the bottom." (Attributed to Bagnold, 1829; the anchor chain is reported to be on display in the London Navy Museum.)

(B) Romania, 10 November 1940. ". . . a thick layer like a translucid gas above the surface of the soil . . . irregular gas fires . . . flames in rhythm with the movements of the soil . . . flashes like lightning from the floor to the summit of Mt Tampa . . . flames issuing from rocks, which crumbled, with flashes also issuing from non-wooded mountainsides." (Phrases used in eyewitness accounts collected by Demetrescu and Petrescu, 1941).

(C) Sungpan-Pingwu (China), 16, 22, and 23 August 1976. "From March of 1976, various large anomalies were observed over a broad region. . . . At the Wanchia commune of Chungching County, outbursts of natural gas from rock fissures ignited and were difficult to extinguish even by dumping dirt over the fissures. . . . Chu Chieh Cho, of the Provincial Seismological Bureau, related personally seeing a fireball 75 km from the epicenter on the night of 21 July while in the company of three professional seismologists."

Yalciner and others (1999) made a study of coastal areas along the Sea of Marmara after the Izmet earthquake. They found evidence for one or more tsunamis with maximum runups of 2.0-2.5 m. Preliminary modeling of the earthquake's response failed to reproduce the observed runups; the areas of maximum runup instead appeared to correspond most closely with several local mass-failure events. This observation together with the magnitude of the earthquake, and bottom soundings from marine geophysical teams, suggested mass wasting may have been fairly common on the floor of the Sea of Marmara.

Despite a wide range of poorly understood, dramatic processes associated with earthquakes (Izmet 1999 apparently included), there remains little evidence for volcanism around the time of the earthquake. The nearest Holocene volcano lies ~200 km SW of the report location. Neither Turkish geologists nor scientists from other countries in Turkey to study the 17 August earthquake reported any volcanism. The report said the fisherman found "magmatic" rocks; it is unlikely they would be familiar with this term.

The motivation and credibility of the report's originator, Erol Erkmen, are unknown. Certainly, the difficulty in translating from Turkish to English may have caused some problems in understanding. Erkmen is associated with a website devoted to reporting UFO activity in Turkey. Photographs of a "magmatic rock" sample were sent to the Bulletin, but they only showed dark rocks photographed devoid of a scale on a featureless background. The rocks shown did not appear to be vesicular or glassy. What was most significant to Bulletin editors was the report author's progressive reluctance to provide samples or encourage follow-up investigation with local scientists. Without the collaboration of trained scientists on the scene this report cannot be validated.

References. Omlin, A, Damm, E., Mienert, J., and Lukas, D., 1999, In-situ detection of methane releases adjacent to gas hydrate fields on the Norwegian margin: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Yalciner, A.C., Borrero, J., Kukano, U., Watts, P., Synolakis, C. E., and Imamura, F., 1999, Field survey of 1999 Izmit tsunami and modeling effort of new tsunami generation mechanism: (Abstract) Fall AGU meeting 1999, Eos, American Geophysical Union.

Gold, T., 1998, The deep hot biosphere: Springer Verlag, 256 p., ISBN: 0387985468.

Gold, T., 2000, Eye-witness accounts of several major earthquakes (URL: http://www.people.cornell.edu/ pages/tg21/eyewit.html).

Information Contacts: Erol Erkmen, Tuvpo Project Alp.


Har-Togoo (Mongolia) — May 2003

Har-Togoo

Mongolia

48.831°N, 101.626°E; summit elev. 1675 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fumaroles and minor seismicity since October 2002

In December 2002 information appeared in Mongolian and Russian newspapers and on national TV that a volcano in Central Mongolia, the Har-Togoo volcano, was producing white vapors and constant acoustic noise. Because of the potential hazard posed to two nearby settlements, mainly with regard to potential blocking of rivers, the Director of the Research Center of Astronomy and Geophysics of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Bekhtur, organized a scientific expedition to the volcano on 19-20 March 2003. The scientific team also included M. Ulziibat, seismologist from the same Research Center, M. Ganzorig, the Director of the Institute of Informatics, and A. Ivanov from the Institute of the Earth's Crust, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Geological setting. The Miocene Har-Togoo shield volcano is situated on top of a vast volcanic plateau (figure 1). The 5,000-year-old Khorog (Horog) cone in the Taryatu-Chulutu volcanic field is located 135 km SW and the Quaternary Urun-Dush cone in the Khanuy Gol (Hanuy Gol) volcanic field is 95 km ENE. Pliocene and Quaternary volcanic rocks are also abundant in the vicinity of the Holocene volcanoes (Devyatkin and Smelov, 1979; Logatchev and others, 1982). Analysis of seismic activity recorded by a network of seismic stations across Mongolia shows that earthquakes of magnitude 2-3.5 are scattered around the Har-Togoo volcano at a distance of 10-15 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Photograph of the Har-Togoo volcano viewed from west, March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

Observations during March 2003. The name of the volcano in the Mongolian language means "black-pot" and through questioning of the local inhabitants, it was learned that there is a local myth that a dragon lived in the volcano. The local inhabitants also mentioned that marmots, previously abundant in the area, began to migrate westwards five years ago; they are now practically absent from the area.

Acoustic noise and venting of colorless warm gas from a small hole near the summit were noticed in October 2002 by local residents. In December 2002, while snow lay on the ground, the hole was clearly visible to local visitors, and a second hole could be seen a few meters away; it is unclear whether or not white vapors were noticed on this occasion. During the inspection in March 2003 a third hole was seen. The second hole is located within a 3 x 3 m outcrop of cinder and pumice (figure 2) whereas the first and the third holes are located within massive basalts. When close to the holes, constant noise resembled a rapid river heard from afar. The second hole was covered with plastic sheeting fixed at the margins, but the plastic was blown off within 2-3 seconds. Gas from the second hole was sampled in a mechanically pumped glass sampler. Analysis by gas chromatography, performed a week later at the Institute of the Earth's Crust, showed that nitrogen and atmospheric air were the major constituents.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Photograph of the second hole sampled at Har-Togoo, with hammer for scale, March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

The temperature of the gas at the first, second, and third holes was +1.1, +1.4, and +2.7°C, respectively, while air temperature was -4.6 to -4.7°C (measured on 19 March 2003). Repeated measurements of the temperatures on the next day gave values of +1.1, +0.8, and -6.0°C at the first, second, and third holes, respectively. Air temperature was -9.4°C. To avoid bias due to direct heating from sunlight the measurements were performed under shadow. All measurements were done with Chechtemp2 digital thermometer with precision of ± 0.1°C and accuracy ± 0.3°C.

Inside the mouth of the first hole was 4-10-cm-thick ice with suspended gas bubbles (figure 5). The ice and snow were sampled in plastic bottles, melted, and tested for pH and Eh with digital meters. The pH-meter was calibrated by Horiba Ltd (Kyoto, Japan) standard solutions 4 and 7. Water from melted ice appeared to be slightly acidic (pH 6.52) in comparison to water of melted snow (pH 7.04). Both pH values were within neutral solution values. No prominent difference in Eh (108 and 117 for ice and snow, respectively) was revealed.

Two digital short-period three-component stations were installed on top of Har-Togoo, one 50 m from the degassing holes and one in a remote area on basement rocks, for monitoring during 19-20 March 2003. Every hour 1-3 microseismic events with magnitude <2 were recorded. All seismic events were virtually identical and resembled A-type volcano-tectonic earthquakes (figure 6). Arrival difference between S and P waves were around 0.06-0.3 seconds for the Har-Togoo station and 0.1-1.5 seconds for the remote station. Assuming that the Har-Togoo station was located in the epicentral zone, the events were located at ~1-3 km depth. Seismic episodes similar to volcanic tremors were also recorded (figure 3).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Examples of an A-type volcano-tectonic earthquake and volcanic tremor episodes recorded at the Har-Togoo station on 19 March 2003. Courtesy of Alexei Ivanov.

Conclusions. The abnormal thermal and seismic activities could be the result of either hydrothermal or volcanic processes. This activity could have started in the fall of 2002 when they were directly observed for the first time, or possibly up to five years earlier when marmots started migrating from the area. Further studies are planned to investigate the cause of the fumarolic and seismic activities.

At the end of a second visit in early July, gas venting had stopped, but seismicity was continuing. In August there will be a workshop on Russian-Mongolian cooperation between Institutions of the Russian and Mongolian Academies of Sciences (held in Ulan-Bator, Mongolia), where the work being done on this volcano will be presented.

References. Devyatkin, E.V. and Smelov, S.B., 1979, Position of basalts in sequence of Cenozoic sediments of Mongolia: Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences, geological series, no. 1, p. 16-29. (In Russian).

Logatchev, N.A., Devyatkin, E.V., Malaeva, E.M., and others, 1982, Cenozoic deposits of Taryat basin and Chulutu river valley (Central Hangai): Izvestiya USSR Academy of Sciences, geological series, no. 8, p. 76-86. (In Russian).

Geologic Background. The Miocene Har-Togoo shield volcano, also known as Togoo Tologoy, is situated on top of a vast volcanic plateau. The 5,000-year-old Khorog (Horog) cone in the Taryatu-Chulutu volcanic field is located 135 km SW and the Quaternary Urun-Dush cone in the Khanuy Gol (Hanuy Gol) volcanic field is 95 km ENE. Analysis of seismic activity recorded by a network of seismic stations across Mongolia shows that earthquakes of magnitude 2-3.5 are scattered around the Har-Togoo volcano at a distance of 10-15 km.

Information Contacts: Alexei V. Ivanov, Institute of the Earth Crust SB, Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk, Russia; Bekhtur andM. Ulziibat, Research Center of Astronomy and Geophysics, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia; M. Ganzorig, Institute of Informatics MAS, Ulan-Bator, Mongolia.


Elgon (Uganda) — December 2005

Elgon

Uganda

1.136°N, 34.559°E; summit elev. 3885 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


False report of activity; confusion caused by burning dung in a lava tube

An eruption at Mount Elgon was mistakenly inferred when fumes escaped from this otherwise quiet volcano. The fumes were eventually traced to dung burning in a lava-tube cave. The cave is home to, or visited by, wildlife ranging from bats to elephants. Mt. Elgon (Ol Doinyo Ilgoon) is a stratovolcano on the SW margin of a 13 x 16 km caldera that straddles the Uganda-Kenya border 140 km NE of the N shore of Lake Victoria. No eruptions are known in the historical record or in the Holocene.

On 7 September 2004 the web site of the Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation reported that villagers sighted and smelled noxious fumes from a cave on the flank of Mt. Elgon during August 2005. The villagers' concerns were taken quite seriously by both nations, to the extent that evacuation of nearby villages was considered.

The Daily Nation article added that shortly after the villagers' reports, Moses Masibo, Kenya's Western Province geology officer visited the cave, confirmed the villagers observations, and added that the temperature in the cave was 170°C. He recommended that nearby villagers move to safer locations. Masibo and Silas Simiyu of KenGens geothermal department collected ashes from the cave for testing.

Gerald Ernst reported on 19 September 2004 that he spoke with two local geologists involved with the Elgon crisis from the Geology Department of the University of Nairobi (Jiromo campus): Professor Nyambok and Zacharia Kuria (the former is a senior scientist who was unable to go in the field; the latter is a junior scientist who visited the site). According to Ernst their interpretation is that somebody set fire to bat guano in one of the caves. The fire was intense and probably explains the vigorous fuming, high temperatures, and suffocated animals. The event was also accompanied by emissions of gases with an ammonia odor. Ernst noted that this was not surprising considering the high nitrogen content of guano—ammonia is highly toxic and can also explain the animal deaths. The intense fumes initially caused substantial panic in the area.

It was Ernst's understanding that the authorities ordered evacuations while awaiting a report from local scientists, but that people returned before the report reached the authorities. The fire presumably prompted the response of local authorities who then urged the University geologists to analyze the situation. By the time geologists arrived, the fuming had ceased, or nearly so. The residue left by the fire and other observations led them to conclude that nothing remotely related to a volcanic eruption had occurred.

However, the incident emphasized the problem due to lack of a seismic station to monitor tectonic activity related to a local triple junction associated with the rift valley or volcanic seismicity. In response, one seismic station was moved from S Kenya to the area of Mt. Elgon so that local seismicity can be monitored in the future.

Information Contacts: Gerald Ernst, Univ. of Ghent, Krijgslaan 281/S8, B-9000, Belgium; Chris Newhall, USGS, Univ. of Washington, Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences, Box 351310, Seattle, WA 98195-1310, USA; The Daily Nation (URL: http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/); Uganda Tourist Board (URL: http://www.visituganda.com/).