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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

Klyuchevskoy (Russia) Renewed activity in October 2020 with explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes

Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) Occasional ash and gas-and-steam plumes along with summit thermal anomalies

Tinakula (Solomon Islands) Intermittent gas-and-steam plumes and weak thermal anomalies during July-December 2020

Erebus (Antarctica) Fewer thermal anomalies during 2020 compared to recent years

Aira (Japan) Intermittent explosions continue during July through December 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Klyuchevskoy (Russia) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Klyuchevskoy

Russia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Renewed activity in October 2020 with explosions, lava flows, and ash plumes

Klyuchevskoy, located in northern Kamchatka, has had historical eruptions dating back 3,000 years characterized by major explosive and effusive eruptions from the flank craters. The current eruption began in April 2019 and has recently consisted of Strombolian activity, ash plumes, and an active lava flow descending the SE flank (BGVN 45:09). This report covers September-December 2020 and describes similar activity of Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and active lava flows beginning in early October. Information primarily comes from weekly and daily reports from the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT), the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory (VAAC), and satellite data.

Activity from July through September was relatively low, with no thermal activity detected during August-September. On 2 October renewed Strombolian explosions began at 1003, ejecting ash 300-400 m above the summit and producing gas-and-steam plumes with some ash that drifted down the E flank (figure 48). That night, crater incandescence was visible. On 5 October KVERT reported that a lava flow began to effuse along the Apakhonchich chute at 0100. During 7-8 October activity intensified and was characterized by strong explosions, collapses of the sides of the drainage, strong thermal anomalies, and ash plumes that extended over 200 km SE from the crater; the lava flow remained active and continued to descend the SE flank. A Tokyo VAAC advisory issued on 7 October reported that an ash plume rose to 8.8 km altitude and drifted E and SE; during 8-9 October ash plumes rose to 5.5 km altitude and drifted as far as 270 km SE. A strong, bright, thermal anomaly was observed daily in satellite imagery, which represented the new lava flow. Strombolian explosions continued throughout the month, accompanied by gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash and an active lava flow advancing down the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank (figure 49).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 48. Photos of a gray ash plume (left) and the beginning of the lava flow (right), represented as summit crater incandescence at Klyuchevskoy on 2 October 2020 at 1030 and 2100, respectively. Photos by Y. Demyanchuk; courtesy of Volkstat.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Photo of Strombolian explosions at the summit of Klyuchevskoy accompanied by ash emissions and a lava flow advancing down the SE-flank Apakhonchich chute on 25 October 2020. Photo by Y. Demyanchuk (color corrected); courtesy of Volkstat.

Similar activity continued to be reported in November, consisting of Strombolian explosions, ash plumes, and a lava flow advancing down the SE flank. A bright thermal anomaly was observed in thermal satellite imagery each day during the month. During 16-19 November explosions recorded in satellite and video data showed ash plumes rising to 7.5 km altitude and drifting as far as 108 km to the NE, E, SE, and S (figure 50). On 19 November an ash cloud 65 x 70 km in size drifted 50 km SE, according to a KVERT VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation). During 26-30 November video and satellite data showed that gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash rose to 7 km altitude and extended as far as 300 km NW and E, accompanied by persistent moderate explosive-effusive activity (figure 51).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 50. Photo of the Strombolian and Vulcanian explosions at Klyuchevskoy on 18 November 2020 which produced a dense gray ash plume. Photo by Yu. Demyanchuk, IVS FEB RAS, KVERT
Figure (see Caption) Figure 51. Photo of the summit of Klyuchevskoy (right foreground) showing incandescent Strombolian explosions, the lava flow descending the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank, and a gray ash plume on 29 November 2020. Kamen volcano is the cone at back left. Photo by Y. Demyanchuk (color corrected); courtesy of Volkstat.

Moderate explosive-effusive activity continued through December; a strong daily thermal anomaly was visible in satellite images. During 2-3 December gas-and-steam plumes containing some ash rose to 7 km altitude and extended 300 km NW and E. Intermittent gas-and-ash plumes continued through the month. On 7 December KVERT reported that a new lava flow began to advance down the Kozyrevsky chute on the S flank, while the flow on the SE flank continued. Strombolian explosions in the crater ejected incandescent material up to 300 m above the crater on 8 December while hot material was deposited and traveled 350 m below the crater. A cinder cone was observed growing in the summit crater and measured 75 m tall.

Strombolian and Vulcanian activity continued during 11-25 December, accompanied by the lava flow on the S flank; according to Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images, the effusion on the SE flank had stopped around 13 December and had begun to cool. The lava flow in the Kozyrevsky chute spalled off incandescent material that continued to travel an additional 350 m. Gas-and-steam plumes that contained some ash rose to 6 km altitude and drifted up to 350 km generally E. On 24 December the Kamchatka Volcanological Station field team visited Klyuchevskoy to do work on the field stations. The scientists observed explosions that ejected incandescent material 300 m above the crater and the S-flank lava flow (figure 52). On 28 December KVERT reported that the moderate explosive-effusive eruption continued, but the intensity of the explosions had significantly decreased. The lava flow on the S flank continued to effuse, but its flow rate had already decreased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 52. Photos of a dense ash plume (left) and a color corrected photo of the lava flow advancing on the S flank (right) of Klyuchevskoy on 24 December 2020, accompanied by incandescent Strombolian explosions and a gray ash plume. Photos by Y. Demyanchuk; courtesy of Volkstat.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows frequent and strong thermal activity beginning in early October and continuing through December 2020, which is represented by the active lava flows reported in the summit crater (figure 53). According to the MODVOLC thermal algorithm, a total of 615 thermal alerts were detected at or near the summit crater from 1 October to 31 December; none were reported in September. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery frequently showed the progression of the active lava flows as a strong thermal anomaly descending the SE flank during October through late November and the SW flank during December, sometimes even through weather clouds (figure 54). The thermal anomalies were commonly accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume that drifted mainly E and NE. A total of 164 VAAC advisories were issued from 2 October through 31 December.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Strong and frequent thermal anomalies were detected in early October at Klyuchevskoy and continued through December 2020, as recorded by the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Sentinel-2 thermal satellite images showing the progression of two lava flows (bright yellow-orange) originating from the summit crater at Klyuchevskoy from 4 October through December 2020. Crater incandescence was visible on 4 October (top left), which marked the beginning of the lava flow. By 31 October (top right) the active flow had traveled down the Apakhonchich chute on the SE flank, accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume that drifted NE. On 10 November (bottom left) the lava flow continued down the SE flank; the darker black color represents parts of the lava flow that began to cool. The gas-and-steam plume drifted E from the summit. On 25 December (bottom right) a new lava flow was observed descending the SW flank, also accompanied by a strong gas-and-steam plume. Sentinel-2 satellite images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

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

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


Kadovar (Papua New Guinea) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Kadovar

Papua New Guinea

3.608°S, 144.588°E; summit elev. 365 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional ash and gas-and-steam plumes along with summit thermal anomalies

Kadovar is located in the Bismark Sea offshore from the mainland of Papua New Guinea about 25 km NNE from the mouth of the Sepik River. Its first confirmed eruption began in early January 2018, characterized by ash plumes and a lava extrusion that resulted in the evacuation of around 600 residents from the N side of the island (BGVN 43:03). Activity has recently consisted of intermittent ash plumes, gas-and-steam plumes, and thermal anomalies (BGVN 45:07). Similar activity continued during this reporting period of July-December 2020 using information from the Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), and various satellite data.

RVO issued an information bulletin on 15 July reporting minor eruptive activity during 1-5 July with moderate light-gray ash emissions rising a few hundred meters above the Main Crater. On 5 July activity intensified; explosions recorded at 1652 and 1815 generated a dense dark gray ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater and drifted W. Activity subsided that day, though fluctuating summit crater incandescence was visible at night. Activity increased again during 8-10 July, characterized by explosions detected on 8 July at 2045, on 9 July at 1145 and 1400, and on 10 July at 0950 and 1125, each of which produced a dark gray ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater. According to Darwin VAAC advisories issued on 10, 16, and 30 July ash plumes were observed rising to 1.5-1.8 km altitude and drifting NW.

Gas-and-steam emissions and occasional ash plumes were observed in Sentinel-2 satellite imagery on clear weather days during August through December (figure 56). Ash plumes rose to 1.2 and 1.5 km altitude on 3 and 16 August, respectively, and drifted NW, according to Darwin VAAC advisories. On 26 August an ash plume rose to 2.1 km altitude and drifted WNW before dissipating within 1-2 hours. Similar activity was reported during September-November, according to several Darwin VAAC reports; ash plumes rose to 0.9-2.1 km altitude and drifted mainly NW. VAAC notices were issued on 12 and 22 September, 4, 7-8, and 18 October, and 18 November. A single MODVOLC alert was issued on 27 November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Sentinel-2 satellite data showing a consistent gas-and-steam plume originating from the summit of Kadovar during August-December 2020 and drifting NW. On 21 September (top right) a gray plume was seen drifting several kilometers from the island to the NW. Images with “Natural color” (bands 4, 3, 2) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) analysis of MODIS satellite data shows intermittent low-power anomalies during July through December 2020 (figure 57). Some of this thermal activity in the summit crater was observed in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery, accompanied by gas-and-steam emissions that drifted primarily NW (figure 58).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Intermittent low-power thermal anomalies at Kadovar were detected in the MIROVA graph (Log Radiative Power) during July through December 2020. The island location is mislocated in the MIROVA system by about 5.5 km SE due to older mis-registered imagery; the anomalies are all on the island. Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Sentinel-2 satellite data showing thermal anomalies at the summit of Kadovar on 23 July (top left), 7 August (top right), 1 September (bottom left), and 21 September (bottom right) 2020, occasionally accompanied by a gas-and-steam plume drifting dominantly NW. Two thermal anomalies were visible on the E rim of the summit crater on 23 July (top left) and 7 August (top right). Images with “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8A) rendering; courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The 2-km-wide island of Kadovar is the emergent summit of a Bismarck Sea stratovolcano of Holocene age. It is part of the Schouten Islands, and lies off the coast of New Guinea, about 25 km N of the mouth of the Sepik River. Prior to an eruption that began in 2018, a lava dome formed the high point of the andesitic volcano, filling an arcuate landslide scarp open to the south; submarine debris-avalanche deposits occur in that direction. Thick lava flows with columnar jointing forms low cliffs along the coast. The youthful island lacks fringing or offshore reefs. A period of heightened thermal phenomena took place in 1976. An eruption began in January 2018 that included lava effusion from vents at the summit and at the E coast.

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


Tinakula (Solomon Islands) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Tinakula

Solomon Islands

10.386°S, 165.804°E; summit elev. 796 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent gas-and-steam plumes and weak thermal anomalies during July-December 2020

Tinakula is located 100 km NE of the Solomon Trench at the N end of the Santa Cruz. The current eruption began in December 2018 and has recently been characterized by intermittent small thermal anomalies and gas-and-steam plumes (BGVN 45:07), which continued into the current reporting period of July-December 2020. Information primarily comes from various satellite data, as ground observations are rarely available.

Infrared MODIS satellite data processed by MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) showed a total of ten low-power thermal anomalies during July through December; one anomaly was detected in early July, two in late August, three in November, and four in December (figure 44). A single MODVOLC alert was issued on 16 December, which was visible in Sentinel-2 thermal satellite imagery on 17 December (figure 45). Though clouds often obscured the view of the summit crater, Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed intermittent dense gas-and-steam plumes rising from the summit that drifted in different directions (figure 45).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Low-power thermal anomalies at Tinakula were detected intermittently during April-December 2020 by the MIROVA system (Log Radiative Power). Courtesy of MIROVA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery shows ongoing gas-and-steam plumes rising from Tinakula during July-December 2020. A small thermal anomaly (bright yellow-orange) is visible on 17 December (bottom right) using “Atmospheric penetration” (bands 12, 11, 8a) rendering. All other images using “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2); courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. The small 3.5-km-wide island of Tinakula is the exposed summit of a massive stratovolcano at the NW end of the Santa Cruz islands. Similar to Stromboli, it has a breached summit crater that extends from the summit to below sea level. Landslides enlarged this scarp in 1965, creating an embayment on the NW coast. The satellitic cone of Mendana is located on the SE side. The dominantly andesitic volcano has frequently been observed in eruption since the era of Spanish exploration began in 1595. In about 1840, an explosive eruption apparently produced pyroclastic flows that swept all sides of the island, killing its inhabitants. Frequent historical eruptions have originated from a cone constructed within the large breached crater. These have left the upper flanks and the steep apron of lava flows and volcaniclastic debris within the breach unvegetated.

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


Erebus (Antarctica) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Erebus

Antarctica

77.53°S, 167.17°E; summit elev. 3794 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fewer thermal anomalies during 2020 compared to recent years

Erebus, located on Ross Island, Antarctica, and overlooking the McMurdo research station, is the southernmost active volcano in the world. The stratovolcano, which frequently has active lava lakes in its 250-m wide summit crater, is primarily monitored by satellite.

Thermal activity during 2020 was at lower levels than in recent years. The total number of thermal pixels, as recorded by MODIS thermal emission instruments aboard NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites, was 76 (table 6), similar to low totals recorded in 2000 and 2015.

Table 6. Number of monthly MODIS-MODVOLC thermal alert pixels recorded at Erebus during 2017-2020. See BGVN 42:06 for data from 2000 through 2016. The table was compiled using data provided by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec SUM
2017 0 21 9 0 0 1 11 61 76 52 0 3 234
2018 0 21 58 182 55 17 137 172 103 29 0 0 774
2019 2 21 162 151 55 56 75 53 29 19 1 0 624
2020 0 2 16 18 4 4 1 3 18 3 1 6 76

Sentinel-2 satellite images showed two lava lakes, with one diminishing in size during the year (figure 29). Occasionally a gas plume could be observed. The volcano was frequently covered by atmospheric clouds on days when the satellite passed over.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 29. Infrared Sentinel-2 thermal images of the summit crater area of Erebus in 2020. Left: Image on 28 February 2020 showing two lava lakes in the summit crater. Right: Image on 4 October 2020 showing a single primary lake, with a much diminished second lake immediately SW. The main crater is 500 x 600 m wide. Both images are using the Atmospheric Penetration filter (bands 12, 11, 8A). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geologic Background. Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost historically active volcano, overlooks the McMurdo research station on Ross Island. It is the largest of three major volcanoes forming the crudely triangular Ross Island. The summit of the dominantly phonolitic volcano has been modified by one or two generations of caldera formation. A summit plateau at about 3,200 m elevation marks the rim of the youngest caldera, which formed during the late-Pleistocene and within which the modern cone was constructed. An elliptical 500 x 600 m wide, 110-m-deep crater truncates the summit and contains an active lava lake within a 250-m-wide, 100-m-deep inner crater; other lava lakes are sometimes present. The glacier-covered volcano was erupting when first sighted by Captain James Ross in 1841. Continuous lava-lake activity with minor explosions, punctuated by occasional larger Strombolian explosions that eject bombs onto the crater rim, has been documented since 1972, but has probably been occurring for much of the volcano's recent history.

Information Contacts: 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).


Aira (Japan) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Intermittent explosions continue during July through December 2020

Sakurajima is the active volcano within the Aira Caldera in Kyushu, Japan. With several craters historically active, the current activity is concentrated in the Minamidake summit crater. Activity usually consists of small explosions producing ashfall and ballistic ejecta, with occasional pyroclastic flows and lahars. The current eruption has been ongoing since 25 March 2017, but activity has been frequent over the past few hundred years. This bulletin summarizes activity that occurred during July through December 2020 and is largely based on reports by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and satellite data. The Alert Level remains at 3 on a 5-level scale. There was no activity at the Showa crater in 2020.

The number of recorded explosive and ash eruptions for 2020 at the Minamidake crater were 221 and 432, respectively (228 and 393 the previous year). Activity declined in July and remained low through the end of December. There was ash reported on 79 days of the year, most frequently in January, and only 26 of those days during August-December (table 24 and figure 104). The largest ash plumes during this time reached 5 km at 0538 on 9 August, 3 km at 1959 on 17 December, and 3.5 km at 1614 on 29 December. The decline in events was reflected in thermal data, with a decline in energy detected during June through October (figure 105). Recorded SO2 was generally high in the first half of the year then began to decrease from April to around 1,000 tons/day until around late May. Emissions increased after August and were extremely high in October. There were no notable changes in the geothermal areas around the craters.

Table 24. Number of monthly total eruptions, explosive eruptions, days of ashfall, and ashfall amounts from Sakurajima's Minamidake crater at Aira during 2020. Note that smaller events that did not reach the threshold of explosions or eruptions also occurred. Ashfall was measured at Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory; ash weights are rounded down to the nearest 0.5 g/m2 and zero values indicate that less than this amount was recorded. Data courtesy of JMA.

MonthExplosive EruptionsAsh EruptionsDays of AshfallAshfall Amount (g/m2)
Jan 2020 65 104 12 75
Feb 2020 67 129 14 21
Mar 2020 10 26 8 3
Apr 2020 14 51 2 0
May 2020 24 51 8 19
Jun 2020 16 28 9 71
Jul 2020 0 0 0 0
Aug 2020 1 1 1 0
Sep 2020 0 7 4 2
Oct 2020 0 2 6 2
Nov 2020 6 8 11 5
Dec 2020 18 25 4 14
Total 2020 221 432 79 212
Figure (see Caption) Figure 104. The total calculated observed ash erupted from Aira's Sakurajima volcano. Top: Annual values from January 1980 to November 2020. Bottom: the monthly values during January 2009 through November 2020. Courtesy of JMA (January 2021 Sakurajima monthly report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 105. Thermal data detected at Aira's Sakurajima volcano during February through December 2020 by the MIROVA thermal detection system that uses MODIS satellite middle infrared data. There was a decline in activity during June-September, with energy emitted in November-December remaining lower than earlier in the year. Courtesy of MIROVA.

During July "very small" explosions were observed on the 1st, 2nd, and 8th, with the last explosion producing a plume up to 600 m above the crater. These events didn't generate enough of an ash plume to be counted as either a quiet or explosive eruption, leaving no eruptions reported during July. No incandescence was observed at the crater since 3 June. Field surveys on 2, 13, and 21 July detected 600 to 1,300 tons of SO2 per day.

An explosion occurred at 0538 on 9 August, producing an ash plume to 5 km above the crater, dispersing NE (figure 106). This was the largest explosion observed through the Sakurajima surveillance camera since 8 November 2019. Ashfall was reported in Kagoshima City, Aira City, Kirishima City, Yusui Town, and parts of Miyazaki and Kumamoto Prefectures. Ashfall measured to be 300 g/m2 in Shirahama on Sakurajima island (figure 106). No ballistic ejecta were observed due to clouds at the summit, but very small explosions were occasionally observed afterwards.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 106. An explosion at Aira's Sakurajima volcano at 0538 on 9 August 2020 (top, taken from the Ushine surveillance camera in Kagoshima) produced ashfall in Shirahama on Sakurajima (bottom). The plume contains a white steam-rich portion on the left, and a darker relatively ash-rich portion on the right. Images courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima August 2020 monthly report).

A small lake or pond in the eastern Minamidake crater was first observed in PlanetScope satellite imagery on 1 August (through light cloud cover) and intermittently observed when the summit was clear through to the 22nd (figure 107). The summit is obscured by cloud cover in many images before this date. An observation flight on 14 August confirmed weak gas emission from the inner southern wall of the Showa crater, and a 200-m-high gas plume rose from the Minamidake crater, dispersing SE (figure 108). Thermal imaging showed elevated temperatures within the crater. SO2 measurements were conducted during field surveys on the 3rd, 13th, 24th and 31st, with amounts similar to July at 600 to 1,400 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 107. A crater lake is visible in the eastern part of the Minamidake summit crater at Aira's Sakurajima volcano on 5, 18, and 22 August 2020. Four-band PlanetScope satellite images courtesy of Planet Labs.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 108. Gas emissions from the Minamidake and Showa craters at Sakurajima in the Aira caldera on 14 August 2020. Photos taken from the from Kagoshima Prefecture disaster prevention helicopter at 1510-1513. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima August monthly report).

Activity continued at Minamidake crater throughout September with seven observed eruptions sending plumes up to 1.7 km above the crater, and additional smaller events (figure 109). An ash plume reached 1 km at 0810 on the 15th. Ashfall was reported on four days through the month with a total of 2 g/m2 measured. Incandescence was observed in nighttime surveillance cameras from the 9-10th for the first time since 2 June, then continued through the month. There was an increase in detected SO2, with measurements on the 11th and 25th ranging from 1,300 to 2,000 tons per day.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 109. Examples of activity at Aira's Sakurajima volcano on 4, 10, and 14 September 2020. The images show an ash plume reaching 1.7 km above the crater (top left), a gas-and-steam plume (bottom left), and incandescence at night visible in a gas-and steam plume (right). Images courtesy of JMA (September 2020 Sakurajima monthly report).

During October two eruptions and occasional smaller events occurred at the Minamidake crater and there were six days where ashfall occurred at the Kagoshima Local Meteorology Observatory (including remobilized ash). An ash plume rose to 1.7 km above the crater at 1635 on the 3rd and 1 km on the 30th. Incandescence was observed at night through the month (figure 110). Gas surveys on the 20th, 21st, 23rd, and 26th recorded 2,200-6,600 tons of SO2 per day, which are high to very high levels and a large increase compared to previous months. An observation flight on the 13th confirmed lava in the bottom of the Minamidake crater (figure 111). Gas emissions were rising to 300 m above the Minamidake crater, but no emissions were observed at the Showa crater (figure 112).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 110. Gas emissions and incandescence seen above the Sakurajima Minamidake crater at Aira on 10 and 23 October 2020. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima October 2020 monthly report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 111. Lava was observed on the floor of the Minamidake summit crater at Aira's Sakurajima volcano on 13 October 2020, indicated by the yellow dashed line. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima October 2020 monthly report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 112. An observation flight on 13 October 2020 noted gas emissions up to 300 m above the Minamidake crater at Sakurajima, but no emissions from the Showa crater. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima October 2020 monthly report).

Eight ash eruptions and six explosive eruptions occurred during November as well as additional very small events. At 1551 on the 3rd an ash plume reached 1.8 km above the crater and an event at 1335 on the 10th produced large ballistic ejecta out to 600-900 m from the crater (figure 113). Ashfall was reported on 11 days this month (including remobilized ash). Incandescence was observed at night and elevated temperatures in the Minamidake crater were detected by satellites (figure 114). Detected SO2 was lower this month, with amounts ranging between 1,300 and 2,200 on the 9th, 18th and 24th.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 113. Ash plumes at Aira's Sakurajima volcano rise from the Minamidake crater in November 2020. Left: an ash plume rose to 1.8 km above the crater at 1551 on the 3rd and drifted SE. on 3 (left) and 10 (right) November 2020. Right: An explosion at 1335 on the 10th produced an ash plume to 1.6 km above the crater and ballistic ejecta out to 600-900 m, with one projectile indicated by the red arrow. Courtesy of JMA (Sakurajima November 2020 monthly report).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 114. An ash plume drifts SE from the Minamidake crater at Aira's Sakurajima volcano on 8 November 2020. This thermal image also shows elevated temperatures in the crater. Sentinel-2 False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

During December there were 25 ash eruptions and 18 explosive eruptions recorded, with large ballistic ejecta reaching 1.3-1.7 km from the crater (figure 115). An explosion on the 2nd sent an ash plume up to 1 km above the crater and ballistic ejecta out to 1-1.3 km, and an event at 0404 on the 12th produced incandescent ballistic ejecta reached out to 1.3-1.7 km from the crater. At 1959 on 17 December an explosion generated an ash plume up to 3 km above the crater and ejecta out to 1.3-1.7 km. A photograph that day showed an ash plume with volcanic lightning and incandescent ejecta impacting around the crater (figure 116). On the 18th an ash plume reached 1.8 km and ejecta impacted out to 1-1.3 km. An event at 1614 on the 29th produced an ash plume reaching 3.5 km above the crater. Elevated temperatures within the Minamidake crater and plumes were observed intermittently in satellite data through the month (figure 117). This month there were four days where ashfall was recorded with a total of 14 g/m2. Incandescence continued to be observed at night through the month. High levels of gas emission continued, with field surveys on 2nd, 7th, 16th and 21st recording values ranging from 1,500 to 2,900 tons per day at the Observatory located 11 km SW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 115. Explosions at Aira's Sakurajima volcano from the Minamidake summit crater in December 2020. Top: An explosion recorded at 0404 on the 12th produced incandescent ballistic ejecta out to 1.3-1.7 km from the crater, with an example indicated in the red circle. Bottom: An explosion at 1614 on the 29th produced an ash plume up to 3.5 km above the crater, and ballistic ejecta out to 1.3-1.7 km. Courtesy of JMA (top, from Sakurajima December 2020 monthly report) and Volcano Time Lapse (bottom).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 116. An explosion from Sakurajima's Minamidake crater at Aira produced an ash plume with volcanic lightning on 17 December 2020. Photograph taken from Tarumizu city, courtesy of Kyodo/via Reuters.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 117. Activity at Aira's Sakurajima volcano during December 2020. Top: Sentinel-2 thermal satellite image showing a diffuse gas-and-steam plume dispersing to the SE with elevated temperatures within the Minamidake summit crater on the 22nd. PlanetScope satellite image showing an ash plume dispersing between the N and E on the 26th. Sentinel-2 False color (urban) satellite image (bands 12, 11, 4) courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground. PlanetScope satellite image courtesy of Planet Labs.

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: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Planet Labs, Inc. (URL: https://www.planet.com/); Kyodo/via REUTERS, "Photos of the Week" (URL: https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/photos-of-the-week-idUSRTX8HYLR); Volcano Time-Lapse, YouTube (URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTgd152oGVo).


Nishinoshima (Japan) — February 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Nishinoshima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Volcano Database, Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, 3-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8932, Japan (URL: http://www.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/info/kouhou/h29/index.html); Volcano Research Center (VRC-ERI), Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan (URL: http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/topics/ASAMA2004/index-e.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


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

Nyiragongo

DR Congo

1.52°S, 29.25°E; summit elev. 3470 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Whakaari/White Island (New Zealand) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Whakaari/White Island

New Zealand

37.52°S, 177.18°E; summit elev. 294 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Geologic Background. The uninhabited Whakaari/White Island is the 2 x 2.4 km emergent summit of a 16 x 18 km submarine volcano in the Bay of Plenty about 50 km offshore of North Island. The island consists of two overlapping andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcanoes. The SE side of the crater is open at sea level, with the recent activity centered about 1 km from the shore close to the rear crater wall. Volckner Rocks, sea stacks that are remnants of a lava dome, lie 5 km NW. Descriptions of volcanism since 1826 have included intermittent moderate phreatic, phreatomagmatic, and Strombolian eruptions; activity there also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. The formation of many new vents during the 19th and 20th centuries caused rapid changes in crater floor topography. Collapse of the crater wall in 1914 produced a debris avalanche that buried buildings and workers at a sulfur-mining project. Explosive activity in December 2019 took place while tourists were present, resulting in many fatalities. The official government name Whakaari/White Island is a combination of the full Maori name of Te Puia o Whakaari ("The Dramatic Volcano") and White Island (referencing the constant steam plume) given by Captain James Cook in 1769.

Information Contacts: New Zealand GeoNet Project, a collaboration between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.geonet.org.nz/); GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd (MetService), PO Box 722, Wellington, New Zealand (URL: http://www.metservice.com/vaac/, http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/VAAC/OTH/NZ/messages.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Brad Scott, GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: https://twitter.com/Eruptn).


Kerinci (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Kerinci

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Suwanosejima (Japan) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Suwanosejima

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), 1-3-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8122, Japan (URL: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); NASA Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/).


Karangetang (Indonesia) — December 2020 Citation iconCite this Report

Karangetang

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information Contacts: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MAGMA Indonesia, Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (URL: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) - MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — January 2021 Citation iconCite this Report

Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia

4.892°N, 75.324°W; summit elev. 5279 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth and ash emissions continue during July-December 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Geologic Background. Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers more than 200 km2. Three major edifices, composed of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastics, have been constructed since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The modern cone consists of a broad cluster of lava domes built within the caldera of an older edifice. The 1-km-wide, 240-m-deep Arenas crater occupies the summit. The prominent La Olleta pyroclastic cone located on the SW flank may also have been active in historical time. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut the flanks. Melting of its summit icecap during historical eruptions, which date back to the 16th century, has resulted in devastating lahars, including one in 1985 that was South America's deadliest eruption.

Information Contacts: MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/); Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground); Global Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring Page, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA/GSFC), 8800 Greenbelt Road, Goddard, Maryland, USA (URL: https://so2.gsfc.nasa.gov/); Gonzalo (URL: https://twitter.com/chaloc22/status/1306581929651843076); Jose Fdo Cuartas (URL: https://twitter.com/JoseFCuartas/status/1329212975434096640); Vlucho666 (URL: https://twitter.com/vlucho666/status/1313791959954268161); Efigas Oficial (URL: https://twitter.com/efigas_oficial/status/1329780287920873472).

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Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 17, Number 07 (July 1992)

Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Aira (Japan)

Occasional seismically recorded explosions and frequent quiet ash emissions

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Lava extrusion; Strombolian activity; pyroclastic flows

Asosan (Japan)

Phreatic activity and seismicity decline after block ejection

Bogoslof (United States)

New lava dome enlarges island

Copahue (Chile-Argentina)

Small explosions and mudflows; strong sulfur odors

Etna (Italy)

Continued lava production from SE-flank fissure; lava diversion summarized

Galeras (Colombia)

More details of 16 July explosion; previous activity summarized

Irazu (Costa Rica)

Continued thermal activity and seismicity; crater lake rises

Kilauea (United States)

Lava flows south from East-rift vents

Langila (Papua New Guinea)

Explosive activity and small lava flow

Lengai, Ol Doinyo (Tanzania)

Fluid lava from summit-crater vents; gas and temperature data

Manam (Papua New Guinea)

Weak ash emission and glow

Merapi (Indonesia)

Growing lava dome spawns avalanches; summit gas data

Nyamulagira (DR Congo)

NE-flank fissures continue to produce lava

Pinatubo (Philippines)

Continued dome growth; officials warn of possible explosive eruption

Poas (Costa Rica)

Fumarolic activity; frequent seismicity; crater lake fills

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea)

Increased seismicity; largest monthly total since August 1988

Spurr (United States)

Brief but vigorous explosive activity; large cloud causes widespread light ashfall

Turrialba (Costa Rica)

Fewer seismic events

Unzendake (Japan)

Dome growth slows, but rockfalls and heavy rain trigger destructive pyroclastic and debris flows



Aira (Japan) — July 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Aira

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Occasional seismically recorded explosions and frequent quiet ash emissions

Six explosions . . . occurred in July, but caused no damage. Although explosions detected by seismic instruments, sounds, and air shocks have been infrequent since May, 31 quiet ash emissions were seen in May, 14 in June, and 19 in July, comparable to previous months. Ground observers reported that July's highest ash cloud rose 3.5 km (to ~4.5 km altitude) on the 29th. Captain Greg Wolfsheimer (Northwest Airlines) reported that a moderately dense, light-gray cloud was rising to more than 5 km altitude when his aircraft passed Sakura-jima at 1735 that day. No volcanic earthquake swarms were recorded in July.

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; G. Wolfsheimer, Gig Harbor, WA.


Arenal (Costa Rica) — July 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 extrusion; Strombolian activity; pyroclastic flows

Extrusion of block lava, sporadic Strombolian activity, and gas emission were continuing in early August. Small pyroclastic flows were occasionally generated, as on 4 August at 1543 when one moved W and another S, and the ash column rose more than 1 km above the active summit crater (C). Another pyroclastic flow traveled S at 1604, reaching 1,050 m elevation. Lava continued to flow SW into the forest, advancing 150 m over a 15-day period ending in early August to reach 640 m elevation. Fumarolic activity occurred from the old summit crater (D).

On 12-22 July, personnel from OVSICORI, W. Melson, and a group of SI volunteers carried out 24-hour monitoring of the volcano. They sonically recorded 679 eruption events of three types (figure 49). Some were detected seismically 30 km away (at OVSICORI station JTS). Harmonic and monochromatic tremor were recorded for several-minute periods.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 49. Number of sonically recorded eruptive episodes at Arenal, 12-21 July 1992. Black bars represent explosions; diagonally shaded bars, brief pulses of Strombolian activity; and stippled bars, more continuous Strombolian activity. Data were collected for 6 hours on 12 July and for 13 hours on 21 July. Courtesy of the Univ Nacional.

Vegetation on the NE, E, and SE flanks continued to be affected by acid rain and tephra fall. Small cold avalanches occurred in the Calle de Arena and Guillermina quebradas, and the Río Agua Caliente.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, J. Barquero, and V. Barboza, OVSICORI.


Asosan (Japan) — July 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Asosan

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Phreatic activity and seismicity decline after block ejection

Blocks were ejected during the night of 30 June-1 July from Crater 1 for the first time since . . . December 1990. Vigorous steam emission followed for about 10 days, fed a plume to a maximum of 2 km height on 6 and 8 July, then gradually declined toward the end of the month (figure 19). Ejections of water, mud, and blocks that rose ~50 m above the surface of the crater lake were observed almost every day during July. The lake shrank rapidly in early July until it occupied only about 1/3 of the crater floor. The temperature of the lake surface (measured by infrared thermometer) reached 95°C on 4 July (figure 19), the highest since March 1991, but declined to around 60° by the end of the month. Isolated tremor episodes, which had peaked at ~2,000/day at the end of June, declined rapidly after the block ejection to 0-6/day (figure 19). The amplitude of post-eruption continuous tremor also declined (figure 20).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 19. Daily number of tremor episodes (top), steam cloud heights (middle), and highest monthly surface temperatures of the crater lake (bottom) at Aso, January 1991-July 1992. A long arrow marks the 30 June-1 July eruption. Smaller arrows show weaker ash emissions. Courtesy of JMA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 20. Daily mean amplitude of continuous tremor at Aso, late 1988-July 1992. Long arrows mark strong explosions, short arrows indicate weak ash emissions. Courtesy of JMA.

Similar activity continued through mid-August, with weak mud ejections from the lake, steady steam emissions to 1,000 m height, and low-level seismicity. The lake expanded again to cover all of the crater floor by 5 August because of inflow of groundwater, precipitation, and weaker ejection activity.

The area within 1 km of the crater . . . was reopened on 10 August.

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.


Bogoslof (United States) — July 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Bogoslof

United States

53.93°N, 168.03°W; summit elev. 150 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


New lava dome enlarges island

A large new lava dome grew on the N side of Bogoslof Island (figure 1) during the steam-and-ash eruption reported in 17:6. The eruption apparently began about 6 July, and the last reports of activity were received on 24 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Sketch map of Bogoslof Island, showing the 1992 dome and new flat land just offshore (labeled "rocks"). Pre-1992 features are drawn from a 1982 pocket-transit survey by John Reeder, which had shown substantial erosion of the soft 1926-27 pyroclastic deposits since USGS mapping in 1947 (Byers, 1959). Courtesy of John Reeder.

A plume was first visible on satellite imagery at about 1500 on 6 July, rising to an estimated 3 km altitude. Previous small plumes, if any, would have been obscured by clouds at about 6 km altitude that had remained over the area for the previous few days. Just after 1700 on 6 July, Thomas Madsen (Aleutian Air) saw a continuously rising steam column that disappeared into low clouds at 350 m altitude. From his vantage point 30 km SSE, the column appeared to be emerging from the sea just beyond the island. No eruptive activity had been evident during his previous flight two days earlier. At about 1800, Joe May and David Alborn (MarkAir) saw a white plume reaching at least 1.8 km altitude. During the late afternoon of 7 July, a commercial fisherman saw a rocky new island, with steam and some ash emerging from its summit, between Bogoslof Island and Fire Island (the 1883 dome). A fracture extended from the new island's summit to the sea, from where steam was also rising. No eruptive activity had been evident when the fisherman passed Bogoslof early 6 July.

Only intermittent small plumes appeared on satellite imagery through 13 July. However, plumes were continuous for the next two days, reaching a maximum altitude, on 14 July, of 5.5 km. The largest plume, at 1140 on 15 July, extended ~100 km ESE over neighboring Unalaska Island at 3-3.5 km altitude. At 1755 that day, May and Alborn saw a fairly dark, continuous, steam-and-ash plume that reached about 3.5 km elevation. Satellite images again showed only intermittent plumes 16-17 July, and none since then. Additional pilot observations included a rapidly rising mushroom-shaped cloud with a black stem, reaching at least 4.5 km above sea level on 17 July at 1623 (Wyman Owens, Peninsula Airways). On 20 July at 1830 Joseph Maricelli (Northwest Airlines) saw a gray plume rising from Bogoslof, with a very pale top that may have reached 8 km altitude. A gray cloud was still rising to 4.5 km when Randy Lovett and Tom Peebles (MarkAir) passed at 2056.

Photographs taken from a boat by Larry Shaishnikoff on 21 July, and video footage from a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 aircraft on 24 July, show a profusely steaming new lava dome at the N tip of the main island. Steam with some ash was emerging from most of the dome's surface during Shaishnikoff's visit. Incandescent lava could be seen within large crags over most of the dome, but was brightest on the upper NW and SE flanks. Estimates of its size from the video footage (AVO) and photographs (John Reeder) were similar, at ~80-90 m high and roughly 300-400 m across. It has a steep-sided central spire surrounded by a blocky, more gently sloping debris apron, and is adjacent to the remnant of the 1927 dome. Rock color and surface texture looked very similar to those of the 1927 dome in the Shaishnikoff photos. Approximately horizontal new land ("rocks" on figure 1) extended slightly above sea level just NNE of the dome. No steaming was occurring from these rocks, which may have been uplifted sea floor. Dall porpoises, numerous birds, and some Steller sea lions near Fire Island, several hundred meters from the new dome, did not appear to have been affected by the activity.

Pilot reports of steaming and possible ash emission continued through 24 July, after which occasional pilot observations indicated no further significant activity.

No ashfall has been reported at the two nearest towns, Dutch Harbor/Unalaska (100 km E of Bogoslof) and Nikolski (Umnak I., 120 km SW). The principal hazards from Bogoslof's eruptions are to aircraft in the Aleutian Islands and on Trans-Pacific international routes across the Bering Sea. No aircraft incidents have been reported. A SIGMET issued 20 July was cancelled the next day. No seismometers are maintained near the island.

The volcano's subaerial portion consists of fragmental deposits, agglomerate, lava spires, dome remnants, and beach sediments, all of historical age (Byers, 1959). All sampled rocks are high-potassium andesites and basalts (Arculus et al., 1977). The island is remote and uninhabited, but houses a large sea-lion rookery. The island's low elevation and frequent explosive activity since the first historical eruption in 1796 have resulted in rapid, well-documented morphologic changes over the past 200 years. Particularly vigorous eruptions occurred in 1883, 1907 (both of which deposited small amounts of ash on Dutch Harbor), and 1926-27. These eruptions were characterized by sporadic, violent explosions, with lava flows and dome-building continuing for several months (Jaggar, 1930). Three kilometers of muddy water encountered by a ship near the island in September 1951 may have been from a submarine eruption.

References. Arculus, R., Delong, S., Kay, R.W., Brooks, C., and Sun, S., 1977, The Alkalic Rock Suite of Bogoslof Island, Eastern Aleutian Arc, Alaska: Journal of Geology, v. 85, p. 177-186.

Byers, F.M., 1959, Geology of Umnak and Bogoslof Islands, Alaska: USGS Bulletin 1028-L.

Jaggar, T., 1930, Recent Activity of Bogoslof Volcano: The Volcano Letter, no. 275, p. 1-3.

Geologic Background. Bogoslof is the emergent summit of a submarine volcano that lies 40 km north of the main Aleutian arc. It rises 1500 m above the Bering Sea floor. Repeated construction and destruction of lava domes at different locations during historical time has greatly modified the appearance of this "Jack-in-the-Box" volcano and has introduced a confusing nomenclature applied during frequent visits of exploring expeditions. The present triangular-shaped, 0.75 x 2 km island consists of remnants of lava domes emplaced from 1796 to 1992. Castle Rock (Old Bogoslof) is a steep-sided pinnacle that is a remnant of a spine from the 1796 eruption. Fire Island (New Bogoslof), a small island located about 600 m NW of Bogoslof Island, is a remnant of a lava dome that was formed in 1883.

Information Contacts: AVO; J. Reeder, ADGGS.


Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — July 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Copahue

Chile-Argentina

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Small explosions and mudflows; strong sulfur odors

A series of explosions started [at Copahue (figure 1)] on 31 July at about 0900 and continued until 1133 [all times are Chile local time]. Photographs taken 10 km NE of the volcano (at Los Copahues thermal springs, Argentina) show small, cauliflower-shaped columns emerging from the E (Del Agrio) crater. Ash clouds were rapidly dispersed by SW winds, and a strong sulfur smell was noted in the area. Renewed explosions began at around 1800 and continued until about 0300 the next morning, also producing ash columns and a sulfur smell. Earthquakes had begun to be felt in the area on 30 July.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Schematic view of the Copahue complex, showing the position of the historically active summit crater with respect to the Del Agrio and Trapa-Trapa calderas. Adapted from a map by O. González-Ferrán.

Hugo Moreno overflew the summit on 1 August at 1700. Solfataric activity was intense in the E crater, and snow had melted on the inner crater walls and rim. Pyroclastic-fall deposits covered ~ 1.5 km2 of the upper NE flank, and light ashfall extended 4-5 km NE. The bottom of the active crater had previously been filled by a green, highly sulfuric, acid lake (pH about 1.5), which appeared to be covered by a grayish, cracked ash blanket. Small debris-flow deposits could be seen for 3-4 km along Del Agrio stream, which drains the crater lake through a small notch in the E rim.

An explosion occurred on 2 August at 0330, and fine lapilli-fall (2-16 mm diameter) was reported 30 minutes later at Caviahue village, 15 km SE of the volcano, where hotels were filled with tourists. Small phreatic explosions occurred at 15-minute intervals during the morning. Field observations by Daniel Delpino revealed that lapilli-sized pumice to 7 mm in diameter had fallen on the volcano's snow-covered flanks. About 90% of the ejecta were accessory fragments, including rounded sulfur-rich vesicular particles. Only ~ 10% were believed to be juvenile. Four small debris flows were identified, one toward the E (Del Agrio stream), the other three toward the S (into Chile). These coalesced into one flow that turned SW along the Lomín river, which flows into one of Chile's major rivers, the Bíobío. The debris-flow deposits were a mixture of snow, ice, and pyroclastic material up to 1 m deep. Earthquakes were felt for the first time at Caviahue on 2 August between 2230 and 2245, when three had intensities of about MM II-III. An intense sulfur smell was noted throughout the area within the Del Agrio caldera that contains Caviahue and several lakes.

Some of the 300 tourists at a hotel in Caviahue suffered from headaches, and they were advised to leave the area. A 20-km restricted zone around the volcano was recommended by Hugo Moreno. Additional visitors were prevented from entering the Caviahue area. There are few towns near the volcano in Chile. Guallalí is 20 km SW and Trapatrapa is 17 km NW, but many houses and small settlements are distributed along the Lomín/Bíobío and Queco rivers. The Chilean electricity enterprise (ENDESA) was warned of potential hazards because the Pangue and Ralco hydroelectric projects have camps along the Bíobío river, 45 and 35 km from the volcano, respectively.

Univ de la Frontera seismologists installed two MEQ-800 seismic stations at the E foot of the volcano on 5 August, one 9 km from the active crater (near Caviahue), the other 18 km away (in Cajón Chico). During the first 8 hours, 150 harmonic tremor events were recorded (figure 2), with frequencies of 0.9-1.3 Hz. The next day, 815 events were recorded, including a 2.5-minute long-period earthquake at 1858 associated with a phreatomagmatic explosion that generated a mushroom-shaped column 700 m high. Strong winds rapidly carried the column NE, leaving a dark-gray deposit on the recent NE-flank snowfall. No eruptive activity had been reported since the 2 August explosion, but bad weather had obscured the volcano until 30 minutes before the 6 August ash ejection.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Number of tremor episodes per hour recorded by a seismic station (Caviahue), 9 km from the active crater at Copahue, 5-9 August 1992. Courtesy of the SAVO seismological team.

Daniel Delpino, Luís Mas, and Hugo Moreno overflew the volcano by helicopter during the late morning of 7 August. An elliptical airfall deposit 11 km long and 2 km wide covered the NE flank. Several secondary, gravitationally generated, flows had occurred on steep unstable talus slopes near the crater. Ballistic blocks had produced numerous impact craters to ~ 1 m in diameter in this area. Moderate fumarolic activity was occurring in the crater. S of the v-shaped notch in the crater rim, very narrow red-brownish mudflows, probably overflows of muddy crater-lake water, extended no more than 150 m. The geologists landed ~ 2.5 km NE of the crater near the tephra-dispersion axis. The dominant airfall material was accretionary lapilli 0.3-1 cm in diameter, composed of very fine sulfur-rich dust spherulites. Most of the remainder of the deposit was also accessory material, including angular volcanic lithic fragments up to 3 cm across. Small globular to ribbon-shaped vesicular glassy fragments were also found, and were interpreted as juvenile hydroclastites. A new, less-voluminous debris-flow deposit had been emplaced along the Del Agrio stream, on top of the earlier deposit. Pale-brown muddy material extended about 200 m beyond the previous flow front, ~ 4.2 km from the crater. Another overflight late on 8 August showed small fumaroles in Del Agrio crater, but no other visible activity within the 2-km-long, ENE-WSW row of summit craters, or elsewhere outside of the Termas de Copahue area.

Seismicity declined after the 6 August explosion, remaining at low levels until tremor began to increase on 9 August at 0230. Between 0330 and 1230, 176 episodes of harmonic tremor were recorded, and 5 high-frequency events were detected during the same period. A 2.9-minute long-period earthquake occurred at 1057, probably marking a phreatic or phreatomagmatic explosion. However, the volcano was obscured by weather clouds, and the explosion could not be confirmed.

O. González-Ferrán visited the volcano on 12-13 August, with the support of the Chilean Air Force. The source of the explosions was a new vent, 100 m in diameter at the rim and 30 m across at the base, on the outer SW flank of the active crater (figure 3). Ash deposits evident during his fieldwork extended ENE and SE, to maximum distances of 4 and 6 km, respectively. Partial melting of the glacier, 5-40 m thick, that covers the older inactive summit craters and the SSW flank, had generated at least three jökulhlaups and a small lahar that extended ~ 6 km down the S flank toward the Lomín/Bíobío river system. An ~ 60-m-long fracture (f on figure 3) below the outflow of the crater lake was the source of another small mudflow that descended the Del Agrio river toward Del Agrio lake. The crater lake, ~ 300 m in diameter with 5-6 x 105 m3 of acid water, continues to drain to the E at 2,716 m altitude. Lake level had dropped 8-10 m since the previous visit by González-Ferrán in 1990. Solfataras were active on the crater's S interior wall, and fresh landslides were visible on the SE interior wall. The glacier's headwall, 30-50 m high, is 80 m above the lake, and is the lake's main source of water.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Sketch of the summit area (top) and locations of 1992 eruption deposits (bottom) at Copahue, 13 August 1992. The 60-m fracture that spawned a small mudflow in the Del Agrio river is marked with an "f". The approximate area shown by the summit-area sketch is enclosed by a box on the bottom drawing. Courtesy of O. González-Ferrán.

Small earthquakes at 3.7 and 6.3 km depth were recorded at 0222 and 0226 on 14 August. A light-gray gas cloud extending 10 km SE from Del Agrio crater was seen at 0700. Daniel Delpino, Alberto Andolino, and Mario Deza reported strong effervescence and waves on the crater lake, which also showed strong fumarolic activity, at 1500. An explosion signal lasting 10 seconds was recorded at 1731. Four minutes later, a dense, light-gray gas cloud with dimensions of about 2 x 0.6 x 0.5 km descended ~ 4 km ESE, remaining there until about 0615 the next morning. A series of explosions and a strong increase in tremor, to 30-40 episodes/hour, began at 2100 on 14 August. During the night, the entire volcano was covered by a gaseous fog. Tremor activity was lower on 15 August, with about 20-25 episodes per hour between 0700 and 1700. Earthquakes were recorded at Caviahue at 0538, 0558, and 0645.

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: D. Delpino, A. Bermudez, and M. Pérez, Dirección Provincial de Minería, Zapala, Argentina; H. Moreno, SERNAGEOMIN-SAVO, Temuco, Chile; G. Fuentealba and J. Cayupi, SAVO-Univ de la Frontera, Temuco, Chile; Oscar González-Ferrán, Univ de Chile.


Etna (Italy) — July 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Etna

Italy

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued lava production from SE-flank fissure; lava diversion summarized

The following, from R. Romano, describes activity from early July through early August.

Early July-early August activity. The eruption ... was continuing after ~ 8 months. Gas emission from the upper part of the fissure has greatly diminished lately, although abundant white vapor was often observed, probably because of weather conditions. Fieldwork on 5 August revealed no notable changes in effusive activity from previous months. The lava flow was visible through a skylight at the beginning of the main lava channel (at 2,205 m asl) and through two smaller skylights at 2,100 m altitude. From there to ~ 1,800 m, lava flowed through a complex system of tubes, resurfacing from numerous ephemeral vents that varied in number (generally about 10) and location (mainly in the center of the lava field). From these ephemeral vents (all between 1,800 and 1,700 m elevation) very modest lava flows emerged. These advanced a few hundred meters at most, never moved past 1,600 m altitude, and remained within the pre-existing lava field. The total volume of lava produced by 234 days of activity was estimated at 170 x 106 m3.

No significant changes were observed at the central craters, where gas emission continued. The more active vent in early August was at the W crater (Bocca Nuova). Northeast Crater has remained obstructed for a few months, with only weak fumarolic activity on the inner walls. Internal collapses continued to occur. Gas emission from Southeast Crater was unchanged.

Seismic activity was low, with only 22 recorded events from early July through early August. The majority of the seismicity was characterized by swarm sequences in the summit area. The most significant, on 11 August, consisted of four shocks with a maximum magnitude of 2.5. Harmonic tremor was of very low energy and showed no variation over time.

The following is from a report by L. Villari.

Civil Protection problems and lava diversion. An earthen barrier was erected at the E end of Val Calanna by the beginning of January 1992, to prevent or delay the advance of lava into a narrow valley leading directly to the nearby (~ 2 km downslope) village of Zafferana Etnea (17:02). Lava expanded into the large Val Calanna basin in February and March, and began to accumulate against the inner wall of the barrier on 14 March. By the end of the month, lava almost completely filled the Val Calanna basin and rose slowly up the barrier's inner wall. Several lobes successively reached the barrier, and the lava field progressively grew and thickened, reaching the barrier rim by 7 April. Lava first overflowed the barrier, along its N sector, during the evening of 8 April, quickly followed by other lobes along the S and central part of the barrier's rim. Lava covered ~ 1 km during the first few hours, merging downslope into a single stream that advanced quickly toward the village. The flow's confinement in a narrow valley favored more rapid progress downslope. Three minor earthen barriers were rapidly constructed along the valley (10-11 April, 830 m asl, 110 m long, 12 m high; 11-12 April, 810 m asl, 90 m long, 6 m high; 13-14 April, 770 m asl, 160 m long, 12 m high) to slow the advancing flow. The barriers were built, like the major one at the E end of Val Calanna, by digging the valley bottom in front of the advancing flow and accumulating the loose material on a small natural scarp. Because the valley is narrow, the confined basins were only able to contain small volumes of lava, and the flow's advance was only briefly delayed (for hours to a day). The front reached <1 km from Zafferana (at Piano dell'Acqua) on 16 April, ~1.5 km from the major barrier and 8 km from the eruptive fissure (figure 53).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 53. Sketch map of the 1991-92 lava field at Etna. 1. 1991-92 eruptive fissure; 2. 1989 fracture system; 3. 1991-92 lava flows; 4. lava flows downslope from the barrier at the E end of Val Calanna; 5. lava flows fed by the diversion. Dots mark individual houses in the Zafferana and Milo areas. Courtesy of L. Villari.

At that time, morphologic conditions prevented any other local intervention to slow the lava advance. The creation of any possible artificial obstacle to the advancing front would divert the flow toward inhabited areas not necessarily threatened by the natural flow path. Diversion efforts were therefore concentrated far upslope, near the eruptive vent.

Attention was primarily on a skylight in the main lava tube at ~ 2,000 m altitude on the W wall of the Valle del Bove, a few hundred meters from the active vent. The diversion's early focus was blockage of the main tube carrying lava to the active front, by sliding solid rocks and concrete blocks into the flowing lava. Access problems required transport of solid materials to the site by helicopter, to be directly unloaded into the lava stream, or accumulated around the skylight's rim for later use. Lava tube blockage was also assisted by blasting large volumes of solid lava and welded scoriae forming the flow levees. This was partially successful and contributed to slowing the advance of the active front by several days.

Despite these efforts, on 5 May, a major new flow emerged from Val Calanna atop the 10 April flow, reaching Piano dell'Acqua on 11 May, 120 m beyond the 16 April flow and ~ 500 m from the outskirts of Zafferana. On 22 May, a further attempt to divert lava from the main natural tube to an artificially excavated channel high in the Valle del Bove produced a vigorous lobe that traveled 1 km in a few hours. Only 1/3 of the lava was spilled into the artificial channel, and the new flow roofed over within two days, with a significant loss of supply from the main natural flow.

A four-phase intervention plan was then defined (figure 54): a) digging an artificial channel to drain the main natural tube; b) cutting the lateral tube wall to a minimum thickness (2-3 m) that could be blasted through with a single charge; c) blasting the lateral wall; d) blocking the natural tube to divert all of the lava into the artificial channel.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 54. Sketch of the lava diversion carried out at Etna, 27 May 1992. Courtesy of L. Villari.

Phases a and b were accomplished in about a week. A 7-ton charge, set off in a single explosion on 27 May at 1636, opened a large breach in the natural tube and caused spillage of ~ 80% of the flowing lava. The natural tube was progressively blocked by sliding solid materials into it during the next two days, and the flow was totally diverted into the artificial channel by 29 May. The artificially channeled flow went down the W slope of the Valle del Bove and remained confined inside the valley. The diversion effort stopped the most advanced front that had been moving toward Zafferana, by removing its source of supply.

The artificially channeled lava flow had extended to 1,550 m asl in the S part of the Valle del Bove (at Piano del Trifoglietto) by 30 May. Lava output from the ephemeral vents in Val Calanna quickly decreased, and molten lava was not evident within a few days.

The effusion rate from the eruptive fissure decreased sharply 31 May-1 June, causing the active flow front to be confined within the Valle del Bove, as activity resumed in the central craters. Several hours of continuous ash emission occurred from the W crater (Bocca Nuova) on 31 May, and an incandescent blowhole formed in the E crater (La Voragine) following gas blasts on 1 June. Noisy gas emission continued from La Voragine in succeeding days.

During June, lava flowing in the artificial channel expanded within the Valle del Bove to ~ 1,650 m elevation, overlapping the lava field that had formed since January. The effusion rate was reduced ~ 50% by the end of June, and the upper part of the artificial channel became a tube. The longest flow did not extend more than 1.5 km from the diversion point at 2,000 m altitude. At the end of June, the newly generated lava field, overlapping the old one, covered ~ 0.8 km2.

Northeast Crater. Repeated inner-wall collapses have been observed in Northeast Crater since February. They became quasi-continuous from 26 February through mid-March, associated with explosive activity that ejected blocks and caused a little fine reddish ashfall. From the end of March until 23 May, the collapses were limited to episodes lasting only several hours each, associated with only minor fine ashfall. The crater bottom dropped ~70 m, leaving a pit ~100 m across in place of the previous funnel-shaped depression.

Lava flow measurements. Lava-channel dimensions, flow velocity, and related rheological parameters were observed at a skylight along the lava tube at 2,000 m altitude, and at ephemeral vents in the Val Calanna area, 7 km downstream at 1,000 m elevation. Flow velocities at the exit of the lava tube (~ 4-5 m wide and 5 m deep) in May and the beginning of June were 0.5-1 m/s; flow rates and viscosities were 15-25 m3/s and 100-300 Pas. At the ephemeral vents and the single-channeled flows (1-4 m wide and 1-2.5 m deep), March-May flow velocities were 0.1-0.3 m/s. The calculated flow rate ranged from 0.1 to 4 m3/s, with a corresponding viscosity of 150-1,300 Pas. (See the report by Murray, below, for velocities and flow rates from late June through mid-July).

Direct measurements in June along the main channel (10-40 cm below the lava surface) at 2,000 m altitude, using an immersion thermocouple (Pt-PtRh) yielded temperatures of 1,053-1,068°C. Values were similar (1,030-1,068°C) at several ephemeral vents (10-60 cm inside the lava flow) in the Val Calanna area from March until the end of May.

Petrography and chemistry. Analysis of lava sampled near the vent and at the flow fronts showed no significant variations in chemical or petrologic composition (17:02). All are porphyritic hawaiites (Mg## 52-54), with phenocrysts of plagioclase (15-25 volume %), clinopyroxene (7-10%), olivine (2-3%) and minor (~ 1%) Ti-magnetite.

Seismicity. Low-level seismic activity characterized February-June, despite the continuing eruption. The daily rate was quite low, with only 24 fault-derived earthquakes of M >1 recorded during the period, a rather low value for Etna. No variations were evident in the daily rate or the cumulative strain release (figure 55). Most of the recorded shocks were centered on the SE flank. Maximum local magnitude was 2.8. There were no significant changes in the pattern of volcanic tremor amplitude. Two short episodes of increasing amplitude, on 31 May and 1 June, had maximum overall amplitudes slightly lower than during the December 1991 eruptive phase.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 55. Daily number of seismic events (M >1) and cumulative seismic strain release recorded at Etna, December 1991-June 1992. Courtesy of L. Villari.

From 26 February until May, seismic stations on the upper flanks recorded many shocks characterized by an emergent onset and low frequency content. At least three waveform types were recognized. All of the shocks were located near the summit craters at <1 km depth. At the same time, morphologic changes were noted within Northeast Crater, associated with the emission of non-juvenile tephra. Most of these shocks were believed to be linked to rockfalls within Northeast Crater. Some explosion shocks were recorded during the same period. These phenomena were most common in February and March, then gradually decreased, disappearing entirely by 23 May.

Ground deformation. Continuous monitoring of ground tilt in a shallow borehole network showed only minor variations since the eruption began in December 1991. No sign of the expected deflation of the volcano was noted, despite the large volume of magma that has been erupted.

EDM networks on the S, SW, and NE flanks, previously surveyed in 1991, several months before the eruption began, were re-measured in late spring and early summer. Contraction was observed, mostly on the SW and NE flanks, while the S flank did not show any appreciable change in line length. The overall deformation pattern of the volcano appears consistent with shallow magma injection into the eruptive fissure, trending roughly NNW-SSE (figure 56). GPS surveys in April-May 1992 detected significant contraction of lines, mostly on the W flank, compared to previous surveys in June-July 1991 (figure 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Cumulative areal dilation measured at 3 EDM networks on the flanks of Etna, 1981-92. Courtesy of L. Villari.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Variations in slope distance between GPS measurements at Etna in 1991 and 1992. Heavy lines show contraction, dashed lines show extension. Courtesy of L. Villari.

The following, from J.B. Murray, describes eruptive activity and the results of deformation studies, 9 June-14 July.

Lava flows. The rate of lava production from the vent in the W wall of the Valle del Bove was much lower than in April. Active flows were visited on 28 June, and 7, 10, 12, and 13 July. Central flow speeds of 2-10 m/minute (depending on slope), widths of 1.5-6 m, and a rate estimated at around 0.3-0.4 m3/s were noted at a single flow on 28 June. A flow about twice as big was seen to the E, suggesting a total discharge of the order of 1 m3/s. Flow fronts were only advancing to ~ 1.2 km from the vent on 28 June, but discharge seemed slightly increased during July visits to the fronts, which were about 2.2 km from the vent on 7 July, and 2.6 km by 13 July.

Summit activity. Continued collapse was occurring around the edge of Northeast Crater, with rockfalls every few minutes or so. Particularly big collapses were seen on 8 July between 1556 and 1610. Southeast Crater had strong high-temperature fumaroles, but no Strombolian activity.

The floors of the two central craters both had single vents that continuously discharged hot gas without any explosions. The vent in La Voragine was ~3 x 10 m, glowed bright red in daylight, and beginning 10 June emitted gas in voluminous puffs from which radiant heat could be felt. There were no signs of fresh bombs or scoriae around the vent. The depth of Bocca Nuova was estimated at ~160 ± 20 m.

Vertical movement. A 25-km levelling traverse, and heights derived from trigonometric levelling during trilateration, yielded details of vertical displacement of 241 stations across the summit and upper flanks since September 1991. Subsidence occurred along a narrow strip extending SSE from the summit, with maximum movements reaching just over 1 m (at two stations between Cisternazza and Belvedere). This central strip is flanked by a swelling to the W of 3-7 cm, and a much larger swelling to the E that reaches 37 cm (at Serra Giannicola Piccola). Southeast Crater has dropped 87 cm and Northeast Crater 48 cm, and the NE rift has risen another 3.4 cm (near Monte Pizzillo). These movements are similar to displacements seen over eruptive dikes in 1989, 1986, 1985, and 1983, but the swelling to the E is higher and broader than any previously recorded.

Horizontal movement. The summit trilateration network shows E-W extensions of 1-1.5 m since September 1991 across the graben and fissures leading S to the eruption site. It is clear that the main feeder dike passes between the Torre del Filosofo and Belvedere, and probably crosses into the Valle del Bove just E of Cisternazza (figure 53). Movements of this magnitude are not unusual during Etna's flank eruptions, and are similar to those recorded during the four eruptions mentioned above.

After network adjustment, some individual station vectors showed unexpected movements. Many of the stations E of the summit also show large eastward displacements, with two (near the Serra Giannicola Piccola) showing 1.3 m of eastward movement, and much of the Valle del Leone having moved 0.5 m ENE. The region at the top of the valley's E wall is cut by new N-S fissures, and SE of Southeast Crater is a region of complex fissuring N of a new cinder cone.

Dry-tilt data. Results from the 30 dry-tilt stations confirm that this eruption is a major one among recent eruptions. In addition to the expected large tilts near the eruptive fissures (192 µrad near Cisternazza), unusually large post-September 1991 tilts of 115 and 92 µrad occurred ~ 4 and 5 km SW of the summit (at Monte Palestra and Monte Vituddi). Unexpectedly large tilts were also recorded ~ 7 km NW and 4.5 km WNW of the summit (at Monte Maletto and Monte Nunziata), and both the Punta Lucia and Pizzi Deneri stations have abruptly increased their tilt to the E, as after the 1981 eruption.

The observed dry tilts are exceptional and suggest that something fairly fundamental has occurred. Only the 1981 eruption had tilts of this size at distant stations. That eruption marked a major turning point in Etna's deformation. After 1981, five stations that had previously been stable, even during flank eruptions, tilted during the next few years by amounts that eventually totalled as much as 1,000 µrad.

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: L. Villari, R. Romano, and T. Caltabiano, IIV; P. Carveni, M. Grasso, and C. Monaco, Univ di Catania; G. Luongo, OV; J. Murray, Open Univ.


Galeras (Colombia) — July 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Galeras

Colombia

1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


More details of 16 July explosion; previous activity summarized

Most of the 1991 summit lava dome was ejected by an explosion on 16 July. The following summarizes activity since 1989 and provides additional detail about the July explosion.

Previous activity, 1989 to mid-1992. Increased fumarolic activity accompanied by minor ash emission and seismicity began in February 1989. Emission of ash that consisted of lithic fragments and some crystals occurred in early May. The ash was dispersed toward the SW, N, and E (onto Pasto. . .). The minimum volume of the ashfall was estimated at 4 x 105 m3. Fumarolic activity continued for the rest of 1989. In 1990, small to moderate ash emissions were associated with long-period earthquakes and tremor pulses. Blocks to 15 cm in diameter were deposited around the crater by a small explosion on 2 August 1990. Another explosion on 25 November produced small quantities of juvenile glass. The finest ash was deposited on Pasto, producing a thin, discontinuous cover <1 mm thick. Ash emissions were frequent during the next 12 months, associated with long-period signals and tremor episodes that increased in number and size through November 1991 (figures 56 and 57).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 56. Daily number (top), energy release (middle), and reduced displacement (bottom) of long-period seismic events at Galeras, January 1991-July 1992. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 57. Daily number (top), energy release (middle), and reduced displacement (bottom) of tremor pulses at Galeras, January 1991-July 1992. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Fumarole temperatures reached 738°C in September 1990 and January 1991. Incandescence at vents was associated with an increase in gas emission and magmatic intrusion in June 1991. Long-period seismicity and tremor increased in July, coinciding with a strong increase in deformation rates measured by electronic tiltmeters near the crater (figure 58). Magma rose toward the surface, emerging as a dome in the bottom of the crater in October and November.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 58. Deformation measured at electronic tiltmeters (Crater and Peladitos) 0.9 NE and 1.5 SE, respectively, of the crater at Galeras, January 1991-July 1992. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Seismicity was generally declining at the beginning of December 1991 with the exception of minor high-frequency activity. Electronic tiltmeters were stable, and gas emissions became less frequent with less ash content. Some tremor signals with durations of 18-33 minutes and dominant periods of 1 and 0.2 seconds were recorded in April and May 1992. These signals were analogous to those in the second half of 1991, associated with dome formation.

Seismicity and deformation, early July 1992. Long-period seismicity decreased gradually as the number of tremor pulses increased during the first 15 days of July. A moderate number of high-energy tremor pulses occurred 11-12 July. Six monochromatic long-period (1.54 Hz) events lasting about 80 seconds were recorded 14-16 July. On 15 July, a small swarm of ~18 high-frequency earthquakes had magnitudes of up to 0.5. Deformation rates were low (~1 µrad/day) compared to those of October and December 1991. Cumulative deformation was ~5 µrad, occurring as successive waves at the tiltmeter (Crater) 0.9 km E of the crater.

16 July explosion. The explosion at 1640 on 16 July destroyed >90% of the dome at the bottom of the crater. Fragments of various sizes were ejected ballistically. Blocks 30-40 cm in diameter fell as much as 2.3 km away; some to 1 m in diameter reached 1.3 km distance, falling on a road where they made impact craters 3 m across and 1 m deep; fragments 3.5 m across were found 400 m from the crater rim; and on the E edge of the caldera, 169 projectiles were counted in an area ~10 m wide and 1,000 m long. Incandescent blocks started forest fires on the NE flank, 2.3 km from the crater.

The dark-gray eruption column with turbulent, cauliflower-like edges rose ~4 km. Ash was dispersed mainly to the W and had a calculated minimum volume of 5.7 x 104 m3. Blocks, with a minimum volume of 2.2 x 104 m3, were concentrated toward the E and NE. The temperatures of block surfaces were ~290°C, and of the pyroclastic deposits around the crater, ~230°C.

Seismographs registered a 6-minute signal that began at 1640:32, saturating instruments for the initial 37 seconds. Two distinct elements were noted. The first had a frequency of 0.5 Hz and a duration magnitude of 3, and the second was a 1.3 Hz tremor event that lasted 4 minutes.

A strong accompanying explosive sound was heard at 5.5 km distance (in Genoy), and in parts of Pasto 9 km away. A relatively weak expansion wave broke some glass 9 km away, in the corregimiento (magistracy) of Nariño.

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.


Irazu (Costa Rica) — July 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)


Continued thermal activity and seismicity; crater lake rises

The level of the turquoise-green crater lake continued to rise. The subaqueous fumaroles on the lake's N and SE sides remained active, but fumarolic activity on the N and NW sides of the crater has diminished considerably. The seismic station (IRZ2) 5 km WSW of the main crater registered 33 low-frequency events in July, about the same number as in June. On 9 July at 0627, a M 2.5 earthquake occurred 6.6 km SE of the main crater at 5 km depth.

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.


Kilauea (United States) — July 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 flows south from East-rift vents

Lava production . . . was continuous for most of July, pausing for a few days on the 22nd. The lava pond perched next to the E-51 spatter cones drained in early July, and a thick crust formed on its surface. The pond remained inactive for the rest of the month, as lava from the E-51 vent bypassed it through a lava tube to the S. Lava flows emerged from a tube at the base of the E-51 shield, building a sizeable secondary shield there. Flows moving SE entered the forest on 9 July just E of the 1986 flow, advanced along a front 500 m wide (figure 85), and reached the steepest portion of the S-facing fault scarp (pali) on 20 July.

The number of microearthquakes beneath the summit and East rift generally remained low, but 275 shallow, long-period (B-type, 1-3 Hz) events were recorded on 22 July. That day, observers reported a decline in activity at the vent, and the tube system slowly drained. By 23 July, the terminus of the new flow was stagnant.

A gradual increase in tremor amplitude to about twice background level began early on 27 July. Lava returned to the tube system during the day, breaking out at the base of the E-51 shield, where flows ponded before spreading in all directions. On 30 July, more flows emerged from the tube system S of the ponded area and advanced S, reaching the forest in the national park on 3 August.

The lava lake in Pu`u `O`o crater was active throughout July. Its surface fluctuated between 45 and 70 m below the crater rim. Upwelling was constant in the uprift portion of the lava lake, while degassing and spattering was most vigorous on the lake's downrift edge.

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.


Langila (Papua New Guinea) — July 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)


Explosive activity and small lava flow

"Weak-to-moderate eruptive activity continued in July. Lava effusion at Crater 3 from 25 to 27 July or longer was associated with increased explosive activity late in the month.

"Activity at Crater 2 was at a low level 1-19 July with emissions of weak white vapour, occasionally blue or containing ash. A weak explosion probably associated with Crater 2 was heard on 1 July. There was no night glow during this period. Crater 2 was more active from 20 July until the end of the month. Loud-to-low rumbling noises and explosions were heard, accompanied by emissions of weak-to-moderate, occasionally thick, grey ash clouds. Weak night glow was observed from 20 July onward.

"Activity at Crater 3 was also low for most of the month, punctuated by occasional forceful emissions of grey-to-brown ash clouds, sometimes reaching more than 1 km above the summit. Activity increased to a moderate level from 25 July with audible explosive activity, night glow from the summit crater, and emission of a lava flow on the cone's N slope. The summit was obscured by clouds from 25 July and it was not clear whether the flow was still active. The explosion noises that started on 25 July continued until the end of the month. Light ashfalls ~10 km downwind from the volcano were noted on 5 and 22 July. Seismic activity was at a low level throughout the month despite the increase in visual activity."

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

Information Contacts: B. Talai and C. McKee, RVO.


Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — July 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fluid lava from summit-crater vents; gas and temperature data

During a 24-hour visit to the crater on 16-17 July by members of Geo-découverte and SVG, no lava emission was observed. However, the brownish color of some small lava flows from hornito T20 (figure 25) suggested that they were very recent. Magma was seen bubbling and splashing from small conduits in the bottom of T20, 3 m below the rim. During the night, a faint dull-red glow from the lava was visible. The level of the activity was irregular; sometimes the inner bottom of T20 was partially covered by lava, while at other times splashing noises could be heard but no lava was visible. Continuous vapor emission occurred only from the biggest (T5/T9) of the six hornitos on the crater floor.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 25. Sketch from an oblique airphoto taken 24 July 1992, looking N across Ol Doinyo Lengai's crater. Fresh lava is shown emerging from hornito T20. The former feature T11 is no longer visible. Courtesy of F. LeGuern.

Geologists sampled thermal features in the crater and conducted three overflights during the following week. Temperatures of 70-170°C were recorded in the hornitos on the crater floor, and reached 70-90°C under the solid crust of sulfur sublimates on the N rim. The 170°C maximum temperature was measured at hornito T15, where an iron tube was inserted. Gas was collected, at a temperature of 145°C inside the tube. A caustic soda bottle was used to sample H2O, CO2, total sulfur, chlorine, fluorine, and non-condensable gases. Samples were also taken containing AgNO3 and NH3 for sulfur species determination, and others for analyses of dry gases, inert gases, and isotopes. Impregnated and carbon-coated filters were used for collection within the plume and of sublimates on the ground. Fresh and older lava from the active hornito were collected. Pictures and 16-mm movies were taken during the overflights (on 18, 21, and 24 July). A lava flow was observed extending N from the central active hornito on 24 July.

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

Information Contacts: F. LeGuern, CNRS, France; M. Pennini, Istituto de Geocronologia, Italy; F. Emmi and L. Mansfeld, Etna Trekking, Italy; I. Munro, Executive Wilderness Prog, Nairobi; L. Cantamessa, Geo-découverte, Switzerland; F. Cruchon, S. Haefeli, W. Tribolet, and P. Vetsch, SVG, Switzerland.


Manam (Papua New Guinea) — July 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)


Weak ash emission and glow

"Activity during July remained at the low levels reported for the second half of June. There was weak fumarolic activity through most of July, with white and blue vapours emitted from Southern Crater and mostly white vapours from Main Crater. Weak grey ash from Southern Crater was observed on 22 July.

Weak fluctuating night glow from Southern Crater was seen 20-29 July, due to deep-seated explosive activity. There was no night glow from Main Crater during the month and no audible sounds from either crater. Seismic activity was at a low level throughout July. A slight increase was noted later in the month, probably related to the incandescence and explosive activity. No significant change has been recorded from the water-tube tiltmeter at the Observatory since the beginning of May."

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

Information Contacts: B. Talai and C. McKee, RVO.


Merapi (Indonesia) — July 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Merapi

Indonesia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Growing lava dome spawns avalanches; summit gas data

The volume of the lava dome at the end of July was calculated at ~10.5 x 106 m3, of which 2.8 x 106 m3 were pyroclastic-flow and avalanche deposits. Glow from rockfalls tended to become less bright in late July, but the distance traveled by avalanches remained relatively constant, at up to 1,500 m (to the WNW). Gases at the Gendol solfatara field, in the S part of the summit crater, were sampled for analysis (table 6).

Table 6.Gas concentrations (in volume %) and temperatures (in °C) measured at Merapi's Gendol solfatara field, May-December 1992. Courtesy of S. Bronto.

Gas 06 May 27 Jun 09 Jul 23 Jul 08 Sep 22 Oct 03 Dec
H2 0.63 1.19 1.33 1.72 1.03 1.09 0.91
O2+Ar 0.015 0.05 0.09 3.05 0.04 0.02 0.005
N2 0.11 0.27 0.77 28.23 0.27 0.15 0.23
CO 0.03 0.04 0.06 0.09 0.05 0.05 0.06
CO2 4.57 8.48 11.17 29.09 4.46 3.21 4.48
SO2 0.79 1.57 1.77 10.86 0.71 2.20 0.95
H2S 0.44 1.35 1.10 1.66 0.32 0.40 1.08
HCl 0.11 0.29 0.42 6.37 0.17 0.40 0.51
H2O 93.31 86.76 83.29 18.95 92.96 92.18 91.76
Temp 802 818 820 813 816 807 824

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

Information Contacts: S. Bronto, MVO.


Nyamulagira (DR Congo) — July 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Nyamulagira

DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


NE-flank fissures continue to produce lava

The eruption . . . was continuing at the end of July 1992. A new vent (no. 19) opened during the night of 4-5 July (figure 12). For several days, the new vent ejected mainly ash and bombs without a significant lava flow, then was the source of intermittent fountaining until 15 July. Several hundred meters E of cone 19, another vent (no. 20) became active on 14 July, producing a voluminous lava flow for the first two days, and high lava fountains that rose 50 m on 21 July. Another new vent (no. 21) developed SE of cone 19 on 19 July, feeding a lava fountain that was visible 5 km away. The amplitude of microtremors remained high through July, suggesting to geologists that ascent of magma from a deep reservoir continued at a significant rate.

Geologic Background. Africa's most active volcano, Nyamulagira (also known as Nyamuragira), is a massive high-potassium basaltic shield about 25 km N of Lake Kivu and 15 km NE of the steep-sided Nyiragongo volcano. The summit is truncated by a small 2 x 2.3 km caldera that has walls up to about 100 m high. Documented eruptions have occurred within the summit caldera, as well as from the numerous flank fissures and cinder cones. A lava lake in the summit crater, active since at least 1921, drained in 1938, at the time of a major flank eruption. Recent lava flows extend down the flanks more than 30 km from the summit as far as Lake Kivu; extensive lava flows from this volcano have covered 1,500 km2 of the western branch of the East African Rift.

Information Contacts: N. Zana, CRSN, Bukavu.


Pinatubo (Philippines) — July 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Pinatubo

Philippines

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Continued dome growth; officials warn of possible explosive eruption

The lava dome in the center of the caldera lake was continuing to grow as of mid-August. Periods of increased seismicity and decreased gas emission prompted an official warning of possible renewed explosive activity, but none had occurred at press time. Rain-induced lahars and secondary explosions from the pyroclastic-flow deposits continued with the ongoing rainy season.

By late July, the lava dome was 250 m across and 75 m high in the center of the 600 x 800 m crater lake. Lake depth was estimated at < 5 m. COSPEC measurements on 21 July indicated an SO2 emission rate of 900 ± 200 metric tons/day (t/d). Secondary explosions from the 1991 pyroclastic-flow deposits occurred daily, producing columns that sometimes reached 7.5 km altitude. Secondary pyroclastic flows were triggered in the Pasig-Potrero and Marella drainages. Daily lahars were filling channels below 100 m elevation. Seismicity was dominated by high-frequency events, but long-period events and tremor occurred roughly once a day in episodes that lasted up to an hour. Maximum tremor amplitude was 4-5 mm peak-to-peak.

A systematic increase in low-frequency seismicity started at the beginning of August. Earthquake counts reached 125 low-frequency and 41 high-frequency events during the 24 hours ending at 0600 on 10 August. A newly installed seismic station near the N rim of the caldera detected numerous signals reminiscent of those recorded at a similar site 3-4 days before the onset of the 1991 explosive eruption. SO2 emission dropped from 830 t/d on 3 August to 250 t/d on 6 August, and remained at relatively low levels. A similar decrease had occurred several days before the 1991 explosions. Because of these changes, PHIVOLCS warned of the threat of another explosive eruption within a week or less, but noted that explosions comparable to those of 15 June 1991 were not anticipated. People were strongly urged to avoid the official danger zone that extends in a 10-km radius from the crater. No population centers are within the danger zone, but about 2,000 people living nearby sought refuge in government evacuation centers.

An aerial survey on 10 August revealed additional growth of the dome, to about 300 m in diameter and 100 m high. Uplift of some 2 m had produced a beach about 30 m wide against the dome's N flank. By the next day the beach front was 50 m from the edge of the dome, and it had advanced an additional 5 m outward by 12 August. Gas rose to several hundred meters above the crater rim. The rate of SO2 emission had declined to about 200 t/d by 7 August and was about the same on 11 August.

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: PHIVOLCS; Reuters.


Poas (Costa Rica) — July 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)


Fumarolic activity; frequent seismicity; crater lake fills

The crater lake continued to grow in July, covering some terraces on its SE side. Water temperature was 70°C and pH was 1.5. Fumarolic activity continued in the central and N parts of the crater. Sporadic bubbling occurred from some points in the SE and near the center of the crater. The seismic station (POA2) 2.7 km SW of the main crater registered an average of 170 low-frequency events per day in July, and a total of 18 medium- to high-frequency events classified as A-B because they had characteristics of both types. June values were slightly higher.

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, OVSCIORI.


Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — July 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)


Increased seismicity; largest monthly total since August 1988

"There was a marked increase in seismic activity . . . in July; 1,089 caldera earthquakes were recorded . . .. This is the highest monthly total since August 1988. Thirty of these earthquakes have been located, mainly in three distinct areas: the NE, NW, and S parts of the caldera seismic zone."

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: B. Talai and C. McKee, RVO.


Spurr (United States) — July 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)


Brief but vigorous explosive activity; large cloud causes widespread light ashfall

A brief explosive eruption of Spurr occurred on 18 August, with little or no apparent precursory seismicity. Preliminary data suggested that the 18 August activity was similar to somewhat stronger than the previous explosive episode, on 27 June. The 27 June ash had been carried N, away from nearby populated areas, but the 18 August ash fell on Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, 130 km E of Spurr, closing its international airport and forcing most of its residents indoors.

The eruption was first reported at 1548 by an airplane pilot who saw a dark cloud, probably an ash plume, breaking through weather clouds. About 8 minutes of seismicity at slightly above background preceded the pilot report. No lightning pulses, which often accompany ash eruptions, were detected, but there were additional pilot reports of ash during the next half-hour. Seismicity increased markedly at 1641, and by 1645, NOAA C-band radar had detected a plume to almost 11 km altitude. The National Weather Service released a SIGMET, warning pilots of the ash plume, at 1653.

AVO personnel overflew the volcano about an hour after strong activity began. Dark ash engulfed the entire S portion of the edifice, suggesting that the source of the tephra was in the general vicinity of Crater Peak, the S-flank vent at ~2,300 m elevation that was the source of the 27 June explosive episode. The summit area was clear, but AVO geologists filmed violently roiling, turbulent pulses of black ash ascending through the weather cloud deck at ~2,400 m altitude. Large ballistic fragments were being thrown to 300 m above the cloud deck, and white, lenticular shock-wave clouds ringed the vent area. S of Crater Peak, ash ascended from a light-colored pyroclastic avalanche that had descended to ~900 m elevation (above the Chakachatna river valley). No evidence of flooding was observed, but ash and weather clouds prevented low-altitude flights down the valley. Although lightning apparently was not triggered by the 27 June eruption, 171 lightning strikes were recorded by the AVO detection system in the 1-hour period beginning at 1841 on 18 August. Seismicity began to decline at about 2000, and seismic data suggested that the main phase of the eruption was over at 2020.

The axis of ashfall extended ESE (across Cook Inlet, along Turnagain Arm, and over Prince William Sound) (figure 6). Pilots reported ash to about 18 km altitude, but radar and satellite data suggested that it reached a maximum of about 13.5 km altitude. Ashfall began to diminish at the nearby Beluga Power Plant at 2100. About 0.15-0.3 cm of ash fell on Anchorage between 2000 and 2300; similar amounts were reported from Valdez (300 km E) and Cordova (350 km ESE), where ashfall started at about 0145 and was continuing 4 hours later. Anchorage International Airport was closed at about 2020 and remained closed for much of 19 August, as cleanup efforts were hampered by wind redistribution of the ash. Flights were also halted to and from Elmendorf Air Force Base and Merrill Field (both in the Anchorage area) and Kenai Municipal Airport. A Notice to Airmen announced temporary flight restrictions within 50 km of Spurr, and advised extreme caution downwind of the restricted area. No aircraft encounters with the ash cloud were reported. Health officials warned Anchorage residents, especially those with respiratory problems, to remain indoors during the ashfall.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 6. Visible/infrared composite image from the NOAA-12 polar-orbiting weather satellite on 18 August at 1930, less than 3 hours after the onset of Spurr's explosive eruption. The ash cloud is illuminated by the sun, and casts a shadow to the NE. Ashfall began at Anchorage about 30 minutes later. Courtesy of G. Stephens.

Satellite images showed a large plume moving SE at roughly 70 km/hour after feeding from the volcano ended. By the early afternoon of 19 August, ash was observed at 9-10.5 km altitude from an aircraft near Juneau (about 1,000 km ESE of Spurr), and a diffuse ash layer was seen at 2-4.5 km. Very light ashfall was reported at Juneau. By 20 August, the plume had spread over Queen Charlotte Island and coastal British Columbia. Ash was seen at about 10 km altitude from an aircraft near the NW end of Vancouver Island, nearly 2000 km from Spurr. Early on 21 August, satellite imagery showed an arcuate NE-SW plume extending roughly 3500 km from about 55°N in central Saskatchewan across central Alberta, SW British Columbia, and into the Pacific Ocean, to about 38°N, 145°W, off the coast of N California.

Data from the Nimbus-7 satellite's Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer showed a cloud about 2000 km long, covering an area of 370,000 km2 and containing about 240 kilotons of SO2, on 19 August at 0251 (figure 7). Maximum SO2 values from the 27 June eruption were 185 kilotons (BGVN 17:06).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 7. Image of the SO2 cloud from Spurr, as detected by the Nimbus-7 satellite's Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer on 19 August at 0251, about 10 hours after the onset of strong activity. Values of SO2 in each 50 x 50-km pixel are shown on a relative scale of 0-9, then upward through alphabetic characters with increasing concentration. Spurr is marked with a solid triangle. Courtesy of Gregg Bluth.

A steam plume containing a little ash rose about 2.5 km above the Crater Peak vent during an AVO overflight at 1145 on 19 August, and similar activity was observed by pilots during the afternoon. A swarm of about 12 volcanic earthquakes occurred between 1400 and 1415, and may have been associated with increased steaming. Seismic activity generally decreased slowly, but remained slightly above background during the night. The next day, AVO personnel observed a small steam plume rising less than 500 m above the Crater Peak vent, and minor steaming from the surface of a hot avalanche that had descended the SE flank. Seismicity continued to decline.

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; G. Bluth, NASA GSFC; SAB, NOAA/NESDIS; G. Stephens, NOAA/NESDIS; N. Krull, FAA.


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

Turrialba

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Fewer seismic events

The seismic station (VTU) 0.5 km E of the main crater recorded six low-frequency events in July, compared to 17 in June.

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

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, J. Barquero, and V. Barboza, OVSICORI.


Unzendake (Japan) — July 1992 Citation iconCite this Report

Unzendake

Japan

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Dome growth slows, but rockfalls and heavy rain trigger destructive pyroclastic and debris flows

The lava dome complex continued to grow through mid-August (table 9). Viscous lava did not continuously reach the surface, although magmatic intrusion caused some endogenous growth. Changes to the size of the dome complex were small, and the magma-supply rate has decreased to half of its peak of > 300,000 m3/day in late 1991-early 1992. A rough estimate of the late July-early August rate is 110,000-160,000 m3/day. Earthquakes had been frequent during periods of endogenous growth at the higher magma-supply rate, but recently there have been few seismic events in the absence of lava extrusion, implying that magma is no longer being continuously supplied to the dome complex.

Table 9. Chronology of eruptive events at Unzen, July 1990 to mid-August 1992. Courtesy of JMA.

Date Volcanic Activity
Jul 1990 Earthquakes and tremor episodes began.
17 Nov 1990 Phreatic ash eruption.
12 Feb 1991 Phreatic ash eruption resumed at Byobu-iwa crater.
Apr 1991 Phreatic eruptions at Jigoku-ato crater.
13 May 1991 Summit seismicity and deformation begin.
20 May 1991 Lava dome 1 emerged in Jigoku-ato crater.
24 May 1991 First pyroclastic flow observed.
03 Jun 1991 Large pyroclastic flow killing 43 people and damaging 179 houses; growth of lava dome 2 began shortly thereafter.
08 Jun 1991 Large pyroclastic flow, extending 5.5 km and damaging 207 houses.
11 Jun 1991 Explosion, producing block fall in inhabited areas.
30 Jun 1991 The largest debris flow, caused by heavy rainfall, damaging 202 houses.
11 Aug 1991 Summit seismicity began to increase.
12 Aug 1991 Ejection of incandescent blocks. Continuous ash emission. Sudden decrease in pyroclastic flows.
13 Aug 1991 Dome 3 recognized, W of dome 2.
25 Aug 1991 Beginning of pyroclastic flow activity into Oshiga valley.
31 Aug 1991 Evacuation from Senbongi area, NE of the summit.
06 Sep 1991 Summit seismicity began to increase.
15 Sep 1991 The largest pyroclastic flow, extending 5.5 km, damaged 218 houses.
16 Sep 1991 Peak of summit seismicity.
17 Sep 1991 Summit seismicity declined. New dome 4 recognized from the air.
24 Oct 1991 Summit seismicity began to increase.
25 Oct 1991 Dome inflation recognized from the air.
Nov 1991 Inflation of dome 4. Increase in summit seismicity, and decrease in pyroclastic flow activity.
late Nov 1991 Cryptodome 5 formed.
03 Dec 1991 Lava dome 6 began to emerge.
through Dec 1991 Continuous growth of dome 6. Pyroclastic flows to SE and ESE (Tansanui and Oshiga valleys).
late Dec 1991 Summit seismicity declined.
27 Dec 1991 Shimabara Railway traffic resumed.
29 Dec 1991 Summit seismicity resumed.
Jan 1992 High seismicity at summit. Pyroclastic flows to E and ESE.
02 Feb 1992 Large pyroclastic flow, extending 3 km; no damage.
12 Feb 1992 30-minute pyroclastic flow sequence triggered by partial collapse of dome 6. Many pyroclastic flows to the SE.
22 Apr 1992 Many pyroclastic flows to the SE.
08 Aug 1992 Many pyroclastic flows to the SE damage 17 houses; large debris flow damages 72 houses.
12-13 Aug 1992 Large debris flows destroy 55 houses.
15 Aug 1992 Debris flow destroys 40 houses.

Dome 7 (figure 44), which began to emerge in late March, grew exogenously in late July, creating petal and peel structures on its surface. A few days after dome 7 stopped growing, the axis of the petal structures was buried by material that collapsed from the dome above it, and its surface became reddish, implying that magma supply had nearly ceased.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. Sketch of the dome complex at the summit of Unzen, 7 August 1992. A plug-like lava block surrounded by a circular fault was being slowly pushed eastward, as shown by the arrow on the plug. Arrows on the talus show the directions taken by rockfalls. Volcanic gases were emitted from dome 3 and along the buried fault. Courtesy of Setsuya Nakada.

In early August, plug-like blocks of the cryptodome, a mass of brown lava surrounded by circular faults, were pushed horizontally eastward at an average rate of ~ 10 m/day. Geologists believe that the plug may represent a magma conduit inclining westward beneath Jigoku-ato crater that was the source of viscous lava when the magma-supply rate was high. A grayish fresh lava surface with step-growth wrinkles appeared along the circular fault.

Rockfalls from the plug and its periphery generated pyroclastic flows along the Mizunashi River (SE of the summit) and Akamatsu Valley (S and SE of the volcano), traveling ~ 3 km from the crater. When a part of the cryptodome collapsed, a reddish ash cloud rose from the rockfalls to ~1,000 m, the highest to 1,300 m on 5 July. Ash frequently fell on inhabited areas around the volcano (including Shimabara city and Fukae town, which extend to within 7 and 4 km of the dome, respectively, and the Unzen spa area).

Small earthquakes continued to occur within and beneath the dome complex, at rates recorded by JMA of 50-400/day in July and the first half of August. Rates in late July were the highest since March, and the July total of 5,614 was also the largest since March.

Seismometers began to record a burst of pyroclastic flows, the most vigorous since 22 April, on 8 August at 0823. Sixteen were recorded by 1030, including events with durations of 180 seconds at 0945, 130 seconds at 0953, and 170 seconds at 1000. Heavy rains and dense clouds from a typhoon, which passed near the volcano that morning, obscured the volcano and prevented determination of pyroclastic-flow lengths and directions. Pyroclastic flows traveling along the Akamatsu Valley ~ 3.5 km from the dome burned 17 houses in an area (Minami-Kamikoba, Fukae town) that had been evacuated since June 1991. An additional house burned on 9 August at about 1330, but the cause of the fire was not known. No houses had been burned by pyroclastic flows since the destruction of 218 on 15 September 1991.

Typhoon rains fell at rates to 60 mm/hour on 8 August, triggering debris flows that produced distinctive signatures on seismic records. Debris flows were frequent along the Mizunashi River on 8 August between 0730 and 0900. The largest extended 7 km E of the dome, burying highways and the Shimabara railway, and damaging 72 houses in Shimabara city and Fukae town. Rain that fell from about noon on 12 August until the next morning caused 2 more large debris flows, at about 1930 on the 12th and 0400 on the 13th. Peak precipitation rates were 30 mm/hour and 10 mm/hour at two nearby rain gauges. The flows again traveled along the Mizunashi river, burying highways and the railway, and destroying 55 houses along both sides of the river's lower reaches. Structural damage from the August debris flows was the first since 30 June 1991. Highways were reopened by the evening of 13 August, but railway traffic was still halted as of 16 August. Forty more houses were destroyed along the Mizunashi River by a rain-induced debris flow early on 15 August. Another typhoon . . . was expected to reach the Unzen area late on 18 August.

Weather prevented observations of changes in dome morphology, as the succession of large pyroclastic flows and debris flows occurred for about a week in mid-August. When geologists examined the debris flows, they were steaming vigorously, and contained hot fragments of lava blocks derived from the youngest pyroclastic flows. A few hours after a debris flow was deposited, surface and interior temperatures of one of its lava blocks were about 80°C and 300°C, respectively. Debris flows were generated in the middle sections of the Oshiga (NE flank) and Akamatsu valleys. The middle portion of the Mizunashi valley was always covered by a sequence of new pyroclastic-flow deposits when visited by geologists.

The evacuated areas . . . were unchanged as of mid-August, and 6,054 residents remained evacuated. None were reported injured by the activity.

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.

Atmospheric Effects

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

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

Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

Special Announcements  Obituaries

Misc Reports

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

Additional Reports  False Reports